Homeopathy is no better than a placebo, scientists claim
Clinicians claim that homeopathy is used to "fool people"
Homeopathic medicines are as effective as placebos at treating illnesses, an Australian scientific body has claimed in a new study.
Doctors have reportedly welcomed the findings, and hope that the study will prevent patients being persuaded to use homeopathic vaccinations instead of orthodox medicines, with the former leaving people prone to life-threatening diseases including TB, it has been reported.
Proponents of the form of alternative therapy claim that it stimulates the body to heal itself, and is based on the principle of ‘like cures like’.
"A substance taken in small amounts will cure the same symptoms it causes if it was taken in large amounts,” according to the British Homeopathic Association (BHA).
The medicines are made by heavily diluting substances and succession – or vigorous shaking, the BHA explains.
However, a working committee of medical experts at Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) analysed how effective alternative medicine are n treating illnesses and conditions, and concluded that “there is no reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective,” Guardian Australia reported.
Among the 68 ailments that homeopathic remedies failed to treat were: asthma, arthritis, sleep disturbances, cold and flu, chronic fatigue syndrome, eczema, cholera, burns, malaria and heroin addiction.
A member of staff at Ainsworth Pharmacy makes up a homeopathic remedy.
Read more: Warning: Bad science can damage your health
Homeopathy product recalled over fears it contained medicine
To make their findings, researchers also took into account submissions from homeopathy interest groups and the public, but they “did not alter the conclusions” of the NHMRC, in some cases due to the poor quality of the studies submitted.
The researchers concluded that alternative treatments were either no more effective than a placebo, or that there was no reliable evidence to suggest it was.
“No good-quality, well-designed studies with enough participants for a meaningful result reported either that homeopathy caused greater health improvements than a substance with no effect on the health condition (placebo), or that homeopathy caused health improvements equal to those of another treatment,” read the report’s summary.
It also urged health workers to inform their patients that “not all evidence is of equal value,” and said people should be wary of anecdotal evidence in favour of homeopathic medicine.
“It is not possible to tell whether a health treatment is effective or not simply by considering individuals’ experiences or healthcare practitioners’ beliefs,” the report reads.
“Obviously we understand the placebo effect. We know that many people have illnesses that are short lived by its very nature and their bodies will cure them, so it’s very easy for people to fall in the trap that because they did ‘A’, ‘B’ follows,” Professor John Dwyer, an immunologist and Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of New South Wales, told Guardian Australia.
He added that is was unethical to "fool people" and said that homeopathic remedies should be "put away" once and for all, the newspaper reported.
“In my point of view as an immunologist, the most serious issue was the spreading of the concept that homeopathic vaccinations were harmless and just as good as orthodox vaccinations. People who believe that are not protecting themselves and their children,” he said.
Homeopathic “vaccinations” are offered for standard diseases, as well as some that there are no medical vaccines for, said Dwyer.
“Homeopathic vaccines were being offered for HIV, TB, and Malaria…none of them were effective,” he said.
Last year in the UK, homeopathy advocate Prince Charles was urged to stay out of the debate over its use in the NHS, following claims that he lobbied the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in favour of the alternative treatment - charges which both parties denied.
At the time, David Colquhoun, a pharmacologist at University College London, told The Independent that homeopathy was “utter nonsense”.
“Homeopathic remedies contain nothing whatsoever. The Americans have spent $2bn investigating these things … they haven’t found a single one that works,” he said.
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Nick Kyrgios calls former Olympian Dawn Fraser a 'blatant racist' after she tells Wimbledon star to 'go back where their parents came from'
- 3 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 4 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
- 5 The Greece debt crisis explained in less than 100 words
Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
Tube strike July 2015: Is it still on? Everything you need to know about the industrial action
Eiji Tsuburaya: Godzilla co-creator honoured in today's interactive Google Doodle
Florida teacher sentenced to 22 years in prison for sexually abusing three pupils
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...
£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...