Monday, January 25, 2016

Like Cures Like: Assessing the Claims of Homeopathy (In Rapid Succussion)

What is homeopathy?
          Homeopathy was first described in a book written by Samuel Hahneman in 1796, based on the central tenet that “like cures like.” This form of alternative medicine utilizes extreme dilutions of chemicals – usually natural – as therapeutic agents for symptoms and conditions often caused the original source of the substance (for example, arsenic as a cure for severe pain). Homeopathic solutions are prepared by diluting substances many orders of magnitude in either water or ethanol and vigorously shaken (known as succussion). Several rounds of dilution and succession are repeated until the desired dilution has been reached. This repeated process of succession and diution is known as potentisation. Homeopathic dilutions are logarithmic in scale, meaning that each round of potentisation is diluting the substance by 10-fold (Table 1).