Hyderabad: Hoardings dotting the city claim ‘miraculous’ cure for a range of ailments through homoeopathy. From stopping hair fall to treating obesity and from bringing in hormonal balance to curing infertility, mushrooming clinics promise an answer to all.
But main stream doctors scoff at these claims and maintain that the very system of homoeopathy is a ‘scientific hoax’. And caught between claims and counter claims, patients are a confused lot these days.
“People have many misconceptions about homoeopathy and this is causing a lot of confusion. There has to be an informed debate about homoeopathy to help people in taking a better decision,” K. Gopala Krishna, General Secretary of Andhra Pradesh Homoeopathy Association, said.
Homoeopathy depends on the principle(called ‘similia similibus curentur‘) which states that a disease can be cured by those substances which actually cause the disease itself, Dr. Krishna explained. Based on this principle homoeopathic doctors prescribe medicine that, if consumed in excess, can prove dangerous to a patient, he said.
“Since the ingredients of the medicine are very potent they are diluted to a large extent. Sometimes the dilution extends to the point where the presence of original ingredients in the medicine cannot be discovered by any available scientific procedures,” he explained. Homoeopathy is not considered as a scientific system because of this reason, he added.
Homoeopathic medicine are not a placebo pills
While some commentators maintain that homoeopathy relies on mere placebo effect, Dr. Krishna points out that people are getting physical relief by its medicine for last 200 years and this proves that homoeopathy is not just a placebo effect.
Placebo effect is a process where a doctor gives an ineffective medicine (placebo) to treat a disease and patient is cured because of the mere psychological effects.
“Each system of medicine has its own strengths and weaknesses. Homoeopathy is best suited for the ailments such as upper respiratory track infection, arthritis, allergic disorders, hormonal imbalances in women and spondylitis, among others,” he said.
On the other hand the modern medicine, also called allopathy, has gained technical expertise to such an extent that it has no match in emergency, interventional and surgical procedures, he said. Because of this expertise allopathy doctors depend excessively on surgical procedures, he added.
Approach of Homoeopathy and Allopathy different
“Even the approach towards treating a disease by both the systems is completely different and hence they should not be compared,” Dr. Krishna said.
Whereas allopathy concentrates on curing an ailment by killing the invading pathogen, homoeopathy tries to strengthen the body so that it can fight the pathogens by itself, he said. “Our surroundings are brimming with pathogens all the time and they cause an ailment only when the body becomes weak,” he explained.
Admitting that some homeopathy doctors are indulging in false claims, Dr. Krishna said that these claims are damaging the image of the system.
Homoeopathy, if practised properly, is cheaper, safer and effective for many ailments and can help body in gaining resistance against ailments, he said.
“Excessive dependence on western medicine is proving to be very costly. A judicial balance between both homoeopathy and allopathy will reduce the cost and also improve the health of a person,” he added.
This article was published in The Hindu on April 19, 2012
- HOMOEOPATHY _ Introduction (slideshare.net)
- NHS must ban ‘dangerous’ homoeopathy (independent.co.uk)