A tweet by National Health Portal on the safety of Homeopathy is going viral on the internet for all the wrong reasons. The NHP’s Twitter account posted an infographic, claiming homoeopathy is a safe system of medicine and can also be given to children. But people online were not too impressed by NHP’s stance and started criticising homoeopathy, calling it nothing more than a “placebo.” Homoeopathy figures prominently in the Ministry of AYUSH’s list of alternative medicines, apart from Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani and Siddha systems. AYUSH has landed in trouble a couple of times in the past for peddling unscientific advice in the name of ancient wisdom. Its latest post on homoeopathy has ruffled feathers, inviting criticisms from the internet. Common Homeopathy Myths You Should Stop Believing In, According to an Expert.
Here’s the Post by National Health Portal:
Homeopathic medicines are safe, non-toxic and non-addictive. They are prepared in laboratories licensed by the Department of Health, to stringent standards of quality.#SwasthaBharat #HealthForAll pic.twitter.com/PGvD7clSTl
— National Health Portal (@NHPINDIA) October 29, 2019
Some of the Responses:
I've seen people taking these medications for years losing lacs of rupees only to land up in ICU prematurely.
DO NOT disseminate misinformation.
My homeopathic colleagues themselves don't indulge in misadventure of prescribing Homeopathic drugs.
— Tejas V Shinde (@Tejas_V_Shinde) October 29, 2019
@drharshvardhan @MoHFW_INDIA @CSIR_IND @CSIR_NISCAIR @rsprasad How to check such popular Apps in the public domain which is misleading and have a malicious intention behind for a commercial purpose. The genuine media channels shud identify them and weed out in the public interest pic.twitter.com/YvByJMtbLc
— manoj (@mediamanoj7) October 29, 2019
Why Is Homeopathy Criticised?
Homoeopathy is a 250-year-old system of medicine founded by Dr Samuel Hahnemann. The word homoeopathy is derived from “homeo” meaning same and “pathy” meaning suffering. Homoeopathy comprises remedies, which produce symptoms similar to the disease. It was invented after Hahnemann was disheartened by the corrupt, blood-letting practices followed by the medical world back then. So he invented homoeopathy as a gentler alternative for healing naturally. 'Homeopathic Hacks' Go Viral on Twitter with Netizens Sharing 'Natural Remedies' That Worked for Them; Reactions Are Both Funny and Helpful!
Homoeopaths use remedies from nature – like arnica and belladonna – to cure illnesses. Ingredients or tinctures are mixed with water or alcohol and shaken to increase the medicine’s efficiency. The process of “potentisation” helps to transfer the healing properties of the medicine to the water. Lower doses of the medicines are considered more powerful than higher doses.
Although the line of medicine is controversial, many swear by its efficiency and claim to have found genuine benefits from it. Others slam it as quackery, saying homoeopathy is no better than placebo.
Major criticisms on homoeopathy revolve around its perceived “unscientific” approach. Sir John Forbes, Queen Victoria’s physician was an early critic who said that the small doses of homoeopathic remedies won’t effect a cure. They argue that many of the medicines don’t contain any of the molecules of the original remedies.
Critics also say that it is unethical to promote homoeopathy because its effects cannot be scientifically proven. Its benefits, they state, are no more effective than a placebo. Plus, trusting patients who repose faith in homoeopathy may not seek traditional treatment for serious diseases like AIDS and cancer and may worsen their complications. Certain homoeopaths with their anti-vax stance may also spell bad news for the herd immunity.
Homoeopathy is also funded by the NHS in UK. Critics say that it’s a wastage of resources to pump money into a system of medicine that has no evidence base beyond its placebo effect.
What Do Homeopaths Say?
Unsurprisingly, homoeopaths shrug off criticisms with explanations of their own. They say that critics of homoeopathy, ironically, don’t have any hard evidence to prove why homoeopathy doesn’t work. While they argue homoeopathy doesn’t work, they have no means to prove why!
Thwarting claims that “water has memory” is unscientific, they cite physicists Rustum Roy and Jayesh Bellare’s works to prove that physical properties of homoeopathic remedies were different from those of water.
Homoeopaths also blame the inconsistency of evidence supporting homoeopathy on the “heterogeneity of the literature.” People who have no basic skills to perform homoeopathic trials are often in charge of these studies. A BMJ review stated that 41 percent of all RTCs lead to positive conclusions, and only 7 percent are negative. A whopping 52 percent of the trails are inconclusive. Fact or Hoax: Will Homeopathic Remedy ‘Gelsemium 200’ Really Protect Us Against Nipah Virus? The Answer Will Shock You.
Diseases like childhood diarrhoea, allergies, rheumatic diseases, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, upper respiratory infections and influenza respond positively to homoeopathic medicines, according to systemic reviews.
Homoeopaths also blame the limitations of laboratory and clinical researches. Since homoeopathy doesn’t work on a chemical level like allopathy, biomedical research model used for drug trials cannot work. In short, researchers need to design studies according to how homoeopathy is practised clinically.