In Honor Of World Homeopathy Awareness Week


In honor of World Homeopathy Awareness Week I am reposting this article along with the addition of some new commentary. There is a great deal of information to cover so this article runs a little long. BUT the video at the very end is worth reading every word!

So sit back, relax and enjoy.

***There has been furious debate for years about whether or not homeopathy has any effect beyond the placebo effect.  The main contention is that homeopathic blends are created individually for each person based on the determinations of a homeopath.  These results can be explained by what is known as the Placebo Effect. This effect has been explained very well by Dr. Ben Goldacre in this video:

To quote Dr. Stephen Barrett:

Homeopathic products are made from minerals, botanical substances, and several other sources. If the original substance is soluble, one part is diluted with either nine or ninety-nine parts of distilled water and/or alcohol and shaken vigorously (succussed); if insoluble, it is finely ground and pulverized in similar proportions with powdered lactose (milk sugar). One part of the diluted medicine is then further diluted, and the process is repeated until the desired concentration is reached. Dilutions of 1 to 10 are designated by the Roman numeral X (1X = 1/10, 3X = 1/1,000, 6X = 1/1,000,000). Similarly, dilutions of 1 to 100 are designated by the Roman numeral C (1C = 1/100, 3C = 1/1,000,000, and so on). Most remedies today range from 6X to 30X, but products of 30C or more are marketed.

A 30X dilution means that the original substance has been diluted 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times. Assuming that a cubic centimeter of water contains 15 drops, this number is greater than the number of drops of water that would fill a container more than 50 times the size of the Earth. Imagine placing a drop of red dye into such a container so that it disperses evenly. Homeopathy’s “law of infinitesimals” is the equivalent of saying that any drop of water subsequently removed from that container will possess an essence of redness. Robert L. Park, Ph.D., a prominent physicist who is executive director of The American Physical Society, has noted that since the least amount of a substance in a solution is one molecule, a 30C solution would have to have at least one molecule of the original substance dissolved in a minimum of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 molecules of water. This would require a container more than 30,000,000,000 times the size of the Earth.

Oscillococcinum, a 200C product “for the relief of colds and flu-like symptoms,” involves “dilutions” that are even more far-fetched. Its “active ingredient” is prepared by incubating small amounts of a freshly killed duck’s liver and heart for 40 days. The resultant solution is then filtered, freeze-dried, rehydrated, repeatedly diluted, and impregnated into sugar granules. If a single molecule of the duck’s heart or liver were to survive the dilution, its concentration would be 1 in 100200. This huge number, which has 400 zeroes, is vastly greater than the estimated number of molecules in the universe (about one googol, which is a 1 followed by 100 zeroes). In its February 17, 1997, issue, U.S. News & World Report noted that only one duck per year is needed to manufacture the product, which had total sales of $20 million in 1996. The magazine dubbed that unlucky bird “the $20-million duck.”

Actually, the laws of chemistry state that there is a limit to the dilution that can be made without losing the original substance altogether. This limit, which is related to Avogadro’s number, corresponds to homeopathic potencies of 12C or 24X (1 part in 1024). Hahnemann himself realized that there is virtually no chance that even one molecule of original substance would remain after extreme dilutions. But he believed that the vigorous shaking or pulverizing with each step of dilution leaves behind a “spirit-like” essence—”no longer perceptible to the senses”—which cures by reviving the body’s “vital force.” Modern proponents assert that even when the last molecule is gone, a “memory” of the substance is retained. This notion is unsubstantiated. Moreover, if it were true, every substance encountered by a molecule of water might imprint an “essence” that could exert powerful (and unpredictable) medicinal effects when ingested by a person.

This brings us to the concept of water memory. My understanding is that a homeopathic remedy is started with distilled water. Water is distilled by boiling the water and then condensing the steam into a clean container, leaving most if not all solid contaminants behind. Yet, if water actually has memory, this would imply that even distilled water would retain the memory of the substance(s) it has come in contact with. This includes everything from concentrated orange juice to human waste.

The head of the British Homeopathic association has been quoted as saying that she doesn’t really know how it works. It just does. Homeopaths use the excuse that medical science doesn’t always understand how medicine works. The difference here is that science is attempting to find out why it works.

Recently homeopaths in Australia have been forced to admit that there is no actual substance in their remedies. See the article here: http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=116560 And here: http://jonn.co.uk/badhomeopathy/modules/news/article.php?storyid=112

In 2005 The Lancet published a body of studies. These studies concluded that homeopathic “remedies” are no better than placebos: http://www.medpagetoday.com/PrimaryCare/AlternativeMedicine/1609

Okay, so if there’s nothing in it, what’s the harm? The problem is that people are using homeopathy instead of medical science to treat themselves and their children. Of course people are entitled to do as they wish with their own bodies. When it comes to eschewing real medical treatment for their children, HERE is where there is a major problem.

http://whatstheharm.net/homeopathy.html 437 people have been harmed or killed due to the use of homeopathy over science.

If you’re still unsure, please watch the following videos Please follow the links at the end of this video for more science-based information.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why it doesn’t work.

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10 Comments

  1. April 16, 2010 at 1:05 am

    Real is scientific homeopathy. Evidence-based homeopathy medicine for everyone

    • April 16, 2010 at 10:55 am

      Thanks for the comment Nancy. I presented some pretty hard evidence and you’re not refuting any of it. Where is YOUR evidence? See, that’s the way real science works. Put your evidence where your mouth is.

      • Myk said,

        April 17, 2010 at 4:44 am

        I wouldn’t expect any actual discussion from the Malikbot. This is pretty much the standard canned response you get from it.

      • April 17, 2010 at 11:05 am

        Wicked! My first Bot Spamming!!!

  2. Sgerbic said,

    April 16, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Great blog today. I loved the video by Randi. Tinkerbell Awareness Week! Great. Posting this blog on my FB for everyone to see.

  3. Marz said,

    April 17, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Just found your blog today, spent a good hour reading past posts – what a lot of info! Thanks for taking the time to make these posts and share your newfound skeptism. 🙂

    Just a quick question – how can someone easily discern between woo homeotherapy and legitamate herbology? There’s so many “herbal” remedies out there, you can easily waste a lot of money on quack remedies. I take a few herbal products, such as Rescue for light anxiety relief, and Pegasus for motion sickness, and I know they do help.

    But I was looking the other day for natural remedies for gout (my mom is a new victim of this disorder), and came across a product called “Goutal” or something similar like that. Wish I had bookmarked it, because I’m sure it would’ve been good for a laugh, and I can’t remember the name…

    But it was talking about their patented “Bio effusion” mechanism which causes the body to abosrb exactly the molecules that it needs to “heal” the gout, and it sounded very woo-like. People were swearing by it, but I was extremely skeptical to say the least.

    I guess sticking to FDA approved medicine is always the best option.

    • April 18, 2010 at 12:37 pm

      I’m glad to have been a help 🙂

      As for herbalism, talk to a trained herbalist. If they suggest something that comes in a bottle, that’s a sign that they’re trying to sell you a product. A good herbalist will have a bunch of dried or fresh herbs readily available. The way I was trained is that the herb in question should look alot like the plant. In other words if you want some chamomile tea to unwind with ant the end of the day, get dried chamomile flowers from the herbalist. The taste difference between that and the ground up stuff in the baggies will surprise you I think. Just don’t try to use herbs for anything that pharmaceuticals can do better.

      Wow…that Gout “rememdy” is pretty Woo-ish. It also violates federal law by using the word “heal”. For motion sickness

      I would suggest candied ginger. It’s been tested for effectiveness by the Mythbusters and came out the winner even over motion sickness pills.

      If you ever have questions, please don’t hesitate to email me 🙂

      • Marz said,

        April 22, 2010 at 3:35 pm

        Thanks so much for the reply. 🙂

        I just looked up those “remedies” I mentioned in my comment, and both are a little too close to homeopathic treatment for my liking. The Pegasus treatment mentions flowers/herbs in doses of 30C (Which apparently is a dilution to some ridiculous degree). Rescue is much of the same, using Bach flower essence (a lot of woo here).

        I wish I could do a proper double-blind experiment on these “remedies”. I’m pretty sure they’re no better than sugar pills.

        Thanks for the tip on Ginger 🙂 I have chamomile tea for unwinding, but it’s the packaged baggies. 🙂

  4. Jason said,

    April 18, 2010 at 3:12 am

    You left out the best Homeopathic medicine take off ever done though.

    From The Mitchell and Webb look. It sums it up _perfectly_

  5. Nancy said,

    October 22, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Triple Blind studies, Double-Blind Randomised Placebo-Controlled Trial, Systematic Reviews & Meta Analysis, Evidence-base

    130+ studies in support of homeopathy medicine published in 52 peer-reviewed international journals

    http://knol.google.com/k/dr-nancy-malik-bhms/scientific-research-in-homeopathy/pocy7w49ru14/2#

    Medicines for specific disease conditions, Ultra-molecular dilutions, Structure & Memory of Water, Animal Studies, Plant Studies


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