Skeptical Africa: Homeopathy is Sugar, Not Medicine

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By Leo Igwe
Funding for homeopathic medicine is coming to an end in the UK. The BBC  has reported that    from April the Royal London Hospital, which used to be called Royal London Homeopathic Hospital will no longer be financing homeopathic remedies. The hospital is severing funding because scientists have found no evidence for homeopathic cure claims. In fact, scientists have discovered that in homeopathic treatment, patients get nothing but sugar!
This news will be a welcome development for skeptics. Many have waged a long and vigorous campaign against homeopathic cure claims and other forms of alternative medicine. Skeptical activists have tried to highlight the pseudoscientific nature of homeopathy. Skeptics have been critical of the remedies, and think homeopathic therapies are bogus. Unfortunately, homeopathic medicine is a huge industry in Africa and constitutes a huge chunk of the alternative medicine market. Its link to Europe and white people have been a legitimizing factor. It has been an additional reason why many Africans assume homeopathy is effective, while medically it is not.
So this latest development highlights homeopathy’s lack of medical/therapeutic property and points to the fact that a treatment linked to Europe and the white is not necessarily scientific and evidence-based.
Samuel Hahnemann invented homeopathic medicine in Germany over 200 years ago. It is based on the principle that “like cures like”.  According to Harriet Hall, this principle entails that the lower the dose the better in homeopathy: “If coffee keeps you awake, highly diluted coffee will put you to sleep. The more dilute the coffee, the better you will sleep”.  The idea is that diluting a small part of a substance that causes an ailment has healing or curative properties. And the more the substance is diluted the greater its therapeutic effect.
Homeopathic remedies are used for asthma, arthritis and various infections. In Nigeria, people use homeopathic medicine to treat all sorts of illness-ulcer, diabetic or any incurable disease. Homeopathic medicine has been practiced in many places for centuries. In fact, the London Homeopathic Hospital, founded in 1849, produced some of the first doctors that practiced homeopathy. But now the bubble has burst!
What Harriet Hall described as “one of the longest-running forms of pseudoscientific medicine in the world” has been exposed. The British National Health Service has made it clear that no good evidence exists that homeopathy is effective as a treatment for any health condition. Homeopathic medicine is a multinational medical scheme that has been used to exploit sick persons globally. Patients and health providers across Africa need to be told that homeopathy has no medical value and that anybody procuring the treatment has nothing to gain at the end of the day but sugar!

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