Homeopathy and Rheumatoid Arthritis
Homeopathy is an alternative form of medicine that has been used for thousands of years to treat everything from life threatening illnesses to the common cold. While many people used to modern medicine may find it suspicious, it is still one of the most used types of medical treatment worldwide and is steadily gaining popularity in the western world.
Homeopathic medicine is based on three basic principles. The biggest principle of homeopathic medicine is that like treats like. Instead of treating based on the disease doctors think you have, treatment is done based on the symptoms you know you have. The second principle is that there is only one treatment, not two or even ten like a traditional doctor might give you. The third principle is that everything is given in extremely small doses.
To treat yourself homeopathically, you must figure out all the symptoms. Once you know your symptoms, you find a substance that causes the exact same set of symptoms and take a small amount of it. Because you are only taking a very small amount, the substance not only doesn’t harm you, it’s said to cure you, generally long term or even permanently.
When most people hear about homeopathy, their initial reaction is “no way!” Treating symptoms with something that causes your symptoms seems totally counterintuitive, but it’s a concept that’s used in modern medicine as well as more ancient cures. Shots commonly used to treat allergies contain a small amount of whatever you’re allergic to. Many vaccines contain a small amount of the disease they’re designed to protect against.
While homeopathic medicine is not only considered effective, it has many benefits over modern medicine. Like many other natural medical treatments, most homeopathic remedies are totally natural. While this doesn’t necessarily make them safe, these remedies tend to cause fewer side effects, have little drug interactions, and are generally better for your overall health.
Homeopathic medications are also considered better for your body because they work with it. Many modern medicines work to suppress symptoms like fever or coughing. These symptoms are the body’s natural ways to get rid of disease. Instead of suppressing symptoms, homeopathic medicine works to cure the problem itself while addressing the specific symptoms.
When the right treatment is found, homeopathic medicine is considered very effective. The big problem is that just like there are thousands of prescriptions and over the counter drugs, there are also thousands of homeopathic remedies as well. And if you don’t pick exactly the right one, it won’t work.
While you can buy homeopathic remedies over the counter, just like herbal and other alternative medicines, that doesn’t mean it’s 100% safe to treat yourself. If you’re serious about this treatment you should speak to a homeopathic doctor who has experience treating RA.
Homeopathic Medicine and Rheumatoid Arthritis
The National Center for Alternative and Complementary Medicine (NCCAM) states:
- Little rigorous research has been done on homeopathy for RA. The results have been mixed. It appears from some studies that homeopathy might be more effective than a placebo for rheumatic diseases and syndromes (including RA), but this evidence is not strong. Larger, better-designed studies are needed to resolve this question.
- Homeopathic remedies are considered safe and unlikely to cause severe side effects. The FDA has learned of a few reports of illness associated with the use of these remedies, but determined that the remedies were not likely to be the cause. Homeopathic remedies are not known to interfere with conventional drugs.
Homeopathic Medicine and Rheumatoid Arthritis Research
- Fisher P, Scott DL. A randomized controlled trial of homeopathy in rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2001;40(9):1052–1055.
Results: Fifty-eight patients completed the trial. Over 6 months there were significant decreases (P<0.01 by Wilcoxon rank sum tests) in their mean pain scores (fell 18%), articular indices (fell 24%) and ESRs (fell 11%). Fifty-four patients withdrew before completing the trial. Thirty-one changed conventional medication, 10 had serious intercurrent illness or surgery, 12 failed to attend and three withdrew consent. Placebo and active homeopathy had different effects on pain scores; mean pain scores were significantly lower after 3 months' placebo therapy than 3 months' active therapy (P=0.032 by Wilcoxon rank sum test). Articular index, ESR and morning stiffness were similar with active and placebo homeopathy.
- Jonas WB, Linde K, Ramirez G. Homeopathy and rheumatic diseases. Rheumatic Disease Clinics of North America. 2000;26(1):117–123.
- L. E. C. Andrade, M. B. Ferraz1, E. Atra1, A. Castro and M. S. M. Silva. A Randomized Controlled Trial to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Homeopathy in Rheumatoid Arthritis. Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology. 1991, Vol. 20, No. 3, Pages 204-208.
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