MD, PhD, FMedSci, FSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

Many people seem to believe that homeopathy is harmless. It is a belief that can easily be shown to be wrong, and this blog has repeatedly done just that. Perhaps the best researched issue here is the stance of many homeopaths against vaccination.  But this is by no means all.

There are uncounted books, articles and websites which mislead consumers into believing that they can cure their illnesses with homeopathy. Take the website of ‘STAR HOMEOPATHY’ for instance. This organisation makes fantastic promises:

Star homeopathy, a chain of super specialty homeopathic clinic’s founded by a group of practically high qualified doctors with the vision to provide the best medical treatment in a scientific and most advanced way with the use of latest clinical knowledge and medical diagnostic equipment.

We boast of a combined experience of 200 years in the science of Homeopathy. We have 35 years of personal experience to provide you world-class solutions in health care. Experience the odour of advanced and New-Age Homeopathy–only at Star Homeopathy Clinics. It is no more a slow and long drawn treatment process.

You can rely on us to get world class homeopathic solutions for your problems like : Hair loss, Dandruff , Joint pains, Neck pain, Knee pain, Gastric and duodenal ulcer, Piles, Fissure, Fistula, Asthma, Skin and respiratory allergies , Sinusitis, Acne ,Hyperpigmentation , Psoriasis, Migraine , Headache, Anxiety, Depression , Sexual problems like Erectile dysfunction ,Premature ejaculation, Hormonal imbalance in female, Low sperm count in men…

We at star homeopathy, confidently say that we accurately diagnose the disease condition and treat all chronic diseases very efficiently without harming the patient’s body.

Such statements are bound to inspire confidence to many people who are chronically ill and frustrated with the fact that they need to take drugs for the rest of their lives to stay alive. Patients suffering from diabetes, for instance. They might hope that STAR HOMEOPATHY has a solution for them. And true enough, they do:

How Homoeopathy helps to cure Diabetes?

In homeopathy, diabetes is seen as a reflection of the body’s inability to function optimally. There is an imbalance that results in the body’s incapacity to effectively utilize the insulin that it produces, or to produce sufficient insulin for its needs. While symptoms often disappear after conventional treatment, the vital force does not. Homoeopathy can be used effectively in the treatment of diabetes. Here we mainly concentrate on functioning of the pancreas in efficient insulin production. The metabolic condition of a patient suffering from diabetes requires both therapeutic and nutritional measures to correct the illness. Homeopathy can regulate sugar metabolism while helping to resolve the metabolic disturbances that lead to diabetes. Furthermore, homeopathy helps stimulate the body’s self-healing powers in order to prevent complications such as open leg sores and other dysfunctions of the blood vessel, loss of vision, kidney failure. Homeopathic treatment does not target one illness, an organ, a body part or a symptom. Remedies are prescribed based on an assembly of presenting symptoms, their stresses in life.

Commonly indicated Homoeopathic remedies:

Syzygium: A most useful remedy in diabetes mellitus. No other remedy causes in so marked degree the diminution and disappearance of sugar in the urine. Prickly heat in upper part of the body; small red pimples itch violently. Great thirst, weakness, emaciation. Very large amounts of urine.. Diabetic ulceration.. Syzygium Jambolanum has marked action on diabetes mellitus as it causes marked diminution of sugar in urine. Great thirst with weakness, emaciation inspite of proper nutritious diet. Profuse urination of high specific gravity. Small red pimples with much itching. Syzygium Jambolanum also helps in treating old ulcers of skin associated with diabetes mellitus.

Uranium nitricum: Uranium Nitricum is a chief diuretic remedy. There is copious urination with incontinence of urine. It is indicated in glycosuria with increased urination, emaciation and tympanites. Uranium Nitiricum also helps in enuresis, the patient is unable to retain urine without pain. Burning in urethra, with very acid urine. There is a tendency to great emaciation, debility and general dropsy. Causes glycosuria and increased urine. Is known to produce nephritis, diabetes, degeneration of the liver, high blood pressure and dropsy. Its therapeutic keynote is Great emaciation, debility and tendency to ascites and general dropsy. Backache and delayed menses. Dry mucous membranes and skin.

Lycopodium: Diabetes. Anger during disease. Lost of self confidence. The right side conditions works well and thus improve the liver and kidney functioning as conditions Neuropathy. There is constipation due to inactivity of the rectum. Impotence. Intense desire for sweets.

So, if you think that homeopathy is harmless, think again!

Following this advice, could mean the death of many diabetics.

No treatment for which hugely exaggerated claims abound can ever be safe.

48 Responses to If you think that homeopathy is harmless, read this

  • I think we should clarify: Taking homeopathic preparations is not the harmful part, but instead it is harmful not to make use of existing, science- and evicence-based interventions against non-limiting and probably life-threatening illnesses.

    And that harm is induced by homeopaths telling patients that their illness is taken care of by their snake oil, and patients believing that. So the culprits are very specifically the homeopaths, and we should not shy away from calling them that.

    Diabetes may be a special case: Y’know, sugar pills and stuff 😉

  • Interestingly, the Bristol-based homeopath Chris Wilkinson (http://homeopath.x10.mx/) has declared on Twitter (https://twitter.com/ChrisWilki/status/605013486616358912) that he’d be dead without his insulin, yet has not responded to invitations to condemn, or even criticise, those like Star homeopathy that tout homeopathy for Type 1 diabetes.

    Is this what homeopaths mean when they claim that the “remedy” is “individualised” to the patient? 🙂

    • Maybe he should try 100C diluted Insulin.

      • Maybe he should try 100C diluted Insulin.

        Eh… would that perhaps CAUSE diabetes?? I couldn’t find it in the Helios webshop but I readily found Glucose One would think that would be the evident like-cures-like remedy for diabetes but as it happens other sources list scores of funky substances and I even found one that claims thata homeopath discovered insulin long before Banting and Best.

        • Yeah you are right about the like cure like.
          I though that taking insuline would “heal” the local insulin.
          But ‘im not sure, maybe it’s better to just take diluted glucagon.
          We should ask an homeopath.

  • The most harmful aspect of ‘homeopathy’ is not what homeopaths think but rather, why they think it.
    Dr Sharma who runs these ‘Star Clinics’ might have good evidence for all the claims he makes. He might be deluded, in denial or deliberately deceitful. How are we to judge when the claims are extraordinary and evidential support so meagre?
    The Nightingale Collaboration’s remit to identify false claims does not extend to India where these clinics are based.

    Patients who go along with this form of treatment might be suffering from malacephaly and are clearly not thinking straight.
    (Greek: Malakos, softening. Cephale, brain).
    All too pervasive, malacephaly is neither contagious nor infectious but spreads through the ether by hereditary and cultural predisposition, lack of effective education on critical thinking, misplaced wishful thinking and gullability to fraudsters.
    Malacephaly is very harmful to the body politic as it warps rational decision making on every issue.
    The cure is to sign up to this blog.

  • Looked up information about genus Lycopodium in the book on herbalism written by two doctors of Pharmacy. Apparently they contain different active ingredients, but only spores are still used (by some) in mainstream medicine as powder to treat rash in the skin folds. And 5% infusion of northern firmoss (included in the same article) is used (sometimes) to treat alcoholism, but only at the hospital, under medical supervision.
    Doses in the folk medicine: in case of acute kidney inflammation dose is one tablespoon of spores to one glass of water (non-homeopathic dose) and drink one spoon (together with spores) every hour; in case of skin problems infusion is used for treatment of skin. Dose is 30 g of plants per 1 L of water. Again non-homeopathic dose.
    Besides the article contains information about these plants (what do they look like, where can we found them) and warnings regarding northern firmoss which is poisonous.

  • The underlying problem is magical thinking. Whether it be religion or homeopathy without a reality check, all things are possible. Not all things are good. It is considered unethical to knowingly treat patients with placebos in place of standard therapy. If one is deluded enough to “believe” in homeopathy or acupuncture or whatever, the ethical problems of informed consent go away. Now with a plethora of poor published studies even in otherwise respectable journals, it is easier than ever to “believe”. After years of success in treating the walking worried in need of custom pampering, it is only a small step to think it appropriate to move on to real disease. Mix deluded practitioners with misinformed patients and serious harm is guaranteed. Unfortunately it is becoming politically incorrect to point this out. Thanks for trying.

  • a chain of super specialty homeopathic clinic’s

    Well, since they put it like that …. ! It must be magic!

    • I hesitate to say too much because of sensibilities, suffice it to say that the Star Clinics are based in India where traditional magical thinking is the order of the day.
      If a culture seriously promotes ideas about the supernatural (which are inherently irrational) then it is not surprising that many people in that culture will come to believe any number of stories they may be told.
      This has been a problem for millenia, and is only just beginning to depart the European world over the last century.

      It is impossible to say whether ‘Dr’ Sharma has a recognisable qualification in medicine, whether he has simply appropriated the title for commercial reasons, whether he seriously and sincerely believes his remedies do cure in accordance with the claims his Star Clinics make or whether he knows perfectly well they do not but neverthless has decided to take advatage of vulnerable and gullible patients (brought up in a culture where all manner of bizarre entities, deities and concepts are accepted by many as ‘fact’) by selling worthless remedies and defrauding them.

      An ancient proverb has it: “If it talks like a quack, behaves like a quack, and ducks challenging questions…it’s a quack.”

      • When you don’t have proof for something, you don’t debunk it. The earth was thought to be flat, and the people who thought it to be round were considered lunatics. Democritus was declared deluded during the time he lived because people thought the main elements were water, fire, earth and air—not atoms. Copernicus and Galileo were publicly humiliated for declaring that the earth revolved around the Sun. Just because we cannot prove something, doesn’t mean it is false. Maybe we don’t have the brains to work it out yet.
        And Indians invented zero, the decimal system and the numerals you use today. Without them, there’d be no math and science you talk about would be non-existent. Don’t stereotype people, and don’t jump to conclusions. What seems impossible today, will be the basis of tomorrow.
        FYI, Dr. Samuel Hanman, a German invented homeopathy.

        • OK, let’s consider the examples you provide.

          People who thought the earth was round were thought to be lunatics. By whom, exactly? The Ancient Greeks (ca. 500-400 BC) got evidence that the earth was not flat. The critical piece of evidence against the earth’s flatness (few people seem to know this) was that when you sailed across the Mediterranean in a north-south direction, the pattern of stars changed measurably, but when you sailed east-west, the star pattern stayed the same. There’s no way you can reconcile that reproducible observation with a flat earth model.

          Meanwhile, observations of the shape of the moon’s terminator (the junction between the light bit and the dark bit), and the realization that the moon’s light was reflected sunlight allowed the Greeks 2500 years ago to reason that the round disc they saw in lunar eclipses were the earth’s round shadow. Aristarchus and others measured the earth’s diameter, with reasonable precision, around 300 BC. So anyone thinking the scientists who claimed the earth was round was an ignoramus, oblivious to the copious written evidence.

          “Democritus was declared deluded during the time he lived because people thought the main elements were water, fire, earth and air—not atoms.” Aristotle certainly didn’t think Democritus was deluded, but Democritus philosophized about matter being made of atoms (he actually stated that only two things existed: atoms, which were indivisible particles, and the void in which the atoms existed). He didn’t provide any reproducible evidence to support his notions. He would certainly be a borderline case for credibility in his time.

          Copernicus and — even more so — Galileo produced reproducible evidence to support their heliocentric models (the same Greeks who provided solid evidence for the earth’s roundness centuries before also reasoned the earth circled the sun but that was conjecture, not evidence-based). They were publicly humiliated by the church, an institution that eschews reason and evidence and substitutes blind faith as a basis for its ‘teachings’. It is, or should be today, a source of embarrassment that so many human beings prefer to think with their gut instincts and anecdotal experiences, rather than with reproducible evidence.

          “And Indians invented zero, the decimal system and the numerals you use today. Without them, there’d be no math and science you talk about would be non-existent.” If the Indians hadn’t invented zero, somebody else would probably have come up with the idea; the fact that we can’t attribute the invention of zero to an individual suggests it was ‘low-hanging fruit’ that only needed the appropriate ‘aha moment’ to appear as if obvious. But to claim that the ‘science we talk about’ would be non-existent is to fly, for one thing, in the face of the evidence provided by the Greeks of ca. 500-300 BC that the earth couldn’t possibly be flat. They did this without any concept of zero. Science is merely a tool, based on reproducibility of observations and design of experiments to disprove personal theories, to allow us to avoid fooling ourselves.

          “What seems impossible today, will be the basis of tomorrow.” That’s spectacularly glib. Just look at the countless attempts of authors to predict what tomorrow’s reality will look like. Few of them are correct, and the time-scales of the halfway correct predictions are typically way off. But if you wish to correctly predict tomorrow’s world, the best possible place to start is with things for which the evidence is reproducible. Wishful thinking about matters that people fantasize does not fall within the provenance of your statement.

          “FYI, Dr. Samuel Hanman, a German invented homeopathy.” FYI, two general principles emerge repeatedly from comments on this blog that favour ‘alternative’ medicine. One is the inability of CAM proponents to spell correctly (FYI, the inventor of homeopathy’s name, in English as in German, is Hahnemann, not Hanman). The other is that people who support CAM can rarely be bothered to read whole threads on the blog, or to search other, related, threads. The identity of the fantasist who pulled homeopathy theory from his fundament can be discovered by a brief lookaround on this thread, as well as many others. Hahnemann is perfectly well known to even the most cursory reader, with the exception of Roald Schnitzberh. BTW, your FYI statement would benefit from a comma after the word ‘German’.

          • The system didn’t give me the usual five minutes to edit. In the last paragraph, only the ‘Y’ in ‘FYI’ was meant to be bolded.

        • @Roald Schnitzberh on Thursday 09 March 2017 at 12:59

          “When you don’t have proof for something, you don’t debunk it.”

          Except when it does not obey the laws of physics.

          “The earth was thought to be flat, ……..were publicly humiliated for declaring that the earth revolved around the Sun. Just because we cannot prove something, doesn’t mean it is false. Maybe we don’t have the brains to work it out yet.”

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance
          It seems you don’t have the brains to work out what is nonsense then is nonsense now.

          “And Indians invented zero, the decimal system and the numerals you use today. Without them, there’d be no math and science you talk about would be non-existent.”

          If the Indians hadn’t invented, someone else would have. Newton and Liebnitz both invented calculus at roughly the same time, with Newton slightly ahead. You make absurd, and stupid, claims based on your own ignorance, yet are not embarrassed to flout such ignorance and stupidity. Takes all types, I suppose.

          “Don’t stereotype people, and don’t jump to conclusions. What seems impossible today, will be the basis of tomorrow.”

          I will stereotype you; you are a deluded dill.

          “FYI, Dr. Samuel Hanman, a German invented homeopathy.”

          Yep, “invented” is the operative word.

        • Astronomer here. 🙂

          The earth was thought to be flat, and the people who thought it to be round were considered lunatics.

          There is a technical term for that assertion: not even wrong.

          As Frank O has already told you, the Greeks at least as far back as Pythagoras knew it was approximately spherical. Several bits of evidence, including the one Frank cited, but the ‘killer punch’ was that the edge of a lunar eclipse shadow is always an arc of a circle: only a sphere can cast a circular shadow in any orientation. Not only did they accept it was round, but Eratosthenes (3rd Cent BCE) even measured its circumference to within a few percent of the accepted value today!

          Copernicus and Galileo were publicly humiliated for declaring that the earth revolved around the Sun.

          Again, not even wrong.

          Copernicus received the first copies of De Revolutionibus… on his deathbed. He was never “publicly humiliated”. Neither was Galileo. The heliocentric notion was given serious consideration at least until it was declared heretical in 1616, but also after that. The issue was that it could not be proved, owing to the quality of astro tech at the time. Galileo was ‘encouraged’ to admit that he had no proof; his observations (lunar surface, Jovian moons, full set of Cytherean phases) were also accounted for by Tycho’s geocentric model, and a lot of his problems were due to his irascible nature. The first direct evidence for heliocentricity was Bradley’s discovery of the aberration of starlight in the early 18th Cent, and that required measurement precision of better than 20 arcseconds but, by then, most educated people, including the Jesuits, accepted the heliocentric model.

  • hpathy(dot)com is an interesting showcase of homeopathic absurdities. It contains a large repository of homeopathic fables providing a revealing insight insight into the the minds and machinations of active homeopaths.
     
    Here, one of those idiots a homeopath thinks he is writing a learned thesis on how he had used ultradiluted and shaken nux vomica and sulphur to improve the diabetes in a 13 yo girl. He describes in detail how he ardently helped the foolish parents (both nurses!) to properly control her diet and medication but blinded by his belief, he attributes the improvement to the fantasy-remedies. Luckily for the girl he had enough sense to not go all the way and take her off insulin.

    • This site (hPathy.com) is indeed a most amusing read – particularly for those interested in the genre of fantasy fiction.
      It is hard to assess however, whether its contents are supposed to be read as fiction, whether they represent deluded people whose thinking has clearly gone awry and who may need professional help, or are an attempt by criminals to scam and defraud patients.

      Unless the site’s authors can prove otherwise, the last is the most likely explanation.
      They must prove that isn’t so.
      (In accordance with the basic principle used by homeopaths when dealing with realists: “Prove it doesn’t work”.)

      • I love this question in the comments: “Sir i have started nox vomika 5drops 2time in a day ,and sulphar 30c but no decress of sugar level sir can i incresd the nox vomika drops plesce sugest tha quntity of madicine”. This raises an interesting general homeopathy question: why should you take any particular number of drops? Surely it would make sense, on the basis of the principles of homeopathic succussion, to take just one drop, or just a lick for maximum efficacy. Alternatively, if the medicine has been potentized by near-infinite dilution, why can’t you take the stuff by the litre? Or perhaps just remove the cap and sniff the stuff once for maximum potency and instant cure. And why twice a day, rather than just once, or every half hour? I truly don’t understand how these things are worked out. Perhaps an expert in bollocks homeopathy can enlighten.

        • In his later years Hahnemann did indeed suggest that merely the smell of a remedy would be enough.
          He was of course, quite correct.
          If the patient believes, then it is so.

          According to Hahnemann, even the olfaction or smelling of remedies may produce immediately direct and decided therapeutic effects . He regarded Olfaction as the culmination of his life’s work.

          Hahnemann opined that ‘the smell of the rose will cause certain persons to faint’ and claimed therefore, that homeopathic doses could hasten recovery. Hahnemann had cited Byzantine historians who recorded ‘that the Princess Eudosia with rose-water restored a person who had fainted.’

          Even today rose-water is passed round the table at dinners of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries, on the grounds that a dab behind the ear will be refreshing. It works.
          Trust me. I’m an Apothecary!

          • @Richard
            Wow! So Hahnemann was an early pioneer of aromatherapy! 
            I’m amazed no-one seems yet to have come up with aromeopathy, where patients breathe over containers of well-successed dilutions of essential oils. Surely this approach could be used to treat a wide variety of medical complaints?
             
            Or… has this already been tried and tested. I look forward to enlightenment.

          • Wow indeed. Was there no beginning to that man’s talents?

          • Oops! succussed, not successed!

        • FrankO, Because taking just a single dose of one drop or one sugar pill cannot possibly induce obsessive-compulsive behaviour in the client.

          One of the core psychological principles used in the homeopathy business empire is coaxing each client to obsess over the number of drops/pills per dose, the number of doses per day, avoiding food and drinks 30 minutes either side of taking each dose, and diligently storing their ‘precious remedy’ away from cell phones, magnets, strong odours, and direct sunlight.

          • @Pete
            Probably best to store your remedies on a bible, to maintain the potency of the final succussion.

          • In answer to Frank O:
            A a clinical medical student my first ward was one dealing with respiratory conditions – and many patients had inhalations of one kind of another.
            Friars Balsam was still being used in the 1960’s. Patients sitting with their blanketed heads over a bowl of hot water with the balsam in it.

            ‘Tincture of benzoin is a pungent solution of benzoin resin in alcohol. A similar preparation called Friar’s Balsam or Compound Benzoin Tincture (USP) contains, in addition, Cape aloes and storax (liquidambar resin). The latter was invented by Dr Joshua Ward around 1760.’ (Wikipedia).

            There has been some very slow progress of therapeutics and medicine since then.
            Progress in homeopathy and aromatherapy over the past fifty years – none.

            Keep sniffing!

          • “Friars Balsam was still being used in the 1960’s.” And the 1980’s.

          • Friar’s Balsam is still in use: £3.62 for 50 ml at Amazon UK. I used to swear by it as a kid — “Bloody Friar’s Balsam”, I’d say.

          • FrankO, I also say “Bloody Friar’s Balsam” since having being given it as a kid, instead of being taken to a GP who could’ve given me efficacious medication to relieve my severe asthma attacks. But, hey, Friar’s Balsam seemed to work a little better than the zero effect from the “sugar pills” that I’d previously been forced to diligently take.

  • The Queen only uses homeopathy, and alternative medicine, exept for operations. She and the Prince are still working at 90, and 94. Most of her subjects, if they are still alive, are in nursing homes by then.

    • “The Queen only uses homeopathy, and alternative medicine, exept for operations.” THIS IS JUST NOT TRUE!!!

      • Which hospital was Philip admitted to when he had a bladder infection a few years ago (presumably something easily treated with homeopathy)?
         
        Here’s a clue: it wasn’t the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine.

    • Andrew,
      If the Queen’s doctor told you that, he has breached confidentiality and could be struck off for .
      If he did not, you have no basis for your assertion, should not have made it, and should be struck (metaphorically).

      Are you trying to be deliberately deceptive or are you deluded?

    • And most of her subjects have had to actually work for a living, rather than living a life of pampered luxury. And aren’t hereditary billionaire land owners either.

      You will, of course, be familiar with the copious research which links health and income levels?

      And, given the intellectual vacuity of our royal family (I outrank any of them in terms of educational attainment, if not numbers of Aston Martins nor size of bank account – nurses never get paid that much), anything they believe in should be treated with extreme caution, if not outright contempt.

  • Thank you for the interesting article and I hope you don’t mind if I share a link to another excellent one which gives more reasons why homeopathy can be dangerous:

    http://www.fullhealthsecrets.com/remedies/799-2/

  • Dr Ernst, I am curious about the position you formerly held in Complementary Medicine. It appears to me that you are and always have been recruited as a stooge. Although it is bad form to criticise a person rather than their argument, I must say that a keynote address you gave to the nursing profession in Australia in the 1990s was one of the least rigorous, most poorly evidenced and verging on irrational keynotes I have ever heard. It was embarrassing to witness such poor science and lack of intellectual acumen in your address.

    • thanks for this kind compliment.
      my past has been summed up here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Scientist-Wonderland-Searching-Finding-Trouble/dp/1845407776?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0
      but I don’t suppose you are really interested in it – if not you would have made a point relevant to this post, wouldn’t you?

    • Dee Icon said:

      it is bad form to criticise a person rather than their argument

      Indeed it is. Why, then, do you go on to commit that fallacy rather than try to actually criticise any of the Professor’s evidence and arguments?

    • Oh, behave! It’s pretty obvious from your comment that you’re an embittered quackery supporter who wouldn’t recognise scientific rigour if it smacked you in the gob. If you had a clue about reason and evidence you’d at least try to make a coherent argument instead of a silly personal attack that fools nobody.

    • @ Dee Icon on Monday 02 May 2016 at 12:01

      “Dr Ernst, I am curious about the position you formerly held in Complementary Medicine. It appears to me that you are and always have been recruited as a stooge.”

      Any evidence for this claim? Are you one those nurses who uses CAM and claims it works?

      “Although it is bad form to criticise a person rather than their argument, I must say that a keynote address you gave to the nursing profession in Australia in the 1990s was one of the least rigorous, most poorly evidenced and verging on irrational keynotes I have ever heard. It was embarrassing to witness such poor science and lack of intellectual acumen in your address.”

      Firstly, was “the nursing profession in Australia in the 1990s” so small in number, it would fit into one hall? As a fellow Australian, I appreciate how big the country is and this is nonsense. Did all of the nurses flit over from Perth (a three and a half hour flight) and flit back?

      If you are going to make such claims, at least provide something more than some sweeping assertion devoid of detail? On second thoughts, you are a nurse……………………………..

  • I suspect that these doctors knowingly use homeopathy as their medium for administering the placebo effect. The boastful and optimistic descriptions of their certainty of their medicine’s efficacy is part of the effect.

    There’s a dilemma in proving whether my suspicion is true, as to admit to it would mean endangering their job.

  • Editing this reply was cut off before the 5 minute limit! The last para was meant to bold only the ‘Y’.

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