Placebo effect is known as the response to an inactive substance or fake treatment. For example, a person in pain takes a sugar pill believing that is a painkiller medicine and as result improves her condition. As in any type of therapy, including conventional medicine, placebo effect can occur, but does it mean that these therapies are pure placebo?
Most of the criticism regarding the placebo effect in homeopathy is related to the fact that homeopathic remedies are made of highly diluted substances, often with no resemblance of a single molecule of original substance left in high dilutions, misunderstanding homeopathy and placebo and ignoring the fact that Homeopathy is not a molecular therapy based on the principle of drug – receptor – effect model as in conventional medicine, therefore is unwise analyzing homeopathy by molecular rules.
By the end of 2009, many RCTs (randomized clinical trials) of homeopathy had been peer-reviewed and published in academic journals. In terms of statistically significant results, 74 trials were able to draw firm conclusions: 63 were positive (patients given a homeopathic medicine improved significantly more than the comparison group given either an inactive placebo or established conventional treatment); 11 were negative (no significant difference was seen between the action of the homeopathic medicine and the comparison group).*
Scientific research in Homeopathy is increasing over the past decades and the biological effects of high dilutions have been largely demonstrated by a range of different professionals including physicians, veterinarians, pharmacists and physicists; however the mechanism of action is not yet completely understood. It is interesting to observe that many of these trials have been carried out worldwide in animals, plants and in vitro cells, so here is a question: where would the placebo effect concept fit in here? Do plants and in vitro isolated cells had to “believe” in sugar pills to produce an effect? I don’t think so.
Indeed, Homeopathy is not placebo. To find out more about scientific facts about Homeopathy and Ultra High Dilutions, go to the IJHDR (International Journal of High Dilution Research) website or visit PubMed.gov.
Do you have an interesting experience with homeopathy to tell? Please share with us, I would love to hear.
*Mathie, R. The Research Evidence Base for Homeopathy. British Homeopathic Association, 2009.