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Can homeopathy worsen your health?

Since homeopathy is widely used in India since 1810, many believe that it is an Indian science. Contrary to this belief, homeopathy was invented in Germany in 1796 by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann. Whether homeopathy is effective in treating diseases or not is a debatable question.

Homeopathy works on the principle that illness-causing substances can, in minute doses, treat people who are unwell. In Homeopathy, medicines are diluted with either alcohol or water to an extent that only traces of the active substance remain. This trace quantity is enough to create a healing response in the patient is what homeopaths claim. However, the doses are so low that they are as good as placebos (medicines that have no active ingredient in them), like sugar pills. Placebos are known to be effective as some people do respond to sugar pills. It is important to note that modern medicines are designed and evaluated on the basis of how they outperform placebos. Homeopathy has no side effects and causes no harm because the quantity of the active ingredient is very less. (Read: Homeopathy treatments 7 reasons you need to try it out)

Homeopathy should have waned over time with the development of theories, like germ theory, which work on the principle that germs cause disease. Many studies now prove that homeopathy is not an effective treatment for various diseases. In 2010, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, UK, pronounced homeopathy 'no better a placebo.' The National Health Service of UK though still offers it for patient choice.

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The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australia, has now concluded that homeopathy is not effective for treating any medical condition. This body assessed 225 research papers and submitted a report that says - some studies did report that homeopathy was effective. However, the quality of those studies was poor and suffered serious flaws in their design and did not have enough participants to support the idea that homeopathy worked any better than a sugar pill. In a statement, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has warned that people who choose homeopathy may put their health at risk if they reject or delay treatments for which there is good evidence of safety and effectiveness.

In India, majority of the working, educated class resort to homeopathy for treatment of various diseases. The government not only encourages it but also produces degree holding homeopathic doctors every year. In 2014, to make up for the gap in medical services reaching the common man, the government went one step ahead and allowed homeopathic doctors to prescribe allopathic medicines after one year of additional training in pharmacology. While this move garnered mixed reactions from the medical fraternity, it didn't seem like the solution.

To add to it, if so many studies prove that homeopathy might not be effective in treating diseases, why does the government of India not take any action over it? Are we not risking our lives and ignoring serious health issues by popping those sugar pills that might just be placebos? (Read: Homeopathy and Marxism: Why bad ideas don t die)

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