Homeopathy dominates this year’s conversations with industry stakeholders and the public. Homeopathy also still dominates the arena of misunderstanding. When a recent Health Product InfoWatch from Health Canada landed our attention we asked a homeopath, who is part of the regulatory College of Homeopathy, to help us respond. The notice sent to anyone who subscribes to Health Canada’s Recalls and Safety Alerts received this, “Health Canada is concerned about false claims being made in some marketing of homeopathic remedies, known as nosodes, stating that the product can prevent infectious diseases. Nosodes are not, and never have been, approved by Health Canada to be vaccine alternatives.”
The question of alternatives to vaccination has long been controversial, especially in the eyes of the media when focused on alternative health practitioners. Some homeopaths and naturopaths have been labeled ‘anti-vaxxers’, although the vast majority are not.
The philosophy of homeopathy is based on the principle of “Like cures Likes”. Quite simply this means that known curative properties of homeopathic medicines are matched against specific symptoms of disease observed in patients, resulting in provoking the patient’s own immune system to respond and restore health. This law of nature is most often misunderstood by other healthcare practitioners and the public.
Misinformation is spread by the media and skeptics largely due to the lack of education about how homeopathy works.
One particular issue relates to homeopathic medicines known as ‘nosodes’, which have been made from biological materials such as cultures, clinical samples of microorganisms (e.g. bacteria, fungi, and viruses), parasites and from samples of human and animal diseased tissue. All homeopathic medicines have curative properties that have been researched through experimentation, and/or observed in clinical practice. Since 1830, about forty-five such ‘nosodes’ have been used by homeopaths in the treatment of patients. In this respect, ‘nosodes’ are no different from any other Health Canada approved homeopathic medicines.
Furthermore, homeopathic ‘nosodes’ are not an alternative to vaccination, but are medicines in their own right and can be used according to the standards of practice of homeopathic prescribing.
The College of Homeopaths of Ontario has developed a standard regarding vaccination. Effectively, vaccination is not within the scope of practice of homeopaths.
We find ourselves submerged in arguments, and rightly so, but the concept of freedom to choose based on informed choice must always have a seat at the table. So too, for those not familiar, should an education on homeopathy.