From: Spa'cial Needs,
We’ve all heard about the recent debate over the provision of homeopathic remedies on the NHS, and it’s been a hot topic in the press for some time. Yet a new study has emerged that suggests, contrary to popular belief, homeopathy is effective as a treatment for illness.
Classified as an ‘alternative’ treatment, homeopathic remedies involve small amounts of ‘irritant’ preparations massively diluted and taken in the form of a sugar ‘pill’. The theory is that these substances, which would usually aggravate the immune system and cause adverse symptoms in a healthy person, cause the body to build up a ’tolerance’ and thereby combat symptoms in an ill patient.
One example of this would be the treatment of insomniacs with a preparation containing a coffee derivative (coffee being known to cause sleeplessness in an individual with normal sleeping habits). Although there has previously been little hard scientific evidence to support their effectiveness, many case studies show an improvement in conditions such as psoriasis when treated with these remedies.
The anti-homeopathy argument has always been based on a lack of evidentiary support. However recent successful trials using homeopathic remedies to treat illnesses resulting from flooding in Cuba have led the way for fresh debate.
In 2007, homeopathic remedies were administered to 2.3 million patients in Cuba, in an attempt to prevent the deadly disease Leptospiratosis in the face of a developing epidemic. Leptospiratosis or ‘Weils disease’ as we prefer to pronounce it is caused by bacteria carried by rats, and thrives in tropical areas where there has been a high volume of rainfall. The bacteria contaminate the water supply and multiply quickly, affecting large areas. The disease is extremely serious and in many cases has proved fatal.
Homeopathic remedies were prepared from tiny amounts of an inactive form of the bacteria which cause the illness. Within a short period of weeks the number of cases had fallen from 34 per 100,000 people to just 4 per 100,000. This figure was a huge reduction from official estimates and its effects seemed to grow long-term - the rate of infection was reduced by 84% by the following year. For the first time on record, the numbers of cases of Leptosiratosis did not increase proportionately when further rain fell.
Sadly in areas where the homeopathic remedy was not administered the rate of infection followed exactly the original prediction.
Dr Sara Eames, President of the Faculty of Homeopathy proposed that ‘Anything which appears to reduce infection rates in a potentially fatal infection, particularly when it can be prepared and delivered quickly, safely and effectively, has to be taken seriously and studied further’.
It is hoped by supporters of homeopathic medicine that the sheer size of the study and its apparent immense positive impact will lend it gravitas. It seems that there is much more to consider regarding the provision of these remedies by the NHS than the basic issue of cost-effectiveness.
Beauty product obsessive Melanie is a Copy and Products Writer at Treatwell. A coiffeur chameleon, she loves our fab hairdo deals and believes that a change is as good as a rest.See my profile