The use of homeopathy for alcoholism treatment is widespread. Dr. Samuel Hahnemann developed homeopathy in the late 1700s. But what is homeopathy?
II. Substances Used
Homeopathy is a system of treatment. It’s based on the theory that “like cures like.” Homeopaths treat patients by first identifying their symptoms. Then they then give them very highly diluted doses of substances. Those substances, in large doses, would create the original symptoms. Hence, “like cures like.”
Adherents believe that the weaker the dosage, the more powerful the effects. They also believe that vigorously shaking the solutions increase their power.
Homeopathy for alcoholism and other conditions is popular. Especially so in Europe.
Homeopaths tailor their treatment to the individual alcoholic. For example, Drs. Robert Ullman and Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman report the following.
“Sulphur is prescribed frequently for the philosophical, reclusive type of individual who relies on alcohol or marijuana to access his stream of creative thoughts or as an escape. Drinkers needing Sulphur have a particular predilection for red wine. However they may also have a strong desire for beer. This may cause heartburn and belching. These people may drink on the sly.
“Nux vomica is good for alcoholics who fly into a insulting, angry rage when drunk. It may be the corporate executive, for example, who works long hours and pushes himself through with stimulants such as caffeine and hot, spicy foods. He then drinks beer or whiskey to relax and forget about business. They may buy drinks for all their buddies. They are likely to become red-faced when drunk. Nux vomica is an acute hangover remedy.
“The sentimental, blubbering drunks often need Lachesis. Aurum metallicum is a remedy for hard-working, conscientious people who can become deeply, often suicidally, depressed, often due to a sense of having failed at life.
Lastly is Sulphuric acid, a remedy for the last stage, broken down alcoholic whose ruin was caused by abuse of whiskey, gin, or scotch. He or she often suffers severe gastric distress and hyperacidity.”1
The use of Nux vomica, lachesis, aurum metallicum and sulphuric acid is mentioned above.
However, other substances commonly used in homeopathy for alcoholism include opium, strychnine, Cannabis Indica, Quercus Glandium Spiritus, and Hyoscyamus niger.
II. Substances Used
Most people are unfamiliar with some of these substances. Therefore, descriptions are helpful.
Nux vomica is a preparation or extract made from the poisonous seeds of the Strychnos nux-vomica tree native to Asia.
Lachesis is the venom of the poisonous bushmaster snake, Lachesis mutus. It lives in Central and South America.
Aurum metallicum is gold. That is, gold metal.
Sulphuric acid is a highly corrosive liquid. It’s widely used in the manufacture of explosives and other products.
Opium is a highly addictive narcotic drug prepared from the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum). It’s native to Asia and contains morphine, codeine, and papaverine.
Strychnine is an extremely poisonous alkaloid. It’s derived from Strychnos nux-vomica and related plants.
Cannabis indica, earlier known as Cannabis sativa forma indica, is a source of marijhuana.
Quercus Glandium Spiritus is alcohol distilled from fermented acorns.
Hyoscyamus niger is from the plant of the same name. All parts of the plant contain scopolamine, atropine, and hyoscyamine. It can be deadly poisonous.
Find many, many more here.
III. Effectiveness of Homeopathy for Alcoholism
Unfortunately, medical research does not find homeopathy to be effective for treating alcoholism.2
This is not surprising in view of the observations of the federal National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM).
It notes that “Several key concepts of homeopathy are inconsistent with fundamental concepts of chemistry and physics.” It also found that “There is little evidence to support homeopathy as an effective treatment for any specific condition.”3
This means that, at best, there is little support for the use of homeopathy for alcoholism treatment. There is no reason to expect it to be effective. In fact, there are good scientific reasons to expect it to be ineffective.
IV. Resources: Homeopathy for Alcoholism
- Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy
- American Institute of Homeopathy
- Hahnemann College of Homeopathy
- Indian Homeopathic Medical Association
- National Center for Homeopathy
- North American Society of Homeopaths.
1. Ullman, R. and Reichenberg-Ullman, J. Treating Alcoholism with Homeopathy. Healthy Homeopathy website.
2. Ernst E. Homeopathy. What does the “best” evidence tell us? Med J Austral, 2010, 192(8), 458–460. Also Posadzki P., et al. Adverse effects of homeopathy. Int J Clin Prac, 2012, 66(12), 1178–1188. And Jin, A. & Chin, C. Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Chronic Rhinosinusitis. Am J Rhin Allergy, 2019, 33(2), 194-202. Also Mathie, R., et al. Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised homeopathic treatment. Homeopathy, 2019.
3. Homeopathy: An Introduction. NCCAM Pub. # D439, May, 2013.