Guest post by Richard Rasker
Author’s disclaimer: this article is mostly based on the situation in the US, but also applies to many other countries as well, at least in part. Also, corrections are welcome, as I have not been able to find information on all legal details mentioned here. My apologies in advance for any inaccuracies or untruths. These will be corrected if signalled.
Homeopathy has been around for well over 200 years now. Despite the fact that it has been thoroughly debunked by science as a legitimate form of medicine already as early as 1835 (and many, many times more since then), and is based on principles that fly in the face of basic laws of chemistry, physics, and even logic, it still has quite a lot of practitioners and followers. And despite the fact that there is not a single homeopathic ‘remedy’ with proven efficacy for even one condition, homeopaths keep claiming that it is a very effective form of medicine. In fact, quite a few practitioners even maintain that their treatments are better than regular medical treatments, which are often dismissed as ‘allopathy’, and ‘just suppressing symptoms’, whereas they themselves claim to ‘treat the root cause of diseases’. And yes, this not only sounds arrogant, it is arrogant.
Where does this arrogance come from? How can these people keep on making claims that have been proven false countless times already? And why are they allowed to pretend that they are a kind of doctor, even if many of them have no medical training whatsoever?
It turns out that homeopaths not only think that they are special, but that in many countries, they indeed enjoy quite a few what I would call Peculiar Perks and Privileges:
• Homeopaths are allowed to treat people suffering from medical complaints without having received any medical training whatsoever.
• Homeopaths are exempt from most of the rules that real doctors are subject to. E.g. homeopaths do not have to bother with things like keeping medical records; they are not obliged to register anything about their patients conditions, treatments, or treatment outcomes.
• Homeopaths, unlike real doctors, are not legally obliged to keep up with the current state of medical science – quite the contrary, in fact: homeopaths are allowed to treat patients in ways that fly in the face of modern science, and are instead based on ancient belief in (sympathetic) magic.
• Homeopaths are not accountable to anyone or any organization with regard to their activities and professional conduct. Even when patients in their care suffer harm, they are almost never disciplined. (And real doctors are usually expected to clean up the mess.)
• Homeopaths are allowed to lie about their ‘remedies’, e.g. they can claim that it contains an ‘active ingredient’ that is completely absent.
• Homeopathic preparations can be legally registered, sold and marketed as medicines without any testing of efficacy and safety whatsoever.
• European law even goes one step further: member states are required to register homeopathic preparations as medicines without requiring any evidence of therapeutic efficacy. This is bizarre, as the same EU laws demand that real medicines must have proven efficacy before they can be registered. In effect, EU law gives homeopathy the explicit privilege to lie to its customers about the efficacy of their ‘medicines’.
So yes, homeopathy must be Very Special indeed to have all these privileges! And it is therefore quite understandable that many homeopaths think of themselves as healthcare professionals. Yet in spite of this, many homeopaths are not quite satisfied, and crave the ultimate prize: official recognition of homeopathy as a part of real medicine.
I argue that this is an excellent idea, under one condition: if homeopaths want to be regarded as real medical professionals, then they should also be held to the same standards as medical professionals. This means that homeopathic preparations should only be approved as medicines after providing proper scientific evidence of both safety and efficacy. Also, homeopaths should no longer be allowed to treat patients without receiving any medical training. Instead, they should be educated to the same standards as other doctors before being allowed to practice their medicine.
So I really hope that homeopaths get what they want: the same rights and obligations as real doctors. Let’s see how long they last if they actually have to demonstrate the viability and benefits of their diagnoses, remedies and treatments!
But joking apart, at the very least the bizarre privileges for homeopathy should be abandoned, and lawmakers should re-evaluate the rationale (or rather the lack thereof) behind these privileges, which are as archaic and outdated as homeopathy itself.
An important point of action therefore would be to properly educate those lawmakers and legal institutions about the medical and scientific consensus on homeopathy, as these organizations still base a lot of their views and decisions on the long-refuted principles of homeopathy. In doing so, it should be emphasized that not only does modern science not support any of the premises of homeopathy, but that in well over 200 years, homeopathy itself has never come up with even one(!) ‘remedy’ for which there is actual evidence of efficacy in a properly conducted scientific trial.: In the US, the only requirement for approval of a homeopathic preparation as a medicine is that a group of homeopaths (the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia Convention of the United States(**)) gives a particular preparation their blessing. However, this decision is solely based on a declaration from the manufacturer of the product that a so-called ‘proving’ has taken place, which means that a dozen or so healthy people have taken the product and recorded any unusual ‘symptoms’ they experienced. Homeopaths believe that this preparation can then treat sick people with similar symptoms. This is nothing short of insane, for more than one reason:
• This ‘proving’ proves nothing at all, as it involves no patients and no illness whatsoever. If any pharmaceutical company would test their products in this way, they would be forced to close their business immediately.
• There is not a shred of evidence that what makes healthy people feel ill can cure sick people. Give a healthy person poison, and he will get sick. Give a sick person poison, and he will get even sicker – regardless of the actual symptoms caused by the disease or the poison.
• The whole concept that a homeopathic preparation can cause symptoms in healthy people, yet cure those symptoms in sick people is in fact extremely silly. Just think about it: according to homeopaths, if you give a healthy person Remedy X, they then would get all sorts of symptoms associated with that remedy. But now comes the million-dollar question: how do you cure these people after they developed these symptoms? Well, you give them Remedy X again of course!
**: Recently, the Center for Inquiry has filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information act to obtain access to the so-called Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS). The HPUS is a register listing all homeopathic preparations that have been granted the legal status of medicine, complete with all details about those preparations. However, even though the HPUS is highly important from a legal and medical point of view, it is not publicly accessible, with access costing up to $15,000 per year.: Many legal organizations still appear to listen primarily to homeopaths rather than to scientists. E.g. in this editorial, the old and long discredited myths about the viability of homeopathy are repeated verbatim:
“By way of background, homeopathy is the practice of treating symptoms with very small doses of substances that have produced similar symptoms in healthy subjects, and it is based on the principle that “like cures like.” In one sense, homeopathic medicine is the grandfather of vaccines and allergy shots, which are based on the same principle. Homeopathy is a system of medicine that has a well-established framework for demonstrating the effectiveness of products; in particular, effectiveness is shown using “provings,” a procedure employed in healthy individuals to determine the dose of a drug sufficient to produce symptoms.”
As long as legal and official organizations ignore science and blindly follow homeopathy’s misleading explanations and information, homeopathy will keep its undeserved privileges (and also note that ‘privilege’ literally means “[its] own law”)
The link “in this editorial” is broken.
Les, Here’s the URL:
Yeah right…sadly, Richard’s entire premise is based on his own misunderstanding of history and a low level assessment of the history of research on homeopathy.
He starts with an assertion that a 1835 “study” on homeopathy “proved” that it didn’t work. This “study” wasn’t conducted by a medical doctor or a scientist. It was conducted by a journalist who already was a skeptic and an antagonist to homeopathy. According to historians, reports about the study suggest that it resembled a séance rather than a sober scientific experiment. (Michael Emmans Dean, The Trials of Homeopathy. Essen, Germany: KVC Verlag, 2004.)
Clinical trials showing the efficacy of homeopathy have been published in the Lancet, BMJ, Pediatrics, Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, Cancer, The Oncologist, Rheumatology, and many others. Further, the best studies that had both internal and external validity have shown benefits from homeopathy in randomized double-blind trials. And of the four government-sponsored reviews of research on homeopathy, the highest standards of scientific review have found significant benefits of homeopathy, as compared with placebo: https://www.cureus.com/articles/62105-an-analysis-of-four-government-funded-reviews-of-research-on-homeopathic-medicine Whenever meta-analyses are deemed to be “junk science,” they showed that homeopathy didn’t work, but GIGO pervades such evaluations.
Further, this new metaanalysis showed benefits from homeopathic Arnica after reviewing 23 publications:
This review of Arnica echoed an earlier review of Arnica from two surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic:
Knackstedt R, Gatherwright J., Perioperative Homeopathic Arnica and Bromelain: Current Results and Future Directions. Ann Plast Surg. 2019 Nov 19. doi: 10.1097/SAP.0000000000002043 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31800557
And so, when one has a shallow understanding of history and when one ignores large bodies of evidence from the peer-review literature, it is no wonder that Richard’s limited knowledge base (and his own biases) blind him to what history and science actually show.
There are GOOD reasons that every survey ever conducted on WHO utilizes homeopathic medicines has shown that the more educated people are, the more likely they are to use homeopathic medicines.
Try again, Richard, but do something more substantial than this flimsy shallow dive.
Mr Ullman, I would appreciate it very much if you could take a moment to name the laboratory that can distinguish homeopathic water from other water, which you said it would be “no problem” to do.
You said you had already done so, but actually you have not. I am labouring under the mental opprobrium of being labeled as among “fools or liars” by your goodself, and am anxious to resolve this dissonance.
Thank you for your time.
Twenty-second time of asking.
These were almost all superseded by later, more extensive reviews that concluded that there were no effects beyond placebo – see the statements on homeopathy of several major academies of science. Also, none of those results could reliably be replicated by independent researchers, and virtually all results had only a tiny effect size – which means that any effects observed were most likely the result of errors, bias or statistical noise.
So please explain why, in even more than 200 years, do homeopaths still fail to come up with even ONE ‘remedy’ with a strong, proven efficacy? And by this I mean that real, competent scientists (not homeopaths) can reliably replicate the results that homeopaths claim to find. And can you name one homeopathic ‘medicine’ on the market with sufficient evidence of efficacy to be sold with an indication(*)? Or can you name even one homeopathic ‘medicine’ that is regularly prescribed by real doctors who are not homeopaths? And why do you claim that science supports the viability of homeopathy when all reputable scientists vehemently deny this? I’d almost say that you are not telling the truth here …
Anyway, this post is not so much about the well-established fact that homeopathy is a placebo, but about the fact that homeopaths enjoy bizarre privileges that no actual medical professional or pharmaceutical company has. Don’t you find it strange that homeopathic preparations can be registered as a medicine without any testing whatsoever? And no, ‘proving’ ≠ testing, as this silly ritual involves no patients and no diseases at all.
* : This is in fact the only limitation placed on homeopathic ‘medicines’ in most western countries: they may only be sold with an indication when efficacy for that particular indication has indeed been proven in a proper scientifically conducted trial, just like the trials required for real medicines. To the best of my knowledge, there is not a single homeopathic preparation that is sold with an indication. Why do you think this is?
Just think about it: it would give homeopathy’s reputation an enormous boost if one of their ‘medicines’ could indeed obtain this official recognition of efficacy.
And to put things in a bigger yet more personal perspective: I would find it absolutely wonderful if you could turn ordinary water that has once been in contact with some substance or other into an effective medicine by just shaking and diluting it. But alas, it not only sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true, and there are lots of reasons why this is the case, only a few of which are mentioned here.
Ooooo…how embarrassing! First, you claim that there is no single homeopathic medicine for which there is proven evidence from independent researchers…and I provide TWO such reviews…one with 26 studies!
And yet, you claim that there are “more recent” studies that prove otherwise. Hmmm…one meta-analysis on Arnica was published in December, 2021. Please provide a reference to a more recent study.
Thanx for verifying that you’re deaf, blind, and very dumb…and oh, actually very blind. My most sincere condolences.
And there is no irony to the fact that there are still no long-term studies on Covid vaccines…and yet, people here follow the Big Pharma cult. And it is no wonder that the CDC has not allowed a CDC Senior Scientist, William Thompson, who has admitted that he and his colleagues falsified data in an MMR study and there WAS a significant effect from the MMR vaccine on black children. But continue to blind your eyes and continue your racist rantings that hurt black children every day.
If you could spare a moment to name the laboratory that can distinguish between homeopathic water and other water, that would be most helpful.
Twenty-third time of asking.
Pick your number, Dana. Pick the number (1 to 23) from this list of IIT laboratories.
Easy! It’ll save DaveB having to ask you again.
Thank you for posting this again, Alan. Lenny did suggest that it was number 2 on the list:
Professor Subhasis Chaudhuri
Department of Chemical Engineering and Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering
Adi Shankaracharya Marg
But Mr Ullman has not yet confirmed whether that is the case. So I am still itching under the irksome and unenviable burden of being thought a fool or liar. Have pity on my suffering, Mr Ullman, and provide the “no problem” requested information.
Twenty-fourth time of asking…….
My thoughts exactly! I really feel sorry for you, especially after I looked up the studies you referenced – see my results below.
Summarized: of the reviewed 23 ‘studies’ that you claim are good evidence for the efficacy of homeopathy, 9 have a negative outcome, 10 were rubbish or even utter rubbish, and only 4 can be said to show a mixed or weakly positive outcome. And even then you have to ignore part of the data set.
Maybe a bit of an awkward question, but do you actually read the stuff you contribute as ‘evidence for homeopathy’?
Anyway, here is my quick review of those 23 ‘studies’ (and as always, corrections are appreciated):
Brinkhaus et al. 2006:
Conclusion: rubbish, with a ‘trend’ as the main outcome, a tiny effect size in the only significant outcome, and an author whose quackery trials (mostly acupuncture) invariably produce positive results.
Chaiet et al. 2016
Conclusion: utter rubbish, with just 9 subjects in the intervention group, and a significance threshold set to P < 0.10, probably because this was the only way to get a ‘positive’ result.
Del Puerto Horta and Cañete Villafranca 2015
Conclusion: utter rubbish – apparently non-peer-reviewed, and can’t even be found online
Erkan et al. 2019
Conclusion: negative outcome: “Arnica montana did not appear to significantly prevent post-operative swelling and pain when compared to the placebo (p < 0.05).”
Hart et al. 1997
Conclusion: negative outcome: “We conclude that arnica in homoeopathic potency had no effect on postoperative recovery in the context of our study.”
Conclusion: negative outcome: ”Arnica Montana appeared to give rise to greater pain than placebo (p<0.05) and caused more swelling than the placebo (p<0.01).”
Kotlus et al. 2010
Conclusion: negative outcome: ”The authors find no evidence that homeopathic A. montana, as used in this study, is beneficial in the reduction or the resolution of ecchymosis after upper eyelid blepharoplasty.”
Macedo et al. 2005
Conclusion: utter rubbish, non-peer-reviewed, tiny sample.
Pinsent et al. 1986
Conclusion: negative outcome: ”We conclude that arnica in homoeopathic potency had no effect on postoperative recovery in the context of our study.”
Conclusion: utter rubbish – apparently non-peer-reviewed, and can’t even be found online.
Ramelet et al. 2000
Conclusion: negative outcome: ”In this study, with this dosage, we did not observe any preventive effect of homoeopathic Arnica CH5 on poststripping haematomas.”
Seeley et al. 2006
Conclusion: negative outcome: “No subjective differences were noted between the treatment group and the control group, either by the patients or by the professional staff. No objective difference in the degree of color change was found.”
Sorrentino et al. 2017
Conclusion: rubbish, with tiny effects only significant in a subset of the data. “Larger studies are needed …”
Conclusion: negative outcome: “The Arnica montana 6cH compared to 50mg Diclofenac Sodium was equivalent to control postoperative edema.”
Stevinson et al. 2003
Conclusion: negative outcome: “The results of this trial do not suggest that homeopathic arnica has an advantage over placebo in reducing postoperative pain, bruising and swelling in patients undergoing elective hand surgery.”
Wolf and Rose 2002
Conclusion: utter rubbish – apparently non-peer-reviewed, and can’t even be found online.
Wolf et al. 2003
Conclusion: rubbish, with a ‘trend’ as the main outcome and a tiny effect size.
Gonzalez Sanchez et al. 2014
Conclusion: utter rubbish – apparently non-peer-reviewed, and can’t even be found online.
Totonchi and Guyuron 2007
Conclusion: mixed outcome: “This study suggests that both arnica and corticosteroids may be effective in reducing edema during the early postoperative period. Arnica does not appear to provide any benefit with regard to extent and intensity of ecchymosis.”
(And once again, significance was only reached when considering a subset of the data.)
Jeffrey et al. 2002
Conclusion: weak positive: “The role of homeopathic and herbal agents for recovery after surgery merits further investigation.”
Karow et al. 2008
Conclusion: mixed outcome with weak effects.
Robertson et al. 2007
Conclusion: utter rubbish.
So they’re “rubbish ” just because you just say so? Why don’t you share your published clinical trials in scientific journals, Richard? What’s wrong? They don’t exist? Oh, you’re the same guy who tried to retract Frass et al’s trial in The Oncologist. Months went by and nothing happened, I’m not surprised you’re a poor guy with delusions of grandeur. We can talk, if you like, about Ernst’s 1998 review of Arnica, which was based on a fewer set of out-of-date trials. Or we can talk about the part you ignore when the authors of the Plos One meta-analysis show that Montana Arnica has an effect size similar to conventional drugs. According to you, those drugs are also “rubbish.” Ärztezeitschrift für Naturheilverfahren is a peer reviewed journal, what about of “Rational Wiki”? Was peer reviewed?
Um, no, those ‘studies’ are rubbish because they have serious shortcomings, as also acknowledged by the reviewers themselves (see the last column in their list of studies). E.g .if a ‘study’ is not peer-reviewed and not published in any journal, it is safe to assume that it is rubbish. It certainly should not be included in any reviews, because its conclusions may be completely wrong.
But if I understand you correctly, I should not criticize homeopathy or otherwise involve myself with it because I have no scientific credentials and no education in medicine. This sounds like a good idea, and I am perfectly willing to follow your advice, but on one condition: that everyone else also adheres to this principle. And yes, that includes you, and – not to put too fine a point on it – homeopaths. Because homeopaths are also people who usually have no scientific or medical education either.
So interestingly, you appear to have found a way to apply homeopathic principles to science: start out with real science, then repeatedly dilute and shake it vigorously until nothing is left, and then claim that what you end up with is actually very good science, even though no actual science or scientists are present any more.
Well done, that man!
Oooo Dana. You really think that Arnica meta-analysis shows anything?
It shows a tiny positive. Which the authors acknowledge. And which, as Ioannidis has shown, is exactly what we would expect to see from an inert therapy. Utterly worthless nonsense. Which you, as an idiot, imagine lends credence to your fantasies of significance.
And of course there’s no long-term studies on COVID vaccines you mendacious halfwit. The pandemic is only two years old. And yet study after study shows how effective they are at preventing disease and reducing hospitalisations and deaths. Fools like yourself wish otherwise.
And the Thompson story? Oh please, Dana. That has been so comprehensively debunked that only a very, very stupid person who is happy to demonstrate their stupidity would wish to bring it up again.
You, Dana, are that person. Captain Insignificance. Who spends his time making noise and being ignored.
Oh and please let us know exactly which lab in India can distinguish homeopathic water from non-homeopathic water. We’ve asked you enough times. But you continue to bluff and bluster. Because you know you’re going to be shown to be wrong. Again. You pitiful, pathetic, insignificant little man.
You don’t even need Ioannidis to see why something with zero effect will usually tend to show a slightly positive outcome over multiple studies: just translate the results to a numerical value instead of a yes/no question (i.e. if the intervention is better than the control or not).
Some results are positive due to statistical noise and other factors, while results that find no effect are simply zero – but never negative, even if the intervention group does worse than the control group. Which usually causes any pooled result to be slightly positive, not zero.
The arnica review has one study (Kaziro 1984) that actually finds (and mentions) a negative effect – but I’m pretty sure that this still counts as zero in the overall review.
Anyway, I’m slightly disappointed that our homeopathy apologists only jump on the ‘no evidence for homeopathy’ part, and completely ignore the gist of the matter, i.e. the strange privileges that homeopaths and in particular homeopathic ‘medicines’ enjoy. I was really looking forward to a discussion about that aspect of SCAM.
Oh, Lenny, I can only take you seriously if you can prove that you’ve published something in scientific journals, because even what I’ve been told you’re nobody in the scientific world, but you can shut me up. Why don’t you do it? in which journals can I find your great scientific articles in biology? In Nature, Science, any journal of El Sevier? Don’t make me wait, I’m burning to read your articles and see if they exist and if they’re rigorous, otherwise you’re just a hooligan and a bully. But moving on to other things, wasn’t the COVID-19 vaccine the promise that it worked 99% according to Pfizer? what happened to those promises? Ah, now it does not even serve to prevent contagion, but only to avoid serious symptoms, that was the second promise but now there are vaccinated also who enter hospitals and become more infected. There is no evidence that vaccines prevent contagion, they are not vaccines themselves. And believe me, I have consulted the literature, nor are there independent studies not funded by the industry or interested in disseminating. Technically the efficacy of the vaccines is close to that of placebo and regression to the mean with a very small SE. I don’t see you complaining about that, or that most Cochrane reviews indicate the same for most drugs.
Oh dear. The old “scientific publications” canard which one of you fools pulled out of your arse a while ago, whilst ignoring the fact that neither you or any of the other loons who post here have a single paper to your name? Again?
You do not need to have published anything to pull apart the nonsense that is homeopathy. All you need is a grounding in the scientific method. I am educated to degree level and have been taught how to interpret evidence and can recognise the fatuous claims of homeopaths for the nonsense that they are. That you put your fingers in your ears and shout “LALALACAN’THEARYOULALALANASTYBULLY” is your problem, not mine.
And how effective have the vaccines been? Let’s have a look at the government’s own figures for here in the UK, shall we?
96%, Jacques. 99% was claimed in Israel. Not bad, eh? Claims backed by published evidence. You know. From scientists. Who publish stuff.
The mortuaries are filled with the bodies of the misinformed AltMed and antivax loons who are happier to die than recant their mindless faith-based position.
We’ve just confirmed that one of your fellow idiots who used to regularly post here is now dead. Another COVID victim who placed her health in the hands of her homeopath. There’s rather a Darwinian quality to it, don’t you think? A terrible cull of the fools.
Your fellow tinfoil-hatted madmen and women have their fantasies that the vaccines are a depopulation agenda. The opposite is true. And they just can’t see it.
Generally, with vaccines, most side effects occur within a few hours or days, in rare cases after weeks. Long-term side effects that only occur after years are generally not known with vaccines.
You are a vain ignorant peacock, Dana, who does not know the first thing about vaccine development and approval either. Therefore, your call and that of all other corona deniers and vaccination opponents for long-term studies is hollow and false.
Mr. Ullman, I don’t think you should spend your precious time responding to hooligans like Richard, RPG or Lenny, I’ve never seen them make a single argument. However, I usually read Ernst’s blog from time to time, just look that this gentleman has published 13 books, 12 of them in record time. Believe me I have consulted Ernst’s books and they are a joke, usually uses cherry picking and contradicts itself in several paragraphs. I can even assure you that “SCAM ” and” 150 modalities “have repeated content just like”the undilitued facts”. I think the most striking part is when Ernst speaks of ‘official verdicts’, many of which are not such but statements that cite the discredited Australian report and the EASAC report or the Russian report. None of those reports are serious, they’re crap. Let’s keep in mind that Richard is not a scientist, nor is Lenny and RPG less. Ernst is not a scientist, he lost his credibility since Robert Hahn exposed him, I hope that soon Hahn will be vindicated and Ernst ostracized with his hooligans. Those scammers already deserve it.
“I hope that soon Hahn will be vindicated and Ernst ostracized with his hooligans”
Soon after hell has frozen over!
If the “Lac”-troll had the courage and honour to use its verifiable name and , credentials, it might be worthy of attention. As is, this offensive nuisance may be ignored.
I cannot speak for Lenny or Richard, but do you know me? My real name? My profession? Did we ever meet in personal? No, we didn’t. So, your conclusions are for the trash.
However, the way you butter up Dana and at the same time try to throw garbage at Edzard Ernst in the hope that something will stick, is simply embarrassing. You are a sycophant without backbone and scientific knowledge.
You have no idea who we are, Lac. Or what we do. Dana, though, most certainly isn’t a scientist.
Hahn? Another foolish ind irrelevant nonsense-peddler whose crackpot opinions have absolutely no impact on the real World. He’d struggle to expose himself, never mind anyone else.
Allow me to summarize your comment:
1. You berate me and others here for not being scientists(*).
2. But you also denounce the very epitome of science by calling the reports from no less than three major National Academies of Science ‘crap’.
3. Instead you heed the things promulgated by people who mostly do not have a scientific background.
At which point we end up at the first item again.
So what is it? Do you value the opinion of scientists or not? I strongly suspect that you don’t give a hoot about science, but just use it like a drunkard uses a light post: for support, not for illumination. You call ‘science’ whenever you think it supports your belief in quackery, but you dismiss it just as easily when it criticizes the things you believe in.
*: Which reminds me: do you in any way appreciate music? Or perhaps a good sports game?
Now assuming that you are not a professional musician or athlete in any way, do you spend the time at concerts or games in a state of complete mystification, never ever daring to comment on what you hear and see? After all, you are not professionally educated in these areas, so by your logic, you have no right to judge it, and should simply accept everything for what it is without criticism.
And despite the fact that there is not a single homeopathic ‘remedy’ with proven efficacy for even one condition
I believe homeopathy has been shown to remedy the empty bank accounts of practitioners.
Health Canada regulates homeopathic products
One gets the feeling that Health Canada is saying “It’s just water” and does not want to waste resources on the products.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports having registered some product based on a photocopied page from, IIRC, “Materia medica”.
It does appear that one should be able to identify homeopathic products . Licensed Natural Health Products Database (LNHPD) – User Guide
I see several errors, misleading statements, inaccuracies and factual untruths:
“Homeopathy is based on the principle of “The Law of Similars” (also known as “like cures like”) meaning that a disease and its symptoms can be cured by a product known to produce similar symptoms.”
This is an untruth in that there is not a shred of evidence for the viability of this principle.
“Products are intended to be used in low dosages …”
This is an untruth, because the dosages are not low, they are in most cases zero.
“.. based on the idea that as a homeopathic product is diluted, its healing effect increases.”
And yet another untruth for which not a shred of evidence exists.
Then we get to the interesting part of your quote:
“Health Canada reviews homeopathic products to make sure that they are safe and that the health claims (what the product claims to do) are supported by textbooks and other references used in the practice of homeopathy (e.g., pharmacopoeia, Materia medica).” (my emphasis)
This is indeed another good example where an official organization (Health Canada) totally ignores scientific information about homeopathy, and uncritically parrots the claims from homeopaths – claims which boil down to nothing short of magic.
Things become rather more perplexing when reading on:
“In addition to homeopathic products, other types of natural health products (e.g., vitamins, minerals, probiotics, herbal remedies, etc.) are reviewed by the Department to make sure that they are safe and that the health claims made (e.g., “promotes bone and dental health”) are supported by either scientific evidence or other references depending on the type of product.
Health Canada reviews these products to make sure that they are safe and that the health claims they make (e.g., “relief of headache”) are supported by scientific evidence.”
So they definitely have heard of this latest fad called ‘science’. Then why does homeopathy have the privilege (AGAIN) of being spared scientific scrutiny? (And I’d also like to know what those ‘other references’ are that are mentioned as an alternative for scientific evidence.)
The only warning about homeopathy is about ‘nosodes’, but instead of explicitly saying that these do nothing at all, they focus on vaccines as the only effective way to immunize people against diseases.
Then there are the proposed new labelling requirements, which in my opinion again are not strong enough:
“This claim is based on traditional homeopathic references and not modern scientific evidence.”
I think the following is significantly:
“NOTE: There is no scientific evidence that any homeopathic product, including this product, works as claimed.”
Of course the HC statement is stupid and inaccurate. That was why my “regulates” was in italics.
I suspect that HC has a heritage situation here and, so far, has no pressing reason to waste resources and political capital on the issue when it is fighting what it considers to be more pressing battles.
At least we have a list of homeopathic products and a very well-informed customer can tell at a glance if the crap on sale is “homeopathic. One does not have to pay large sums of money to access the information as you point out one needs to to access the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States.
The article has great points… for someone completely ignorant of homeopathy.
Do you know anything about homeopathy, Mr. Roger?
Thank you for your compliment! I hadn’t even thought of the educational potential. But now that you mention it, most of the general public is indeed ignorant about homeopathy, and I really think this article can help a lot of people understand what homeopathy is really all about!
Richard’s comment is a joke. There is no way to take it seriously, he uses an 1835 reference to a proving that was made by a religious fanatic. How can this be reconciled with the atheism of Richard and Ernst’s other Hooligan friends?
The reference to sympathetic magic is an entry to RationalWiki that is like quoting junk. According to Rawlins vaccines are sympathetic magic because they are based on something equal cures / prevents equal. Hormesis should also be sympathetic magic. Very absurd of you, Richard.
I see no rebuttal on Richard’s part, but support the IFC lobby in an attempt to censor homeopathy in the US. Richard is a technician in biomedical electronics, what is his training in law and medicine to talk about a profession established in several countries? how come Richard hasn’t learned that in India homeopathy is formed on a medical basis? how did you not learn that before Flexner’s fraudulent report homeopathy schools were also medicine schools?
Are you quite sure you are quite sane, Lucacs?
Strange, I did not know that Friedrich Wilhelm von Hoven was a religious fanatic. Where did you read this? And why is this important? The man was a doctor, a professor in medicine, and a public health official, and he showed convincingly that homeopathic proving did not work.
Sorry, but you are quite wrong; please allow me to educate you. Vaccines work because the body reacts to a pathogen (or part thereof) by making antibodies and memory cells to be able to fight off future infections much more effectively. A vaccine contains actual active ingredients that trigger the immune response.
A homeopathic preparation generally does not contain anything at all apart from sugar or water, not even a single molecule of the original substance, and thus it cannot and does not cause any reaction whatsoever. Which means it cannot and does not work.
Sorry, but you are wrong again. Hormesis is the phenomenon that a low dose of a substance causes a reaction in a biological system that is more or less opposite to what a higher dose does. And this low dose is still a measurable amount.
A homeopathic preparation generally does not contain anything at all, and thus it does not work by the mechanism of hormesis. It simply does not work at all.
What is so absurd in assuming that sugar or water without any other active ingredients cannot have any effects? Believing that plain water becomes a medicine by shaking and diluting it is far more absurd.
Sorry, but you are quite wrong again. Homeopathy in India is not based on science or good medical practice, but on tradition and on nationalistic sentiments. The people in India who promote homeopathy also promote ayurveda as an officially recognized form of medicine – even though this ‘medicine’ routinely poisons people because it says that heavy metals such as lead and mercury are healthy and medicinal when boiled in cow manure. Also please note that a lot of doctors in India do not share the belief in homeopathy and ayurveda, and neither do most Indian scientists.
Homeopathy is simply a ritualized way of doing nothing at all. And in Hahnemann’s days, when regular medicine often did far more harm than good, homeopathy indeed produced better results, because doing nothing was better than doing harm. But nowadays, regular medicine has progressed tremendously; just look at child mortality – which was some 30% only 150 years ago, down to ~0.5% now. And no, homeopathy has contributed absolutely nothing (literally and figuratively) to this. Still, it has taught us the important lesson that yes, it is often best to simply do nothing, and wait until the body heals itself.
Very well put, Richard.
One thing is certain, the “Lac” or the “Lucacs” (same troll?) have proven beyond doupt they are not scientists.
yes, same troll
I must admit that dealing with Ernst’s hooligans is a necessary sport.
I understand things better now. Lenny is “Craig Manly” or “Rock Forceful”, I remember because he’s a dentist, not a scientist, there’s not a single publication with his name on it. He used to be a very annoying troll on the forums with his many accounts, I understand he was addicted to CSICOP courses.
Rasker’s comments are the only ones that are more or less worth it. Rasker’s comments are the only ones that are more or less worthwhile, but I see that he only says a lot of pointless opinions.
Says the troll sockpuppetting here again.
I have my one Twitter account. That’s it. Our little troll appears to be inventing things.
Repeating an irrelevance does not make it relevant, troll. Keep clinging to your facile notions of significance. And unless you can show us all your publications you are by your own definition making your own comments of no consequence. You are very silly, troll.
I’ve just had to Google CSICOP to find out what these courses I’ve supposedly been on were. It’s possible our little troll has confused QED conferences with CSICOP – they seem to be confused over rather a lot. As ever, in the warped world of the AltMed loon, their is no difference between unevidenced assertion and fact.
Run along now, troll.
Hopefully I am not too late: One minor correction:
“European law even goes one step further: member states are required to register homeopathic preparations as medicines without requiring any evidence of therapeutic efficacy. This is bizarre, as the same EU laws demand that real medicines must have proven efficacy before they can be registered.”
European law distinguishes between “registered” (= “registriert” in German) and “approved” (=”zugelassen” in German). Homeopathic remedies may be registered, that is, they are added to a list kept by a federal agency and that is it. No prove of efficacy. Real medicines have to be approved which includes proof of efficacy. Both ways a remedy is to be sold in pharmacies only, and the difference is very obscure: Only approved remedies come with information about the indications they are intended for, registered remedies come without such a thing.
Thank you for your correction! Indeed I should have discussed this distinction between registered and approved substances. Then again, these regulations can still differ from country to country, especially in smaller details, and these can be obscure and/or confusing. Here in the Netherlands, I believe homeopathic preparations can be registered without further requirements if the products come with no indication (i.e. medical claims). Manufacturers who want to sell homeopathic products with an indication must deliver proof of efficacy, after which it can be approved as a real medicine.
Up until this day, not a single homeopathic manufacturer ever delivered such proof of efficacy for even one product or one condition – now I wonder why?