Homeopathy is an alternative medicine whose main principle dictates that that which causes certain symptoms and illness in a healthy person can also help to remove those symptoms and illness in a sick person.
Based on a series of ideas developed in the 1790s by German doctor Samuel Hahnemann, homeopathy is used to “treat” an extremely wide range of conditions.
These included physical as well as psychological conditions, such as asthma and depression.
This practice has been around for centuries, and has accumulated a large number of supporters who swear by it.
But does it actually work?
For Nobel laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, he called homeopathy and astrology,useless and harmful practices.
Pointing out that India is the only country wherein the constitution is asking for promoting scientific temper, he said that India needs a more rational outlook on such practices.
In an Hindustan Times article, he is quoted saying: “There is no scientific basis for how movement of planets and stars can influence our fate. There is no reason for time of birth to influence events years later. The predictions made are either obvious or shown to be random.”
“Once beliefs take root, they are hard to eradicate. A culture based on superstitions will do worse than one based on scientific knowledge and rational thoughts.”
He also debunked the popular but mistaken belief that homeopathy originated in India; it came from Germany.
“[Homoeopaths] take arsenic compounds and dilute it to such an extent that just a molecule is left. It will not make any effect on you. Your tap water has more arsenic. No one in chemistry believes in homoeopathy. It works because of placebo effect.”
He does, however, appreciate modern astrology’ considering the more specific scientific advancements.
“Alchemy is based on beliefs but accumulated huge amount of data about properties of substances and led to modern chemistry,” he says. “Astrology was struck in past but modern astronomy has made huge exciting discoveries like the black hole, pulsars etc.”
He also commented that science in India have become more exact, saying that in the last century alone the life expectancy in the country has doubled.
“It is because medicine has become scientific and evidence based,” he says. “There is better understanding of physiology and biochemistry and many diseases have been eradicated.”
READ: Complementary and alternative medicine – Is it safe for kids?
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