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Editor's Correspondence
May 8, 2000

Homeopathy: Alternative, but Not Scientific

Arch Intern Med. 2000;160(9):1375. doi:

Eskinazi's encomium on homeopathy starts from a flawed premise and ends with a wrong conclusion.1

First, he ignores the checkered history of the homeopathic corpus. The doctrine of homeopathy arose from 18th-century German physician Samuel Hahnemann, who first observed, through self-experimentation, that high doses of quinine caused fever as well as other manifestations of cinchonism.2 Without knowledge of the true antimalarial and antipyretic function of quinine, he wrongly concluded that "like cures like," ie, that the therapeutic effect of quinine was a result of its pyrogenic properties. In a further leap of logic, he hypothesized that massive dilutions of a compound would enhance that effect. He conducted hundreds of similar "drug-provings" on himself, his family, and other persons that were just as invalid in a modern scientific sense.

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