Cause of Disease
Like Cures Like
Clinical Trials 03-07
Clinical Trials 98-02
Are the principles of Homeopathy scientifically valid?
Hahnemann's concept of a vital force and its disturbance as a cause of
disease, while plausible in 1815, is not accepted widely today. No one has ever measured or observed such a
vital force. Modern medicine has had great success in
identifying the cause of diseases. The discipline of Pathology,
which did not formally exist in Hahnemann's day, is devoted to the study of
the causes and characteristics of disease. The ideas of
Hahnemann predated important discoveries such as those of Pasteur
(1859) Lister and Koch, which showed that microbes were the cause of many diseases.
Many of the diseases that plagued patients in Hahnemann's day (tuberculosis,
syphilis typhoid fever, cholera) are now curable by the use of modern
medicines. In fact it was the scientific advances of the late 19th and
early 20th centuries that led to the rapid decline of Homeopathy.
There is no scientific evidence supporting this
principle. This principle is based on attempting to match a pattern
of symptoms, rather than an understanding of the underlying mechanisms
Some proponents point to the use of vaccination as being
similar to the use of nosodes (infected
tissue or isolated infectious agent) in homeopathy.
However, they are quite dissimilar in practice. Vaccinations used
live or altered infectious agents in small (but active) concentrations to stimulate the
immune system to prevent an infection. There are many documented
vaccines that prevent disease in this way (e.g., rabies, yellow fever, polio,
measles, etc). Nosode use in homeopathy
consists of a small piece of infected tissue that is pulverized and diluted in
alcohol, followed by serial dilution to infinitesimal
The process of dilution combined with succussion to increase healing potency
runs counter to the modern principles of Pharmacology. The pharmacological
concept of the dose-response relationship states that as dose increases, so does
effect. This concept has been demonstrated thousands of times in
independent experiments. Conventional practitioners and homeopaths
generally agree that the amount of active substance present in a homeopathic
remedy is too small to have an effect on its own (this is why they can be
marketed over the counter as harmless). For example, a 30C preparation
(most preferred by Hahnemann) is a dilution equal to 1:1060 .
This dilution is equivalent to one molecule diluted in a sphere the size of the
orbit of Neptune! Thus, high potency homeopathic remedies contain 100%
vehicle and no active molecules.
Hahnemann felt that dilution increased potency only when the solution was dynamized.
The process of succussion or trituration supposedly removes an essence from the
diluent that is itself not lost during the dilution process. Two major
- This would imply that a solvent molecules could retain an imprinted memory
of a dissolved molecule even after the solute molecule had been
removed. This imprint or force would have to be somehow greatly
magnified (rather than diluted) by the process of rapping the solution vial
against a hard object since the original solvent molecules have also been
diluted to near infinity. There is absolutely no independent
empirical evidence for this; further these notions are contradicted by
the evidence-based principles of physics, pharmacology and
- Finally, why isn't the alcoholic solvent or the trace contaminants from
the tubes, stoppers, and solvent dynamized during dilution and
On the positive side, a recent finding using certain organic molecules in
polar solvents suggests that not all solutions behave classically and that in
some cases dilution does not evenly disperse molecules. read about this
Virtually none of the homeopathic remedies
found in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia have actually undergone formal
placebo-controlled clinical trials for specific diseases. Instead
they rely on provings (the responses of healthy, cooperative individuals who
take active doses (non-diluted) of a substance and report on its effects) to
determine which diseases evoke symptoms similar to that seen in the
proving. The substance tested in the proving is then prepared
homeopathically and used in patients with the symptoms recorded during the
proving. Many of the "provings" were conducted
more than 150 years ago. There is no scientific validity to
determining drug action in this way because:
- The proving is highly subjective and is performed without regard to dose
and other pharmacokinetic factors.
- Like does not cure like.
- The drug tested in the proving is not actually present in the homeopathic