Is homeopathy a clinically valuable approach?

Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter & Plymouth, 25 Victoria Park Road, Exeter EX2 4NT, UK.
Trends in Pharmacological Sciences (Impact Factor: 11.54). 12/2005; 26(11):547-8. DOI: 10.1016/
Source: PubMed


Homeopathy is a popular but implausible form of medicine. Contrary to many claims by homeopaths, there is no conclusive evidence that highly dilute homeopathic remedies are different from placebos. The benefits that many patients experience after homeopathic treatment are therefore most probably due to nonspecific treatment effects. Contrary to widespread belief, homeopathy is not entirely devoid of risk. Thus, the proven benefits of highly dilute homeopathic remedies, beyond the beneficial effects of placebos, do not outweigh the potential for harm that this approach can cause.

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    • "For example, if a woman with PMS easily becomes weepy, she may be prescribed one of several remedies, including, Pulsatilla nigricans of Pulsatilla have been used to treat reproductive problems such as premenstrual syndrome and epididymitis. Other applications of this plant include uses as a sedative and for treating coughs (Ernst, 2005). Sepia, a cuttlefish ink acts on the uterus, ovaries, and vagina and is mainly used for gynecological problems, for Akram et al. 6125 example, premenstrual syndrome, painful or heavy menstruation, hot flashes during menopause, emotional and physical symptoms during and after pregnancy, candidiasis, and a sagging and prolapsed uterus (Steven, 1997). "
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    ABSTRACT: Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is characterized by a spectrum of physical and mood symptoms, which appear during the week before menstruation and usually resolve within a week after the onset of menses. Most women in their reproductive years experience some premenstrual symptoms. In some women, the symptoms can badly affect quality of life before periods. The treatment of PMS is a changing area as research continues to clarify which treatments actually work and to try to find better treatments. The main objective of the present article is to review the potential treatment for premenstrual disorders. Various treatments have been advocated for PMS. Treatment strategies include either eliminating the hormonal cycle associated with ovulation or treating the symptom(s) causing the most distress to the patient. Herbal drugs are effective and well tolerated treatment for the relief of symptoms of the premenstrual syndrome.
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    ABSTRACT: Angesichts fehlender Daten auf dem Gebiet der Fertilitätsstörungen und dem Stellenwert komplementärer Therapien, wurden im Rahmen dieser Studie Paare mit unerfülltem Kinderwunsch untersucht. Von 11/2005 bis 11/2006 wurde ein Fragebogen zu komplementären Therapien an Paare mit Fertilitätsstörungen verteilt und statistisch ausgewertet. Das Patientenkollektiv belief sich auf 225 untersuchte Paare. 35,5% der Befragten gaben an, bereits Komplementärmedizin in Anspruch genommen zu haben; Akupunktur und Homöopathie wurden am häufigsten genutzt. Die meisten Paare waren „zufrieden“ bis „sehr zufrieden“ mit den angewandten komplementären Verfahren. Die Inanspruchnehmer komplementärer Therapien waren signifikant weiblich, höher gebildet, kannten durchschnittlich 3 komplementäre Therapien mehr und zeigten ein besseres Gesundheitsverhalten als die Nicht-Inanspruchnehmer. Akupunktur, Homöopathie und Phytotherapie, als therapeutische Optionen bei unerfülltem Kinderwunsch, waren den meisten Paaren unbekannt. Dennoch zeigte sich eine große Bereitschaft diese komplementären Therapien bei Fertilitätsstörungen anzuwenden. Je höher das ermittelte Bildungsniveau der Befragten, desto größer waren die „Kenntnis“ und „Bereitschaft“ Akupunktur, Homöopathie und Phytotherapie bei unerfülltem Kinderwunsch zu nutzen. Insgesamt betrachtet wird die Anwendung komplementärer Verfahren von Paaren mit unerfülltem Kinderwunsch sehr positiv bewertet. Der behandelnde Arzt sollte deshalb über Vor- und Nachteile komplementärer Therapien informiert sein, damit er die Paare optimal beraten kann und in der Lage ist, ein auf die Bedürfnisse des Paares abgestimmtes Behandlungskonzept zu entwickeln. Due to weak data in the field of fertility disorder concerning the significance of complementary therapies, within the scope of this survey couples with an unfulfilled desire to have children were examined. Starting 11/2005 until 11/2006 a questionnaire concerning complementary therapies was handed out to couples with a fertility disorder and has been statistically evaluated. 225 couples took part in this study. 35,5% of the interviewed stated to already have utilized complementary medicine; acupuncture and homeopathy were the most common alternatives. The couples were mostly “satisfied” to “very satisfied” with the applied complementary therapy. The users of complementary therapies were significantly female, higher educated, had knowledge of averaged three more complementary therapies and had a healthier lifestyle than the non-users. Acupuncture, homeopathy and phytotherapy, as therapeutic options for the treatment of fertility disorder, were unknown to the couples. Nevertheless a great willingness to use those therapies as a treatment for fertility disorder was shown. The higher the ascertained educational level of the interviewees, the greater was the “knowledge” and “acceptance” of acupuncture, homeopathy and phytotherapy as a treatment by unfulfilled child-wish. Reckoned altogether the utilisation of complementary therapies is appreciated and rated very positive. Therefore the attending physician should be informed about the advantages and disadvantages of complementary therapies, in order to be capable of developing a concept that meets the needs of the couple and to give optimal counselling.
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