Homeopathy involves the acquisition of a substance often chosen because of its harmful nature (but sometimes for other reasons) followed by the dilution of that substance, or an extract of it, in water numerous times until the substance itself is essentially gone, but the memory of the substance is retained by the water. This water, with the memory, is then considered by homeopathic practitioners to be an effective treatment for various conditions.
The basic principle of using a harmful substance to produce a sort of counter-reaction, or a beneficial reaction, is interesting. And, the idea of using some sort of organic memory is also interesting and potentially quite effective, if it can be pulled off. Most of my colleagues in science-based skepticism dismiss homeopathy as inconsequential and ineffective, in part because there are no double blind controlled studies with usable sample sizes, properly selected samples, appropriate statistics and biologically sensible analyses demonstrating effectiveness, and because there is no evidence of water having “memory” or of a substance diluted into non existence having an effect. But I think they may have given up too easily on this idea, and there is a way to make homeopathy work. We just have to change a couple of the parameters.
First, the substance that is used in dilute form needs to be a biologically potent substance, and not just some thing someone thought might work. For instance, if you take silica based crystals such as quartz and grind them up into a powder and ingest the powder in small quantity, there will be either minimal effect or a small effect similar to consuming a dose of fiber supplement. I don’t recommend trying this, because if the crystal contained certain minerals then the substance could be quite poisonous, and even if the powder is 99.9999999 percent silica, silica powder can be harmful (if inhaled). However, from the point of view of how natural systems work, crystal per se should have little effects by itself, especaily if ground up.
On the other hand, organic substances, those that are made up of cells or parts of cells, can have very powerful natural effects. This is because the body contains natural molecules that interact not only with each other, but also with natural molecules of organic origin that are introduced into the body. And, most interesting, it has been demonstrated in many studies that these reactions can literally change, in a natural and organic way, the body’s natural molecules. Furthermore, and this may seem hard to believe but it is really quite wonderful and proved in many studies, but the molecules in the body that are changed can “learn” to assist cells in making more molecules that, in turn, are changed in the same way. I’m oversimplifying a bit, but I think you may have already guessed where I’m going with this: The introduction of certain organic natural materials into the body can result in the body developing a long term memory of those molecules. Studies have shown that this memory, in many cases, lasts a lifetime, or at least, for several decades.
So, we have all the homeopathic elements: Substances that can be very potent, processed so they are in small concentration, introduced into the body, causing a memory reaction not in the water the substance was originally mixed in, but IN THE BODY ITSELF using purely natural and organic bodily processes. This memory will last a life time, or nearly so. In this way, a properly selected natural organic substance can cause a highly desirable re-conformation, in a totally natural and organic way, of the body’s reaction to stresses that originate from the outside.
The molecules introduced into the body are called antigens. The molecules the body learns to produce are called antibodies. The whole process is called vaccination.