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Is homoeopathy a real science?

By Finserv MARKETS - Aug 21,2019
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Homeopathy a real science

Introduction

Homoeopathy is a field of treatment that works on the premise that like cures like, so a substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in healthy people would cure similar symptoms in sick people. Homoeopathy has always been on the radar because of the dubious status associated with the application of this field in treatment, and the lack of scientific basis to support the claims it makes. You may also have wondered whether you’ll be covered for homoeopathic treatments if you decide to apply for health insurance. This is a legit concern – when you buy health insurance, you want to ensure you can seek medical treatment without having to part with truckloads of money. Let’s dive deep into the concept and field of homoeopathy.

Why homoeopathy has become a topic of heated conversation in India is because of the recent government push given to the alternative treatment industry. AYUSH (Ayurveda, yoga & naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy) being set up as a separate ministry, upgraded from the previous status of a department, brings more focus on this field, and also budget allocation. The ministry’s budget has been consistently increasing: first, it more than doubled to Rs 1,428.7 crore in 2017-2018. Now, Rs 1,739.76 crore has been earmarked for the Ministry of AYUSH for the next fiscal, a 6.9 percent increase over the 2018-2019 financial year. With such enormous amounts of money under its belt, alternative medicine has been on a growth curve.

In April this year, however, the Ministry issued an advisory that categorically recognized AYUSH as an ‘integral part of the country’s healthcare delivery network’ and that it would not like its image sullied in any way by unfounded statements by researchers outside the AYUSH stream. There is a strong voice from the scientific community that also calls homoeopathy out on its superstition, bluff, pseudoscience or prejudice. So which side does truth and logic favour?

What you should know: the placebo effect

The Ministry barring scientists and researchers from the non-AYUSH fields from undertaking any research on AYUSH doesn’t bode well with the dubious reputation of these fields. If anything, it gives us all the more reason to question the legitimacy of homoeopathy as a mode of treatment. Here’s a detailed peek into what is fuelling these doubts:

Alt-med has always suffered from the lack of scientific evidence or enough case studies that can prove the efficacy or effectiveness of the medicinal treatment and the branch of homoeopathy is on very thin ice for this reason. While traditional therapies in South Asian countries are nothing new, they still establish themselves over a period of time with more evidence and case studies than just ancestral anecdotes. But are anecdotes enough to qualify as the basis for your claims when you buy health insurance?

How this branch works (going back to the premise of like cures like) is that the lowest amount of the homoeopathic drug or “remedy” is mixed with large volumes of water or alcohol and poured over sugar pills. There is very extreme dilution – at a ratio of 1:10,00,00,00,00,000, but even the idea that water will hold the properties of the substance poured in such dilution is absurd.

Now, usually, when we test medicines and their effects, it includes a rigorous study and randomised trials where groups are administered the drug. Such groups have a variety in their subjects across age and gender, with further sub-classifications based on pre-existing conditions, such as diseases or pregnancy. Under any such experiment, homoeopathy has consistently shown to be no more effective than a placebo. There have been specific experiments to judge the efficacy of modern medicine vis-a-vis homoeopathy and there was weak evidence for a specific effect of homoeopathic remedies, but strong evidence for specific effects of other interventions.

Thus, when the claims are exaggerated and homoeopathy’s prescription is doled out for major diseases, it can cause complications due to non-treatment or even be fatal. Undeterred by the evidence, people still continue to rely on homoeopathic treatment, but there is no sound basis to it.

Conclusion

Therefore, it is clear that if you want to seek reliable medical attention and treatment, with a scientific basis to it, you may want to stray away from homoeopathy. Allopathy and modern medicine are rooted in evidence-based research with robust statistical efficacy in a large cohort of several categories. Any push for alternative medicine is ill-advised and the best bet to beat the ever-increasing medical inflation is to buy health insurance. A Bajaj Allianz Health Insurance available on Bajaj Finserv MARKETS can help you be prepared for any medical emergency with its network of 6000+ empanelled hospitals across India.

Even if you are all healthy and hearty, health insurance acts as a protective layer in times of unforeseen medical emergencies, where you can just flip your health card and avail cashless hospitalization at any of the Bajaj Allianz Health Insurance network hospitals. Don’t delay a good decision and apply to avail health insurance benefits online right away!

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