Homeopathy does not work

What are the origins of homeopathy?

In the 1790s German physician Samuel Hahnemann developed the ancient Greek medic Hippocrates’ idea of curing ‘like with like’. He rejected the purgings and leeches that were common the medicine of the day and when he experimented on himself with quinine (found in Peruvian bark, just to qualify for the benefit of one critical email correspondent) – used to treat ‘ague’, now known as malaria – he found that he could induce the symptoms of the disease by increasing the dose.

Hahnemann concluded that it was Peruvian bark’s ability to trigger malaria symptoms (it causes fever) that made it a cure for the disease and he began to test other substances on patients to ‘prove’ them. He called the practice homeopathy from the Greek homoios (the same) and pathos (suffering). He observed that a smaller and smaller dose, of say the deadly plant belladonna used to treat scarlet fever, or even the poison arsenic, seemed to have a more specific effect on his patients. Bizarrely, to prepare his purported remedies, he had to shake them by bashing his vials against his Bible…and apparently at least one homeopathic research centre has a copy of the Bible on its prep benches.

Hahnemann’s ideas spread throughout Europe and North America and by 1844 there was an American Institute of Homeopathy. However, by the twentieth century scientific modern medicine was flourishing and the practice of homeopathy had all but disappeared in the Western world.

In the last few decades or so more and more people have been turning to complementary medicine in general and homeopathy has become one of the most common practices.

What happens during a “treatment”?

As with other complementary health practices when you visit a homeopath they will usually ask you about your lifestyle, eating habits, medical history and state of mind and not simply look for symptoms. the mainstream medical profession, with its time-limited consultations, could do well to adopt this more holistic approach, as it does have the benefit of not only improving doctor-patient relations but may enhance any placebo aspect of conventional treatments prescribed.

With homeopathy, the consultation allows the practitioner to tailor to the remedy to your illness and your personality. After a diagnostic session a ‘classical’ homeopath would prescribe a unique remedy, for you based on your symptoms and your personality and medical history. If that’s the case, then how can any over the counter remedies one might buy in a health store work? Well, to put it bluntly, they can’t.

There are also those who practice ‘complex homeopathy’ in which prescriptions are based more on the overall disease. Two patients with similar illnesses might therefore be given the same prescription but rather than being a uniquely selected medicine this would usually be a mixture of substances. Again, more pseudoscientific claptrap.

The remedy may be given in the form of tablets, powders, tinctures, creams and ointments or solutions together with advice on diet and lifestyle. Homeopaths will usually suggest you avoid strong-smelling substances and coffee, while taking homeopathic remedies. They may also advise you not to use certain aromatherapy oils or take herbal remedies while undergoing treatment. A fully qualified and registered homeopath will never recommend that you stop taking a prescribed medicine and would refer you back to your GP first if they think you should. Suddenly stopping a prescribed medicine might cause severe problems.

What disorders might be treated with homeopathy? None!

Homeopaths claim to be able to treat many illnesses including the following, but none of these actually works. You cannot cure any of the following with homeopathy:

  • Acne
  • Allergies
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Asthma
  • Back pain and neuralgia
  • Bruises
  • Colic
  • Coughs and colds and croup
  • Cystitis
  • Eczema
  • Heartburn
  • Insect bites and stings
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Leg cramp
  • Menstrual and menopausal problems
  • Morning sickness
  • Nausea
  • Stress
  • Teething pains

Some practitioners even offer homeopathic alternatives to antimalarials and vaccines for serious diseases. This practice is very, very dangerous. If you visit a homeopath and they offer a preventative for malaria instead of you taking proper antimalarials, then you run the risk of catching the disease if exposed to malaria-carrying insects. Not a good idea, at all. I’ve seen spam email recently for homeopathic alternatives to bird flu and swine (H1N1) drugs and vaccines. The World Health Organization recently warned against turning to homeopathy for treating serious diseases.

Where’s the evidence?
There have been lots of tests carried out to see whether homeopathy works, including trials with animals. (Critique of veterinarian homeopathy claims). None of these stand up to scrutiny.

 

Fundamentally, preparing a homeopathic treatment involves diluting the supposedly active ingredient over and over again to the point where there will be not one single molecule of the ingredient in the final remedy given to the patient.

In the late 1980s, French scientist, Jacques Benveniste, tried to show that although the original drug might not be present it does leave a ‘memory’ in the water in which it was first dissolved and it is this ‘memory’ that causes the effects of homeopathic remedies. Of course, no scientist has succeeded in duplicating his experiments and the consensus now is that he was wrong.

Does homeopathy work? No!

The underlying idea is that the symptom-causing remedy kick-starts our body to begin the self-healing process. There are a wide variety of homeopathic preparations, common ones might be made from the deadly nightshade, belladonna, arnica, chamomile, mercury and sulfur, sepia (extracted from squid ink), snake venom and even compounds extracted from bodily fluids. But, again, none of these so-called remedies contain any active component, despite claims about water having a memory of the molecules that were once dissolved in it. If that were the case, then surely we’d all be cured of everything just by drinking a glass of tap water.

For more on why homeopathy is nothing but snake oil, quackery and seriously bad medicine, check out Singh and Ernst’s – Trick or Treatment and accompanying website. Skeptic’s dictionary definition of homeopathy and UK skeptics.

Homeopathy is pseudoscience based on the ludicrous notion of the infinite dilution of “remedies”. Even if science has missed something fundamental about the nature of atoms, molecules, and chemical bonds, the idea that removing absolutely all traces of an active substance from a “remedy” and expecting it to have any effect is nonsense.

35 thoughts on “Homeopathy does not work”

  1. Referring specifically to homeopathy, the British House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has stated:

    “In the Committee’s view, homeopathy is a placebo treatment and the Government should have a policy on prescribing placebos. The Government is reluctant to address the appropriateness and ethics of prescribing placebos to patients, which usually relies on some degree of patient deception. Prescribing of placebos is not consistent with informed patient choice-which the Government claims is very important-as it means patients do not have all the information needed to make choice meaningful. Beyond ethical issues and the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship, prescribing pure placebos is bad medicine. Their effect is unreliable and unpredictable and cannot form the sole basis of any treatment on the NHS.”

  2. Thanks for your abusive little rant Taylor, I note with interest that you failed to include your email address.

    Anyway, you can be as “disgusted” as you like. I have every right to post my opinion on my blog. I also have every right to summarily delete your insolent comment rather than approving it. Just for the record, the phrase “homeopathic doctor” is an oxymoron. The repeated use of four or five exclamation marks after every sentence does not add strength to your “argument”.

  3. But I have evidence. Like I said, when they couldn’t find anything wrong with my daughter, they blamed hormones. I took her to see Larry, and he said gallbladder. I took her back to the doctor, they checked her gallbladder and it WAS! We have backed up every claim he made with western medicine tests, and he has been accurate each time, when the doctors themselves couldnt find anything prior to his test. That’s evidence enough for me.

    Same with my thyroid and diabetes. Perhaps you could read my whole post before posting, then I wouldnt have to repeat myself. But I will acknowledge that there are people out there to exploit this stuff – but western medicine is exploited as well. Have you ever worked for a doctor and benefited from the “gifts” the pharmacutical companies provide? I have, and still do. The insulin I am currently taking causes cancer if used long term. Their logic to keep using it “You NEED it to bring your sugars down” There are flaws to every practice. Western medicine is not all it’s cracked up to be either.

  4. It’s not a matter of belief, it’s a matter of evidence. So, sorry, but the onus is on you to provide a viable hypothesis to explain the observations. That hypothesis might then be used independently by someone without a vested interest in its success to devise an experiment to test the hypothesis.

    Some physicians do recommend acupuncture, others wouldn’t touch it with a bargepole. Even the ones that approve of it would not suggest that there are any kind of “energy” lines in the body.

    There are countless charlatans out there exploiting the vulnerable and scientific ignorance.

  5. My husband and I used to think this was looney business, but in desperation, when we had no where else to turn, we went to a homeopathic practicioner, not expecting much. What we found, was next to a miracle. You don’t always have to physically see what is going on to believe (do you believe in God?) And like I said before, homeopathy runs on such an individual basis, there is no way you can test it and get the results YOU want. What works for one, may not work for another. That is evident even in conventional medicine – an example is my diabetes medicine, there are many different kinds, and we had to keep trying different things till something worked, some worked for me, others did not. That’s the way medicine is. If there was only one little cure for each disease out there, we wouldnt be raking in the dough we currently are.

    And finally, you dont have to believe, I’m ok with that, but I am a nurse. My husband and I have 4 kids. We do ok, but things are still tight, by all means. These drops are a sacrafice for us, and we would not do them if we did not have proof they worked. And we have always backed up everything he told us with a physician or specialist proving it afterwards.

  6. Explain to me why Larry (my practitioner) was able to find that my thyroid was not working because of mercury, to which I brought to a doc and together they treated for mercury poisening – and GUESS WHAT! It worked.

    I understand you DONT want to believe. That is fine. But dont so confidently say it simply and specifically does not work. I ask you to prove it doesnt. Prove it doesnt work in me, and I’ll believe.

    Western medicine even recognizes that meridians exist – that is what acupunturists work off of, whom doctors now refer patients to go see, and whom most insurance companies now cover.

    My husband and I used to think this was looney business, but in desperation, when we had no where else to turn, we went to a homeopathic practicioner, not expecting much. What we found, was next to a miracle. You don’t always have to physically see what is going on to believe (do you believe in God?) And like I said before, homeopathy runs on such an individual basis, there is no way you can test it and get the results YOU want. What works for one, may not work for another. That is evident even in conventional medicine – an example is my diabetes medicine, there are many different kinds, and we had to keep trying different things till something worked, some worked for me, others did not. That’s the way medicine is. If there was only one little cure for each disease out there, we wouldnt be raking in the dough we currently are.

    And finally, you dont have to believe, I’m ok with that, but I am a nurse. My husband and I have 4 kids. We do ok, but things are still tight, by all means. These drops are a sacrafice for us, and we would not do them if we did not have proof they worked. And we have always backed up everything he told us with a physician or specialist proving it afterwards.

  7. Ah, it appears maybe they were too large, this is working….continuted……

    Please explain to me that after all the medication I was on (at max dose, I might add) we could not get my blood sugars down enough, but after taking herbs and stuff they did? Even my own doctors recognized they helped.

    I do have scientific backup – mine and my daughters medical history, which is in writing from our doctors/endocrinologists – all of which recognized that this had to have helped in some way and they recommend I continue, as it’s the only things that has brought results. Also, with my daughter, when Larry told me it was her gallbladder, we went and had her gallbladder examined by a doc, and sure enough it was! Explain that to me.

  8. I wrote this whole thing out, hit submit and it did not work :( Now I have no clue what I wrote, but the jist of it is this.

    I am not a professional, so I cannot answer your questions, but you are more than welcome to research it yourself. It is not magic, that’s like saying an x-ray machine is magic? If you physically saw this, and saw how it worked, you might think different. YOu dont hold anything over your organs, it is obvious you did not read my post. Your results are computer generated. Again, I am not a professional, and asking me specifically how it reads it is like asking me to explain how an x-ray machine can take pictures of your bones – I DONT KNOW HOW, i just know it does.

    And no, my daughter’s headaches would not go away on their own, it was her gallbladder that was causing the problems – everything to which we had verified by a real live doctor! It also was not snake oil she took, but specific herbs that got her gallbladder to work correctly.

    Please explain to me that after all the medication I was on (at max dose, I might add) we could not get my blood sugars down enough, but after taking herbs and stuff they did? Even my own doctors recognized they helped.

    I do have scientific backup – mine and my daughters medical history, which is in writing from our doctors/endocrinologists – all of which recognized that this had to have helped in some way and they recommend I continue, as it’s the only things that has brought results. Also, with my daughter, when Larry told me it was her gallbladder, we went and had her gallbladder examined by a doc, and sure enough it was! Explain that to me.

    Explain to me why Larry (my practitioner) was able to find that my thyroid was not working because of mercury, to which I brought to a doc and together they treated for mercury poisening – and GUESS WHAT! It worked.

    I understand you DONT want to believe. That is fine. But dont so confidently say it simply and specifically does not work. I ask you to prove it doesnt. Prove it doesnt work in me, and I’ll believe.

    Western medicine even recognizes that meridians exist – that is what acupunturists work off of, whom doctors now refer patients to go see, and whom most insurance companies now cover.

    My husband and I used to think this was looney business, but in desperation, when we had no where else to turn, we went to a homeopathic practicioner, not expecting much. What we found, was next to a miracle. You don’t always have to physically see what is going on to believe (do you believe in God?) And like I said before, homeopathy runs on such an individual basis, there is no way you can test it and get the results YOU want. What works for one, may not work for another. That is evident even in conventional medicine – an example is my diabetes medicine, there are many different kinds, and we had to keep trying different things till something worked, some worked for me, others did not. That’s the way medicine is. If there was only one little cure for each disease out there, we wouldnt be raking in the dough we currently are.

    And finally, you dont have to believe, I’m ok with that, but I am a nurse. My husband and I have 4 kids. We do ok, but things are still tight, by all means. These drops are a sacrafice for us, and we would not do them if we did not have proof they worked. And we have always backed up everything he told us with a physician or specialist proving it afterwards.

  9. I’m not a professional, so I cannot answer these questions for you. All I can say is I have seen results in me and my daughter. I was a non-believer and when my blood sugars dropped, how was I to explain that. My 9 year old daughter, who went through scratch tests, cat-scans, different medications, only to be told it must be hormones and to just take Ibuprofin, was relieved FINALLY of headache’s after we were able to determine it was her gallbladder causing them and fixing it. How did my blood sugars not go down enough on the maximun dose of every medication I was allotted to take at one time, but it could with drops? Nothing else changed, even my CONVENTIONAL doctors recognize this. How was it that my practitioner was able to find that my thyroid problems was the cause of mercury in my system, to which the doctors checked and found to be true (which they couldn’t find before) and I was able to fix that problem? Please, you answer these questions for me, and perhaps then I will change my mind back. When there was no other answers for me, I tried this for my husband because he was desperate (both of us before thought this stuff was looney stuff) and we found results in this. Believe me, we have 4 kids and don’t make a ton of money, and we wouldnt be making the sacrafice to buy my drops if we hadn’t found something next to a miracle. If you want to be close minded and not open up to the realization there actually might be something more out there (do you believe in God?) without having physical visual evidence, then that is your perogative, but perhaps you shouldn’t, so confidently say that it specifically DOES NOT WORK. I’m proof it does work. And just like conventional medicine, some will work for some people and others wont. (hence why they have so many different types of meds for diabetics, some will work and others wont, so they have to try different ones to find ones that will) Again, there is no way to test something so individualized, but the proof is in the pudding, so they say…….and it helped me in a way no doctor could, and my doctors appreciate that. But, meridians do exist, even conventional medicine acknowledges that – meridians are what acupuncture’s work off of – and even insurance companies will pay for acupuncturists now.

  10. Again, in what units is this so-called energy measured by the “biofeedback” machine? Could you show me these “meridians”, if not what are they made of?

    There are all kinds of questions medicine does not know the answer to, but energy, chi, meridians are just the nonsense remnants of our ancestors’ attempts to understand the workings of the human body before we had a handle on the cardiovascular, lymph, and nervous system. I suspect that if you showed a guru from ancient times how those real systems worked, they’d be very pleased to have an explanation. To paraphrase Dara O’Briain, the herbal medicine that worked became simply medicine.

    By the way, you can watch O’Briain out-Goldacre Dr Ben here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIaV8swc-fo I reckon he does more for the science based medicine movement in this single clip than would be possible in a whole year’s worth of Grauniad columns. Oh and then there’s the Mitchell and Webb sketch on homeopathic A&E: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMGIbOGu8q0

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIaV8swc-fo
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIaV8swc-fo

  11. Sounds like magic to me. Did he pull the machine out of his top hat? Or did his beautiful assistant fetch it for him?

  12. Aha, I’ve seen these in the alternative medicine shops. It’s called a Quackometer(TM).

    What do you imagine that this machine is actually reading when this “bar like thingy” is held above an organ and drops of the “remedy” are put on it?

    Where are the drops put, specifically? On the case, on a plinth, a sacred altar?.

    How does the information about the organ’s disease state get transmitted to the “remedy”?

    How does is the effect the remedy is predicted to have interact with the organ in question and the machine.

    How does it “read” that effect?

    What is the relevance of the figure 50? What units is that in? Will it be useless if the patient is at 23, say, and the reading goes to 49? What happens if it goes above 50, will they get a homeopathic overdose?

    Do you have any substantial evidence of efficacy, other than your own personal case?

    I’m glad your daughter’s headaches went away, they most likely would have done so of their own accord eventually, unless she had some serious underlying illness, but that wouldn’t have responded to a drop or two of snake oil, I’m afraid.

  13. I forgot to mention how you can fix the problem with this machine. Each point has to do with an area or organ. You hold a bar like thingy that is attached to the machine, and the other end looks somewhat like a pen tip, which is put against each of your points. When it does not read 50, then the practitioner is able to put different things (homeopathic drops, medications, herbs, etc) on the machine and it will either go to 50 or not, if it doesnt go to 50, then that specific drop/herb/whatever will not fix the problem. Keep trying different things till it goes to 50 – and that drop, etc will fix the problem. It is obviously reading something because when my daughter and I went to her apt (for her headaches) her gallbladder read under 50 and mine read at 50. And the drops that were put on the machine that made her go up to 50 are the ones that finally made her headache’s go away.

  14. i knew you were going to ask that! so i asked him at my apt last night for a basic explanation. it’s a biofeedback machine and it reads your maridian’s. same as acupuncture. there is maridians (sp?) that run through your organs to your fingers and toes. if the energy? readys below 50, there it is underactive/not working correctly, if over 50 there is an inflamation or irritation and each point has to do with a certain area/organ. it can specifically tell u where the problem is.

  15. “Perhaps the greatest parallel between homeopathy and conventional medicine is the practice of immunization, which also relies on the principle that small amounts of a substance may protect from disease” I found this and wanted to share with you. This is from a pharmacist. Like I said – I agree with what someone else had said – homeopathy is so individualized, I cant imagine how it could be tested the traditional way. All I know is my mind was changed. I would never in a million years forgo western medicine, but I will use both, as I truly believe there is a place for both. Anyway, just wanted to share.

  16. My story-I am a diabetic and I have thyroid disease as well. With these two things, I had no energy. I also am on Metformin, Glyburide, Actos AND Lantis Insulin for my diabetes and was still running around 150 fasting sugars. Also, because of my thyroid, I gained 50 lbs in 6 months My doctor’s have tried everything and were having major trouble. At the request of my boss, who is very into homeopathics, I went to see her practitioner to see if he could help. I did not believe it would and was really frustrated at the costs. It was my husband who was “making” me go. He said that he didnt want to be a widow and something was wrong and the doctors were not doing enough. I went for him. I can tell you, even my doctors are amazed. My numbers have come down. They are going to be backing off on my medication slowly and I have more energy and feel better in general. I truly cannot believe it. Even my doctor’s say they have no other explanation except for the alternative medicine I am taking. Another good thing about homeopath is that they can really find what is wrong with a specific person, using a machine that tests certain points in your body. When doctors told me to just keep giving my 9 year old ibuprofin for headache’s she sufferes 2-5 times a week, it was this practitioner that figured out what the problem was (her gallbladder) and fixed it – and she no longer suffers headaches. No one can tell me that there isn’t something to this. I’ve experienced it – and my blood sugar numbers don’t lie.

  17. Whoever wrote this article is closed minded, ignorant and needs to try homeopathy…it changed my life. I had been chronically ill for many many years and “modern” medicine drugged me and made me eve worse than I was. You can’t chase symptoms all day, you need to treat the person.

  18. I think the number of homeopaths claiming they can treat malaria or HIV is very low. Homeopaths treat people, not diseases. There may be people out there treating people with malaria, or HiV but claiming they can cure a specific disease is historically rare.
    Part of the reason that so many clinical trials have failed, is because the trials are looking for “uniform” results which are difficult to obtain when you are looking at individual remedies for individual patients. Homeopath will never be able to conform to a scientific model. But that doesn’t mean you need to dismiss it as a scam. The many thousand practitioners, including medical doctors, lay practitioners etc…use it because they have obtained results, i.e. cured patients. They do not claim they can cure everyone, or that it can not be used in conjunction with other models of medicine. It is presented as an option. Why do things persist over time if they are not effective? Most homeopaths aren’t out there frantically advertising. They are consulted by people who have witinessed results.

  19. The actual numbers of medicinal drugs that have their origins in the botanical world are estimated at the 30-40% mark, but I totally agree if I have to take a tonic, I’d rather it one with some likelihood of working, one that was as pure as it could be, rather than a mish-mash of possibly or possibly not physiologically active components and certainly not one of essentially infinite dilution that contains nothing but water or alcohol and required bashing on a leatherbound Bible to make it work!

  20. It’s nice to see an intelligent counter argument to homeopathy. Scientific evidence supports that it just does not do anything beyond offering a placebo effect.

    If I’m sick, I’m not going to fool around with delusions and tinctures of this flower or that flower. I’m going to take a medication that has been proven to work through clinical trials and has been passed by the FDA so I know I won’t be poisoning myself.

    Most prescribed medications are rooted from botanical and natural sources anyways. They’ve extracted the effective compound and/or synthesised it and concentrated it and developed it to a point where there’s enough of it to be effective.

  21. Kasinda. Thanks for your input. I do recognise that there are perhaps benefits to healthcare practitioners taking a holistic approach, indeed many GPs, even with their 10-min session limits do take a more holistic approach. What I object to are the outlandish claims one sees in advertising of alt med practices and media coverage in so-called lifestyle magazines.

  22. “There have been lots of tests carried out to see whether homeopathy works, including trials with animals.” I am a university student currently studying homeopathy as a apart of my naturopathy degree and even I, with the little knowledge I have gained so far, know that to understand the medicinal effect of homeopathic rememedies on humans that only on humans can these remedies be tested. Homeopathy has a holistic approach to health and includes the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects to the human being… which is why testing of these remedies across humans and animals go against the priciples of Homeopathic practice.
    No homeopath claims they can cure all… instead they offer complementary medice… which is to complement western medicine when harsh drugs are not necessary or for problems arrising from lifestyle choices.
    being skeptical is healthy but when it stops you from growing and experiencing new things its only a hinderence to your well being and places boundaries on your awareness.

  23. we dont need to prove to our allopathic brethren whether homeopathy works or not . In India we have degree and PG courses running for homeopathy ….
    also nobody died taking homeopathic medicine where as we all know how many dead bodies come out of hospitals practicing MODERN MEDICINE .Both pathies have their limitations ….so please before criticising THINK TWICE .

  24. No, no, no. There are several valid forms of alternative medicine with genuinely observable and repeatable effects. The scientific consensus, irrespective of the odd, small, poorly controlled “clinical” trial of homeoptahy, however, is that regardless of the fact that there is no plausible explanation for homeopathy, it simply fails to show itself anything more than a placebo.

    More worryingly though, it is downright dangerous when it comes to those practitioners who suggest a vial of sugar water could protect someone against a lethal disease, such as malaria or HIV. Even prominent homeopaths, such as Jeanette Winterson, have conceded that homeopathy cannot replace anti-retroviral drugs in the fight against AIDS.

    Homeopaths repeatedly claim some kind of mystical properties of their treatments, something alchemical, almost, that is beyond the realm of current science. And yet, many then hang their arguments on quantum mechanics, and more recently, “nano” explanations. There is nothing mystical. There is probably no form of treatment that cannot be tested using standard double-blind clinical trials. Where are the trials of homeopathy that have been done properly?

    You might like to read Dr Ben Goldacre’s item on the subject in The Guardian in which he explains evidence-based medicine very well and demonstrates exactly why homeopathy does not fit into this category. I see no hysterics in either my nor Dr Goldacre’s article although I do see hysterical responses from homeopathy practitioners every time a refutation is published that might ultimately derail their gravy train.

  25. A restatement of comments I posted on another blog:

    I find it rather curious that supposedly scientifically minded people, skeptics if you will, periodically go on excursions of near hysteria to attack alternative medicines such as Homeopathy, ignoring research in numerous scientific journals by dedicated researchers AND ignoring the experiences and beneficial results obtained by genuine dedicated Homeopathists many of whom are also MDs.

    Why not investigate REAL HOMEOPATHY, instead of the nonsense outlined in the absurd article above and REAL RESEARCH concerning Homeopathy instead of indulging in ridicule and hysterical condemnation? Here, for example (see link below), is a video presentation by Dr. Iris Bell, M.D., Phd, a researcher at the University of Arizona which should prove of interest.
    It was presented at a Homeopathy debate and you can see some good anti-Homeopathy presentations in this series too:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYO6nNQGe1M

    “Pre-Clinical and clinical studies demonstrate that there ARE biological effects of Homeopathic remedies” (Dr. Iris Bell)

    Now, if we use our feelings about how curious or unlikely or even how IMPOSSIBLE we feel some phenomena to be, then NO scientific progress is ever going to be made – not in medicine and not anywhere else. I am reminded of the travails of the discoverer of
    H. Pylorii as a causative effect in some pyloric ulcers which flew in the face of “official” theory and which was resolute in opposition to his research… UNTIL, that is, he injected himself with the bacteria and then clearly demonstrated that he now had a pyloric ulcer and eventually proved his point.

    Skepticism is good but UNREASONING skepticism in the face of the unknown will stop all progress. Science is NOT conducted in the media nor by James Randi and magicians, it is conducted by scientists in laboratories.

    In a series of repeated experiments, Madame Ennis, a British pharmacological researcher and herself a homeopathy skeptic, obtained biological results from a substance which seemingly had no molecules of the original substance present to cause such an effect. The experiment was repeated in four other international laboratories with 3 of them getting the same results.

    But all we hear, is the “refutation” of this experiment by BBC, by anonymous scientists who did not follow exactly her protocol and then got negative results.

    I will say it one last time.
    Science by ridicule and unreasoning hysteria will halt all progress. MANY of the theories of quantum mechanics and relativity are completely counter intutive and go against our “common sense”,
    but they are proven and really do happen. Homeopathy awaits the research to either vindicate it or else illustrate the mechanisms of what is or is not happening.
    I refer you to Dr. Bell’s quote above.

  26. Excellent post.

    It is sad that Homeopathic institutes in India actually get Govt. funding.

  27. This item was commissioned as an unbiased round-up for a general health magazine to go along side items covering other forms of alt med. Personally, on the basis of basic unyielding chemical principles I believe homeopathy to be nothing more than a con trick and a scam, there is even evidence that a placebo will work better than homeopathy on the right conditions.

    db

  28. Last month’s Scientific American has a brief note about some researchers that created a “pipette” capable of loading zeptograms (that’s 10 to the minus 27 grams). Anyway, it works out to somewhere between 10,000 to 1,000,000 atoms per “droplet”.

    It occurred to me this could be a boon to the homeopathic trade. Put one drop of this in 1ml of water, add to a litre & repeat. They’d be guaranteed 0.01 to 1 atom per ml after only 2 dilutions. The efficiency of this, if passed on could significantly lower the cost of their remedies & make them even better value!

    S

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