Australian Homoeopathic Assoc.

Questions and Answers – Homeopathy

The long-term benefit of homeopathy to the patient is that it not only alleviates the presenting symptoms but it reestablishes internal order at the deepest levels and thereby provides a lasting cure.

This information has been taken from the website of Australian Homoeopathic Association

Version: 4th February 2008

The Australian Homoeopathic Association answers frequently asked questions about homoeopathy

INDEX

1. What Is Homoeopathy ?

2. How Does It Work ?

3. What Conditions Can Homoeopathy Treat ?

4. Who Uses It?

5. Why Are People Seeking Alternative Treatments Such As Homoeopathy ?

6. What Risks Are Involved With The Use of Homoeopathy ?

7. How Widespread Is Its Use ?

8. Can The Homoeopathic Effect Be Attributed To Placebo ?

9. How Long Has Homoeopathy Been Used In Australia ?

10. What Successes Has Homoeopathy Had ?

11. Are There Homoeopathic Vaccinations ?

12. Homoeopathy And Orthodox Medicine

13. Is Homoeopathy Covered By Health Funds ?

Australian Homoeopathic Association – National Office
PO Box 430, Hastings, VIC 3915 Phone: 03 5979 1558
Website:  www.homeopathyoz.org

1. WHAT IS HOMOEOPATHY ?

Homoeopathy is a therapy based on the theory of treating like with like. Homoeopaths treat a

patient’s symptoms by giving a highly diluted form of a substance, animal, vegetable, or mineral,

which, taken in a crude dose, would cause similar symptoms when given to a healthy person. In

assessing the patient, homoeopaths often take into account a range of physical, emotional and

lifestyle factors.

Homoeopathy was developed over 200 years ago and is now used worldwide. It is acknowledged

by the World Health Organisation as a valid form of health care. Its effectiveness has been clearly

established by over 200 years of clinical experience and has a pharmacy of over 2000 medicines,

which are non-toxic and non-addictive, owing to their method of preparation.

Homoeopathy is also cost effective.

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2. HOW DOES IT WORK ?

Homoeopathy works by using minute doses of substances, which cause symptoms similar to the

illness being treated. Examples of the application of this principle are:

· The use of homoeopathically prepared red onion (Allium Cepa), which, in a crude dose,

would cause watery eyes and sneezing, may be used for hay fever and some allergies.

· The use of homoeopathically prepared coffee (Coffea) as a treatment for insomnia.

The use of Ritalin, a stimulant drug for children suffering from hyperactivity, is an example of the

unacknowledged application of the homoeopathic principle by contemporary orthodox medicine.

Efforts to explain scientifically how homoeopathy works have not been successful to date, but

similarly some drug actions in orthodox medicine have not always been understood either. For

example, the actions of salicylic acid (aspirin) and paracetamol (Panadol) have been used in

orthodox medicine for over 70 years, but have only been fully understood since the 1980’s.

If a homoeopathic medicine is analysed, a pharmacologist would say it consists of water, ethanol and sugar. While such a description is true, it ignores the result that follows from taking the medicine.

A chemist, for example, would accurately describe a compact disk as an object made of plastic and various chemical coatings, but would not detect the presence of music as part of their testing process. Both descriptions are accurate but incomplete.

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3. WHAT CONDITIONS CAN HOMOEOPATHY TREAT?

The system of homoeopathy is based on the selection of a medicine that causes symptoms similar to

those that the sick person is experiencing. This ‘Law of Similars’, as it is called, is a practical method

of finding the substance to which a person is sensitive. Wherever a set of symptoms can be

obtained, a condition can be treated. For example, headaches in different patients would each

be treated with different medicines, according to the patient’s individual symptoms. Therefore,

homoeopathy can treat a wide range of chronic and acute illnesses.

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4. WHO USES IT ?

The majority of patients seeking homoeopathic treatment have already utilised the conventional

medical system for their complaint. Therefore, it is not uncommon for patients to come to a first

consultation with a confirmed medical diagnosis along with results of medical investigations.

Those who use homoeopathy come from a wide range of socio-economic groups, many of whom

are children and adults from educated, affluent families.

Naturopaths, chiropractors and GP’s may also prescribe homoeopathic remedies as part of their

treatment, depending upon their training.

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5. WHY ARE PEOPLE SEEKING ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS SUCH AS HOMOEOPATHY?

Personal referral from those who have experienced the healing potential of homoeopathy is the major source of new clientele for homoeopaths. Dissatisfaction with orthodox medical treatment is frequently given by patients as a reason for their visiting a homoeopath. The following findings provide evidence for this trend.

  • Every year in Australia 14,000 people die from medical errors in hospitals. (1995 figures) (The Australian, March 15, 1999,17).
  • 25% of Australian hospital admissions are for iatrogenic (medically induced) or drug related diseases. (Current Therapeutics, July 2000, 76-79).
  • A large number of diseases are misdiagnosed by doctors. (Independent Monthly, Oct 1994, 36-43)
  • There are 140,000 hospital admissions in Australia every year because of misused pharmaceutical drugs (Australian Journal of Pharmacy, 83, September 2002, 774).
  • The total number of adverse reactions to drugs in Australia from the 1999-2000 year (those resulting in hospital admission and those that did not) was 400,000 (Aust Journal of Pharmacy, 83, September 2002, 774).
  • The reports of adverse reactions from natural medicine to the Australian Adverse Drug Reactions

Advisory Committee (ADRAC) average 23 per year (Aust Journal of Pharmacy, 83, June 2002, 516-517)

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6. WHAT RISKS ARE INVOLVED WITH THE USE OF HOMOEOPATHY?

Homoeopathy carries few risks in its practice, when compared to other therapies. The method of

preparation of homoeopathic remedies makes them non toxic and non addictive.

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7. HOW WIDESPREAD IS ITS USE?

Homoeopathy is used throughout the developed world. According to the WHO, 30 million Europeans

use homoeopathy. In the UK, homoeopathy is available in five National Health Service (NHS) centres.

NHS is the equivalent of the Medicare system. In 1993 37% of GP’s practiced homoeopathy and 42%

referred their patients to a homoeopath. A University of Exeter report found that 2696 people were

members of homoeopathic practitioner organisations. The Royal family has used it since 1830 and it

has a wide acceptance throughout Europe. In France, the most popular cold and flu remedy is a

homoeopathic medicine. Homoeopathy is also used extensively in the developing world, due to its

easy access, cost effectiveness and low risk profile. Over 10.000 doctors in India use homoeopathic

medicine to treat their patients. Homoeopathy is also used in veterinary medicine, both in Australia

and overseas.

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8. CAN THE HOMOEOPATHIC EFFECT BE ATTRIBUTED TO PLACEBO?

This is the topic of many discussions about homoeopathy. Homoeopathy is effective on animals and

children, which discounts the placebo theory. Research data is available in The Lancet Linde, K. et

al. (1997). “Are the clinical effects of homoeopathy placebo effect? A meta-analysis of placebo controlled

trials.” Lancet vol. 350 pp. 834-843. The trend of the studies is that homoeopathy is

effective above placebo and requires further study.

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9. HOW LONG HAS HOMOEOPATHY BEEN USED IN AUSTRALIA?

The first homoeopath to come to Australia was Englishman Dr Stephen Simpson, who arrived in

Sydney in 1840.

Homoeopathy started to become very popular in Australia during the time of the gold rush in the

1850s, which brought more doctors, some of whom used homoeopathy, and other settlers who

carried their own homoeopathic supplies.

More information about the history of homoeopathy in Australia may be obtained from the AHA’s

website: www.homeopathyoz.org
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10. WHAT SUCCESSES HAS HOMOEOPATHY HAD?

Homoeopathy has gained increasing acceptance in Britain, Europe and the United States since the

19th century owing to its success in treating people during various infectious disease epidemics. The

death rates from cholera, scarlet fever, typhoid, and yellow fever, following homoeopathic

treatment were significantly lower than from the orthodox medical treatment of the era.

For example, of 61 patients treated homoeopathically at the London Homoeopathic Hospital during

the cholera epidemic of 1854, there were 15 deaths – whereas at the Middlesex hospital, where

conventional treatments were given, there were 123 deaths from 231 cases. The comparative

death rates were 16.4% for homoeopathic treatment and 53.2% for conventional treatment. (British

Homoeopathic Journal, October 1989, Vol.78)

The yellow fever epidemic in New Orleans and the Mississippi Valley in 1878 is another example of

homoeopathic success. In New Orleans, 1945 cases were treated homoeopathically with 110

deaths (mortality of 5.6%). In the rest of the South, 1969 cases were treated homoeopathically with

151 deaths (mortality of 7.7%). This is a favourable comparison with a mortality rate for conventional

treatment of at least 16%. (Harris Coulter, [1982, 2nd edition] Divided Legacy: The Conflict between

Homoeopathy and the American Medical Association, pp.298-302)

The effectiveness of homoeopathic treatment for the 1918 ‘flu epidemic in USA is particularly striking.

Julian Winston’s [1999] The Faces of Homoeopathy: An illustrated history of the first 200 years (pp.236-

237) quotes from the findings in W.A. Dewey’s article “A Chorus of Fifty in Harmony” in the Journal of

the American Institute of Homoeopathy in 1921:

1. A Philadelphian Homoeopath, Dean Pearson collected 26,795 cases treated

homoeopathically with a mortality rate of 1.05% compared with a rate of 30% for

conventional treatment.

2. Frank Wieland M.D. of Chicago told how in a plant of 8000 workers there was only one

death. Gelsemium was practically the only remedy prescribed and neither aspirin nor

vaccines were used.

Contemporary examples of Homoeopathy’s effectiveness are outlined in the next two sections. Back to index…

11. ARE THERE HOMOEOPATHIC VACCINATIONS?

The term homoeopathic vaccination is a misnomer. Vaccination, a well understood medical term,

relies on antibody formation. Homoeopathic medicines do not rely on antibody formation. They

affect the patient’s initial pre-disposition to an illness, rather than the antibody/antigen reaction.

There is a long history in homoeopathy of disease prevention, using miniscule doses of the disease

material for disease protection. When a homoeopathic medicine is given to help protect the

patient against infectious diseases, the correct description is “Homoeoprophylaxis”.

Homoeoprophylaxis has been used for 200 years in homoeopathy and precedes modern

vaccination. There are numerous documented examples of the successful use of

homoeoprophylaxis throughout history.

There are two contemporary examples of its use in Brazil:

  • In 1974 during an epidemic of meningitis in Brazil, 18,640 children were treated

homoeoprophylactically and 6,340 were not. In the treated group four cases of meningitis

were reported, in the untreated group, 32 cases were reported. Dr F X Eizayaga, Treatise on

Homoeopathic Medicine E Marecel, Buenos Aires pp 282-286.

  • On the basis of this, in 1998 in Blumenau, Brazil, a large-scale investigation of the use of

homoeoprophylaxis was undertaken in persons between 0 and 20 years. In the first six months

of administration, the following results were obtained: of the 65,826 protected

homoeopathically, one case was reported. Of the 23,532 not protected, 7 cases were

reported. A 12-month follow -up reported 3 cases in the protected group and 13 cases in the

unprotected group. Statistical analysis demonstrated a 95% protection in children under six

months and 91% protection in children over 12 months. Ref: Meningococcin, its Protective

Effect against Meningococcal Disease, Homoeopathic LINKS Winter, 2001 Vol 14 (4) 230-4

Mroninski C, Adriano E, Mattos G.

Australian studies on homoeoprophylaxis have also been undertaken by homoeopath and

statistician Isaac Golden. He completed a PhD on this topic with Swinburne University in Melbourne

in 2005. His findings include the results of a ten-year longitudinal study and are documented in the

books:

Vaccination ? A Review of Risks and Alternatives 5th Ed 1997 ISBN 0-7316 8099-5 National

Library Canberra (02) 62621434

Homoeoprophylaxis: A Ten Year Clinical Study ISBN 0-646-32054 National Library Canberra

Homoeoprophylaxis: A Practical and Philosophical Review ISBN 0-646-19529-8 National Library

Canberra

PhD Thesis, Swinburne University, Melbourne

It is interesting to note that some pharmacological agents which are currently used in conventional

medicine to augment a person’s immune system – immunisation and allergy treatments, are based

on the ancient (and modern) pharmacological principle of “similars.” This, as already outlined, is the

basis of the homoeopathic theory and practice.

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12. HOMOEOPATHY AND ORTHODOX MEDICINE

Homoeopathy has been practised for two hundred years. Throughout its history it has experienced

an uneasy relationship with orthodox medicine. This has not been homoeopathy’s choice. Its

successes have been belittled or ignored.

Those critics who maintain that homoeopathy is ‘useless’, ‘quackery’, ‘purely placebo’ need to ask

themselves why it is used more widely than ever. Its claims and record of safe use deserve objective

assessment rather than prejudiced opposition.

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13. IS HOMOEOPATHY COVERED BY HEALTH FUNDS?

All major health funds except Medibank Private provide cover for homoeopathic treatment.

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