Thursday 31 January 2008

Homeopathy under scrutiny

Homeopathy was in the news yesterday, with Guardian and the BBC reporting that more than a fifth of NHS hospital trusts have cut funding of homeopathy during the past two years. They say this is because there is no scientific evidence that homeopathy works, but critics say it is merely to save money.

Pulse Today gives both sides of the debate. Dr Tim Robinson, a GP and lecturer on homeopathy, giving the case in favour and Professor Edzard Ernst, professor of complementary medicine at Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, giving the case against.

Dr Robinson says three-quarters of his patients who were treated with homeopathic remedies had postive clinical results. Professor Ernst argues there is no scientific reason that homeopathy should work and, in fact, the benificial results are no better than when using a placebo.

A few years ago, I asked my GP to refer me to a homeopathists under the NHS for hayfever treatment. I had tried everything my GP could prescribe and every mainstream hayfever pill you could buy over the counter. Most didn't help at all and those that did help a bit gave me side effects such as drowsiness and irritability.

The homeopathist prescribed mixed pollens. I felt they were of some benefit. I was supposed to start taking them regularly before the hayfever season and continue right through it. After taking them, I didn't get hayfever symptoms as early in the year as I had in the past and only found myself sneazing and my eyes watering when the pollen count was very high. The best thing was, they didn't have any side effects.

These days I take mixed pollens every year but also take regular hayfever pills when my symptoms break through. I haven't found anything that works 100%, but the combined approach of standard and complementary treatment is the best I have found so far.

To read the argument in Pulse Today and vote on whether homeopathy should be provided under the NHS, visit

You can read the Guardina article at:

No comments: