My dad is a chiropractor who graduated from Parker College. He has gone to multiple meetings where he learns different techniques for how to treat patients. We recently talked about some of the things that he had learned and he brought up the topic of homeopathy. Every where I looked homeopathy is viewed as a pseudoscience. I have no degree in any medical field but my skeptic attitude is putting me in a bind. On the one hand I know that my dad takes this issue seriously ( though he admits that he doesn't know if this could be a placebo effect or not) So I want to see this field as having some value outside of the placebo effect. On the other hand I can't just accept something purely on emotional grounds since I have to have legitimate peer reviewed evidence to back up a claim.Is there any legitimacy to homeopathy? Does anybody know if there is any legitimacy to this field at all? 

 

 

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I know that Chiropractic medicine has had issues throughout it's history. I am wary of some of it's ideas. Especially the ones that involve miracle like cures ( like curing disease). I've also read in Discarded science by John Grant that up until the 1960's something like 40% or more Chiropractic teachers didn't have any college education not to mention medical. Though I haven't verified this claim. So I'm also mixed on this issue as well.

Have you heard of Ethnobotany?  I have used herbal remedies and they have worked for me and others.  Yes, there is legitimacy to this field, it is not a pseudoscience.

I have taken many botany classes and my professors would talk about how medicine came from plants.

"A discussion of human life on this planet would not be complete without a look at the role of plants. A complete record of the many thousands of plant species used for human functioning would fill volumes, yet historians have often tended "to dismiss plants as less than fundamental in history." In recent years, however, there has been a reawakened scientific interest in the fundamental role plants play in many cultures, including medicinal purposes. Why is this so? That is the story of today's ethnobotany."

Here are some links about Ethnobotany:

http://www.accessexcellence.org/RC/Ethnobotany/page2.php

http://chemistry.about.com/library/weekly/aa061403a.htm

http://www.sacredearth.com/ethnobotany/medicines/Medicine.php

"Plants also play a role in modern chemistry beyond lending their molecular structure to synthesized drugs. Medicinal and nonmedicinal plants can provide chemists with enzymes and other structures that can act as catalysts in the production of synthetic compounds. Whole cells can be used as a "biological factory," producing ingredients needed in chemical synthesis and providing a stable environment for the chemical reactions needed to create them [source: Kutney]."

 

Biological background

"All plants produce chemical compounds as part of their normal metabolic activities. These are divided into primary metabolites, such as sugars and fats, found in all plants, and secondary metabolites, compounds not essential for basic function found in a smaller range of plants, some useful ones found only in a particular genus or species. Pigments harvest light, protect the organism from radiation and display colors to attract pollinators. Many common weeds, such as nettle, dandelion and chickweed, have medicinal properties.[39][40]

The functions of secondary metabolites are varied. For example, some secondary metabolites are toxins used to deter predation, and others are pheromones used to attract insects for pollination. Phytoalexins protect against bacterial and fungal attacks. Allelochemicals inhibit rival plants that are competing for soil and light.

Plants upregulate and downregulate their biochemical paths in response to the local mix of herbivores, pollinators and microorganisms.[41] The chemical profile of a single plant may vary over time as it reacts to changing conditions. It is the secondary metabolites and pigments that can have therapeutic actions in humans and which can be refined to produce drugs.

Plants synthesize a bewildering variety of phytochemicals but most are derivatives of a few biochemical motifs.

  • Alkaloids contain a ring with nitrogen. Many alkaloids have dramatic effects on the central nervous system. Caffeine is an alkaloid that provides a mild lift but the alkaloids in datura cause severe intoxication and even death.
  • polyphenol, also known as phenolics, contain phenol rings. The anthocyanins that give grapes their purple color, the isoflavones, the phytoestrogens from soy and the tannins that give tea its astringency are phenolics.
  • Terpenoids are built up from terpene building blocks. Each terpene consists of two paired isoprenes. The names monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, diterpenes and triterpenes are based on the number of isoprene units. The fragrance of rose and lavender is due to monoterpenes. The carotenoids produce the reds, yellows and oranges of pumpkin, corn and tomatoes.
  • Glycosides consist of a glucose moiety attached to an aglycone. The aglycone is a molecule that is bioactive in its free form but inert until the glycoside bond is broken by water or enzymes. This mechanism allows the plant to defer the availability of the molecule to an appropriate time, similar to a safety lock on a gun. An example is the cyanoglycosides in cherry pits that release toxins only when bitten by a herbivore.

The word drug itself comes from the Dutch word "droog" (via the French word Drogue), which means 'dried plant'. Some examples are inulin from the roots of dahlias, quinine from the cinchona, morphine and codeine from the poppy, and digoxin from the foxglove.

The active ingredient in willow bark, once prescribed by Hippocrates, is salicin, which is converted in the body into salicylic acid. The discovery of salicylic acid would eventually lead to the development of the acetylated form acetylsalicylic acid, also known as "aspirin", when it was isolated from a plant known as meadowsweet. The word aspirin comes from an abbreviation of meadowsweet's Latin genus Spiraea, with an additional "A" at the beginning to acknowledge acetylation, and "in" was added at the end for easier pronunciation.[42] "Aspirin" was originally a brand name, and is still a protected trademark in some countries. This medication was patented by Bayer AG."

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbalism

Thanks Steph S. Plenty to take in there lol. Thanks for the info.
Excellent Steph ^^ I too have a serious interest in medicinal and edible :P plants.

 

You have misunderstood what homeopathy is.  It IS Not herbal therapy - that's an entirely different subject.  Homeopathy is a practice by which a substance that mimics  symptoms of an ailment is dissolved in water or alcohol.  The belief is that the substance will "imprint" itself on the water (alcohol) molecules. The solution is then diluted to the point that nothing is left except the water (alcohol) with it's "imprinted" molecules.

 

It's a fraud, a sham and a scam. 

No homeopathy is pure bullshit. The whole premise is based on the idea that smaller amounts of things can have a larger effect. It goes completely against common sense, and scientific fact. The idea that water has a 'memory' even if it was true (it's not) why would the water remember the micro amount of medicinal compound you added and not all the poisons/shit it's been in.

 

As for chiropractic... it has been extremely helpful to me over the years even if the benefits are only temporary. So I have personal experience, you cannot say, 'it's all in your head,' especially as I've occasionally has obvious physical changes.

Well, when my dad first graduated I was his first test subject and I haven't suffered any ill effects ( at least nothing recognized yet). Though I know that my mom gets regular treatments from him and keeps getting them and getting them and getting them. It makes me a little worried. When it comes to Chiropractic care I don't know whether the effects have been studied long term. I know that it does help people though so again, it's a mixed issue for me.

Nope, homeopathy has zero credibility. Please, check out the blog Respectful Insolence:  http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/08/homeopathy_and_plausibili...

 

That is just one of many posts on that subject. Orac, the blogs author, is well versed in debunking homeopathy.

 

Hope this is helpful.

 

Jassmine

It was, thanks.

 

Though there is one thing that I wish he was more elaborate on. He says,

 

"Moreover, on the basis of basic science alone, we can conclude this with a very, very high degree of confidence because, for homeopathy to "work," many well-established laws of physics would have to be not just wrong but spectacularly wrong, as would many principles of chemistry and biology."

 

I wish he was more specific on what areas laws and/or theories would be wrong.  

No problem:)


I did a quick Google and found this: 

http://www.csicop.org/si/show/alternative_medicine_and_the_laws_of_...

 

That was using the key words homeopathy and physics. Be careful though, some links lead to sites that should not be trusted to have accurate information.

 

Jassmine

Damn, I found my own site,

 

http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/vstenger/Medicine/Homeop.html

 

"to date, no single study of homeopathy showing positive results has been successfully replicated."

 

I was hoping that there could be something I could find that I could agree with my dad on, seeing as how we don't have much in common these days. So far it looks like it's not gonna go that way.

 

Thanks for the help. I greatly appreciate it.

I read an article a week or so ago about the power of belief and its effect on how well drugs, and placebos, worked in treating illness/ailments.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21128271.600-heal-thyself-the...

It's short and based on other studies compiled over time on the topic but I think it's a good way of understanding why there are those who are adamant that homeopathy does work, even in the face of heavy criticism and scientific studies that prove that it doesn't.

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