I am appalled at the ignorance and prejudice of Cecil Adams regarding homeopathy [March 24]. As one of the Cincinnati-area study-group leaders for the National Center for Homeopathy, I would like the chance to present the facts about the effectiveness and safety of homeopathy.
Regarding Mr. Adams’s disparaging remarks about infinitesimal doses, there is a recognized principle in pharmacology called the biphasic response of drugs, which states that the two phases of a drug’s action are dose dependent. Rather than a drug simply having increased effects as its dose becomes larger, research has consistently shown that exceedingly small doses of a substance will have the opposite effects of large doses. For instance, it is widely recognized that normal medical doses of atropine block the parasympathetic nerves, causing mucous membranes to dry up, while exceedingly small doses of atropine cause increased secretions to mucous membranes.
This pharmacological principle was concurrently discovered in the 1870s by two separate researchers, Hugo Schulz and Rudolf Arndt. Initially called the Arndt-Schulz law, this principle is still widely recognized, as witnessed by the fact that it is commonly listed in medical dictionaries under the definition of “law.”
Additionally, hormesis is the study of the effect of microdoses of the otherwise toxic substances to stimulate growth or healing. Hundreds of studies have confirmed this phenomena and the journal Health Physics devoted its May 1987 issue to this phenomena. Dr. Shui-Yin Lo, professor at the California Institute of Technology, along with Dr. Benjamin Bonavida, professor and former chair of UCLA’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology, have published significant research on IE crystals which are biologically active in serial dilutions of up to one in ten 13 times. Dr. Lo, who followed the traditional homeopathic pharmacological method of diluting and shaking solutions, stated, “The homeopaths were definitely onto something. There seems to be something unique in water that undergoes extreme dilution, and we now have the laboratory and photographic (using an electron microscope and an atomic force microscope) evidence to verify it. Based on our research to date, every dilution beyond the sixth has found IE crystals in them.”
The Lancet, a well-respected British medical journal, published a review of 89 double-blind controlled trials in its September 20, 1997, issue and concluded that homeopathic medicines were 2.45 times more effective than placebo. The World Health Organization noted that “Homeopathic treatment seems well suited for use in rural areas where the infrastructure, equipment and drugs needed for conventional medicine cannot be provided.”
On a more personal note, I saw a homeopathic physician for the first time at age 28. Eight months after beginning homeopathic treatment, I had my first normal glucose-tolerance test since I was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 19. Also, after years of suffering with severe allergies, I was able to decrease and finally stop my antihistamines. When the elementary school my children attended had an outbreak of chicken pox, my children were back in school, symptom free, after three days of homeopathic treatment. In the 22 years my family (both human and animal) has been using homeopathy, we have never had an adverse reaction or even mild side effect from any homeopathic remedy; and we have had excellent outcomes for both acute and chronic medical problems.
If any of your readers would like more information about homeopathy, they can call the National Center for Homeopathy at 703-548-7790 or on the Internet at homeopathic.org; or the Homeopathic Educational Services at 510-649-0294 or homeopathic.com.