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Credit: Neelix
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Linaria_vulgaris_1.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

The state of medicine and the delivery of health care have been debated for decades. Current topics of discussion include public health, personal responsibility for health, how to pay for medical treatment, and the best approach to treating disorders. Often lost in the conversation is the topic of alternative medicine. Are there other ways to approach the idea of health and disease other than the ones that dominate medical training and practice today?

Amazing But True

  • Most of us believe that there is a direct relationship between the concentration if a material in solution and its effect on a system. If we increase the concentration of a reagent in a chemical reaction, that reaction will take place more rapidly. A similar idea holds in the pharmaceutical realm. An increase in the amount of a drug given to a patient will (up to a point) increase the effectiveness of the drug treatment.
  • Homeopathy is a system of treatment based on the idea of “like cures like”. The approach assumes that a substance that will produce a specific effect in a healthy person can be used to cure an illness associated with that effect. The administered material is given to help the body in its natural healing process.
  • License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    The founder of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnermann [Figure2]

  • One controversial aspect of homeopathy is its practice of a “minimum dose” – the idea that a lower dose of a medication will be more effective than a higher dose. Often the amount of material administered is so dilute that it cannot be detected in the solution. Supporters of this type of treatment talk about a “memory” that water molecules have of the administered drug.
  • Check out this video about homeopathy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULExWtl-22g

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Use the links below to learn more about homeopathy. Then answer the following questions.

  1. When was homeopathy first developed and where?
  2. What is a “potentiated substance”?
  3. Are homeopathic treatments only placebos?
  4. What are some materials used in homeopathic medicines?
  5. What homeopathic preparations can be sold without a prescription?

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Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Neelix; Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Linaria_vulgaris_1.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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