English Historical Fiction Authors blog has a long article about the British monarchy's support of homeopathy.
My take? Sometimes it might work, but without scientific double blind studies, who knows?
If it indeed works on the immune system, such studies could be done on animals quite easily.
But never mind: Placebo works well on neurotics who see a fatal disease in every ache and pain.
No, I am not really ridiculing neurotics: I am one myself, and my body has a lot of these problem (allergies, painful periods, mood changes, sensitivity to the environment, aches and pains), but my mother's family was from Germany, and the idea is that you grin and bear it. The advantage is that you cope with a lot of stuff that stops others (I didn't realize how much pain I had from my endometriosis until after I had surgery, and had less pain post op than I did during a normal period).
The bad news is that sometimes your body just can't be flogged to work anymore, and you collapse. This has happened a few times when I was working, and I just could not move and collapsed into tears: Making others think I was "emotional" or lazy... not too exhausted to think or work.
There is a macho part of medicine, where you are supposed to work until you drop, never mind that you can't think or make mistakes. The Libby Zion case in New York finally cut down the hours interns etc had to work, because she died because the resident didn't realize that the antidepressant she was on was an MAO inhibitor, which has a lot of drug interactions (this was in the days before Prozac)...so she died after being given the wrong medicine.
The "debate" whether or not fatigue interferes with medical work still goes on, ironically (It's about money> too expensive to hire enough people)...
Wonder how many people die because of this? Or because regulators/HMO's make you work your tail off and see so many people you don't have time to think or have a short non medical conversation with the patient, who often doesn't bring up what they are really worried about until they are headed out the door...
I'll give a comparison: in the US Army, when in the National Guard, guys would tell of going to drill with colds, coughs, or even broken ankles (with or without pain medicine)..
But when I did a short stint at an Airforce base ER, anyone who needed anything stronger than Sudafed and Tylenol was forbidden to work. Why, I asked. They aren't that sick...and was told "well, we work with nukes. even a little mistake, and there goes Kansas City..."