Weleda, a leading manufacturer of homeopathic preparations, is, according to their own judgement, a ‘unique organisation – economically thriving, kind at heart and committed to the well-being of our planet, our environment and our people. We’ve grown into that role through the adoption of seven basic principles which are unchanging, binding for everyone who works with us, and which clearly underpin the way we work.’
The first of these 7 principles is the ‘Fair treatment of customers, partners and suppliers‘. Fair treatment and being ‘kind at heart’ would include telling the truth, wouldn’t it? But reading what Weleda state about homeopathy, one might wonder!
The Weleda article entitled ‘An introduction to Homeopathy’ contains many statements worthy of some critical analysis, I think. Here is a selection of 10 just quotes:
- … a [homeopathic] remedy [is] made from a natural substance… in a tiny dose which has been ‘potentised’ to be effective.
- Many people choose this approach for every-day family ailments, with a homeopathic ‘first aid kit’…
- … allopathic medicine works against the disease and its symptoms using “anti” drugs…
- Homeopathy works by stimulating the body’s own natural healing capacity.
- If you do experience complex, persistent or worrying symptoms then please seek the advice of a doctor who specialises in homeopathy.
- Today there are four homeopathic hospitals offering treatment under the National Health Service – in London, Glasgow, Liverpool and Bristol.
- Homeopathy can be used to treat the same wide range of illness as conventional medicine, and may even prove successful when all other forms of treatment have failed.
- … the fact that the remedies are widely used on animals dismisses the idea that the success of a treatment is all in the mind.
- Occasionally, symptoms become worse on first taking a homeopathic medicine. This is called an ‘aggravation’, and is a good sign that the remedy is working.
- … some homeopathic remedies will successfully treat many people with the same symptoms. For example, arnica is usually used for muscular bruising …
And here are my thoughts on these 10 statements:
- I had always thought that homeopathics can be made from any substance (including Berlin Wall) and not just natural ones. Moreover, the dose is often not ‘tiny’ but non-existent. Finally, the assumption that ‘potentisation’ renders remedies ‘effective’ is pure wishful thinking.
- A homeopathic ‘first aid kit’ is a contradiction in terms. If someone needs first aid, she surely must avoid homeopathy.
- The term ‘allopathy’ is a derogatory term created by Hahnemann to defame the heroic medicine of his time. The notion of ‘anti-drugs’ is popular in homeopathy, but evidently, it is pure nonsense.
- This notion is wishful thinking by homeopaths at its best; there is not a jot of evidence that it is true.
- If you do experience complex, persistent or worrying symptoms then please seek the advice of a doctor who practices evidence-based medicine but NOT homeopathy.
- This statement is untrue; a footnote to the article states ‘Copyright 2017 Weleda UK’, it is thus odd to see that Weleda is so ill-informed.
- The claim that homeopathy is a panacea is dangerous nonsense.
- This notion is endlessly being promoted by homeopaths. Sadly the repetition of a falsehood does not create a truth (see for instance here).
- ‘Homeopathic aggravations’ are a myth.
- Yes, homeopathic arnica is used for muscular bruising – but it not effective for that or any other indication.
It is only fair, I think, that I declare my conflicts of interest in relation to Weleda.
While at Exeter, I ran during 14 years an annual conference for researchers in alternative medicine. One year, I accepted a modest sponsorship from Weleda for this meeting [I forgot how much and which year precisely this was, possibly around 1999 and probably around £ 3 000].
More importantly, Weleda was one of the companies that financed the German journalist Claus Fritzsche who then spent much time and effort to attack and defame me. This story that ended tragically with Fritzsche’s suicide.
Needless to say that I regret both events.
Arguably, I therefore have two opposing conflicts of interest, one pro and one contra Weleda. This is why I tried to focus my comments purely on demonstrable facts. They show, I think, that Weleda’s claims about homeopathy should be take with more than a little pinch of salt – or perhaps even with a dose of NaCl, C200?