Homeopathy is a medical system based on the belief that a substance that causes disease in a healthy person can cure a sick person if it is diluted enough. Homeopathic medicine was invented in the late 1700s by a German named Samuel Hahnemann (pictured).
Some religious groups embrace homeopathy or the related naturopathy believing that God created all life with the ability to heal itself. They frequently quote Genesis 9:1-3 as the starting point for the need for plants and minerals to sustain human health, because the meat now included in human diets would not meet the medical requirements. They also quote Acts 10:9-16 as part of the change that took place in the human diet that made it necessary for plants and minerals to provide supplements.
We would suggest that the hermeneutics of using those passages in that way is dubious. There is no doubt that nutrition is a part of good health, and supplements can be useful in maintaining health. But whether a plant or mineral could replace the effectiveness of penicillin or modern antibiotics is debatable. Some today are making claims about homeopathic medicine for curing disease with no scientific support. CVS is the largest pharmacy chain in the United States with 9800 stores, and they promote homeopathy by placing homeopathic remedies on their shelves alongside scientifically-proven medications.
The Center for Inquiry (CFI) on June 29, 2018, filed a lawsuit against CVS. They told the Superior Court of the District of Columbia that homeopathy is a pseudoscience and that CVS is in violation of the Consumer Protection Procedures Act. They are demanding that CVS provide “corrective advertising, marketing, labeling.” The suit says that CVS persists in deceiving its customers about the effectiveness of homeopathic products. “Homeopathics are shelved right alongside scientifically proven medicines, under the same signs for cold and flu, pain relief, sleep aids, and so-on.” An example given by the CFI is Arnicare Arthritis which I have seen in drug stores as providing relief for arthritis pain. Tests have shown that a placebo gave as much relief as Arnicare Arthritis.
Some religious groups in our area have stores that sell homeopathic medicine and make claims that are not backed up by scientific testing. Greed and a lack of integrity among promoters of homeopathic cures have caused a lot of pain and a few deaths among religious people who think homeopathy is a biblical injunction. Read all labels carefully and pay attention to data offered by medical organizations before trusting any drug or supposed medication.
–John N. Clayton © 2018
Data from Skeptical Inquirer, November/December 2018, page 5-6.