Evidence for Homeopathy

2 Content of homeopathic remedies


This leads to the second objection to homeopathy: "Homeopathy cannot work because there is nothing in it. Homeopathic remedies are so much potentised and thereby diluted that they don't contain molecules anymore of the original substance".

There are several arguments against this objection


Confusion between theory and experience

This objection cannot reason the experience away. A real scientist adapts his theory to the experiments and not the other way around. And that is what the adversaries are doing when they say "homeopathy cannot work because there is nothing in it".


Information instead of chemistry

Conventional medicines are based on chemical reactions in the body. In contrast, homeopathic remedies can best be seen as "information" medicines. The information is transferred from the original substance by the process of shaking the remedy at every step of potentisation. The carrier (water or lactose base) is imprinted with the information of the original substance. One can compare this information aspect with computer discs. Homeopathic remedies are chemically all the same, as are computer discs, but the information they carry is very different and that is what causes the effect. The information the disc carries is very diverse, ranging from the music of Bach to photos of the family, from the movie Avatar to a software program, just as the homeopathic remedy can carry infinitely diverse information.


Potencies have physical effects

That homeopathic remedies are not "just" water has been shown in many experiments.

Rey showed that potentised water contains information similar to that of the original substance.

Lo showed that ice has many anomalous states.

Chikramane showed that homeopathic potencies retain nanoparticles of the original substance.

Wolf showed that potencies are different from water.

Czerlinski showed that water contains domains of structures following the regional substance.


Theory of water and information

Roy showed that water can contain information.

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed. This knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong in the ranks of devoutly religious men.

Albert Einstein

1 Evidence

There is abundant evidence for the effectivity of homeopathy. In the first place the patients in 200 years that have had homeopathic treatment. Homeopathy has favored by them despite all the drawbacks. And doctors have turned to homeopathy, often after have been strong adversaries. But these days proof is asked, mostly in the form of double blind studies, called RCT, Randomized Clinical Trials. In meta-analyses many of these kind of studies are taken together to come to a conclusion about a certain kind of treatment. There have been done several meta-analyses.


1. Kleijnen en Knipschild analyzed 107 researches. Their conclusions: At the moment the evidence of clinical trials is positive.

2. Boissel and Cucherat analyzed 15 studies. Their conclusion is: There is some evidence that homeopathic treatments are more effective than placebo. The results of our meta-analysis are not compatible with the hypothesis that the clinical effects of homoeopathy are completely due to placebo.

3. Linde analyzed 89 studies in 1998 and concluded: The results of our meta-analysis are not compatible with the hypothesis that the clinical effects of homeopathy are completely due to placebo.

4. Linde analyzed 32 studies in 1998 and concluded: The results of the available randomized trials suggest that individualized homeopathy has an effect over placebo.

5. Mathie analyzed 93 studies and concluded: This represents a body of research where the null hypothesis has been rejected in favor of homeopathy.


Conclusion

All 5 meta-analyses concluded that homeopathy was an effective medicine and the result could not be explained as placebo. In general it is regarded as sufficient to have 2 positive meta-analyses for a science to be recognized.


Discussion

Another study by Shang received much of attention in the media, where they pronounced "the end of homeopathy". Shang made a careful selection of only eight studies and compared them with another selection of eight studies in conventional medicine and then came to the conclusion that homeopathy was due to a placebo effect. That conclusion made headlines of the media. Although Shang came to the conclusion that there is evidence for a specific effect of homeopathic remedies, he attributed the homeopathic effects to be placebo.


Rutten and others have argued successfully against Shang's last conclusion and showed that almost any kind of selection would show homeopathy to be effective, except the selection chosen by Shang. Aside from this, the study of Shang is not a meta-analysis as such, it is a comparison of homeopathy and conventional medicine.


The above meta-analyses show that homeopathy is effective and that the effects cannot be explained by placebo. Reading the conclusions, one can sense that the authors were not very pleased with the results of their own studies. It is as if they are excusing themselves for the results, as if they are trying to reason the results away.

Objections

In general the objections against homeopathy can be summarized as two objections.

1. The first is that there is no proof that homeopathy works, that there no evidence and research to show that homeopathy is effective.

2. The second one is that homeopathy cannot work because the remedies are just water, they contain no chemicals and thus cannot work.

Discussion

The problem is as stated above a paradoxical conflict between theory and experiment. This can be seen very explicitly in the lecture of Vandenbroecke who states: One cannot set simply state: "there is a RCT, a type A evidence so we have to follow that, because that leads directly to the acceptance of homeopathy. Accepting that an unendless dilution can be effective leads to the rejection of a whole system of chemical and physical insights that supports more than just medicine. that price is too high. So we sty with that dogma and prefer to stay critical to the facts."

Vandenbroecke, an epidemiologist and adversary of homeopathy, makes the mistake of adapting the experiment to the theory. But a scientist has to adapt the theory to the experiment.

Secondly his conclusion that it "leads to the rejection of a whole system of chemical and physical insights" is incorrect. It is only needed to add something to the system of chemical and physical insights: information.