The Homeopathy Debate
First, let’s understand the basic Homeopathic philosophy. Through much research and hands-on practice, Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, proved that a substance that can cause disease in a healthy person can actively heal the same or a similar disease in another. For example, Belladonna, a well known homeopathic remedy is used to treat high fevers as well as redness in the face and tongue. Were Belladonna to be ingested in its raw form, the symptoms of the poisoning would be exactly this. Also, think of what happens when we are exposed to a raw onion. Our eyes water and noses burn. The Homeopathic remedy Allium cepa (onion) can, in fact, relieve these symptoms, once again, treating ‘like with like.’
Healing, according to Hahnemann, should be done ‘rapidly, gently, and permanently to remove and destroy the whole disease in the shortest, surest, least harmful way, according to clearly comprehensible principles.’ The minimum dose of a remedy simply means the minimum amount of a substance that can result in healing.
Too high a potency of a remedy or unnecessary repetition can, however, result in unwelcome aggravations. To create the medicine, its ingredients are dissolved in alcohol or distilled water. Homeopaths then take this solution and mix it with 9 parts water. This creates a 1/10 concentration or 1X potency. This process is repeated several times to obtain the required potency. This process of dilution is called potentization and is the biggest criticism of homeopathy.
For example, a 20X potency is the same as dissolving one aspirin pill in the Atlantic Ocean. This extreme dilution is supposed to make the ingredients more potent, but few scientists have spoken against this method. Their studies suggest that because most homeopathic remedies are diluted so much, not a single atom of ingredient is left.
However, it remains the case empirically, and in thousands of studies (both observational and through clinical outcome and randomised controlled trials), that Homeopathy has been seen to heal many people worldwide. Scientists believe the real reason behind the power of homeopathic remedies is just the Placebo Effect at its finest.