Thursday, November 17, 2005

What is the supposed mechanism of homeopathy?

Where better to find out than from its supporters? Here’s a pro-homeopathy alt med blog found via the Health Fraud List. This post from the blog outlines the “mechanism.”
Concerning the dilution of the remedy it says “Once we reach the 12C potency, according to chemical science, there should be no more physical substance left in the dilution……..Potencies above 12C work very effectively as though there was still a material substance present. Even though there is nothing left of the original physical substance, the medicine acts as though there were.” Then how could there be any biological effect? Reading on----“the vital force in the water, which now holds the impression from the original substance, acts upon the vital force of whoever takes the medicine.”

So, let’s see. The original active ingredient, though diluted so many times that no molecules remain in the water, leaves an “impression.” That impression is held in the vital force of the water, which in turn acts upon some vital force in the patient. Got it? Aren’t you glad this is supported by your tax dollars?


Paul said...

That is simply how I understand homeopathy to work, based on what I've read of Hahnemann. Since he wrote that about 200 years ago I'm not sure what tax paying dollars has to do with it?

No one really knows how it works, but we know that something is going on. High homeopathic dillutions work in animals and humans and on cells in vitro.

R. W. Donnell said...

Thanks for your comment. My point about the tax dollars was that, like it or not it appears that they are being spent on research and promotion. I put that out there for people to consider whether they liked it or not.

I've read a little about Hahnemann and what I struggle with is that he did propose a mechanism but it didn't fit any known biologic model, and still doesn't. I know many people sincerely believe it works. There are many others who have believed it needs to be studied empirically but confirmatory evidence from such studies has been hard to come by.

I'm not convinced the studies will convince many people. Folks may just have to agree to disagree.