The Homeopathy debate: Does it Really Work?

Is there harm in trying out un-intrusive, harmless homeopathic medication to treat your child’s illness?                                                        

So I have grown up with a grandmother who is a brilliant homeopath. Many a summer evenings have been spent at her clinic, feasting on those yummy little white globules. My sister and I used to love the little treats that our grandma used to give us while we waited for her patiently to get done with her evening clinic.

Notwithstanding the fact that we had our very own homeo doctor at home, our parents did not necessarily treat all our ailments with homeo medicines.  Now that I think about it, I wonder why.  But as I researched and spoke to people I know who actively use homeo for their children including me, I came across different views on the homeopathy debate.

A mum’s view

Coming from a mom who has given homeo medicines to her less-than-two-year-old toddler, I feel placebo or not, homepathic medication is definitely a less intrusive and safer alternative to allopathic medication. I would rather give my child homeo medication and use natural home remedies instead of pumping her with anti-biotics for simple illnesses. I know, finally, it is what we are comfortable with as parents, but I honestly feel not need to expose our kids to harsh allopathic medication while they’re still little children.

Chamomile flower and homeopathic medication on blue surface

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The popular view

This is something I personally also believe: many of the most common illnesses of childhood can be quickly and effectively treated at home with homeopathic medicines. I believe homeopathy is ideal for babies and children as it is a gentle yet highly effective system of medicine. Children respond wonderfully to simple homeopathic remedies. The mildly sweet pills, powders or liquids are easy to dispense and are more palatable than many conventional medicines. According to my own experience, homeopathic remedies are safe to use in very young children, including newborn babies. Homeopathy has raised the immunity of my child to help deal with illness. It is my view that it can also help prevent illness and give support through difficult periods of their life.

With homeopathy, children’s health can improve and chronic conditions often clear up completely and never come back. It is safe with no harmful side effects. Homeopathy cures by looking at the whole individual and can be effective in unexpected ways.

Essentially, any medicine administered to children must be free from harmful effects. Homoeopathic medicines are prepared mainly from herbs, vegetable kingdom, minerals and are given in very minute doses so that they are 100% non-toxic, having no adverse effects whatsoever.

Unlike antibiotics and other such medicine, homoeopathic pills do not hamper digestion; do not lower resistance; do not produce allergy and do not harm even if taken long-term. Homoeopathy pills, being sweet, are accepted with pleasure by children. They are never bitter, cause no nausea, and kids do not make a fuss while taking it. It is so easy to take that even one day old neonates can be administered treatment without forcefully inducing in them, saving them from weeping and inconvenience.

The contrary medical view: the placebo effect

Medical experts around the world believe that there isn’t enough evidence available to substantiate the effectiveness of homeopathy.  In a review of 225 studies on homeopathy, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in Australia concluded that there’s no high-quality scientific evidence to support the use of the practice. “Although some studies did report that homeopathy was effective, the quality of those studies was assessed as being small and/or of poor quality,” the NHMRC said in a statement. “These studies had either too few participants, poor design, poor conduct and or reporting to allow reliable conclusions to be drawn on the effectiveness of homeopathy.”

In the United States, past data has suggested that millions of American adults and thousands of children use homeopathy. The National Institutes of Health in U.S. says, “There is little evidence to support homeopathy as an effective treatment for any specific condition.”

A major finding was an analysis of 110 homoeopathy trials and 110 matched conventional-medicine trials published in Lancet in 2005 that concluded, “The clinical effects of homoeopathy are placebo effects.” It found homoeopathic treatments were not more effective than dummy pills, but allopathic medicines were.

Modern science believes that homeopathy works primarily on the placebo effect wherein the brain is tricked by those sugary balls into believing that it is getting better and the symptoms of the ailment is reducing.  But patrons and practitioners of homeopathy are quick to dismiss that, and other similar findings, as the million-dollar pharmaceutical industry’s attempt to stub the growing popularity of alternative medicine.

India is one among the world’s biggest markets for homeopathy, pegged at Rs 1,500 crore and projected to grow by 20% each year. India has 195 homeopathic medical colleges, 51 homeopathic universities and 27 state councils, which train and register thousands of practitioners each year.

A mom’s view

Coming from a mom who has given homeo meds to her less than 2 year oldtoddler, I feel placebo or not homepathic medication is definitely a less intrusiveand safer alternative to allopathic medication. I would rather give my childhomeo meds and use natural home remedies instead of pumping her with anti‐biotics for simple illnesses. In the end it is what as parents we are comfortablewith, but do we really need to subject our precious little ones ever so often with allopathic medicines?

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