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More and more Germans appreciate the positive effects of homeopathy. Patients and homeopathic therapists or doctors experience every day how much they can help alleviate or even cure many ailments and diseases. Especially in the case of chronic diseases, homeopathy successfully shows what it is capable of. And yet homeopathy is repeatedly criticized for being ineffective. Recently, it has been noticed with almost regular regularity in the media that homeopathy is nothing more than a placebo therapy. What is the point of this claim?
Countless patients satisfied with homeopathy
If you ask the patient whether homeopathy works, the answer is clear. According to a representative survey conducted by the Allensbach Institute for Demoscopy in 2014, 60 percent of all Germans have used homeopathic medicines before. Around half of those questioned were fully satisfied with the effects of homeopathic drugs, and a further 39 percent reported that the homeopathic medicines had helped them at least in some cases. In other words: the majority of Germans have already had positive experiences with homeopathy!
Health services research shows the effects and benefits of homeopathy
The studies from health services research also show positive results. Comparisons between homeopathically treated and conventionally treated patient groups show that the therapeutic effects for homeopathy are just as good as for conventional medicine - with significantly fewer side effects and less consumption of antibiotics. A prospective observational study, which was carried out at the Charité University Hospital in Berlin over a period of eight years with 3981 patients, shows a significant decrease in clinical symptoms as well as a significant improvement in quality of life. The authors of a Swiss study entitled "Homeopathy in Health Care - Efficacy, Benefit, Safety and Efficiency" (from the series "Perspectives - Writings on Plurality in Medicine"): ISBN: 978-3-88864-419-1 came to the conclusion in 2006: "In summary, it can be said that there is sufficient evidence for the preclinical effect and clinical effectiveness of homeopathy, and that it represents an absolutely safe and inexpensive intervention, especially and in comparison to conventional therapies!"
Successful use of homeopathy in agriculture
Countless farmers are also convinced of the benefits of homeopathy. Many chambers of agriculture now offer homeopathy seminars to their members. The use of homeopathic medicines helps cattle farmers to save up to 80 percent antibiotics, explains farm animal homeopath Birgit Gnadl in an interview with the Association of Classic Homeopaths in Germany (VKHD). This not only has a positive impact on the livestock population and the wallet of the farmers, but also on the environment. Because the fewer antibiotics the animals excrete, the less land with the manure on fields, meadows and in the groundwater.
Patient studies demonstrate effectiveness
And all of this should be thanks to the much-cited placebo effect? Not even close! There are now enough high-quality randomized studies comparing homeopathic treatment with placebo treatment. The majority of these studies were positive, that is, in favor of homeopathy. Five out of a total of six reviews that evaluate the results of the placebo-controlled studies on specific issues are also positive.
Only when the majority of all studies on homeopathy are not taken into account in a review does the pendulum turn negative. The Swedish researcher, anesthesiologist and intensive care doctor Robert Hahn comes to this conclusion in a technical contribution to the topic. “In the case of homeopathy, you should stick to what the evidence reveals. And this says that the effectiveness of homeopathy can only be proven if 95-98% of all studies in the field are removed, ”Hahn said.
Specific effects of potentized medicines demonstrated
So how is it that, despite all the success and evidence, homeopathy is still described as ineffective by critics? On the one hand, this may be due to the fact that it has not yet been possible to determine how the homeopathic medicines work in the body. Even if it has long been clear that they have an effect. In any case, further research is needed to understand the principle of action.
On the other hand, the critics are bothered by the fact that homeopaths often work with very high potencies. This means that they use medicinal products that have been diluted and processed to such an extent that theoretically nothing of the original substance can be contained in them. Critics like to express the problem in the following words: "Nothing in it, nothing in it". But there are also numerous studies on cells, plants and animals in basic research that clearly show that these highly potent medicines also have specific effects, as Stephan Baumgartner wrote in the article "State of Basic Research in Homeopathy" (in: WissHom , The current state of research in homeopathy, 2016, p. 43ff).
Self-treatment has its limits
However, the critics are right on one point: not every runny nose or bruise needs to be treated with globules. With many minor illnesses and acute complaints, it is enough to give the body time to heal itself. In contrast, chronic diseases that do not go away on their own are a domain of homeopathy. However, they are hardly suitable for self-treatment. In contrast to the minor diseases, for which there are numerous proven remedies (e.g. arnica for hematomas), in chronic cases, homeopathic medicines are selected individually according to the patient's complaints. Appropriately trained homeopaths or doctors are able to make the right choice here and to accompany patients over a longer period of time. Qualified homeopaths can be found, for example, in the therapist lists of the Foundation for Homeopathy Certificate (SHZ), the Federation of Classic Homeopaths (BKHD) or the German Central Association of Homeopathic Doctors (DZVhÄ). They regularly follow the effects of the prescribed medication and the course of healing. This also ensures that no complications or symptoms are overlooked that require additional therapeutic measures in conventional medicine. (Dr. Birgit Weyel, www.vkhd.de)
Annotation: This article is intended as a technical contribution to the ongoing debate on the topic of homeopathy, in which we give both critics and advocates space to present their positions. You can find more articles on this topic here:
Homeopathy: Myths and Facts About Globules