MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

I recently tweeted the following short text: “THIS IS HOW HOMEOPATHY CAN KILL MILLIONS” and provided a link to a website where a homeopaths advocated using homeopathy to control blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. The exact text I objected to is reproduced below:

“Management of Blood sugar

The commonly used remedies are Uranium Nitricum, Phosphoric Acid, Syzygium Jambolanum, Cephalandra Indica etc. These are classical Homeopathic remedies. These are used in physiologically active doses such as Mother tincture, 3x etc. depending up on the level of the blood sugar and the requirement of the patient. Several pharmaceutical companies have also brought in propriety medicines with a combination of the few Homeopathic medicines. Biochemic remedies which is a part of Homeopathy advocates Biocombination No 7 as a specific for Diabetes. Another Biochemic medicine Natrum Phos 3x is widely used with a reasonable success in controlling the blood sugar. Scientific studies on the impact of homeopathic medicines in bringing down blood sugar are limited, but many of the above remedies have some positive effects either as a stand-alone remedy or as an adjunct along with other medications.”

A clearly annoyed homeopath responded by tweeting: “homeopathy has been a favorite complement to diabetes treatment for over 200 yrs. Your evidence of the contrary is?”

So I better explain to her what I mean, and as this cannot be done in 140 characters, I do it with this post instead.

The claim expressed on the website is not that homeopathy can complement diabetes treatment; the claim is clearly that it can be a sole treatment and a replacement of conventional anti-diabetic treatment. There is, of course, no evidence at all for that. If patients put this claim to the test, many will die. Because there are many millions of diabetics worldwide, this claim has the potential to kill millions. In other words, my initial tweet was perhaps blunt but certainly correct.

Now to the notion of homeopathy as a ‘complement to diabetes treatment’: do I have evidence to the contrary? I think that is entirely the wrong question. The true question here is whether homeopaths who claim that homeopathic remedies can be an effective adjunct to conventional anti-diabetic treatments have any evidence for their claim (after all, in health care, as in most other walks of life, it is the one who makes a claim who has to prove it, not the one who doubts it!). So, is there good evidence?

To the best of my knowledge, the answer is NO!

If you disagree, please show me the evidence.

6 Responses to Homeopathy: this is how it could kill millions

  • I’m not even sure this is worthy of nitpicking, but I am always bothered with titles like this. It’s not factually incorrect (though it’d be more reasonable to use the # likely to TAKE the advice), but it’s the same sort of inflammatory, eye-catching title that the crank sites and crank bloggers use.

    I guess I feel it does a lot to overshadow the scientific validity and flavors it as “just another blogger who hates something.”

  • Please do not confuse the giving of sage advice with feelings of ‘hate’.
    Please advise how you intend dealing with the issue of the homeopathic advice about diabetes which Edzard has identified for us.
    Thank you.

  • The rational for using uranium as an anti diabetic agent does not make sense, uranium causes glycosuria because it has damaged the renal tubules, it does not produce an increase in blood glucose. In diabetes, there is an increase in glucose in the urine because there is high levels in the blood, not because there is kidney damage. The same issues occur with the other homeopathic “remedies”. They show no actualy understanding of either diabetes or the mechanism of action of the alleged “remedies”. If the graps of the physiology of diabetes is so poor, why should anyone have any faith in the claims that poisonous heavy metals are therapeutic at high dilutions.

    • I must quote Hanemann to explain why this choice of homeopathic remedy. To prevent misplaced replies, I believe this also explains why homeopathy does not work at all.

      One has no need to understand how a remedy (or a disease) works. This is simply impossible, and thus a waste of time. One has to focus on the symptoms only, they are the only “window” on the underlying vital energy mechanism that causes us to live and, when not working properly, causes diseases. So if Uranium causes an increase in glucose levels, that is all we need to know.

      By the way, I would never take a 3x (0.1%) uranium salt solution, except, maybe, at gunpoint.

  • You sir, Are an idiot!

    I am a type 1 diabetic and have been for almost 50 years. Over the past 12 years my health had been declining rapidly due to onset of Systemic Lupus. The past year I’ve been seeing a homeopath as my A1C level was 9 and sometimes higher. It could not be lowered due to pain and stress levels being so high causing the increase. My A1c levels are a consistent 7.2 with the use of Syzygium Jambolanum. My health in general has improved and the Lupus is now under better control also with the help of other homeopathic medicines.

    To say, “..it could kill millions” is to say that you are a closed minded bufffoon and are unable to grasp the idea that there are other medicines other then than which comes from a synthetic drug company. 1796 may be the year it was proposed but the items used in homeopathy have been used for thousands of years. Had they NOT worked it might be safe to say that WE might not be here today less there were individuals who had the strength to overcome the ailments remedied by homeopaths and naturopaths alike.

    Try to think for just a moment, what are pharmaceutical medicines? They are all of those homeopathic/naturopathic/herbal remedies that worked for thousands of years. What’s different? Synthesizing a natural product loses it’s ability and affect on an human being. I hate to do this as it appears that you are a science minded individual but I’m pulling my number one card. GOD DID IT PERFECTLY THE FIRST TIME AND BY TRYING TO “IMPROVE” IT AND PLAY “GOD” ALL THEY (PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES) DO IS SCREW IT UP! There is only one God and you can not improve on perfection.

    As you probably already know, doctors do not treat a problem but only the symptoms. If you choose to write a title like, “Homeopathy: this is how it could kill millions”, perhaps it is better to read, “Allopathy: it has killed millions”

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