MD, PhD, FMedSci, FSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

Many posts on this blog have highlighted the fact that homeopathic remedies, when tested in rigorous RCTs, are demonstrably nothing more than pure placebos. Homeopaths, of course, negate this fact but here is a surprising bit of new evidence that further confirms it – and it comes from the highest authority in homeopathy: from Samuel Hahnemann himself!

A well known psychic has been in contact with the great doctor who consequently has dictated a letter to her. Here it is (it came in German, but I took the liberty of translating it into English):

TO ALL HOMEOPATHS OF THE WORLD

I have been watching what you have been doing with my noble healing art for some time now, and I cannot hold back any longer. Enough is enough. You are all fools, bloody fools!

Sceptics and scientists and anyone else who can read the research that has been done with those ‘randomised trials’ that the allopaths are currently so fond of should know that homeopathic medicines, as you monumental idiots employ them, are ineffective. The results of these studies are perfectly true. Instead of asking yourself what you are doing wrong and how you are disobeying my most explicit orders, you insist on doubting that these modern methods generate the truth. How incredibly stupid you are!

I have provided you with a detailed set of instructions – but does any of you pseudo-homeopaths follow them? No, no, no! You are all traitors and ignorant dilettantes. Read my Organon and follow what I wrote; there is no need to re-invent the rules.

Let me remind you what I said in the Organon; I made it perfectly clear that a person receiving homeopathy must have:

  • no coffee
  • no spices
  • no carbonated drinks
  • no use of perfumes
  • no smoked meat
  • no cheese
  • no duck
  • no shellfish
  • no large amounts of animal fat
  • no sausages
  • no spicy sauces
  • no pastries or cakes
  • no radishes
  • no celery
  • no onions or garlic
  • no parsley
  • no pepper
  • no mustard
  • no vanilla
  • no bitter almonds
  • no cloves
  • no cinnamon
  • no fennel
  • no anise
  • no green tea
  • no spiced chocolate
  • no liquors
  • no herbal teas
  • no tooth powder
  • no excessive labour
  • no mental exercise

That is simple enough, isn’t it? Or are you too moronic to follow even the simplest of instructions? As you constantly ignore my orders, how do you think my medicines can work?

Those who insist that the current evidence for homeopathy is negative are entirely correct. It is negative because you have been witless and incompetent! I have said it before and I say it again: HE WHO DOES NOT WALK ON EXACTLY THE SAME LINE WITH ME, WHO DIVERGES, IF IT BE BUT THE BREADTH OF A STRAW, TO THE RIGHT OR TO THE LEFT, IS AN APOSTATE AND A TRAITOR, AND WITH HIM I WILL HAVE NOTHING TO SAY.

Now, instead of finding excuses, go home and contemplate what I am telling you. Then do the right thing, conduct a randomised trial testing my proper method, and you will see.

I am very annoyed with all of you! And I am fast running out of patience.

Do as I say or become an allopath.

Sincerely angry

Samuel Hahnemann

At this point, I should admit that the letter was, of course, not written by the inventor of homeopathy but by me, Edzard Ernst. Yet it could have been written by him; historians invariably describe him as intolerant, cantankerous and inflexible. Crucially, the dietary instructions outlined in the letter are those of Hahnemann as outlined in the ‘Organon’, his ‘opus maximus’. If he could send a letter via a psychic, Hahnemann would certainly complain about his followers disobeying his orders and he most likely would do it in a most disgruntled tone (the sentence in capital letters is actually a quote from Hahnemann).

This post is a bit of innocent fun, sure. But it also has some relevance to today’s homeopathy, I hope: modern homeopaths make a big thing out of following Hahnemann’s gospel to the letter. But, if we look carefully, we find that they only follow some of it, while ignoring entire sections of what their ‘über-guru’ told them. They argue that these bits are useless or erroneous or implausible and they want to be seen to be scientific and evidence-based. The obvious truth, however, is that everything Hahnemann has ever written about homeopathy is useless, erroneous and implausible and nothing of it is scientific or evidence-based. Homeopaths should draw the only possible conclusion and ignore the lot!

18 Responses to Why homeopathy doesn’t work!…… Samuel Hahnemann gives the answer…(finally)

  • “nor mental exercise”

    That explains every single homeopathy fanatic I’ve ever come across.

  • Doesn’t the Organon also require exercise? Lots of walks in the country?

  • Another thought… As I understand it, Hahnemann considered that succussion in the course of making homeopathic dilutions was most effective when fluid containers were banged on a leather-bound book, preferably a bible. Do present-day manufacturers of homeopathic medicines stick to this requirement? If they use a leather-bound bible, did Hahnemann indicate whether this should be a German bible, an English bible, or some other language? Can you enlighten us, Prof. Ernst? If we’re going to adopt a system of medicine it’s clearly important that every detail should be right.

    • There will, undoubtedly, be different factions within the cult of homeopathy who adhere to the belief that only a German leather-bound bible will do and will be able to regale you with an anecdote about the time they left their German bible at home and – in an emergency – they had to use a King James and how it produced the opposite effect to what it should have…

      However, machines such as the ‘Pinkus Potentiser’ that shake the water usually bang the vial against a rubber pad. It’s not clear how they have determined equivalence.

      And never ask two homeopaths how many times it’s supposed to be banged. It’ll only start an argument.

      • Hahnemann was also worried about the transportation of his remedies and advised his followers to be careful that, when they used a horse carriage to see a patient, they must take special precautions that the remedies do not shake. This could make them so potent that it would endanger the health of the patients.
        I KID YOU NOT!

        • He also advised homoeopaths not to carry remedies in their waistcoat pockets in case they increaed the potency as they walked around. Presumably, on this principle, homoeopathic remedies could be used as a sort of pedometer, if only there were some way of actually measuring the potency of a remedy. “The potency has gone up from 30C to 44C, that means you have walked seven miles today!”

        • Edzard said:

          I KID YOU NOT!

          Oh, it’s OK. Nothing homeopaths say – no matter how wrong, dangerous or stupid – surprises me these days.

      • There were indeed two factions; the English Bible and the German Bible faction.

        They gave up homeopathy fairly quickly and founded the Left Twix and Right Twix factories.

  • Well, looking at the long list of what you should not eat or drink, you cannot help but wondering what is left. I guess, Hahnemann just formed a principle of treatment that should have the potential to cure all the diseases this world has to offer:

    Just quit feeding the patient.

    And you will be astonished of the power of this therapy. No patient has to die of cancer, pneumonia, sepsis or whatever else any more. If the patient dies of a natural cause – and dieing by starvation and dehydration is completely natural – then the patient can be counted as cured.

    Medicine can be so easy and cheap…

  • Hahnemann did actually say (para 283 in 1st edition of the Organon)

    ” The doctrine of the divisibility of matter teaches us that we cannot make a part so small that it shall cease to be something, and that it shall not share all the properties of the whole.”

    and later, in a letter, referring to dilution,

    ““Es muss ein Ende geben, es kann nicht bis ins Unendliche weitergehen”
    (“There must be some limit to the thing. It cannot go on to infinity”

    But Hahnemann died in 1843, and the first numerical estimate of Avogadro’s number was not made until 1865, by Johann Josef Loschmidt (1821 – 1895). It is Loschmidt, not Avogadro, who discovered the crucial numerical value of ‘Avogadro’s number‘, and in the German literature it is known, properly, as Loschmidt’sche Zahl.

    It follows that Hahnemann had no way to calculate that his dilutions went too far. If he’d lived another 25 years he really would have renounced homeopathy. That would have saved us a lot of trouble (and saved some lives).

    More details at Hahnemann would have thought modern homeopaths were barmy.

    • At least Hahnemann had an excuse for getting it all so wrong. The same can’t be said for homeopath today.

    • Interesting link, this is.

      Hahnemann was not stupid – and it is an interesting train of thoughts to wonder what his views would be about todays ‘Classical Homeopathy’ and all the other fragrancies it comes in today. Ad how he would express his views. From what I read about Hahnemann’s character, spiced up by age, I guess Edzard’s letter here does not really give a true impression.

  • And another thing… Hahnemann pulled the concept of “like cures like” from his fundament not long after the first ever defineably scientific clinical trial was done: to find the cause of scurvy. James Lind (1754) divided sailors suffering from scurvy into small groups and fed them different acids thought to cure the disease. The group (n=2!) fed citrus fruits recovered. Thus, in the case of scurvy, like had nothing in the wildest imagination to do with the cure of like.

    The “like cures like” hypothesis took another dive with the discovery of the “germ theory of disease”. Or, to put it another way, the realization that microbes, spread via inhalation, ingestion, direct contact or vector injection were the source of many (most?) of the illnesses that killed people.

    So why, in 2014, are we still awash with people who seriously believe that the tenets of homeopathy make sense? Are our systems of education really sufficient to defend against folklore, superstition and respect for magical remedies?

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