The Nobel laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan recently called homeopathy ‘bogus’. “They (homeopaths) take arsenic compounds and dilute it to such an extent that just a molecule is left. It will not make any effect on you. Your tap water has more arsenic. No one in chemistry believes in homeopathy. It works because of placebo effect,” he was quoted saying.

But what does he know about homeopathy? This was the angry question of homeopaths around the world when the Nobel laureate’s views became international headlines.

Nothing! Exclaimed the furious homeopaths with one voice.

If we want to get an informed opinion, we a true expert.

The Queen’s homeopath Dr Fisher? No, he has been known to tell untruths.

Doctor Michael Dixon, the adviser to Prince Charles who recently defended homeopathy? No, he is not even a homeopath.

Dana Ullman, the voice of US homeopathy? Heavens, he is a homeopath but not one who is known to be objective.

Alan Schmukler perhaps? He too seems to have difficulties with critical thinking.

Perhaps we need to ask an experienced and successful homeopath like doctor Akshay Batra; someone with both feet on the ground who knows about the coal face of health care today. He recently spoke out for the virtues of homeopathy explaining that it is based on the ingenious idea that ‘like cures like: “For example if you are suffering from constant watering eyes, you will be given allium cepa which comes from onions, something that causes eyes to water. Homeopathy works like a vaccine”. Dr Batra claims that the failure of allopathy (mainstream medicine) is causing the present boom in homeopathy. “With the amount of deaths taking place due to allopathic medicine and its side effects, we can see people resorting to homeopathy,” he said. “Certain children using asthma inhalers suffer from growth issues or develop unusual facial hair. Homeopathy avoids that and uses a natural remedy that treats the root cause,” he added.

The top issues treated with homeopathy, according to Dr Batra, are hair and skin problems. “A lot of ailments today effecting hair and skin are because of internal diseases. Hair loss in women has become very prevalent and can be due to cystic ovaries, low iron levels or hormonal imbalance due to thyroid,” explained Dr Batra. “We find the root cause and treat that, since hair loss could just be a symptom and we need to treat the ailment permanently. Allopathic medicines just give you a quick fix, and not treat the root cause, while we give a more long term, complete solution,” he added. Homeopathy is mind and body medicine: “A lot of people today are under pressure and stress. Homeopathic treatment also helps in relieving tension hence treating the patient as a whole,” said Dr Batra.

I bet you now wonder who is this fabulous expert and homeopath, doctor Batra.

He has been mentioned on this blog before, namely when he opened the first London branch of his chain of homeopathic clinics claiming that homeopathy could effectively treat the following conditions:

Yes, Dr Akshay Batra is the managing director and chairman of Dr Batra’s Homeopathic Clinic, an enterprise that is currently establishing clinics across the globe.

And now we understand, I think, why the Nobel laureate and the homeopathy expert have slightly different views on the subject.

Who would you believe, I wonder?

11 Responses to Homeopathy: opinions of two outstanding experts

  • When I was in active practice as an orthopaedic surgeon I attended patients in a number of prisons including Bedford, Wormwood Scrubs, Brixton. All of my patients were innocent.
    I know they were, because they told me so.
    The ‘evidence’ which had convicted them was clearly tainted and had not been understood by the jury.

    I feel sorry for homeopaths who just can’t seem to convince the scientific and rational medical community they are on to something. They’ll just have to beef up the evidence for the correctness of their view, or consider they might just be wrong and are deluded and in denial.

    That’s about as far as we need to go. End of.
    No good homeopaths castigating those who believe them to be deluded, quacks, or even frauds.
    They should accept with good grace that there exists a difference of opinion.
    It is time for the rest of us to move on.

    • Homeopaths could, at least, come with some unified explanation of the mechanisms of action. And I mean real explanation, instead of calling the other side a failure and using their homeopathic jargon to explain another piece of homeopathic jargon. But they are unable to do even that.

    • Richard Rawlins, it would be terrific to move on and leave homeopathy in the past. Unfortunately, there are too many people with less than proper critical thinking skills or whom are desperate for something quick and easy to resolve their medical issues for it to be safe to leave homeopaths to their dangerous notions.

      Considering the poor state of critical thinking skills demonstrated in the general public (and the willingness of unscrupulous purveyors of pseudoscience to avail themselves of the earnings possible through fraud) it is a worthy endeavor to continue to counter homeopathy nonsense. Certainly, if homeopaths (and other pseudoscience charlatans) are left unchallenged, think of the greater harm that could result.

      • If people are getting better how are homeopaths quacks? Does a person with chronic pain care if a placebo causes it to go away especially if a prescription doesn’t?

        And if it is a placebo effect why doesn’t any pill (prescription included) cause it?

        • Donna,

          You clearly don’t understand placebo effect. You should read up on it before commenting about it versus the quackery of homeopathy:

          While some may believe the placebo effect isn’t harmful, it is in that someone may “feel” better due to placebo but in fact are still ill. A critical difference between placebo and active medicine.

          You should also read up on anecdote versus double blind, RCT in order to understand how efficacy is determined so as to eliminate biases. In randomised clinical trials, homeopathy fails to demonstrates efficacy. Thus the label of quackery (touted as a cure when known to have no healing power.) See this review to help you understand homeopathy’s false claims:

        • Donna said:

          If people are getting better how are homeopaths quacks?

          Because the best evidence says their treatments have no effects over placebo.

          Does a person with chronic pain care if a placebo causes it to go away especially if a prescription doesn’t?

          They should – and so should the practitioner.

          And if it is a placebo effect why doesn’t any pill (prescription included) cause it?

          They do.

  • Being a nobel laureate does not make you right, Linus Pauling got vitamin c a bit wrong!
    Just playing devil’s advocate Ed, anyone who believes in homeopathy is either a charlatan or a nutcase!

    • “Being a nobel laureate does not make you right”, except he won it in chemistry. If he doesn’t know something about the chemistry of homoeopathy, who does?

    • You are right, we should not be guilty of the argument from authority fallacy.

      More to the point is Ramakrishnan’s argument. In most homeopathic preparations there is nothing there except water and sugar. If homeopaths want to mumble incoherently about water memory or nanoparticles then his knowledge and expertise will allow him to point out those as nonsense.

  • I just written a piece arguing for an NHS cut…of homoeopathy. In it, I look at the evidence for homoeopathy from the homoeopaths themselves, their RCTs and systematic reviews, and show how even their best evidence doesn’t support it.

    or my website, Random Walk In Science,

    • @Les

      I see the homeopathy fans haven’t found them yet. It’s vitally important you are told you are wrong because homeopathy once cured Aunt Sally’s ingrown toenail after her allopathic doctor told her it couldn’t be cured…

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