Put that down! You don’t want to overdose on that glass of water, do you? Some substance might have left its imprint into the liquid’s memory, creating a potent drug…
Sound far-fetched? The British Parliament thinks so, which is why members of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee have recently condemned funding for homeopathic drugs.
Homeopathy is a medical system that operates based on the principle that the lower the dose of medication, the greater its effectiveness. By diluting a substance many times, the end product has only the “essence” of the substance but none of the active ingredients.
The scientific community has continuously criticized homeopathic drugs for marketing a placebo effect and delaying diagnosis for individuals with underlying diseases. For these reasons and the financial burden of £4m a year, members of the parliament have proposed a bar on the licensing of homeopathic remedies, a step towards evidence-based medicine.
But one should pause before feeling content with the current situation, because homeopathy is still common in the United States. According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 3.9 million U.S. adults and approximately 900,000 children used homeopathy in the previous year. (More facts about the use of homeopathy and US policies can be found on the National Institutes of Health site here.)
From these frightening figures, it is clear that many people are still uninformed about the truth behind homeopathy, and that something needs to be done. No matter how scientifically advanced a country is, if the facts about topics like homeopathy are not effectively communicated, its citizens will still be hurt.
So is less really more? The answer turns out to be yes: less homeopathic drugs will be more beneficial to the wellness of individuals, but this can only be achieved if science is communicated effectively to society.
- blog authored by Kevin Li