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Cortisone (Steroids) and Homeopathy

There is a misconception in some parts of media and the public in general about homeopaths using cortisone or steroids. Unfortunately, this has done more harm than good to the cause of homeopathy.

Steroids have been used by conventional medicine doctors for just about everything under the sun, whenever they need help to give relief to the patient. The steroid is the easiest recourse and sometimes the primary or ultimate choice. The response to the administration of steroids in a lot of diseases is unbelievably amazing and fast.

This may lead to thinking that any problem which response quickly or positively to a prescription should be because of steroid! If a given case under homeopathic prescription does unbelievably well and responds in time less than anticipated, it is often blamed on steroid or a steroid-like effect.

To make things worse, homeopathic medicines sometimes give a false positive result to certain nonspecific tests used for detecting steroids.

The most common Non-Specific Test used for testing steroids is the calorimetric method and other tests based on color development (UV Spectrophotometry).

A salt named Tetrazolium Blue is used commonly in such a test. The reaction depends upon the reduction of tetrazolium blue salt to give a highly colored compound known as Farmazan. Under controlled conditions, the amount of Formazan developed is proportional to the quantity of steroids or any reducing sugar present in the material being tested.

It is important to note here, that both reducing sugars and aldehydes will show a false positive color change and unfortunately both reducing sugars and aldehydes may be found in homeopathic medicines which are made of chiefly cane sugar/ lactose or alcohol (may not be entirely free from aldehyde remains).

Also, the test report generally mentions "traces found" and is unable to give the amount of steroid as it is a nonspecific test.

If we really want to find out whether the content has steroid, then, Indian Pharmacopoeia 1996 mentions some Specific Tests in Appendix 3.6 (identification of steroids) and Appendix 3.7 (identification of related foreign steroids), for testing steroids including TLC (Thin Layer Chromatography) or HPTLC (High Power Thin Layer Chromatography) which when applied to homeopathic medicines, give negative results for steroids.

It is also important to know that almost all steroids show UV absorption between 235 and 240 nm in dehydrated alcohol or methanol in a clear solution. If an ultraviolet spectrum of this solution is taken between 400 nm and 200 nm on a suitable spectrophotometer, any steroid present will show up as a maximum between 235nm and 240 nm. The absence of such a band means the absence of steroids.

When homeopathic remedies are tested for steroids using the UV absorption method, none of the samples show up as a maximum between 235nm and 240 nm.

Thus it is clear that homeopathic medicines do not contain any steroids, and one must understand the testing procedures used to eliminate the possibility of a misleading result. So the next time someone or you yourself want to know the truth, you know where to get it from.

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