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.

33 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”

    • I have benefitted from homeopathy. I had a condition where antibiotics were prescribed. Over a 20 year period few few choices were left because of antibiotic resistance, but now homeopathy is teaching my body to fight back without taking antibiotics. My last batch of antibiotics given to me by my doctor is stored in cotton wool since May 2018. Homeopathy works every time I take it without antibiotic resistance. Not having anything against allopathy, it has saved my life when I had severe typhoid many decades ago, but homeopathy also works especially in chronic diseases. So please do not close your minds to it. The fact that it has survived, must be doing something good to some people. I am a witness to this.

      • this sounds that you were prescribed antibiotics without need and now that you have discontinued them, you are recovering from their ill effects. homeopathy has nothing to do with this, I think. glad to hear that you are better.

    • May be i liked our argument…..but they need scientific proofs of homeopathic treatment on DM type-2. can we collect some data on statistics of this topic and present before everybody for better clarity….make everybody understand that its works on…

  • Very few of you ask the question WHY are there so many studies done and published on western Pharma and so few on natural remedies? So much $$ raised, and poured into researching Pharma with poor animal experiments that in history of time yielded only 2% of useful results and even that not possible to use on humans. The rest is all guess work. Why is it that natural remedies which have no side effects are not the FIRST thing a medical practitioner offers patients (same with vets) ? The answer is simple – illness is money. It’s business. Cancer, diabtes, any chronic illness is $$ The slightest possible sign of illness, and doctors order a slew of tests -which immediately mark a ‘previous condition’ (good luck getting insurance) and a person goes through testing, then using Pharma that ‘may’ lessen the problem – offering a handful of ideas effects one never bargained for. Western meds is about 500yrs old. Natural meds are 1000 years old. Naturally, if there is a remedy that offers no side effects, I’d try that first, before I take drugs. HOWEVER, I firmly believe that natural remedies work only (effectively) in clean bodies. Meaning, eating meat and dairy which pollute the body lessen the effect. Someone on a healthy vegan diet that consists of veggies, fruits, nuts, grains, and pure liquids like coconut and aloe water. Add vitamins A-D and the body should bounce back. Slight diabetes can be helped by use of berberine, this can even do away with it. Western medicine teaches there is no help at all for diabetes that it is chronic. Can we agrgue this with proof? Not as long as all the studies are funded by pharmaceutical companies which also are behind the funding of all published studies. Look up who owns or funded whatever ‘proof’ there is. Diabetes is a man made disease. 90% of the food in stores is filled with corn syrup, the rest with salt. High blood pressure leads to hypertension, at stage 3 good luck, hello insulin. Currently a vial of Lantus insulin is $300. What else is there to say? Yes, berberine and syzygium can help diabetics control their ailment without damaging other organs allowng them to slim down, get their blood circulation in check and restore their health, but who are we kidding – in a country where big ma rules and people can’t wait to have their beer, a huge plate of fried food or pizza exactly at 7:30 just when the liver tends to clean the body (also unknown to western meds) then I must say stay away from holistic meds. If you eat like a heffer at the wrong time without moving much day after day and month after month, holistic meds are a waste of your time and money. They’re not miracle pills.

    • @knowitall

      Goodness me! What a casserole of misinformation, biased thinking and ignorance this comment is. The dish is unseasoned by even the most elementary devices to help the reader, such as paragraphs.

      The main thrusts of your argument seem to be the tired old tropes about ‘natural’ remedies being ignored by modern medicine and medicine being dominated by the cash incentive and Big Pharma. So the practitioners of Big Snakeoil do their work free and gratis, do they? There’s no profit motive in homeopathy, naturopathy, spine diddling, arm waving and the many other forms of ‘alternative’ medicine? There’s no pressure for these good folk to recover the massive costs of their (mis)education?

      “Western meds is [sic] about 500yrs old.” No, modern medicine dates back further than that, but there’s a case to be made that what we now think of as “Western medicine” really dates back mainly to the second half of the 19th century, when truly scientific approaches began to reveal the detail of how the body really works. “Natural meds are 1000 years old.” Again, no: many would argue that things like herbal cures, vitalism and all sorts of mystical approaches to curing disease date back a lot further than that. But your definition of “natural meds” at least excludes such ‘therapies’ as homeopathy, chiropractic and reiki, which are of comparatively recent origin.

      “Not as long as all the studies are funded by pharmaceutical companies which also are behind the funding of all published studies.” Even accepting that “all published studies” is not intended to include publications on, e.g., physics, chemistry, engineering, history and languages — I presume you mean all published studies on medicine — you’re still dead wrong. In the USA, by far the biggest source of funding for biomedical research is the Federal Government. In Europe, governments are similarly the major funders of biomedical research, either directly or indirectly, through research councils. And, of course, there are lots of charities that fund research as well.

      When it comes to ‘natural’ remedies, do you not realize there’s actually a name — pharmacognosy — for research into medicinal effects of natural products? Over the past 200 years, pharmacognosy has led to discovery of many of the medicines you seem so violently to despise. There are scientific journals specializing in natural product research. So your question “Why is it that natural remedies which have no side effects are not the FIRST thing a medical practitioner offers patients” is fatuous. A medical practitioner first offers patients remedies with proven therapeutic efficacy for the disease they’re suffering. They always consider how serious the side-effects of any treatment are likely to be for a given patient and prescribe on the basis of the ratio of risk to benefit.

      Your diatribe about meat and dairy polluting the body is pure guff. In exactly what way do either form of food “pollute the body”? Why is the human equivalent of dairy the preferred “natural” food available to feed babies if milk is so bad?

      As your comment progresses the sheer lunacy of your remarks inflates beyond the point at which they merit any rational consideration. It appears that at the first sight of any biomedical stick you rush to grasp its wrong end.

      • @ Frankie,

        I would advise you to try Nux Vomica 30C and see how your view on homeopathy changes from negative to positive. Your gussa (anger) also will calm down.

  • Whoever is against homeopathy,well I must say he is unfortunate to have tried these wonderful remedies, my life has been blessed now with homeopathy..my tempers,my depression,my hopelessness, my concentration my understanding of concepts, my renal problem, my psorisis, i have used it all along my studies in it, getting graduation degree, and I must say I am using it for more than 14 years now and don’t need any other medicines..even if homeopathy as they say has placebo effect…well I then love that palcebo effect which relieves me and to whom I prescribe, even if it is discarded by science…. peace

  • The evidence that Homeopathy can independently control Diabetes is Me. I am still alive with A1C under control. I had hereditary type-2 diabetes. I was put on Metformin by my US doctor when my A1C started climbing above 7.1. For 2 years I struggled with unpredictable, severe stomach upsets. Then I consulted the world reknowned homeopath in Kolkata, India, Dr. Protip Banerji. He put me on a regime of Syzygium and Helon. However, on the advice of my US doctor, before starting Homeopathic treatment, I simply went off all medicines for 3 months. My A1C started creeping up. When I started taking Dr. Banerji’s medicines they dropped back to the Metformin levels. I don’t care whether anyone can explain how homeopathy works, I am not going back to Metformin. And before trying to explain homeopathy, see if you can explain the double slit experiment that gave birth to Quantum Mechanics.

    • you can kill yourself any way you chose; it’s your business.
      but pretending homeopathy cures diabetes isn’t. it endangers the life of many, and therefore, your claim is irresponsible nonsense.

      • Edzard, once again you deflect from points raised by commenters, and don’t address the substance of the comments.

        Of course, if you took the substance of the comments of your critics on board, your blog would cease to exist so I see why deflection is one of your favourite strategies apart from your ad homs typed in bold that are a blatant attempt to fart in your opponents face and frighten them off.

        See this and LEARN something for once.
        Ameliorating effect of mother tincture of Syzygium jambolanum on carbohydrate and lipid metabolic disorders in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rat: Homeopathic remedy

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3633306/

        So clearly you have not responded to Santunnu’s comment, have you?

        Looks like ‘Edzard’ needs a programming update?

        • there is a range of reasons why I often do not reply to comments:
          1) I often lack the time; to date there are some 35 000 comments on this blog;
          2) a comment might not interest me;
          3) a comment might not deserve a reply, in my view, for instance, because it is daft;
          4) a comment might relate to something that has already been discussed ad nauseam before;
          5) I might not have a publishable reply;
          6) I might fail to understand what the poster is trying to express;
          etc., etc.

        • I am surprised Greg, that after all this time on the professor’s blog, you still cannot identify bad science? Haven’t you been paying attention?

          But anyway, the experiment you cite is interesting in a way, even if it is very poorly conducted. Of course a herbal tincture containing detectable amounts of a possibly active substance (not a homeopathic remedy) might be able to ameliorate STZ induced DM in rats. Active chemicals are often found in herbs.
          As I said before, the experiment by Gosh et al. is an example of how not to conduct scientific pilot tests of this sort.
          Please let us know Greg when this poorly performed and poorly written pilot experiment has been properly replicated in a blinded manner and with sufficient power. Even better, let us know when a possible active component has been identified in the herbal tincture and demonstrated to have an effect in human DM. It is sadly seldom that promising results from rat experiments translate to useful drugs.

  • Edzard, considering that you are doing so much to clean up homeopathy, a little bit of constructive feedback to help you appear less boorish with your site visitors is only a fair return of favour.

    • how can I ever pay you back?

      • Try harder to differentiate between ‘homeopathy’ and homeopathy. I have not yet read something written by you that indicates that you get it.

        If you published an anonymized clinical case review, and YOUR case taking method, and YOUR remedy selection process (taught to you by your master Zimmerman), and the case outcome, then YOUR problem with homeopathy could be identified.

  • First of all homeopathy will work properly on those people who never consume alcohol any tobacco product . Like in allopathy we have to ignore some food while medication. In homeopeth we have to quit onion ginger garlic alchol tobbaco and high smelling product just ignire it and see the magic of homeopath.

    My father is type.2 daibetic but now after taking bio combination 7 ( BC7 by SBL)

    He is almost finish his daibetes. Now my father fasting sugar is 80~90 sone.times 110~130.

    U want proof i think u r fool. Dont judge something with your so called perception. First use it with proper advice and than seek for result. U want to consume.a pill and wait for the magic without following rules. Bro even jesus cant help without Praying note it we have to do something to gain something.

    May god vanish your sickness toward goods

  • The quoted objectionable text is not at all objectionable. Your choice of interpretation is poor. To me since it is a text related to homeopathy remedies its context is clearly bound to homeopathy and hence there is no word there which draws any reference to any medicine outside homeopathy. No indication of allopathic or synthetic drug or cure is mentioned. So your point us baseless.
    I would like to highlight that there is serious deliberate flaw in your interpretation of the quoted text to which you had objections. So this blog post and its irresponsible non-evidential title is totally unnecessary unscientific and misleading. I would say reading this blog post would kill millions. Because you do not provide any evidence that using uranium nit 3x has killed millions or even one person.

    • I man sorry that you fail to comprehend my text. Homeopathy would kill millions of diabetics because it does not work and many untreated diabetics would die.

  • Homeopathy is the best. It does not harm the system . It very easily controls diabetes without harming the system. Try & see for yourself before you put up negative comments. The beauty lies in your daily use of minor ailments.

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