Does homeopathy only have a placebo effect?
Everything that we take and from which we expect a certain medicinal effect has a placebo effect.
This can be beautifully observed, for example, by taking valerian tablets: Valerian is taken half an hour before bedtime and supports both falling asleep and sleeping through the night.
But what many do not know: The tablets must be taken every day, because the effect occurs after about two weeks of daily usage.
In the pharmacy, I hear time and again that patients only take the tablets once in a while, when they have the feeling that they can’t sleep.
And lo and behold, after taking the tablets, it is easier to fall asleep.
But how can they work then? The placebo effect provides the answer.
Knowing that we have done something against our insomnia, we calm down. We are ready to sleep — and we actually fall asleep.
Afterwards we attribute the effect to valerian, of course; after all, we have just taken a tablet so that we can sleep better. But it wasn’t valerian, it was the placebo effect.
Addendum: It is possible that valerian only has a placebo effect either way.
But how do I know now that the tablet was responsible and not the placebo effect?
When I take a tablet for a headache, I expect the pain to subside. But headaches usually go away even if I don’t take a tablet. The question is: when?
Let’s say someone gives me a tablet and claims it’s a headache tablet. I take it, thinking that my headache will finally go away.
But what if the tablet was not a headache tablet at all?
Even then, the headache would have disappeared at some point because headaches are self-limiting or because the expectation of the tablet has led to relief.
Of course, one is then rock-solidly convinced that it was a pain pill.