New Delhi: Homeopathy is not a placebo but is effective in treating many serious diseases, including certain kinds of cancer, and costs just one-fifth of allopathic medication, say experts in the field of homeopathy that is fast becoming a preferred mode of treatment for many in India. Homeopathic medicines, sourced from plants, “can cure cancer in the initial stages and can cure certain kinds of cancer completely, like breast cancer,” said Sushil Vats, senior homeopathic consultant and one of the main organisers at an international homeopathy event in the capital. In fact, at the 66th World Homeopathic Congress of Limhi (Liga Medicorum Homeopathica Internationalis) here, a case study of a double side breast cancer patient who was treated successfully with homeopathy was presented. According to Vats, the patient was a “Stage five” case. ”Homeopathy can effectively support ongoing allopathic treatment in all types of cancers, improve the quality of life of the patient and also the life span,” Vats told IANS on the sidelines of the Dec 1-4 conference. He said that homeopathy can effectively treat diabetes, thyroid, hypertension, AIDS, asthama, but the results vary from case to case. Sometimes a patient may take longer to show results, he said. “In cases treated for many years with allopathy, it becomes difficult to treat with homeopathy as the patients develop homeopathy drug dependency,” he said. Homeopathy is in fact the number two preferred mode of treatment, after allopathy, in India, as per the government of India survey, and it costs just a fraction, he said. Besides, homeopathy has no side effects or adverse effects, he added. According to R.K. Manchanda, deputy director (homeopathy) in the Directorate of Indian System of Medicine and Homeopathy, government of NCT and Delhi, the Delhi government “is regularly opening homeopathic dispensaries”. At present there are 92 homeopathic dispensaries in the capital, mostly in poor areas, which together see around 1.8 million patients a year. ”Mostly, the patients come to these dispensaries with difficult problems like arthritis, skin allergies and chronic gastric problem and with renal stone complaints,” Manchanda told IANS. Manchanda recounted a survey he and a colleague had done in 2005, which showed that homeopathy costs “just one fifth of allopathic treatment to provide day-to-day care”. The conference, attended by 2,500 delegates from 35 countries, was aimed to project India as a “hub of homeopathy in the world”, he said. If homeopathy is so effective in treating so many difficult diseases, then why was it described as a placebo in a study by Lancet? According to Vats, the study by Lancet was “biased”. He said in the UK, the National Health Service runs many homeopathy clinics and they get a “huge budget”. During the recession, the allopathic companies were hit and they floated the theory of homeopathy being a placebo in order to get the government withdraw the budget, he said. Eswar Das, consultant advisor to the government on homeopathy, said the Lancet study was “not based on homeopathy concepts and philosophy”. Explaining, he said, homeopathy does not give one standard dose of a medicine to all patients suffering from a disease. Homeopathy studies the patient in terms of the symptoms, body type, nature, likes, dislikes, etc., and then prescribes the dose of medicine accordingly. ”In India, homeopathy has proper recognition. There is a believability and it is an effective form of treatment,” said Manchanda. Stressing on purity of homeopathic medicine, the government has made manufacturers, who initially numbered around 200, comply with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for quality assurance. With this coming into force, there are now only around 30 firms that manufacture homeopathic medicines in India, said Vats. The market in India is worth around Rs.1,000 crore. The homeopathic medicine market has grown manifold in last 4-5 years, he informed. Eswar Das said though homeopathy was “born in Germany it has flourished in India”. The system of healing was founded by German doctor Samuel Christian Hahnemann (1755).