Monday, December 28, 2009

Steroids – Do Homoeopaths use them ?

Steroids is a shortened term used for corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are man made drugs that closely resemble cortisol, a hormone produced by adrenal glands in our body.

When inflammation occurs due to foreign substances in our body, chemicals from the body are released to protect us from foreign bodies.

Sometimes, however, the wbc`s and the inflammatory chemicals cause damage to the body`s tissues.

How they work

Steroids work by decreasing inflammation & reducing the activity of immune system. Inflammation is a process in which the body`s white blood cells and chemicals protect us from infection and foreign substances such as bacteria and viruses.

In certain diseases, however, the body`s defense system does not work properly. This may cause inflammation to work against the body`s tissues and cause damage. Inflammation is characterized by redness, warmth, swelling & pain.

Steroids reduce the production of inflammatory chemicals in order to minimize tissue damage. Steroids also reduce the activity of immune system by affecting the function of wbc`s.

When inflammation threatens to damage critical body organs, steroids can be organ saving and in many cases life saving.

If prolonged and high doses of steroids are used; side effects may occur.

Common side effects of steroids include :-

Increased appetite, weight gain.

Sudden mood swings.

Muscle weakness.

Blurred vision.

Increased growth of body hair.

Low resistance to infection.

Swollen puffy face


Osteoporosis (Brittle bones).

Water retention, swelling.

For their proper use, their dose, repetititon and withdrawal should be done properly.

“ Doctor, I have heard that homoeopaths use steroids. Do you also use them? This question is often posed by some patients during the course of a consultation with a Homoeopathic physician.

The answer to this question is a definite “NO”. Homoeopathic physicians of integrity and commitment to their profession do not use steroids.

Further more the following points also add up to clear the doubts:

If one has been on long term steroids, one would show some side effects like “MOON FACE”, Excessive Body hair, Osteoporosis, Diabetes etc.

Steroids are not all “CURE ALL” for all the ills of the world. If that had been the case then all diseases would have vanished.

There are around 4000 medicines in the homoeopathic armamentarium, each having its own sphere of action, symptomalogy & individuality. So where is the need for steroids?

Using steroids causes SUPPRESSION of disease i.e. the act of driving a disease deeper inwards so that it attacks more important organs than previously affected and in a more serious form. No conscientious physician would like to do that.

How steroids are tested in medicines?

The routine method for testing steroids is the “Calorimetric Method” using Tetrazolium Blue salts. In this test, the reaction depends upon the reduction of Tetrazolium Blue salts to a highly coloured compound known as

“Farmazan”. Under controlled conditions the amount of “Farmazan” developed is proportional to the quality of steroids or any other Reducing sugars present in the material being tested.

The dispensing materials used in homoeopathic medicines are: Lactose

(Milk sugar), Pills made of cane sugar. Both of these materials are reducing sugars, so they give a false test for steroids even when they are


Another dispensing material used is Alcohol. If the alcohol used is not completely free from Aldehyde, it will interfere with the reaction and will impart some characteristic colour in the reaction that may again give a false positive impression of steroid. So this method is not at all advisable to determine the presence of steroids in a homoeopathic medicines.

Other methods used t

UV method: This is another method for the testing of steroids. All steroids shoe UV absorption between 235 to 240 NM in dehydrated alcohol or methanol in a clear solution. This is a reliable method for testing steroids in homoeopathic medicines.

Conclusion: So, before accepting a claim that the tested medicine does contain a steroid, one must find out what testing procedures were used to eliminate the possibility of a false positive result.

If tests conclusively prove that the medicine given is indeed a steroid under the guise of a homoeopathic remedy then one must seek an explanation or complain to homoeopathic council or consumer forum so that a disciplinary action can be taken against the erring doctor.

Unsubstantiated allegations against any doctor or system of medicine are most unfair and damaging to the professional integrity and indeed to the profession.

The curative properties of homoeopathic medicines prescribed strictly on the principles of homoeopathy extend much farther than contemporary system of medicine. This might be the reason that our contemporaries have the misconception that homoeopaths use steroids.

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