In a sweeping new Australian study, researchers have settled the question of homeopathy‘s effectiveness quite definitely: it simply doesn’t work.
The team from Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council conducted a survey of 1,800 other studies of homeopathic medicines and discovered that 225 studies that were conducted rigorously enough to support critical analysis found “no good quality evidence to claim that homeopathy is effective in treating health conditions.”
The study’s authors expressed concern that those who continue to use homeopathic medicines in lieu of traditional medical approaches face real health risks.
Homeopathy’s roots run deep, and they’ve long been the subject of criticism from the established medical community. Developed over 200 years ago by a German physician with “no interest in detailed pathology, and none in conventional treatment and diagnosis,” homeopathic medicines are still used by some 4 million Americans today, despite these shady origins.
The difficulty faced by governmental organizations looking to convince the public of the risks of alternative medicines is well known, despite the numerous studies like the Australian team’s (studies drawing similar conclusions were released in 2002, 2010, and 2014).
Responding to the Australian findings, the head of the National Health and Research Council noted that there’s still bound to be “a tail of people who won’t respond to this report, and who will say it’s all a conspiracy of the establishment.”
It's Homeopathy Awareness Week! The less you Retweet this, the more powerful its message will be.
— Ferrett Steinmetz (@ferretthimself) April 11, 2016
It's World Homeopathy Awareness Week! pic.twitter.com/TWeV8kaB3L
— Scott Gavura (@PharmacistScott) April 10, 2016
I was going to make a joke about Homeopathy Awareness Week, but it didn't work.#HomeopathyAwarenessWeek
— Amanda (@Pandamoanimum) April 10, 2016
— Tracy Sher MPT, CSCS (@PelvicGuru1) April 10, 2016
News of the Australian study comes at a critical time, as a recently released National Health Interview Survey found the use of homeopathic medicines has been on the rise since 2012. A Canadian school of homeopathic medicine also recently came under fire for endorsing an anti-vaccination stance and promoting homeopathic “nosodes” as an alternative to traditional vaccination.
Whether or not the already well-known news of homeopathy’s shoddiness as an alternative to Western medicine will have any effect on the more gullible public remains to be seen. The industry’s increased sales since 2012, however, are not encouraging.