In defence of homoeopathy

THE letter “One-system cure” (October 20, 1991) makes interesting reading, though most of the observations made by Dr. Ahmad Hasan are highly questionable.

Homoeopathy holds that widespread prevalence of chronic diseases is a direct result of suppression of symptoms of common diseases through strong allopathic drugs. By suppressing or palliating the symptoms of common diseases, physicians are allowing the underlying causes to progress unseen; thereby making even more destructive inroads on the human body. For example, suppression of eruptions may lead to asthma in some patients. Under homoeopathic treatment, an asthmatic patient sometimes, may have his earlier eruptions back before full recovery sets in. Appearance of eruptions or return of some other acute symptoms, which the patient had many years ago, cannot be called side effects. In fact, a permanent cure cannot be effected unless the underlying cause (e.g. suppression of eruptions in some asthmatic patients) of the disease is removed.

Homoeopathic remedies work on a vitalistic rather than a physiological plane. Therefore, it is wrong to assume that the action of homoeopathic remedies is just confined to stimulation of immune system. They act much deeper  than that and, therefore, the diseases, like heart attack and liver cirrhosis, also come within the range of homoeopathic remedies, although the results of homoeopathic treatment in such cases are no better than allopathy. Similar is the case with AIDS. But homoeopaths can extenuate themselves by saying that they have not been given enough opportunities to study and combat the killer disease nor do they have enough funds and resources to undertake an ambitious research, costing billions of dollars, on their won.

True, how can a system capable of stimulating immune system be expected not to normalize its increased activity? Homoeopathy has to its credit very brilliant results in the diseases caused by hyperactivity of immune system, including rheumatoid arthritis.

I do not think, homoeopaths use steroids and antibiotics, as claimed by Dr. Hasan. Homoeopaths have in their armamentarium the remedies that are far better than these. Besides, they know too well that the patients soon develop a resistance to certain antibiotics, and some are allergic to these. Still more important, most of the antibiotics annihilate some of the friendly bacteria which are essential for proper functioning of the body.

Homoeopaths also know that each year some drugs are introduced and an equal number of drugs are discarded for their reported side effects. Until a few years ago, Novelgin was the rage but now it has been discarded owing to its reported side effects. Similarly, Cortisone was widely used in respiratory diseases but now its use has been restrained. Conversely, not a single homoeopathic remedy has been discarded since they were first tested on healthy persons. Since then, they have been tested again and again and each time, the new experiments have confirmed the results of the earlier trials.

Quackery is a curse and it must go. It is time, our allopaths, hakims and homoeopaths sat together to deliberate on ways and means to curb this menace. The solution certainly does not lie in having one system cure, abandoning the rest.

Daily Dawn, November 14, 1991