No evidence homeopathy is effective: NHMRC review

No evidence homeopathy is effective: NHMRC review

As in the UK, the use of government funding to support homeopathic remedies has been under considerable scrutiny recently in Australia. Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council has just released its long awaited review, with the findings summarised by Ian Musgrave, Senior lecturer in Pharmacology at University of Adelaide, South Australia in the article below:

...a quick refresher: homeopathy is a complementary therapy that uses diluted substances for treatment. It’s based on two fundamental concepts – the first is that “like treats like” (for example, using a substance that causes fever to treat a fever) and the second that substances become more potent the more you dilute them.

In some cases, homeopathic medicines are unlikely to contain even a single molecule of starting material. In other cases, materials are too dilute to have any effect at all.

There were nearly 380 comments on this article when I posted this, with the UK royal family getting much of the early attention, so it is obviously a contentious issue, with strongly held beliefs by both those supporting homeopathy and those struggling to find scientific evidence of its claimed efficiency.


Some red rumped parrots above, are enjoying the morning sun. The white excrescences on the fence post are Italian white snails. These climb the stems of cereal crops in late spring and summer and seals themselves to the stems during dry spells. They are then harvested with the crop, clogging machinery and contaminating the grain. Perhaps the diluted (homeopathic?) snail content in bread is good for you?

8 Replies

  • Over the years I've tried different homeopathic remedies for hay fever. For me the ones I tried were a waste of money.

    I also tried one for jetlag. (For Sydney to London). Seemed to have an effect but as I didnt have a second me present not taking them, as a control, it wasn't a very scientific test.

    So, based on my experience, for me, somewhere between not effective and not sure.


  • I was treated for six months for a chronic chest infection/cough at the publicly funded homeopathic hospital on Great Ormond Street in London.

    It made absolutely no difference and while I was in the waiting room there, I saw a poster asking for volunteers to test the different remedies. I thought at the time that surely this would've already been done before offering this as a treatment. Since my six months of ineffectual treatment, the hospital has been closed down due to lack of results.

    I have used homeopathic remedies on my children and sometimes they worked miraculously but in retrospect I think it was more to do with childrens' ability to bounce back than the treatment itself. Also having a bit of TLC will always work wonders.

  • Perhaps a major value of Homeopathy is that it highlights inadequacies in our conventional medical system?

    Does the weight of evidence signal the end of homeopathy?

    It is interesting reading the comments too (331 when I last looked), with some serious discussion lightened by this classic comment:

    "I've been trying to clean a bottle that used to have a homeopathic preparation in it, but it just keeps getting stronger & stronger! Suggestions?"


  • Homeopathy does perhaps speak to the power placebo....

  • While some additional therapies are shown to be helpful - meditation, relaxation and so on - others do not show the same helpful effects. With little public money there is to go around it has to be spent in the best possible way, so if some get axed for little or no effect so be it. But do not think that all additional therepies are the same.

  • I like the red-rumped parrots, Neil. Can't see any red rumps but will take your word for it... And you're probably right that the extra ingredient of squashed snail in the wheat brings extra nutritive value to the bread :-)

  • I often found these parrots quite hard to identify because the red patch on their lower back isn't all that big and it was often hard to see unless the birds were are at just the right angle.

    If you think you have a problem protecting your garden from snails, spare a thought for the poor farmers faced with 100's of hectares to treat. I was surprised to find snail bait on a farm track but then found that this is baiting season

  • 2014, a Bad Year for Homoeopathy:

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