Homeopatic therapy in Cancer Treatment

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From the article by E. Ernst
"Efficacy of homeopathic therapy in cancer treatment"

A recent European survey has shown that
homeopathy is amongst the most commonly used complementary
therapies for cancer in 7 out of 14 European
countries [3].
As a palliative or supportive treatment, homeopathy is
used mainly to strengthen the body in its fight against cancer,
to improve general well-being, and to alleviate pain
resulting from disease or conventional treatments [2,3].
Homeopathy is controversial as no plausible mode of action
has been identified for substances that are so highly diluted
that they can not be measured [4]. Homeopathic remedies
are believed to be most effective when they are selected to
address a total set of symptoms and characteristics [5] and
in classical or individualized homeopathy, choice of remedies
are based on the match of a patients particular symptoms
with a remedy picture rather than conventional diagnosis
[6]. Prescribing homeopathic substances is based on its proposed
law of similars that suggests that ‘‘like cures like’’ [7].
Although Hahnemann initially diluted these substances in
order to reduce toxicity, he came to believe that the actual
process of diluting and shaking imparted additional potency
to each solution [5]. His process of testing natural substances
in healthy individuals became known as ‘‘drug proving’’ and
results continue to be collected into an encyclopaedia of
homeopathic drug effects known as the Materia Medica
[8,9]. In ‘‘classical homeopathy’’ single remedies are given to
patients, whereas in ‘‘complex homeopathy’’ several homeopathic
medicines are combined into one formula, where concentration
tends to be below 24X and usually below 12X [10]
(the numbers indicate the dilution of the homeopathic remedy;
that is, remedies are obtained by ‘‘decimal dilution’’, one
part substance to nine parts alcohol, and then labelled by the
letter X or D).
In the 1950s, Hans H. Reckeweg developed a new form of
homeopathy known as homotoxicology [11], which generally
uses formulations that contains measurable amounts of
homeopathically prepared active ingredients, designed to
work with the bodys defence mechanisms and facilitate the
bodys elimination of toxic substances (homotoxins). Homotoxicological
remedies are prepared according to the rules of
homeopathy and are used in combinations as complex remedies.
Some experts fail to differentiate between homeopathic
and homotoxicological medicines. However, there are important
differences. Homeopathy follows the ‘‘like cures like’’
principle, while homotoxicology does not [12]. Homotoxicology
often makes use of biological material that would be
atypical in homeopathy, such as material from pigs. Some reports
suggest the efficacy of homotoxicology for defined conditions,
but many caveats exist [12].
Isopathy is another subset of homeopathy that was developed
by Johann Lux in the 1830s. It differs from homeopathy
in that remedies are prepared from those substances that
cause the illness (e.g., allergens or bacteria) [13] and several
trials have suggested its clinical efficacy [14].

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