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.