Homeopathic Treatments May Be Putting Patients At Risk

Homeopathy is an alternative medical philosophy based on the idea that the body has the ability to heal itself.

To a point that is true, as the body does have immunological processes in place to prevent potentially harmful infestations and infections from occurring. For example, when a surface injury happens, the immune system responds with various systems related to cicatrisation.

The normal physiologic process of wound healing is immediately set in motion the moment the skin is breached; triggering an inflammatory, proliferative, and remodeling response. A complex cascade of biochemical events takes place in order to repair the damage.

Factors that can inhibit or slow this process include diabetes, venous or arterial disease, biological age, hormones, and degree and type of infection. If the area becomes further infected, septic or gangrenous medical attention is required.

Healing is not as easily seen, such as with cancers or foreign growths within the body, blood pressure fluctuations, and symptoms of other ailments.

Homeopathic medicine views symptoms of illness as normal responses of the body as it attempts to regain health.

According to WebMD, homeopathy is based on the idea that “like cures like.” Specifically, if a substance causes a symptom in a healthy person, giving the person a very small amount of the same substance may cure the illness.

In theory, a homeopathic dose enhances the body's normal healing and self-regulatory processes – using pills made up of sugars and lactose or liquid solutions containing a little of an active ingredient (a plant or mineral) for treatment of disease.

There has been some evidence homeopathic medicines may have beneficial effects, but many homeopath practitioners have been found guilty of making unproven, exaggerated health claims, offering false hope to patients, according to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK, tarnishing the practice.

Research has shown that the levels of the substances offered to patients are so small or even virtually non-existent that they cannot have a biologically beneficial effect, reports the Daily Mail.

Additional scientific research has repeatedly found homeopathic remedies ineffective and their postulated mechanisms of action implausible. Homeopathic remedies have been the subject of numerous clinical trials, revealing at best in some cases, no effect beyond placebo, at worst an actively harmful treatment. These results can depend on numerous variables.

Therefore, patients who commingle standard treatment with alternative medicine, especially depending on the type of illness, may be putting themselves at risk.

Marketed homeopathic remedies have been regulated in the US since 1938, but it is important to tell your medical doctor if you decide to use an alternative treatment.

This includes vitamin and herbal supplements.

Always tell your doctor if you are using an alternative therapy or if you are thinking about combining an alternative therapy with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo standard medicine and rely solely on an alternative therapy for certain conditions.

There is also the possibility of negative drug interactions.

Doctors need to have a full scope of what you are doing for health in order to help you make an informed decision.

You can buy some homeopathic medicines at health food stores without a doctor's prescription, but preparations from different suppliers and practitioners may vary.

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