Homeopathic remedies do not provide any
specific effects and are in fact, no better than placebos, the results
of a new study indicate.
Homeopathy is based on the theory 'like
cures like' - that a substance which causes symptoms should also relieve
them. Homeopathic remedies are extremely diluted solutions (usually one
part per million or less) of assorted herbs, animals products and chemicals.
The remedy therefore contains little,
if any, of the original substance but according to homeopathic practitioners,
the solutions continues to hold a 'trace memory' of the original substance
that can mobilise the body's 'vital forces'.
Conventional medicine has long held the
view that any relief is coincidental or is down to the placebo effect.
(Placebos are harmless substances or 'dummy' drugs.)
A team of British and Swiss researchers
carried out an extensive review of 110 trials involving homeopathy. All
of the trials looked at homeopathy, placebos and conventional medicine
and included conditions such as asthma and allergies.
The researchers found that homeopathic
remedies were no better than placebos.
"The evidence for a specific effect
of homeopathic remedies is weak...there was no convincing evidence that
homeopathy was superior to placebo, whereas for conventional medicine,
effect remained", they said.
Details of their findings are published
in the medical journal, The Lancet.