Originally published July 24 2008
Homeopathy Proven Better Than Conventional Medicine for Eczema
by Heidi Stevenson
(NaturalNews) No benefit exists in using the highly toxic drugs for eczema pushed by conventional medicine. Homeopathy has better results without the use of harmful products. A peer-reviewed journal reports that there is no reason to subject your children to life-threatening steroids for eczema.
The report, published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, documents a one-year study of one to sixteen year-old children with eczema. The children treated with homeopathy had equal or better results than those treated with corticosteroids. More intriguing is that those children whose conditions were worse at the beginning of the study had greater degrees of improvement with the homeopathic treatment.
This is clearly a win-win for patients. Why would anyone choose potent drugs that can permanently damage health when there's another, safe option? When you add in the fact that homeopathically-treated children may fare better than those treated by conventional medicine, then it's inconceivable why any parent would consider putting a child at risk by treating eczema conventionally, when homeopathy is a safe option.
Trial Methodology and Results
The study, done in Germany, included both urban and rural subjects recruited between January 1998 and December 2000. Its focus was on patients' and doctors' perceptions of improvement, both in terms of the eczema itself and quality of life. The methodology was designed to reflect routine treatment. Questionnaires were filled out by both physicians and patients, or when necessary, by their parents at the beginning of the study, at six months, and again at 12 months. The study focused on subjective results, not clinical tests. As the authors noted, although clinical tests may show differences in children with eczema and asthma in a biomarker like immunoglobulin E, it doesn't have any bearing on the patient's well-being.
Children included had to meet the following criteria:
* Under age 17.
* Not previously treated by the physician who treated them in the study.
* Suffered from itching and at least three of the following five symptoms: symptoms in skin creases, dry skin for at least twelve months, asthma or allergic rhinitis history, family history of eczema (only in children aged 1-3), or eczema first appearing before the first birthday.
The homeopathic doctors came from Germany's DZVh─ (association of homeopathic physicians) and had to practice according to the Principle of Similars and using only a single remedy. No other methods, including allopathic, could be used.
Conventional, allopathic, doctors were chosen randomly from practices that specialize in pediatrics, dermatology, and family practice. No homeopathy could be used.
All subjects were self-selected. That is, they had chosen their physicians prior to the study. Of 118 children, 54 received homeopathic treatment and 64 received allopathic drugs. An interesting side point is that children whose parents had an education level of more than 12 years were significantly more likely to opt for homeopathy. 64% of the homeopathic parents' education level was more than 12 years, while only 33% of the allopathic parents had more than 12 years of education.
Results by Symptom Relief
The children treated with homeopathy started with worse symptoms than the allopathically-treated group. Both groups showed significant improvements over 12 months. Both allopathic and homeopathy physicians rated the initial severity of symptoms and the improvements higher than the patients did. Here are the percentages of improvement reported by patients and physicians after 12 months:
* Homeopathy, 27% improvement
* Conventional, 38% improvement
* Homeopathy, 91% improvement
* Conventional, 75% improvement
Results by Quality of Life
In terms of quality of life, it's quite interesting to note that both groups indicated improvements from both types of treatment, though it was minimal in both.
When looking at the data plotted by graph, the results are intriguing. After six months the allopathic group's quality of life was reported as slightly better than the homeopathic group's. However, at 12 months, the allopathic group's quality of life had diminished slightly, and the homeopathic group's quality of life had continued to improve to a slightly higher level.
One must ask what would the results have been two years after the study's start, instead of only one year. Though the authors of the study didn't note it, the homeopathic group showed a definitive trend towards improvement, while the allopathic group had clearly leveled off, possibly losing ground, at the one year point.
This may be the most significant point in the study. It strongly indicates the need to do longer term trials, especially considering that the risks associated with corticosteroid drugs are enormous. These risks are documented later in this article, and they tend to be cumulative. The longer a corticosteroid drug is taken, the more likely that there will be a damaging effect.
The single most obvious point is that, when treatment with highly dangerous drugs does not provide a better outcome, and when they may result in outcomes that are not as good as a nontoxic alternative, then there is absolutely no justification for using them. Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, prednisolone, and methylprednisolone, are fraught with risks, both short and long term. The study's authors noted only one potential risk, skin atrophy. There are, though, many highly significant reasons for concern with this class of drugs. To make clear just how many and how serious the effects of corticosteroids can be, here's a list of side effects of prednisolone, which are virtually identical to other corticosteroids. It was taken directly from Medscape, an authoritative reference provided for allopaths:
Appetite increase, Esophageal ulcer, Hemorrhage, Hypersecretion, Nausea, Peptic ulcer, Weight gain
Bradycardia, Embolism, Chronic heart failure, Cardiac arrest, Conduction disorder, Hypertension, Pulmonary edema, Tachyarrhythmia, Thromboembolic disorder, Thrombophlebitis, Vasculitis
Delirium, Depression, Euphoria, Excitement, False sense of well-being, Hallucinations, Impaired cognition, Insomnia, Malaise, Mood changes, Nervousness, Paranoid disorder, Personality disorder, Psychiatric disturbance
Dizziness, Headaches, Intracranial hypertension, Muscle weakness, Myopathy, Neuralgia, Neuropathy, Paresthesia, Tonic-clonic seizure, Vertigo
Acne vulgaris, Allergic dermatitis, Ecchymosis (bruising), Flushing, Hyperhydrosis (excess sweating), Petechiae (red spots on skin), Urticaria (hives), Skin rash, Skin scaling, Skin striae (shiny lines indicating weakness of elastic tissues)
Cataracts, Glaucoma, Ocular hypertension
Fractures, Osteoporosis, Tendon rupture
Allergic reactions, Anaphylaxis, Diabetes, Dyspnea (difficulty breathing), Edema (fluid retention), Erythema (skin redness from capillary dilation), Fainting, Glycosuria (excess sugar in the urine), Hepatomegaly (liver enlargement), Hiccups, Hirsutism (excess hair growth), Impaired wound healing, Infection, Irregular menstruation, Lipodystrophy (metabolic fat disorder), Liver malfunction, Pancreatitis (acute), Weight gain
What's the connection?
All of these diseases and conditions are the result of metabolic disturbance in the body's hormonal system.
Hormones regulate your metabolism. When too much (or too little) of a hormone exists in your body, it interrupts your system's ability to stay in balance.
Corticosteroids mimic hormones produced by the adrenal glands. When steroids are introduced, they interfere with the metabolic balance. This results in knock-on effects throughout the body. Damage is cumulative.
The desired effect of pharmaceutical steroids is anti-inflammation, which can suppress many symptoms, including pain and things like eczema. However, they also have other effects, such as the fight-or-flight response to fear. Blood flow is altered. It's redirected away from digestion towards the heart, lungs, and extremities. This is a protective mechanism under the right circumstances, when your own adrenal glands provide the extra steroids as needed. However, when it comes from the outside, especially on an on-going basis, the result can be devastating.
Because blood is less available to absorb nutrients, the body suffers from lack of nutrition. Thus, a condition like osteoporosis can develop. Nearly all the diseases and conditions on the list of steroid side effects can be explained by the disruption of the body's hormone system. Others, such as liver damage, are the result of the excess stress placed on the organ as it attempts to detoxify the harmful substance from the body.
The lesson here is to consider alternatives, such as homeopathy, acupuncture, nutritional support, or other modalities, before considering drastic and potentially life-destroying drugs. Inform yourself.
Remember, it's your body (or your child's). Nobody lives with the results of what goes into it but you or your child.
About the author* Heidi Stevenson, BSc, DIHom, FBIH
* Fellow, British Institute of Homeopathy
* Gaia Health (http://www.gaia-health.com)
* The author is a homeopath who became concerned with medically-induced harm as a result of her own experiences and those of family members. She says that allopathic medicine is the arena that best describes the motto, "Buyer beware."
* Heidi Stevenson provides information about medically-induced disease and disability, along with incisive well-researched articles on major issues in the modern world, so members of the public can protect themselves.
She can be reached through her website: www.gaia-health.com
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