MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

Ever wondered what homeopathy truly is?

Who better to ask than Boiron?

On their website, Boiron (the largest manufacturer of homeopthics) explains:

Homeopathy is a therapeutic method that uses natural substances to relieve symptoms. It derives from the Greek words homeo, meaning “similar,” and pathos, meaning “suffering” (such as the pathology of a disease). Homeopathy operates on a “like cures like” principle that has been used empirically for more than 200 years and continues to be confirmed in pharmacological research and clinical studies.

What this means is a person suffering from symptoms can be treated by microdoses of a substance capable of producing similar symptoms in a healthy person. It is said that homeopathic medicines stimulate the body’s physiological reactions that restore health. This is accomplished with a very low risk of side effects due to the use of microdoses.

Homeopathy in Action

An example of how homeopathic medicines work is the similarity of symptoms between allergies and chopping onions. When you cut into an onion, your eyes will water and your nose runs. If similar symptoms appear after contact with pollen or a pet, the homeopathic medicine most appropriate to treat these symptoms is made from a tiny amount of onion. Instead of masking symptoms, the medicine sends the body a signal to help it rebalance and heal.

The Benefits of Homeopathy and You

A natural choice. The active ingredients in homeopathic medicines are made from diluted extracts of plants, animals, minerals, or other raw substances found in nature.

For everyday use. Similar to other over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, homeopathic medicines can be used to relieve symptoms of a wide range of common health conditions such as allergies, coughs, colds, flu, stress, arthritis pain, muscle pain, and teething.

Safe and reliable. Homeopathy has been used for more than 200 years, building a remarkable safety record and generating a great body of knowledge. Homeopathic medicines do not mask symptoms, are not contraindicated with pre-existing conditions, and are not known to interact with other medications or supplements, making them one of the safest choices for self-treatment.

Rigorous standards. Homeopathic medicines are manufactured according to the highest standards, complying with U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations and the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS).

More choices and preferences. Homeopathic medicines are available in a variety of dosage forms such as gels, ointments, creams, syrups, eye drops, tablets, and suppositories.

_________________________

Are you pleased with this explanation?

No?

One must not be too harsh with Boiron and forgive them their errors; a powerful conflict of interest might have clouded their views. Therefore, I shall now take the liberty to edit and update their text ever so slightly.

Homeopathy is an obsolete method that used all sorts of substances in the misguided hope to relieve symptoms. The word derives from the Greek words homeo, meaning “similar,” and pathos, meaning “suffering” (such as the pathology of a disease). Homeopathy was alleged to operate on a “like cures like” principle that had been used empirically for more than 200 years but was refuted by pharmacological research, clinical studies and more.

What it suggested was that a person suffering from symptoms might be treated by the absence of a substance capable of producing similar symptoms in a healthy person. It was said that homeopathic medicines stimulate the body’s physiological reactions that restore health. These assumptions proved to be erroneous.

Homeopathy in Action

An example of how homeopathic medicines were supposed to work is the similarity of symptoms between allergies and chopping onions. When you cut into an onion, your eyes will water and your nose runs. If similar symptoms appear after contact with pollen or a pet, the homeopathic medicine most appropriate to treat these symptoms was assumed to be made with the memory of an onion. These ideas were never proven and had no basis in science.

The Alleged Benefits of Homeopathy

A natural choice. The active ingredients in homeopathic medicines were often made from diluted extracts of plants, animals, minerals, or other raw substances found in nature. The appeal to nature is, however, misleading: firstly the typical remedy did not contain anything; secondly, some remedies were made from synthetic substances (e. g. Berlin wall) or no substances (e. g. X-ray).

For everyday use. Similar to other over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, homeopathic medicines were promoted to relieve symptoms of a wide range of common health conditions such as allergies, coughs, colds, flu, stress, arthritis pain, muscle pain, and teething. These claims could never be verified and are therefore bogus.

Safe and reliable. Homeopathy had been used for more than 200 years. During all these years, no reliable safety record or body of knowledge had been forthcoming. Homeopathic medicines do not mask symptoms, are not contraindicated with pre-existing conditions, and are not known to interact with other medications or supplements. In fact, they have no effects whatsoever beyond placebo.

Rigorous standards. Homeopathic medicines were said to be manufactured according to the highest standards, complying with U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations and the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS). This guaranteed that they were devoid of any active ingredient and made them pure placebos.

More choices and preferences. Homeopathic medicines were available in a variety of dosage forms such as gels, ointments, creams, syrups, eye drops, tablets, and suppositories. This means they offered a range of placebos to chose from.

In case, Boiron feels like adopting my updated, evidence-based version of their text, I am sure we can come to an agreement based on an adequate fee.

22 Responses to WHAT IS HOMEOPATHY? Boiron explains (and I do some updating)

  • In this sentence: “What it suggested was that a person suffering from symptoms might be treated by the absence of a substance capable of producing similar symptoms in a healthy person”, you might add in parenthesis after the word ‘similar’, (but not identical). This would acknowledge 1) that homeopathy is not the same as isopathy – they don’t treat symptoms of lead poisoning with lead – and 2) no-one seems able to define just how similar or different the symptoms of the remedy should be from those of the disease.

    • @ DavidB
      “they don’t treat symptoms of lead poisoning with lead”
      How do they make sure?

      I’d say lead poisoning is associated with the symptoms that lead evokes in a healthy person. And those symptoms as described by the patient are all the homeopath knows about the patient’s condition. So if the homeopath looks up the symptoms in his materia medica this should bring him to lead as the remedy. Otherwise there is something wrong with this materia medica.

      Or am I mistaken?

    • I am so pleased that you, as someone with no training or understanding of homeopathy, is telling the world what homeopathy is (and isn’t). You claim that the principle of “similars” is NOT relative and does NOT mean “sames.” Thank you for your definition of what homeopathy is. And yeah, you’re wrong (of course, you are!).

      Homeopathy’s principle of similars is akin to a musical notes. A “C note” will be hypersensitive to other C notes…and A notes to A notes. “Same” is included in “similar.”

      And when you consider that the first Nobel Prize-winning in medicine for discovering the tetanus and diphtheria vaccines admitted that HE got the idea for these discoveries from homeopathy. https://www.sueyounghistories.com/2008-07-08-emil-adolf-von-behring-and-homeopathy-2/

      In the meantime, please show me where Samuel Hahnemann, MD, the founder of homeopathy specifically excluded “sames” from “similars.” (I won’t be holding my breathe awaiting your wisodm)

      • “Homeopathy’s principle of similars is akin to a musical notes. A “C note” will be hypersensitive to other C notes…and A notes to A notes. “Same” is included in “similar.””
        I always suspected homeopaths were on the fiddle

        • BUT…according to your worldview, there is no such thing as “resonance,” which is the HYPERSENSITIVITY from one thing or vibration to another. Have you ever wondered if this hypersensitivity, coupled with the homeopathic principle of similars, helps you to understand how nanodoses can work?

          • I know about resonance (perhaps even more than you) but how it coupled with the homeopathic principle of similars, helps you to understand how nanodoses can work, I must admit I do not know. PLEASE EXPLAIN.

          • @Dana Ullman

            … “resonance” …

            I second Edzard’s question: could you please explain what you mean by ‘resonance’?

            As a base definition, ‘resonance’ is the phenomenon that something vibrates or oscillates in tune with something else. This means that there must be an oscillation source, and this source must draw energy from somewhere to maintain the oscillation – as any oscillation always tends to die out naturally due to energy losses.
            Then you also need a resonant structure, so that which oscillates in tune with the source.
            All of which gives rise to some rather specific questions that so far nobody has been able to answer in the context of alternative treatments:
            – What is the source of this oscillation?
            – What exactly is it that is oscillating? Atoms or molecules? Electrons? Electromagnetic fields?
            – What is the frequency or frequency range of this oscillation?
            – How is the amplitude of this oscillation defined?
            – Where does the oscillation source get its energy from?
            – What is the secondary structure that resonates in tune with this oscillation source?
            – How is the source’s oscillation transferred to the resonating structure? Mechanically? By means of electromagnetic fields? Or via specific particles?
            – How can I detect and perhaps measure this oscillation?

            As a bit of background: I run a small business in electronics engineering, specialized in biomedical applications. Resonance, oscillation and energy are everyday phenomena in my electronics and mechanical design work – and in these fields of science and engineering I can answer all the above questions.

            However, whenever an alternative practitioner talks about ‘resonance’ and ‘energy’, they can’t answer even one of those questions. Which leads me to believe that in their mouth, those terms are completely meaningless, and that they use them simply as a bit of sciency-sounding gobbledegook to ‘explain’ things without actually explaining anything.
            So please prove me wrong, and enlighten me by giving comprehensible answers to my questions. I would be most grateful, as I am always looking for opportunities to expand my knowledge. Thank you in advance.

          • Resonance is the effect that occurs when a periodic stimulation meets the natural frequency of an object able for oscillations.

            Please indicate: In the case of homeopathic preparations, which object(s) oscillate and what agent(s) provides the stimulation.

      • Oh dear, Dana. Are you trotting out this old canard again?

        I know next to nothing about rain dancing. But I can still tell you that it is absolute rubbish which doesn’t work and violates all known tenets of science.

        The same applies to homeopathy.

        Yammer and flail all you like. You remain, as ever, an object of pathetic and insignificant ridicule.

      • Behring won the Nobel Prize 120 (!) years ago. Doesn’t it occur to you that medicine has developed enormously since this time and that Behring was simply mistaken about Hahnemann and his findings?

        If you now answer with “no”, then I expect you to also be treated with Koch’s tuberculin in case of tuberculosis. Or start inhalung chloroform during an operation. After all, both treatments come from the same time frame.

  • and continues to be confirmed in pharmacological research and clinical studies.

    AHAHAHAHAHAAAA.

    No. 🙂

  • “…the medicine sends the body a signal to help it rebalance and heal”

    Or more fully– “the (purported) medicine (supposedly) sends the body (some kind of unidentified) signal (somehow, by an unknown unresearched unidentified mechanism) to (somehow no one knows how) help (somehow no one knows how, by some kind of unidentified physiological mechanism that no one has ever identified or checked if it exists) the body rebalance (assuming lack of balance — whatever that is — was the problem in the first place) and heal (assuming the signal exists and functions appropriately, using the assumed but unidentified physiological mechanisms that no one has ever identified or checked if they exist, and assuming that all of the aforementioned not only exists but also is affected in the appropriate manner by the supposed “signal” for healing to occur).”

  • Mr Ullman, I noticed that you didn’t answer the question I asked three times in another thread, where you had commented on homeopathic water.

    Could you take the time to do so now, please, and name the laboratory which can distinguish between distilled water serially diluted and succussed to 30C, and Nat Mur water serially diluted and succussed to 30C?

    Also, in the light of your comments in this thread: Are you in favour of ‘isopathy’ and would you treat the symptoms of lead poisoning with homeopathic lead, and if so, in what potencies and why those potencies?

  • Is Mr Ullman having a larf at the expense of those who bother to comment on his ‘opinions’?

    Surely he knows homeopathy is anachronistic and homeopaths should move on, so he is either very deluded, seeking to take advantage of the gullible or a comedian.

    I suspect the latter – it’s been a good, if somewhat jaded, gag, but like all jokes, palls with repetition (or cerebral sucussion!).

    Please let’s move on.

    • According to the best and highest quality of research as determined by government-sponsored reports on homeopathy, there is a body of basic science and clinical research that shows the biological activity of homeopathic medicines and its clinically relevant benefits. Further, there is now a body of evidence from the fields of material science and the physics of water that provide compelling descriptions of how homeopathic nanodoses can have observable and measurable effects.

      This body of work was referenced here at Edzard’s own website:

      https://edzardernst.com/2021/07/dana-ullman-has-just-published-two-papers-in-real-science-journals/

      • it was referenced and criticised

      • Ha ha Dana. You wish.

        Citing your own demented scribblings isn’t evidence of anything other than your own disordered thought processes. Homeopathic nanodoses exist only in your imagination.

        Now. Remind us how nanodoses of dolphin sonar, light of Venus and the colour blue work.

      • The outcome of this discussion – and I asked you to keep this in mind – was the following:

        citation

        – Dana Ullman is unable to point out any difference between the results of NHMRC, that he criticises, and those of RT Mathie, member of the Homeopathy Research Institute, which seem to meet his expectations.
        – Dana Ullman is unable to name any indication in the NHMRC review where the result would be different, when what he considers “faults” were not in place.
        – Dana Ullman is unable to specify the difference between the result of NHMRC and this rejected draft of a consultant with regard to solid evidence.

        And of course, Dana Ullman is unable to identify any lab that would be able to distinguish between what he calls “homeopathic water” and “water”.

        /citation

        Now we are waiting for you to explain this resonance phenomenon that you introduced as an explanation of how homeopatrhy works. I think, we can add this point to the list of things you cannot answer to.

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