MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

A German homeopathic journal, Zeitschrift Homoeopathie, has just published the following interesting article entitled HOMEOPATHIC DOCTORS HELP IN LIBERIA. It provides details about the international team of homeopaths that travelled to Liberia to cure Ebola. Here I take the liberty of translating it from German into English. As most of it is fairly self-explanatory, I abstain from any comments of my own – however, I am sure that my readers will want to add their views.

In mid-October, an international team of 4 doctors travelled to the West African country for three weeks. The mission in a hospital in Ganta, a town with about 40 000 inhabitants on the border to Guinea, ended as planned on 7 November. The exercise was organised by the World Association of Homeopathic Doctors, the Liga Medicorum Homoeopathica Internationalis (LMHI), with support of by the German Central Association of Homeopathic Doctors. The aim was to support the local doctors in the care of the population and, if possible, also to help in the fight against the Ebola epidemic. The costs for the three weeks’ stay were financed mostly through donations from homeopathic doctors.

“We know that we were invited mainly as well-trained doctors to Liberia, and that or experience in homeopathy was asked for only as a secondary issue”, stresses Cornelia Bajic, first chairperson of the DZVhA (German Central Association of Homeopathic Doctors). The doctors from India, USA, Switzerland and Germany were able to employ their expertise in several wards of the hospital, to help patients, and to support their Liberian colleagues. It was planned to use and document the homeopathic treatment of Ebola-patients as an adjunct to the WHO prescribed standard treatment. “Our experience from the treatment of other epidemics in the history of medicine allows the conclusion that a homeopathic treatment might significantly reduce the mortality of Ebola patients”, judges Bajic. The successful use of homeopathic remedies has been documented for example in Cholera, Diphtheria or Yellow Fever.

Overview of the studies related to the homeopathic treatment of epidemics

In Ganta, the doctors of the LMHI team treated patients with “at times most serious diseases, particularly inflammatory conditions, children with Typhus, meningitis, pneumonias, and unclear fevers – each time only under the supervision of the local doctor in charge”, reports Dr Ortrud Lindemann, who also worked obstetrically in Ganta. The medical specialist reports after her return: “When we had been 10 days in the hospital, the successes had become known, and the patients stood in queues to get treated by us.” The homeopathic doctors received thanks from the Ganta hospital for their work, it was said that it had been helpful for the patients and a blessing for the employees of the hospital.

POLITICAL CONSIDERATIONS MORE IMPORTANT THAN MEDICAL TREATMENT? 

This first LMHI team of doctors was forbidden to care for patients from the “Ebola Treatment Unit”. The decision was based on an order of the WHO. A team of Cuban doctors was also waiting in vain for being allowed to work. “We are dealing here with a dangerous epidemic and a large number of seriously ill patients. And despite a striking lack of doctors in West Africa political considerations are more important than the treatment of these patients”, criticises the DZVhA chairperson Bajic. Now a second team is to travel to Ganta to support the local doctors.

82 Responses to Homeopathy for Ebola: an update directly from the ‘horse’s mouth’

  • The description of the event here:
    http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/treating-ebola-with-homeopathy-393
    is quite different:
    “The team suited up, broke out their homeopathic treatments and tried to get to work on some patients. At which point the medical staff and administrators at the Ganta Hospital realised what it was they were attempting, before completely banning them from the ETU (Ebola Treatment Unit).
    […]
    But the authorities were clear: there was no way they were going to let Ebola patients be treated with what are essentially sugar pills soaked in water.”

  • The quote from Cornelia Bajic that the homeopaths were invited to Liberia in the first place as well-trained doctors and their homeopathic ‘knowledge’ was just secondary, is most likely a lie. The mission was organized with help from Michael Kölsch, a honorary consul for Liberia in Germany. Kölsch’ wife Monika is a homeopath and at the moment treasurer of the German Central Association of Homeopathic Doctors (DZVhÄ). In 2012 Kölsch also arranged a visit from the German branch of the Homeopaths without Borders to Liberia. Of course he could easily arrange visas for the homeopaths.

    See my blog from Nov 5th: Top Level Homeopaths Behind Ebola Mission in Liberia

    So the DZVhÄ is now probably just spinning this invitation by Kölsch as an official invitation by Liberian health officials. Those Liberian health officials were not aware that they were homeopaths until the had arrived in Monrovia and already got their first training with the protective suits. Luckily a WHO official became aware of the hidden agenda of the homeopaths. I can only guess that this was because we tried so hard to inform the organizations involved, when we find out a month ago.

    • no, no no!!!
      homeopaths don’t tell lies…or do they?

    • Gosh! Can you step back and look at what you have written? Where is your reason and logic? In the absence of anything else of help, why weren’t these Liberians dying from EVD asked if they wanted homeopathic treatment? Why did you and your associates do all you could to stop their access (and as a result, that of others)? Do you really think they would have been lying on their death beds saying, “No! no! no! Whatever you do, don’t let that homeopathy near me – I would rather die than try a homeopathic medicine.”? And please don’t try to tell me, in the face of current evidence, that homeopathy doesn’t work for epidemic disease as that will just add another unbelievable statement to your list. You were of no help whatsoever to those Liberians and your actions sealed the fate of many.
      Fran Sheffield.

      • “You were of no help whatsoever to those Liberians and your actions sealed the fate of many”. So you do not think that the truth is helpful in creating progress and eventually finding a cure?

        • If you are so interesting in finding the truth why oppose giving homeopaths a try? Conventional medicine has NO cure for ebola – only palliative treatment.

          • And homeopaths have no cure for anything. Unless you have good evidence to the contrary?

          • And sugarpills and water would do what exactly? The only thing that would happen is the spread of stupidity in an already superstitious corner of the world. Why not send some faith-healers down there while we are entertaining silly things? No doubt the laying on of hands by some evangelical speaking in tongues would do just as well as these homeopathic quacks.

      • Is this the same Fran Sheffield who “claims homeopathic immunisation is effective against polio, meningococcal, cholera, whooping cough and other serious diseases” (http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2010/s2867990.htm)? And she dares to lecture others about “unbelievable statements”? I’m glad the English language has words like “delusional”.

      • Fran Sheffield said:

        And please don’t try to tell me, in the face of current evidence, that homeopathy doesn’t work for epidemic disease as that will just add another unbelievable statement to your list.

        Do you have good evidence that homeopathy can help in epidemics?

        • Here we go:
          ….
          Homeopathy has a proven track record of treating and preventing serious epidemic and contagious diseases. Governments today still use it to save lives and treat or prevent their epidemics. For example:

          – The Indian government uses it for malaria, Japanese encephalitis, dengue fever, and epidemic fever

          – The Cuban government uses it for leptospirosis epidemics and dengue fever outbreaks

          – Trials funded by the Brazilian government reduced the incidence of meningococcal disease across tens of thousands of Brazilians during outbreaks and epidemics

          – The governments of Thailand, Colombo and Brazil use it to manage dengue fever

          Follow the links and read the sources / references: See: http://homeopathyplus.com.au/human-homeopathic-prevention-records-studies-and-trials/

          ….

          Many of you already know these things. It’s time to stop twisting the truth and do what’s decent. Do the science, call for the indicated remedies to be tested, and stop gloating that people’s access to them has been blocked. It’s repulsive.

          While you are at it, be alarmed by WHO’s actions as, further down the track, they can easily do to you what they did to the Liberians.

          Fran Sheffield

          • Fran

            So much there…

            We can discuss the details of the flawed Cuban leptospirosis trial later, but I note you claim on your website that you linked to:

            The Cuban government now depends on homeopathy to manage its leptospirosis epidemics…

            You mention your own document Homeoprophylaxis: Human
            Records, Studies and Trials
            , but it does not contain any mention of nor reference to anything that substantiate your claim that the Cuban Government “now depends on homeopathy to manage its leptospirosis epidemics”.

            Do you have such a source for your assertion?

            Oh. OK, then. In the Bracho et al. study, in the year of the intervention, a difference was noted between the number of cases of leptospirosis and… what? What was the comparison with?

            And who were given conventional prophylaxis in the intervention region during the trial?

          • Just because various deluded governments use homeopathic remedies doesn’t make them work. You admit yourself that ‘the science’ needs to be done to see whether these ‘remedies’ actually have any useful effect.

            Frankly, I am delighted at WHO’s actions and would be only too pleased if they did the same for me as they have done for the Liberians, should my own government find itself in Liberia’s position.

            What is repulsive is that homeopaths will go around using untested sugar pills as if they were real medicine, and will do nothing to undertake tests themselves.

          • Wow, people ask for evidence and you give them propaganda. Instead of a endless list of double-blind placebo-controlled studies, published in respectable peer-reviewed journals, you provide us with a list of the usual homeopathic fairytales. The “Cuban” part all boils down to an attempt at research by Australian homeopath Isaac Golden. Golden is not an MD, but a homeopath and naturopath (ND) who previously “was in financial accounting and taxation”. For some reason, he managed to obtain a Ph.D. from Swinburne University’s Graduate School of Integrative Medicine for writing a thesis about homeopathic vaccination. Golden’s research in Cuba was eloquently demolished by Orac (http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/11/30/homeopathy-in-cuba/) and Alan Henness previously posted on Edzard’s blog that he found no evidence that homeopathic vaccination was still being used on the island (http://edzardernst.com/2014/07/homeopathic-immunisation-is-dangerous-unethical-madness/).

            If you include the stories about Cuban “successes”, I’m pretty sure the other stories are just propaganda tales as well. I find no evidence whatsoever in you reply, you completely fail to demonstrate homeopathy’s effectiveness in fighting epidemics, but I do find it intriguing you seem to think “Colombo” is a country. It all just shows that homeopaths are completely out of touch with reality. That is why they have to be stopped from travelling to the poorest parts of the world.

          • Isaac Golden, who helped in the Cuban Leptospirosis trial (although, curiously, he’s not named as an author of the Bracho et al. paper) makes an appearance in the recent CBC exposé of homeopathic ‘vaccines’ in Canada and the dangerous advice given out by homeopaths, some of whom had been ‘trained’ by Golden: Vaccines: Shot of Confusion. It doesn’t go well for him.

          • Chasing Fran’s links leads to such high-quality studies as this http://www.similima.com/pdf/efficacy-chiunguna-kerala.pdf

            To call this “evidence” is insulting our intelligence.

          • regarding control group in the Cuba leptispirosis study it is clearly stated on the front page:

            “After the homeoprophylactic intervention a significant decrease of the disease incidence was observed in the intervention regions. No such modifications were observed in non-intervention regions. In the intervention region the incidence of Leptospirosis fell below the historic median.”

            Homeopathy is being used all over the world (in countries like Brazil, Thailand, India and Cuba) as a prophylaxis against dengue and chikungunya.

          • L.H. Olavius said:

            regarding control group in the Cuba leptispirosis study it is clearly stated on the front page:
            “After the homeoprophylactic intervention a significant decrease of the disease incidence was observed in the intervention regions.

            A decrease compared to what?

            Homeopathy is being used all over the world (in countries like Brazil, Thailand, India and Cuba) as a prophylaxis against dengue and chikungunya.

            ‘Being used’ is not the same as ‘being effective’, is it? Astrology is being used all over the world by people to help them decide what to do in their lives. That doesn’t mean astrology works.

          • Fran, I contacted the relevant office in Cuba. They not only refuted your claim that homeopathy plays a part in their management of leptospirosis, they expressed some irritation that they had been duped by homeopaths exploiting a delay in the treatment on which they actually *do* rely, vax-SPIRAL, a vaccine.

            But then, as you are a vaccine denialist, I am confident that the cognitive dissonance raised by such things will prevent you from accepting this.

      • And please don’t try to tell me, in the face of current evidence, that homeopathy doesn’t work for epidemic disease as that will just add another unbelievable statement to your list.

        Interesting. What is this evidence?

      • Homeopathy is no use in an epidemic of any kind. It is of no use for any medical condition of any type, on any scale. It is water and sugar pills – demonstrably, unequivocally so.
        The oft quoted 1918 influenza epidemic is as good a case as any to demonstrate the delusions and mendacity of homeopaths. Homeopaths never mention all those who survived the epidemic who never had any treatment at all. Homeopaths talk as if no-one would have survived the 1918 influenza epidemic unless they’d had the attentions of a homeopath. Yet the overwhelming majority managed to do just that. The simple reason is that homeopathic treatment is the practice of doing nothing at all while pretending to do something. So homeopaths claim credit for all those who survived the 1918 epidemic with no intervention whatsoever.
        Homeopathy is an incontrovertible sham. Medical fraud. And homeopaths are incontrovertibly deluded as a result of their ignorance/wishful-thinking. If they aren’t deluded then they are incorrigible liars, and knowingly so.
        The most elementary knowledge of science is all that’s needed to figure out what a scam homeopathy is. It is water and sugar pills. And all the bluster, driveling nonsense and prevarication cannot change that.

      • Fran, yu say “where is your reason and logic”. The irony is not lost on us. Given that the scientific evidence gives no reason to believe homeopathy should work, no way it can work, and no proof it does work, other than as a placebo, the application of reason and logic firmly indicates that people wishing to indulge in PR stunts for this quackery are not let anywhere near seriously ill people, especially in areas where the healthcare system is already struggling to cope. The best case is that they do nothing at all. The worst case is that they either contract Ebola and become a burden on the Liberian and presumably eventually German health systems, or they persuade themselves that it works and start practising placebo medicine on the side, in which case innocent people (rather than missionaries for the cult of homeopathy) will die.

        Faith healers are exactly as certain they can cure, as are homeopaths. The two interventions work identically. A faith healer already led to at least 365 deaths.

        Now take your delusional nonsense and practise it on the new-age antivaxers in your home country. You might kill a few, dying horribly as Penelope Dingle did, but at least their deaths will benefit the gene pool by increasing the average IQ.

  • > When we had been 10 days in the hospital, the successes had become known, and the patients stood in queues to get treated by us.

    Was it really the success that became known in the district, or just the fact, that an additional bunch of doctors was available? It does not need too much ‘knowledge of success’ to have people in need for medical assistance to queue up to get it.

    > The homeopathic doctors received thanks from the Ganta hospital for their work, it was said that it had been helpful for the patients and a blessing for the employees of the hospital.

    Well, the Liberians seem to be polite people, don’t they? This looks pretty much like the phrase you receive on parting if your host just does not feel like quarrelling for being happy to get rid of you.

    Times they are a’changing: It is not so long ago that European explorers and doctors more or less secretly despised the savage witchdoctors for their heathen ways of treatment to rid their patients of all forms of curses, ghosts and spells. Now we have ‘local doctors’ supervise their collegues from Europe and the US to prevent them applying their witchcaft, based on ‘spiritual energies’ and such.

    This is real progress, isn’t it? For the Africans, I mean.

  • Considering how they have lied about being ‘invited’ and lied about the effectiveness of homeopathy I am disinclined to believe their claims that patients queued up to be treated by homeopaths.

    • You are right, Acleron. Typical alt-med illogic used to spread lies:
      1. Homeopaths pretend to be doctors.
      2. Residents queued to see doctors.
      3. Conclusion: Residents queued to see homeopaths.

  • Have a look at this:

    http://transgallaxys.com/~kanzlerzwo/index.php?topic=8275.msg19303#msg19303

    Already in August 2014 (or even earlier) the WHO rejected homeopathy and other “alternative” nonsense because such quackery had led ebola infections to cross the border of guinea and caused the outbreak in Sierra Leone!

    The mechanism of quackery to spread the disease already at that time was known, and warnings were made just because of that.

    To go to Africa to spread homeopathy is nothing else but to go there and spread ebola. No one involved can push aside the guilt. No one!

    Further: The people in Africa suffer from a disastrous shortage of medicaments and medical personnel. The LMHI and other homeopaths’ organizations and persons involved do know that, and they aggressively exploit the emergency situation of the Africans.

    The Africans grab for the last straw. They MUST keep a smiling face despite knowing that they are defrauded. The Africans die. To abuse and exploit dying people is one of the worst crimes ever.

    This crime is committed by leading German homeopaths. They do know what they do. And they WILLFULLY do it. And they go on doing it. They already prepare a second “expedition” to Africa.

    Homeopathy is murder.

  • This passage shows the intention and the reasoning of the “doctors” travelling to Liberia: “It was planned to use and document the homeopathic treatment of Ebola-patients as an adjunct to the WHO prescribed standard treatment. “Our experience from the treatment of other epidemics in the history of medicine allows the conclusion that a homeopathic treatment might significantly reduce the mortality of Ebola patients”, judges Bajic.”.
    So this was supposed to be a trial of homeopathic remedies as an adjunct in the treatment of ebola fever. The hypothesis: ‘it allegedly helped in other epidemics so should help in Ebola’ boggles the mind. Will it not help in isolated cases then? Are they administering it to the epidemic as such or to individual patients? Beyond any logic.
    Either way. If this was supposed to be a trial, then where is the study protocol, where is the ethics committee approval, where is the disclosure of competing interests? These are requirements for any medical trial on humans and they are internationally valid. Have they not heard of the Helsinki declaration?
    If these doctors presume there might be a positive influence of their remedies on Ebola, well than there might well be a negative one. So even if you follow their non-logic – clearly this trial must be approved by the responsible ethics committee.
    The whole thing is a total mess. Apart from the issues above, their plan drained precious resources from a struggling country. They spent 3 days on training to use the special protective suits, yet ended up not going near any Ebola patients. In these 3 days more actually helpful people could have been trained. And yet they are boasting about the trip in their homeopathy magazine! And above all: suspecting “political reasons” for being denied. Is their intention of promoting this quackery not political? Pathetic.

  • WHO reports that homeopathy is the second-largest system of medicine in the world – and the fastest growing. This alone indicates it may have something to offer in this situation – and homeopaths and their organisations say that it does. It’s well and truly time to do the science by testing the indicted remedies – not blocking them. What’s that all about? It’s not as if there is anything better on offer.

    There are many ways in which homeopathy could help. The remedies are quick to produce in large quantities, inexpensive, easily distributed, and have an excellent safety profile. They are ideally suited to the difficulties and constraints of Ebola-affected countries, as identified by WHO. For more information on this, visit a petition started earlier in the outbreaks and be a real “sciency” type by adding your voice to the call to test the remedies. It’s not a hard thing to do.
    Petition and information: https://www.change.org/p/dr-daniel-kertesz-who-end-the-suffering-of-the-ebola-crisis-test-and-distribute-homeopathy-as-quickly-as-possible-to-contain-the-outbreaks
    Fran Sheffield.

    • “There are many ways in which homeopathy could help. The remedies are quick to produce in large quantities, inexpensive, easily distributed, and have an excellent safety profile.”

      Of course they are easy to produce, turn on a tap add some sugar and bam, there you go. As to its ‘safety profile’ well of course it’s safe; there are no side effects, there are no effects at all. It’s one thing to have an ideology and cling to it in the face of ALL scientific evidence to the contrary, but to WILFULLY inflict pseudo nonsense on gravely ill and frightened people where hope is fragile and resources are already stretched to the limits is utterly despicable. That this nonsense is fast growing world wide is not something that should be celebrated or crowed about, rather it should be viewed as shameful.

      • Homeopathic remedies are not produced in such a way?

        For instance a 6X remedy still contains millions of molecules.

        • Are you asking a question or trying to tell us?

        • Millions of molecules of what? Lead? Mercury? Arsenic? Belladonna? Bald Eagle’s Blood? Light of Venus?

          And why make 6X remedies? They’re incredibly weak, according to homeopathetic doctrine. Real homeopaths use at least 30C remedies, which contain no molecules at all. Still they claim 30C remedies are more powerful than 6X remedies. How’s that for logic!

          • Of what? Hopefully the simillimum. This is the most important factor. Also of importance is the posology, i.e. dose and potency.

            A real homeopath use the whole potency scale – sometimes a low potency is needed – sometimes a high.
            http://www.myhomeopathic.com/html/Homoeo_Professional/Prescribed_Potencies.asp

            And a 6X remedy is not weak. Hahnemann says in his Chronic Diseases that if a potency is too low the dose can be too strong, yet in a higher potency the dose is milder.

            Homeopathic treatment aims at provoking your own healing powers whereas conventional treatment aims at suppressing the symptoms. You can not compare the two. See more here:
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2656123/

          • this is just pure conjecture, to avoid the term BS

          • ‘Homeopathic treatment aims at provoking your own healing powers whereas conventional treatment aims at suppressing the symptoms. You can not compare the two. See more here:’

            No. What about vax ? They are provoking your ‘own healing power’ for sure. What about interferon ? They are provoking your ‘own healing power’ too, for sure. So, no, no conventionnal treatement is not suppressing the symptoms, most of the time it’s killing the pathogen or boosting immune system + treatement for the symptoms. I see your ‘holistic homeopathy’ vs ‘conventional reductionnist medicine’ bullshit from here; it won’t work that easily.

            Also, no, homeopathy is not even treating the symptoms, homeopathy is full bullshit for easy money maker like Boiron. Where are the molecular evidence about homeopathy provoking your ‘own healing power’ ? From Hahnemman to today, nowhere.

            “A real homeopath use the whole potency scale – sometimes a low potency is needed – sometimes a high.”

            Cut the lovely expert sounding word, ‘potency scale’, bla-bla-bla… Why diluted remedy would be more efficient than non-diluted molecule ? Why is the like cure like work only in the homeopathic world ? What homeopathic water have that nomal water don’t ? If you say ‘potency’ I will say what is it in our real physical world and not in your homeopathic delirium tremens ?

          • The homeoquack “L.H. Olavius” refers fancifully to science-sounding concepts such as posology, dose, potency and so on. And (s)he refers to a totally ludicrous monologue about hormesis, thinking (s)he is pulling proof to the stack of ‘stercoris taurum’ called proof of homeopathy.
            The problem with this line of reasoning and with homeopathy in general is that there is no dose.
            Therefore it is of no use to talk about dose-response or try to elucidate a dose-response curve.
            Even at the lesser dilutions homeopaths play with, like 6X, it is nonsense to think that the few molecules of the original stuff possibly left in the diluent, e.g. dog-manure or Berlin-Wall have any effect whatsoever. It so happens that the body has marvelous organs that are masters at getting rid of unwanted molecules.
             
            The alternative hypothesis, that water molecules line up to form a retained and serially potentised memory of whatever they started out with, be it sunlight or table salt, is just as daft.
            Oh-yes, Homeopaths are constantly shouting ‘Eureka!’ when another half-wit pretends to have found indications that water can indeed memorize.
            The penultimate insult to our intelligence comes when they finalise the most common process of producing their patent-medicine by inserting a drop or a few drops of the shaken (ultra-)dilution into a glass of sugar pilules (providing the machine hits into the glass at all) and let the diluent evaporate. It only goes to show how senselessly irrational homeopaths are, that they themselves believe any matter or memory thereof can survive this process and be left in the product to influence our ailments.
             
            It is just as likely (more likely?) that the tap water I am sipping at the moment contains a molecule of uric acid from Queen Margarethe of Denmark’s urine, which has been rattling about in the ground and pipes, potentising itself ever since she went to the bathroom in 1986. Maybe it even remembers the nicotine in her blood stream and that memory has been potentised?
            If old Hahnemann’s calculations were correct this glass of water should at least have the potential to cure the slight dizziness I have from contemplating the extent of imbecility pervading modern homeopathic practice.
             
            Worst thing is that the practice of homeopathy is rapidly developing into a veritable public- health peril.

          • It is all about treating man in disease – not disease in man. Should you have any doubts that at homeopathic remedy can have any effect you can try this experiment for yourself

            1. Buy a sundew plant.
            2. Buy a bottle of the homeopathic remedy ammonuim carb. in 6C potency (1/1000000000000).
            3. Buy a bottle of water.
            First place a few drops of water on the leaves… Nothing will happen.
            Then place a few drops of the remedy on the leaves… The leaves will react and contract almost at once.

            Below is a citation from one of Darwins books – same experiment, but lower potency:

            “And that the 1/20,000,000th of a grain of the crystallised salt does the same. Now I am quite unhappy at the thought of having to publish such a statement. The reader will best realise this degree of dilution by remembering that 5,000 ounces would more than fill a thirty-one gallon cask or barrel and that to this large body of water one grain of the salt was added – only half a drachm or thirty minims of the solution poured over the leaf. Yet this amount sufficed to cause the inflection of the leaf. My results were for a long time incredible, even to myself and I anxiously sought for every source of error. The observations were repeated during several years. Two of my sons, who were as incredulous as myself, compared several lots of leaves simultaneously immersed in the weaker solutions and in water and declared that there could be no doubt as to the differences in their appearance”.

          • why don’t YOU try it with a 30C potency?

          • According to the law of potentisation or whatever it is called, a 30C potency would probably kill the plant. Wonder what a 200K potency would have for an effect on the poor herb?

          • @L.H. Olavius

            Which of Darwin’s books does that “citation” come from?

          • L.H. Olavius ” Hahnemann says in his Chronic Diseases that … ”

            And no homeopath since has taken it upon themselves to honestly investigate if that is really true. “Hahnemann says…” is good enough. Do you think there are any pronouncements by Drs. Lister or Jenner, say, which are today taken on blind faith in medical practice? Or have some of those been repeatedly established both by scientific investigation of the specific mechanisms, and by properly conducted observations? And perhaps others discarded, having been found spurious?

            This is exactly why homeopaths can’t be called on to answer the question of whether homeopathy actually works. They don’t care whether it actually works. If they did, there are many, many, completely obvious things they would be doing, which they demonstrably avoid ever doing. As far as I can tell, they actually pay money to be trained to more effectively practice “not caring in the least bit whether it works”. They just really, truly believe that it works.

            To homeopathy in general: if you want people to listen to your views on a subject pertaining to reality (especially health care), start by demonstrating through actions that you care whether such views are actually true. Until then, you’re just asking people to listen to your beliefs.

          • L.H. Olavious ” Here is the source of the passage you quote. http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?pageseq=185&itemID=F1217&viewtype=text

            You will note he has added a footnote immediately to the passage:

            When my first observations were made on the nitrate of ammonia, fourteen years ago, the powers of the spectroscope had not been discovered; and I felt all the greater interest in the then unrivalled powers of Drosera. Now the spectroscope has altogether beaten Drosera; for according to Bunsen and Kirchhoff probably less than one 1/200000000 of a grain of sodium can be thus detected

            So, let me ask you, as Dr Ernst has already, can you distinguish different “higher-potency” ( say, 20C+) remedies from each other by dropping them on plants? Or by using the much more sensitive spectroscope, so admired by Darwin? Because we’d all be very interested in that result if you can.

            Are you and many other homeopaths now going to take a path of intellectual integrity, and stop taking this passage out of context, in order to prop up a position which it clearly doesn’t support, even within Darwin’s lifetime? Because, I understand, of course, the footnote has been left out from the dozens of homeopathy sites which quote this, so how would anyone be expected to know (other than by spending 2 minutes looking for the original source)?

            Finally, regarding the suggestion that anyone can try this: any liquid 6C dilution I’d likely to be able to purchase will contain alcohol. I’m wondering that you didn’t point that out, it’s a pretty basic problem with your ‘comparison test’. But if you’re going to take it as a a foregone conclusion that the ‘homeopathic effect’ of the substance is always greater than anything else happening, it doesn’t matter does it?

    • Fran Sheffield said:

      WHO reports that homeopathy is the second-largest system of medicine in the world

      Astrology is pretty popular as well, but that tells us nothing about the purported influence of the planets and stars in our daily lives. WHO have also said:

      There is no evidence base that #homeopathy can cure #Ebola. Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care

      Are they wrong on this?

      and the fastest growing.

      Still nothing to do with whether it’s any good, of course, but please provide evidence for your claim. In the UK, homeopathy on the NHS is in steep decline, the number of prescriptions for homeopathy in England dropping 90% in 17 years.

      This alone indicates it may have something to offer in this situation

      No it doesn’t. To try to assert such nonsense merely demonstrates that you understand little about science and logical fallacies.

      and homeopaths and their organisations say that it does.

      Well, they would, wouldn’t they?

      It’s well and truly time to do the science by testing the indicted remedies

      Woah! Some have already been tested. Indeed, you list quite a few on your website. But when the worst ones discarded and the best of these are looked at, there appears to be no specific effect over placebo. But if, as you say, it’s “truly time to do the science”, are you admitting that there’s not been enough testing done? If so, do you think it’s a) responsible or b) irresponsible to make claims until that testing has been done? Who do you believe should do this testing?

      not blocking them.

      Who’s blocking this testing?

      What’s that all about?

      Dunno. You tell us.

      It’s not as if there is anything better on offer.

      Yes there is.

    • Fran,
      Convince me that homeopathy can cure Ebola the way Barry Marshall convinced the world that peptic ulcers were caused by H. pylori; infect yourself and when symptoms appear treat with homeopathy. I would accept any hemorrhagic virus as a substitute for Ebola.

    • At the base line homeopathic remedies are residues of destilled water and medical alcohol on sugar. Beyond a limit of say C5 the remedies cannot be distinguished from each other for the small quantity of mother tincture contained, beyond C12 there is no single molecule of any active ingredieant left. Beyond C12 all homeopathic remedies are identical – allowing for some fluctuations in the quality of the sugar, that is.

      Nobody has offered any useful idea, why pure saccharose should have different effects depending on (1) the nature of the ingredient, that is no longer present in the water that was applied and evaporated, (2) the nature of the precedure used to remove the ingredient and (3) how many steps prior to spraying the sugar the removal happened.

      Without any idea of how this could be happening – we still need the first step here, a plausible idea – any discussion of homeopathy is a discussion about superstitions.

    • WHO reports that homeopathy is the second-largest system of medicine in the world – and the fastest growing.

      Could provide a link to where WHO actually says this please, Fran? I would be keen to see the actual quotation and the context but have been unable to find it anywhere outside of homeopaths’ websites.

      • Surely this is just a question of defining “system of medicine” so that there are only two. Then it’s the second largest. So yes, let’s see the definition. The axes of the complex plane come to mind…

    • After 200 years of testing, no convincing evidence has been found that homeopathy works. I think the testing is over now. Not that any amount of testing would convince homeoquacks anyway. After all, is it not remarkable that Boiron, one of the largest homeoquacksellers on the planet has admitted they don’t test much because their customers don’t ask for it?

      • Have you ever seen any indication that homeopaths are at all interested in knowing whether homeopathy really works or not? As opposed to just wanting to believe that it works? I have not. And plenty to the contrary.

        For instance, if homeopaths were interested in knowing if ‘proving’ had any value, there are a couple of obvious things they could do. They could run a ‘control group’ — see ‘Neptunium Muriaticum’ proving (you won’t believe what happens!). Or, they could run a ‘proving’ on an obviously empty substance – the point being, that if the ‘proving’ shows this to have an effect, it means you have a false positive, the proving process could therefore be flawed. If, in fact, it turns out that *all* provings have a positive result, no matter how ’empty’ the substance, the only reasonable conciusion is that your false positive rate is close to 100%, and that any or all of your results could be false positives. Guess what? This has been done. Vacuum. Distilled Water. ‘Focused light of venus’. Cell phone radiation. Homeopaths don’t care that they’ve clearly proven their own best source of information to be worthless.

        I’ve asked homeopaths if there are any negative provings, and if not, does that bother them; I’ve only had two answers:

        (1) “Do your own research”.

        – so it’s *my* research. Because I’m the one who cares if provings have any value, not the homeopath. Belief is good enough for them.

        (2) You don’t understand the purpose of a proving. All medicinal substances have effects.

        – I pretty much rest my case here. Even “vacuum”? And so, the purpose of a proving is to find the effects, not to establish if there are any, because it’s taken on faith here that there are effects, and that most or all symptoms observed are due to the remedy.

        You will also note, that homeopaths went to Africa not to “determine if homeopathy could treat Ebola” – but to “determine which homeopathic remedy will treat Ebola”. It seems that there are no neurons in the homeopathic mind available for the former question. Never mind that we’re still waiting to find out which ‘remedy’ can treat malaria, after “similia” was famously “discovered” while investigating an actual known, efficacious malaria remedy.
        It’s amazing what people can believe. Horrifying.

        • Greg Smith said:

          I’ve asked homeopaths if there are any negative provings, and if not, does that bother them; I’ve only had two answers:

          No, no, no! There is a third answer – and one that’s given to me frequently by a homeopathy supporter: “Ask your family homeopath”!

        • “They could run a ‘control group’ …”

          This has been done before. See for instance this paper of Möllinger at al from 2009:

          http://www.academia.edu/download/30863799/produkte.pdf

          Scroll down to table 1 and check the symptoms they found under placebo.
          Conclusion: Forget about whisky, gin, rum and all the other booze. Placebo is so more powerful…

        • Or, they could run a ‘proving’ on an obviously empty substance – the point being, that if the ‘proving’ shows this to have an effect, it means you have a false positive, the proving process could therefore be flawed.

          Actually, that is exactly what they do. Aphorism 128 of the Organon (5th or 6th ed.) prescribes using 30C dilutions for provings.

  • Thank you one and all – you are a small group. You have made my point and I rest my case. Enjoy your webs of obfuscation.

    • LOL!

      This seems to be a common trait: you as a question of a homeopath – particularly about the ‘evidence’ they present as their proof that homeopathy works and they don’t answer, but give pathetic excuses and run away… Maybe your customers don’t ask you such awkward questions and simply believe the hype and PR?

      However, it’s a pity: an open, enquiring mind likes to ask questions. It’s improves knowledge and clarity and how we all progress.

    • Oh Fran,

      Don’t be upset! I applaud your efforts and if you’re afraid to go in to Ebola-land to administer remedies yourself (or have you already been there?), you can always phone them in…

      http://homeopathyplus.com.au/doctor-offers-free-homeopathy-frequencies-ebola/

      Good luck, dear.

    • Fran Sheffield, you are a member of the large group of alt-med advocates therefore I have serious questions to ask you…

      Reiki has been scientifically demonstrated to be as effective as homeopathy therefore why do you support risking the lives of homeopaths while treating Ebola rather than recommending that homeopaths study how to send remote Reiki?

      If you believe that homeopathy is much more efficacious than Reiki then perhaps you will supply convincing evidence, which will lend support to my notion that Reiki is nothing other than the works of charlatans committing health fraud. In the absence of this evidence, logic combined with current scientific data leads to the inescapable conclusion that homeopathy is likewise nothing other than the works of charlatans committing health fraud (aka vendors of snake oil).

      • Pete 628 – I’m surprised you seem so down on homeopathy – since most of your comments seem to follow the homeopathic medicine model. Your comments are so heavily diluted with rhetoric and insult, it’s hard to find any relevant content.

        • Clearly, you support the use of homeopathy to treat Ebola.

        • Why would you think that, Pete 628? Your conclusion makes no logical sense. Clearly.

          • Then demonstrate to me and others how best to succinctly and profoundly speak out strongly against the absurdity of homeopaths going to ‘treat’ Ebola. The most that they will achieve is spreading Ebola when they return.

            Your continual attempts to discredit me as a commentator are succeeding in making which one of us look the most foolish? Let’s see…

            After nearly two years of reading your comments I’ve learnt that you fully defend most of the tree of quackery and that you either refuse to answer direct questions or you reply with insults and rhetoric, which is totally understandable because you have zero credible evidence to back any of your claims for alt-med efficacy.

            Alt-med is both charlatanism and health fraud because, as has been endlessly pointed out to you, alt-med that actually works is no longer just about to fall off the increasingly wilting tree of alt-med.

            If I stop writing comments, it will not result in your abject bullshit becoming the slightest bit valid. It is you who owns the burden of proof for your alt-med claims. Your attempts to explain Chinese symbols is just your pathetic theatrical distraction away from your true obligation to, firstly, establish whether or not your proposals actually exist, and secondly, that they can be properly demonstrated to work in practice.

            In my experience, it is the seething comments from alt-med practitioners and their sheeple that so clearly demonstrates that their ‘medicine’ is not working even for themselves as ‘true believers’. No wonder that their ‘medicine’ doesn’t work on their marks/clients — other than as a means to earn an income from the gullible and vulnerable members of society.

            Jm, your comments not only embarrass yourself, they serve to humiliate the whole alt-med community.

          • So from what I can decipher from your rant, when you say “Clearly, you support the use of homeopathy to treat Ebola.”…you actually realize that you made that up. Not sure why, though.

  • I asked the German Central Association of Homeopathic Doctors “das hier geschilderte Ebola-Experiment [http://www.zeitschrift-homoeopathie.de/homoeopathische-aerzte-helfen-in-liberia/] war wohl eindeutig ein Forschungsprojekt. Ich bitte daher um eine kurze Mitteilung, welche Ethik-Kommission ihnen hierzu die Freigabe erteilt hat.”
    Their press officer replied: “an welcher Stelle im Text entnehmen Sie bei diesem Artikel die Information, der Einsatz sei ein Forschungsprojekt gewesen?”
    To which I replied: “Im Artikel ist folgendes zu lessen: “Die homöopathische Behandlung von Ebola-Patienten sollte begleitend zu der von der WHO vorgeschriebenen Standardtherapie durchgeführt und dokumentiert warden”.
    Die Behandlung war experimentell und sollte dokumentiert werden. Das ist per definitionem Forschung.”
    His answer: “es handelte sich um einen humanitären Einsatz, nicht um eine Forschungsreise.”
    My reply:”dass sie das so sehen, ist mir klar – aber meinen sie nicht, dass der versuchsweise einsatz einer nicht bewiesenen therapie zur dokumentation des behandlungserfolgs als forschung bezeichnet werden muss?”
    The final comment of the press-officer: “… vielleicht interessiert Sie auch, dass spiegel-online heute eine Gegendarstellung bringen musste: http://www.zeitschrift-homoeopathie.de/category/gesellschaft/

    FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT UNDERSTAND GERMAN:
    the German Central Association of Homeopathic Doctors feel that their attempt to treat Ebola patients with homeopathy was not experimental research and thus did not require approval from an ethics committee.

    • Germany is bound by EU Medicinal Products for Human Use Directive 2001/83/EC and the Clinical Trials Directive 2001/20/EC. Homeopathic products are classed as medicines under 2001/83/EC.

      In the UK, the decision as to whether a trial is a clinical trial within the scope of the Directive is laid out in this table and I’m sure much the same will exist in Germany. I can’t see why the German homeopaths think they don’t require Clinical Trials Authorisation.

      • it is fairly clear that they have violated the law and medical ethics… but nobody seems to take them seriously and so these violations are seemingly trivial.

    • Thank you Prof. Ernst, for taking up this important issue with the DZvHAe.
      I agree with your view, that the trip to Liberia as outlined in their article violates research ethics. The relevant document here is the Declaration of Helsinki (Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects) by the World Medical Association from 1964, last reviewed 2013 (http://www.wma.net/en/30publications/10policies/b3/).
      If this endeavour is seen as “medical research”, it would undeniably violate some central paragraphs of the helsinki declaration, such as:

      22. The design and performance of each research study involving human subjects must be clearly described and justified in a research protocol. […]
      23. The research protocol must be submitted for consideration, comment, guidance and approval to the concerned research ethics committee before the study begins. […]
      35. Every research study involving human subjects must be registered in a publicly accessible database before recruitment of the first subject.

      If the attempt to treat Ebola patients with homeopathy is seen as a “Behandlungsversuch” – meaning an “attempt to treat” with an unproven intervention, then the above paragraphs don’t apply.

      As it happens, the Helsinki declaration specifies in its last paragraph, under which circumstances such umproven interventions may be administered outside of a medical trial:

      37. In the treatment of an individual patient, where proven interventions do not exist or other known interventions have been ineffective, the physician, after seeking expert advice, with informed consent from the patient or a legally authorised representative, may use an unproven intervention if in the physician’s judgement it offers hope of saving life, re-establishing health or alleviating suffering. This intervention should subsequently be made the object of research, designed to evaluate its safety and efficacy. In all cases, new information must be recorded and, where appropriate, made publicly available.

      Lets examine, whether the homeopathy-for-ebola-endeavour fits in here. I see several problems:
      1) This was not about “treatment of an individual patient”. They travelled to the area of the ebola-epidemic in order to (quote) “use and document the homeopathic treatment of Ebola-patients as an adjunct to the WHO prescribed standard treatment.”. Ebola-patients is plural. So this does not qualify as “Behandlungsversuch”.
      2) “after seeking expert advice”. This obviously does not mean “expert” on the tested intervention (homeopathy), but expert on the disease to be treated. So: did they consult with specialists on tropical medicine during planning this? I did’nt think so.
      3) “where proven interventions do not exist or other known interventions have been ineffective”. The standard WHO-treatment of careful fluid and electrolyte balancing and supportive care has resulted in a mortality of around 50% in this epidemic, as compared to around 90% with no treatment. Obviously, there is an urgent need to find effective ways to further lower this mortality. But at what point do you decide to give your homeopathy (given you believe in any effect of it)? If the patient has a 50:50 chance without it, could it not actually worsen that chance? Given you believe in any effect, you simply don’t know that, since it hasn’t been tried in Ebola before.
      4) “informed consent from the patient”. Well, since they didn’t actually get to try their remedies on any Ebola-patients, we can not ask them to produce evidence for informed consent. But I am interested how the process of “informing” the patients would have looked like in this case…

      I feel like it is a good idea, to at least file a complaint about the DZvHAe at the Bundesärztekammer (something like the GMC) in Germany. I will have to research the specific, binding legal issues, that are valid here and see if it makes sense. But it feels wrong to let them off the hook just by saying “well it wasn’t meant to be research as such…”

    • I have written an email to the BfArM (the governmental body that oversees research and licensing of medication in Germany), in which I outlined this case and the concerns regarding research ethics. I expect no legal action from them, though, as the relevant laws are only valid in the European Union and Liberia is not even a member of the WMA, so even the Helsinki Declaration would not apply. Lets see. Maybe they can at least give a comment on the DZvhÄ statement, that the trip to liberia was not research.
      For those who speak german, here’s the text of my email:

      Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

      ich möchte auf diesem Wege meine Sorge ausdrücken, dass der in Berlin ansässige “Deutsche Zentralverein homöopathischer Ärzte” (DZvhÄ) Grundprinzipien der Forschungsethik verletzt hat.
      Im Oktober/November 2014 reiste ein 4-köpfiges internationales Ärzteteam für 3 Wochen nach Ganta, Liberia, um am dortigen Krankenhaus bei der Bekämpfung des aktuellen Ausbruchs von Ebolafieber mitzuwirken. Die Reise wurde von der “Liga Medicorum Homoeopathica Internationalis” (LMHI) und vom DZvhÄ organisiert. Die WHO untersagte den Ärzten den Einsatz von Homöopathika bei diesem Aufenthalt, es ist aber wohl bereits eine weitere Reise in Planung. Der DzVhÄ berichtet über die Mission in ihrer “Zeitschrift Homöopathie”: http://www.zeitschrift-homoeopathie.de/homoeopathische-aerzte-helfen-in-liberia/ .
      Zitat aus dem Bericht: “Die homöopathische Behandlung von Ebola-Patienten sollte begleitend zu der von der WHO vorgeschriebenen Standardtherapie durchgeführt und dokumentiert werden.” Handelt es sich bei diesem Vorhaben nicht um medizinische Forschung am Menschen? Nach Definition des AMG §4.23 fällt das Vorhaben unter genehmigungspflichtige “Klinische Prüfung am Menschen”, oder nicht? Ein nicht genehmigungspflichtiger “Behandlungsversuch” zeichnet sich doch dadurch aus, dass es hier um einen individuellen Patienten eines bereits behandelnden Arztes geht, oder? Demnach käme die Klassifikation als “Behandlungsversuch” meiner Meinung nach nicht in Frage.
      Auf Anfrage von Emeritus Prof. Edzard Ernst (Exeter University), bestätigte der DZvhÄ bereits, für das Vorhaben keine Freigabe einer Ethikkomission eingeholt zu haben, da es sich “nicht um eine Forschungsreise” gehandelt habe (siehe hierzu: http://edzardernst.com/2014/11/homeopathy-for-ebola-an-update-directly-from-the-horses-mouth/#comment-62684 ).
      Ich möchte anregen, dass diese Einschätzung der DZvhÄ von offizieller Seite kritisch überprüft wird.
      Wertet man das Vorhaben der homöopathischen Ärzte als medizinische Forschung am Menschen, so steht es eindeutig im Konflikt mit der Helsinki Deklaration sowie auch mit der “Verordnung über die Anwendung der Guten Klinischen Praxis bei der Durchführung vonklinischen Prüfungen mit Arzneimitteln zur Anwendung am Menschen” (GCP-V). Mir ist bewusst, dass Liberia ausserhalb des Geltungsbereichs des AMG sowie des GCP-V liegt, und auch die Helsinki-Deklaration für das Nicht-WMA-Mitglied Liberia keine verbindliche Gültigkeit hat. Trotzdem möchte ich hiermit nachfragen, wie das BfArM die Sachlage einschätzt und welche Maßnahmen zur Einschränkung solcher Aktivitäten ggf. in Frage kommen.

      Vielen Dank und mit freundlichen Grüßen.

  • We have been discussing homeoprophylaxis here. Homeopaths are prone to oppose vaccination and replace it with remedies.

    Here is a good piece of work from the people at CBC-Marketplace.
    They sent mothers with toddlers and a hidden video-camera to several homeopaths in Canada.
    The result is frightening.
    I hope the program gets to stay on Youtube, it is of global importance.

    I had some short lived fun engaging in a tete-a-tete with Mr. D.Ullman himself in the comments section below the video. He is definitely not the sharpest knife in the drawer 😀

    • you may be right there!!!

    • Many thanks for this, Björn. It clearly demonstrates the tip of the iceberg of what homeopaths are allowed to say and prescribe behind closed doors — not just in Canada, but worldwide.

      D. Ullman can get away with saying anything because homeopathy is now considered to be just the dispensing of confectionary and bottled water.

      Quote from the CBC Marketplace video: “If a homeopath mixes their own vaccine alternative, they don’t require a health warning label.”

      In the UK, the ASA and Trading Standards have very clear guidelines on what can be advertised and what can be marketed. However, homeopaths know full well that the content of their private discussions with their clients is exempt from codes of conduct and legislation because they are just voicing their non-culpable opinions as wholly unqualified medical professionals or experts. Homeopaths are completely free to state that vaccines cause autism and that their home-brewed homeopathic remedies offer equal protection without carrying such ‘risks’.

      Hollywood horror movies are allowed to scare their intended audience; homeopaths are likewise allowed to scare their intended audience; as are nearly all alt-med practitioners, astrologers, and psychics.

      What really is alt-med? It is an alternative to medicine: fiction; entertainment; comedy; light relief; a temporary distraction from reality; and like Hollywood, it is a multi-billion dollar industry.

  • Another homeopath’s view of the visit to Liberia is here.

  • Fran is a laughing stock! It’s hard for me to fathom that someone can so blindly put so much faith in something that has be disproven so many times. How someone can cherry pick so-called srudies in their own support withou actually taking a step back and looking at the evidence in front of them. Scientology has a rather large following, it doesn’t make it a coherant religion! But so long as its followers keep to themselves and do no harm to others it’s not a problem really now is it? Unfortunately the exact opposite is truue of homeopathy! If all you want to do is treat yourself then by all means go right ahead. If it comes to it and you pass away because of it then then world would be a much bigger place without the inane concepts and verbal diarrhoea! But as soon as you put another adult, child, or even animal in such harms way with your disproven, notice how I didn’t say unproven because that would imply that it could be proven, you should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law!! Oh and good luck with your little court thingy Fran!! I’m sure you’ll get the judgement you deserve!! 😉

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