Introduction: (Initial Observation)
Modern medicine, traditional medicine, alternative medicine, acupuncture, Homeopathy and hundreds of other therapeutic methods are used to cure disease and relief pain. Almost all of these treatment methods are subject to some critics by those who do not agree with that treatment method. In this project you will research Homeopathy facts and fictions.
Gather information about Homeopathy principles and science behind those principles. Read articles supporting or criticizing homeopathy. Analyze your data and draw your conclusion about Homeopathy. Is it a reliable method of treatment?
First learn what is Homeopathy. Then gather and study different articles supporting or criticizing Homeopathy. Find out what are the main objections of critics of homeopathy. Learn about the bodies immune system and how it functions. Search the Internet, read books, magazines or ask professionals who might know in order to learn about the cause of disease and different mechanism of treatment. Keep track of where you got your information from.
The internet has a large collection of information about homeopathy.
The following are samples of information that you may find.
What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a system of medical treatment designed to stimulate the body’s own defenses in order to cure illnesses. Homeopathy is based upon the discovery that substances in minute concentrations may alleviate symptoms similar to those they cause at higher concentration. For example, the symptoms brought on by chopping raw onions (watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose) are similar to common symptoms of hay fever. Correspondingly, a homeopathically prepared dilution of onion (allium sepa) may be used to treat hay fever.1 The phrase “likes are cured by likes”, known as the Law of Similars, can be used to describe one basic concept behind homeopathy. A second principle is that of minimum dose; a homeopathic medicine is usually given in diluted form.
Homeopathy was developed by the German physician and chemist, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, in the early 1800’s. Through many self-experiments, he furthered the Law of Similars, with which he was familiar, but observed that many of the substances produced toxic effects when taken at the conventional dosage level. He concluded that by systematically diluting the substances, even to a great degree, their healing abilities appear to remain intact and the severe side effects vanished.2 He called this medical system homeopathy from two Greek words: homoios (similar) and pathos (suffering).
The action of homeopathic remedies is recorded in volumes called Materia Medicas. Since homeopathy makes use of highly diluted substances, virtually every known material could conceivably be made into a remedy. The majority of remedies come from botanical sources while dilutions of minerals and animal-derived substances are also numerous. With its large quantity of remedies homeopathy can be used to treat a myriad of therapeutic conditions.
System of Dilution:
Hahnemann knew that giving even small doses of toxic material could have negative effects, so he developed a unique system of dilution. By this method, he found that he could take advantage of the curative properties of an agent without causing any side effects.
The process of making a homeopathic medicine is made up of two important steps. The first is the repetitive dilution of the starting material (tincture) and the second is the vigorous mixing or “succussion” required with each dilution step.
Tincture is an alcohol or water-alcohol mixture of the material
For example, to manufacture a 1X dilution, one part of a tincture, is mixed with 9 parts of the diluting solution and then shaken. The process of shaking (mixing) the liquid with sufficient impact at each stage of the dilution is called succussion. The next dilution, called a 2X dilution, is made from one part of the 1X dilution plus 9 parts of diluting solution, and succussed. This rhythmic dilution and succussion is repeated as many times as necessary.
The designation “X”, the Roman numeral 10, represents this one-in-ten dilution. This is a decimal potency. In homeopathic nomenclature, the number which precedes the “X” indicates the number of times it has been subjected to the dilution and succussion process. Therefore, a 12X dilution has gone through the one-in-ten dilution and mixing a total of 12 times.
Another homeopathic designation that is often seen is “C” (or “CH”). This signifies a centesimal potency. The designation “C”, the Roman numeral for 100, represents dilutions which are manufactured by mixing one part of the starting material in 100 parts of the diluting solution. Each subsequent dilution is also made according to the 1:100 ratio. So, a 6C dilution has gone through the one to 100 dilution and mixing 6 times.
Source… (Modified by project advisor)
Homeopathic remedies start with simple substances, such as herbs, minerals, or animal products. These substances are first crushed and dissolved in a specified amount of a substance—usually grain alcohol or lactose, mechanically shaken, then stored. This is the “mother tincture.” Homeopaths further dilute tinctures with alcohol or lactose, either 1 part to 10 (written as “x”) or 1 part to 100 (written as “c”), and then succuss these tinctures, yielding a 1x or 1c dilution. Homeopaths can even further dilute these tinctures two times (2x or 2c), three times (3x or 3c), and so forth. In clinical practice, any dilution may be used, but the most common are the 6x, 12x, and 30x and 6c, 12c, and 30c. The more diluted the substance, the more potent its healing powers are thought to be.
This is where the critics of homeopathy focus most. They believe that because homeopathic solutions are diluted so many times they are unlikely to contain any of the original ingredients at all. Following is a sample argument on dilution.
and here is another one titled Homeopathy, the ultimate fake.
A 30X dilution means that the original substance has been diluted 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times. Assuming that a cubic centimeter of water contains 15 drops, this number is greater than the number of drops of water that would fill a container more than 50 times the size of the Earth. Imagine placing a drop of red dye into such a container so that it disperses evenly. Homeopathy’s “law of infinitesimals” is the equivalent of saying that any drop of water subsequently removed from that container will possess an essence of redness.
In general, many scientists are deeply skeptical that a medicinal compound diluted out of existence should still exert a therapeutic effect.
Yet many of the people who take homeopathic medicines are convinced that they work. Has science missed something, or could there be a more conventional explanation?
The Placebo Effect
The placebo effect is a well-documented medical phenomenon. Often, a patient taking pills will feel better, regardless of what the pills contain, simply because they believe the pills will work. Doctors studying the placebo effect have noticed that large pills work better than small pills, and that colored pills work better than white ones.
Could the beneficial effects of homeopathy be entirely due to the placebo effect? If so, then homeopathy ought not to work on babies or animals, who have no knowledge that they are taking a medicine. Yet many people are convinced that it does.
Can science prove that homeopathy works?
In 1988, Jacques Benveniste was studying how allergies affected the body. He focussed on a type of blood cell known as a basophil, which activates when it comes into contact with a substance you’re allergic to.
As part of his research, Benveniste experimented with very dilute solutions. To his surprise, his research showed that even when the allergic substance was diluted down to homeopathic quantities, it could still trigger a reaction in the basophils. Was this the scientific proof that homeopathic medicines could have a measurable effect on the body?
The memory of water
In an attempt to explain his results, Benveniste suggested a startling new theory. He proposed that water had the power to ‘remember’ substances that had been dissolved in it. This startling new idea would force scientists to rethink many fundamental ideas about how liquids behave.
Search the Internet for water memory or memory of water and you will find many articles claiming proves and indications of memory in water. Even some articles suggest test methods for the memory of water.
One researcher claims that the “structure” of biochemicals can be impressed on water and suggests an experiment that uses electromagnetic noise to test it.
Another source claims: “Scientific analyses have demonstrated that the Marian waters possess unique properties that are transferable to normal water through successive dilutions.”
Dr. Jacques Benveniste’s is one of the leading researchers in the area of electromagnetic waves and biochemicals. He has done many experiments related to the memory of water. Go to his website digibio.com to see the great progress that he continues to make in his work. Following are two specific links in his website:
Some more resources supporting homeopathy or providing related products and services:
- BringHealth.Com – includes articles and links for treating diseases with homeopathic medicines.
- FAQ – Homeopathy
- Heel/BHI Inc. – homeopathic products and services.
- Homeopathy and Natural Health Care with Mr. Marar – provides a range of advice, support, and information including homeopathy, bioresonance treatments, and allergy testing, by registered homeopath Mr. N. Marar.
- National Center for Homeopathy – Homeopathy related publications.
- National United Professional Association of Trained Homeopaths (NUPATH) – Canada – organization for professionals involved in homeopathy and natural and complementary medicine. A directory of practitioners is included.
- New England Journal of Homeopathy – offering the homeopathic community articles and reviews.
- Ontario Homeopathic Association (OHA) – includes referrals, articles, forum, links, and more.
- The Life and Letters of Dr Samuel Hahnemann, founder of Homeopathy.
Resources opposing or criticizing homeopathy:
- Quack “Electrodiagnostic” Devices Used for Selecting Remedies
- FDA Compliance Policy Guide 7132.15 for Homeopathic Products
- Homoeopathy and Its Kindred Delusions (Essay by Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1842)
- Petition to Ban the Marketing of Homeopathic Products
- Why Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Proof
- Alternative Medicine and the Laws of Physics
- Samuel Hahnemann’s Book: Organon of Medicine
- The Scientific Evaluation of Homeopathy (includes research summary)
- Hahnemann’s Homeopathy (Five articles debunking homeopathic theory and practice)
The Potency of a homeopathic remedy refers to the number of successive dilutions that a substance is subjected to before being used as a remedy. In contrast to conventional pharmacology, in homeopathy potency is directly proportional to the degree of dilution. Thus when a homeopath speaks of “high potency” he or she refers to a large number of dilutions.
Dilutions are performed as ten or one hundred fold steps. Dilutions of 1:10 are designated in the U.S. by the Roman Numeral X (1X = 1/10, 2X = 1/100, 3X = 1/1000, etc). Dilutions of 1:100 are designated by the Roman Numeral C (1C = 1/100, 2C=1/10,000, 3C = 1/1,000,000, etc). Dilutions are always performed serially (i.e., one part of a 1X solution or powder is added to 9 parts of solvent or lactose to make a 2X preparation; then the process is repeated using the @X solution to make a 3X solution and so on) with succussion or trituration following each step.
Succussion is the process of agitating a freshly diluted solution by rapping its container hard against a hard but elastic object such as a leather-bound book. Hahnemann believed that succussion released dynamic forces from the diluents which were preserved and intensified with subsequent dilutions.
Trituration is the grinding of powders in a mortar with a pestle. It the primary mode of mixing used for the preparation of powdered dilutions in homeopathy. Homeopaths believe that trituration increasing the potency of a substance as a remedy.
What do you want to find out? Write a statement that describes what you want to do. Use your observations and questions to write the statement.
Homeopathy is a collection of concepts and methods. Any of these concepts and methods can be questioned and tested. Following are some possible questions:
- Is homeopathy an effective method of treatment for arthritis?
or Is homeopathy an effective method of treatment for allergies?
Arthritis and allergy are suggested here because they are both very common illnesses.
Arthritis is Inflammation of a joint, usually accompanied by pain, swelling, and stiffness, and resulting from infection, trauma, degenerative changes, metabolic disturbances, or other causes. It occurs in various forms, such as bacterial arthritis, osteoarthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis.
- Can bodies immune system be stimulated to cure disease?
- Can water memorize what substances have been dissolved in it?
In question number 1, you study the effectiveness of homeopathy on treatment of any specific disease of your choice? Note that if the results of your experiments or gathered data supports your hypothesis, you can not generalize the results and conclude that all homeopathy treatments are effective. Study on this question can be done by direct experiment and administering homeopathy treatments on a group of volunteers with identical disease and identical symptoms. To do that, you need to use the help of a licensed physician to diagnose the disease on all patients and authorize the experiment. The other method is giving a questionnaire to patients using the services of a homeopathy physician. A questionnaire can basically ask if the homeopathy treatments have been effective. How fast did they affect? and how long did the effects last?
For question number 2, you can actually make and test a homeopathy solution that stimulates bodies immune system, but not at homeopathy level dilutions.
For question number 3 also you can make and test your own homeopathy solution at homeopathy level dilutions.
Note that you must only select and focus on one question in your project.
When you think you know what variables may be involved, think about ways to change one at a time. If you change more than one at a time, you will not know what variable is causing your observation. Sometimes variables are linked and work together to cause something. At first, try to choose variables that you think act independently of each other.
Independent variable is the patient (because you are testing a specific treatment on different patients.)
Controlled variables are symptoms, medicine, ages, medicine dosage, the frequency it is administered and all other treatment procedures and environmental factors that may affect the healing process.
The dependent variables are the the number of days from observing an effect, the rate of effect and the number of days the effects last.
Based on your gathered information, make an educated guess about what types of things affect the system you are working with. Identifying variables is necessary before you can make a hypothesis.
This is a sample hypothesis for question number 1:
I think homeopathic level dilutions have no medicinal effect. If water can memorize the organic substances once dissolved in it, there must also be a way that water loses such memory. Water solutions are subject to continuous evaporation and condensation. They are also agitated during transportation. If these two conditions do not change the molecular order of water, then any distilled water may already have the memory of millions of other organic material that once were dissolved in it.
Following is a sample hypothesis for question number 2:
I think certain material are able to trigger the immune system of our body and cause a cure. So if the disease does not naturally trigger the body’s immune system, then such remedies may be effective. I think triggering the bodies immune system using stimulating substances may be a good method of treatment for hair loss, cancer, and other disease that do not trigger bodies immune system.
My hypothesis is based on my gathered information about the bodies immune system and how it works.
I also came up with a non-biological example that may explain indirect triggering of the immune system.
It is midnight and a group of professional bank robbers are breaking in a local bank. They know how to bypass all alarm sensors and security features. To prevent such a bank robbery, you may send another less experienced bank robber to rob the bank at the same time. The action of the second bank robber will trigger the alarm and the police will surround the bank and arrests all bank robbers.
That’s how I think some substances trigger the bodies immune system.
Depending on the question that you select, you will have to come up with your own hypothesis.
Design an experiment to test each hypothesis. Make a step-by-step list of what you will do to answer each question. This list is called an experimental procedure. For an experiment to give answers you can trust, it must have a “control.” A control is an additional experimental trial or run. It is a separate experiment, done exactly like the others. The only difference is that no experimental variables are changed. A control is a neutral “reference point” for comparison that allows you to see what changing a variable does by comparing it to not changing anything. Dependable controls are sometimes very hard to develop. They can be the hardest part of a project. Without a control you cannot be sure that changing the variable causes your observations. A series of experiments that includes a control is called a “controlled experiment.”
Is homeopathy an effective method of treatment for allergies?
Introduction: Different allergic symptoms such as hay fever are among the first illnesses that have been tried by homeopathy medicine.
The principle of like cures like, means that a substance that can cause the body harm in large portions can cure the body of that harm in miniscule amounts.
Symptoms of Hay Fever (allergic rhinitis) include itchy, runny, sneezes, or stuffy noses, and itchy eyes. Allergic rhinitis is a common illness affecting an estimated 20-40 million Americans, and resulting in 10 million lost days of school or work each year. Often caused by pollens from trees, grass or weeds, it is most commonly known as hay fever. Hay fever subsides with the onset of cold weather. Perennial allergic rhinitis, however, occurs year around and is caused by indoor allergens such as dust, mite, mold spores, and animal dander.
Based on homeopathy method, a substance that produced a runny nose, watery – red eyes and repeated sneezing, would be of great value in treatment of hay fever. The common onion produces just those symptoms and has now achieved an established place in homeopathic therapeutics.
Although most homeopathy dilutions are simply distilled water (with some memory!), they are well overpriced. To keep experiment cost effective, we will make our own homeopathy dilutions.
In this experiment we make and test a homeopathy solution using red onion.
Make homeopathy dilutions:
- Get one or two medium size red onions and grind them in a grinder with about 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of ethyl alcohol. You will get a solution of onion juice in water-alcohol.
- Filter the solution and use it as tincture for further dilutions.
- Mix 100 ml of the tincture with 900 ml of distilled water in a bottle and shake it for one minute. This will make 1X dilution.
- Mix 100 ml of 1X dilution with 900 ml of distilled water in a bottle and shake it for one minute. This will make a 2X dilution.
- Repeat the dilution procedure 24 times to get a 24X dilution. Each time you mix 100 ml of previous dilution with 900 ml distilled water and shake it for one minute.
- Keep all previous dilutions so you can make more 24X dilution if needed.
Procedure: Administrating the medicine
Find twenty volunteers with hay fever to participate in your experiment. 10 of them will be the experiment group and the other 10 will be the control group. (they will not know about existence of a control group)
Give about 100 ml of 24X dilution to each individual in experiment group and give about 100 ml of distilled water to each individual in control group.
Ask every one to take one spoon of liquid each time and repeat this 3 times a day. Ask them not to eat 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after each intake.
All participants must be told that they are trying a homeopathy medicine and all must record their progress in a daily log file like this:
|Day||Sneeze||Runny nose||stuffy noses||red eyes||itchy eyes|
Write a number in each cell to show to severity of each symptom. 0 means no symptoms and 100 means very severe.
Note: Such a homeopathic medicine may be called Allium cepa – Botanical name for red onion.
Can bodies immune system be stimulated to cure disease?
Symptoms such as pain, rash, irritation, redness and swelling are often caused by the bodies self defense mechanism or immune system. Some disease, however, do not cause any natural reaction by our defense mechanism. For example, certain disease or imbalance in body may cause hair loss, dry skin, excessive amounts of perspiration, hot flash, or growth of a tumor. Since our immune system does not react to such conditions, they will usually persist and cause discomfort and other complications.
As I indicated in my hypothesis, it might be possible to trigger the bodies immune system by introducing small amounts of a stimulating substances. From stimulating substances, I mean those who cause symptoms such as irritation, pain, redness, swelling. Stimulating substances must only be diluted if their use with full concentration may cause serious and permanent harm.
Making Cayenne Pepper Tincture:
- Take a Quart Canning Jar and fill it 1/4 full with dried Cayenne Peppers (powdered, using a Blender or Grinder), getting the hottest ones (i.e. – Habanero, African Bird, Serrano, Jalapeno – 90,000+ Heat Units), that you can obtain.
- Add enough 50% Grain Alcohol (100 Proof Vodka) to the Cayenne Peppers to just cover them.
- In a separate container, use enough fresh Cayenne Peppers, that you can blend with one cup 50% Grain Alcohol (100 Proof Vodka) to turn the Mixture into an Apple Sauce-Like Consistency.
- Add this Mixture to the 1st Mixture, filling up the Canning Jar 3/4 full.
- Fill up the rest of the Canning Jar with more 50% Grain Alcohol (100 Proof Vodka).
- Shake it as many times as possible, during the Day.
- Let this Mixture sit for about 2 to 4 weeks.
- Strain this Mixture through an unbleached Coffee Filter.
- Bottle the resulting Tincture.
NOTE: If you are doing this where both dried and fresh pepper are not available, Just use either one that is available. Grain alcohol is same as ethyl alcohol or ethanol.
- Find volunteers with skin disease such as acne, bacterial infection or fungal infections.
- divide the volunteers in 2 identical groups. One experiment group and one control group.
- Give one daily report sheet and about 20 ml of tincture to each member of experiment group.
- Give one daily report sheet and about 20 ml of 50% grain alcohol to each member of the control group.
- None of the volunteers should know about the exact combination of medicine that they are trying. You may optionally add some food coloring to 50% grain alcohol to make it the same color of the tincture.
- Ask members to use a q-tip to apply some medicine on their infection spot and repeat that about 3 times a day. Also ask them to report the effects of this treatment every day for 7 days.
- Report sheet may look like this:
Improvement rate is a number between 0% up to 100% for each day. 0% means no improvement on that day in compare with previous day. Negative rates such as -5% means symptoms worsened after treatment. Note are explanations of feelings and changes caused by treatment.
Following is a link to a do it yourself experiment in order to prove the claims related to water memory. It seems this experiment can only be conducted by professional laboratories.
Materials and Equipment:
List of material can be extracted from the experiment section. Most material or equipment can be easily substituted as needed.
Results of Experiment (Observation):
Experiments are often done in series. A series of experiments can be done by changing one variable a different amount each time. A series of experiments is made up of separate experimental “runs.” During each run you make a measurement of how much the variable affected the system under study. For each run, a different amount of change in the variable is used. This produces a different amount of response in the system. You measure this response, or record data, in a table for this purpose. This is considered “raw data” since it has not been processed or interpreted yet. When raw data gets processed mathematically, for example, it becomes results.
You may need to do some calculation with data that you have collected. Such calculations must be recorded in this section of your report. You often need to calculate the minimum, maximum or average changes in your dependent variables in both control group and experiment group.
Summary of Results:
Summarize what happened. This can be in the form of a table of processed numerical data, or graphs. It could also be a written statement of what occurred during experiments.
It is from calculations using recorded data that tables and graphs are made. Studying tables and graphs, we can see trends that tell us how different variables cause our observations. Based on these trends, we can draw conclusions about the system under study. These conclusions help us confirm or deny our original hypothesis. Often, mathematical equations can be made from graphs. These equations allow us to predict how a change will affect the system without the need to do additional experiments. Advanced levels of experimental science rely heavily on graphical and mathematical analysis of data. At this level, science becomes even more interesting and powerful.
Using the trends in your experimental data and your experimental observations, try to answer your original questions. Is your hypothesis correct? Now is the time to pull together what happened, and assess the experiments you did.
Related Questions & Answers:
What you have learned may allow you to answer other questions. Many questions are related. Several new questions may have occurred to you while doing experiments. You may now be able to understand or verify things that you discovered when gathering information for the project. Questions lead to more questions, which lead to additional hypothesis that need to be tested.
What is allopathic medicine?
If you did not observe anything different than what happened with your control, the variable you changed may not affect the system you are investigating. If you did not observe a consistent, reproducible trend in your series of experimental runs there may be experimental errors affecting your results. The first thing to check is how you are making your measurements. Is the measurement method questionable or unreliable? Maybe you are reading a scale incorrectly, or maybe the measuring instrument is working erratically.
If you determine that experimental errors are influencing your results, carefully rethink the design of your experiments. Review each step of the procedure to find sources of potential errors. If possible, have a scientist review the procedure with you. Sometimes the designer of an experiment can miss the obvious.
These are all helpful links.