Homeopathy multinational sues blogger over statements that its mythological curative had "no active ingredient"

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207 Responses to “Homeopathy multinational sues blogger over statements that its mythological curative had "no active ingredient"”

  1. KBert says:

    No Side Effects – No Drug Interactions – Non-Drowsy = Nothing!

  2. Mo_in_Berlin says:

    As someone who suffers summer hayfever every year for over twenty years I treat it via a consultation with a very experienced homeopath. And every year my awful symptoms reduce by 95% within days. Now you may call it a placebo, but if so, I’ll keep taking the medicine! No other conventional treatment has anything like the same results.
    I could tell the same story about warts or other ailments.
    The essential question: does it work? NOT do I understand how it works?

    • Jens Reuterberg says:

      Whatever you pay for that medicine I can fix it for you at a tenth of the prize… give me your adress and I’ll send you my paypal account and we are in business

    • Coen Deurloo says:

      It’s known that placebo’s work, so no, that’s not really the essential question ;)

    • Cory Doctorow says:

      The short answer is that in randomized double-blind trials, it does not outperform a placebo, which is to say, it doesn’t “work” in that some substance in the pill or solution reacts with some process in your body to change your body’s reaction to pollen.

      But it does “work” in that it convinces your brain to change your body’s reaction. This is important — placebos are very, very potent! — but the company that’s selling you the “remedies” are con artists, inventing fake science to obscure the placebo effect. What’s more, they sue scientists who point this out, which means it’s not a victimless crime — the victim is the truth and everyone who would benefit from it.

      Placebos are great, especially in concert with effective compounds. For example, if you take a simple painkiller like aspirin that performs well in double-blind randomized trials, and package it in a gelcap with a formulation that has lots of colorful little balls in it, it will outperform exactly the same compound in a generic pill (and the generic pill outperforms the same pill with chips and nicks taken out of it!).

      But placebo regimes that demand that science be suppressed are not great — they’re a liability to a free society and evidence-led medicine.

      • Mo_in_Berlin says:

        Cory, the problem with your reply is that your answer is based on a (imho) a limited external science foundation. In other words, the perspective that if it can’t be “proven” according to current scientific norms it doesn’t exist. Yet the greatest scientists are the ones that include all that has not yet been proven. However every homeopath I have ever met is more than willing to include the best that “evidence-led medicine” has to offer. The best of both perspectives.
        In addition you need to talk to the thousands of parents who swear by homeopathy, as opposed to antibiotics, to cure their baby’s ear infections. Somehow “mysteriously” the baby cries a whole lot less, despite being unable to understand the word “placebo”. I suspect your post will receive many comments about the effectiveness of homeopathy.
        Unfortunately your initial post supports the bandwagon that is campaigning hard in Britain. to shut homeopathy down. You may call it “my placebo” but I want to keep using it, without others trying to shut down something that has no known side-effects!

        • There are no known side effects because it is inert. You are basically not treating anything. Why does the baby cry less? Because the body fights off the infection. And yes, placebo effect works on babies and animals. Studies show that simply the act of “doing something” and the feeling of caring when being touched and treated initiates a placebo effect.

          In the meantime, if you wish to take an inert pill to treat your cold – by all means go for it. But when we support non-scientific fake medicine, there are people with real and dangerous illnesses that are getting no treatment. They believe they are – they are being misled. They are just taking fake pills and getting sicker. It’s important that people understand what is happening.

          • Mo_in_Berlin says:

            Barb, someone is this discussion I can partly agree with!
            Kudos!
            I would fervently recommend that we use each and every resource available to cure our illnesses, bearing in mind also the short and longterm side-effects.
            I agree that people should not rely on homeopathy alone.
            I have never met a homeopath over the last decades who has suggested such.

        • redfood says:

          “Somehow ‘mysteriously’ the baby cries a whole lot less, despite being unable to understand the word ‘placebo’.”

          Antibiotics are over prescribed and most ear infections heal on their own.  To know if the baby is crying less due to homeopathy you have to know if the baby would have cried w/o treatment.

          “proven according to current scientific norms” just means compared to other treatment modalities (or non-treatment).  If a treatment can’t be shown to work  under controlled conditions you have to ask yourself why?  Is there some unknown process in homeopathy that stops working when someone is recording the results or is homeopathies ineffectiveness obvious when someone shines a light on it?

          • Sheryl says:

            That’s a classic case of confirmation bias too. You believe it will work so therefor you perceive the baby’s crying to be less than you think it should be. It’s the same thing that makes people remember when the “psychic” gets things right and forget all the times they were wrong.

        • Unanimous Cowherd says:

          Again with the magical thinking. Sure, scientists know that many things are still unknown, still unprovable, and are careful to not make claims about those “what ifs”. But every time homeopathic substances are tested, under normal, controlled conditions, all of the claimed effectiveness disappears. Every. Single. Time. Why is that?

        • scav says:

          Dude, nobody’s trying to remove your right to buy sugar pills and believe that they contain magic vibrations inherited from molecules that are not even present in the water that was dropped on them.  If they make you feel better, then fine.

          However, when the makers of these placebo pills do any of the following, it is NOT OK:

          1. claim they have actual medical efficacy.
          2. threaten to sue people who tell the truth about them.

          Personally, I think we need a generic supplier of homeopathic medicines producing “treatments” for 1p per pill, with a GUARANTEE that they have at least as good efficacy as the more expensive treatments, as verified by double-blind studies.  The studies that have been done so far should be adequate to support that claim.

          If the homeopaths would be against it, then that is #3 on my list:
          3. attempt to artificially raise the price of sugar pills, to the detriment of the consumer.

          • Brainspore says:

            Such is the paradox of a placebo: they can work, but only if the person selling them is permitted to lie about their medical efficacy.

          • John Delaney says:

            I don’t know, I bet in a double blind test, a big purple pill that says Placebo on it will likely work as well as any homeopathic treatment, and without any dishonesty.

        • Buck Bokai says:

          “In addition you need to talk to the thousands of parents who swear by
          homeopathy, as opposed to antibiotics, to cure their baby’s ear
          infections. Somehow “mysteriously” the baby cries a whole lot less,
          despite being unable to understand the word “placebo”.”

          I’d like to know if this is actually statistically valid, or if it’s just the subjective perception of the parents who’ve given their children sugar pills. More likely the latter. The placebo effect works on observers as well.

          • Mo_in_Berlin says:

            Why is it that so many top-calibre scientists include more than what is “statistically valid” thereby over time reaching regular surprising new insights? Just bear the fact that I at least, and many others, have reached the conclusion that something here works for their child.
            Does that make it currently or perhaps ever statistically valid?
            No, but it is still an objectively provable phenomenon.
            Perhaps based on placebo effects, and perhaps not.
            In my view a mind works better when it’s sufficiently open.

        • Cory Doctorow says:

          Thousands of parents also swear by faith healing and eschewing vaccinations. It isn’t evidence-led to use homeopathic remedies, because the evidence is that they don’t outperform placebos in randomized double-blind trials.

          What that means is that all the feelings you ascribe to homeopathic remedies occur whether or not homeopathic remedies are administered.

        • Let’s throw in Spontaneous Remission here, Mo. The Spontaneous Remission rate for the Common Cold is 100% irrespective of whether you take anything or not. The Spontaneous Remission rate for the re-growth of an amputated limb is zero percent. Every other ailment and behavioural condition has a SR rate too, between zero and 100%. 

          Most adult and child ailments cure themselves – it is called our body’s natural defences and it is far easier to assume that an ear infection going away is due to our own antibodies than a drop of expensive water.

          Just because a million people think that something is true does not make it true unless evidence using the Scientific Method as opposed to Anecdotal evidence proves it. People tend to credit whatever last cure they took that coincided with their ailment easing to be the magic bullet, but this is simply not true. Invariably, when an ailment becomes noticeable, this is because the bug is being attacked by our white cells and antibodies and this very attack causes unpleasant symptoms but these ease quickly once those lyphocytes have done the job. 

          You have to give credit to your lymphocytes and antibodies, not some woowoo water.

        • SamSam says:

          In addition you need to talk to the thousands of parents who swear by homeopathy, as opposed to antibiotics, to cure their baby’s ear infections. Somehow “mysteriously” the baby cries a whole lot less, despite being unable to understand the word “placebo”.

          So this should be an absolutely trivial, bullet-proof, reproducible experiment! Take a hundred babies with ear infections and randomly give half homeopathic medicine and half plain water. If the homeopathic medicine cures the babies any faster, or causes them to cry less, it should be measurable!

          This is a great experiment, because the babies aren’t even expected to believe anything, so we don’t have to worry about that whole “homeopathy works, but doesn’t work in controlled, skeptical environments when used by skeptical participants”-thing.

          This is such a simple, reproducible experiment, why haven’t the homeopathic advocates done it and shown positive results?

          In other words, the perspective that if it can’t be “proven” according to current scientific norms it doesn’t exist.

          But see, all that “proven” means is that the effect can be measured. Nothing else. None of this “there is more in heaven and earth”-stuff trying to pit “Science” against something else. Can the effect be measured? Is there any real effect? If so, it can be proven scientifically. If not, why are you taking it?

      • wss233 says:

        The paradox is that you can’t go into a drug store and buy something marked “placebo” to amp up your aspirin. If you could, it wouldn’t work. The whole point is that you have to believe  the drug is NOT a placebo. It has to have an authoritative sounding name; it has to come in official looking packaging. In short, it has to have an image to consume. (A theory of capitalist medicine via Marx, I suppose). That means you have to pay someone for your placebo effect. 

        It feels shady because it depends on the ‘con.’ But it does work for some people. 

        So perhaps homeopathy doesn’t have a place in 21st century science. But then again, maybe 21st century science can’t quite grasp the full complexity of human health yet, where otherwise rational beings can ‘get better’ by deluding themselves. Rather than a fault in an otherwise perfect scientific regime, maybe the ‘con’ is worth more serious attention.  

      • Matthew Cline says:

        The usual reply to this is that the randomized placebo control prevents homeopathy from working, so a different method should be used to study it.The most bizarre version of this claim is that homeopathy works via quantum entanglement between the homeopath and the patient, and that randomization collapses the wave function before the patient can take the remedy.

    • Guest says:

      I have a bag of magical pet rocks that can add up to
      100 years of happiness. Would you want one? They are only $100 apiece! I know
      if you will buy one, then I will be happy for the next 100 years, at least.

      • Mo_in_Berlin says:

        Again, if your magical pet rocks actually delivered a “happiness” result at the small risk of $100 would you wait till there was a scientifically proven result for it before recommending it to your friends? I hope you wouldn’t wait. Alternatively, your post is not trustworthy, and is not taking a serious respectful discussion seriously.

        • Guest says:

          If your idea of a serious, trustworthy discussion involves being an apologist for homeopathic nonsense, then I am certain it is your position that no one will respect seriously.

    • Alvis says:

      “my awful symptoms reduce by 95% within days”

      I wasn’t aware there was a way to quantify allergy severity so neatly.

      “a very experienced homeopath”

      But you’re seeking medical advice. A very experienced homeopath has as much place treating disease as a very experienced pro skateboarder.

      • Mo_in_Berlin says:

        Level of snot flowing from my nose X, then homeopathy, then a whole lot less. Estimated 95%.
        Level of itchy eyes, then homeopathy, then a whole lot less. Estimated 95%
        Etc etc.
        Satisfied?
        “A very experienced homeopath” describes someone who has been listening and responding to patients’ symptoms for over a decade. Your comparison with a pro skateboarder strikes me as “ad hominem”. In my view, not helpful.

        • Alvis says:

          “Level of snot flowing from my nose X, then homeopathy, then a whole lot less. Estimated 95%.”

          So you’re just sort of guesstimating efficacy, then slapping a number on it to make it sound like a real measurement?  I think homeopathy suits you perfectly.

          • Mo_in_Berlin says:

            Alvis, if you have never in your entire life made even one rough estimate of something and then slapped a number on it, then I bow to your linguistic exactitude.
            Alternatively, can we move away from what appears to me awfully like an ad hominem attack?

      • gordonjcp says:

        A very experienced pro skateboarder will be very good at treating cuts, scrapes, bruises and sprains, and identifing and stabilising broken bones.  You don’t get to be good at skateboarding without hurting yourself.

    • drleehw says:

      You’re right, of course, it’s important to know WHETHER it works. Go to scholar.google.com and you’ll find literally hundreds of studies testing out whether it works. All of those that compare it to a placebo find it works no better, nor any worse, than a placebo. Nuff said?

    • Martijn Vos says:

      You should definitely keep using it if it works for you. A placebo effect doesn’t mean it doesn’t work, it just means it’s not the chemicals in the medicine that do it; it’s you. The placebo effect is a very powerful effect, and it’s been getting stronger over the past few decades (nobody knows why!). It’s also been proven that expensive placebos are more effective than cheap ones.
      I don’t know how it works, but somehow placebos seem to enable our brains to heal us. And alternative treatments (I won’t call them “medicine”) seem to be very effective at harnessing that effect, especially for vague, badly understood complaints that are hard to treat with conventional means.

      Just don’t expect it to cure something really serious. Use it as a supplement to real medicine if you have to, but not as a replacement.

    • Guest says:

      It seems like an efficient method to transfer you dollars to your allergist. Entirely your choice. 

    • Hal Cooper says:

      Mo, it does nto work, it is the placebo effect, why not save your money and drink some water believing it has the same effects?

      • Mo_in_Berlin says:

        Hal, contrary to you and very many others posting, I have never made such a blanket statement as you have just done. If you want to rely on science alone, then please rely on it.

    • Lazy Jay says:

      Does it work? Have a look at this site, it has all the details in easy-to-understand form http://www.howdoeshomeopathywork.com/
      I think you’ll find that contains all the information you need to decide. You’re welcome

    • Matthew Cline says:

      The thing is, “does it work” has been studied, and:

      1) The larger the study, the smaller the effect.

      2) The more well designed the study, the smaller the effect.

      3) The largest and most well designed studies show no effect.

      Now if homeopathy had any chemical and biological plausibility to it there might be reason to think that it works in spite of the studies, but given those studies *AND* the fact it’s entirely lacking in any scientific plausibility there’s no reason to think it works.

    • Bob Blaylock says:

        There’s a sucker, like you, born every minute.  If this were not so, then scammers such as Boiron would not be able to stay in business.

    • AtariBaby says:

      I have hay fever every year, too. The awful symptoms reduce by 95% within days. I do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Which, interestingly, is the same treatment your homeopath is giving you!

  3. j-rad says:

    I’ve heard all the science, but this stuff just works.  If you don’t want to believe it, don’t buy it.  I once had the flu so bad that I passed out just trying to walk to the bathroom.  Someone brought me some of this and when I took it, all the symptoms disappeared almost instantly.  I thought the flu had broken, so I stopped taking the medicine.  4 hours later, the flu was back full force.  I realized it was the oscillococcinum.  I took it again, and I had another 4 hour period of calm.  

    If it’s psychosomatic, so be it.  I’m just happy that I have something to turn to when it gets really bad…

    • RJ says:

      Someone brought me some of this and when I took it, all the symptoms disappeared almost instantly.

      This is an important comment. Anytime somebody talks about any sort of remedy as taking effect “almost instantly” or “immediately,” they are describing the placebo effect in action.

      As Cory said, the placebo effect itself is very real and often powerful, but it’s still psychosomatic, not pharmaceutical. The “oscillococcinum” doses you’re taking are just little dots of sugar, nothing more.

      • Fred Fnord says:

        Not that I am, in general, in disagreement, but there are plenty of medications that take effect essentially immediately. For example, some inhalers do. Nasal spray decongestants do. Sublingual nitroglycerin does.

    • Guest says:

      Hey! Not only do I not want to buy it, I do not want
      anybody else in the world to buy it! Moreover, I would like to put all those
      that sell it in jail and out of business, permanently.

    • Guest says:

      If you believe that anecdote = data then you are what is wrong with the world today. Do what you want, but don’t try to justify policy with that line of thinking.

  4. eamonn clarke says:

    It’s important to read the details of how homeopathy works
    http://www.howdoeshomeopathywork.com/

    • Mo_in_Berlin says:

      Any scientist worth their pedigree would never be so casual to claim that “homeopathy doesn’t work”. They would say something to the effect that “in their view, and in their review of the most-respected studies by the scientific community’s most respected scientists in this field, it would appear that there is no scientific evidence at this time that homeopathy works”.
      Sounds a wee bit more humble, doesn’t it?
      As I’ve said here before, the history of top scientists is replete with stories of scientists who took what they “don’t” know seriously. In contrast I experience many in the anti-homeopathy field as being a touch too fundamentalist dogmatic in their attitude to the topic.
      It’s a big world out there………

      • Alvis says:

        Anti-homeopathy field? I didn’t realize sanity was a “field” now. All things considered, seems a good one to be part of.

        • Mo_in_Berlin says:

          Alvis, I better be careful in my use of words here when someone has a problem with the use of “field”. There is sufficient evidence of the financial link between the pharmaceutical industry and the work being done in Britain and elsewhere to discredit what in homeopathy is not yet “scientifically” proven.

      • PaulDavisTheFirst says:

        You’re confusing “how does it work” with “does it work”.

        “Does it work” requires a bit of assumption-stating: for me, the basic standard for “does it work” is not “are there thousands if not millions of anecdotal stories of how a remedy helped someone?” but “does a double blind controlled study show that taking the remedy has greater efficacy than taking a placebo?” If you don’t accept this definition of “work”, at least at some basic level, then there’s really nothing more to discuss. If you do accept it, then its possible to move on …

        Now, if homeopathic remedies worked, then there would be plenty of room to discuss the issue of us not understanding how it works. We could all acknowledge a new area of knowledge that needs to be filled in, and that our current models of biology and medicine are incomplete and unable to explain.

        But, according to the definition of “work” that I offered above, homeopathy has not been demonstrated to work. This means that your anecdotal experience, like that of everyone else with such experiences, currently reverts to a much more personal and more or less not investigatable question: what happened to me when I took this remedy? The answer probably involves the placebo effect, whatever it may turn out to be, but we won’t and can’t know, because your response to the remedy is not part of a broad pattern of “action” that can be studied.

        One objection that could be raised to my argument is to claim that no valid double blind controlled studies have been done, and so claiming that it doesn’t work isn’t justified. I think there maybe some wiggle room there, but my overall impression is that adequate and valid double blind studies have been done, and we can say with fairly high confidence “it doesn’t work”.

        One remaining objection might be that we have a partitioned population (i.e. it works for some people and never for others). Statistical studies have a problem with this kind of population unless you have some other marker for the partition. However, homeopathic practitioners do not appear to believe this – one homeopathist that I saw once insisted that it works on non-verbal children and animals too.

      • atimoshenko says:

        As I’ve said here before, the history of top scientists is replete with stories of scientists who took what they “don’t” know seriously. In contrast I experience many in the anti-homeopathy field as being a touch too fundamentalist dogmatic in their attitude to the topic.

        Every scientist worth their salt takes “what they don’t know” seriously. Exploration of what one does not know is what good science is all about. For instance, we don’t know what causes the placebo effect. But we do know that it manifests itself, so we accept its existence and investigate it. We also do know that homeopathic treatments perform no better than the placebo effect. As a result, we presently see as much reason to investigate it, as there is reason to investigate the possibility of a giant Big Mac, a light year in diameter, floating in the centre of our galaxy.

        And until we have new evidence to suggest that homeopathy works better than placebo, or that Ray Kroc was actually a hyper dimensional superbeing, both of these approaches will remain the rational ones, despite a general predilection to keeping an open mind and investigating the unknown.

      • Jacob Ewing says:

        Your pseudo-quote could just as easily be “It would appear that there is no scientific evidence at this time that running around in circles while singing ‘How do you solve a problem like Maria?’ and juggling kumquats effectively reduces hay fever.”

      • pumuckl says:

        I think your math is a bit off. Just because homeopathy can act as a
        placebo, and placebos can work, does NOT mean that homeopathy works.

  5. irksome says:

    “Side effects may include breathing, pulse and increase in gullibility.”

  6. (ObFuturama)

    “I have a degree in homeopathy!”

    “You have a degree in baloney!”

  7. Ashen Victor says:

    Homeopathy cures absolutely nothing. NOTHING. Not-a-fucking-shit.
    I´m sorry for cursing, but when you see your loved one writhe in pain because she was told to take homeopathic pills instead of a regular anti-inflammatory you only wish the worst to those Sons of a B-tch.
    Again sorry for the cursing. But this really enrages me.

    • Mo_in_Berlin says:

      Ashen Victor, and you’ve never had the exact same lack of result from standard allopathic medicine? If so, do please start cursing the pharma industry as well!
      And why didn’t you simply take the regular anti-inflammatory as the backup?

  8. atimoshenko says:

    Homeopathy:

    1. There is no scientific explanation of the method through which it can work.
    2. In actual empirical trials it works no better than placebo.

    There’s nothing defensible about it.

    On the other hand, since the placebo effect can be so powerful, perhaps we should be investigating ways in which to bring it about more reliably.

  9. garyg2 says:

    I had hayfever one year and a friend really raved about a homeopathic remedy enough i was pretty convinced it would work.

    Done nuthin’, sneezes just as bad.

    So even with a willing patient nothings guaranteed.

    • Matthew Cline says:

      Well, if you took an OTC remedy, it’s because homeopathy needs to be individualized for you by a homeopath.  If it was individualized by a homeopath, even good homeopaths need a few tries to get it right, and average ones might take 8 to 10 times to get it right.  If it didn’t work after 10 times, it was because the homeopath was incompetent.

      On the other hand, if you take a non-individualized OTC remedy and you got better, it’s proof that homeopathy works.  Logical consistency?  Bah, who needs it!

  10. Chris Sasaki says:

    This points to what I think is the best argument that homeopathy doesn’t work. If oscillococcinum existed, you wouldn’t need to buy Boiron’s product. In fact, you wouldn’t need to buy any homeopathic remedies because a glass of tap water would contain the curative powers of every element and substance on the planet. After billions of years, every element, molecule and compound has been in contact with water at some point, and been subsequently agitated and diluted. Rocks release chemicals into the water of a rushing river; a leaf falls into a lake; rivers pour these dilute solutions into the oceans where they are agitated and diluted even more; and on and on for billions of years. According to the fundamentals of homeopathy, after all this time, every mouthful of water we drank would provide us with the curative benefit of every “remedy” on Boiron’s product list. If they truly cared about our welfare, they would stop manufacturing and selling their “remedies” and simply encourage us all to drink more water.

    • Chris, it’s not that water in an unordered state falling from the sky will carry a trace effect of anything you want or need it to carry. But it is interesting that we need water or we will die. and that our bodies are some impressively huge percent water.

      it’s that water, abundant life supporting water, in its simplicity and interaction with life may interact with our minds in a way that triggers the chain reaction of internal chemical processes that cure the body. Keep in mind that quantum effects of the transference of subatomic particle information is happening all the time, whether it’s understood of has been discovered or not.

      So perhaps water (not carrots, or bacon) with its general abundance here on the planet with life, and ever so greatly present here in your body, perhaps it is more powerful than currently understood. Perhaps the ‘signal’ that the duck liver or whatever gives off, perhaps that signal is copied, carried, transferred and ‘ordered’ in the water when it is agitated at the factory.

      Then, when it is split and more water is added, and its agitated then the new water with its open unordered subatomic state lines up and orders itself in automatic alignment. And so on for 100 ‘dilutions’. The physical material is diluted away but perhaps the ‘signal’ the subatomic wave trace that perhaps is the thing that our bodies ‘hear’ which then starts the widely known and effective process of placebo, and perhaps agitating the water with the original substance transfers the ‘combination’ to that tub of water, and the next and the next.

      • Perhaps. But most likely not.

      • awjt says:

        But water would carry all previous vibrations that it had encountered unless it had been reset.  So, what would cause water to become “reset”?  Distillation?  How do you know you reset the water?  How could you test the water to know that it had been reset without again “setting” the water by the mechanism of your testing apparatus?  Heisenberg rears his ugly head yet again.

      • Their feldspars says:

        That’s a lot of perhapses.
         

      • billstewart says:

        That’s kind of an amusing hypothesis.  Do you have any evidence for or against it, or any ideas about how to devise a test to determine whether it’s true or false?

        Homeopathy can occasionally work, and there are some homeopathic remedies that often work quite well for people who use them.  It’s a bogus theory that’s been enhanced by about 200 years of mostly unscientific trial and error, so while homeopaths have occasionally found things that work, most of their explanations of _why_ they work are silly at best, and since homeopaths didn’t pick up on the Germ Theory of Disease, or in many cases even basic physics or chemistry, that means that their products shouldn’t be expected to actually cure diseases, even if they do reduce symptoms.

        I’ve found some homeopathic products that consistently help reduce flu symptoms when I get the flu.  They don’t eliminate them entirely, but the difference between feeling really horrible and just feeling bad is worth putting up with the side effects.   And yes, there are side effects – one of the ingredients is ipecac, not enough to cause vomiting but enough that you know it’s there.  The product is a solid, so it does have measurable quantities of some of its ingredients.  Until a few years ago, when Tamiflu came out, allopathic medicine (i.e. _real_ medicine) had vaccines, but couldn’t do anything to cure the flu if you got it, and didn’t have much that helped with the symptoms other than aspirin and chicken soup. 

  11. Lobster says:

    Huh.  Didn’t know you could litigate reality.  Then again I’ve heard it works for the Texas board of education.

  12. Phil Fot says:

    There will always be gullible people to buy a pie-in-the-sky remedy. Compare this sugar pill to pre-FDA patent remedies which could and did actually kill people. At least people aren’t dying.

  13. Toxa says:

    I used to mock homeopathy until it cut by half my aluminium levels, from dangerous to healthy levels. The process was followed by one physician and two nutritionists. Now I learned to be less arrogant: mankind is far from understanding everything.

    • If you are going to a nutritionist, it is likely that whatever measurable changes are happening are due to dietary changes or other interventions. Is taking the homeopathic “remedy” the only thing you’ve changed while going to a doctor and two nutritionists?

      • Toxa says:

        Oh, how come I didn’t think about it…
        Seriously: yes, I also changed my eating habits, but none of the foods excluded from my diet are significant sources of aluminium.I’m not saying homeopathy is the best available option, but worked for me despite my distrust on the whole thing (did it to prove my wife wrong, and had a pleasant surprise).

        • ShawShaw says:

          Even though the foods excluded might not be significant sources of aluminum, they may make you more prone to absorbing/storing aluminum within your body. Kind of like how vitamin D3 allows your body to absorb and make better use of calcium.
          After some googling, I found that higher than normal aluminum levels are often caused by kidney disease. Perhaps your dietary changes eliminated foods that were hard on your kidneys? How were your aluminum levels measured?

    • knappa says:

      You started taking your aluminum homepathically then?

    • Guest says:

      “Now I learned to be less arrogant”

      You might want to check with your practitioner about that, you just used your own word and the word of three unnamed professionals into an argument as the entire proof of your point. That’s actually pretty arrogant to expect us to take your word. 

      • Toxa says:

        My personal experience made me upgrade homeopathy from creationism/scientology-level to things-not-yet-understood-by-”real-science”-but-sometimes-work-level. That’s all I wanted to share, I don’t want to be the definitive word on the subject. Call me arrogant if you wish.

    • @boingboing-8071e5a89be9847543cdc97783a32eab:disqus  Toxa
      OK, who told you that you had toxic levels of aluminium? You appreciate that ‘nutritionists’ need not have any qualifications whereas a dietician is a regulated profession?

      Now let us look at how you get aluminium ‘poisoning’

      http://www.eoearth.org/article/Public_Health_Statement_for_Aluminum

      Extract: ‘Exposure to aluminum is usually not harmful. Aluminum occurs naturally in many foods. Factory workers who breathe large amounts of aluminum dusts can have lung problems, such as coughing or changes that show up in chest X-rays. The use of breathing masks and controls on the levels of dust in factories have largely eliminated this problem. Some workers who breathe aluminum dusts or aluminum fumes have decreased performance in some tests that measure functions of the nervous system. 

      Some people who have kidney disease store a lot of aluminum in their bodies. The kidney disease causes less aluminum to be removed from the body in the urine. Sometimes, these people developed bone or brain diseases that doctors think were caused by the excess aluminum. Some studies show that people exposed to high levels of aluminum may develop Alzheimer’s disease, but other studies have not found this to be true. We do not know for certain whether aluminum causes Alzheimer’s disease. People may get skin rashes from the aluminum compounds in some underarm antiperspirants.’

      OK, so how did you get your aluminium measured? Blood, bone, faeces or urine? You spell aluminium the British way, so assuming you genuinely have high aluminium you would have to give your GP a sample of blood, faeces or urine and it would need to be tested at the Path Labs at your hospital. Bone samples can only be done by biopsy. These tests require specialist equipment and your GP would not order such tests unless their was an underlying reason e.g. you work with aluminium dust. 

      Your biggest everyday risk of harmless aluminium is from underarm antiperspirants. Stop using them and not only will you have less aluminium but will stink, a bit like your preposterous story.

      You might have learned to be less arrogant but perhaps you should learn to be less gullible.

      • Toxa says:

        In a span on 4 months, blood levels dropped from 7 to 3 ug/L (maximum safe is 6). Urine levels also dropped a lot, but were never above the reference.
        Nutritionist is a regulated profession where I live (Brazil), kinda Biochemist on steroids. Homeopathy was prescribed by the doctor, and all three involved were impressed with the results (all having some sort of degree or postgraduate in US if you care).

        You do have a point that a healthier diet may have improved my kidneys performance though.

    • Matthew Cline says:

      Was homeopathy the *only* thing you used as treatment?  You didn’t do anything to avoid sources of aluminum?  No chelation?

  14. Another Kevin says:

    Hmm. I’m of two minds like this. The placebo effect depends to some extent on patient deception – but it’s quite real and measurable, particularly with pain, with poorly-understood chronic conditions (such as inflammatory bowel disease NOS) and with neurologic symptoms. And in some of those conditions, there is no allopathic therapy that significantly outperforms placebo. So what is an ethical physician to do? Probably the best outcome will result from saying to the patient, “I’m thinking of prescribing something that works in a lot of people. Medical science doesn’t understand why, so many doctors don’t believe in prescribing it. But a great many studies have shown that it has an effect, at least in some patients. Is that all right with you?” And this is essentially the claim made by many practitioners of “alternative and complementary medicine.”

    Ethical? Alas, I don’t see a bright line separating ethical and unethical behaviour here. Improving patients’ comfort is good. Deceiving them is bad. And in the case of placebo, one depends in part on the other.[*] There is little consensus about the appropriate balance of effects. It’s for individual practicioners to decide. Before you leap to one side or the other, consider: what parent hasn’t done placebo therapy at some time for a small child’s minor ailment?

    [*] Yes, I’m aware of studies that show a diminished, but still significant, effect when patients are informed that they are in the placebo arm of a trial. That’s even more puzzling.

    • Martijn Vos says:

      “what parent hasn’t done placebo therapy at some time for a small child’s minor ailment?”

      Exactly! My 2 year old son has a firm belief in the curative power of a kiss. And it really works!

      • parrotboy says:

        Kisses and other parental affection are known to cause a release of oxytocin, which really does make things better (pain reduction + other good feelings).  That is not a placebo.

        • Actually it is; in the same way a placebo causes the release of healing chemicals.  It’s not magic, it’s your brain and body doing the curing for you.

        • Another Kevin says:

          “Kisses cause release of oxytocin, which really does make things better …. That is not a placebo.”

          Debatable.  Perhaps that’s a big part of placebo’s mechanism of action.

        • Martijn Vos says:

          “Kisses and other parental affection are known to cause a release of
          oxytocin, which really does make things better (pain reduction + other
          good feelings).  That is not a placebo.”

          That is very much a placebo. I’m not giving him those things, his brain creates them. Who says that people who take a placebo don’t create similar chemicals? How else would you explain the placebo effect? Magic?

  15. maajikthise says:

    Dara O’Brian’s merciless take on homeopathy and innumeracy generally:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHVVKAKWXcg

  16. For the geekiest science loving exploratory thinkers out there, ponder something. recognize that we haven’t had our current science for very long. It’s been less than 200 years that we discovered (not invented) the electricity that has been here for ever. You are aware of the debunked pseudo scientific theories that existed and were believed up until a new discovery (not invention) led scientists to understand more.

    The placebo effect is huge. Why is that? Really huge. Why is that again? The mind is a powerful engine. True that. Really not well understood. We ‘just’ discovered electricity. The computers that we use to speed up our calculations have only been around for dozens and dozens of years.

    Quantum physics is something that has been on the cutting edge of scientific theory about the understanding of the world and the leading scientists of the field are barely dead, it’s so new. Quantum effects and water are two very important things that interact with our existence so completely and are not well understood by science, or scientists. let alone bloggers.

    If the placebo effect is strong, why? Could our mind be creating the chain reaction that we need just by thinking it? It clearly is and the scientific community accepts and is able to clearly measure the extreme effect. But they don’t understand much about it at all. Stop there and start understanding. Don’t ignore the elephant (effectiveness of placebo) and continue on like it’s not there to be discovered, like electricity!

    • Unanimous Cowherd says:

      This is magical thinking. Reality does not work like this. Sorry, but everything you mention is just anecdotes — it is not data. Try to measure it, and it will disappear in the noise. That is why magical thinking is unreliable and unsupportable.

    • Lazy Jay says:

      The definition of a placebo is that it has no effect on the condition compared to the REAL medicine being tested.

      In other words, subscribing to the efficacity of a placebo effect for anything other than psychosomatic illness is literally believing in the power of wishful thinking.

      • Jacob Ewing says:

        The effects of a placebo go well beyond the psychosomatic.  I saw this first hand as a teenager when an incorrect prescription brought my misdiagnosed petite-mal seizures to a full halt.  At the time I had been having about three seizures a day, and they came back in full swing when the prescription ended.  Later when actual anti-seizure medicine was prescribed, it was nowhere near as effective.  The seizures themselves weren’t psychosomatic either, having turned out to be due to a tumour.
        Note that this is not an endorsement for pseudo-medicine like homeopathy, which I consider to be nothing more than crooked bullpucky.

      • Martijn Vos says:

        “In other words, subscribing to the efficacity of a placebo effect for
        anything other than psychosomatic illness is literally believing in the
        power of wishful thinking.”

        True. The thing is, wishful thinking can actually work with some illnesses, as the placebo effect points out. There’s no active ingredient in the pill, so it has to be entirely the patient’s belief in that pill that makes it work.

        Lots of research has been done about the placebo effect. It turns out color, size, texture and cost all matter to the effectiveness of placebos.

        It’s easy to say: there’s nothing in it, so it can’t work. But it does work. We need to understand how and why, so we can harness this effect in order to help people. Hopefully it can be harnessed in a way that’s slightly less deceitful than homeopathy, but as long as homeopathy harnesses this effect, it’s not all bad.

        The real problem is with homeopaths who propose it as a substitute for real medicine. Those need to be locked up. But it is possible to use it in a responsible manner.

    • Greg Meyer says:

      Actually, we understand how quantum physics works reasonably well.  That is not how they work.  Quantum physics doesn’t result in random vibrations in the world, and you can’t, really, properly characterize quantum interaction as “vibrations.”  Nor, in any sense of how quantum physics is understood, could those “vibrations” ever be totally imparted to water in that manner.  There are a number of problems with this line of poorly connected assertions.  

      First is a question, why is water the only magical substance?  Water has no special properties, as far as quantum mechanics is concerned, so how can that be possible?  You claiming, oh but we just don’t know yet, isn’t sufficient.  If we do not understand the mechanism of action, then we cannot possibly recommend this as a method of treatment.  There are two main reasons for this:  1) If we don’t understand the mechanism, how can we be sure that it will work on any theoretical level?  I do not think this is an answerable question.  Thus, we shouldn’t be using it as a proper method.  2) If we do not understand it, then we cannot possibly know what the long term effects of this treatment are.  I am very well aware that there is no effect at all.  However, if homeopathy were real, then it would have effects.  And, if we can not explain how these effects come about, then there is no way to control for long term, unintended consequences of these effects, much less short term ones.  Thus, homeopathy cannot be used as a reasonable method of curing disease.

      Second, quantum “vibrations,” as you call them, are actually just probabilities, not vibrations.  These probabilities are able to be calculated.  The waves themselves are borne only out of the mathematical description of the world that quantum mechanics provides.  If the mathematical description does not provide the effects that you imagine that it does (and it doesn’t), then you can’t just randomly claim that it does.  It is a) totally unscientific to claim these effects when the theory doesn’t predict it and b) has no connection to reality, because the only connection, the mathematical, doesn’t connect these random claims that you are making.  How can you criticize the scientific establishment when you are making far worse scientific errors than you claim that they are?  Moreover, how can you suggest that people use such a product based on, from what I see, no evidence of their effectiveness at all.

      If you want to make these claims, learn quantum physics.  Otherwise, listen to the physicists when they tell you that this isn’t the way that physics works.

  17. bbonyx says:

    Tell that to Paul Linke, TV’s beloved Grossman, from the 80′s show “CHiPs”. He chronicled his first wife’s death at the hands of homeopathy as a treatment for her cancer in a riveting one-man show.
    Homeopathy may trick your psyche into unstuffing your nose, but it isn’t medicine and it isn’t going to cure you of anything substantial. You might as well pray your sickness away. Ludicrous.

  18. Macgruder says:

    “The essential question: does it work? NOT do I understand how it works?”But this is an exact description of Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) as used in standard medicine. The double-blind procedure is designed precisely to answer that very question: ‘does it work?’ while removing outside influences. It was one of the most profound insights in history, and led directly to things like the smallpox vaccine which saved approximately 500 million lives. The whole point is that when homeopathy, chiropractic etc, are carefully subjected to this ‘does-it-work’ (i.e. EBM) it is shown actually not to work, and it’s at this point the homeopaths try to bluster their way out with pseudo mumbo-jumbo about ‘how it works’.

    The reason that bloodletting survived so long was that you could find enough people who swore it worked. EBM’s profound insight to say: “we only care if you produce statistically significant improvements in grouped tests” was what gives us the health we enjoy today. Homeopathy is simply a modern version of bloodletting with the only advantage that it does nothing so it doesn’t actively kill the patient – although they may die if they neglect treatment they need. 

    • Mo_in_Berlin says:

      I’m the first to use traditional medicine IF necessary.
      On the other hand I personally experience clear long-lasting effects with homeopathy, with no side-effects except less money in my pocket. Call that personal anecdote if you must.
      But I do agree with you that we should always include any modality that might work.
      Keep an open mind is all I’m saying…….

    • Snig says:

      There are many conventional remedies that contain no demonstrable benefit based on EBM.  This includes all cough medicines without narcotics, and most with narcotics, but these are carried in all drug stores and are still commonly prescribed by doctors.  Despite this, 10% of children in the US use them weekly.
       
      There are several studies using chiropractic for neck pain, headaches,  back pain and extremity pain that demonstrate efficacy. No, there is no consensus, but you can find meta-analyses that do (and do not) support chiropractic.  There are technical reasons it’s hard to do double blind studies on manipulation, as there are with surgery.
       
      I have a problem with using homeopathy for flu, as the vaccine is helpful, and spending money on homeopathics could be better spent on actually treating it on the flu.  Money spent on cough medicines and incorrectly prescribed antibiotics likely dwarfs the amount spent on homeopathic, and this money could also better be spent on flu prevention and treatment, but doesn’t foment nearly as much bluster.

  19. Glen Able says:

    No side-effects?  My grandmother was just one of thousands of people who died after taking a homeopathic “remedy”.

    • Mo_in_Berlin says:

      Care to list some of the names of those thousands? Or based on what source? Or was it that she didn’t also use other medical resources. You also mention that she was a “grandmother”. Did old age play some part in her demise? Or was it strictly the homeopathic remedy? Just curious……

      • Glen Able says:

        btw my other grandmother died after reading the Daily Mail.

      • Sheryl says:

        You assume his grandmother was old when she passed away and/or that he was an adult when she did. Plenty of women become grandmothers in their 40s (all that takes that the woman and her child both become parents under the age of 25 which isn’t unusual). Not to mention a woman is still a grandmother even if she never lived to see her grandchild be born.

  20. RustyTrawler says:

    Sigh. The poor blogger seems to think that shining a light on the ridiculousness of this product will spark a rational discussion and lead to consumers making better choices. But of course, what actually happens in real life is we just get to hear more anecdotal bullshit about the mystical powers of homeopathy, and how mankind doesn’t know everything. And companies like Boiron sell more snake oil.

    The power of belief will always trump truth for some people.

    • Unanimous Cowherd says:

      True — and people who experience no discernible benefit from homeopathic treatments almost never speak up. Take me — I’ve tried several homeopathic treatments before, and while I can’t say they harmed me, truthfully I can’t see any difference in my symptoms either. Maybe I didn’t believe it would work, and jinxed it.

    • Lazy Jay says:

      True, but that doesn’t mean people who reject magic sugar pills should shut up and let this poison spread unopposed. By encouraging people to abandon real medicine for BS like homeopathy, lives are being put at risk.

  21. chortick says:

    Many of the comments above are about individual experiences.  Randomized double-blind trials are the gold standard for determining whether something works or not.

    See James Randi’s debunk of homeopathy, in which he routinely ingests a fatal overdose of pills at the start of his talk.

    See last year’s UK story about the NHS providing less money for homeopathy treatments “…which by their own logic, should make them more effective…”

  22. RustyTrawler says:

    “Cory, the problem with your reply is that your answer is based on a (imho) a limited external science foundation.”

    Hah! Good one!
    The key word in this sentence is “imho”.

    • Mo_in_Berlin says:

      By definition science is based on what can be externally measured and proven.
      Does this make your own experience of your own thoughts unreal and irrelevant? Most people worldwide would say not. And they then prove their belief in their own thoughts and feelings by acting out in the real world what they think and feel.
      Similarly, the shared understanding between two friends is very “real” to those two people. And yet it cannot be directly measured.
      That’s what I meant and that’s what I believe.
      The use of “imho” was the apparently futile attempt to maintain a respectful discourse.

  23. Goran Petrov says:

    A fear that those who use homeopathy products also avoid to vaccinate their children, in the developed world. I don’t have enough data to support that fear except one friend i have who does exactly that, and a few articles on the net that would support that fear. Maybe somebody knows more on this issue.. But if it is so, this is one of the biggest dangers of homeopathy.

  24. Scott Estes says:

    What really angers me is that stuff like this is stocked on the shelf at Walgreen’s with the childrens medicine with absolutely no warning to the parents who’re just looking to get something to help their child.

    They might as well be buying a pack of sugar cubes for all the good it does.

    • Gutierrez says:

      I fell for homeopathic remedies being mixed in with the drugs for infants.  I bought a pack of Natural Teething Remedy.  We gave it to our teething daughter for a couple of nights.  I was irresponsible and didn’t read the label since it was highly recommended by family.  The nights were full of a sleepless, whining, and ultimately suffering child.  I finally read the label it said it promoted the relief of pain and restful sleep through the use of diluted belladonna and coffee.  I immediately went out and bought a bottle of infant Ibuprofen.  She slept well that with no fever or restlessness that night and every bad day of teething since.

      For those who claim it works for them and claim placebo effect, and even for those who don’t, should deception be a standard medical practice if it helps those who are ill?

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      What really angers me is that stuff like this is stocked on the shelf at Walgreen’s with the childrens medicine with absolutely no warning to the parents who’re just looking to get something to help their child.

      If you’re treating your child’s illness with off the shelf remedies, you’re far more likely to do harm that you are with homeopathic medicines. Do you know how many people kill their livers with acetaminophen overdoses from mixing cold remedies?

  25. Mister44 says:

    Ask me how I know allll about this product. And it isn’t cheap,either! I guess you just have to ask yourself, “How much am I willing to pay for a placebo effect?”

  26. pamaro says:

    This discussion shouldn’t be about the perceived merits or lack of merits of homeopathy (last I heard about 50% of studies said it worked and 50% said it didn’t which makes it pretty neutral). The discussion should be about whether a person expressing his or her opinion of homeopathy and a particular product should be subjected to a frivolous lawsuit by a big, bad, trying to be scary corporation. Thanks Boing Boing for reproducing the blog post. I hope a lot of other people reproduce it so Boiron will realize how futile and ridiculous it is to try to stifle freedom of speech.

  27. Mister44 says:

    If this stuff doesn’t work for you, try magic rocks! I wondered into a shop that had a bunch of new age stuff. They had a rack with all sort of crystals and polished rocks. I overheard one customer talking with the clerk all about how this works, and she needs some of that.

    When I limped outside with my friend, I said, “Gee, I should just quit all these narcotics and just take Magic Rocks!”

  28. Recluse says:

    Despite being a scientist, and a skeptic, I admit that I engage in a lot of Magical Thinking…and belief in a lot of alternative medicine approaches despite a lack of formal clinical trial data….but for me, Avogadro’s Number is an insurmountable barrier to accepting homeopathy.

    • Ian Hopping says:

       “I admit that I engage in a lot of Magical Thinking…and belief in a lot of alternative medicine approaches despite a lack of formal clinical trial data”
      Then you are neither a scientist or a skeptic I’m afraid.

  29. Boomer says:

    I grew up on a working ranch in the hill country of West Central Texas.  As a young kid it was my job to take care of the horses.  Every year I would get warts.  My grandmother would take me to an old country doctor who would take a red felt tipped marking pen, paint each one telling me it was a special medicine which would kill the warts, and in five days they would drop off and be gone.  It always worked.  Five days to the day I would wake with no warts.  Today I do the same for my great grandson.

    • Russ Ingram says:

      When I was about seven our old family doctor told me clear nail polish would make my wart fall off – sure enough, it did!  Then my Dad explained the placebo effect to me.  A couple of years later, I got another wart.  Even though I was sure the doctor must be right, I painted that wart every night for weeks, but it wouldn’t fall off.  I guess deep down, I believed my Dad more than the doctor…

    • Actually, You can’t get warts from your horses, and the horses can’t catch yours. Warts are just a common thing in both humans and horses.

      Young horses and young humans develop antibodies to warts and over time they die and drop off the warts, though I never felt safe ON a horse and feared I might drop off one, so never tried that sort of placebo

      Though of course, that’s the trouble with anecdotal evidence, they might have just run their course by then anyway and would have fallen off at that time regardless.Why not try a green pen, a dab of your after shave or a bottle of Tippex next time

  30. Bubba73 says:

    If homeopathy works I’ll drink my own piss http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1B2aFElfjE

    Ben Goldacre has written some good articles on the placebo effect, as was mentioned earlier it even works when those taking it are informed that they are just taking a placebo. Also different coloured placebos are more effective for different ailments, so a red sugar pill can be better for backpain while a blue sugar pill is better for migraine. This is an area that needs study far more than the snake oil peddlers whacking their loony juice off a magic leather hacky sack.

    • narddogz says:

      If you drink your own urine straight, you should be okay.  Drinking diluted urine could be very dangerous however, as the homeopathic dilution effect will make the mixture extremely powerful.

      So powerful, in fact that the Portland Water Bureau drained a 8 million gallon reservior when one man added ~300ml of his urine to it one night. My mind can hardly begin to comprehend what would have happened if that tainted water had reached the public!

  31. Shai_Hulud says:

    Have fun trying to convince the “believers”. ;)
    http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/06/10/the-backfire-effect/

  32. Macgruder says:

    @boingboing-9a149640e9a31575dfe77979ff4843ca:disqus “in their view, and in their review of the most-respected studies by the scientific community’s most respected scientists in this field, it would appear that there is no scientific evidence at this time that homeopathy works”in other words it has the same level in science’s eyes as drinking water or singing mozart in the shower. And since it’s more expensive the latter 2 options are preferable. So there is no scientific evidence, you say. So why should I choose homeopathy over believing in the tooth fairy?”As I’ve said here before, the history of top scientists is replete with stories of scientists who took what they “don’t” know seriously.”Yes, and in each of the cases, scientists changed their tune by the *scientific method*: i.e. evidence. Science is self-correcting: when it gets it wrong it is willing to change that viewpoint if credible evidence emerges to overthrow the standard model. I can tell you that 99.9% of people who had ‘ideas’ overthrowing science were wrong. The 0.1% backed up their claims with evidence. Nothing in homeopathy gives credence to believe it’s within that select 0.1%.”Keep an open mind is all I’m saying…….”Science already keeps an open mind. It’s science that had the open mind to show that time slows down at speed, that matter can be probabilistically in 2 places at once, that eating lemons cured scurvy, that space and time were essentially different dimensions of the same thing, and that it itself can be wrong.I suggest you watch this to understand what having an open mind is:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T69TOuqaqXIIt's the homeopaths whose mind isn’t open: after 100 years of trying to display a shred of evidence that their system works they cannot. If they had an open mind, they’d say: “it doesn’t work”. 

    I suggest you also try to understand Occam’s Razor and the fact that anecdote doesn’t = data. 

    • Mo_in_Berlin says:

      Thanks Macgruder for your full response here.
      I think I carefully referred to the anecdotal nature of my experience each time.
      I think anyone with a great love of science, as I do, only includes references to anecdotal explanations after doing the best they can to exclude alternative and simpler “Occam’s Razor” explanations. At the same time I believe we need to include such personal puzzlers in our reading of any scientific evidence.

      • Sekino says:

        At the same time I believe we need to include such personal puzzlers in our reading of any scientific evidence.

        Scientists already do exactly that.

        When they do a study, they observe a bunch of personal accounts, and experiences from the subjects. In the case of homeopathy, they got a lot of people who experienced wonderful, mysterious relief of symptoms. However they got the SAME accounts of wonderful, mysterious relief from the placebo bunch. They do take all the ‘puzzlers’ in consideration but the results are still the same, that homeopathy is no more effective than placebo. No amount of ‘open mind’ is going to suddenly change that reality.

        • Mo_in_Berlin says:

          I was actually referring to my or anyone’s reading of science.
          I already assumed scientists were doing that.
          Here’s the thing, this discussion has gotten me curious about what the real scientific facts on homeopathy are. However in my many posts today I have never claimed more than a personal anecdotal level of knowledge.  I hope I have the time to investigate more. In the meantime, for whatever reason, homeopathy (or of course the placebo effect of it!) continues to satisfy an important part (by no means everything!) of my healthcare needs.
          When that changes I will stop!
          More than that I don’t currently need to devote time to find out.
          This discussion has been an interesting but ultimately not very satisfying use of my limited time.
          Over and out.

  33. No. Even if you accept that homeopathy is a placebo, by saying that ‘it’s ok by me’ just adds support to the growing number of people with serious conditions not only NOT being helped by such a placebo, but actually being harmed by it. Homeopathy should be taken off the shelves, and the public made very clear that it is fraudulent at best, harmful (due to the omission of real treatment) at worst. 

  34. Rich Keller says:

    Mr. Riva ought to offer a settlement by taking a one Euro coin, dissolving it in aqua regia, and dilluting it 1:100 two hundred times.

  35. Anderson Council says:

    Water has memory!
    And while it’s memory of a long lost drop of onion juice is Infinite
    It somehow forgets all the poo it’s had in it!

    Tim Minchin. Storm
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujUQn0HhGEk

  36. JoshP says:

     I wanted to weigh in with a few facts,
       — homeopathy, when it began in the, what, 19th century began before the beginning of modern germ theory and the advent of modern pharmaceuticals.  In sense it was an ‘almost was’ in competition with what we now consider standard medicine.  Break apart the word homeopathy, you get ‘same or samess’ and pathos, ‘illness’.   So, to get didactic, homoepathy is a branch of healing devoted to using what makes you ill, to make you better.  Originally this was done by experimentation, say substance x was known to give you a runny nose and a headache.. that seems like a cold symptom.  So this substance could be used as a homeopathic treatment.  Unfortunately, early field trials ended up with a lot of sick, metal poisoned individuals, etc.  So, someone created the concept that maybe this insy winsy amount would do the trick.  And in the US, one of the main proponents was able to get homeopathy attached as an offical rider to some congressional legislation.  Homeopathy does not equal naturapathic medicine.  It is water ‘sucuccused’  and diluted to ridiculous levels.  And if the sir above can find any whiff of scientific proof about ‘energy levels’ or ‘quantum vibrations’ that our physicists haven’t noticed, (which, since we do drink a bit of water, wouldn’t it seem as tho we would?) please get yourself to a labratory post haste!

      –  Steve Novella, in addition to being a blogger, is also the host of the excellent The Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast, word G, and is in fact an M.D. in neuroscience.  great stuff.   

  37. I’m just worried about the water they use.  Strange that it remembers all the good stuff that helps cure you, yet forgets all the sewage that has been strained through it, rotting vegetation, animal corpses etc.  

    And you know where to shove those crystals……..

  38. Bob Plokta says:

    I tried several of those  Bach homeopathic remedies years ago. I found each of them to have no noticeable effect whatsoever. I wasn’t even particularly sceptical when trying them, so they failed to even have a placebo effect.

  39. gordonjcp says:

    @boingboing-fc98bbaf8bbe9ba1fa996c001d421347:disqus
    See James Randi’s debunk of homeopathy, in which he routinely ingests a fatal overdose of pills at the start of his talk.”

    The way to overdose on homeopathic remedies is to take a *smaller* dose, then drink a couple of pints of water.

    I know this, of course, because I am a leading expert on homeopathy.

    Less is more, right?  So, if I skim the first chapter of a book on homeopathy, I should be an expert!
     

  40. dculberson says:

    Mo In Berlin, there are actually numerous homeopaths that advise their patients not to use the mainstream medicine available to them.  That includes things from immunizations and vaccines, which is bad enough, to cancer treatment for tumors that are visible and growing.  There have been documented deaths due to cancer left untreated while a person was under a homeopath’s “care.”  If you wish to review a list of a few select incidents, here you go:

    http://whatstheharm.net/homeopathy.html

  41. holandale says:

    Just out of curiosity, if it is all in the mind, how do you explain homeopathy alleviating severe asthma symptoms on a one-year-old in a matter of hours? It was not instant, and it was certainly exhausting (the doses were administered every 15 minutes,) but in the end it worked. With continued treatment, the symptoms went away permanently without the help of any “real” medicine. 

    • Jorpho says:

      How can you say said asthma symptoms would not have gone away by themselves, especially over “a matter of hours” ?

    • ShawShaw says:

      Are you an asthmatic? I am. Do you know how fast conventional modern asthma medicine works in the event of an attack? Seconds. Not hours. To have to endure asthma symptoms for HOURS, especially serious ones where you feel like you’re breathing through a coffee stirrer, would be a nightmare and possibly a deadly experience.

    • Buck Bokai says:

      This is not an argument. The symptoms might just as easily have gone away without the “treatments”. You could use this argument to support the use of doing the hokey-pokey in circles around a kid with the flu until their symptoms disappeared.

  42. Rks1157 says:

    Homeopathic medicine is based on the belief that one molecule of a compound is all that is needed to effect a cure. Supposedly the body detects the presence of the ingested substance and the biological chain of events is set in motion.

    I am amazed at what people will buy into.

  43. putty says:

    Personally, I’m not a fan of homeopathy.  However, I’m glad it’s available as an alternative to traditional medicine which can often be cold hearted and has a tendency to dehumanize healthcare.  I do not condone unverifiable claims such as the topic of this thread, but to simply dismiss all homeopathy based on one or more such products is unfair.  Traditional medicine has plenty of its own shitty doctors and snake oil salesmen too.   
    When I was helping to care for a terminally ill cancer patient, the only thing that made the patient feel better was his homeopathic practitioner.  From what I could tell, all this practitioner did was help the patient relax through breathing techniques and meditation.  Regardless, the homeopath was doing something for the patient that traditional medicine could not, it was succeeding at achieving results where the doctors and hospitals had failed.  This practitioner came in and made my friend’s last few weeks tolerable.  At that point, that was all that really mattered to me and my friend. 
    So while I’m very suspicious of homeopathy in general, and have strong feelings against some of the myths perpetuated by that community, I still think they have their place and I’m glad they were there when we needed them. 

    • ShawShaw says:

      Breathing techniques and meditation are well-known relaxation exercises proven to reduce stress. They are not homeopathy. The specific definition of homeopathy that this article takes to task is the unprovable assertion that a substance diluted in water to the point where it is no longer even present in the solution can be used to treat illness. What you observed does not support homeopathy, but rather people (who might call themselves homeopaths) using other sensible and provably therapeutic techniques like breathing exercises to reduce stress to help people feel better.

  44. DeepNorth says:

    Riding the bell curve to fame and fortune. I am a bit saddened by this thread – with so much more information available to people than ever before, it hasn’t impacted critical thinking.

  45. Baldhead says:

    if diluting something found in duck livers can cure flu symptoms then why doesn’t eating duck livers make us able to lift cars with ease?

  46. thebelgianpanda says:

    every time i hear the phrase, “scientists should keep an open mind”, a little part of me dies.

    • Mo_in_Berlin says:

      Why do so many scientific insights in so many disciplines go through convulsive vigorous revolution at regular intervals? Instead of one steady progress towards greater understanding. Because many if not most scientists start making assumptions based on the current state of understanding. In other words, they are often not as open as the glorious (meant honestly and not ironically) ideals of open scientific discourse and investigation are not being adhered to. Just human nature.

      • thebelgianpanda says:

        If there weren’t double blind studies showing it’s placebo, the rational position would be, “let’s do some double blind tests to see if it’s better than placebo”.

        If there are double blind tests showing that it isn’t better than placebo, then is it rational to believe that some unknown, untestable force isn’t doing anything?

      • PaulDavisTheFirst says:

        You are continuing to confuse “how does it work” with “does it work”. There will be no paradigm shift in any part of science as it attempts to grapple with something that doesn’t actually do anything (or, for the more nuanced, something that elicits the placebo effect no better than a bunch of other things that are routinely not thought of as “therapeutic”). The principal objection to homeopathy is not that we have no theory of how it could work, its that double blind controlled studies show that it does not work.

        If you want to argue with the basic design of such studies (like the audiophiles do when tests like that reveal the imaginary nature of their beliefs), then fine, go ahead and do that. But suggesting that somehow “science not having an answer about how this works” is getting close to duplicitous, because it doesn’t work in the sense alluded to in this post and my earlier one.

  47. thebelgianpanda says:

    oh yeah, one last thing.  i think this is relevant to this discussion.
    http://boingboing.net/2011/08/17/criticism-of-a-brand-lowers-the-self-esteem-of-its-adherents.html

  48. MrEricSir says:

    I’ve decided that Sudafed PE stands for “Sudafed Placebo Edition.”  It just doesn’t work; the real bathtub-meth-ingredient Sudafed kicks my symptoms’ asses, but PE does absolutely nothing.

  49. shutz says:

    We have a guy, here in Québec, named Jean-René Dufort (also known as Infoman, if you’re familiar with his show) who once purposefully consumed high quantities of homeopathic remedies.  Basically, since the principle of homeopathy is to take poisons for the human body, and dilute them ridiculous amounts of time, if you then consume large quantities of the homeopathic remedy, you would then consume significant amounts of poison (if there was still any remaining active ingredient content.)

    When he told the homeopathic expert he was going to do this, the expert’s face turned white, and he said, “don’t do it, you’ll poison yourself!”.  Dufort did it anyway to prove his point — the active ingredient has been diluted into oblivion, there’s nothing left that can do anything to you in homeopathic remedies.

    Dufort then wrote up a great article on his experience for a consumer protection magazine, here in Québec, and that led to his career in TV.

  50. pumuckl says:

    I took an evening course in alternative medicine last year (in my second year of med school), and one of the more pathetic arguments I heard was “Homeopathy is designed for the individual, that’s why double blind studies don’t work.”

  51. StumptownGeek says:

    I didn’t get a good night’s sleep last night – damned cats were playing a nocturnal game of tag on my bed.  Anyway, I was just about to pour myself a big cup of coffee to get me going this morning, but based on the homeopathic principle I’m going to put a single drop of coffee in a big cup and then fill that cup with water instead.  I’ll take a tiny sip of that dilution and should be bouncing off the walls in no time.  I could use an eyedropper to limit my intake to a single drop but I’m not sure my body could safely take that strong of a hit without acclimatization.

    • Aphotic says:

      And people say that I only believe what others tell me… I tried this insane method and it worked! :) Screw the bottle of powdered caffeine I have and its “near instantaneous” affects!

  52. tcburks says:

    Q: What do you call alternative treatments that produce significant results and work reliably?
    A: Medicine.

  53. Ferry_Fey says:

    I’ve tried various homeopathic remedies over the years, mostly over-the-counter, once as recommended by a homeopathic practitioner. The results were quite mixed, which has also often been the case with various allopathic medications prescribed by my conventional primary care physician. If I’ve had a number of homeopathic remedies not make a difference, and the same with many conventional remedies, I must have a faulty placebo-acceptance circuit.

    However, oscillococcinum is one thing I will always keep on hand, simply because I have found that it usually has worked quite effectively when I find the kind of bone-breaking pain all over and chills symptoms coming on. It hasn’t worked every single time, but over a period of about 20 years I’d say it has worked in the vast majority of cases. I do get flu shots, but I recognize they are formulated for the most anticipated forms of the virus. There are no conventional medications known to stop the onset of flu (or flu-like) symptoms in the way I’ve found oscillococcinum works for me.

    Anecdotal? Sure. Do I know that the scientific position is that homeopathy doesn’t work, and there are reasonable, logical reasons why it shouldn’t work? Sure. But does it work for me? Sure.

  54. Trenien says:

    I’ve often heard this argument that homeopathy just works on the placebo effects. It may be true, I don’t know.
    What I do know is that I have an anecdote that contradict that(or so I think).

    I’ve been using it for decades, so when my then to become wife experienced menstrual pain, the only thing I had to offer her was a very generic remedy for pain (arnica montana, if you must know). Well, it kicked in within the next 10-15 minutes, and did so each and every following months (to the point she’s now always carrying a tube of it in her handbag). So far, I would agree that this completely falls within placebo effect. However, she did mention a while later that she’d noticed there was much more blood coming when she had her periods. We never thought there was any connection, but a year later, we learned that when a woman takes arnica when she has her period, she should take another remedy at the same time (china); those who didn’t suffered a sharp increase in the amount of bloodloss. Of course, I had no idea.
    Moreover, as my wife is Japanese, before meeting me, she had no clue what homeopathy is before that.

    Circumstancial evidence, I know. But this is something that has been seen in more that one person, and in persons that had no idea it could happen.

    • Jim Storrie says:

      Given that vials of homeopathic ‘medicine’ are simply vials of water, I can confirm with authority that your circumstantial evidence is surely simple coincidence combined with the placebo effect.

      Vials of water have no medicinal effect save for whatever modest amount of hydration they provide. It doesn’t matter that the water once touched a molecule of some psuedo-scientific compound years ago. It’s just water. Save yourself some money and just give your wife vials of tap-water; the placebo effect will be exactly the same, as long as you keep telling her that they’re from the homeopath – and as long as she doesn’t go on the Internet and learn that homeopathic medicine is pure quackery.

    • ShawShaw says:

      Your wife was actually taking a solution containing detectable amounts of arnica, right? That soudns like naturopathy. What we are talking about is homeopathy. TLDR definition of homeopathy: selling plain water or sugar pills with no active ingredients in them to people who think it’ll treat illness.

  55. penguinchris says:

    I’ve always wondered if they actually bother diluting from some source material, or if they just sell inert pills and vials of purified water, which would be the same thing and a lot cheaper for them.

  56. Summer Seale says:

    Alright, let’s be clear:

    Homeopathy goes against every single scientific law that we have discovered in repeatable experiments over the last few hundred years. For Homeopathy to work, we never would have been able to create rockets which go to the moon, fused the atom, or even created the internet.

    Do you understand? Everything around you, discovered and made by modern science, says that Homeopathy does not work. Period. End of story.

    Is it a placebo? Some say that it is. But that isn’t medicine: it’s faith. Faith has nothing to do with medicine or science. Faith, as we all know, is believing something on no evidence whatsoever. Faith, in other words, is simply gullibility.

    Some of you have said that it “works for you”, just like prayer “works for some” – it’s got nothing to do with science. In fact, it is the very antithesis of science. It’s called “wishful thinking”.

    So, in a nutshell: believe in anything you want to believe. But if you believe in the power of Homeopathy to cure you of anything whatsoever, then you’re just a bloody ignorant idiot.

  57. moosestudiospottery says:

    From TED

    James Randi takes a lethal dose of Homeopathic Sleeping pills during Talk, and LIVES!

    http://www.ted.com/talks/james_randi.html

  58. lecti says:

    Can they pay for the damage with 1:100 200x dilution?

  59. redesigned says:

    if you dilute down the truth enough you will eventually have homeopathic science.

  60. pjcamp says:

    I was really pissed recently to find homeopathic crap on the shelves at my local CVS right alongside the real medicine. I went in looking for ocular antihistamines and nearly walked out with a bottle of water at $1 per ml.

  61. that’s right on topic – my 4 year old has a cold, Not too bad, but I went to the pharmacy to find something to unplug her nose so she could sleep. The pharmacist says they don’t sell anything now for under 6 years old ( I am in Canada). I of cours feel like a bad mom wanting to drug my child, so I buy the children cold stuff from Boiron instead.

    My daughter is just happy that it doesn’t taste anything -she hates all kinds of medicine… and Next day – she was fine ! NOTHING ! no runny nose NADA… I actually had to remind her at the end of the day : you feel much better no ? she’s like… yeah ! she didn’t even remember that she was sick.

  62. jimkirk says:

    Homeopathy would work better if they used PentaWater.
    http://www.pentawater.com/_pw/index.php

    Who was the comedian who said there’s a reason why, when someone collapses on an airplane, no one ever yells “is there an aromatherapist on board!”?

  63. ReallyGoodMedicine says:

    Not only does Os. work in clinical use, it’s proven to work in studies.  One recent study showed that 62.9% of flu sufferers using Os. either had no symptoms at all or showed clear improvement in their symptoms after 48 hours as compared to 48.5% in the placebo group.  

    In fact, the Montreal Canadiens like Os. so well that the team partnered with Boiron for the 2010-2011 flu season.

    But homeopathy has a great preventative for the flu as well as a great treatment– Influenzinum.  A study done among 453 patients from 1987 to 1998 showed 90% of patients using Influenzinum did not contract the flu at all. 

    We all recognize the comment of the Italian blogger as one of the statements routinely made on the internet by people who have an economic or ideological reason for attempting to discredit homeopathy to the public.

    Good luck to Boiron — glad to see them taking the appropriate legal action!

  64. ReallyGoodMedicine says:

    Oscillococcinum is made from duck liver — not a mythical substance called Oscillococcinum.  Os. is the name given to the product by Boiron.

    I hope people not familiar with homeopathy will investigate it by going to legitimate sites here on the internet or by reading books written by practitioners like Dr. Luc De Schepper, M.D., Amy Lansky (whose son was cured of autism with homeopathy), and Dana Ullman.

  65. ReallyGoodMedicine says:

    There are 100′s of studies published in 82 respected, peer-reviewed national and international journals showing that homeopathy works to produce significant and sometimes substantial benefits.

    Some of them can be seen at:

    http://www.nationalcenterforhomeopathy.org/articles-research
    http://avilian.co.uk/

    One recent study done by the respected M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Texas U., and published in the International Journal of Oncology, February, 2010, shows that four homeopathics can kill breast cancer cell lines.  It is the second study done by M.D. Anderson showing homeopathy kills cancer cells.  Homeopathy does not damage surrounding cells or impact the immune system.  Columbia U. developed its Integrative Program for Children with Cancer in collaboration with the Prasanta Banerji Homeopathic Research Foundation which treats cancer patients in 72 countries and 1,200 a day in its clinic with 70% benefit.

    http://www.spandidos-publications.com/ijo/36/2/395

    For science and testimonials see:

    http://www.extraordinarymedicine.org

    As I know myself from years of experience with homeopathy, anyone who finds it has a friend for life!

  66. For me the biggest problems with homeopathic claims is that it only seems to work for positive results – in other words the association supposed picked up is only from curatives or other beneficial results. By the theory presented, water should be randomly beneficial and harmful as the associative substances to which the water has been exposed enter your body (via magic, apparently.)

    Drinking more water is probably a good thing for most of us. I know I often run pretty close to dehydration levels myself. However it’s the drinking of the water that has benefits, not some mystical fairy-dust BS to which the water was exposed.

  67. Aphotic says:

    So while I didn’t read the innumerable comments which from the majority I read dealt with homeopathic remedies and the placebo effect while not pertaining to Oscillococcinum specifically so I didn’t want what’s in my mind right now to be maladjusted by the remaining comments.  I was suffering from a bout of flu two years ago and I was perusing the drug isle.  I like to take lots of different things, usually of the stim category so I’m open to trying different herbal  elements like kola nut, huperzine a, and cognitol. I point this out because it means I will try something even if it’s not made by pharm corps.  I found Oscillococcinum on the shelf and read the description and thought it couldn’t hurt to take that along with the usual things I take when I’m sick. I didn’t know anything about the company or even how to pronounce the name of the product but I had a drastic improvement of my symptoms in such a drastically reduced amount of time I did some research of Oscilli.

    Because of that one time I got better, I thought it must be the Oscilli and when I got sick again I just took that. And lo and behold I got better faster than I had dosing ny-quilDM etc. So since then I’ve pretty much only taken Oscilli when I got ill and found that my illness didn’t last very long compared to before I took it.

    Then I read the article that came out a couple months ago with the part about the dilution being so vast that it is bigger than all the elements of the known universe.  I haven’t taken Oscilli since then (but I haven’t been sick either, being the summer and all).  Many people who outwardly respect me wouldn’t call me gullible but I can accept that all the times I took Oscilli and felt better that it could have been (thought at the time I was taking it) been the placebo affect and that one article stopped me at this point from buying it again.

    But I gave it to my son, recommended it to my family members and friends, and most all reported better recovery times than thought possible.  I didn’t know anything about Oscilli or Bioron before I bought it and now I know a little more, but I would have to say that what I want to know is why did I feel better after taking it if it doesn’t have anything in it but sugar (which I can taste distinctly, which first lead to my doubts about Bioron’s veracity of their claim’s).  And I wholeheartedly believe that something that’s diluted to that degree can’t have any affect whatsoever.  So I’ll be taking sugar only next time I get sick, then next time I’ll take my regular meds, then the next time I’ll take oscilliococcinum and write down the length of recovery time and get back to someone.  I doesn’t bother me if you didn’t read this or it’s taken down :) 

    • Aphotic says:

      on a side note, I tried taking straight duck liver (the kind Bioron uses in their dilution – I wanted to make sure I used the same thing!) when I had the flu and instead of relieving my symptoms it actually rewound time to before I got sick and then when I went through time the second time I didn’t get sick at all. So it’s proof that Bioron has it right they just don’t want their secret out. I always keep duck liver handy for when I feel off colour xD

  68. ReallyGoodMedicine says:

    The properties of materials are controlled by their structures, not their compositions.  For an interesting discussion of the structure of liquid water (how it transmits information as in homeopathic remedies) please see the video by Rustum Roy at:

    http://www.extraordinarymedicine.org (scroll down to “Homeopathy’s Best Research”)

    Rustum Roy was the chair of the materials science department at Penn State, held five professorships at Penn State and many other national and international academic honors.

    Nobel Prize winners Brian Josephson and Luc Montagnier concur that there are no scientific factors which make homeopathy “implausible” as “skeptics” like to say.  In fact, in an interview Luc Montagnier stated “What I can say now is that the high dilutions are right.  High dilutions of something are not nothing.  They are water structures which mimic the original molecules.”

    In actuality, allopathic medicine is unscientific because it is based on Newtonian physics which was modified by quantum physics when it came about in 1925.  Allopathic medicine has retained its Newtonian base in a quantum mechanics world.  It is outdated because it lacks an understanding of energy, mind and field.  See Bruce Lipton’s series of four videos on homeopathy on You Tube.

  69. Mo_in_Berlin, you DO realize that you are likely ingesting drugs that were excreted in HITLER’S URINE.

    You’re absorbing SPEED that HITLER had injected into him, along with molecules of HITLER’S URINE.

    His URINE, for the love of all that’s holy!

    And statistically, you’re also likely at some point in your life, to drink water that contains a molecule of urine from the guy that hammered the nails into christ’s wrists and ankles! Why would you want that guy’s pee in you?

    And the less said about Goering’s poo in the water, the better!

    • ReallyGoodMedicine says:

      The problem with your theory is that, to minimize impurities, homeopathics are made with distilled water just as allopathic medicines like Calamine Lotion (used for poison ivy) are.  So if homeopathics contain Hitler’s urine then allopathic meds also do.

      Second problem is that the amount of substance used is significantly greater than the impurities so the influence of the substance compared to impurities is maximized.

      Third problem is that if succussion establishes the pattern of the remedy on the solution (which is being proven to be true) then each step in the process of potentization amplifies the dominant signal of the substance and also diffuses the influence of impurities.

      • elix says:

        “The problem with your theory is that, to minimize impurities, homeopathics are made with distilled water just as allopathic medicines like Calamine Lotion (used for poison ivy) are.  So if homeopathics contain Hitler’s urine then allopathic meds also do.”

        The difference is that only homeopathy claims magical curative abilities by offering distilled water that once was in contact with the active ingredient in question and is present in such minute quantities (if at all) that it’s near-impossible to measure. If I am to derive health benefits from a bottle that contains water that was diluted immensely from its original solution, I am also likely to be subject to any harmful effects that dinosaur urea might cause, since the water is also an extremely dilute solution of T-Rex urine. And every other material found on the planet that has ever been exposed to liquid.

        I know that the water I drink has been excreted a near-infinite number of times by creatures since the dawn of life on this planet. Thanks to modern sanitation and water purity controls, I don’t care, because the water I drink is pure enough to not harm me. You, however, prescribe specific powers to water containing infinitesimally dilute quantities of things, but turn a blind eye to the fact that the self-same water, unless created from elemental hydrogen and oxygen in sterile lab conditions, is a dilution of all of creation–and is it really safe to consume something that’s had contact with cyanide, e. coli, and Hitler’s bladder?

  70. weezmgk says:

    Homeopathy is such a big, hard to spell word. Why not simply call it ‘fraud’ and be done with it?

  71. jimwormold says:

    @ReallyGoodMedicine

    Luc Montagnier’s research was published in his OWN journal, and the peer review process took three days. No one else has validated his experiments.

    To come up with explanations of how something works (and to latch onto any sort of pseudo-science) after it has been demonstrated time and time again to work no better than placebo is irresponsible. If it actually works better than a placebo then we would expect to see correspondingly better efficacy rates in trials. We don’t. And because we don’t people have to peddle pseudo-scientific claims to hoodwink the gullible.

  72. Peter says:

    I point to the rise of homeopathy, and I point to the rise in autism rates.  That is all.

  73. Jan Marais says:

    I suggest the lovers of Homeopathy should go read up on the
    history of the FDA in the USA.
    It was born out of the extreme suffering and horrific deaths of countless people,
    directly linked to false promises and unsubstantiated claims of medicine
    manufacturers.  So the breakthrough was
    this : The law stated that You had to (a)  PROVE the efficacy and safety of your remedy
    in a  (b) Statistically significant
    sample of subjects ,  (c)  under controlled conditions where you had to  (d) PROVE that your results are not the influence
    of other factors (like the Placebo effect, lifestyle diets etc..) That is why
    real scientist in the medical field use double blind trails in many cases where
    not even the doctor giving the medication  knows if it the  real thing of the placebo. Drugs are
    expensive, and greed is undeniably part of the story – BUT there is an
    astronomical cost associated to this burden of Proof. Clinical trials can take
    many years, and have to include many countries, cultures and races  - to PROVE your drug is safe and efficient  in all likely cases and subjects.    So all of these pro Homeopathy arguments can
    very easily be settled. 

    All that these crooks have to do is what all REAL  scientists do – they submit their drug for
    clinical trials that are closely audited and monitored by ethics committees and
    third party overseers – there are many third party companies that can do it for
    them.  But you will then see the conspiracy
    theories come out .. Modern science cannot answer all of our needs, frequently
    tells us what we do not want to hear and sometimes lets us down – BUT it is by
    far the best thing we have and it was paid for in suffering and blood of countless
    people in history.  We must never forget
    that.

  74. elix says:

    Boy, it sure is astroturfy in here.

    To the pro-homeopathy people in here who are doing their damndest to try and validate the lies they’ve swallowed themselves, I ask you to do this:

    Find ONE double-blind trial performed by a disinterested, neutral third-party under controlled laboratory conditions that shows that the homeopathic remedy worked significantly better than the placebo effect. I don’t want to hear anything that even sounds like anecdotal evidence. Produce a study that demonstrates it’s not tap water being sold with several thousand percent markup.

  75. malcreant says:

    Mmm… homeopathic lager:

    Homeopathic Emergency Room from Mitchell and Webb
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgxzSUxxRzE

  76. Fabio Turone says:

    Hi,
    I am an Italian science journalist and I just wanted to correct a factual error in your post: as I wrote on the British Medical Journal after interviewing Samuele Riva, his internet provider and the CEO of Boiron Italy, the Company has only threatened to sue, so far.
    Riva complied with their request and immediately removed the pictures of Oscillococcinum and the captions, so I suspect they will have no more grounds to proceed in courts (but I am not a lawyer).
    On the other hand, when I explicitly asked – twice – the CEO of Boiron Italy whether they were fully satisfied or not she told me that she would re-evaluate the issue with the lawyer and with the main offices of the company (in France).
    So in my opinion the threat of suing is still there.

  77. AtariBaby says:

    Of course, if I want immediate relief from the symptoms, I take a scientifically proven medication with actual ingredients in it.

  78. elix says:

    Funny that ReallyGoodMedicine disappears when confronted with difficult logic.

  79. Homeopathy is a fascinating example of a meme pathogen. As an idea it is very very dangerous to it’s host, preventing him from seeking necessary medical treatment. Yet, it manages to thrive and even proliferate in our society.

    It is all well and fine if you are taking homeopathic “medicine” for 7 days and then discover that your flu has magically disappeared. However, homeopathy kills. It killed probably thousands of cancer patients who were shunning conventional treatment for homeopathic one, and were feeling “a lot better” up until the point when they died.

    In that sense it probably work as a sort of Darwinian pressure on our species. Question is NOT does it work. This has been established. It DOES NOT. Question is do we want it in our society?

    To person who noticed that his baby cries less after treating her ear infection with homeopathic medicine, you might notice the same effect if you administered the same medicine to yourself instead to baby, or if you gave it to your pet. The perceived volume of baby cry is very subjective. The risk of an untreated ear infection, however, is not.

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