Homeopathic remedies have been shown to work, although scientists don’t understand why. In homeopathy, remedies are diluted to the point where they often cannot even be detected. A homeopathic antidote for arsenic has been developed that could be inexpensively used in parts of India and Bangladesh where there is a widespread problem of arsenic in well water.

Homeopathic remedies are made from plants, minerals and other natural substances, and rather than being a “cure,” they are meant to stimulate the body’s own immune system. Researcher Anisur Khuda-Bukhsh says the remedy has shown “highly promising results” when used in mice poisoned with arsenic, and would be a “boon to society.” The solution he used was so diluted that it should not have contained a single molecule of the active ingredient. A central idea in homeopathy is that water retains the “memory” of the substances once dissolved in it.

In 1988, researcher Jacques Benveniste found that a homeopathic solution that had once contained antibodies still activated human white blood cells. However, other researchers failed to reproduce his experiments. “It comes down to the same old dilemma,” says toxicologist Andreas Gescher. “This kind of study uses a dilution so high there is hardly anything there?philosophically it’s the same as the Benveniste case. Is it really possible?”

Just because a scientific method is old, that doesn’t mean it won’t work.

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