TED Conversations

Gerald O'brian


This conversation is closed.

Should we let homeopathy be?

The biggest dilemma for me is that placebo is proven to work better if the physician also believes he's giving real medecine. In this view, homeopathy is the perfect placebo. Even the people making it, through laborious dilutions, have GOT to believe in it, or their high school knowledge about chemistry would make it tempting to skip the whole process and make more profit selling sugar.
It's even got quantum mechanics watching its back, losing the more curious ones in complexe explanations about just how complexe liquid water is.
And of course, the idea is fun. Like cures like. 1/1000000th of a molecule of ethanol to cure a hangover.
Sure it's tempting to ridicule the whole industry for the billion dollar quackery it is. But one might actually find that it's saving a lot of healthcare money, and that it WORKS! And it works because we let it, because we don't ask for double-blind tests...
So what's your view on this? Is homeopathy a cheap way to heall the credulous? Or has it gone too far and is part of what makes the transition to the age of reason so darn slow?



Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Nov 2 2013: The Father of Homeopathy, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann received his M.D. with honors in conventional medicine (known as orthodox medicine at that time) from University of Erlangen, Germany in 1779. In 1790, he discovered principle of similar (published in 1796) and started researching on new system of medicine which he later called “homoeopathy” in a paper published in 1807. From Germany (1796), homeopathy spreads to Austria (1816) and then to the rest of the Europe. The birth date of the founder and father of Homeopathy i.e. 10 April every year is celebrated as ‘ World Homeopathy Day‘ and the week following his birthday i.e. 10-16 April every year is celebrated as ‘World Homeopathy Awareness Week ‘ all through the world.
    • thumb
      Nov 2 2013: How different his life would've been if he'd known about germs.
      • Nov 4 2013: Hahnemann said in 1831, “On board ships – in those confined spaces, filled with mouldy watery vapours, the cholera-miasm finds a favourable element for its multiplication, and grows into an enormously increased brood of those excessively minute, invisible, living creatures, so inimical to human life, of which the contagious matter of the cholera most probably consists millions of those miasmatic animated beings, which, at first developed on the broad marshy banks or the tepid Ganges– on board these ships, I say, this concentrated aggravated miasm kills several of the crew ...[ref].

        Ref: Samuel Hahnemann, Appeal to Thinking Philanthropists Respecting the Mode of Propagation of the Asiatic Cholera (20 pages), Leipzig, 1831, republished in The British Journal of Homoeopathy, Oct 1849, translated by Roberet Ellis Dudgeon, M.D. in The Lesser Writings of Samuel Hahnemann, 1851 edition, B Jain Publishers, reproduced edition, 2002, p. 758.

        It was another 9 years before Henle called these micro-organisms as “germs” in 1840 in his persuasive germ theory.
        • thumb
          Nov 4 2013: Interesting. No doubt he could've been a great scientist and could've contributed to the greatest invention since fire, the vaccine.
      • Nov 7 2013: The degree of immunity resulting from the administration of a vaccine is also known to be variable, depending on the potency of antigen preparation, the doses given, the interval between doses and the degree of ability (sensitivity) of the person to produce antibodies, when properly stimulated. All these reminds one of the homeopathic system of treatment.
        Ref: A.C.Dutta, Homoeopathy in the Light of Modern Science, 4th ed., B. Jain Publishers

        Preventive use of homeopathy was first applied in 1799 during an epidemic of scarlet fever in Königslütter, Germany, when Dr. Hahnemann prescribed a single dose of Belladona, as the remedy of the epidemic genius to susceptible children in the town with more than 95% success rate .

        It was another 125 years before Gladys Henry and George Frederick developed a vaccine for scarlet fever in 1924.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.