Homeopathy—science or fraud?

Homeopathy is as scientific as is modern medicine. If a sensible doctor that knows both the systems well tries for a good combination many present day incurable diseases could be managed to the extent possible

I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime—Elisabeth Kubler-Ross 

There is a raging controversy over homeopathy, especially in the west. One of the London newspapers has a weekly column by a young modern medical doctor writing to convince the readers that homeopathy is nothing but a fraud on the gullible public. I am sure that column is sponsored by some vested interests and the author might not have had long enough experience with modern medicine to get to know the frustrations of a conscientious practitioner about its failings. While the writer gets a full page every week, the poor chaps who have to rebut that get hardly any chance. One gets an impression from those writings that while modern medicine is perfect and is a panacea for all human ills, there is absolutely no need to look beyond its frontier and try to get succor from fraudsters in homeopathy!

Origins of homeopathy

Homeopathy, like modern medicine, started as an art based on some scientific principles in the eighteenth century by a modern medical doctor Samuel Hahnemann who was born in Meissen in Germany in the year 1755. Mr Hahnemann’s frustrations in modern medicine led him to look for help outside. While translating the materia medica of a Scottish doctor by name Cullen, Mr Hahnemann chanced upon the pharmacology of quinine. He took a very small dose of quinine which gave him almost identical symptoms of febrile illnesses. Thus was born the pharmacology of homeopathy. “Similia similibus curantur”, like cures the like, was the basic principle. Every homeopath should be a prover in the sense that s/he should try the medicine on oneself to see the symptoms in a healthy individual before using that drug for curative purposes.

Materia Medica of homeopathy

Mr Hahnemann was impressed by his studies of many other drugs like ipecac, opium, etc, and by 1810 he had collected so many similar drug reactions that the general law of homeopathy was laid by then in his book, The Organon or the art of healing. The symptom complexes that occur in healthy individuals are called “proving” or “pathogenesis.” Between the work of Mr Hahnemann and his followers hundreds of substances are added on to the homeopathic materia medica. This system claims that it is  “therapy for the whole man”; consequently, is better suited for a dynamic system like the human body where reductionism has no place. There is no quarrel with allopathy as this system tries to help the body use its immune guard against a disease while allopathy tries to hit the disease on its head to get rid of it. If judiciously used in combination, they might even complement each other.

Modern Science of homeopathy

Edward Calabrese, the then director of research at Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling’s department of chemistry at Berkeley, was the one that discovered a new phenomenon called “Hormesis.” Derived from the word hormo (encourage) the new phenomenon shows that any chemical molecule in its very small doses is always bio-positive while the same drug in its larger doses could be bio-negative. Mr Calabrese’s PhD student elegantly showed that a tomato a day, containing about 25 mg of vitamin C, is very strongly bio-positive while the same vitamin C in larger doses could be dangerously bio-negative in the long run! Similar was the experience of the father of America’s hydrogen bomb, Edward Teller, who described radiation hormesis while working in the Nevada Desert to explode bombs, showing that very minute doses of radiation, in fact, could improve human health significantly while larger doses do kill. These two people got into serious trouble with their establishments for showing the truth and suffered a lot. That is for another occasion. Hormesis shows that homeopathy has a better claim on human healing compared to allopathy.

Science of water structure

Professor Rustum Roy, an octogenarian, is the father of nano and material sciences at the Penn. State University. He is of Indian origin from Bengal. A brilliant man, professor Roy, with an enviable reputation in the comity of scientific nations, all of whom have honored him with their highest awards, has been at the forefront of research on the structure of water. However, the Swedish Academy failed to recognize him despite being nominated twenty one times for the Nobel since his first ground breaking paper on Sol-Gel technique to extract nano particles in 1954. His students did get the award though. One of the reasons is that he is a humane scientist who goes after the truth ruthlessly. 

His original work on the structure of the water along with the work of Professor Martin Chaplin’s at South Bank University, London, has established beyond doubt that water has a very complicated structure. Any chemical put into water changes the structure for ever and further dilutions do not change the structure. This is the signature of the chemical in water. Chemical analysis by conventional methods does not show the presence of the original chemical but the water structure remains changed as per its signature. That is how the very dilute homeopathic solutions work.

Placebo effect

Lots of people have an idea that homeopathy is only a placebo and not effective otherwise. This is not true. That said, I must hasten to add that the so called placebo effect is now measureable scientifically. There are many studies of modern medical drugs, leading ones being the expensive anti-psychotic drugs that have been tested against placebo tablets in patients. Almost all of those drugs were less effective than the placebo in the management of depression, anxiety etc. Similar studies have been done against some pain-killers also. Curiously there were studies to find out the basis of the placebo effect in the human system. While a patient has faith in his/her doctor and takes a placebo, the forebrain produces very powerful chemicals that work on the hind brain and through that on the whole system. Studies have also tried to block the release of those powerful chemicals from the forebrain using the blocking drug Naloxone prior to the testing with placebo. Lo and behold, there was no placebo effect and there were no chemicals getting to the hind brain at all. In other words placebo effect is a reality and not pseudo-science!

Therefore, even if one were to think that homeopathy is only a placebo, it does not belittle its importance as most of our modern medical drugs are worse than placebos. The added advantage is that placebo does not have side effects as the good effects are happening through body’s own generation of healing chemicals from the forebrain. Oliver Wendell Holmes, a Harvard-trained doctor who became a poet and a writer for a living had this to say about the placebo effect of a humane doctor’s work. “The two most powerful drugs ever produced are the two kind words of a humane doctor,” he wrote and added that “if the whole materia medica could be sunk to the bottom of the seas it would be that much better for mankind but that much worse for the fishes.” That statement has to be written in golden letters today what with Adverse Drug Reactions (ADR) becoming the fourth leading cause of death in the United States of America.


Homeopathy is as scientific as is modern medicine. Neither of them is perfect, though. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages in equal measure. If a sensible doctor that knows both the systems well tries for a good combination many present day incurable diseases could be managed to the extent possible. Unfortunately, there has not been significant progress in the science of homeopathy for a long time. What research happens is only repetitive but not refutative to demolish the myths and take knowledge forwards. Science suffers from this malady for some time now. To understand nature (human system) good scientists must come together to understand one another. 

Division of science (method to unravel nature’s secrets) into smaller compartments will only hinder growth and understanding, like the Law of Thermodynamics which says that anything that divides ultimately disappears. Even inside these divisions there are sub-specialties. They try to know more and more about less and less until they know more and more about nothing. What we need in every field for progress is not information and knowledge but wisdom. Hope homeopathy would progress to be a real good method of relieving human suffering, especially for the minor illness syndromes, which form the bulk of sick absenteeism on any given day! It could also be a boon to the poor who bear the brunt of most illnesses but can not hope to go for top heavy prohibitively expensive modern medical methods.

Choose being kind over being right, and you'll be right every time—Richard Carlson

(Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS. He is also the editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Science of Healing Outcomes, chairman of the State Health Society's Expert Committee, Govt of Bihar, Patna. He is former vice-chancellor of Manipal University at Mangalore and former professor for cardiology of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London. Prof Dr Hegde can be contacted at [email protected])


Lokesh Chandak
4 years ago
Well, would you like to explain the people all around the world who publicly consume homeopathic sleep "medicine" and yet fail to fall asleep?
BM Hegde
10 years ago
Skeptics are those who know where to go but do not know how to reach there.

Some one quoted David Hume without knowing that Hume was NOT a rationalist and was not talking about medical science of today vis-a-vis evidence.

He was a Scottish philosopher who had his own science of man ideas!

Some people simply comment, using, at times bad language condemning others without having really gone through the rigours of those that try and find simple solutions for man's illnesses.

Less than 1% of the world population could access modern medical hi-tech solutions which have not made a dent on illness or death rates.

Rather, they are the leading cause of death in audits done in the US. Some one was saying that one need not worry about American medicine, but that is what is being practised in India today!

I would like all critics to join in our efforts to make medical care simple, inexpensive and inclusive taking the poorest of the poor patient also into our mission.

Please go through all our efforts and then shoot of your comments.

Future is for an integrated system combining the best in all systems properly authenticated using scientific methods of modern science. That is the aim of our Academy which has some of the world's top scientists chipping in their lot.

"I am done. Shame on you" is a comment which is self explanatory.
Guy Chapman
Replied to BM Hegde comment 10 years ago
Skepticism is the default position in the scientific method, and it is just one of the ways in which science differs from homeopathy. Homeopathy starts from a position of belief and seeks to confirm it, which is the opposite of the scienntific method.
Nagesh Kini FCA
10 years ago
Dr. Hegde,
Hats, or should it be topis, off for opening new flood gates for debates.
You have been in deed responding to each comment very effectively with authoritative references.
Perhaps this will go down as the most debated Column.
Look forward to many,many more!
Guy Chapman
10 years ago
Homeopathy is as scientific as is modern medicine? Um, really?

First, homeopathy is predicated on the so-called "law of similars". The sum total of scientific evidence for this is: none at all. The only reason homeopaths have for believing this is that Samuel Hahnemann said it, and the only reason he said it was because he was generalising from a single data point. In other words, the base premise on which homeopathy is based, is utterly unscientific - there has never been any attempt at all to prove this scientifically.

Second, there has never been a credible mechanism by which homeopathy could work. In the early 19th Century yo could defend serial dilution of the kind homeopaths use, because nobody knew any better. Now we do. The principle of serial dilution can be considered refuted by the work of Avogadro, and completely refuted by our modern understanding of the nature of matter. Homeopaths like to claim that some experiments show "water memory" but those experiments turn out to be either fraudulent (Benveniste), irreproducible (Montagnier) or to identify effects whose duration is in the picoseconds - an inconveniently short shelf life.

Third, the scientific method embodies the concept of the null hypothesis. In order to prove something, you must refute the null hypothesis. In the case of homeopathy, the null hypothesis is placebo effect plus observer bias. No study on homeopathy has ever credibly refuted this null hypothesis, every single result supportive of homeopathy has been produced by someone trying to prove it works rather than someone honestly testing whether it does; multiple review studies have shown that the more you eliminate observer bias, the more the result shows that homeopathy is a placebo treatment. Science is unsurprised: for homeopathy to be anything else would violate multiple laws of physics (the real kind of laws of physics, the sort that are objectively testable, not the sort that rely on you believing the word of a 19th Century German as infallible).

Homeopathy is not scientific. Even when homeopaths try to pretend to be scientific by conducting "trials" and using sciencey-sounding words, they are only tinkering at the edges. There is as term: tooth-fairy science. It describes attempts to study the tooth fairy, the amount left, the effectiveness of placing the tooth in a pot vs. under the pillow and so on, but which never acknowledges that the tooth fairy does not exist. So it is with homeopathy studies: they are just collections of anecdotes that never address the fact that there is absolutely no theoretical or objective underpinning to homeopathy.

It's not even really pseudoscience, in that it relies on the word of one man taken as gospel. Homeopathy is, at heart, a religion. It is as bonkers as scientology and every bit as unscientific.
Replied to Guy Chapman comment 10 years ago
Your arguments are very old and very tired and all refuted at http://www.extraordinarymedicine.org
Pharma drugs have proved again and again that the suppression of symptoms does not cure anything. Those who want to do more than symptom suppression do well to use Homeopathy which, through microdoses of substances with proven symptom similarity cure the same symptoms in a patient. The Arndt-Shulz law illustrates that microdoses stimulate, moderate doses suppress and mega-doses kill.
It's through clinical practise that Homeopathy has been proven time and time again for well over 200 years.
Your comprehension of Hahnemann's work is childishly simplified, as it is in most pseudoskeptical remarks.
BTW Benveniste's work has been successfully reproduced at the University of Toronto and other research labs.
Montagnier's work is just beginning, along with the brilliant nano-particle work ongoing in India.
Most conventional drugs have no known mechanism of action -- aspirin's wasn't known until quite recently, however it didn't stop MDs from prescribing it or people from using it. According to your theory nothing should be used until the mechanism of action is known. Call the FDA and get all those drugs withdrawn, will you?
Oh, no, not that end of physics argument again... or that end of chemistry argument...
Just proves again that pseudoskepticism is philosophy, not science. It's the fringe religion of Scientism.
Guy Chapman
Replied to lauriej comment 10 years ago
Oh, what a shame: you forgot to cite any reliable evidence for the law of similars, the mechanism by which homeopathy is supposed to work, or to refute the null hypothesis.

Don't worry, as with the writer of the article I am pretty well convinced that the problem is just that you don't actually understand the scientific method or the objections that scientists have to homeopathy.

Here's a test for you: can you cite an example where homeopathy has self-corrected by abandoning a remedy that is shown in practice not to work? After all, even the most ardent fan would not be so deluded as to claim that a field in which work is done entirely empirically would be infallible.
Replied to Guy Chapman comment 10 years ago
The symptomatology of the patient is matched to the known symptomatology of the remedy. If it's not the right match, it's the wrong remedy. It's not mass market medicine where everyone with the reputed same condition gets the same drug. It's easier for the prescriber, but has been proven to be more profitable for the drug industry than of benefit to the patients.
Your knowledge of Homeopathy is demonstrably poor.
You don't seem to know the difference between science and health technology. Medicine is not science.
And you're still just spouting philosophy.
Scientists don't object to Homeopathy, pseudoskeptics do.
Replied to lauriej comment 10 years ago
So how do you know homeopathy works?

Replied to lauriej comment 10 years ago
I did not post the above, so obviously some pseudoskeptics will sink very low indeed.
Replied to lauriej comment 10 years ago
No, that was just me putting your name in the wrong place by accident late last night when I was tired. Sorry for the confusion.

I note you are still avoiding my questions so here they are again:

Remember you said “the best evidence for the success of Homeopathic treatment is just not going to come from RCTs”?

And I said:

" OK. So tell me where the best evidence for the success of homeopathic treatment can be found?"

Well you didn't answer that question or the more fundamental one of how you know homeopathy works. I wonder why these questions are such a problem for you?

Yet you link to a website saying all the arguments Guy Chapman put forward are refuted there. Well, I've just looked at that website and it does nothing of the kind. Most amusingly, it seems to think the best evidence for homeopathy does, in fact, come from RCTs. As you claim to know better than them, shouldn't you put them right on the subject?

Here let me help you. The website says this:

"A meta-analysis is a study of studies, a totaling of results reached in a group of them. The Faculty of Homeopathy did a meta-meta-analysis, and found: “Four of five major comprehensive reviews of RCTs in homeopathy have reached broadly positive conclusions..."

Well, let's have a look at those studies shall we, lauriej?

1. Kleijnen et al, 1991, meta-analysis, 107 trials.
"CONCLUSIONS: At the moment the evidence of clinical trials is positive but not sufficient to draw definitive conclusions because most trials are of low methodological quality and because of the unknown role of publication bias."

2. Boissel et al, 1996, critical literature review commissioned by the European Commission Homeopathic Medicine Research Group, 184 trials. Boissel controversially combined p-values of the highest quality trials to arrive at this conclusion:

"From the available evidence it is likely that among the tested homoeopathic approaches some had an added effect over nothing or placebo….but the strength of this evidence is low because of the low methodological quality of the trials."

3. Cucherat et al 2000, used the same data as Boissel but with the addition of at least two more trials. Boissel was one of the four-strong research team and authored the report, which concluded:
"There is some evidence that homeopathic treatments are more effective than placebo; however, the strength of this evidence is low because of the low methodological quality of the trials. Studies of high methodological quality were more likely to be negative than the lower quality studies."

Early in 2010, science writer Martin Robbins quoted Jean-Pierre Boissel, an author on two of the four papers cited (Boissel et al and Cucherat et al), as saying: “My review did not reach the conclusion ‘that homeopathy differs from placebo’,” and pointed out that what he and his colleagues actually found was evidence of considerable bias in results, with higher quality trials producing results less favourable to homeopathy. (See Guardian on-line 5 February 2010).

4. Linde 1997, meta-analysis, 89 trials.
"The results of our meta-analysis are not compatible with the hypothesis that the clinical effects of homeopathy are completely due to placebo. However, we found insufficient evidence from these studies that homeopathy is clearly efficacious for any single clinical condition. Further research on homeopathy is warranted provided it is rigorous and systematic."

Linde produced a follow-up paper in 1999, which concluded:
"The evidence of bias [in homeopathic trials] weakens the findings of our original meta-analysis. Since we completed our literature search in 1995, a considerable number of new homeopathy trials have been published. The fact that a number of the new high-quality trials… have negative results, and a recent update of our review for the most “original” subtype of homeopathy (classical or individualized homeopathy), seem to confirm the finding that more rigorous trials have less-promising results. It seems, therefore, likely that our meta-analysis at least overestimated the effects of homeopathic treatments."

Linde co-authored a brief article in the Lancet in December 2005. In it he wrote,
"We agree (with Shang et al) that homoeopathy is highly implausible and that the evidence from placebo-controlled trials is not robust…"

Shang et al were, of course, the team who did the fifth major review - the high quality one that showed homeopathy to be worthless beyond placebo.

I'll leave the last word to Linde, from the Lancet article:


The simple fact that you, lauriej, and the other homeopathists here are in denial about is that there is no evidence that homeopathic remedies have any effect whatsoever. You've probably invested far too much in this cult for you ever to be able to look at it calmly and objectively and that's why you have to resort instead to anecdote and ad hominem. As Guy said, you obviously don't understand the scientific method; as a result you come across like a petulant child.

Poor you.
jane colbash
Replied to lauriej comment 10 years ago
I know homeopathy works because it cured my problems. Thats how I know it works!! initially I was fascinated at the debate triggered by this column... but now it looks like a series of BLOATED EGOs battling it out. I am glad, Dr Hegde has stopped responding.
As for this skepticat or whatever, posting even when he is dropping off and tired -- that too cynical doubts, makes me wonder-- whats your trip man? or gal? Are you just plain catty - skepti or otherwise - or are you with big pharma? If you are tired, why don't you take a break for a couple of days and post when you are fresh as a daisy (but hey, dont launch into a debate on whether daisies can be fresh in all the many senses of the word) and can post correctly??
This stuff went from intellectually stimulating, to amusing and now it is just BORING. So i will unsubscribe from this comments string. Bye guys, dont bother responding because I am not listening anymore !!
Guy Chapman
Replied to jane colbash comment 10 years ago
And I know homeopathy doesn't work because if it did my GPS, cellphone and CD player could not. "It works for me" is a fallacious argument as by definition you are not able to control for placebo effect or observer bias.
Replied to jane colbash comment 10 years ago
No, Jane, I'm neither catty nor with big pharma. I'm just upset about the needless deaths of innocent people thanks to the misinformation being promoted on the internet by the likes of Dr Hegde who, notably, has avoided engaging with the very fundamental question I keep posing. A question, by the way, which you yourself haven't managed to grasp:

"I know homeopathy works because it cured my problems. Thats how I know it works!!"

My question is: How do you know that your condition improved AS A RESULT OF homeopathy and didn't just improve of its own accord?

I don't expect an answer from you because you don't have an answer. But it's always entertaining to watch apologists have cathartic tantrums then run away. :-)
Guy Chapman
Replied to lauriej comment 10 years ago
Your comment above is vaguely sciencey sounding but in the end it is simply a series of assertions, lacking any basis in provable fact.

Yes, scientists do object to homeopathy, because it goes against everything we have discovered in the last 200 years about the nature of matter and the human body. Slinging pejorative terms around does not in any way address the problems I identified above.

You also need to learn the difference between repudiate and refute.
Nagesh Kini FCA
10 years ago
Mr. Nandkumar,
I understand that some hospitals are veering towards holistic medicine approach.
There's nothing to stop you from checking out AMA - "Against Medical Advice" to take up other lines of treatment.
10 years ago
Recently one of my friends got affected by GBS virus and got admitted in a corporate hospital. After 75 days of very intensive treatment my friend is showing signs of recovery. His grandson who is getting treated for repeated cold attack by a homeopath consultant opined that viruses are treated better by homeopathic medicines and that GBS could be treated economically instead of spending lakhs for recovery which in certain instances take more than six months intensive care. If only this corporate hospital could permit the homeopath to treat and cure the patient nothing wrong in it. But the corporate hospital does not allow this.
Placebo or medicines if treatment gives an effective cure the aim of the treatment is achieved. In fact scientific comparative studies would result in hospitals to give an economic cure. And this would not result in instances where one sells or spends the life time savings or assets for treatment
David Colquhoun
10 years ago

You really should check before making defamatory comments.

I have no ties with pharmaceutical companies, and have never accepted any money from them for my research. I am on record as having frequently criticised Big Pharma. That being said, at least some of their products work. Do your principles extend as far as refusing to have a local anaesthetic at the dentist on the grounds that "chemically based medicines" don't work?

If you make up facts about your critics, I suppose it isn't surprising that you make up facts about medicine too.
Guy Chapman
Replied to David Colquhoun comment 10 years ago
Ah, Prof. Colquhoun, surely you must admit that it's all part of the Big Pharma Conspiracy? http://is.gd/bigpharma

Curse that Big Pharma Conspiracy, making people in industrialised nations live longer and healthier lives as if scientific medicine were in some way valid! Curse the Big Pharma Conspiracy for retrospectively fiddling the figures so our ancestors only a few generations back had an expected lifespan around half that we enjoy! How dare they?
Replied to David Colquhoun comment 10 years ago
Never accepted money for your research? Not according to this from the American Heart Association, just to cite one...
So who's "making up facts"...?
Let's see, there's Vioxx, Avandia, Accutane... do you want to talk about the ones that cause a quick death or just a slow progression into wishing one was dead?
Replied to lauriej comment 10 years ago

If you'd taken 30 seconds to check, you would have discovered that's a different David Colquhoun altogether. One who has a different profession, different qualifications and lives in a different continent.
David Colquhoun
10 years ago
Oh dear, this would be funny if it were not so pathetic.
The fact is that homeopathy is dead in the UK. All five "degrees" in it have closed down, and NHS spending has plunged.

Of course there will always be a few High Street Homeopaths who peddle their delusions, but I'm happy to regard them as a voluntary self-imposed tax on the gullible.
Replied to David Colquhoun comment 10 years ago
Actually, what's really pathetic is the fact that armchair critics of Homeopathy (pseudoskeptics) have deluded themselves that a lame PR campaign using social networking and media spin doctoring is anything less than transparent.
It's not any more difficult to uncover your ties to pharmaceutical companies than it is to see that Sense about Science's major funding comes from GlaxoSmithKline.
Fact is that the latest Health Technology Assessment by the Swiss government has not only shown that Homeopathy is not only effective, but cost-effective as well.
What's really funny is the notion that someone would be arrogant enough to declare Homeopathy dead in the UK on such a scanty premise.
You live in a very small world indeed. Homeopathy is booming in the rest of it and for a very good reason. Unlike chemical-based medicine it actually works.
Replied to lauriej comment 10 years ago
Oh, and Sense about Science's major funding doesn't come from GSK. Now do you have the guts to apologise and withdraw your libel of David and to answer my question about how you know homeopathy works, or are you going to stay away now that you've embarrassed yourself?
Replied to lauriej comment 10 years ago
I didn't post the above. You'll have to prove your assertion that there are two people with the same name. Homeopathy has more than proved itself with over 25,000 volumes of recorded cured clinical cases. Don't kid us that you'll do the work involved in finding them and/or reading them.
Are you David's mother?
Replied to lauriej comment 10 years ago
"You'll have to prove your assertion that there are two people with the same name."

As it is evidently too difficult to do the simplest bit of research for yourself:

The man who has commented here is the British Professor David Colquhoun, a pharmacologist. This is his website where you can read all about him. http://www.dcscience.net/?p=4900

(And, no, I'm not his mother).

You linked to the biography of this man who is someone else entirely.


Homeopathy hasn't proved itself and that's why it is rapidly losing its credibility all over the world but particularly in the UK. I have asked you a very simple question - how do you KNOW that homeopathy works? All you can do is tell me there are volumes of cured cases. This doesn't answer the question of how it is known that homepathy treatment was effective in any of these cases. All it tells us is that some people had some conditions and that these conditions improved. It does not tell us that homeopathy brought about the improvement.

So it seems your idea of evidence is 'if someone improved after taking a homeopathic remedy, that proves that homeopathy works'. It doesn't but you evidently don't have the intellectual horsepower to understand why.

You're doing a great job in defending homeopathy. It's been a pleasure.
Replied to lauriej comment 10 years ago
No, what's really pathetic is your inability to contribute anything pertaining to the actual topic of this article, namely, whether homeopathy is science or not. Your posts have contained nothing but fallacies and ad hominems and this is exactly what those of us campaigning against faith-based medicine have come to expect and why our task has become so easy.

Please carry on.
Dr James R Pannozzi DOM LAc
10 years ago
Thank you for quite an interesting and well reasoned article. I'm happy to see quite a number of interesting supportive comments. My own field is Oriental medicine but one of the most interesting courses in medical college was the introductory Homeopathy course which set me off on research into historical books and journals showing overwhelming evidence that Homeopathy presents exact, scientific, viable treatments for certain diseases and conditions. This contrasts with various attacks from pseudo-sceptics, amateurs and bloggers who have fallen into the seductive pit of what Lionel Millgrom calls "scientism", a pseudo-scientific cult encouraged, I believe, by corporatist and other special interests who do not have freedom of medical choice nor the interests of the patient as their primary objective.
Thank you again Dr. Hegde and I shall most certainly look into and read the Journal of Healing Outcomes!
Narendra Doshi
Replied to Dr James R Pannozzi DOM LAc comment 10 years ago
Dr. James,
Could you please give more details on "for certain diseases and conditions", mentioned by you, especially regarding diabetes.
10 years ago
Yet another useful article.

Just thought the following meditation, by Clara Amaya, PhD, would be of interest.


BM Hegde
10 years ago
This is something relevant to our discussion where many people are under the false notion that all that happens in main line medicine is SCIENCE. That is one reason they condemn other systems of effective healing outcomes.
Look at the truth in this weeks British Medical Journal editorial quoted here by a commentator.

"Clinical trials of drugs and other medical therapies are carefully carried out and are the very gold standard of scientific proof, right? According to an in-depth review of this question just published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ,) the answer is no. In fact, the BMJ is sounding the alarm that data reported by scientists is too often not the truth -- because the researchers leave out inconvenient evidence. The result of facts-gone-missing could well be harming patients, spiking up healthcare costs by the selling of medical treatments based on bogus findings, and threatening the very integrity of medicine.

These warnings come from multiple papers released by the BMJ. The whistle-blowing authors of these articles examined the extent, causes, consequences of hidden facts, figures, and other data scientists discover as they do human trials. It turns out this is no "once in a while" kind of problem, either. The BMJ claims a "large proportion of evidence from human trials is unreported, and much of what is reported is done so inadequately."

Papers in the current issue of BMJ include a study by Dr. Beth Hart and colleagues, which document how unpublished data is "conveniently missing" from many published meta-analyses of drug trials. That's right. Big Pharma's pills and potions are often pushed based on studies that simply ignore and leave out major data about what was really discovered about a medication lacking of benefits, potential dangers, side effects and more. Dr. Hart's team argues that access to full trial data is necessary to allow drugs to be independently assessed.

Two additional studies show the requirements for mandatory trial registration and timely sharing of results are poorly followed, if at all. For example, it turns out that less than half of US National Institutes of Health funded trials are published in a peer reviewed journal within 30 months of completion and only 22 percent of trials that are supposed to be subject to mandatory reporting had results available within one year of completion."

There is more if you care to read the original papers in the BMJ!
Replied to BM Hegde comment 10 years ago
Your comments about mainstream medicine are a straw man. Whatever is right or wrong about conventional medicine has no bearing on whether homeopathy works or not. I have twice asked the question of how it is possible to KNOW that homeopathy remedies work if you don't accept the scientific method of running a randomised, double-blinded controlled trial. This is a fundamental question so why can't any of the homeopathy apologists answer it?

Ailments get better of their own accord and, as there is no good robust scientific evidence that homeopathic remedies - which are just sugar pills or water drops - actually do have an effect, there is no reason to believe that they do.

Replied to Skepticat comment 10 years ago
We all know that cold is a symptom which has withstood allopathy medicines for time immemorial. My daughter who had primary complex as a child grew out of it after proper allopathy medicines. But as she got into the responsibility of managing a family the cold returned to trouble her. The frequency attack frustrated her inspite for proper medical adivise. Then she tried Homeopathy medicine. She was surprised not only at the immediate relief but also enduring of that relief. She now recommends to one and all Homeopathy system whenever sees them suffering from cold. Now you would admit that allopathy has accepted its failure against the cold virus. Don't you think this is simple proof that where one system has failed while the other system has succeded. It does not undermine allopathy but establishes superiority of homeopathy in cold. What many of the well-meaning writers like Dr.Hegde wants is an integration of all system that is good for humans where one system compliments the other. What is needed is a mindset to try. After all allopathy too succeds only on the basis of trial and error
Guy Chapman
Replied to RNandakumar comment 10 years ago
Cold is not a symptom, it's a virus. There is no cure for the common cold (medical or superstitious) because the virus mutates rapidly. Your comment shows precisely the kind of ignorance of science and physiology that characterises homeopathy generally.

The body's immune system will eliminate the cold virus unaided in seven days, whereas with homeopathy it is gone in a week. Or is that the other way round?
Replied to Skepticat comment 10 years ago
Recently one of my friends got affected by GBS virus and got admitted in a corporate hospital. After 75 days of very intensive treatment my friend is showing signs of recovery. His grandson who is getting treated for repeated cold attack by a homeopath consultant opined that viruses are treated better by homeopathic medicines and that GBS could be treated economically instead of spending lakhs for recovery which in certain instances take more than six months intensive care. If only this corporate hospital could permit the homeopath to treat and cure the patient nothing wrong in it. But the corporate hospital does not allow this.
Placebo or medicines if treatment gives an effective cure the aim of the treatment is achieved. In fact scientific comparative studies would result in hospitals to give an economic cure. And this would not result in instances where one sells or spends the life time savings or assets for treatment
Replied to Skepticat comment 10 years ago
Funny how the pseudoskeptical attacks on Homeopathy rely on exactly what this blogger is complaining about -- a straw man. Add to that a good dose of double standard and you have the formula for their philosophical confusion.
RCT's are just ONE form of information gathering and because they're intended to gauge the effects of symptom suppression they are NOT the best choice for the system of Homeopathic medicine. Homeopathic remedies are tested to determine symptom similarity, not suppression.
The best evidence for the success of Homeopathic treatment is just not going to come from RCTs, and Dr. Hegde's article illustrates how the RCT has been used as a shield to hide shoddy "science" from our pals at the drug companies et al for far too long.
That's the point of this article. The pseudo-literate seem to think it's something else.
Replied to lauriej comment 10 years ago
There is no double standard and no straw man in any of my comments. I asked a straight question; I note without surprise that neither you nor anyone else is able to give me a straight answer – or any sort of answer.

You say “the best evidence for the success of Homeopathic treatment is just not going to come from RCTs”. OK. So tell me where the best evidence for the success of homeopathic treatment can be found? In other words: what is the evidence that it works? Its the same question I keep asking. Stop trying to avoid it.

S H Subrahmanian
10 years ago
We've personal experience of its success, when Allopathy has no solutions ever except dangerous medicines with side effects .
Professor BM Hegde, is to be taken on face value. At least for me. In the north people never go to Allopathy -especially these days we've only specialists and super specialists! The 'Family Physician has vanished! We always find one- lucky to say, perhaps. The State has realised to take action,late though!
In south Sidhavaidhya has wonder cures. In north they go to a Homeopath and never go to Allopathy.
BM Hegde
10 years ago
This was meant to be an invited editorial for a peer reviewed indexed medical journal. It is yet to be polished with cross references put in place. Looking at the multiple responses to my article, I thought of sacrificing this piece for a reply. I shall write another fresh one with the same heading for that journal as there is time for that editorial.
This write up is only rough first copy and might have some gaps and type mistakes, though.
I hope the critics will spare for that lapse.

What is science, anyway?

Professor BM Hegde,
[email protected]

"It's supposed to be a secret, but I'll tell you anyway. We doctors do nothing. We only help and encourage the doctor within." Albert Schweitzer, M.D.

Science is only a method. The method, making use of all the human faculties, to understand the working of nature, called science, gives mankind greater insight into the working of this enigma called the universe. With better understanding and better technology, naturally newer things come to light in science. Therefore, science is, per force, a constant change. That which does not change does not qualify to be science. With the advent of the magnifying glass and the microscope we could see newer things like germs etc. With electron microscopic magnification, subtler things came to light. Science has gone to the nano and piko levels of understanding but the Giga problems of the world like poverty, illiteracy, ignorance and illness still stare us at the face in the 21st Century. That is a curse, indeed.
We have no scope yet to fathom the human mind, at the bottom of which are the emotions of greed, anger, pride, jealousy and ego perpetuating suppression, oppression, denial, and power over the lives of others. The last four decide and maintain poverty all over the world. Even in the so called advanced west, the gap between the poor and the rich is widening by the day. The poor, unfortunately, pay for their poverty with their lives. Poverty is the womb of all diseases. Let us analyze the science of modern medicine in this article. You must have known about the Corporate Greed that is eating into the belly of the whole human race. Interestingly, all those activities in every field are done citing the cover of science and technology!
People like Isaac Newton did not patent their findings. Patenting for monopoly is at the root of the exorbitant drug prices these days. Today less than one per cent of the world population can access those expensive drugs. I once happened to see the budget details of a coronary stent. Its cost of manufacturer was ten dollars. Five hundred dollars were earmarked for doctor hospitality and the company had a modest profit of 1490 dollars per stent! How did all these get the scientific tag? One has to go into the origin and the working of two large commissions which will give one an idea as to how these matters are manipulated by big money barons of the greedy business Corporates. The Abraham Flexner commission of 1905, appointed by the US government to investigate medical education in that country in the early part of the 20th century, with the blessings of a cartel formed by John Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie and DP Morgan.. By then copying the US model became fashionable and “scientific” for the rest of the world.
Abraham Flexner, a retired school principal, who had no inkling into medicine or medical education, was directly and/or indirectly, responsible for giving the “scientific tag” to reductionist chemical molecules made by the present pharmaceutical industry declaring all other healing methods prevalent at that time as unscientific, however effective they were. It was the Flexner Commission that was responsible for making homeopathy, chiropractic, radio aesthesia, energy medicine, acupuncture, ayurveda, and many other effective healing outcomes declared as unscientific, thus forcing majority of medical schools in the US closed. Only 47 medical colleges working on and using pharmaceutical chemicals and surgical methods, who received “research funds” from the above mentioned cartel remained alive at the end of 1910. Many good and safe systems like homeopathy and chiropractic died a natural death there. Thanks to British Royal family homeopathy survived in that country and acupuncture did thrive in China, thanks to the Government support there.
Lately I find a concerted effort to kill homeopathy by the so called powerful people. One such incident comes to mind. Recently a Nobel Laureate, condemned homeopathy in no uncertain terms in Chennai where he was brought for a lecture by his “mentors”. Of course, he was being faithful to “His Masters’ ” desire. It was, I think, Lord Churchill who once said that there are three questions in any saying. Who said it? How did he say that? And last, what did he say? Of the three, Churchill opined that the last question is the least important and does not warrant an answer. If a great man says something, that too with big authority behind him, it is usually accepted as gospel truth by society. If I interpret Winston Churchill about this Nobel Laureate’s opinion of homeopathy, as reported by the news papers, the last part need not be taken seriously by a serious student of human healing. In fact, homeopathy is a very important part of the healing armamentarium. There is enough and more scientific research base from very authentic scientists and institutions to back Homeopathy as a good holistic science.
A young doctor in London used to write a full page weekly column in The Guardian, condemning homeopathy. Naturally, he does not have enough experience with modern medical hazards to hapless patients and so he documents his theoretical arguments against homeopathy. In the US the newly born American Medical Association fought against homeopathy and destroyed it initially. One of the prominent members of the AMA, Dr. J.N. McCormack, AMA, later in 1903 said that "we must admit that we have never fought the homeopath on matters of principle. We fought them because they came into our community and got the business." Now one can realize how homeopathy became pseudo science to begin with. Rest is history. The story is still murkier in that arena. The American Homeopathy Association started about 40 years before the American Medical Association. Homeopathy association was started by some of the leading lights of mainline American medicine who were fed up and shocked by the results of their medical therapeutics like blood letting and many other procedures that prematurely sent patients to meet their maker in heaven in constant agony as a bonus. Even the first American President, George Washington, was not spared. They let all his blood out to cure him of his Typhoid fever until he died of exsanguinations.
May be Samuel Heinemann started homeopathy as a Placebo science. He was a regular MD himself who got disillusioned after losing his young son to a simple septicaemia. Curiously, an elaborate study published in 2011 in four leading universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Hamburg and Munich did show modern medical therapeutics also to be predominantly a Placebo effect! To date no body seems to say that modern medicine is unscientific, despite what that study showed. Even the higher ups in medicine are now expressing their concern about the evidence base of modern medicine, their bench mark, the Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs), which seems to be built on very loose sand foundations. Sir Michael Rawlins, the Chief of NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence), did say in his recent Harveian Oration at the London Royal College that the RCTs, the bench mark of scientific excellence in medicine, have been put on an undeservedly high pedestal! Who listens, but? This kind of occasional major signal is lost in the cacophony of daily information overload in modern medicine most of which is pure “noise,” or doctored study data, in the scientific sense of the term.
Most of our problems in modern medicine, including the report that the medical establishment as the leading cause of death in the US could be traced to this faulty science base. The RCT type cross sectional short term studies with their reports being published even before the ink dries on the report paper, followed by advertisement blitz by the drug cartels, with expensive “conferences” being arranged in major cities all over the globe where doctor hospitality knows no bounds led to our present mess. A few glaring examples will suffice to convince a non-convert. If, instead, we had patience to wait for outcomes studies instead of the surrogate parameters based success stories, we could have avoided lot of human misery and countless human loss due to death and disability.
• The long term risk factor reduction study, called MRFIT, did show that there was no significant difference in the outcomes between the groups at the end of 15 years of study which involved screening 500,000 Americans to pick 100,000 subjects for the study which must have cost the tax payers millions of dollars!
• All the cholesterol lowering agents, starting from Cholestyramine to statins, did lower blood cholesterol levels but long term outcomes, showed marginally higher death rates in the treated group due to newer diseases. In short, cholesterol lowering did change the label in the death certificates without reducing total deaths! Statins even have the power to generate diabetes in healthy people to the extent of nearly 10% per year!!
• An audit of all the 17 blood pressure lowering drug studies pooled together showed no statistical difference in survival benefit between the groups. From the first drug to the latest they all had serious side effects. Sodium thiocynate, the first drug had cyanide in it!
The founding fathers of the American Constitution knew that this kind of monopoly will be bad for society. One of them, Benjamin Rush, MD., a signer of the Declaration of Independence and personal physician to George Washington wrote thus:
“Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine
will organize into an undercover dictatorship to restrict the art of healing to one class of
men and deny equal privileges to others; the Constitution of the Republic should make a
special privilege for medical freedoms as well as religious freedoms."

Late Professor Rustum Roy, the man who invented the “Sol-Gel” technique, to extract nano particles way back in 1954 which is being used even today (paper has been cited 68,000 times to date!) was the leader in this field. His work on the structure of water and the energy signature of water explains the science of homeopathy, the system he swore by. He was nominated 21 times for Nobel. He had all the awards in the world a scientist could aspire to get and fellowship of all country’s Science Academies. He was the Evan Pugh Professor of Material Sciences at Penn. State till his last breath last year. For his innovative and ground breaking work in the healing sciences, Prof Roy was made Professor of Medicine at the Arizona State University. Many of his colleagues in other parts of the world had joined him in his work. Details could be got from authentic scientific literature. This is not the place to give details. Recently one of the IITs in India did show that homeopathic pills had effective nano particles in them! A founding member of the IOM, an audit body of medicine started by the American Academy of science, Professor Roy got his pet definition of health and healing accepted by IOM during (his last) the meeting of IOM in February 2010, as Whole Person Healing (WPH), the future definition of healing. Reductionism has NO PLACE in healing sciences. Further, vivisectionist research which goes deeper still has to be useless in the long run. Even human genomics has run into slippery slopes with the discovery of human metagenome showing trillions of germ genes incorporated into the 25,000 human genes! Less said about reductionism the better. The future scientific medicine will have to be holistic, homeopathy as a part of it, taking the useful methods from many other systems Ayurveda and modern medicine. Most of us, including scientists who talk about healing methods, would do well to first read The New Biology, so beautifully explained by Nobel Laureate Albert-Szent Gyorgi in his classic, Sub Molecular Biology!
Modern medical science uses statistics to survive-it is not pure science but, statistical science. Modern medicine uses the wrong mathematical base of Euclidean geometry in a dynamic holistic system where only Mandelbrot’s Fractal Geometry works. In fact, another American Nobel Laureate Hungarian born scientist, John von Neumann, defined science as “making models, mostly mathematical constructs, which, with verbal jargon, are supposed to work.” Modern medicine’s mathematical base is faulty; naturally, the building built on that should be very shaky and dangerous. Recent audits show that the medical establishment, built on this kind of science, is proving to be the leading cause of human mortality and morbidity in the US where records are kept meticulously. Let us develop a humble respect for the true science, which is nothing but a method to unravel the mysteries of nature who keeps her secrets very close to her bosom.
However, the Fitzgerald commission in 1953 unearthed this huge conspiracy but was suppressed as a secret document of fifty years to be in the open now!
"It is not... That some people do not know what to do with truth when it is offered to them, but the tragic fate is to reach, after patient search, a condition of mind-blindness, in which the truth is not recognized, though it stares you in the face."
Sir William Osler, 1849-1919
Nagesh Kini FCA
10 years ago
I'm fully convinced of the case upholding the validity and efficacy of homeopathy made out by the learned medical man in.Dr.BM Hegde, whose credentials and track record are par excellence.
If at all any body is running down this form of effective alternate medicine, it is the rich pharma lobby which finds homeopathy eating into its bottom line.
10 years ago
There is no need to find out whether homeopathy works.

Just find out how many allopaths use it.
subi Ker
Replied to Shekhar comment 3 years ago
so true
many allopaths are studying MD Homoeopathy in foreign countries and practising in India
But homoeopathy is very effective it is a only human proving medicine
Hahnemann was an allopath but he was not satisfied with that because it causes more pain and patient has to spend more but homoepathy is not painful treatment patients are really happy about homoeopathy treatment and allopathy is going down nowadays
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