It’s Official—Homeopathy Proven Useless Beyond Placebo Effect

Homeopathy

According to the most recent comprehensive meta analysis on homeopathy, homeopathic treatments have been proven to be completely useless beyond the well-known “placebo effect.” The study, entitled: Effectiveness of Homeopathy for Clinical Conditions: Evaluation of the Evidence, concluded that there is no evidence that homeopathy is useful for any condition. Scientists involved in the study wrote:

There is a paucity of good-quality studies of sufficient size that examine the effectiveness of homeopathy as a treatment for any clinical condition in humans. The available evidence is not compelling and fails to demonstrate that homeopathy is an effective treatment for any of the reported clinical conditions in humans.

Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council conducted the study, which was a meta-analysis and one of the largest studies of its kind. The results are significant because the NHMRC is the top medical body in Australia. The conclusion supports numerous previous meta analyses that show homeopathy is ineffective beyond the placebo effect. One of the study authors explained, “systematic reviews and meta-analyses conclusively demonstrate that homeopathic products perform no better than placebo.”

To date, there has been no well controlled, randomized, large peer-reviewed meta analysis that shows homeopathy to have a definite significant clinical effect on any specific condition beyond what could be realized with a placebo treatment. In contrast, many studies have proven the practice of homeopathy to be useless. The National Health Service of the UK states “There is no good-quality evidence that homeopathy is effective as a treatment for any health condition.”

Homeopathic practitioners and societies advocating homeopathy have provided their own research in the past which has concluded that homeopathic medicines are beneficial in a variety of conditions; however, according to the most recent meta analysis, the studies showing significant clinical effects are “scientifically, logically and ethically flawed” and do not meet the “gold standard” of randomized, placebo controlled studies expected of the scientific community. Further, while some studies have shown some benefit to homeopathic treatment, none have conclusively proven that homeopathy is useful beyond what one might expect from a placebo.

Homeopathy has been practiced for hundreds of years and practitioners often cite anecdotal evidence of its effectiveness. Consumers of homeopathy often share stories of miraculous cures of a variety of conditions ranging from simple colds to cancer. However, anecdotes and scientific evidence are two very different things, say experts.

The practice of homeopathy is based on the idea that “like cures like.” Homeopathic treatments consist of vastly diluted ingredients that cause negative health symptoms in healthy people. It is thought that the dangerous ingredients become so diluted that very little, if any, active substance is left in the “medicine.” The water used to dilute the original ingredients is said to contain a “memory” of the ingredients, and therefore, this memory will cause the body to fight against the illness using the body’s own immune system.

However, scientists and doctors warn that should any homeopathic treatments contain too much of a harmful substance, there is the possibility that the treatment could interact with other medicines and cause a host of deleterious health effects. In serious conditions, the ineffectiveness of homeopathic remedies could become life-threatening, such as in the case of homeopathic remedies for asthma or more serious conditions such as cancer.

The study’s findings could have a significant impact for Australians. The most important changes on the horizon include government funding for tax rebates for homeopathic treatments being cut, as well as funding for schools that teach homeopathy being drastically reduced or completely discontinued.

In the United States, a meta analysis on homeopathy was performed in 2000. That meta analysis reported similar findings to the new Australian study, and concluded that the strength of evidence showing that homeopathy was more effective than a placebo was “low because of the low methodological quality of the trials.” Furthermore, the study concluded, “Studies of high methodological quality were more likely to be negative than the lower quality studies.” Another meta analysis published in The Lancet found “insufficient evidence from these studies that homoeopathy is clearly efficacious for any single clinical condition.” Another study published in The Lancet found “there was weak evidence for a specific effect of homoeopathic remedies, but strong evidence for specific effects of conventional interventions. This finding is compatible with the notion that the clinical effects of homoeopathy are placebo effects.”

So far, at least four meta analyses of homeopathic treatments have found no good evidence of the effectiveness of homeopathy, and a new study has made it official by proving that homeopathy is useless beyond the placebo effect. In addition to these meta analyses, the World Health Organization has officially stated that homeopathy should not be used for any serious diseases. Despite the burgeoning evidence of homeopathy’s complete ineffectiveness, it continues to be a multi-million dollar industry in the United States and abroad.

By: Rebecca Savastio

Sources:

MHNRC.gov

Sky News Australia

News.com.au

NHS.UK

The Lancet

Pubmed

The Lancet

Live Science

10 Responses to "It’s Official—Homeopathy Proven Useless Beyond Placebo Effect"

  1. kelvin   April 14, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    I am really shocked to read this post. How it is possible that homoeopathy is useless for human being to solve disease problems. I really don’t believe on this thing still but after reading this post i think it may be true.

    Reply
  2. tarsieg   April 14, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    No one is being paid off. No one is making billions because of this study. All this study is doing, is proving once and for all how nonsensical non-scientific medicines are. Someone giving you jelly beans and telling you they are a new medicine is just as effective as homeopathy. THE END. find a new conspiracy to whine about….

    Reply
  3. nutritionprof   April 14, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    There’s no such thing as alternative medicine.There’s medicine that has been proven to work & medicine that hasn’t. When something is proven to work, it’s called Medicine, and is no longer considered alternative.

    Reply
  4. Nina Simone   April 12, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    To anyone who has even heard of the word pharmacology, not to say anything about studying it, this is nonsense: many of the currently used chemical formulas of licensed drugs are derivatives of the molecules found in normal flora, meaning, that if works i the drug it will certainly work in the homeopathic mixture. Another question is that latter is not studied in a way the licensed medications are, so some of its features may be uncertain, but this by no means can be the reason for neglecting the fact that homeopathy is no game (food for thought: it certainly would be less cost-effective than lab manufactured drugs …) and finally, our ancestors have been curing with homeopathy for centuries, and that’s loooong before evidence based medicine was even invented!

    Reply
  5. qldtechie   April 10, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    The people doing this study have absolutely No Idea on how to conduct a trial of the Effectiveness of Homoeopathic Medicine

    Reply
  6. aj   April 10, 2014 at 4:59 am

    So the scientist doing these studies are the same people shoving drugs down peoples throats and making billions off of chemical based medications and narcotics so of course they are releasing studies like this, when have you ever read a medication side effect that doesnt invove possibility of heart attack or death or some other issue just as bad as the condition it is supposedly treating?. I have seen first hand people with mutiple dna mutations that suffer from crippling pain and un controllable seizures benifiting from homeopathic medicine to the point where they can actually go out and be a functioning productive member of society when there was no “real medicine” that could help them and were actually being refused help because the doctors didnt know what was wrong and how to fix it., and i have also seen people suffering from Lime disease on the brink of death seeminily come back from death to a point where you could not even tell they were sick any more.The Pharmasutical companies make tons of money off of people being sick so why would they want them to acctually beat a sickness. They would much rather keep it at bay and keep shoveling medicine down peoples throats so they can continue padding their pockets the world needs to wake up and quit letting government and big buisness dictate how we live our lives because they are no ones but ours to live!

    Reply
    • Emanuel   April 10, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      you really have no idea how drugs work on your body, do you?

      Reply
  7. Kristy Blatter   April 8, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    I’m wondering what the difference between between homeopathic and alternative medicine is? It seems the terms are often used interchangeably, but after reading this, I realize there must be a difference. But is there a difference in effectiveness?

    Reply
    • Dennis Keane   April 9, 2014 at 2:30 pm

      Very little. Alternative medicine has either been proved not to work or has not been proved to work. Alternative medicine that actually has a scientific evidenced based study supporting its effects is generally called “medicine”

      Reply
    • Johan Emanuel Kindmalm   April 29, 2014 at 1:54 pm

      Homeopathic medicine is an “alternative medicine”, but alternative medicine includes alot of things like faith healing, crystal healing, sometimes chiropractic and the likes.

      Reply

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