Some people believe that homeopathy can treat or even cure non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). There is no evidence that this is true or that homeopathy can treat or cure any medical condition.

This comes from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).

Homeopathy is a specific form of alternative medicine. It draws on the idea that taking a very small amount of a substance that would cause symptoms in a healthy person can treat someone with a disease. Its principles counter what scientists know about the human body.

Homeopathy is different from holistic medicine. Holistic medicine involves taking a person’s whole self into account. A holistic approach to NHL might involve treatments to target the cancer itself, alongside support for someone’s mental health and nutrition.

This article explores whether homeopathy can help with NHL, its risks, and other complementary therapies that people may wish to consider.

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Homeopathy is a type of alternative medicine, which originated in Germany in the late 1700s. It comprises two key principles. The first is the idea of “like cures like.” This means that a substance that would cause symptoms in healthy people can treat illnesses associated with that substance.

The second principle is the “law of infinitesimals.” This means that the more diluted a substance becomes, the more potent it is.

Proponents of homeopathy believe that the practice works by initiating or activating the body’s natural immune or healing process. However, the NICCH states that its core concepts are inconsistent with a modern, scientific understanding of medicine.

Homeopathic remedies can contain many substances, from relatively harmless plants to poisonous substances or animals.

Despite the large number of clinical trials investigating the potential of homeopathic remedies, there is no conclusive evidence that homeopathy is any more effective than a placebo for any condition.

NHL refers to a group of cancers that start in certain types of white blood cells called lymphocytes. These cells are part of the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system. There are many types of NHL depending on several factors, including the type of cell involved and location.

Treatment typically involves killing the cancerous cells with chemotherapy or radiation. Sometimes, it may also involve monoclonal antibody therapy, which helps the immune system kill cancer cells itself.

Homeopathy is unlikely to have the same effect as these treatments due to how diluted the remedies are.

There are case studies that appear positive. In one German case study from 2019, a 63-year-old female with large-cell B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma took 1 granulum of Conium C 30 – or poison hemlock – daily for 2 weeks.

The researchers say that, when they removed the affected lymph node and looked at it under a microscope, there was no evidence of a tumor.

However, this does not necessarily mean homeopathy cured the cancer. Spontaneous remission of NHL is possible, although it is rare. Case studies from 2015 and 2017 record instances where NHL patients got better without treatment.

Additionally, the study does not prove that the hemlock was responsible for the improvement, and it only focuses on one individual. Only larger-scale trials can provide evidence a treatment works reliably and is safe.

Learn more about NHL here.

It is unclear if homeopathy can truly relieve NHL symptoms. Currently, it seems likely that people who report feeling better after using homeopathic remedies are experiencing the placebo effect.

However, the placebo effect can still be beneficial. It may appear to reduce symptoms or make it easier for people to cope with them.

Some may find homeopathy helps them feel more in control of what is happening to them, which may also help with the psychological impact of the disease.

According to Cancer Research UK, some small studies have explored whether homeopathy can help relieve side effects associated with cancer treatment. None have provided enough evidence to be conclusive.

Homeopathy carries some risks.

Although they intend to contain extremely diluted concentrations of active ingredients, some homeopathic products may contain much higher levels of active ingredients that can cause harm. These include:

  • toxic plants, such as nightshade
  • heavy metals, such as arsenic
  • substances that can interact with medications

Furthermore, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not evaluate products sold in the United States that claim to be homeopathic. This means it does not test if the products are safe or pure before they become available to purchase.

Homeopathic products may not contain what they say they do. The FDA has previously issued statements about brands recalling their products due to contamination by bacteria and the possible presence of unlisted antibiotics.

There is also a significant risk in avoiding standard medical treatments in favor of homeopathic products. This approach risks the cancer progressing.

No complementary therapy can cure cancer, according to current research. But safe, evidence-based complementary therapies may help people cope with cancer symptoms, treatment side effects, or the mental impact of the condition.

Complementary health approaches the NICCH and American Cancer Society state may help people dealing with cancer treatment include:

Homeopathy is an alternative therapy that is controversial in the scientific community. There is no evidence that it can treat any medical condition, including NHL.

However, it may help some people feel more in control of their treatment. Through the placebo effect, it may also impact their symptoms or treatment side effects.

It is vital for people to discuss homeopathic remedies with a doctor before taking them, as some contain ingredients that may interact with medications. It is also essential for people not to rely on homeopathy alone to treat cancer.