The efficiency of homeopathic treatment has been a matter of continued discussion and criticism worldwide for the last many years.
Recently in Kerala, this debate got a sudden fillip on social media platforms, after a blogger Jithin Mohandas initiated a change.org petition asking the Kerala government to stop admitting students to homoeopathy courses.
In the petition signed by 565 supporters, Jithin claims that the 200-year-old medical practice is both unscientific and ineffective. He cites several studies conducted by various organisations in UK, Australia and the U.S. to substantiate his stance.
The petition urges the state government to stop homeopathic courses, convert homeopathy colleges into regular medical colleges (MBBS/MD) and provide training for existing homeopathy degree holders to be able to practice allopathy.
Jithin admits that he does not expect his demands to be accepted blindly by the government, but through the petition, he seeks to create a sort of awareness among the public.
In a debate conducted by Mumbai Rationalist Association and Indian Secular Society in Mumbai, Dr C Viswanathan, an ortho-specialist who has conducted several studies on homeopathy science, has claimed that this branch of medicine is wholly unscientific as well as ineffective.
He analyzes the books based on the writings of Samuel Hahnemann -the founder of homeopathic medicine - and incorporated into the BHAMS syllabus. “Hahnemann believed that symptoms are diseases. He did not believe in an internal, scientific reason for a disease,” Viswanathan says.
According to him, Hahnemann harshly criticized pathological anatomy by bringing in a spiritual angle to the treatment. Hahnemann apparently propounded that God –the Preserver of mankind- would never shroud in mysterious obscurity the cure of a disease, by hiding it within the human anatomy.
Vishwanathan reasons that Hahnemann hence considered all diseases to manifest as physical symptoms by rejecting their anatomical claims, which in itself was funny and unscientific.
He also criticizes Hahnemann’s view that medicinal molecules are not necessary for homeopathic medicines, as he believed that there was virtual energy inherent in them per se.
An article written by Dr Anand S Manjeri, an officer in the Central Government Medical Services for Asianet News also concurs with the views held by Viswanathan in this regard.
“The basis for homeopathy is the belief that diseases are not physical, but caused due to an imbalance in the spiritual force of a human organism,” Anand writes.
Anand is also highly critical of the medicine-making process in homeopathy, “According to this treatment, the quantity of medicine is not an issue. They believe that the hidden energy of the medicine can be invoked through shaking and mixing. Here, the quantity doesn’t matter but efficacy lies in how many times you shake the bottle instead,” he quips.
He goes on to say that even religions are free from the clutches of such baseless theories and practices which homeopathy seems to abound in.
How do some diseases get cured?
According to Dr Viswanathan and Dr Anand, many diseases get cured through self-immunization, whereas other diseases like arthritis have symptoms that vary with time and climate.
“Another major reason for cure is your personal faith which goes a long way in curing the disease. It is purely an illusionary effect,” Anand explains.
Hours after Jithin Mohandas started the petition, a counter petition surfaced on the same platform. This one countered Jithin’s petition as nothing but a concerted effort to eliminate homeopathy from the healthcare scenario.
Interestingly, the counter-petition started by Dr.Sreevals Menon of Global Homeopathy Foundation has received over 900 signatories in a matter of two days.
Though the number of signatories does not in any way warrant for the authenticity of either of the sides, it is a validation that the homeopathy debate has indeed gained momentum in the state.
Backed by research findings on an international level, the counter-petition accuses media outlets such as East Coast Daily and Asianet News of publishing ‘baseless allegations’, even going on to allege the involvement of an organized PR effort directed to eliminate what Menon terms the ‘homeopathy competition’.