Homeopathy Challenge Answers

Thanks to everyone who participated in our homeopathy challenge for World Homeopathy Awareness Week (WHAW) and to everyone who spread the word on Facebook and Twitter. There were lots of great comments and guesses.

The remedies were taken from this list by Helios, “one of the World’s leading homeopathic pharmacies“. What these remedies are supposed to treat is unclear, as the website says:

“Please note that any reference to a disease name does not indicate a treatment for this disease. Helios remedies are without therapeutic indications.”

Huh. Makes one wonder how they can truly “[ensure] our customers receive homeopathic remedies of quality and integrity backed by expert advice” when therapeutic indications aren’t provided/confirmed and customers can order directly from them without necessarily having sought treatment advice.

Without further ado, here is the list that was presented last week. The “fake” (relatively speaking, considering the lack of robust supportive evidence, if any, for these remedies) is in bold.

Canine Testes 6X – 30C Blue 12C – 50M
Dolphin Song 3C – 10M Coca cola 3X – 10M
Dog faeces 6C – 10M Semen humanum 6C – 10M
Eclipse Totality 3X – 30C Plutonium (236) 18C – 50M
Blackbird’s song 6C – 1M Infarct Heart 10X – 30C
Black Hole 6C – 50M DNA 12C – 10M
Aqua Pura Bottled Water 3X – 1M Air 6C – 10M
Tyrannosaurus Rex 9X – 10M Jet Lag 30C – 1M
Polaris 12C – 50M Sol Africana 6C – 10M
Jews ear fungus 3C – 30C Chlamydia 6C – 50M
MRI Scan 3C – 10M Laser Beam 3C – 10M
Exhaust fumes 3C – 1M Essiac 6X – 30C

I admittedly picked some of the most absurd remedies I could find. Alas, it’s true — they are “real” except for one. It’s hard to make something up when almost everything, including water for crying out loud, is already covered. For all I know, Infarct Heart is a remedy somewhere, but it wasn’t on Helios’ list and it’s certainly not traditional. (That’s right, there are remedies that are supposedly “useful if you do not have access to a hospital in the immediate vicinity” when having a heart attack! At least they have the sense to tell people to go to an ER, but I still find this appalling.)

Many commenters were diligent in pointing out obvious flaws in some of these remedies. Black hole? How is that possible? (By the way, I would genuinely love to hear the explanation of this.) How does one dilute the essence of a planetary body or the light of the moon? What is the “like” that diluted tyrannosaurus cures? Essiac is a supposed cancer cure, so is it safe to assume that homeopathic essiac is intended to cause cancer (probably not)?

One is left to wonder about the logic behind homeopathic remedies in general and the justification for the multitude of excuses for why a particular treatment might not work. I suppose these are just some of the many mysteries our puny Western minds can’t comprehend.

Certainly most of these aren’t common remedies, but that’s my point — there is no objective quality control that prevents obscure, ridiculous remedies from being called homeopathy and sold directly to consumers. How does someone verify that a remedy is 10M? What is the test that tells the difference between 6C and 10M semen, for example, to ensure consumers are getting the “potency” they paid for? How does the homeopath know that they are giving their clients an appropriately diluted remedy? Furthermore, one has to wonder where they obtained the semen…

Regardless of personal feelings and desire for something to be true, all health “professionals” have an ethical obligation to ensure that they are providing patients with the best possible care. That means research and due diligence — retaining treatments that are proven to work, discarding treatments that are proven not to work, and verifying treatments with a lack of evidence of efficacy before widely using them. There is no robust clinical evidence that any of these remedies are effective for the ailments they supposedly treat and the “like cures like” principle is based on such superficial details that there are plenty of weird “remedies” for sale that make no sense even by homeopathy logic.

Homeopaths are doing a good job connecting to patients and providing a holistic view of health care, and that’s fantastic. But that is not evidence that the homeopathic remedies are effective. Rather, that demonstrates an area for improvement for the mainstream health system. Though generally well-meaning, albeit sometimes indirectly dangerous, the evidence is clear that homeopathic remedies are out-dated and will generally only help to separate clients from their money.

*The opinions in the article represent the author’s alone and do not necessarily represent the views of past or present employers, licensing bodies, or associations.

4 Responses to “Homeopathy Challenge Answers”

  1. Steve says:

    I discovered on yesterday that I thought couldn't have been made up. "Electricitas"
    Yes, electricity. To "collect" it, they ran a current through some milks sugar an ground it up then dissolved that in water. Ho ho ho.
    No. It's not really funny.

  2. pixelbuffer says:

    To quote a homeopath on this question:

    "Same as from the moon or the sun. They aim a telescope at an area of the sky where there is a black hole. Yes, I know, very esoteric, and takes us into the science of substance versus matter, but I know you don't want to go there."

    And no, I didn't want to go there. I also didn't bother pointing out that you don't get light directly from the Black Hole like you would from a star or reflected off of a planet… but that would be a substance vs. matter issue, I guess.

    Interestingly, when asked what remedy they believed was fake, it was "Jet Lag" as it's "not a thing".

    Keep up the great work folks!

  3. Kimberly Hebert says:

    Pixelbuffer: Not a thing. Awesome.

    Did they have any comment on how they're sure that they collected the essence, or whatever, of the space object rather than the atmosphere etc. in between? What is the test to be like "yup, that's black hole alright"?

    Thanks for the info!

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  • Kim Hebert

    Kim H├ębert is an occupational therapist. She is interested in the promotion of science and reason, particularly regarding therapeutic health interventions. She blogs occasionally about occupational therapy and other health topics at Science-Based Therapy. Her hobbies are art and astronomy. **All views expressed by Kim are her personal views alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of current or former employers, associations, or other affiliations. All information is provided for discussion purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for consultation with a licensed and accredited health professional.