Do Homeopathy and Natural Medicines Work?

The majority of people who seek natural treatment are doing so because they have an ongoing health problem that has not responded to standard or specialised medical treatment. Patients are 'voting with their feet' and seeking help from natural therapies for the simple reason that they are unable to get results from their doctors.

There has been a massive amount of research on natural medicines undertaken, but remains largely unrecognised by medical authorities. Patients are far more likely to find out  information on recent studies of herbs, supplements and other therapies that do not involve pharmaceutical medications, from a natural therapist rather than their doctor or specialist. The Internet has made information freely available for people to make informed decisions about their choice of health care.

There is also a vast body of literature and research about homeopathy and its practice, which is also mostly ignored by medical authorities and the media alike. Most of the recent media reports on homeopathy  are biased, negative, and there seems to be an army of people who are determined to 'stamp it out'. In spite of this, thousands of doctors and natural therapists around the world successfully use homeopathy. Because of its cost effectiveness, homeopathy is popular in poorer countries that cannot afford large amounts of pharmaceutical drugs. If you're interested in learning more, see FAQ's homeopathy and Helpful Books

Ongoing criticism of natural therapies is due to claims that they are not ‘scientifically proven’. This may be true, but there is often far more behind this statement than a genuine concern for patient health care. Many medical treatments, which go unquestioned, are also 'not scientifically proven,' and can cause serious side effects. The medical rhetoric is to continue with orthodox treatment until other medicines are 'proven', but there tends to be more interest in proving the 'other' therapy wrong, than investigating it with an open, scientific approach. We think that orthodox medical treatments should be met with at least the same level of caution as the much safer natural treatments.

When choosing a therapy, the main thing to consider is the risk level of a treatment. Because natural therapies have a much lower risk level than pharmaceutical medications and medical procedures, it is a safer option to start with natural medicines before moving to higher risk options.

These reports are sobering;

  • The total number of adverse reactions to drugs in Australia from the 1999-2000 year (those resulting in hospital admission and those that did not) was 400,000 (Australian Journal of Pharmacy, 83, September 2002, 774)
  • There are 140,000 hospital admissions in Australia every year because of misused pharmaceutical drugs (Australian Journal of Pharmacy, 83, September 2002, 774)
  • 25% of Australian hospital admissions are for iatrogenic (medically caused) or drug related diseases. (Current Therapeutics, July 2000, 76-79)
  • In the US, doctors are the third leading cause of death, with iatrogenic (medically caused) disease accounting for 250,000 deaths every year (I2, 000 from unnecessary surgery, 7,000 from medication errors in hospitals, 20,000 from other errors in hospitals, 80,000 from infections in hospitals, 106,000 from the negative effects of drugs) (Journal of the American Medical Association, 84, July 26, 2000)
  • Every year in Australia 1400 people die because of adverse drug effects (Independent Monthly, Oct 1994, 36-43)
  • Every year in Australia 14,000 people die from medical errors in hospitals. (These figures from 1995) (The Australian, March 15, 1999, 17)
  • In the US up to one fifth of all new prescription drugs may ultimately be recalled or produce potentially harmful side effects. (Journal of the American Medical Association, 2002; 287:2215-2220, 2273-2275)
  • Natural medicines are seen as being much safer than drug based therapies. (Current Therapeutics, July 2000, 76-79)
  • Drugs are 22 times more likely to cause an adverse health event than natural products (Natural Health Review May 2002 14-16)
  • Only 10-20% of all standard medical procedures have been validated by controlled clinical trials (Complementary Medicine, July/ August 2002, 33-35)
  • Up to 15% of hospital admissions in Europe are caused by adverse drug reactions (Australian Journal of Pharmacy, 83, November 2002, 885)