OOOOooo my goodness. While I can't say I'm a "fan" exactly, the placebo effect can be very... well, effective in treating various ailments. There was an article in the local newspaper today about how apparently you don't even have to be ignorant of the fact that you are being given a placebo to experience the benefits. Personally I thought this was neat as I was always under the impression that if you knew you were taking a placebo, it nullified the effects.
As for people going for this junk science, I can't really judge them too harshly. I mean, humans have had psychics and mystics and medicine men who talk to spirits for a very long time. While I don't personally believe there's anything mystical to it, I have known a person who claimed to be able to fix things by talking to them. Of course I thought it was crazy, but I've had things start working again after he did just that. Computers, light bulbs, tv. Coincidence? Almost certainly. At risk of sounding "woo woo", I really can't say for sure though, it was pretty damned bizzare. Ultimately, it doesn't really change my life any, so I consider it to be irrelevant and don't pass judgement on it at this time. Still it's easy to see how someone could be drawn into that sort of thing.
I grew up with homeopathy, and my family is sort of interesting in that my parents acknowledge that much of it may very well be crap. Most of my experience taking homeopathic remedies is that they don't do anything noticeable, but there is one (can't remember the name) that my parents always used for aches that has seemed extremely effective. Of course, this is purely anecdotal, but it certainly seemed more effective than other medicines I've used (alternative or otherwise).
On the other side of the issue, I've had extremely poor luck with real medicines (specifically anti-biotics), as they have in almost every case worsened my condition more than helping. I'm curious if the fact that I grew up almost entirely without using medicine could have made me more suspetible to side effects, like perhaps my body is not accustomed to medicines and not reacting the same way as someone who grew up with them. Does anyone know if that is plausible?