Systematic Review of Conceptual Criticism of Homeopathy
05 February 2020 (online)
Background: Homeopathy, with its long tradition as complementary medicine therapy, is often a subject of debate, especially in non-peer-reviewed media, in which its effects and plausibility are highly discussed. Due to the lack of knowledge on a remedy-specific mode of action, pre-clinical and clinical effects of homeopathy are questioned, and lack of scientific evidence emphasized. This systematic review aims to summarize and evaluate peer-reviewed scientific articles regarding conceptual criticism of homeopathy.
Methods: The literature search strategy included original peer-reviewed scientific articles on conceptual criticism of homeopathy, following the current recommendations of PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-analysis Approach). The databases Cochrane Library, EMBASE, Europe PMC, PhilPapers, PubMed and Web of Science provided the basis of the literature search. Editorials, comments, reviews, meta-analyses, clinical trials and experimental studies were not considered.
Results and Conclusion: Only a few articles were found. Implausibility of homeopathic basic principles (law of similars, potentization procedure) according to the current state of scientific knowledge is one of the statements made. In some cases, further conclusions are drawn, such as that homeopathy is ethically unacceptable. Based on the present analysis of the scientific peer-reviewed literature, the current discussion in the public media is not mirrored by a corresponding scientific debate.
Keywords: Homeopathy, conceptual criticism, scientific evidence