Homeopathy is “bunk” and it could be putting people’s lives at risk, the American Chemical Society (ACS) has claimed.
In a YouTube video posted on its Reactions blog, the ACS said the complementary medicine was based on outdated ideas developed by its founder Dr Samuel Hahnemann, who was born in 1755.
The ideas that ‘like cures like’ and that water can ‘remember’ an active ingredient even though it has been diluted past the point at which there would be any left were wrong, the ACS said.
“Keep in mind that in Hahnemann’s age the concept of atoms and molecules as fundamental units of matter hadn’t really been developed,” it said in the video.
“So maybe he couldn’t know that you could dilute something until it was effectively gone. Today we know that full well.
“But homeopaths still insist the dilution principle is still sound. They also claim that water can somehow remember what is dissolved in it and pass the effects of those absent molecules onto a patient.
“But to date there hasn’t been repeatable, convincing evidence of this phenomenon … the fundamental ideas of homeopathy are bunk.”
The ACS said that homeopathic remedies were “a harmless waste of money” at best.
“At worst people might endanger their health by skipping treatment or care that they need,” it said.
“For example, there are homeopathic asthma inhalers being sold. These aren’t any better at stopping an asthma attack than a placebo. An untreated asthma attack can be fatal.”
Last year, the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council reviewed evidence from 176 trials of homeopathy to establish if the treatment was valid.
They found no evidence that homeopathy was more effective than a placebo for 68 different health conditions.
Asthma UK says two studies “have shown that homeopathy can be helpful for people with asthma”, but also points to advice from the British Thoracic Society and Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network that there “isn't enough evidence to recommend homeopathy for people with asthma”.
Complementary therapies such as yoga, acupuncture and homeopathy should be used "alongside (to complement) your prescribed medicines not instead of them", Asthma UK adds on its website.
Cristal Sumner, chief executive of the British Homeopathic Association, said: “As with all attempts to debunk homeopathy, this video omits key information to try and make its case.
“The fact is homeopathy is growing in use around the globe because it does work. Two hundred million people can’t be wrong and I would encourage people to see a homeopath and make their own conclusions.”
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