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

For many years, ‘HOMEOPATHY‘ (the ‘flag-ship’ journal of homeopathy which started its life in 1911 as THE BRITISH JOURNAL OF HOMOEOPATHY) was edited by Peter Fisher. When Peter fired me from its editorial board, it arguably lost its only expert who was critical of homeopathy. Then the journal was transferred from Elsevier to Thieme. When Peter tragically died, the journal lost its editor who, despite everything, had at least tried to keep the most dangerous loons within the homeopathy cult at bay.

Now, under the new editor, this seems no longer possible. The current issue of HOMEOPATHY holds several papers about the role of homeopathy in the present pandemic:

First paper entitled ‘The COVID-19 Pandemic: A View from New York City’

This article provides a view of homeopathic clinical practice in the New York City area in the first few months of 2020 as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic began to evolve in the United States. Key symptoms used to generate a short list of potentially curative remedies are given, and the pandemic syndrome is viewed as appearing in stages or as having various clinical manifestations each with its own main remedy. The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is briefly described, as are the preliminary presenting signs and symptoms of COVID-19 infection. Several clinical examples are given, some with positive laboratory confirmation.

Second paper entitled The Hydra-Headed Coronaviruses: Implications of COVID-19 for Homeopathy

Successful homeopathic prescriptions are based on careful individualization of symptoms, either for an individual patient or collectively in the case of epidemic outbreaks. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic was initially represented as a severe acute respiratory illness, with eventual dramatic complications. However, over time it revealed to be a complex systemic disease with manifestations derived from viral-induced inflammation and hypercoagulability, thus liable to affect any body organ or system. As a result, clinical presentation is variable, in addition to variations associated with several individual and collective risk factors. Given the extreme variability of pathology and clinical manifestations, a single, or a few, universal homeopathic preventive Do not split medicine(s) do not seem feasible. Yet homeopathy may have a relevant role to play, inasmuch as the vast majority of patients only exhibit the mild form of disease and are indicated to self-care at home, without standard monitoring, follow-up, or treatment. For future pandemics, homeopathy agencies should prepare by establishing rapid-response teams and efficacious lines of communication.

Third paper entitled The Experience of an Italian Public Homeopathy Clinic during the COVID-19 Epidemic, March-May 2020

During the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy, hospital outpatient clinics progressively decreased their activities; in March 2020 they were closed except for emergencies. During this period, the activities of the public Homeopathy Outpatient Clinic of Lucca aimed at guaranteeing therapeutic continuity to patients by means of telephone or video consultations, and searching for homeopathic medicines that best responded to early COVID-19 symptoms. In March 2020, the Complementary Medicine Working Group participated in the organization of a mission of COVID-19 Chinese experts for the online training of professionals working in the Tuscan Healthcare System. The medical staff of the Lucca Clinic also cooperated in telephone health surveillance of infected patients at home, seroprevalence investigations using the capillary blood rapid test, and the implementation of the CLIFICOL (Clinical Files Collection) project.

Why is this a regrettable development?

In my mind, there is little doubt that homeopathy has no role to play in the current pandemic. To state or imply otherwise is not just false but dangerous. It endangers the lives of millions.

Others might see it differently and argue that it is not a bad thing at all. By coming out on the side of the loons within homeopathy, the ‘flag-ship’ journal of homeopathy has done a favour to rational healthcare: it has demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that HOMEOPATHY (both the journal and the cult) cannot be taken seriously and can therefore be safely discarded to the waste-basket of medical history.

44 Responses to The journal ‘HOMEOPATHY’ has gone from bad to worse

  • Disgraceful to promote homeopathy in the pandemic as this journal has chosen to do. But the cult of homeopathy contains the notion that ALL forms of disease can be treated by its crazy dilutions – including viral infections. So, no surprise that homeopathy’s deluded proponents see fit to claim that it ‘works’ for covid-19. Let’s hope that, as Edzard suggests, the journal’s association with the ‘loons’ of the cult will see it meet its rightful demise. But maybe not, sadly. Forgive the cynicism, but I suspect that all it will take to ensure the rag’s survival is for a lot of homeopathic proponents to take up these articles, cite them in their own dubious papers, and refer to them online – both of which outcomes which I suspect are very likely, as these articles are surely a gift to homeopaths desperate for ‘validation’ of their mad modality in the face of the pandemic. The publishers will duly be delighted at the attention (manifested through citation scores and altmetrics), and thus the journal will sadly live on, to promulgate further dangerous mistruths.

    • I guess you’re the famous Kevin Smith who signed the article “Against Homeopathy.” Your paper contains a number of serious errors that should not have passed the peer review process. Example:

      “Hahnemann derived this law from a single observation involving himself”

      Anyone with a solid notion of the history of homeopathy knows perfectly well that Hahnemann did not derive his law from an experience, but from the experience of hundreds of doctors of ancient times who had accidentally discovered the law of similarity.

      “More fundamentally, there is simply no plausible or rational basis for supposing that substances that produce particular symptoms can cure the same symptoms. The assumption that ‘like cures like’ places the onus on proponents of homeopathy to elucidate the special logic involved: to the knowledge of the present author, a sat-
      isfactory account of this logic has not been made”

      Recently a paper written by Kalliantes that has been vilified but not refuted, establishes the logic you seek so much.

      “Empirically, pharmacology has demonstrated that physiological responses are dose-dependent. It is implausible to expect the opposite, namely that diluting a substance could increase its effectiveness: reducing the
      quantity of an active substance to close to zero ought to decrease, not enhance, the activity of that substance; and
      effectively eliminating the substance (as is frequent in homeopathic dilutions) ought to remove its activity. To suggest otherwise appears to run counter to fundamental logic”

      It’s amazing that an author of your stature omitted any mention of the phenomenon of hormesis, even though this is a universal biological phenomenon. I will not go further into your paper, as it contains other serious omissions and errors that a full paper would need to write.

      • Plopsie

        Recently a paper written by Kalliantes that has been vilified but not refuted, establishes the logic you seek so much.

        Much as I hate to pop your little bubble of fatuous delusion, It has been refuted, Lols my dear. Repeatedly. The paper was retracted, Pops. Retracted. Because it was demonstrable garbage. Fact.

        It’s amazing that an author of your stature omitted any mention of the phenomenon of hormesis

        Oh look. Hormesis. Another word which you read somewhere and believe lends validity to the imaginary powers of shaken water. It does no such thing. Care to explain it’s relevance to homeopathic dolphin sonar?

        • Invoking hormesis to justify homeopathy implies a misunderstanding, not only of the nature of hormesis and basic chemistry, but also of the claims (in particular the ‘law of similars’) and practice of homeopaths. As prescribed by Hahnemann in the later editions of the Organon, ‘provings’ are typically carried out using the diluted remedies. It isn’t a question of the dilution reversing the effects; a remedy is used to treat the symptoms that the diluted remedy allegedly causes.

          • Mojo,

            It isn’t a question of the dilution reversing the effects; a remedy is used to treat the symptoms that the diluted remedy allegedly causes.

            This has always seemed a bit odd to me, though my understanding is that if you take a remedy in the absence of the appropriate symptoms it will generate them (hence the utility of proving). Thus a certain amount of therapuetic trial and error might be required to hit upon the correct remedy in a specific case, and any apparent worsening of the patient’s symptoms in the meantime can be explained as a reaction to the wrong remedy.

            It is also my understanding that homeopathy differs from medicine in that the treatment chosen is based upon a constellation of symptoms and not upon a diagnosis of what is causing them. A homeopath, therefore, pays careful attention to many symptoms and other patient factors that a doctor might dismiss as irrelevant. Doctors, of course, treat the diagnosis, not the symptoms (although treatment can be aimed at alleviating distressing symptoms as well).

            By the way, many people misunderstand the meaning of the word diagnosis. It refers to what a doctor decides is wrong with the patient, based on their examination findings (in conjunction with the history and the results of any investigations). Thus a diagnosis can change when further information becomes available or when a different doctor gives their opinion.

          • This has always seemed a bit odd to me, though my understanding is that if you take a remedy in the absence of the appropriate symptoms it will generate them (hence the utility of proving). Thus a certain amount of therapuetic trial and error might be required to hit upon the correct remedy in a specific case, and any apparent worsening of the patient’s symptoms in the meantime can be explained as a reaction to the wrong remedy.

            In homeopathy, a worsening of the patient’s symptoms is termed an ‘aggravation’, and seen as an indication that the correct remedy has been selected. Again, this shows that allusions to hormesis are a little wide of the mark.

            It is also my understanding that homeopathy differs from medicine in that the treatment chosen is based upon a constellation of symptoms and not upon a diagnosis of what is causing them.

            Homeopathy has to be seen in the context of the 18th century paradigm it was a reaction to. The doctors that Hahnemann derided as ‘allopaths’ would try to administer a treatment that would oppose the symptoms the patient exhibited, and thus bring them back to a balanced state. They may have given the condition they thought the patient was suffering from a name, but they had no idea of the actual causes. Homeopathy fits right into this paradigm, but takes the opposite approach.

            As you say, it all seems a bit odd, at least in the eyes of anyone who knows anything about how medicine and biology have developed over the last couple of centuries. You have to go a certain distance down the rabbit hole…

  • Allopathic medicine admits that it has no role to play except in extremis. We are given a choice: hide in the house, wait for a vaccine, or go to die on a ventilator at the ER.

    In your mind homeopathy has no role to play. But in many previous epidemics it has been effective. That is how homeopathy reached the attention of the world through results obtained during epidemics: Spanish flu, cholera, Leishmaniasis in Cuba, etc. My personal experience was being cured of malaria during a lethal epidemic in India. Edzard will of course produce his paper that he believe refutes this.

    But I always tell clients in a serious situation, take the remedy on the way to the ER if they feel in danger. And they turn around when they experience the remedy working and dont have to check-in. No harm in trying a remedy in this manner.

    So whether you believe its the action of the remedy (which I know you dont) or whether it is psychosomatic, its better than hiding in fear and waiting with no plan of action.

    • Thanks for my morning chuckle, roger. I appreciate it. Now, go back to bed.

    • …and, dear Edzard as you say
      “In my mind, there is little doubt that homeopathy has no role to play in the current pandemic. To state or imply otherwise is not just false but dangerous. It endangers the lives of millions.

      Others might see it differently and argue that it is not a bad thing at all. By coming out on the side of the loons within homeopathy, the ‘flag-ship’ journal of homeopathy has done a favour to rational healthcare: it has demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that HOMEOPATHY (both the journal and the cult) cannot be taken seriously and can therefore be safely discarded to the waste-basket of medical history.”

      …….would you please remember your own request:

      “Please remember: if you make a claim in a comment, support it with evidence”

      …but first be shure having read this:
      https://homeopathyhelpnowglobal.com/remedy-reactions/
      ..and this:
      https://homoeopathiewirkt.wordpress.com/2020/05/21/sars-cov-2-update-21-5-20-where-are-we-currently-can-homeopathy-which-we-therapists-use-responsibly-help-when-conventional-medicine-reaches-its-limits/

      and why don´t you admit, that
      ALLOPATHIC MEDICINE has (in the acute case) nearely NOTHING TO OFFER exept ventilation??

      and why don´t you admit, that
      ALLOPATHIC MEDICINE has NOTHING TO OFFER for “post covid-syndrome”?

      why are you, in contrast to 1999*, so dishonest?
      * https://www.aerzteblatt.de/archiv/7612/Homoeopathie-Argumente-und-Gegenargumente?

      So, now, we wait 3,4,5, secands and there will be a very well-founded comment from our dear Anonymous, who, as always, is too cowardly or, given the profundity of his objections, reasonable enough, not to come out….

      • “So, now, we wait 3,4,5, secands and there will be a very well-founded comment from our dear Anonymous, who, as always, is too cowardly or, given the profundity of his objections, reasonable enough, not to come out….”

        You know me too well, my dear DOCTOR Hümmer.

        1) Arguments do not become valid by repeating them stupidly over and over again like a programmed robot.

        2) It shows only of absolute intellectual and scientific incompetence to present any selectively collected internet pages to support one’s own confirmation bias.

        And now you may once again be annoyed by my anonymity and let loose a toddler tirade. BTW, do you actually enjoy exposing yourself to ridicule over and over again?

    • Roger,

      Allopathic medicine admits that it has no role to play except in extremis.

      What on earth do you mean by that?

      What about viral swabs? Epidemiology? Contact tracing and isolation? Antibody testing as an epidemiological tool? Genetic analysis of the virus and insights as to how it is spreading? Identification of the mechanism of viral entry into cells? Research into transmission and the effectiveness of masks and hand-washing? Identification of at-risk groups and individuals and special measures these may require? Identification of different clinical syndromes associated with covid-19? Research into the immune response and how to damp it down? Debunking of unhelpful treatments such as chloroquine? Research into vaccines, some of which appear to be very promising?

      By the time a patient is in extremis there probably is very little that doctors (or anybody else) can do, but way before that point the use of CPAP and formal ventilation saves a lot of lives, and the addition of dexamethasone saves a lot more. What about supportive care of organ failure in covid-19 patients (dialysis, managing cardiac arrhythmias and viral myocarditis)?

      You don’t seem to have any idea of what doctors actually spend their time doing, and yet you dismiss all of it in one sentence.

      • What on earth do you mean by that?

        What about viral swabs? Epidemiology? Contact tracing and isolation? Antibody testing as an epidemiological tool? Genetic analysis of the virus and insights as to how it is spreading? Identification of the mechanism of viral entry into cells? Research into transmission and the effectiveness of masks and hand-washing? Identification of at-risk groups and individuals and special measures these may require? Identification of different clinical syndromes associated with covid-19? Research into the immune response and how to damp it down? Debunking of unhelpful treatments such as chloroquine? Research into vaccines, some of which appear to be very promising?

        “All right… all right… but apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order… what have the Romans done for us?” – Reg, Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

      • Is it possible the “Roger” is communicating with us through a time tunnel from the nineteenth century? 😀

        • @Björn

          I’ve long thought people such as Roger, Dana Ullman, RG and @loolipop (and others of their persuasion) live in a parallel universe. Well, perhaps it’s not exactly parallel.

    • Science-based medicine is honest about its limitations, and continues research to improve its tools and their efficacy.

      Homeopathy, in contrast, has nothing to offer for anything (beyond placebo) but is DIShonest in its claims.

      • @Sue Ieraci

        “Science-based medicine is honest about its limitations, and continues research to improve its tools and their efficacy.”
        Lady, you are so so wrong, this is the narrative that SBM is relying on to continue to promote their scams.
        SBM fails every single day of the year, in many many countries.
        SBM promotes lies that prescription meds will heal chronic illness, while they are in fact poisoning the body and creating other chronic illnesses. This poisoning would include damages well known by, but not revealed by the Pharma industry.

        I have been a witness to a doctors group at a specific and near-by hospital involved in organ harvesting…. at the expense of a friends daughter that was involved in an auto accident…… I’m quite certain it was not a isolated case …. PUKE !
        I have another friend that his wife now wears a colostomy bag because she went in for a surgery to eliminate sciatic pain. No elimination of pain, but she’s left holding the bag, but now cant control functions below the waist…. including walking. The doctor never revealed he was doing experimental surgery…. how nice. There were 26 other patients that ended up very similar. He got slapped on the wrist, a suspension of his license for six months.

        SBM performs surgeries that many times do not promote healing, while at the same time exposing patients to dangers…. not short of death. Many a unsuspecting patient has been harmed, while AMA, and doctors and their atty’s deny, refute and scam damaged patients in court.

        Please don’t promote the innocence of SBM …. there is loads of corruption. There are many a patient suffering for it. I could go on….but you get the idea.

        • RG,

          Once more you are confusing science-based medicine with profit-driven pharmaceutical companies, rogue surgeons and a broken health care system in the US.

          With regard to organ harvesting, I can’t really comment since I would imagine practice in the US differs from the rest of the world here as well. Certainly in the UK and the EU there is no question of considering organ harvesting unless the donor is dead. They may still be on life support (which keeps the organs in a usable condition) but with no brain activity after withdrawal of all sedative drugs and in spite of careful testing to elicit it.

          • @Dr. JMK

            Doc, are you smokin sumpthin ? all “profit-driven” Pharma companies claim to be basing their efficacy on Science….. wow Doc. … are you making a claim that they don’t ?

            And yes, I am referring to the US Healthcare system, that is my reality. Why would I presume to know your system…. I don’t.

  • So a journal where you were on the editorial board goes “worse” because you say so, when in reality your feeling is more because they got fired for defamation. Ernst, you’re getting deeper and deeper.

  • I recently acquired Ernst’s new book called “Chiropractic”. He only devotes one section to homeopathy and in an extremely biased. An example:

    “Today, some 500 clinical trials of homeopathy have been published. The totality of this evidence fails to show that homeopathic remedies are more than placebos.25 Yet, many patients undeniably do get better after taking
    homeopathic remedies. The best evidence available today shows that this improvement is unrelated to the homeopathic remedy per se, but the result of a lengthy, empathetic, compassionate encounter with a homeopath, a placebo-response or other factors which experts often call ‘context effects’.”

    The primary reference is https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2010/192/8/homeopathy-what-does-best-evidence-tell-us

    Considering that you had previously performed meta-analysis, it is strange that you avoided doing a global meta-analysis. In your review you comment that overall the reviews failed to provide “convincing” evidence, not lack of evidence that they are totally different issues. Another aspect of your review:

    “Many systematic reviews of homeopathy have been published outside the Cochrane database. Most arrive at similarly negative conclusions3,4,17 and, in recent years, the evidence seems to have become less and less convincing.18 Numerous authors have pointed out that the main assumptions of homeopathy are biologically implausible.19 Reviewers of basic research studies of homeopathy have noted the low quality of the data and lack of replications,20 and others have concluded that “no positive result was stable enough to be reproduced by all investigators”.21”

    “Homeopaths tend to deny this and produce lower-level evidence to the contrary”. Please Ernst, the original document SHOW a balanced view https://web.archive.org/web/20100706122344/http://homeopathy-soh.org/whats-new/research/documents/PositiveHomResearch.PDF

    The main reference is “Ernst E, editor. Healing, hype or harm? A critical analysis of complementary or alternative medicine. Exeter: Imprint Academic, 2008”, a essay where are the opinions of prominent lobbyists, including a magician like James Randi talking about medicine, philosophy and science, which is totally ridiculous.

    The reference is another book “Homeopathy: undiluted facts”. In this:

    “Some proponents of homeopathy are aware of the fact that the evidence for homeopathy fails to demonstrate its effectiveness, but insist that the data also fai lto show its ineffectiveness… Today, more than 300 such studies have been published; if we assess the totality of this evidence, we have to conclude that it fails to show that highly diluted homeopathic remedies are anything other than placebos… Several well-conducted clinical studies of homeopathy with positive results have been published. It is therefore not true to claim that there is no good trial evidence at al.”

    So, Ernst, you admit that there is high-quality evidence showing that homeopathy works better than placebo, but instead of acknowledging that there is some evidence, you erase those trials with an extrapolation based on your own value judgments of “all the reliable evidence.” What you prove is that the idea that there is no evidence is not true. My analysis of your work is completely consistent with that of Professor Robert Hahn. And in my case I don’t believe in spirits and I’m not a proponent of spirituality, so you can save the ad hominems.

  • Homeopathy (the cult) keeps adding more ideas for remedy making, one more weird than the last.
    There is no end to the inventiveness of remedy-inventors. Even nothing (Vacuum) can be used to make a supposedly useful remedy, and water diluted in water also seems to have shown indicatins for use (Aqua Nova).
    What is baffling is that anything the remedymakers can come up with, shows the most fantastic[sic] results in provings. Can anyone tell me whether there has ever been a remedy invention, that did not produce any indications for (homeopathic) use when “proved”? I have tried in vain finding a proving that resulted in the shake-diluted substance in question being rejected as useless.

    Did you know you can even buy a remedy made from vacuum cleaner dust?!

    Homeopathy must be either fantasy or fantastic. I find only homeopathic[sic] evidence for the latter.

    • Bjorn,

      Homeopathy (the cult) keeps adding more ideas for remedy making, one more weird than the last.

      So we have sunlight, moonlight, x-rays, Berlin Wall, gonorrhoeic pus… But if we can have diluted vacuum and diluted water, what about other things? Sound comes to mind – this could be music on the one hand or one of Boris Johnson’s speeches on the other.

      I once bought a bottle of wine which had storage instructions on the label, including the advice that it should be kept away from loud noises. It tasted as if it had been kept in a disco.

      • Apropos sound and homeopathy.
        I think we had a discussion here about this case, many years ago. Perhaps before you began frequenting the blog, Julian? When I first encountered his absurd website, I mailed him to check that he was a real person and this was not some practical joke. From his responses, it was immediately clear that he is completely out of harmony with the reality we experience.

        After years of investigating the subject, no new item of information about homeopathy comes as a surprise anymore. The stupidity has no boundaries.

        • After years of investigating the subject, no new item of information about homeopathy comes as a surprise anymore. The stupidity has no boundaries.

          It’s fractally wrong: the closer you look, the more wrong you find.

  • Well, the fact that the death rate in homeopathic hospitals durding the 1918 flu pandemic was between 1-2% as compared with 20-30% in conventional medical hospital should not be ignored.

    Further, according to history, homeopathy gained its greatest popularity in the 19th century due to its impressive results in treating the various infectious disease epidemics of that era, including typhoid, cholera, yellow fever, and scarlet fever. Unless you want to re-write history (which some of you tend to do!), homeopathy does have a place in the treatment of this pandemic, especially since there is no evidence to date that any conventional drug is a curative.

  • Dana,

    Well, the fact that the death rate in homeopathic hospitals durding the 1918 flu pandemic was between 1-2% as compared with 20-30% in conventional medical hospital should not be ignored

    I don’t think anybody is ignoring it. However, it is interesting to note that anybody with any training in statistics would come to a different conclusion from yours. Your post doesn’t tell us anything about the effectiveness of homeopathy in epidemics, but what it does tell us is how easy it is to be misled if you are mathematically illiterate.

  • Björn:

    I don’t need to have the same education as Dr. Hahn to come to the same conclusions. Your comment is an ad hominem.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent Comments

Note that comments can be edited for up to five minutes after they are first submitted but you must tick the box: “Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.”

The most recent comments from all posts can be seen here.

Archives
Categories