The Lancet is a prestigious British medical journal that publishes studies and commentary that are generally pretty accurate. But not last week. The journal published an article saying that homeopathy just plain doesn't work. It claims that results from using homeopathics are placebo effects.
The World Health Organization (WHO) disagrees. So does homeopath and author Dana Ullman, MPH. And so do I.
What's going on?
Quite simply: bias. One of the authors of The Lancet study, Matthias Egger, MD, is a known critic of homeopathy. Not only was he involved in the anti-homeopathy article, he fed information to the doctor who wrote the editorial against homeopathy in the same issue. Where was anyone who experienced the beneficial effects of homeopathy? Obviously, not giving input to The Lancet.
The Lancet study was based on an analysis of more than 200 studies. Half used homeopathics, while the other half used conventional drug therapy. The first analysis concluded that homeopathics work. So ... the authors eliminated a bunch of these studies and looked at only 14 of them. Then they were able to conclude that homeopathics were worthless.
The Lancet knows better. In 1997, it published an analysis of a number of studies that showed the effectiveness of homeopathics. And, most pertinent, several large-scale studies found value in using various homeopathics to prevent flu. In fact, homeopathy has been used throughout the world since the 1800s for one reason: it works.
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In my opinion, homeopathy is an excellent line of defense against colds and flu, including the deadly avian bird flu that is predicted to kill millions worldwide. One of the most powerful homeopathic treatments for the flu is called Oscillococcinum. It's made from the liver and heart of ducks – birds known to carry many forms of flu. As a result, Oscillococcinum may offer wider protection against the flu than any vaccine (which can only protect against one strain of the virus). Remember, there's no virus whatsoever in Oscillococcinum (or Oscillo) – just its energy.
You can also use Influenzium 9C, which contains the energy from the current viruses. Take it once a week for four weeks; wait one month; then take one more dose. This is what I'm taking instead of getting a flu shot. With or without the shot, I recommend taking homeopathics.
You can find homeopathic remedies in many health food stores or order them from my favorite homeopath, Dana Ullman, at Homeopathic Educational Service (800-359-9051). For the most up-to-date information on homeopathics, read Dana's e-book, Homeopathic Family Medicine.
Watch for my expanded article on homeopathy and the flu in the November issue of Women's Health Letter. It contains information on additional remedies. If you're not already a subscriber, you may want to sign up at my website, www.womenshealthletter.com.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand
Aijing Shang, et al. "Are the clinical effects of homeopathy placebo effects? Comparative study of placebo-controlled trials of homeopathy and allopathy," The Lancet, August 27, 2005.
World Report: "Critics slam draft WHO report on homeopathy," The Lancet, August 27, 2005.
Commentary: "Homeopathy and ‘the growth of truth,'" The Lancet, August 27, 2005.
Personal communication, Dana Ullman, MPH.
Gravenstein, S, Davids, H Edwards, "Current strategies for management of influenza in the elderly population," Clinical Infectious Diseases, vol 35, 2002.
Ferley, JP, et al, "A controlled evaluation of a homeopathic preparation in the treatment of influenza-like syndromes," Br J Clin Pharmacol, March 1989.