(Extraído de Health News.com)
By Susan Brady, Last updated on July 20, 2010
American consumers spent an estimated $34 billion on alternative medicine in 2007, with about $3 billion of that going toward homeopathic treatments. Homeopathy is a system of medicine pioneered by Samuel Hahnemann over a hundred years ago. The remedies work by treating along a specific Law of Cure, described as “like cures like.” Homeopathic pharmacies prepare the remedies according to a specific protocol that involve using the most minute doses needed for a cure.
Originally homeopathic treatments came in liquid or pellet form (to be used sublingually) and in the form of gels or creams (for topical applications). More recently, sprays have come into use for sore throats, allergies and colds and have become popular. In fact, over 40 percent of Americans seek help with their allergies from an alternative practitioner, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).
Dr. Andrew Weil has been quoted as saying, “"For many people, homeopathy can be the last, best hope for ending allergy symptoms without side effects. Unlike the medications you mentioned, homeopathy can actually change the way your body responds to allergens, instead of merely suppressing the symptoms they cause."
However there is one product that may have a nasty side effect. In the July issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology, a study (of 25 participants) showed that zinc nasal gels and sprays were ineffective in preventing or reducing the duration of the common cold and could cause users to lose their sense of smell.
"In addition to concerns regarding the efficacy of intranasal zinc therapy, increasing evidence indicates that this medication may be linked to severe, potentially permanent hyposmia (reduced sense of smell) and anosmia (loss of smell)," the study says. However the study looked at patients who had come to UCSD Nasal Dysfunction Clinic complaining of an inability to smell after using homeopathic zinc gluconate gel intranasally. It was not a controlled study. But the researchers found evidence in the medical literature from a study in the 1930s to support their concerns.
On the flip side, a randomized trial conducted in 2001 by the Marshfield Medical Research Foundation showed that participants that had used the zinc sulfate nasal spray “had a significant reduction in the total symptom score and the nasal symptom score on day 1, but not on any of the other days. Adverse effects were mild and had no significant association with the use of zinc.
What this means is that zinc nasal gels and sprays, like any cold and allergy sprays, should be used carefully, according to labels, and should any side effect occur that its use should be discontinued immediately and you should seek a doctor’s attention.