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Is Homeopathy Safe?

Is Homeopathy Safe?

For centuries, people around the world have used homeopathy to treat everything from seasickness to cancer. But this summer’s recall of Zicam, a popular homeopathic nasal cold remedy containing zinc, raised questions about the safety of this somewhat mysterious science.

Homeopathy uses natural substances from plants, minerals, or animals to ward off disease, operating under the principle “like cures like.” For example, if you’re suffering stomach woes, taking a tincture containing a tiny amount of arsenic–which upsets the stomach–can trigger your immune system to fight the illness. The theory is that a scary-sounding substance like arsenic helps rather than harms you because it’s diluted to miniscule potencies.

But when the FDA reported that more than 130 people lost their sense of smell after using Zicam, the recall sparked a flurry of articles questioning not only homeopath’s effectiveness, but also its safety. Zicam execs have appealed to the FDA to reverse its decision, citing four studies showing that the zinc used in Zicam does not affect smell–and that scientists have found that simply having a cold can cause permanent loss of smell. Either way, some homeopaths argue that the zinc in Zicam isn’t diluted enough for the treatment to even be considered homeopathic.

The European Council for Classical Homeopathy took on the safety issue by reviewing 28 international studies published since 1995. Of more than 8,000 study participants, none had a serious adverse reaction (defined as life threatening, disabling, causing hospitalization, or creating birth defects) from any homeopathic treatment. And an American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists study found that reports of any kind of adverse reaction–even a simple headache–from homeopathic remedies were on par with those from popping vitamin or mineral pills. More people reported complications from taking over-the-counter medicines for asthma, colds, or pain relief than they did from homeopathic remedies.

Practitioners point out that the FDA regulates homeopathy the same way it does pharmaceuticals, meaning homeopathic medicines are subject to more stringent formulation and labeling laws than supplements. Sounds like we should keep the arnica on hand after all.

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Read more: Alternative Therapies, Health, Natural Remedies, , ,

By Vicky Uhland, Natural Solutions

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Natural Solutions: Vibrant Health, Balanced Living offers its readers the latest news on health conditions, herbs and supplements, natural beauty products, healing foods and conscious living.

46 comments

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2:19PM PST on Jan 29, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

3:28PM PST on Jan 7, 2013

Homeopathics are excellent with a fantastic result. Takes a bit longer than a the faster method but its better on the body and the side effects arent there.
im so allergic to trad meds

9:32PM PST on Nov 30, 2012

Thank you :)

6:12AM PDT on Oct 25, 2012

oh, there is a web page where you can buy homeopathic preventatives for rabies for their dog

6:07AM PDT on Oct 25, 2012

I think homeopathy is safer than some of the medicines that are out there!!.

12:26AM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

Thanks for sharing.

5:25AM PST on Dec 15, 2011

Yes it is safe. They really practice "do no harm".

7:22AM PDT on Aug 8, 2011

Noted!

8:22AM PDT on Jul 9, 2011

Thank you

3:41PM PST on Nov 21, 2010

Thanks.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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