How does homoeopathy work?

There has been much speculation about the efficacy of homoeopathy in the media over the past couple of years and yet recent clinical trials are consistently showing results in favour of homoeopathy despite the protestations of the sceptics.

One of the problems faced by homoeopathy in clinical trials is that the homoeopath bases their selection of the appropriate medicine on the individual patient, not on the name of the disease from which the patient may be suffering. So the homoeopathic medicines that are required by individual people suffering from similar problems will vary. For example a patient may consult me for a specific problem, and although I will ask many questions to ascertain the exact nature of this specific problem and how it affects them, it will be equally as important for me to know about many other aspects of that particular patient. Such as their current food preferences and aversions, levels of thirst, bowel habits and the manner in which they are sleeping, to name but a few. The answers to all of these queries will help me differentiate between the many homoeopathic medicines that may be indicated for the specific problem for which I have been consulted and select the one that is most likely to help the individual patient.

This means it is very difficult to test the efficacy of individual medicines in the treatment of specific conditions, as each person in a group of patients with the 'same' condition will probably require a different homoeopathic medicine. Despite this problem, various studies have been undertaken and have shown the efficacy of homoeopathy when compared with conventional (pharmaceutical) medicine. Whilst more research is needed some of these studies have shown that homeopathy is not only beneficial but can be more effective in the treatment of all manner of conditions including: arthritis, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, ear infections, eczema, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, menopausal problems and migraines. You can find out more about the exact nature of these studies if you click here:

Medicine or placebo?

One of the aspects of homoeopathy that is of concern to the sceptics is the fact that the medicines used in homoeopathy are extremely dilute preparations of the original substance. The concern is that because the medicines are so dilute that in some of the preparations, it is not possible to detect the presence of any of the original substance , it is therefore likely that any improvement reported by the patient is merely a placebo response.

Whilst this, as previously stated is a possibility, it doesn't explain why babies and animals respond positively to homoeopathic prepared medicines, nor why many patients treated with homoeopathic medicines experience an initial aggravation of their presenting symptoms before they experience relief. It is also interesting to note that there are many pharmaceutical drugs in current use that are undoubtedly effective and yet the specific manner in which they work remains a mystery.

There is much about the body we don't yet understand so the exact mechanisms and processes used by the body to create a healing response to a homoeopathically prepared medicine are as yet unknown.

But we do know that the human nose can detect the foul-smelling substance mercaptan at concentrations of only one part per 500,000,000,000 parts of air. Scientific experiments have also shown that: a homoeopathic preparation of Belladonna diluted to 30c (that is diluted by factors of 1 to 100 30 times) can make a piece of rat's intestine contract; and ultra-high dilutions of thyroxine can slow down the metamorphosis of tadpoles into frogs, and that similar dilutions of histamine can alter the activity of white blood cells in humans. For more information on these experiments click here: