Homeopathy, arguably the safest alternative medicine is making a strong global comeback, despite having lost the first round to allopathy

Life had gone into a tizzy the day 32-year-old Michael S. (name changed to protect identity) joined Burson-Marsteller Roger Pereira—one of India's top PR agencies—as a copywriter. With deadlines piling up faster than one could spell the word, there were days when staffers didn't know whether they were coming or going. Every night as he headed home, Mike felt totally zonked.

Three years into the job and, in 1993, Mike developed vitiligo—a form of leucoderma that turns the skin white in patches. The cumulative stress had taken its toll. Frantic, Mike visited a skin specialist. There was an even chance of a cure, the doctor assured him. But the cost for the full course of therapy was prohibitive.

Dejection, however, gave way to hope when Mike met a renowned Mumbai homeopath who was treating him for a sinus problem. The homeopath rated his chances of a cure at 60 per cent. Besides, the treatment would cost him nothing extra, as Mike had joined the clinic's one-year package earlier.
By May 1996, the white patch below his right deltoid had faded and the white strands of hair had turned black. Homeopathy had saved Michael from a colorless future—at a fraction of what allopathy against alternative medicine would have cost.

Semantically, homeopathy traces its origins to two Greek words, Homois meaning similar and pathos for suffering. Historically, the story begins with the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates—the founder of western medicine—who first mooted the idea of curing 'like with like' over 2,500 years ago. Aristotle is also said to have practiced this system and Paracelsus described it in the Middle Ages. The Chinese, Indians, Greeks, Mayans and Native American Indians also used the law of similars.

Today the king of alternative remedies worldwide, it was only in the 19th century that homeopathy developed scientifically. The credit for this goes to the German physician, Dr Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), a practitioner of conventional medicine.

In the 18th century, medicines contained toxic amounts of arsenic, lead and mercury. Prevailing medical practices included purging, blistering and bloodletting—even the use of leeches—to drain the body of poisons that supposedly caused disease. Hahnemann believed that these practices did more harm than good.

Distressed, he gave up medical practice and kept the home fires burning by translating medical, scientific and botanical treatises.

While translating William Cullen's Materia Medica in 1790, he stumbled upon the law of similars. Intrigued, he experimented by testing certain potions on himself (referred to as provings). To begin with, he took cinchona bark—which contains quinine and is used to treat malaria—and discovered that it produced exactly the same symptoms as malaria. From these observations, he concluded that minuscule doses of a medicinal substance cured symptoms similar to those that they produced. Besides, every substance not only affected the body, but also the mind and emotions.

Hahnemann re-tested his theory by giving malaria sufferers concoctions of cinchona bark. They improved dramatically! He spent the next six years experimenting on himself, his family and a group of followers. He and his colleagues catalogued over 200 medicines or remedies, primarily of plant, mineral and animal origin. Each remedy was proved, that is, taken by healthy volunteers who kept detailed records of their physical, mental and emotional reactions. The most frequently reported symptoms were compiled in a Materia Medica that provided detailed information about the working of the remedies.

These 'provings' later crystallized into homeopathy—a term coined by Hahnemann in 1826. He subsequently began treating patients following the principle of Simila Similibus Curentur—let likes be treated by likes. How does the principle of similars work? For instance, to induce vomiting in a healthy individual a large dose of Ipecac is given. Yet, a person suffering from nausea and vomiting improves with a homeopathic dose of Ipecac.

Or take Allium cepa derived from onions. Contact with raw onions causes lacrimation, stinging and irritation around the eyes and nose. Allium cepa is therefore prescribed to patients with hay fever.

Around this time, Edward Jenner discovered the technique of injecting small doses of cowpox into healthy people to immunize them against smallpox. Although Jenner's treatment—also based on the law of similars—was accepted by orthodox medicine, Hahnemann's work wasn't!

Thanks to the then barbaric methods of allopathy, homeopathy caught on like wildfire in Europe and America. Besides royal patronage in European countries, it had renowned proponents like Dickens, Disraeli, Yeats, Thackeray, Goethe and Pope Pius X.

The discipline received a tremendous boost in the 1830s when a cholera epidemic swept Europe. While conventional doctors had a death rate of 50 per cent, homeopaths cured 80 per cent of their patients. Homeopaths also enjoyed tremendous success in treating cases of yellow fever, typhoid and scarlet fever.

The new system began taking rapid strides in the New World after Hans Gram, a Dutch homeopath, emigrated to the USA in 1825. In 1844, the American Institute of Homeopathy was formed, America's first national medical society.

Alarmed, conventional doctors formed the American Medical Association (AMA) in 1846. Their primary agenda seemed to halt homeopathy in its tracks.

Yet, by 1900, 22 homeopathic colleges, a hundred hospitals, over 1,000 homeopathic pharmacies and 29 different journals devoted to homeopathy had sprung up in the USA. And nearly 20 per cent of doctors were practicing homeopaths. Between 1829 to 1869, the number of homeopaths in New York doubled every five years.

Besides effectively treating infectious diseases, homeopaths provided care for many acute and chronic diseases. Since patients under homeopathic care lived longer, some life insurance companies even offered a 10 per cent discount to homeopathic patients!

Mark Twain was all praise for the alternative remedy in an 1890 issue of Harpers magazine: "The introduction of homeopathy forced the old school doctor to stir around and learn something of a rational nature about his business." The other advocates included William James, H.W. Longfellow, Nathanial Hawthorne and Daniel Webster.

Before long, conventional doctors began a concerted campaign through the AMA, deriding homeopathy as "quackery", "unscientific" and "cultish", since nobody was sure how exactly the system worked. Pharmaceutical companies also joined the fray to pre-empt erosion in their market shares. Worse, they targeted homeopaths through medical journals. A line from the Journal of the American Medical Association says it all: "The medical press is profoundly under the influence of proprietary interests (drug companies)."

There were other pinpricks too that grounded the rising star of homeopathy. In 1910, the Carnegie Foundation issued the infamous Flexner Report—an evaluation of American medical schools chaired by Abraham Flexner, in cooperation with key members of the AMA—sanctioning allopathic medical schools, while simultaneously condemning homeopathic ones. Fate dealt another cruel blow when John D. Rockefeller—a strong supporter of homeopathy who called it "a progressive and aggressive step in medicine"—instructed Frederick Gates, his financial advisor, to issue major grants to homeopathic institutions. An advocate of conventional medicine, Gates ignored his boss's orders and $350 million in donations went to orthodox medicine and hospitals.

The discipline gradually buckled under the pressure. In 1923, there were just two homeopathic colleges left. By 1950, none. And perhaps just a hundred practicing homeopaths still survived, most over 50 years old.

There were other causes for the premature decline in America and elsewhere. Homeopathic practice requires individualization of each treatment, demanding more time than allopathy. This meant that there was more money to be made through allopathy—another blow in the solar plexus for the complementary remedy.

Moreover, apothecaries disliked Hahnemann because he recommended the use of only one medicine at a time—in limited doses! Which also meant that pharmacists couldn't charge much for them. Besides, each medicine required careful preparation, something that apothecaries did not always do. Hahnemann soon began dispensing his own medicines.

Homeopathy first entered India in 1810 when German missionaries began distributing the medicines. It received a fillip in 1839 when Dr John Hoenigberger was called to treat Maharaja Ranjit Singh for paralysis of vocal cords and edema. Hoenigberger later shifted to Kolkata, India, and practiced for quite some time.

Official recognition began with the passing of the first resolution by the government in 1937, followed by another in 1948. But it was only in 1952 that homeopathy began gaining recognition in the states. In 1973, a Central Act was passed, recognizing this system of medicine. Since its constitution in 1973, the Central Council of Homoeopathy has set minimum standards of education related to graduate and postgraduate courses and only approved colleges can provide education in homeopathy. Correspondence courses are not recognized and any practice on this basis is illegal. Today, it is part of the national network of health services, provided through hospitals, dispensaries and private practitioners.

"In 1991, there were just 84 colleges. Today there are 162 degree colleges. India has the largest pool of homeopaths in the world-2,40,000 doctors, of which 50 per cent are non-practicing lady doctors," reveals Dr Satinder Bakshi, President of the Central Council of Homoeopathy.

Among the country's prestigious institutions is the Nehru Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital. It became operational in 1967 when its founder-director Dr Jugal Kishore was at the helm of affairs. One of Delhi's senior homeopaths, he reminisces about the early years: "I began practice in June 1945 at a time when there were very few homeopaths, many of them lay ones who learnt from books. During this period, an outbreak of typhoid took place and there was no proper treatment for it. I made my name by successfully treating these patients."

"The Governments of India and the states are doing a lot to promote homeopathy," asserts 53-year-old Dr Vipin Khanna, principal of the Nehru Homoeopathic Medical College. "Even today, we charge students annual fees of Rs 300 only. The facilities are free for patients. Admission for students is strictly on merit and there is no question of donations. The treatment to patients is free."

With nearly 1,50,000 practitioners, India has the world's largest pool of homeopaths. Commenting on the success story in India, an article in the WHO's journal, World Health Forum, says: "Homeopathic treatment seems well suited for use in rural areas where the infrastructure, equipment and drugs needed for conventional medicine cannot be provided. In the Indian subcontinent the legal position of the practitioners of homeopathy has been elevated to a professional level similar to that of a medical practitioner."

Three basic principles summarized Hahnemann's experiences:
• A remedy in large doses that causes the symptoms of a disease will, in small doses, cure that disease.
• Extreme dilution enhances a remedy's therapeutic properties while eliminating toxic side effects.
• Homeopathic remedies are prescribed only after a proper study of an individual.

Homeopathy essentially is a natural therapy that stimulates the body's own immune system to fight illness and allow the symptoms of a disease to dissipate. Unlike an invasive system like allopathy—a word coined by Hahnemann—which cures by killing invading organisms, replacing hormones or interfering with a disease process. All homeopathic formulations are of plant, animal or mineral origin. Some common homeopathic medicines are derived from plants such as belladonna, arnica, and chamomile; minerals such as mercury and sulfur; animal products like sepia (squid ink) and lachesis (snake venom); and, rarely, biochemical substances such as histamine or human growth factor.

"Almost 90 per cent of homeopathic medicines are derived from the vegetable kingdom, minerals and salts. All the medicines use rectified spirit as a base, since it is the best natural preservative," says Dr Satinder (Sunny) Bakshi from Delhi, who specializes in allergies.

Homeopathic remedies are administered in a single, simple, unadulterated form. The substances used for dilutions are very pure: 70 per cent alcohol and distilled water for liquids and lactose for tablets. The formulations are prepared in a special way called drug dynamization or potentization. Drug dynamization involves trituration (grinding) for solids and succussion (vigorous shaking) for liquids. Drugs prepared in this way retain maximum medicinal power without producing any toxic effects and the more the dilutions and succussion, the greater the potency or effectiveness of the remedy.

Strangely, homeopathy's USP is that it does not treat disease per se. A homeopath does not concentrate his therapy on, say arthritis, bronchitis or cancer. Rather, all mental, emotional and physical aspects of the patient are considered. Each patient is regarded as a unique individual—six persons with hepatitis might each get a different remedy aimed at the person's totality of symptoms rather than the liver alone. The physician is concerned with not only alleviating the patient's present symptoms but also in his long-term well being.

"Homeopathic remedies are not based on an individual, but on the constitution of a person. For instance, a person may have a headache. But headaches have hundred different causes. So the cure for each individual may differ. That's why homeopathy has a repertory, used by every homeopath, which lists everything disease-wise and alphabetically. Each disease is called a rubric. And every rubric has a list of remedies," elaborates Kuldeep Jain, director of B. Jain and Company—the world's largest publishers of homeopathic books. "Materia Medica has a list of drugs with remedies based on the constitution of a patient. New homeopaths have to do a thorough study of the Materia Medica, unlike allopaths. That's why when homeopaths meet a new patient, they ask so many questions."

During the first consultation that could last up to an hour, a homeopath may enquire about a person's lifestyle, state of mind, likes and dislikes, eating habits, medical history—including the family's medical history—and then look for symptoms. The primary purpose of the history sheet is to build up a 'symptom picture' of the patient, which is then compared with a 'drug picture' in the Materia Medica. Based on this, one or more remedies are prescribed, usually in pill form. Sometimes, treatment begins with one or two doses only. Usually, a regular daily dose is in order.

There are two schools of thought in prescription. The first is 'classical homeopathy', where practitioners identify a single medicine that suits a patient's individual constitution—a complex process that incorporates current illness, medical history, personality, behavior and hereditary ailments.

The second is 'complex homeopathy', where the doctors prescribe a combination of medicines or prescribe purely on the basis of conventional diagnosis.

Whichever approach is used, two patients with identical ailments may receive different medications with varying potencies.

Homeopathic remedies are mostly administered in the form of pills with a generous topping of advice on diet and lifestyle. Pills are usually kept under the tongue and sucked till they dissipate. The other forms of medication are tablets, powders, tinctures, creams, ointments or solutions. Some homeopaths no longer prescribe do's and don'ts in diet, except to stipulate that no food or liquid (except water) be consumed half an hour before or after ingesting the medicine. A few recommend you avoid strong-smelling substances, tea and coffee. Qualified homeopaths, however, do not recommend a patient discontinue prescribed allopathic medication.

Homeopaths treat a veritable array of problems. These include allergies, anorectal disorders, asthma, arthritis, back pain and neuralgia, colic, coughs and colds, cystitis, depression, eczema, gynecological problems, hair loss, heartburn, hyperpigmentation, insect bites, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, leg cramp, menopausal problems, migraines, morning sickness, nausea, obesity, phobias, pre-menstrual syndrome, sexual disorders, stress, teething pains, tumors and warts.

Most homeopaths regularly treat chronic or recurrent conditions such as eczema, rheumatoid arthritis, fatigue disorders, asthma, migraine, dysmenorrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, recurrent upper respiratory or urinary tract infections and mood disorders. Patients with ill-defined illness that defy conventional diagnosis are also treated. Significantly, homeopaths treat children more often than other complementary practitioners.

Experienced homeopaths aver that few conditions are truly outside their ambit. Case histories include treatment of complaints as diverse as tuberous sclerosis, infertility, myasthenia gravis, fear of flying and cystic fibrosis.
Even incurable diseases like cancer and AIDS are purportedly handled by homeopaths. In the words of Dr Issac Mathai, who runs the Indian Holistic Medical Centre in Bangalore: "Homeopathy can be very effective in the initial stages of cancer. And it is a good supportive therapy at a later stage. Homeopathy also offers relief without the side effects of chemotherapy and radium therapy. AIDS cases are also being treated by homeopathy. One of my first cases of AIDS—a 15-year-old—is doing well without developing any symptoms. The reason is that homeopathy looks at the symptoms at large rather than the diagnosis and, also, it has a great role in building up natural immunity in patients."

Homeopathic physician since 1994 to the President of India, K.R. Narayanan, Dr A.U. Ramakrishnan from Chennai says: "I have had very encouraging results in cancer and, after a decade of research, published a book on cancer—A Homoeopathic Approach to Cancer—in Boston, USA which has been well received. In stages 1 and 2 (pre-cancerous), the success rate is as much as 80 per cent. In stages 3 and 4 (cancer), the goal is prolonging life, with good quality of life." An allopath-turned-homeopath, Dr Ramakrishnan has clinics in New York, Boston, San Francisco, Toronto, London, Dublin, Singapore and Chennai, India.

Two homeopaths from Kolkata, India, DR Pradip Banerji and his father, DR Prasanta Banerji, are said to have treated over 1,200 cancer patients with a success rate of 43 per cent. The duo claim that tumors—of the lung, brain, esophagus, stomach, liver and breast—can be treated by homeopathic remedies instead of surgery. "We do much better than the (conventional doctors) because our remedies have no side effects. My medicine can't kill you; theirs can," DR Pradip Banerji told a foreign medical website.

Banerji says that he and his father have devised specific homeopathic remedies for certain cancers. For example, lung tumors are treated with potassium carbonate and iron phosphate. "What we have done basically is just use simple homeopathic drugs purchased from anywhere in the world," claimed Banerji.

In many instances, although remedies may lead to a brief flare-up of the disease, serious, unexpected adverse effects are rare. 'Aggravation reactions', where symptoms become acutely but transiently worse after starting homeopathic treatment, do occur and are considered a good prognostic factor. They may cause concern, however, if patients are not adequately forewarned.

"Homeopathic medicines are prepared in a very diluted potentized form. So there are no side effects. But in rare instances if the prescription is exact there can be mild aggravation of symptoms which is considered positive as it is the body's way of letting the response cure the condition," says Dr. Mathai.

"Homeopathy works when there is similarity of energy between the medicine and the person. When it is dissimilar, it won't act. Hence there is no room for side effects," opines Dr. Ramakrishnan.

Significantly, Dr. Mukesh Batra, head of the Positive Health Clinic, refutes the no-side-effects view; "It is a myth. I would rephrase that. Homeopathy is no toxic because it doesn't deal with chemicals and, therefore, doesn't cause toxic reactions unlike other chemical medicines. For instance, you don't get kidney failure due to the medicines. Even in ayurveda, you sometimes take heavy metals that can lead to kidney failure.

"Yet, one must realize that homeopathic medicines act in totality, on the mind and body. There are two kinds of medicines: an acute kind which is short acting and the other, a chronic, constitutional medicine, which is deep acting, the effects of which can stay for months, even years. Certain deep-acting drugs can actually alter human constitution. These drugs, if used wrongly or by an untrained person, can cause some side effects. There can be severe skin reactions that are difficult to control even by us. For instance, you could develop eczema that spreads all over the body.

"The second point is that being a holistic treatment there are certain reactions which even the patient might not attribute to the medicine. If any allopathic drug is taken, one knows the reactions. With homeopathy, one does not know how it might act on a particular person. Take a simple medicine like pulsadella—a natural remedy prepared from a flower which has no side effects and is normally given to women for dysmenorrhoea and painful menstruation. However, many women are very sensitive and begin proving the medicine—they develop emotional side effects that one wouldn't attribute to the medicine. They feel depressed, more sensitive and cry at the drop of a hat. So the mental aspect of certain homeopathic medicines—because they are so deep-acting and affect your psyche—is something that's overlooked by everybody, including homeopaths."

Homeopathy is quite popular in Europe—over 10,000 German and French doctors practice it. Almost all French pharmacies dispense homeopathic remedies and the discipline is covered by state social security. More than 30 per cent of French people use the treatment. Worldwide, homeopathic remedies enjoy OTC (over the counter) status.

In Asia too, the treatment is very popular—especially in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Homeopathy benefited enormously through Mahatma Gandhi's statement: "Homeopathy is the latest, most refined method of treating patients economically and nonviolently. Government must encourage and patronize it in our country."

Homeopathy is most popular in the UK, where the Royal Family has had homeopathic physicians since the 1830s. In England, as many as 45 per cent of conventional MDs refer patients to homeopaths and the treatment is part of the National Health Scheme (NHS).

Reveals DR Mukesh Batra: "The Queen Mother is now 100 years old, but wherever she goes, she takes here homeopathic kit. And she still walks upright although she has arthritis. Prince Charles told the British Medical Association that they were losing track of human beings and must be more humane in their treatment. So he's also for alternative medicine. In the past few years, homeopathy has become part of the NHS, which means that a patient can visit a homeopath and the government pays for the treatment. That hasn't happened even in India."

Reflecting its global resurgence, besides conventional drugs, homeopathic remedies are the only other system of official, regulated medicine in the USA.


DR Khanna brushes away the notion that homeopathy is a placebo-cure system: "I could give you a particular medicine and tell you exactly what symptoms you will experience—which you will! So how can it be a placebo cure? In fact, many allopaths are themselves resorting to homeopathy!"

A chat with DR S. Mahindra, a 74-year-old ENT consultant with a clinic at Bungalow Road, New Delhi, confirms DR Khanna's claim: "In 1990, I had a food allergy which I myself couldn't diagnose. Every day I felt I was sinking. One night after having dinner I suffered terrible distension for the whole night. It was so severe I thought I would pass away. Suddenly, I realized my problem could be due to some food as I was allergic to 32 food items. The problem arose after I began using refined peanut oil. Then I thought of homeopathy—which I had used in 1962, when I was treated for an acute allergy somewhat like asthma. I went to DR Khanna who gave me some medicines. Now I'm only allergic to five or six food items."

Says Monika Anand, a 27-year-old Delhi beautician: "I had severe stomach pains which flared up during menstruation. Recently, I tried homeopathy and felt fine within a fortnight. Besides being much cheaper than allopathic drugs—which I avoid, since I develop adverse reactions—the pills were easy to ingest."

Susheel Sawhney, a 69-year-old housewife, also speaks positively about the therapy: "I used homeopathy ten years ago for depression and it helped me recover. It is good and has no side effects, but must be taken over a long duration to be effective. Besides, you should have faith in the treatment for it to work. Incidentally, although my brother DR R.K. Anand is a top Mumbai pediatrician, his son has become a homeopathic physician!"


From the early years itself, homeopathy has been disproportionately popular among women, as patients as well as practitioners. The world's first women's medical college was the homeopathic Boston Female Medical College, founded in 1848.

DR Mukesh Batra concurs: "Generally there are 90 per cent female students in homeopathic colleges. In our clinics, roughly 75 per cent of the doctors are women. There are two reasons for this. It's now more competitive. In college, women are far more serious than men and achieve better results. Unfortunately, in the long run many get married and stop practice. Secondly, this is a preferred profession for women, their parents and their husbands, since it's a fixed-hours job, there are no emergencies, nor is it too stressful. This is good for homeopathy too, since this is a humane system and women are generally far more humane than men."


The Internet Age has ushered dramatic changes. Computerized repertories (lists of symptoms and the remedies which produce them) and Materia Medicas (comprehensive lists of remedies) are making remedy selection faster and easier for practitioners. Admits DR Jugal Kishore: "When I began practice in 1945, medicines were selected manually. Later, I was the first homeopath to utilize the IBM punch card system, a special software, and there were over 10,000 case studies on record."

Materia Medicas once compiled in book form are today available on CD-ROMs. Says Kuldeep Jain: "We are marketing a homeopathic software called RADAR. This is a great tool for homeopaths to find the right remedies. All the Materia Medicas—there are over 70!—were used in compiling this software. What was once done manually is now instantly calculated by this software, which gives a list of the best remedies for every symptom in a sequence of preference. This makes it easy for a doctor to find out five of the best remedies from a thousand. A job that once took hours is now done in five minutes. RADAR is available in CD form (Rs 25,000) and as a book (RS 1,250) also."

Incidentally, in over three decades, B. Jain has published 1,200 book titles, most of which are still in print. "We have published books in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and other Indian languages such as, Urdu, Bengali, Hindi, Telegu, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Gujarati and Marathi," beams Jain.

Another excellent software in the market is the HOMPATH Classic, a CD-ROM brought out by DR Jawahar Shah from Mumbai. HOMPATH includes numerous classical repertories such as Kent, Boenninghausen, Boericke, Boger, Roberts, Lippe, Clarke, Phatak et al. It also has a comprehensive Materia Medica.

The man behind the world's first homeopathic cyber clinic, DR Batra says: "Basically, we use a group of software, most of which is designed ourselves. We started recording case histories of patients on computers in 1982. Positive Health Clinic is perhaps the only one in India, perhaps the world, where the doctor automatically keeps punching in the complaint as he talks to you. You never have to carry any case papers—they're history! But your history is always with us." Reflecting a sign of the times, Positive Health Clinic's doctors can be consulted at any time throughout the year at their cyber clinic.

Homeopathy's rising fortunes are illustrated by the fact that in 1996 Greek homeopathic physician George Vithoulkas was one of the three recipients of the Right Livelihood Award—known as Sweden's 'alternative Nobel Prize' and carrying a cash award of $2,50,000—for his outstanding contribution to the revival of classical homeopathy.

Vithoulkas' words mirrored the rising trend of allopaths embracing homeopathy: "It is a truly satisfying experience for me to see that, 2,500 years after Hippocrates, medical doctors are coming back to a Greek island to be taught what I am convinced to be today the most advanced form of therapy."

The same goes for lay people. In trying to buck the steep costs and obnoxious side effects of modern medicine, in the past two decades people have turned in droves to alternative therapies in general and homeopathy in particular. The treatment is also gaining acceptance amongst veterinarians.

"Homeopathy is popular amongst vets in the UK and USA. It is also popular in India and I have been treating some animals at my clinic," says DR Issac Mathai.

DR Mukesh Batra voices similar sentiments: "DR Bharate—the vet at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Borivili, Mumbai, India—uses homeopathy to treat animals and gets good results. We sometimes treat pets free of charge."

Homeopathy is here to stay. And the reason is succinctly summed up in the words of renowned violinist Yehudi Menuhin: "Homeopathy is one of the few medical specialties which carries no penalties—only benefits."