The first thing I want to say is that I don't believe in homeopathy. The second thing I want to say is that I often use homeopathy with my patients and I have been very pleased with the results.
How is that possible?
When we say we believe in something, it means we have a belief system about that thing. If I believe something in a religious way, I have a great deal of thought about that thing's place in my universe. With homeopathy, I use it like I would a wrench. I do not have a strong belief system about wrenches, I just use them because they work. Don't ask me about adjustable vs. fixed wrenches, or try to get me into a discussion about the relative merits of different wrench manufacturers. I'm really not interested and I haven't given it much thought. Here's a post about homeopathy, wrenches, and how homeopathy can cure croup.
Do I have a basis for using homeopathy? A scientific one?
Yes. I have gone over the arguments quite extensively with good doctors who disagree. Before engaging in another conversation, I would recommend reading through my pages long conversation with Dr. Howell. We go over many of the same points you might bring up.
Do I think homeopathy is a placebo? That's a complicated answer.
I think that the placebo effect doesn't exist. It hasn't for years. What we see instead is the placebo response, a physical change in the body that is measurable, beneficial, and so powerful it is outdoing many conventional drugs.
So certainly part of any medical intervention is the placebo response. That includes homeopathy. Anyone who doubts that the placebo response can be lifesaving by itself should read through the Krebiozen effect on cancer.
But I don't think homeopathy is only a placebo response. I've used it too long and under too many conditions where an expected placebo response has not shown up and another homeopathic remedy has been effective. What is that extra bit? Well, it's something that pushes the edge of what we think we know as common sense about chemistry. One hypothesis is a series of silica interactions with the initial substance. But there are many. The point is not that we have an answer, it's that we should be looking for an answer because we desperately need alternatives to our current medical Titanic.