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

Yesterday, someone posted a disparaging comment about Indian research into homeopathy; he claimed that it was unreliable. I agreed, but later I thought ‘HOW ARROGANT OF ME!’. So, I decided to do a little research – actually, it turned out to be a little more than just ‘a little’.

I searched Medline for ‘homeopathy, study, India’. This resulted in 101 hits. Of these 101 articles, 31 contained data published by Indian authors providing evidence at least vaguely related to the effectiveness of homeopathy. I decided to include these in my analysis. Below I quote first the title of each paper followed by (in brackets) the sentence from the 31 abstracts that best describes the direction of the results.

  1. Multimorbidity After Surgical Menopause Treated with Individualized Classical Homeopathy: A Case Report (She was treated with individualized classical homeopathy and followed up for 31 months. She was relieved of the vasomotor symptoms and psychological disturbances of climacteric syndrome, her weight reduced, the ultrasound scan showed absence of lipomatosis/gall bladder disease/hepatic steatosis. Blood tests showed reduction of thyroid stimulating hormone and a balance in the lipid status. Individualized classical homeopathy may have a role in the climacteric syndrome and comorbidities after surgical menopause.)
  2. Therapeutic evaluation of homeopathic treatment for canine oral papillomatosis (The current study proves that the combination of homeopathy drugs aids in fastening the regression of canine oral papilloma and proved to be safe and cost-effective.)
  3. Deep vein thrombosis cured by homeopathy: A case report (The present case report intends to record yet another case of DVT in an old patient totally cured exclusively by the non-invasive method of treatment with micro doses of potentized homeopathic drugs selected on the basis of the totality of symptoms and individualization of the case.)
  4. Diabetic retinopathy screening uptake after health education with or without retinal imaging within the facility in two AYUSH hospitals in Hyderabad, India: A nonrandomized pilot study (AYUSH hospitals could provide a feasible and acceptable location for providing DR screening services.)
  5. Individualised Homeopathic Therapy in ANCA Negative Rapidly Progressive Necrotising Crescentic Glomerulonephritis with Severe Renal Insufficiency – A Case Report (A 60-year-old Indian woman was treated with classical homeopathy for ANCA-negative RPGN, and after one year of treatment, serum creatinine and other parameters indicating renal injury dropped steadily despite the withdrawal of immunosuppressive drugs; renal dialysis, which was conducted twice a week initially, was made rarer and stopped after one year. Classical homeopathy may be considered a potential therapeutic modality in severe pathologies.)
  6. Improvements in long standing cardiac pathologies by individualized homeopathic remedies: A case series (… individualized homeopathic therapy was instituted along with the conventional medicines and the results were encouraging. The changes in the laboratory diagnostic parameters (single-photon emission computed tomography, electrocardiograph, echocardiography and ejection fraction as the case may be) are demonstrated over time. The key result seen in all three cases was the preservation of general well-being while the haemodynamic states also improved.)
  7. Could Homeopathy Become An Alternative Therapy In Dengue Fever? An example Of 10 Case Studies (We present a retrospective case series of 10 Indian patients who were diagnosed with dengue fever and treated exclusively with homeopathic remedies at Bangalore, India. This case series demonstrates with evidence of laboratory reports that even when the platelets dropped considerably there was good result without resorting to any other means.)
  8. Homeopathic Treatment of Vitiligo: A Report of Fourteen Cases (In 14 patients with vitiligo treated with individualized homeopathy, the best results were achieved in the patients who were treated in the early stages of the disease. We believe that homeopathy may be effective in the early stages of vitiligo, but large controlled clinical studies are needed in this area.)
  9. An Exploratory Study of Autonomic Function Investigations in Hemophiliacs on Homoeopathy Medications Using Impedance Plethysmography (Homoeopathic medicines used as an adjunct was associated with decrease in parasympathetic modulations.)
  10. Embryonic Zebrafish Model – A Well-Established Method for Rapidly Assessing the Toxicity of Homeopathic Drugs: – Toxicity Evaluation of Homeopathic Drugs Using Zebrafish Embryo Model (Our findings clearly demonstrate that no toxic effects were observed for these three homeopathic drugs at the potencies and exposure times used in this study. The embryonic zebrafish model is recommended as a well-established method for rapidly assessing the toxicity of homeopathic drugs.)
  11. Treatment of hemorrhoids with individualized homeopathy: An open observational pilot study (Under classical homeopathic treatment, hemorrhoids patients improved considerably in symptoms severity and anoscopic scores. However, being observational trial, our study cannot provide efficacy data. Controlled studies are required.)
  12. Patients’ preference for integrating homeopathy (PPIH) within the standard therapy settings in West Bengal, India: The part 1 (PPIH-1) study (A favorable attitude toward integrating homeopathy into conventional healthcare settings was obtained among the patients attending the homeopathic hospitals in West Bengal, India.)
  13. Patients’ Preference for Integrating Homoeopathy Services within the Secondary Health Care Settings in India: The Part 3 (PPIH-3) Study (A total of 82.40% (95% confidence interval = 79.23, 85.19) of the participants were in favor of integrating homoeopathy services.)
  14. Obstetrics and gynecology outpatient scenario of an Indian homeopathic hospital: A prospective, research-targeted study (The most frequently treated conditions were leucorrhea (20.5%), irregular menses (13.3%), dysmenorrhea (10%), menorrhagia (7.5%), and hypomenorrhea (6.3%). Strongly positive outcomes (+3/+2) were mostly recorded in oligomenorrhea (41.7%), leucorrhea (34.1%), polycystic ovary (33.3%), dysmenorrhea (28%), and irregular menses (22.2%). Individualized prescriptions predominated (95.6%).)
  15. Relative Apoptosis-inducing Potential of Homeopa-thic Condurango 6C and 30C in H460 Lung Cancer Cells In vitro: -Apoptosis-induction by homeopathic Condurango in H460 cells (Condurango 30C had greater apoptotic effect than Condurango 6C as claimed in the homeopathic doctrine.)
  16. Beliefs, attitudes and self-use of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy medicines among senior pharmacy students: An exploratory insight from Andhra Pradesh, India (Pharmacy students held favorable attitude and beliefs about AYUSH use.)
  17. Integrative nanomedicine: treating cancer with nanoscale natural products (Taken together, the nanoparticulate research data and the Banerji Protocols for homeopathic remedies in cancer suggest a way forward for generating advances in cancer treatment with natural product-derived nanomedicines.)
  18. Evidence of an Epigenetic Modification in Cell-cycle Arrest Caused by the Use of Ultra-highly-diluted Gonolobus Condurango Extract (Condurango 30C appeared to trigger key epigenetic events of gene modulation in effectively combating cancer cells, which the placebo was unable to do.)
  19. Calcarea carbonica induces apoptosis in cancer cells in p53-dependent manner via an immuno-modulatory circuit (Our results indicated a “two-step” mechanism of the induction of apoptosis in tumor cells by calcarea carbonica)
  20. Post-cancer Treatment with Condurango 30C Shows Amelioration of Benzo[a]pyrene-induced Lung Cancer in Rats Through the Molecular Pathway of Caspa- se-3-mediated Apoptosis Induction: -Anti-lung cancer potential of Condurango 30C in rats (The overall result validated a positive effect of Condurango 30C in ameliorating lung cancer through caspase-3-mediated apoptosis induction and EGFR down-regulation.)
  21. The potentized homeopathic drug, Lycopodium clavatum (5C and 15C) has anti-cancer effect on hela cells in vitro (Thus, the highly-diluted, dynamized homeopathic remedies LC-5C and LC-15C demonstrated their capabilities to induce apoptosis in cancer cells, signifying their possible use as supportive medicines in cancer therapy.)
  22. Ameliorating effect of mother tincture of Syzygium jambolanum on carbohydrate and lipid metabolic disorders in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rat: Homeopathic remedy (The result of the present study indicated that the homeopathic drug S jambolanum (mother tincture) has a protective effect on diabetic induced carbohydrate and lipid metabolic disorders in STZ-induced diabetic animal.)
  23. SEM studies on blood cells of Plasmodium berghei infected Balb/c mice treated with artesunate and homeopathic medicine China (The combination of artesunate and China was found to be very effective and did not cause any alteration on the surface of blood cells as observed in SEM.)
  24. Induction of apoptosis of tumor cells by some potentiated homeopathic drugs: implications on mechanism of action (These data indicate that apoptosis is one of the mechanisms of tumor reduction of homeopathic drugs.)
  25. TDZ-induced high frequency shoot regeneration in Cassia sophera Linn. via cotyledonary node explants (Regenerated plantlets were successfully acclimatized and hardened off inside the culture room and then transferred to green house with 100 % survival rate.)
  26. Modulation of Signal Proteins: A Plausible Mechanism to Explain How a Potentized Drug Secale Cor 30C Diluted beyond Avogadro’s Limit Combats Skin Papilloma in Mice (We tested the hypothesis if suitable modulations of signal proteins could be one of the possible pathways of action of a highly diluted homeopathic drug, Secale cornutum 30C (diluted 10(60) times; Sec cor 30). It could successfully combat DMBA + croton oil-induced skin papilloma in mice as evidenced by histological, cytogenetical, immunofluorescence, ELISA and immunoblot findings.)
  27. Can homeopathy bring additional benefits to thalassemic patients on hydroxyurea therapy? Encouraging results of a preliminary study (The homeopathic remedies being inexpensive and without any known side-effects seem to have great potentials in bringing additional benefits to thalassemic patients; particularly in the developing world where blood transfusions suffer from inadequate screening and fall short of the stringent safety standards followed in the developed countries.)
  28. Effect of homeopathic medicines on transplanted tumors in mice (These findings support that homeopathic preparations of Ruta and Hydrastis have significant antitumour activity. The mechanism of action of these medicines is not known at present.)
  29. Inhibition of chemically induced carcinogenesis by drugs used in homeopathic medicine (These studies demonstrate that homeopathic drugs, at ultra low doses, may be able to decrease tumor induction by carcinogen administration.)
  30. Can homeopathic treatment slow prostate cancer growth? (The findings indicate that selected homeopathic remedies for the present study have no direct cellular anticancer effects but appear to significantly slow the progression of cancer and reduce cancer incidence and mortality in Copenhagen rats injected with MAT-LyLu prostate cancer cells.)
  31. Ameliorating effect of microdoses of a potentized homeopathic drug, Arsenicum Album, on arsenic-induced toxicity in mice (The results lend further support to our earlier views that microdoses of potentized Arsenicum Album are capable of combating arsenic intoxication in mice, and thus are strong candidates for possible use in human subjects in arsenic contaminated areas under medical supervision.)

So, 31 of 31 yield positive results and conclusions – 100%!

When I suggested that Indian research into homeopathy is suspect, I was merely speculating on the basis of reading such papers for many years. I had not seen a systematic analysis to justify my harsh judgment; in fact, I don’t think that such a review is currently available (which would make this post the first of its kind). I had no idea how true my seemingly disrespectful remark would turn out to be. There is not one paper from India that does not suggest positive findings for homeopathy. I find this truly remarkable!

You can, of course, interpret my findings in two very different ways:

  • Either you assume that homeopathy is hugely effective and works always and for everything under every experimental condition.
  • Or you conclude that Indian research into homeopathy is suspect and far from trustworthy.

If you believe the first option to be true, I fear that you must be as deluded as homeopathic remedies are diluted.

38 Responses to Homeopathy research from India is far from trustworthy, and today I can show you why

  • The ‘Calcutta Homeopathic Medical College’, the first homeopathic medical college was established in 1881. There are over 200,000 registered homeopathic doctors more than any other country in the world and at present, in India, homeopathy is the third most popular method of medical treatment.
    The market is growing at 25% a year, and more than 100 million people depend solely on this form of therapy for their health care.
    The Indian government has almost 11 000 homoeopathic hospital beds. (What a terrifying thought – homeopaths in charge in in-patients!) Medical students, regardless of whether they intend to be homoeopaths or modern medics, share the first 3 years of training.
    Under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare are Ayurveda—India’s traditional medical treatment—yoga, naturopathy, unani—a system dating back to ancient Greece, siddha, one of India’s oldest health therapies from the south, and homoeopathy. The department is known by the acronym Ayush.

    However many homoeopathic and ayurvedic doctors administer pharmaceutical drugs to their patients illegally. There are many entrepreneurs – Dr Batra says his clinics treat 130 000 people a year and his cyber clinic, which e-mails treatment plans and sends homoeopathic medicine in the post to patients, treats another 450 000 worldwide. The homoeopath is keen to break into new markets—even if national laws are designed to keep his products out. “There are 20 countries where homoeopathy is illegal. We can break real boundaries [with the online system]”, he said.

    Some of the worst nonsense is their claimed treatment of autism with homeopathy. There are many issues with the research but that doesn’t stop them claiming it as a success.
    https://aurumproject.org.au/research-about-homeopathy-for-autism/

    The standards of research are poor and are mostly performed with an eye to confirm pre-existing bias that homeopathic products work. Standards are far from rigorous and acceptance by journals has a very low bar. Criticism of homeopathy is almost blasphemous and results in furious pushback not just by trade organizations but also by the Ministry and the Government.

    One critical newspaper recently wrote:
    “ Homeopathy is growing by leaps. We have a ministry for AYUSH that, along with traditional medicine systems like Ayurveda and Unani, promotes homeopathy as a genuine medicine system. While there is now a consensus among the scientific community that homeopathy is nothing more than placebo, India continues to pursue the belief, officially as well.

    The government keeps pretending homeopathy works while many government regulators like those in the US and Russia have mandated that the medicine must carry the warning that they do not work. The problem is both KCR and Shripad Naik are spending public money on beliefs, benefits of which cannot be proven. Only felt by believers.”

    So this was a damaging European export that has ended up causing untold harm to millions of Indians in the long term. Meanwhile the Indian Government is cynically manipulating it to provide cheap and useless healthcare to the poor in much the same way as Chairman Mao did with TCM in China. That they are doing it under the name of preserving indigenous and ancient ways of healing is just duplicitous and hypocritical.

  • Conventional medical journals are full of case reports. Such case reports don’t hold as much “water” as randomized double-blind and placebo controlled trials, but they are a legitimate and important body of information and evidence just the same.

    And there are plenty of homeopathic case reports where the homeopath didn’t prescribe the correct or best medicine initially…and then, later they did…and the author reports on both failures and successes. Seems quite reasonable to me.

    • thank you Dana; fairly reasonable points – except these Indian papers are not just case reports. please show me an Indian paper on homeopathy that is not positive, if you want to dispute my point.

    • And there are plenty of homeopathic case reports where the homeopath didn’t prescribe the correct or best medicine initially…and then, later they did…and the author reports on both failures and successes. Seems quite reasonable to me.

      You mean there are plenty of case reports where the homeopath went through a range of equally useless nostrums whilst the patient recovered of their own accord.

    • @Dana Ullman
      Case reports are utterly useless(*) as evidence for the efficacy of even a single treatment, as by definition, they constitute trials with N=1. This goes for both alternative treatments and real medicine.

      Case reports can become even worse than useless when taken as evidence for a whole system of medicine, as this boils down to an utterly unwarranted generalization and the acceptance of ‘principles’ that have no basis in reality whatsoever.
      Yet this is what homeopaths routinely do: their beliefs are ultimately based on individual (and often singular) experiences, not on a solid body of scientific evidence supporting the underlying general principles.

      So here’s your homework:
      – Provide objectively verifiable evidence for the viability of the similia principle of homeopathy. This means locating or devising scientific trials that establish a link between a substance’s real-world properties in undiluted form, and similar (or inverse) properties of water from which said substance has been completely removed by dilution erm, ‘potentization’.
      This should be fairly easy – after all, even five-year-olds can prepare homeopathic ‘remedies’. Diluting and shaking things requires no intelligence or knowledge at all, and most small kids love to mess around with water like this, with an added bonus that they can subsequently play doctors with it, without any risk whatsoever. (Yes indeed, just like homeopaths do.)
      – Provide objectively verifiable evidence for the viability of the principle of potentization, i.e. the hypothesis that a homeopathic remedy becomes more efficacious the more dilute it is.
      This should be even easier than proving (pun intended) the viability of the similia principle: set up an experiment to measure the efficacy of a homeopathic remedy with a relatively low potency (e.g. D6), then dilute potentize it one more C-step and measure again. Repeat this as often as necessary to establish a trend – which, to make it very clear, should go upwards, not downwards as one would expect.
      – Provide objectively verifiable evidence for the viability of the concept of proving. This is a rather larger and more costly task, but still perfectly feasible: organize double-blind randomized provings with at least several dozen participants each, with the remedy under scrutiny being selected blindly as well from, say, a dozen or so different remedies. To make it easier, this test is already considered a success if the test persons’ journals from each group make mention of unusual yet largely similar symptoms. Bonus points can be earned if the homeopath evaluating the results can correctly identify the remedy.

      Please report back once you finished these three assignments. If done successfully, you shall not only receive credit reflecting your prowess in the field of homeopathy, but also nominations for Nobel prizes in medicine, chemistry, and physics. But please note that anyone who can follow simple instructions must be able to replicate any of these tests, regardless whether this person is a homeopath or not. So any evidence along the lines of ‘homeopaths have observed X’ is insufficient by itself.

      Good luck, and I sincerely hope that you are successful. After all, it would be absolutely wonderful if we could do away with those horrible greedy pharmaceutical companies, and have effective medicines made by enthusiastic five-year-olds with some buckets of water and a couple of cups and bottles!

      *: Case reports of course do have their uses, e.g. as a starting point for further investigation into an interesting but still largely unexplored phenomenon, or, at the other end of the spectrum, as an extra data point contributing to the knowledge about an existing phenomenon (e.g. to establish dose-effect relationships in poisonings or other things that cannot be deliberately tested for obvious ethical reasons). But in neither case do they have any value as evidence for causality.

    • What Indian homeopaths consider ethical is very different from Western homeopaths. Such as posting results of tests with patient identifiers on social media.

  • Maybe they dont publish the negative ones?
    Why doesnt John Travis just write to the Indian embassy and advise them that he knows best how to run their medical system? I prescribe Dunning-Kruger 10M for him.

    • “Maybe they dont [sic] publish the negative ones?”

      An axiom of scientific research is laying out your intended methods, materials etc in advance, then doing the research, then publishing, regardless of the outcome of the research. If this isn’t happening it creates a false perspective and is a form of bias. I believe it’s known as the ‘desk-drawer effect.
      In many ways if Indian researchers are publishing only ‘positive’ findings and hiding any ‘negative’ ones that speaks worse of them than an airy optimism and only ever seeing good in homeopathy.

      Niall

      • Everybody else of course always publishes negative trials!

        • yes, publication bias exists elsewhere too. but it’s a matter of degree. or can you show me another area of research where an entire nation has managed to avoid publishing a single negative study?

        • No, they don’t always do it. However, a large number of negative medical trials are published (I can cite, if you wish). There is also an organisation called “Alltrials” (https://www.alltrials.net/) that campaigns to have all medical trials registered, and their results published, regardless of outcome. This is part of the medical profession working hard to make itself more rigorous.

          Curiously, the same thing does not, as far as I am aware, exist for any pseudomedical (SCAM) practice like homeopathy or Ayush. If you know different, Dendra, please tell us.

    • @ Dendra

      well I think it is reprehensible that the Indian government pushes Ayush – i.e. fantasy medicine for the poorest people in their country while those who can afford it get access to health care that is the equivalent of that in the West.

      The Government, Modi, the Health Ministry all promote this fantasy system of medicine including the ridiculous nonsense that is homeopathy. Ayurveda, sidda – all of these so-called health systems are pre-scientific fantasy based care systems that have no proven medical basis.
      It is unethical and totally improper for a government to push money into these nonsense methods instead of educating the population and using the money instead to provide science based healthcare to all their people.

      Instead what they are doing is using “indigenous” and “ancient” and “culture” as a cover to excuse for providing nonsense as a cheaper and worthless form of healthcare to people in poverty. So YES I do know better that the government of India – because they are being hypocritical and duplicitous and misguided – or if they really believe in Ayush then they are criminally stupid as well!

      • Indeed yes.

        It is perhaps smewhat similar in certain African countries where the incidence of HIV infection is disastrously high, principally because of lack of commitment to marital fidelity.

        It is much easier and cheaper for governments to suggest that HIV doesn’t really exist and that people are dying from other things, than to do the two best, but difficult and expensive things: 1) Provide proper drug treatments and/or 2) change the minds and hearts of people to practice fidelity within marriage, and celibacy or condom use outside of it.

      • You remind me of a few Drs I saw in the 80s. They knew it all too.
        One good thing is that they must now all be retired.

        • do you also have something that resembles an argument?

        • @ Dendra

          you mean as distinct from the homeopathy loons who believe in the power of magically diluted water, moonbeams in a jar, saturn’s rings harnessed in a sugar cube, feeding rabid dog saliva to disturbed children,
          that water has a memory that magically “remembers” non-existent amounts of ineffective “medicaments” but equally magically forgets contact with sewage, cholera and poisons?

          crazies who worship a guy who thought up a system of “similars” and ultradilution and sucussion out of thin air with no basis in reason or empiricism and have made no progress over the past 200 years?
          who use dilutions some of which would require dissolving in a quantity of solution the size of the Atlantic Ocean or in the case of Oscillococcinum which is based of an artefact on a microscope slide and is allegedly diluted to the power of 200 – which is miraculous since there are only 10 to the power of 80 atoms in the entire known Universe!

          So I think we can safely ignore any comments coming from anyone who believes in this entirely fantasy based system of belief because they are not going to be based on reality or reason and are only likely to contain any elements of truth in the same way that a stopped clock occasionally tells the right time – by chance.

          Over the millennia governments have chosen to keep the best healthcare for the ruling classes and allow the poor to suffer the worst healthcare. Look at the US or even the UK, but it is especially prevalent in India and Africa. Mugabe was always flying out to foreign countries for his health. Do you imagine the North Korean dictator gets the same care as his plebs? Do you think Bolsonaro has to endure the same kind of care as the indigenous tribes in the Amazon? Chairman Mao never used TCM – he got only the best Western medicine could offer as did the rest of the Communist Party.

          If you believe any differently you must be even deeper down the rabbit hole than you seem. And you can bet that Modi and his adherents are not relying on bottles of useless water or sugar cubes when they want care – instead they will get the best Western trained Indian doctors available. They are not that stupid.

          • I expect that Modi gets treated by Drs trained in India. I have no evidence though regarding his medical choices. Neither do you but you talk as if you know.
            Well if any old speculation is allowed then I can pontificate as well. Maybe you are a reincarnation of Cecil Rhodes.

          • @ Dendra

            your reading comprehension is as usual sadly lacking – kindly read what I actually said:

            “instead they will get the best Western trained Indian doctors available.”
            is that sufficiently clear for you? i.e. Indian doctors who are trained in “Western” or “conventional medicine.”
            As I have stated many times on this forum India has world class hospitals and doctors trained in conventional western medicine – and they export a great many of them to the west where they work in the UK and the US and a great many other countries providing excellent medical care.

            and yes I have seen reports from reliable sources that Modi gets treatment from such sources when necessary rather than relying on Ayush – as do the vast majority of the ruling and upper castes in India. If you speak to specialists in India they will tell you this themselves – it is an open secret. There is often a public show of taking Ayush therapies to placate the masses but when it matters the ruling classes and those with money make a bee-line for “real” medicine.

            You are rather foolish to accuse me of making this up. I have spent time in India with doctors who treat these people. I have seen the conditions in Ayush hospitals. I know many doctors from the sub-continent who still have family and friends there and who are sadly aware of the caste situation which still very much exists and the the fact that the poor are forced to suffer a third rate medical system while the rich and the ruling classes are able to afford themselves of scientific medicine.

            What is wrong is the duplicity and the chicanery. The government promotion of witchcraft and fantasy based medicine for the poor and the lower castes “who are considered less worthy and less useful.”
            And this is especially heinous when India has excellent medical schools and hospitals and is actually exporting some of its best talents abroad.

            Yet there is no coherent national health strategy or system. Many if not most rural areas have no proper health care.
            Vaccination programmes, maternal healthcare and so on are erratic.
            Yet Modi is more concerned about Hindu nationalism than he is about getting adequate healthcare to all of his people.
            And instead he is happy to fob them off with sidda and homeopathy to keep them quiet – and if they, they die!

            Meanwhile homeopathy loons such as yourself are more than willing to give him a pass – because being totally ignorant of the Indian situation, and being too lazy and indifferent to educate yourself, you would rather throw ridiculous assertions about Cecil Rhodes of all people.

            As per usual your contributions are lacking in substance, irrelevant, uninformative, serve no purpose
            and you are an excellent example of the old adage “Better to keep your mouth shut and appear a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

            I rather think that people who believe in the insane fantasy that is homeopathy should be particularly aware that they are living in especially delicate glass houses before they even think about casting any pebbles……..

          • Wow you filled that hole in pretty quick John Travis. Well done.
            Wouldn’t it be fantastic if conventional medicine could be available for everyone in India. No chance of that though and I wouldn’t blame the Indian Gov as they dont have several trillion pounds a year to pay for it.
            So what do they do ? Should they ban Ayurvedic medicine for the Indian public when 100000s of westerners like myself ironically visit India for Ayuvedic treatment each year when conventional medicine doesnt work for them?
            So India will find it’s own health care solutions from consulting their own experts.

          • Is there any reliable replicated evidence that any Ayurvedic treatment works better than placebo in treating any health condition?

          • So, not for rheumatoid arthritis then, anyway….

          • @ Dendra

            once more typical of your logic – complete nonsense.

            they would have more money to spend on real medicine that works if they didn’t spend billions of rupees on useless Ayush that DOESN’T WORK!
            What is the use of pouring money down the drain? If they diverted this money instead to a useful purpose then at least it would do some good. As it is all the money they spend on Ayush they might as well flush down the toilet!

            How is it that you cannot see even the simplest truth?
            Is it because you are so bound up in your fantasy world belief system that you are unable to see simple reason and logic?
            Or do you think that the masses of the poor of India are only worthy of ineffective placebos?

          • @Dendra
            Ayurvedic ‘medicine’ is far worse than useless – it is poison that should be banned ASAP instead of promoted and used.

            If you want to fool poor, ignorant people who can’t afford real medicine with placebos, then at least choose a modality that isn’t inherently hazardous, for instance homeopathy.

            It would be preferable of course if those people would receive a proper education, including education about what constitutes real medicine, so that they can make a truly informed choice about their health.

          • @Dendra
            And oh, this caught my eye:

            Should they ban Ayurvedic medicine for the Indian public when 100000s of westerners like myself ironically visit India for Ayuvedic treatment each year when conventional medicine doesnt work for them?

            Let me get this straight: you have a chronic condition that real medicine can’t cure – so you go to India each year to have it ‘treated’ with Ayurveda?

            This sounds an awful lot like this guy I once met who claimed that he ‘cured’ his chronic airway infection with homeopathy: “I’ve using it on a daily basis for more than ten years now, and it works great!”

            Even after 30-odd years of exploring the Alternative Universe, I’m still amazed at how people manage to fool themselves (and, alas, others) …

          • I am laughing at you Richard Rasker. I have the best of both worlds. It is not my problem that you obviously haven’t got a clue about Ayurvedic medicine. Serves you right for being gullible and believing everything that you hear.
            I check things out for myself.

          • “I check things out for myself.”
            EXCELLENT!
            then do show us the evidence, please.

          • @ Dendra

            please do tell – what evidence do you have – in published peer reviewed high quality journals of double blind RCTs comparing AYUSH with conventional medicine that demonstrates that your beloved AYUSH can treat conditions that conventional medicine can’t?

            anecdotes that your aunt’s best friend’s second cousin’s next door neighbour’s dog might have had mange cured with AYUSH won’t count.
            Nor will “thousands of people go to India to get AYUSH for diseases the West can’t cure……”
            These are called ANECDOTES and are not considered evidence.

            You do the typical SCAM claim – “you don’t know anything about my special SCAM so you can’t criticize it… na na di na na!” It just so happens that I have looked into AYUSH extensively and it is the biggest load of dingoes kidneys and dog’s gonads imaginable – and that is putting it politely.
            Not least because it embraces one of the most implausible and most useless SCAMs of all time – Homeopathy!
            Appeals to antiquity and indigenous culture do not make a so-called medical system any more scientific or any more effective!

            In fact many Unani and Ayurvedic “treatments” are highly toxic. There are many papers published in Indian journals behind paywalls but see here:
            https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news/poison-in-ayurvedic-drugs/articleshow/57934912.cms

            The Supreme Court of India and the Indian Medical Association regard the Practices of Unani and Sidda as quackery.

            BTW millions of people have gone to Lourdes with much the same claims yet given the almost boundless faith of those concerned the number of “accepted” miracle cures has been miserly.
            Pilgrims have been going since 1858 – 6 million people attend every year – yet the Catholic Church accepts only 67 genuine miracle cures – which seems like pretty stringent rationing.
            If like me you examine each of these more closely you actually come up with a number 0 and a lot of wishful thinking.
            (There are of course many many thousands who claim cures but who are not officially recognised by the Catholic church.)

            One interesting question – there’s never been an amputee grow back a new limb. I wonder why?
            My point? It’s the same kind of thinking with all your pilgrims going to India looking for miracle cures from Ayush. Wishful thinking, motivated reasoning, fixed beliefs, having spent all that money, time and effort and wanting to believe it was all worth it, cultural beliefs, confirmation bias – and you keep demonstrating that you are easy prey to logical fallacies.

            So you adhere to a belief in pre-scientific systems that have zero plausibility, no tangible mechanism of action, no reliable research base and which simple common sense would dictate are highly dubious and most unlikely to be effective for any purpose.
            Yet you tout their benefits over scientific medicine for diseases where real medicine has failed – which is even more unlikely – all without one shred of evidence.

            The emperor’s new clothes much? Doesn’t any of this make you even begin to doubt your position even a little bit?
            Or are you still so bound up with the logical fallacies of appeals to antiquity, ad populum, anecdotes,”I’ve seen it for myself”, “you have to try it for yourself,” motivated reasoning, confirmation bias, etc etc that you can never see the truth?

          • @Dendra

            I am laughing at you Richard Rasker.

            For starters, glad to make you happy 🙂 (Although I suspect that your laughing at me is the all too familiar display of arrogance of believers in alternative treatments.)

            I have the best of both worlds.

            Yes, you have the apple pie and the cow pie – literally, as bovine excrements are considered essential ingredients in Ayurvedic ‘medicine’.

            It is not my problem that you obviously haven’t got a clue about Ayurvedic medicine.

            With all due respect, but you are quite wrong. Ayurveda is a system of belief; it is not a system of medicine – quite the opposite in fact: it is a system whereby people deliberately poison themselves and others with heavy metals and animal excrements, in the firm but utterly misplaced belief that those toxic substances are somehow beneficial ingredients. Don’t get me wrong, Ayurveda is quite interesting from a cultural and philosophical point of view, also given its long history. But medically speaking, it is worse than useless – just like basically all other systems of medicine predating the 1800’s.

            Here are some points to ponder:
            India’s life expectancy and general population health have always been among the lowest in the world, only to improve with the increasing adoption of real (‘western’) medicine. This is not exactly indicative of an efficacious system of medicine, and the only countries doing consistently worse are war-torn failed states in Africa. Going to India for one’s health is akin to expecting a 5-star hotel in Rio de Janiero’s favelas.
            India has a very serious problem with elevated blood lead levels, even after leaded gasoline was abandoned. The widespread use of Ayurvedic medicines is considered a major contributing factor, as the vast majority of India’s population relies on Ayurveda for their healthcare.

            Serves you right for being gullible and believing everything that you hear

            I’m afraid that you are quite wrong again. I base my opinion on solid scientific research and factual information – both supporting the notion that from a medical point of view, Ayurveda is even worse than a placebo treatment, as it is actively toxic. Before ~1800, this could be excused on the basis of ignorance and the absence of better alternatives, but these days, people really should know better than to use it as a system of medicine. But feel free to supply scientific evidence for the beneficial effects of Ayurveda – it may change my opinion if both robust and plentiful enough.

            I check things out for myself.

            So do I – and one of the things that I checked out for myself, was seeing a lady being sawn in half, and then put together again, apparently without any ill effects whatsoever. I was astounded!
            Or, to use another one of Mark Crislip’s remarkably apt quotes:
            The three most dangerous words in medicine: “in my experience”.
            Unfortunately, alternative believers and practitioners almost live their whole life by this fallacy of first and foremost trusting their own experiences, fiercely rejecting any contradictory information as soon as their belief in alternative modality X is established. I call this the delusional principle.
            It is thus not unexpected that you even fail to acknowledge the problem with poisonous ingredients in Ayurvedic medicines, let alone the fact that there is no evidence for its efficacy otherwise either.

            But still, you piqued my curiosity: what is this condition that real medicine couldn’t solve, and prompted you to visit India time and again for Ayurvedic treatment?

  • Dr M-K has elsewhere in this Blog commented on common attitudes to certain things, including standards of truth, found in India. While there is, I am sure, much good science including medical science in India, there are other less admirable facets of life there. The Indian Rationalsts Association works to combat superstition in more rural and less educated areas https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Rationalist_Association#:~:text=The%20Indian%20Rationalist%20Association%20is%20a%20voluntary%20organisation,appear%20in%20television%20and%20print%20media%20exposing%20superstitions.

    I heard some years ago a report on BBC Radio 4 about the problem of open latrines in India and the disease problems that result. It is still a huge problem there https://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/proof/2017/10/sanitation-open-defecation-india-vietnam-haiti-toilets/#:~:text=Open%20defecation%20may%20happen%20more%20often%20in%20India's,their%20buckets%20for%20their%20family's%20daily%20water%20needs.

    Interesting to compare this with an instruction given to the ancient nation of Israel: “12“You shall have a place outside the camp, and you shall go out to it. 13And you shall have a trowel with your tools, and when you sit down outside, you shall dig a hole with it and turn back and cover up your excrement”. (Deuteronomy 23) Following that instruction would make a difference in India today. Even better, of course, would be proper infrastructure with good plumbing and working, flushing toilets, and a commitment by poorly-educated people to use them.

    The whole size and structure of, and credence given to, homeopathy in India suggests to me exploitation and making a fast buck. We aren’t hearing much now about the prophylactic effects on the homeopathic medicines distrubted in Kerala against Covid, are we. And despite the prevalence of homeopthy in India for so many years, the country has the worst rates of TB and Hansens Disease in the world.

    • I had to look up Hansen’s disease, which is more commonly known as leprosy.

      I also remember taking a coach across India and when we stopped for refreshments I asked for the loo – I was directed to a small field behind the restaurant, which was quite hazardous in the dark. But it isn’t just India – in Senegal I came across a derelict building where clearly a great many people had defaecated on the floor. Toilets in many places I have been are rather strange. I have used many in Africa which are just a hole in the floor over a deep pit, one of which seemed to be fizzing. In China there is plumbing but they mostly haven’t adopted the U-bend so everything is very smelly; many of their toilets don’t have doors, either, as they are less bothered about bodily functions than we are. Nor do they use nappies – toddlers wear trousers with a slit at the back and just squat down wherever they happen to be (such as once in the waiting room of a large station, which didn’t seem to bother anybody). A friend of mine was on a bus in China when an elderly woman got out a potty and proceeded to empty her bowels into it in the aisle, holding onto my friend’s knee for support as she did so. On the other hand the high-tech toilets in Japan, with their water jets, warm air streams, and birdsong to cover any embarrassing noises, can be quite baffling to the outsider.

      • I think I will get my toilet fitted with water jets, warm air streams and birdsong!

        A couple who are friends of mine worked in Senegal for some years (and then in Congo Kinshasa and Congo Brazzeville), so I knew some of the stories. They told me of an acquaintance invited somewhere, who, shown to an open toilet and needing ‘serious business’, returned without his socks…..

        One time in France years ago, I had to use one of the squatting type toilets, for a sit-down affair, (a properly plumbed-in one, mind you) and I found it perfectly do-able, and quite comfortable. It’s quite a natural position for the purpose, giving good abdominal support. Our accommodation building in Saudi Arabia had those squatting toilets built into the wet-room floors, but also ‘proper’ toilet bowls.

        I cannot say I fancy the idea of the Chinese lady squatting in the bus. Sigh. I had heard of the open-backed trousers though. Mind you, writer Lilian Beckwith, who wrote humorous autobiographical accounts of her life after moving from England to a Hebridean island (in the 1950s I think), describes a somehwat similar arrangement, in which kiddies’ trousers had flaps built-in at the back.

        • David B,

          Lilian Beckwith, who wrote humorous autobiographical accounts of her life after moving from England to a Hebridean island (in the 1950s I think), describes a somehwat similar arrangement, in which kiddies’ trousers had flaps built-in at the back.

          Why didn’t they just wear kilts?

  • Ayush: The dream of every SCAM practioner.

    In Germany, it would then probably operate as the “Bundesministerium für Homöopathie, Schüsslersalze und Bioresonanz” (“Federal Ministry for Homeopathy, Schüssler Salts and Bioresonance”).

  • Isn’t it amazing that sets of Schussler Salts are still on sale! With homepathy in general, there have been enough turtured analyses of statistics from badly conducted studies, to perhaps fool some. But with Schussler Salts, has there EVER been even a SHRED of evidence?

  • Hmm, an interesting question!

    I think what it comes down to is that kilts were largely a VIctorian invention and a stylised form of attire for formal occasions. I don’t think the kilt was ever everyday wear for going about life’s activities anywhere.

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