Sunday, 11 July 2010

Homeopathy: it's natural.

Short answer:
  • No it isn't - it's extremely artificial and contrived.
  • Even if it were, something being "natural" is no guarantee of either effectiveness or harmlessness.
A little more:
As with the claim that homeopathy is an ancient tradition, I suspect the reason some make this assertion is due to a confusion of homeopathy with herbalism. It's important to remember that homeopathy is not herbalism; herbalists can at least genuinely claim that their treatments are "natural", for what it's worth, and unlike homeopathy many of them even have active ingredients.
All kinds of ingredients are used at the start of the homeopathic process, many of which may be considered natural, but the process of dilution and succussion is anything but. For a full description of the manufacturing process and it's origins, see my earlier post. And in any case, the idea that because something meets some arbitrary definition of "natural" does not necessarily mean it will work, or that it's somehow more in tune with your body and hence safer than any lab produced chemical. Go eat a handful of nightshade berries or fly agaric if you don't believe me1. This fallacy this particular claim falls under is the Appeal to Nature.
The only other things that could be meant by this claim of naturalness is that the remedy somehow stirs the body's natural defences into action, and I have dealt with that claim here.

1 Do not do this under any circumstances.

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