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Popularity Of Homeopathy On The Increase

The medication should only be prescribed by a trained homeopath who has examined the patient carefully.

Conventional medicine still rejects homeopathy to a great extent.

"I don't believe in the pellets, especially not in the high potencies as homeopaths have not backed up their claims with scientific evidence so far," says Bruno Mueller-Oerlinghausen, chairman of the German Commission on Medication in Berlin.

"There is no doubt, however, that homeopathic physicians often have enormous success," according to Mueller-Oerlinghausen.

"It is, however, simply a placebo effect."

Biologist and homeopathic critic, Rainer Wolf, of the Biocentre at the University of Wuerzburg, has a similar opinion. "The body to a large extent heals itself. It is treated in some way and it believes in the cure."

But even critics like Mueller-Oerlinghausen concede that homeopaths are often "the better doctors because they take time with their patients".

Sceptics argue that there is much in favour of the placebo argument because homeopathy is very effective in so-called psychosomatic illnesses such as migraine, skin ailments and unspecified stomach pains.

But homeopath Steuernagel rejects such statements, saying that homeopathy can do much more than that. "It is useful for all types of illnesses, acute and chronic," he says.

Trained homeopaths, meanwhile, cover a wide spectrum of diseases including cancer, alcoholism and psychological disorders. Homeopathy is only excluded where cell structures have been destroyed. Diabetes, for instance, cannot be treated by homeopathy, according to Steuernagel.

Most health insurance policies do not cover homeopathic treatment. "Most of my patients settle the bill out of their own pocket," he says.

Steuernagel sees no reason why homeopathy should be sidelined by conventional medicine. "All doctors who offer homeopathy are trained
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