Sunday, August 26, 2007


Homeopathy (also spelled homœopathy or homoeopathy), from the Greek words όμοιος, hómoios (similar) and πάθος, páthos (suffering, disease),is a type of alternative medicine, highly controversial among experts, that aims to treat "like with like." The term "homoeopathy" was coined by the German physician Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann (1755–1843) and first appeared in print in 1807.


Homeopathic treatment involves giving a patient with symptoms of an illness extremely small or nonexistent dose of the agents that, according to its canon, produce the same symptoms in healthy people when exposed to larger quantities. A homeopathic remedy is prepared by diluting the substance in a series of steps. Most homeopathic remedies are so highly diluted that few molecules of the original substance are likely to remain after dilution so rendering them ineffective as treatments.Homeopathy asserts that the remedy will retain a memory of the diluted substance and the therapeutic potency of a remedy can be increased by serial dilution combined with succussion, or vigorous shaking.

Since its inception homeopathy has received significant criticism on scientific and medical grounds. The belief that extreme dilution makes drugs more powerful by enhancing their "spirit-like medicinal powers" is inconsistent with the laws of chemistry and physics and the observed dose-response relationships of conventional drugs. Several pro-homeopathic articles published in highly regarded journals were later withdrawn. Additionally, the use of homeopathic drugs to prevent malaria infection has had life-threatening consequences.Consequently, critics of homeopathy have described it as pseudoscience and quackery.

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