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

This amazing announcement reached me via Twitter. It seems that the people in the AYUSH ministry are highly delusional. According to Wikipedia, the Ministry of AyurvedaYogaNaturopathyUnaniSiddha, Sowa-Rigpa and Homoeopathy (abbreviated as AYUSH) is purposed with developing education, research and propagation of indigenous alternative medicine systems in India. As per a recent notification published in the Gazette of India on 13 April 2021, the  Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy), will now be known as the Ministry of Ayush.

India is suffering from a very severe health crisis, and the ministry should stop its propaganda for useless solutions.

  • Ayurveda,
  • Homeopathy (considered to be indigenous in India),
  • Yoga,
  • Naturopathy,
  • Unani,
  • Sidda,
  • Sowa-Rigpa (the traditional medicine of Tibet)

have in common that they can offer very little help to patients infected by COVID-19. In view of this fact, the announcement is ununderstandable and irresponsible, in my view.

29 Responses to The ‘AYUSH COVID-19 Helpline’: have they gone bonkers?

    • Um, so sorry Heinrich (you don’t mind if I call you Heinrich, do you?), but the ‘evidence’ that you contribute for your propaganda appears to be the propaganda itself, written by you.
      And do I see a Windows 95 screenshot there? Oh dear oh dear … Homeopathy even fails to make progress in terms of computer use … What a mess …

      But on the subject of homeopathy: have you done your homework yet? By which I mean acceptable evidence for the existence of
      – the similia principle,
      – the law of infenitesimals, and
      – the viability of the proving.

      These principles are said to be the three foundational pillars on which all of homeopathy is built – yet there is not a shred of scientific evidence for the viability of even one of them.

      So until you (or any homeopath) come up with this evidence, your occupation is exactly the same as what my stepdaughter and her friends did when she was 6 years old: doing ‘witchcraft’ and ‘magic’ by brewing up all sorts of ingredients and giving them a good shake, after which the family was dared to take a taste.
      I played along of course, pretending to be sick, and (listen up, as this should sounds familiar) then got magically cured by her remedies! Or, even better, I would take a little sip, roll my eyes and start running around going AAARGHARGHARGH, and then lay there in the grass, twitching and gibbering, to the huge amusement of all present. After which another ‘remedy’ fixed it of course.

      But wonderful as those days were, my stepdaughter has now grown up to be a very smart, sensible person.
      When will you?

      • Richard,
        Thank you for the amusing stories. Same with me and my grand-children.
        With you, I have the feeling that you deal seriously and honorably with homeopathy and that you can largely do it without “ad hominem” attacks. But sometimes I get the feeling that you are secretly fascinated by homeopathy, but that your training forbids you to believe in it.
        A few prejudices or information gaps in your case could be closed:
        1) the study situation on the evidence of homeopathy is almost identical to that of conventional medicine (data can be provided if you want)
        2) For me, the only thing that counts is the simile principle (which you can find everywhere in nature), the medical provings are unreliable and the law of infenitesimals is not essential
        3) In this respect, I continue to develop homeopathy like any other medical therapy and feel free from any dogmas or questionable laws.
        3) And yes, don’t worry, I have an “ancient” laptop (with no connection to internet) on which only the homeopathy repertorisation runs, which is regularly updated by me, as you can see in the sections on vaccine side effects (hue) .. next to it 2 more with current windows programs. …

        • @Dr. Heinrich Hümmer

          With you, I have the feeling that you deal seriously and honorably with homeopathy and that you can largely do it without “ad hominem” attacks.

          Thank you. I try to make a point of distinguishing between a person and the things that they do and believe. I also try to understand why people believe all sorts of things that I don’t. That being said, I often still have to take a deep breath and calmly count to ten to avoid calling people names because of their attitude (arrogance and blindness to simple facts are some traits that I find hard to deal with in a respectful manner). And I sometimes fail at that.

          But sometimes I get the feeling that you are secretly fascinated by homeopathy, but that your training forbids you to believe in it.

          You are right about the first part: I was fascinated by homeopathy, and not even secretly, already from when I was 14 years old or thereabouts. But I was also hugely fascinated by lots of other things that could increase my knowledge about how the world worked, as well as the organisms in that world – physics, chemistry, medicine, maths, electronics(*) … but also paranormal phenomena. I devoured everything and anything about those subjects that I could get my hands on (I even got my parents to purchase an expensive medical encyclopaedia when I was 12 years old).
          The ‘problem’, however, was that I started asking lots of questions that remained unanswered for quite some years. And on of these questions about homeopathy was this one: if it really is so childishly simple to make effective medicines from almost anything, then why isn’t homeopathy used ubiquitously? Why is it hardly even mentioned in any books about medicine? And why have my own experiments(**) in this area all failed miserably, even when my experiments in the far more complex subject of electronics and chemistry were often successful? The answers slowly started emerging after I went to university, and got access to the university’s library – which was a nerd’s paradise after the necessarily limited scope of our small village library (this was in the 80’s, so before the Internet): there is no scientific basis at all for homeopathy. The three base principles from Hahnemann’s time have never been observed and independently replicated, let alone proven (which is why I keep asking you for that evidence), and any ‘literature’ beyond that consisted of rambling reports from individual homeopaths with very shaky scientific content, which contradicted each other more often than not. Quite a few of those papers even were internally inconsistent (e.g. claiming that during a proving, certain symptoms were evoked in a person, but one page further on exactly the opposite was claimed in exactly the same person – e.g. that this person reported agitation and anxiety – but also showed signs of lethargy and indifference).
          To make a long story short: from the age of 30, my conclusion became inevitable that homeopathy was 100% fallacious, and I shifted my focal point to its believers and practitioners: why do people keep believing things that have no evidence at all, and are even factually impossible in the view of what we know about chemistry and physics? Why can’t (and won’t) these people apply Occams razor, which provides simple and elegant explanations why homeopathy may appear to work? Why don’t they simply accept that their beliefs are incorrect?

          So yes, I am still somewhat fascinated by homeopathy, but not in the way that you suggest. I know that it doesn’t work. The only remaining fascination is with the mindset of its believers. And no, my training has not ‘forbidden’ me to believe in it. I simply searched for explanations how things worked, and (when it came to homeopathy and other pseudoscientific subjects) evidence that it worked, period. Which up until this day I haven’t seen.

          I continue to develop homeopathy like any other medical therapy

          I am afraid that you are once again misleading yourself here. The development of medical therapies involves more than just one person trying things out with perhaps a dozen or so test subjects in a non-randomized and non-blinded manner (or else I am curious on how you do perform your experimental validation). Your results are most likely meaningless and thus prone to interpretation in any conceivable way – including erroneous ways (e.g. “It works!”).
          But I am open to discussion on the design of trials and experiments, and how you get the most realistic results.

          Anyway, this has become a lengthy response already, so I’ll keep it at this – but as I try to fathom the mindset of homeopaths etc., I think it is only fair to tell you how I came to think about these things, and that takes a bit of explaining.

          *: My work as a biomedical electronics engineer probably explains why I keep insisting on proper evidence: every single day, I am confronted by the fact that I need to work within the constraints of physical and chemical laws. When I mess up a design, even by a tiny detail, it simply does not work properly, and no amount of hand waving or invocation of esoteric ‘energy’ can fix that. It only works if I fully comply with scientifically proven principles – every single day, with no exceptions.

          **: I once tried to make a ‘remedy’ from stinging nettles (Urtica dioica), as I grew up in a rural environment, and regularly came into contact with these plants when roaming the woods and fields. To my knowledge, I did everything right, from mashing up the plants and creating a mother tincture to laboriously performing the dilute-‘n-shake ritual using a lot of clean medicine bottles and clean water. It didn’t work at all: after deliberately brushing my forearm against a nettle, I got quite a painful rash that only subsided after a day or two, even though I immediately took the ‘remedy’. And the ‘remedy’ still didn’t work either on subsequent accidental exposures. Yes, homeopaths no doubt can come up with a thousand things that I did wrong, but for me, this (haha) proved homeopathy wrong already.

          • Thanks for the friendly and detailed answer. In view of the astonishing reactions, I too often doubted whether what I thought I was seeing was just a (self) deception. But after many effects that have accumulated in 35 years far beyond the possible placebo effect, and after scientifically precisely documented case histories, my own doubts increasingly fall silent.

            And yes: Homeopathy is very “error-prone”, very dependent on subjective observations and methods, unfortunately, sometimes slips into quackery, is partially paralyzed by old dogmas and very often also not successful and simply not really explainable given the current state of science …..But when the remedy is right, it is often like a miracle ..
            https://wordpress.com/view/homoeopathiewirkt.wordpress.com

          • @Dr. Heinrich Hümmer
            First of all I am pleased too that we can have a discourse in a polite and even respectful manner, even when seriously disagreeing on the subject at hand.

            But after many effects that have accumulated in 35 years far beyond the possible placebo effect …

            Which straight away prompts me to ask how you can distinguish a ‘genuine’ placebo effect from any effects from homeopathic treatments? Have you treated groups of patients with placebos only? Or even better, have you carried out randomized double-blind trials with placebo vs. verum? If not, then the quality of your observations is almost by definition insufficient to base any conclusions on. My personal guess is that you merely have become quite good at eliciting placebo responses and getting positive feedback from your customers.

            … and after scientifically precisely documented case histories, my own doubts increasingly fall silent.

            And here too, there is an obvious fallacy, i.e. that you accumulated lots of positive case reports, with far less or even no negative ones (and the latter are also easier forgotten than the former ones). Apart from the fact that case reports are not considered proper evidence by scientists(*), simple human logic dictates that positive cases are far more likely to be documented and widely disseminated than negative cases. (Although this is also a serious problem in real science.)

            Please don’t get me wrong: I don’t think that you are a con artist who knowingly wants to trick people. But I do think that your successes with people seeking your help are not based on actual effects of homeopathy, but rather on ‘people skills’ that you developed, mostly in a subconscious way. Many people in the ‘service’ business have this skill: they make people who have a problem feel good, and not (only) by fixing their problem, but also by being compassionate and showing that they understand the problem. Or in other words: a good car mechanic fixes your car. A brilliant car mechanic makes you even feel good about paying the repair bill.

            *: This is not to say that case reports are useless – the often provide useful extra information on an already proven, existing phenomenon. E.g. a lot of knowledge in the field of toxicology is based on case reports, if only for the obvious reason that you can’t go around deliberately poisoning people to see when they get really sick and die.

    • Germany’s No.1 chief lobbyist for homeopathy, Jens Behnke, outed himself as an opponent of vaccination and supports corona deniers.

      “Chief lobbyist and spokesman for the Carstens Foundation @JensBehnkeDE:
      ☑ ‘dieBasis’
      ☑ Vaccination opponents
      ☑ Subversion fantasies
      ☑ Corona denier rhetoric
      ☑ Self-stigmatization as resistance fighters and comparison with victims of the Nazi regime

      The @Carstens Foundation is a non-profit.
      No punchline.”

      https://twitter.com/skt_johann/status/1396137027247214593

      You maintain a great society, Heinrich.

  • The ‘AYUSH COVID-19 Helpline’: have they gone bonkers?
    How can you say that doctor? Ever since I adopted the AYUSH advice of cow dung applied externally with crushed raw garlic both externally and internally I have been fine and it seems to help with social distancing.

    P.S. the cat seems to be getting used to it.

    • Ever since I adopted the AYUSH advice of cow dung applied externally with crushed raw garlic both externally and internally I have been fine and it seems to help with social distancing.

      I think you may have invented antisocial distancing.

  • General advice from AYUSH:
    Boil Shake water before drinking it
    Avoid Promote ingestion of lead, mercury, and arsenic.
    Don’t step in the Cover yourself in cow dung
    – Pray that you will survive – not so much Covid-19, but primarily the ‘advice’ of AYUSH.

  • Ministry of Ayush repurposed an old anti-malaria drug to fight covid-19. Is this India’s hydroxychloroquine moment?

    https://www.dnaindia.com/health/report-all-about-ayush-64-polyherbal-drug-found-useful-in-treating-mild-to-moderate-covid-cases-2888760

    They are distributing it free: https://www.livemint.com/science/health/ayush-64-key-things-to-know-the-ayurvedic-drug-to-treat-covid19-11620700166799.html

    BJP, the current ruling party of India took a lot of flak for their bungled response to the ongoing pandemic. Ayush 64 is their gift to the suffering masses and to prop up their dear leader’s (Modi) ratings.

  • Lots of people r seeing with open eyes

    India was using Homoeopathy / Ayurveda etc for prophylaxis . India had the lowest or so per million cases/ fataliy

    Then in comes the vaccine . . .sometime beginning of 2021. people were in ecstacy. great celebrations. Everyone {or almost) man and woman , child and adult stopped all kinds of prophylaxis.

    Back comes a surge like the one in USA or even worse. Anyone scientific out there. please explain

    Anyway the prophylaxis Homoeopathy et al seems to have come back .Ayush,which was in the back ground for quite sometime, is back in the picture. That s how people has seen it again

    • @Santra
      What a wonderful story! Did you make this up all by yourself?
      No, ayurveda and homeopathy don’t work, not as a cure and not as prophylaxis. And no, people didn’t all of a sudden stop using these things when vaccinations started. You just made this up on the spot.
      One important reason why India has a relatively low case-fatality rate is that India has a relatively young population. And one important reason why cases surge in the past few months is the spread of more contagious mutations of the virus.
      At this point in time, only some 10% of India’s population is vaccinated, so unfortunately, it will be some time before we can expect a decline.

      Homeopathy and ayurveda play no role in this, other than as a sort of placebo to give people a false sense of protection – and also note that the same pattern also shows in other developing countries, e.g. in Africa, where homeopathy and ayurveda aren’t used at all.

      • To Richard Rasker and the all less fortunate people who would never have seen an emergency Covid 19 ward in a Homoeopathy Hospital. Docs proudly working without PPE kit and some without mask also. . . .

        The language spoken by the docs is an indian language . Please read comments also.
        It is not from a movie, but live from India

        https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=773990520174755&id=100026914433223&sfnsn=wiwspwa

        • @Santra
          Homeopathy is a belief system(*), a 100% placebo treatment that does nothing for Covid-19 patients except perhaps make them temporarily feel good.
          And no, a facebook story does not constitute scientific evidence.

          Just think about it: if homeopathy would work as claimed, then
          – why isn’t it used extensively all over the world? Why is it only used on a larger scale in India? (Answer: because it is state-sanctioned, and THAT is basically because fooling people with shaken water as a ‘medicine’ is far cheaper than giving them real medicine. And of course because nationalistic groups have appropriated homeopathy as a kind of sacred cultural heritage of India, next to ayurveda.)
          – why is the public health situation in India worse than in most other countries (even before Covid-19)? If homeopathy and ayurveda work so well, why are Indians traditionally struggling with lots of diseases we have almost forgotten here in the west, resulting in higher child mortality and a lower average life expectancy?

          *: Elsewhere in the world there are other groups who practise varying versions of faith medicine. None of them actually work – on the contrary, they regularly kill people.
          I am fully convinced that public health in India would improve notably if they replaced all this homeopathic quackery with real medicine. Yes, I acknowledge the fact that India is still relatively poor, and can’t afford full-blown public health systems like the ones we have here in the Western world – but that is no excuse to fool people into believing that shaken water is an effective medicine

          • pl not to worry

            It was not a face book post that was intended.

          • “Just think about it: if homeopathy would work as claimed, then
            – why isn’t it used extensively all over the world? ”

            If learning to swim, can save a person who falls in a river or lake or even the sea, why does nt everyone learn to swim ?

            Same reason

          • If learning to swim, can save a person who falls in a river or lake or even the sea, why does nt everyone learn to swim ?

            Here in the Netherlands (with lots of open water) everyone indeed learns to swim at a young age, for exactly the reason that you mention.

            Same reason

            Nope, not even close. There is not a shred of scientific evidence that homeopathy is effective beyond placebo for treating anything. OTOH, it is 100% certain that the ability to swim is quite effective in preventing drowning.

          • So u think swimming is not scientific? Has it been proved scientifically?

      • The name is NAIMINATH Homoeopathic Medical college. Anyone can do a search on the net

        • Naiminath Homoeopathic Medical College, Hospital and Research Centre
          QUOTE
          About US

          Naiminath Homoeopathic is the pioneer in the field of Homoeopathy in the world.N.H.M.C is india’s first N.A.B Accredited Homoeopathic Hospital. The Hospital offers treatment for every ailment and is affordable.The Hospital has successfully treated over 1089 cases of cancer,cured over 2000 cases of diabetes,over 5200 cases of Rheumatoid Arthritis ,over 1500 cases of Psoriasis ,more than 2000 cases of chronic renal failure and nearly 8000 cases of hyperthyroidism.

          To Provide world class education and treatment ,this 75 bedded Homoeopathic Hospital(biggest among the entire Homoeopathic Institutions in Uttar Pradesh ) is functional since 4 jan.2008 where more than 500 patients visit the outdoor Department every Day and above 40 patients are present in the Indoor Department.

          http://naiminath.org/about-us/
          END of QUOTE [Retrieved 2021-05-26]

          • @Pete Attkins
            Um, you HAVE read the red banner at the top of this page? Because what I see here a is lot of shameless propaganda for quackery, without ANY credible evidence.

            The Hospital has successfully treated over 1089 cases of cancer,cured over 2000 cases of diabetes,over 5200 cases of Rheumatoid Arthritis ,over 1500 cases of Psoriasis ,more than 2000 cases of chronic renal failure and nearly 8000 cases of hyperthyroidis

            You know, the funny thing is that I can’t find ANY evidence corroborating these claims. No research papers, no articles, nothing – the only place where I can find these numbers are on the Web pages of this institution. And neither can I find information on any staff working there, what their background or education is, what their specialism is, or even how many staff they have.

            But OK, for the sake of the argument, let’s assume for a moment that the above numbers are somehow true. If my tally is correct, this ‘hospital’ successfully treated some 20,000 patients with sometimes very serious conditions. Sounds good.
            Then there are some more numbers, apparently intended to impress us even more:

            this 75 bedded Homoeopathic Hospital … is functional since 4 jan.2008 where more than 500 patients visit the outdoor Department every Day and above 40 patients are present in the Indoor Department

            So they are visited by 500 outpatients per day for the past 13 years. In total, that would make well over 2 million patients over that period.
            This sounds quite impressive – until you realize that only 20,000 of those patients were successfully treated, or just one in every hundred patients.

            This is a truly horrible score, even disregarding the fact that the above claims of success are almost certainly untrue. Then again, those 500 outpatients per day are probably a lie as well. Most hospitals this size receive on average 150-200 outpatients per day.

            Then there’s this hilarious bit of information: go to https://naiminath.org/college/infrastructure/ and scroll down to Laboratories:
            “Pride of Naiminath Homoeopathic Medical College is the magnificent laboratories. These laboratories provide state of the art facilities and are not only large or big in terms of space and size but also lavishly equipped with all instruments, specimens, models, charts, etc.”
            And then the picture shows rudimentary chemistry class equipment that may have been in vogue around 1900 … (here’s a larger version: https://naiminath.org/college/gallery/ – and oh, in some of the other photographs I recognize an old acquaintance: a notorious Dutch quack against whom I once filed complaints for offering ‘homeoprophylaxis’ and dissuading parents to vaccinate their children by lying to them that real vaccines can cause brain damage).

            And of course there is no evidence at all that homeopathy is good for anything, least of all diabetes or cancer.

            If the Indian Health Authority has any good sense whatsoever, they should immediately close down this snake pit of quackery and deception.

          • Richard,

            Many thanks for your observations, which are quite similar to my thoughts as I read the appalling claims.

          • Richard,

            the picture shows rudimentary chemistry class equipment that may have been in vogue around 1900

            Surely for homeopathy that is state of the art…

          • @Pete Attkins
            Ah, I believe I owe you an apology for thinking that you were actually helping this propaganda spread, instead of showing it as an example of egregious quackery … Let’s chalk this down as a case of Poe’s Law

      • “and no, people didn’t all of a sudden stop using these things when vaccinations started. You just made this up on the spot.”

        Not really. An organisation which did this last time extensively, said that they did not do it during the second wave. And every one (or almost) around says that the Health people have nt being supplying since then . . . it is as if it is the sole responsibility of the health people to supply it . People who at the drop of a hat rushes to the hospital. . . in this case will do it only if pampered by the health people. That s a truth

        So i did not make up the story.

        But now the distribution has started over the past 2-3 weeks. Let s see what happens and whether the “spread of more contagious mutations of the virus.” can be handled

    • Oh boy! I don’t have enough time in my day to verify all the evidence you provided to substantiate the claims you are making!

    • If you choose your evidence selectively enough you can make it fit any narrative.

  • Thank u. That was great

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