MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

“Homeopathic remedies are inherently harmless” this is what many seem to think – homeopathy friends and foes alike. After all, they contain nothing – so, how can it cause harm?

The notion is, of course, not entirely true. Homeopathic remedies can be directly harmful, if:

  • they are not highly dilute (low potency) – imagine Arsenic C1;
  • they are contaminated with harmful substances – this might happen with poor quality control during the manufacturing process;
  • they might not be as dilute as advertised – this too might happen with poor quality control during the manufacturing process.

A reminder that these are not merely theoretical considerations was just published in the shape of a press-release by the US Food and Drug Administration:

King Bio is voluntarily recalling four lots of Aquaflora Candida HP9, Lymph Detox, and Baby Teething liquids to the consumer level. During a routine inspection by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the products were found to contain microbial contaminants Pseudomonas Brenneri, Pseudomonas Fluroescens and Burkholderia Multivorans.

Administration or use of drug  products with microbial contamination could potentially result in increased infections that may require medical intervention, and could result in infections that could be life threatening to certain individuals. King Bio has not received reports of injury or illness.

The Aquaflora HP9 product is used as a Candida control product. The Lymph Detox product is used for symptoms associated with lymphatic toxicity. The Baby Teething product is used for symptoms of teething pain, irritated gums, delayed teething, etc.

Product UPC Lot Numbers Expiration Date Distribution
Aquaflora
Candida HP9 8
oz. liquid in a
carton
3-57955-80018-7 120217R
102017C
101017G
111417C
12/02/19
10/20/19
10/10/19
11/14/19
8,000 bottles
nationwide to
retail stores and
websites
King Bio
Lymph Detox
2 oz. liquid in a
carton
3-57955-50632-4 010118BE 01/01/20 276 bottles
nationwide to
retail stores and
websites
King Bio Baby
Teething 2 oz
liquid in a
carton
020118F 13 bottles
marked NOT
FOR RESALE

King Bio is notifying its distributors and customers by letter and is arranging for return and/or replacement. of all recalled products.  Consumers/distributors/retailers that have product which is being recalled should stop using/and contact King Bio prior to returning the product.

Consumers with questions regarding this recall can contact King Bio by 866-298-2740 or e-mail custcare1@kingbio.com, Monday – Friday 830am – 430pm, EST.  Consumers should contact their physician or healthcare provider if they have experienced any problems that may be related to taking or using this product.

Adverse reactions or quality problems experienced with the use of this product may be reported to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program either online, by regular mail or by fax.

END OF QUOTE

KingBio have a website where they disclose their mission statement:

  • To provide safe, all-natural medicines without harmful side effects.
  • To offer affordable natural medicines that help people overcome common health challenges.
  • To achieve the trust and respect of our customers and uphold the best product quality.
  • To empower people with the most effective ways to achieve abundant health.

… The FDA classifies homeopathic medicines as pharmaceutical drug products. King Bio is an FDA-registered pharmaceutical manufacturer and is strictly compliant with FDA guidelines and current good manufacturing practices (cGMP). Unlike most pharmaceutical drug products, homeopathic medicine offers gentle symptomatic relief, without recorded harmful side effects. 

SAY NO MORE!

27 Responses to Homeopathic remedies are inherently harmless! True or false?

  • “The Aquaflora HP9 product is used as a Candida control product.”

    Brilliant! A pseudo-medical product to control an imaginary disease!

    • that’s their speciality: to free gullible consumers from conditions they never had in the first place.

    • I would not call Candida an imaginary disease. Yeast infections due to an overgrowth of candida are very common.
      Regularly this is symptomatically treated with medication .. Alternatively, diets are usually used.
      Especially the avoidance of refined carbohydrates is essential (sugar, yeast and white flour).

      And important is the use of probiotics to make the intestinal flora healthier.
      I think this is more fundamental, than just being busy with medication, problems usually return in this way.
      BTW: There has been an increase in resistance to antifungals worldwide over the past 30–40 years

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candidiasis

      • “Yeast infections due to an overgrowth of candida are very common.”
        mostly because of false-positive diagnoses, I presume.
        A true fungal infection will be treated with anti-fungals, and that can hardly be called a ‘symptomatic’ treatment, don’t you think?

        • On the short term you are right Edzard, it works..
          But if this is not followed by a anti-fungal diet (no more junkfood and refined carbohydrates) the infection will come back.
          That’s why I call anti-fungals -alone- a symptomatic treatment..

          Of course, no extensive scientific research has been done on this.. There is not enough to earn with this subject ;). Getting experience with this is the best way to learn..
          Fundimental healing (causal cure!) is not only taking your drugs, but it has to do with a lot more than pills alone..

          • so, you are saying that there is no evidence for what you claim. in other words, it is your opinion? I would prefer to see some evidence before I even consider what you say.

          • Well then, we have two symptomatic treatments: one that works (the antifungals) and one that doesn’t (homeopathy). After all, homeopathy only looks at symptoms. That’s what I have learned from Samuel Hahnemann’s Organon and it is what I take away from King’s Bio:

            Unlike most pharmaceutical drug products, homeopathic medicine offers gentle symptomatic relief, without recorded harmful side effects.

            Source: https://www.drkings.com/en/what-we-make-homeopathic-medicine/
            It is of course true that there are no recorded harmful side effects, since homeoquacks do not record side effects. It doesn’t mean there aren’t any, just that they make sure their victims don’t know about them. It reminds one of the nonsensical Zen question about the sound of a falling tree when there is no-one present to hear it.

            And what about this:

            In order to catch any particles left behind, the water proceeds through a micron filter, which grabs anything larger than five microns (science speak for “very tiny”).

            How do we know their succussion activates what they intend to activate and not what they admit they are not filtering out? Pseudomonas Brenneri, Pseudomonas Fluroescens[sic] and Burkholderia Multivorans would be good examples, yes?

      • I would not call genuine Candida infections an imaginary disease: I spent 45 years researching these. Oral and genital thrush, Candida septicaemia and other acute manifestations of tissue invasion by Candida albicans and a number of other species are real. In the case of disseminated Candida infection the disease can be fatal.

        But ‘chronic candidiasis’, ‘the yeast connection’, ‘candida allergy syndrome’ and other names refer to an imaginary disease characterized as ‘feeling bad all over’ and are typically diagnosed on the basis of responses to a questionnaire. Diets to treat this condition are, I’m afraid, complete nonsense. Avoidance of yeast!! Do you realize Candida species are themselves yeasts? ‘Yeast’ in common parlance refers to the species Saccharomyces cerevisiae, but there are thousands of yeast species — fungi characterized by a predominantly unicellular life form, usually reproducing by budding.

        “And important is the use of probiotics to make the intestinal flora healthier.” Please define a ‘healthier intestinal flora’.

        • From a Veterinary medicine pov, pathogenic yeast and fungus spp. are ubiquitos saprophytic, heterotrophic organisms, opportunistic in their nature. But I am sure there are exceptions.

  • And of course homeopaths should be condemning the sale of these nostrums because, as they tell us ad nauseam homeopathic remedies are only effective when individualized..

    We await the chorus of opprobum.

  • Even when ignoring these (literal) foul-ups and other incidents with homeopathic ingredients (Hyland’s atropine-laced Teething Tablets come to mind), I can come up with far better reasons why homeopathic products are NOT inherently harmless.

    And what’s more, I can prove this in true ‘alternative’ style of reasoning:
    “OK, so homeopathic products are just plain water, with the harmful ingredients diluted into oblivion? DO YOU KNOW HOW DANGEROUS WATER IS?
    “Fine fine, so most homeopathic products are no longer sold as shaken water, but as sugar pellets. BUT SUGAR KILLS AND MAIMS EVEN MORE PEOPLE THAN WATER!
    (and I even left out fatal chokings associated with these two substances…)

    So homeopathy is based on two substances that may cause up to a million deaths annually, probably exceeding the number of deaths by regular medicines. Talking of which: homeopathy kills even more people still by keeping them away from life-saving regular medicines.

  • As is usual in homeopathic circles, and as Prof. Ernst has remarked in the past, homeopaths tend to be economical with the truth. It seems to be case here as well. I have been unable to find the recall on the company’s website.

    The company has a “customer care” e-mail adress that one can contact, but it seems one has to have learned about the recall from other sources first.

  • “does it have to do with ‘chronic candidiasis’” Hypoallergenic diets can be used in the treatment of some generalized fungal infections.

    What it has to do with chronic candidiasis is that while the infectious organism is usually treated with either local topical or systemic anti fungal therapy, practitioners are often taught to seek an underlying condition that predisposes the patient to acquiring and fostering the infection. Yeast and fungal infections are often viewed not as primary pathogens but a comorbity where treating the primary underlying immune weakening disease may result in resolution of the secondary infection. Treating the fungus alone is often not enough to achieve long term successful outcome. As far as diet, at least in dogs there is a great association with food allergy, atopy and the proliferation of yeast or fungal infections. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5644664/.

    • do you like Chappie?
      with a bit of garlic, it’s lovely!

      • Although you might be partial to it, and perhaps even serve it your guests at dinner parties Edzard, I would not consider Chappie stand alone limited ingredient or hypoallergenic diet. if you dive a little deeper you will see that novel proteins and hydrolyzed protein diets are more commonly used to treat allergic dermatitis in dogs. https://www.royalcanin.com/products/royal-canin-veterinary-diet-canine-hydrolyzed-protein-adult-hp-dry-dog-food/3910.

        Unfortunately food allergy testing has proven very unreliable thus the most reasonable approach is a dietary trial.

        That said my point was that there can be a connection between diet and the manifestation of fungal disease.

        • I have had a look at Marcella and De Benedetto’s review on atopic dermatitis in animals and although it is thorough and enlightening, I can find no mention of fungal infections, nor on the Royal Canin Web site, which is, frankly, simply advertising and testimonials for their own product. I don’t see that the links that you have provided in any way support your contention that diet can influence fungal infections.

          In my experience fungal infections are generally associated with underlying problems such as diabetes, malignant disease and treatment with corticosteroids. Any medical practitioner managing these conditions should be well aware of this and routinely monitor for fungal infections to allow prompt and appropriate treatment.

          • Dr. Money-Kyrle,

            I think we can agree agree that the hypoallergenic diet is not designed to directly treat fungal infections. My assertion was that food allergy and resultant atopic dermatitis is often a contributing underlying condition weakening immunity allowing the overgrowth of Malassezia spp..

            From: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5603939/

            “Malassezia dermatitis in dogs is usually a secondary problem due to an underlying skin disease such as allergic disease (including canine atopic dermatitis and flea allergy dermatitis), recurrent bacterial pyoderma, and endocrine diseases (especially hypothyroidism) (2). ”

            “Often, treatment of Malassezia dermatitis is accompanied by other recommendations such as a dietary elimination trial, ”

            from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3885935/

            “Because cutaneous adverse food reaction was suspected in both cats, a homemade diet with a novel source of protein (horse meat) associated with boiled potatoes and colza oil was prescribed. To control Malassezia overgrowth a 2% miconazole/2% chlorhexidine shampoo (Malaseb®, Dechra) was prescribed at 3 days interval for 4 weeks. One month later, a significant clinical improvement was noticed (Fig. 2b). At that time, cytology and cultures were negative. In case 2, the re-introduction of the original food lead to a clinical relapse.”

          • Mr Gunson,

            The two papers that you link to are an interesting insight into a couple of topics in vetinerary medicine. They clearly illustrate how different Malassezia is in dogs and cats. In neither does it seem to follow any course that I recognise in humans.

            In dogs it would appear to be a common commensal organism found on the skin, but can quite frequently cause a secondary infection in the presence of dermatitis from other causes, such as food allergy.

            I would like to complete one of the sentences that you quote in part:
            Often, treatment of Malassezia dermatitis is accompanied by other recommendations such as a dietary elimination trial, antibiotic therapy, and antipruritic therapy.

            The dietary elimination trial in this instance clearly refers to the allergen responsible for the dermatitis in the first place.

            In cats, according to the second paper, Malassezia is also a common commensal, but overgrowth and particularly infection should be considered to be a marker for serious underlying disease, the authors conclude, and indeed in the series of six infections presented, four of the cats died of their other problems.

            I’m not sure how either of these papers shed any light on the management of Malassezia infection in humans (usually known as pityrrhiasis), though it is clear from both of them that part of the treatment of a food allergy in dogs and cats is to remove the allergen from the diet.

            As for whether food allergy and atopic dermatitis allow Malassezia overgrowth through weakening of immunity, it seems more likely to me that the mechanism is loss of integrity of the skin barrier.

          • Fungal infections are not all the same. This thread began with my stating that ‘chronic candidiasis’ (and its name variants) is an imaginary disease; of course genuine Candida infections are authentic clinical problems. Diet will not in any way help with treatment, unless the Candida-related pathology is associated with e.g. diabetes.

            But somehow we’ve progressed from the laughable ‘chronic candidiasis syndrome’ to Malassezia pachydermatis dermatitis in dogs! Please don’t put ‘fungal infection’ under a single umbrella. Different fungi cause different conditions, in man and in animals, and require different approaches to Rx.

            As Dr Money-Kyrle points out, one thing most (but not all — think dermatophytes!) real fungal infections have in common is that they are diseases of the already diseased. Reverse the predisposing factor and the mycosis often disappears — one thinks of disseminated candidiasis in neutropenia as a well-known example.

          • Reverse the predisposing factor and the mycosis often disappears — one thinks of disseminated candidiasis in neutropenia as a well-known example.

            I think this is a big problem for quack lovers, as their ignorance and lack of understanding of how the world works makes them skip the underlying factors.

            Just because a treatment takes care of condition A that, when present, facilitates condition B, does not mean this treatment is a good treatment for condition B. It just superficially seems that way under certain conditions.

  • That cul de sac looks harmless. Let’s take a stroll and delay travelling along the route that gets me somewhere.

  • Thank you for your comments Dr Money-Kyrle you have increased my scope of understanding surrounding atopic dermatitis, and malessezia infections. Hopefully understanding the etiology , pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, and treatments cross species can help practitioners better understand and treat these conditions. As a believer in the “one health” concept, I think there are many valuable lessons to be found by combining research and clinical experience from both human and veterinary medicine.

    • I hope I haven’t increased it too much as I am an oncologist, not a dermatologist, and I don’t want to go beyond my area of expertise; I was simply reporting what I understood from the papers you linked to.

      Having said that, I am a great believer in finding connections between apparently disparate topics as a way of increasing our understanding of how the world functions. Certainly much of what we know of human physiology comes from animal experiments, and there are clearly more similarities than differences between mammalian species. From a wider perspective, there is an urgent need to consider mankind in the context of the environment and the complex relationships that interplay between the many components involved, many of which we really don’t yet understand. I am not very familiar with the “one health” concept, though I believe that it tries to take a multidisciplinary approach to understanding how these things relate to the health of humans, domesticated species and the environment.

      However, when faced with how to manage the patient in front of me, the situation is rather narrower and I have to follow the best available evidence; when that is incomplete (as it often is in a clinical situation) I have to be aware when I am extrapolating from the data and from my experience, and that I may not necessarily be right. It is all to easy to be influenced by a plausible idea or a colleague’s anecdote, and while that might help the thought process, it is no substitute for evidence.

      I have no doubt of the importance of diet, though it is much easier to be specific with animals than with people. After all, dogs and cats mainly eat what they are given (and what they can catch or scavenge). Human diets may well have an influence decades later, and it is very difficult to unravel these effects from other environmental factors. For these reasons I am rather skeptical of any claims made for particular diets, especially some of the odder ones or those based on unsound concepts of physiology. My advice is generally plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, not too much red meat, oily fish twice a week, cut down on carbohydrates, particularly sugar, food not to be over-processed, and to apply moderation in all things. Beyond that (apart from specific situations such as diabetes) the evidence is lacking.

      • A beautiful insight to the scientists’ mind: emphasising boundaries to their expertise and deferring to anyone who may have more potent insight.
        It’s thrilling to see. Thanks.
        Certainty is indeed the domain of the ignorant. Doubt is the gift of the informed.

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