Homeopathy in Elder Care

Homeopathy in Elder Care

by John Philip Green

Homeopathy is a system for treating disease with repeatedly diluted solutions.

It was created in 1796 by a German physician named Samuel Hahnemann, before the advent of modern medicine.

Homeopaths: “Like Cures Like”

A homeopath is someone that sells homeopathic remedies. They identify substances that, in healthy people, cause the unwanted symptoms of their patient. They sell their patients diluted water, in the form of pills or bottles, in which the substance is used during its production. “Like cures like” is a founding principle of homeopathy.

An example homeopathic remedy is Arsenicum Alubum, which a homeopath would use to treat colds, flu, diarrhea, or food poisoning. It is produced using arsenic trioxide, which is toxic to humans. Swallowing even a small dose of arsenic trioxide causes vomiting, abdominal pains, diarrhea, and internal bleeding.

Homeopaths counter-intuitively think that taking a substance that causes diarrhea and diluting it with water, that it will then cure diarrhea.

How could this work?

Before dilution, homeopathic remedies are solutions made up mostly of water plus very small amounts of natural (but often toxic) substances. The solution is then diluted with water over and over again. After repeated dilutions, there’s not a single molecule of the natural substances remaining--its all just water.

Homeopaths claim that the water will retain a memory of the substance it was in contact with. The scientific community has found no evidence of this and consider it implausible.

Is it Dangerous?

There are 3 answers to this: No, not likely, and yes.

Given that homeopathic remedies are physically indistinguishable from water, they are only as dangerous to seniors as water. So no, homeopathy is not dangerous.

But... many homeopathic remedies are prepared using substances that in moderate amounts are toxic to humans. If there were to be a homeopathic remedy that did have a sufficient amount of toxicity then of course it could cause harm. This is not likely.

Finally, yes. The true danger of homeopathy is not what these “remedies” could do physically to seniors and others, but the false hope that they provide. Homeopathy is not medicine. It does not prevent or cure anything. Ill seniors could be in great peril if they forgo proper treatments and put their faith in unfounded snake oil.

More information

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