Are home remedies just a placebo? Absolutely! Are you shocked? Don`t be.
This response is created by the mind when it believes that something or some action you have taken is helpful for healing some problem. In recent years the use of the word for this response has been made into something negative, but that is not the real nature of this effect.
In the beginning God made the body to follow the mind,
the mind to follow the spirit and the spirit to "walk in the ways of
the Lord". As we will discuss later, the
latter is the very meaning of the original Latin word "placebo".
This is the natural order of things. In Christianity the Bible teaches that anything you ask of the Lord in "Faith" you will receive. If you say to the mountain, "move from here to there", and you believe that it will be done... the Bible teaches that it will happen. All major world religions teach this idea in some way. So why are we so shocked to find out that a large part of healing comes from the effects of our own beliefs about what we are taking and what we are doing to bring about health?
In Hindu beliefs everyday actions of eating, bathing, meditation and exercise are all seen as acts to align the whole being, (mind, body, spirit), with the "Ultimate". A state of health is seen as a proper alignment of these things. In Hindu beliefs you can only achieve this state with a belief in your daily actions and a belief in the "Ultimate". Without belief there is no alignment. This is known as "walking the way of the Ultimate".
When you take medicine what do you think happens? Prescription and non prescription pain medicine cuts off the messages sent from the brain to the nervous system so that you don`t experience the pain. But it is still up to the mind to activate the natural processes of the body, including the immune system, to heal the original cause of the pain. If this doesn`t happen then you will either have to continue taking the medicine or suffer from the pain for life.
If we agree that the mind activates the processes of the body to heal it`s self then can we also agree that believing in what ever treatment you are receiving, ( natural, pharmaceutical or surgical), is a key element for success? There is not an experienced doctor on the planet that will tell you that belief isn`t a major contributor to healing of any disease.
Antibiotics kill bacteria, but they not only kill the bad bacteria; they also kill the good bacteria. When these good bacteria are killed, the body lacks the natural protection that they offer and many end up with Fibro-myalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, candida and many other problems. Chemo-therapy kills cancer cells, but also kills healthy cells. Surgery removes a "RESULT", but doesn`t cure "THE" problem. This is why so many of these problems come back even after these treatments are preformed.
Without the mind activating the bodies natural defenses there is no true healing. This being true, do you think the mind and the bodies natural processes will work better if you believe they will, or if you believe they wont? As stated in many other sections of this website, I believe there is absolutely a time for drugs and modern medicine. Even then, I don`t believe you will reach a true state of health with only drugs or surgery or chemo-therapy, but until you work naturally with the body by giving it the food, herbs and exercise it needs and practicing acts of faith in yourself, your treatment and your God.
To further demonstrate this effect, a substantial study of 30 placebo controlled trials of the gastric acid secretion inhibitor drug "Cimetidine", (a registered name drug), for the treatment of gastric ulcers found that placebo treatments were almost equally effective as the active drug counterpart. 1700 patients were treated over 30 trials. 70% of those treated with drugs were healed and 55% of those treated with a placebo were healed. In 1998 it was found that 80% of the effectiveness of anti-depressant medications is due to the effects of placebo known as the placebo effect, rather than the treatment itself.
A 2002 article in "The Washington
Post" was titled, "Against Depression, a Sugar Pill is Hard to Beat".
To paraphrase this article, " Almost all of the trials conducted by
drug companies during the last several decades, sugar pills have done
as well as, and often better than, their chemical counter parts".
Companies had to conduct numerous trials to get the minimum of two that show positive results, which is required by the F.D.A. for approval. The makers of Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft, ( all patented, registered name drugs), are just a few examples of drugs that needed to run several trials to get the two trials with positive results needed for approval by the Food and Drug Administration. In 2008 another analysis found that 80% of depressed patients receiving a placebo remained well compared to 90% receiving drugs.
In an analysis of 96 anti-depressant trials between 1979 and 1996 showed that 52% of them, the effect of the anti-depressant could not be distinguished from that of the placebo. To paraphrase Andrew Leuchter, a Professor at U.C.L.A.," We think we give people treatments and they get better. We have this false sense of success, but we don`t know in any individual, why they get better. Undoubtedly one of those factors is the belief of the patient in the treatment and their doctor and the connectedness that gives the patient". Dr. Wayne Blackmon says, " I know from clinical experience that drugs alone don`t do the job."
Helen Mayberg, head of the Rotman Research Institute at the University of Toronto said it like this, " Medicine and healing are like a room with a hole in one window. You are trying to set a thermostat- it`s 100 degrees outside and you want it to be 70. If you set the thermostat to 70, that doesn`t work. But if you set it to 50 it fools the system and gets the temperature back to 70. Both drugs and placebos- chemicals and beliefs- may impose different chemical pressures on the brain that resets the temperature. The real problem, of course, is that no one knows how to fix the hole in the window, or even where exactly it is. It`s like a thousand piece puzzle with no picture on the box." It is the opinion of the authors of this site that some part of your mind does know where the "whole in the window" is and how to fix it. God certainly knows. So if you give the body what it needs from nature and you put your faith in the treatment and God, a state of health and well being is achievable.
18th and 19th centuries, the word placebo didn`t have the same negative
meaning of today. During those centuries it was common for doctors to
prescribe medicine to patients because the patient was insistent about
getting that particular medicine. When the doctor saw no harm in giving
the prescription, he would do so even though he believed it to have no
effect on the particular illness.
Soon doctors began to discover the belief on the patients part, that the medication would heal them, brought about the desired result. Doctors then began prescribing such medicine because the patients belief would often produce wellness. It wasn`t until the 20th century that we began using an innate or sugar pill to test against the effectiveness of chemical drugs. From that time it has always been a challenge to drugs companies to show their drugs effectiveness when the placebo often had as good or better results.
The word Placebo originates from Latin meaning "I will please". In the Latin translation of the Bible, ( Psalms 116:9 "Placebo Domino in regione vivorum"/ " I will please the Lord in the land of the living"). In Hebrew the word for placebo is " ethalech" meaning "I will walk with" or " I will walk in step with". These are often used to say "I will walk (in step with) or (the way of) the Lord".
When I am
asked if I think that home remedies, natural healing, prayer,
meditation, magnets and stones are the result of placebo, my answer is
absolutely yes! Just as a Doctor said about drugs.... they absolutely
have an effect but that effect is greatly amplified by the persons
belief known as placebo.
So whether it is drugs or natural healing... its overall effectiveness is determined in part or in whole, by placebo, or the belief of the one taking it for treatment.The biggest difference between taking drugs or home remedies, drugs are for illness, but taking herbs and learning to eat healthy, exercise, meditate, and finding a spiritual or religious practice that suits you is about being healthy and well.
Let the Doctors deal with illness. But let us all work toward reaching a state of health. Never again be afraid of the word "Placebo" because the effect of placebo is " learning to walk in step with the ways of the Lord". The only way to truly be healthy.