Science & Tech

India requires evidence-based, ethical medicine

Recently, the ICMR and the Ministry of Ayush agreed to expand their collaboration in health research related to integrated medicine.

Central idea

A noteworthy pluralistic approach is the recent drive to integrate AYUSH medical systems into mainstream health care in order to attain universal health coverage and decolonize medicine. This endeavour, however, must prioritise safety and efficacy norms for each participating system. Unfortunately, Homoeopathy falls short of these fundamental requirements.

What exactly is an integrated medical system?

  • An integrated system of medicine is a method of providing complete and patient-centered treatment that includes aspects from many healthcare systems or modalities, such as conventional medicine and traditional, complementary, or alternative medicine.

What Is Homeopathy?

  • Homoeopathy is an alternative medical system created in the late 18th century by German physician Samuel Heinemann.
  • Homoeopathy is a medical system that believes the body can heal itself. It is practised by using trace amounts of natural ingredients such as plants and minerals. They feel that these aid in the healing process.
  • This is predicated on the premise that a chemical that creates symptoms in a healthy person might trigger the body’s natural healing reaction to help an ill person overcome similar symptoms.

Homoeopathic fundamentals

  • The Law of Similarities: Homoeopathy is based on the idea that a chemical that causes symptoms in a healthy person may be used to treat comparable symptoms in a sick person.
  • Minimum Dose: Homoeopathic remedies are created through a process of dilution and potentization, which entails diluting the original material repeatedly and vigorously shaking it. This technique, it is believed, increases the remedy’s healing powers while minimising any potential toxicity.
  • Individualization: Homoeopathy considers each person as a distinct individual, tailoring treatment to their specific symptoms and overall constitution.
  • To discover a suitable solution, homoeopathy considers the entirety of a person’s physical, mental, and emotional symptoms rather than focusing exclusively on a specific disease or isolated symptoms.

Concerns over the efficacy and safety of Homeopathy

  • Weak Evidence: The evidence supporting homeopathy’s efficacy is deemed weak. The Nuremberg Salt Test (1835), a well-conducted double-blind randomised controlled study, debunked homoeopathy by attributing its claimed results to imagination, self-deception, or even fraud.
  • Multiple systematic reviews and meta-analyses have consistently revealed that homoeopathic treatments have no clinically significant impact across a wide range of diseases, population groupings, research types, and treatment regimens.
  • Unregistered experiments: According to the researchers, more than half of the 193 homoeopathic experiments undertaken in the last two decades were not registered. Surprisingly, unregistered trials demonstrated efficacy but registered trials did not, raising question on the evidence’s validity and dependability.
  • Lack of trust: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued warnings against the use of homoeopathy for serious illnesses such as HIV, TB, malaria, baby flu and diarrhoea. This demonstrates scepticism about its efficacy in treating such disorders.
  • Ineffectiveness for Serious Conditions: Evidence suggests that homoeopathy may not be beneficial in treating cancers or reducing the bad effects of cancer treatments.
  • One of the safety issues of homoeopathy is that it has the potential to delay the use of evidence-based clinical care for serious or life-threatening illnesses. This delay can have a negative impact on patients’ health results.

Arguments in Favour of Homoeopathy Historical Usage:

  • Proponents of homoeopathy frequently emphasise its lengthy history and vast popularity, stating that its efficiency is proved by its ongoing use throughout the ages.
  • Individualization of Treatment: Individualised treatment is emphasised in homoeopathy, with treatments tailored to a person’s specific symptoms and overall constitution. This personalised strategy is thought to benefit patients who do not respond well to traditional treatments.
  • Homoeopathic therapies are greatly diluted, which proponents argue reduces adverse effects and makes them safe to use even in sensitive patient populations.
  • Advocates claim that homoeopathy provides a holistic approach to health, taking into account not only physical symptoms but also mental and emotional components of a person’s well-being.
  • Anecdotal testimonies: Homoeopathy supporters frequently present anecdotal testimonies from patients who claim to have had excellent outcomes after utilising homoeopathic treatments. To reinforce the credibility of homoeopathy, supporters frequently quote testimonials from notable personalities such as Gandhi and Tagore.
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