The field of medicine is in a definite crisis situation, and not simply in terms of healthcare. Not only are people exposed to harmful agents present in the air they breathe, in the water they drink, and in the food they eat, but also to the harmful effects of drugs and potential treatments. Many questions may go through the minds of doctors and patients when faced with the idea of treatment. Why do patients so often weigh the benefits of a potential treatment against the harm it may cause? How are doctors and patients to evaluate the risks of a particular treatment when the manufacturers themselves are not fully aware of them? When people fall ill to the flu or common cold, some might wait it out. Many might rush to their physician’s office where they are typically prescribed an antibiotic. Others may turn to remedies provided by their local homeopath, a professional in a system of alternative medicine called homeopathy. To better understand the risks associated with utilizing homeopathic practices or allopathic (conventional) medicine, it is best to understand the purposes of each medical practice.
Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician, created homeopathy in 1796, though the system’s concept dates back to the age of Hippocrates. Hahnemann became a member of the medical profession during a time when radical medical methods were used that weakened patients for no apparent benefit, such as bloodletting, clysters, and other derivative measures (Koehler, 1989). Based on the principle of “like cures like,” according to which a substance can cause symptoms in a healthy person, then it can create similar, self-healing symptoms in a sick person (“What is Homeopathy?,” 2002).
Every living organism follows an inherent law of life to constantly endeavor to remain in a state of homeostasis. The use of antibiotics in the treatment of an illness suppresses undesirable reactions or symptoms. Antibiotics disrupt the normal bacterial balance within the body and since bacteria can proliferate quickly, every generation of bacteria has the opportunity to overcome the lethal stress of the antibiotics (Hoover, 2002). The act of suppression, such as that of antibiotics, prevents the body from regulating itself.
Since their discovery in 1941, antibiotics are often seen as one of the most important medical discoveries of the 20th century. Antibiotic resistance has become a major health issue as drug-resistant bacteria have emerged because of the overuse of antibiotic drugs in healthcare and...