Orthodox medicine cannot distinguish between a patient getting better after a ‘placebo’ and one getting better after an ‘active’ treatment. In other words, both treatments are considered equally successful, and therefore both should be considered equally ‘active’. The fact that the method of a so-called placebo’s action is unknown should be a reason for investigating that action further, not for denying its validity.
Critics of homeopathy maintain that the degree of dilution involved in making remedies means that they cannot be ‘active’ treatments, but must work by the placebo effect. However, this is a narrow view of treatment based on an approach entirely oriented on chemistry, and it ignores the application of physics to questions of effects on living organisms. It cannot be a coincidence that this narrow view is consistent with the pursuit of a phamacological approach based on chemical drugs.
Critics of homeopathy also maintain that potentised remedies cannot work because homeopaths cannot explain how potentisation works. However, they are quite happy to allege that any success is entirely due to the placebo effect without themselves being able to explain how a placebo works.
1. James Tyler Kent, New Remedies, Clinical Cases, Lesser Writings, Aphorisms and Precepts (New Delhi: B. Jain Publishers, repr. edn 2001), pp. 357-59.
2. Robert Barker, LM Potencies: A selection of articles giving a practical guide to their use (Sheringham: The Homoeopathic Supply Company, 1997), pp. 8 and 13-14.
3. See, for example, Belon, P, J Cumps, M Ennis, P F Mannaioni, M Roberfroid, J Sainte-Laudy, F A C Wiegant, ‘Histamine dilutions modulate basophil activation’, Inflamm. Res., 53 (2004), 181-188.
4. L Betti, L Lazzarato, G Trebbi, M Brizzi, G L Calzoni, F Borghini and D Nani, 'Effects of homeopathic arsenic on tobacco plant resistance to tobacco mosaic virus. Theoretical suggestions about system variability, based on a large experimental data set', Homeopathy, 92 (2003), 195-202.
5. M Brizzi, L Lazzarato, D Nani, F Borghini, M Peruzzi and L Bettib, 'A Biostatistical Insight into the As2O3 High Dilution Effects on the Rate and Variability of Wheat Seedling Growth', Forsch Komplementärmed Klass Naturheilkd, 12 (2005) 277-283.
Why it works