Health Canada Approves… for September 29th

Welcome to Health Canada Approves… where we ask you to determine which products have been licensed by Health Canada’s Natural Health Products Directorate.

Here are the results from last week’s poll.

  • Photosyn 12: Vital antioxidant. Contains 12 parts blue algae per dose. (60%, 41 Votes)
  • Sinupas: Homeopathic remedy for sinus congestion and inflammation. (40%, 27 Votes)
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Sorry folks, while there are many anti-oxidants in the NHPD database, Photosyn 12 is not one of them.  To be honest, I’m not even sure Blue Algae is a thing that exists.  Sinupas does exist though, and bears Natural Health Product Number 80005068 as proof of its safety and efficacy.

Sinupas is a four ingredient homeopathic cocktail, and unlike some of the other products we’ve considered, there is precise enough information in the NHPD database for us to calculate the actual amount of each ingredient in a 10 drop dose.  For example it contains 0.0000000005g of Stibium sulfuratum aurantiacum, a compound made from the metalloid antimony.  But at half a billionth of a gram per dose, it could be fecal matter for all I care.

The second most dilute ingredient is Kreosotum — common creosote — at a half a millionth of a gram, but my favorite ingredient by far is the five millionths of a gram of Luffa operculata. Yes, that Loofah. Apparently, Sinupas works by exfoliating the sinus cavity.

Scrub that bronchitis away!

All of these ingredients are at sufficiently high homeopathic dilutions that we need not seriously consider their efficacy claims in light of the lack of plausibility or evidence supporting homeopathy’s magical principles. But that’s not necessarily true of the final ingredient — Euphorbium — which at 0.5 mg per dose, has not been homeopathically diluted at all.

Euphorbium is a resin of the juice of the Euphorbia plant, a Moroccan cactus.   According to the Natural Medicine Comprehensive Database, an independent, science-based data source, there is insufficient evidence on either safety or efficacy to render an opinion.  It may cause nausea or vomiting, which is consistent with its traditional use as an emetic.  How it came to be associated with sinus congestion is unclear.

What is clear is that this product should not be billed as homeopathic when it contains a potentially therapeutic dose of one of its ingredients.   This isn’t the first time we’ve seen such a thing — it was also the case with Homeoslim a few weeks back.  It’s outright health fraud from the very agency that’s supposed to be protecting us.

I keep hoping Health Canada will live up to its obligations, but honestly I’m starting to despair.  Hopefully we’ll uncover a different side of the NHPD in this week’s choices, which are below.  Remember folks, the real product “has been assessed by Health Canada and has been found to be safe, effective and of high quality under its recommended conditions of use.”

  • Hound's Ear: Enhances mood and improves well being (64%, 27 Votes)
  • Vagininum: Organotherapy remedy to be used on the advice of your health care practitioner. (36%, 15 Votes)
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Answers next week…naturally!

One Response to “Health Canada Approves… for September 29th”

  1. will says:

    “I’m not even sure Blue Algae is a thing that exists”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_algae

    just so you know

    cheers.

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  • Erik Davis

    Erik is a technology professional based in Toronto, focused on the intersection of the internet and the traditional media and telecommunications sectors. A reluctant blogger, he was inspired by the great work Skeptic North has done to combat misinformation and shoddy science reporting in the Canadian media, and in the public at large. Erik has a particular interest in critical reasoning, and in understanding why there’s so little of it in the public discourse. You can follow Erik's occasional 140 character musings @erikjdavis