Homeopathic Information

Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine, first proposed by German physician Samuel Hahnemann in 1796, that attempts to treat patients with heavily diluted preparations which are claimed to cause effects similar to the symptoms presented. Homeopathic remedies are prepared by serial dilution with shaking by forceful striking, which homeopaths term "succussion," after each dilution under the assumption that this increases the effect of the treatment. Homeopaths call this process "potentization". Dilution often continues until none of the original substance remains.

Apart from the symptoms of the disease, homeopaths use aspects of the patient's physical and psychological state in recommending remedies. Homeopathic reference books known as repertories are then consulted, and a remedy is selected based on the totality of symptoms. Homeopathic remedies are considered safe, with rare exceptions. Some homeopaths have, however, been criticized for putting patients at risk with advice to avoid conventional medicine such as vaccinations, anti-malarial drugs, and antibiotics.

Claims of homeopathy's efficacy beyond the placebo effect are unsupported by the collective weight of scientific and clinical evidence. While some studies have positive results, systematic reviews of all the published trials fail to conclusively demonstrate efficacy. Furthermore, higher quality trials tend to report less positive results, and most positive studies have not been replicated or show methodological problems that prevent them from being considered unambiguous evidence of homeopathy's efficacy. An inquiry into the evidence base for homeopathy conducted by the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee in 2009-2010 concluded that homeopathy does not work better than placebo. They consider it "a placebo treatment", and state that it is "bad medicine" to prescribe pure placebos.

Wikipedia, Homeopathic, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeopathic (as of Apr 1, 2010)

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