Why hounding homeopaths is both batty and arrogant.

There is no shortage of villains in the world. Psychopaths – domestic and national – whalers, toxic waste dumpers, global eavesdroppers, billionaire tax avoiders and their army of accountants –  all well worth campaigning against with the aim of getting them banged up or forced to cough up.

There is also an infinite supply of people who are mildly irritating who misplace apostrophes, wear Croc shoes, do crochet, litter their sentences with “you know” and text using their middle finger.

However most of us can tell the difference. In fact mixing the two categories up is a pretty reliable indicator of a serious level of battiness . Picketing shops that sell Crocs or campaigning to forbid the sale of mobiles to clumsy texters puts you firmly in the mild-to-fairly-irritating and definitely-a-bit -potty class.

Step forward the Nightingale Collaboration, earnest and self-styled defender of rationalism, whose seriously potty members have got these categories mixed up. They have picked on something that might, to some, be mildly irritating – homeopathy – and pumped up their dislike into a cause, complete with demonstrations, calls for bans and a vindictive campaign –  CAMpain? – directed against homeopaths’ livelihood.

Personally I am agnostic about homeopathy, I fully appreciate the apparent absurdity of the mechanism but I know plenty of perfectly rational people who swear it has helped them. Maybe it has a strong placebo element but so do anti-depressant SSRIs. The data on effectiveness may be mixed – both sides can cite sheaves of negative and positive studies. But unlike regular drugs, these trials are not all run by those selling the remedies nor do they have vast marketing budgets to accentuate the positive and conceal the negative.

Irritating and should be banned

I bring all this up because this week Nightingale was supposed to be protesting outside the Advertising Standards Authority (because they haven’t been diligent in chasing homeopaths for making unsupported claims on web sites) and lobbying Parliament (because “something has to be done”). I don’t know if any of this actually happened – I couldn’t find any news coverage –but I’m writing about them because they are irritating and batty and should be banned (ironic joke).

Homeopathy and the other CAM activities that grinds the Nightingale’s gears don’t exist is a vacuum. They are part of the health and healing options open to all of us. In other words you can’t make a judgement about them without considering what may be involved in taking drugs to deal with your ailments.  In other words, as drug regulators are fond of saying: it is a matter of balancing risk and benefit.

I don’t plan to rehash all the evidence for pharma’s sometimes fraudulent practices and unreliability – Ben Goldacre’s latest book has done that very comprehensively – but it does seem useful and revealing to highlight the stories about the risks involved in taking drugs that were reported in a single issue of the BMJ – June 22   –  the same week that the Nightingale felt that the best way to protect patients was to lay into homoeopathy.

Significant rise in brain haemorrhage

No worries for them about a drug widely prescribed on the NHS for the treatment of acute stroke and recommended by NICE called Alteplase. An investigation has just found that only two of a dozen randomised trials of Alteplase showed benefit while five had had to be stopped early because of: ‘lack of benefit, higher mortality and significant rise in brain haemorrhage’.

How could such a mismatch between evidence and recommendations have occurred? The investigation also found that the clinical guidelines for Alterplase – what doctors rely on to guide them in the use of a drug – had been written by experts who nearly all had links with companies making or marketing the drug. This is a long-running problem and possibly a little more dangerous than homoeopathy.

Another issue that is all too familiar is the dubious drugging of young children. A German study had just found that the use of antipsychotic drugs – powerful tranquilisers with a nasty range of side-effects – on children aged ten and over had gone up in the last four years by 41per cent “for no medical reason.” There is good reason for thinking the situation is very similar in the UK. What do these drugs do to a developing brain? We’ve no idea. Is this worrying and probably not in the children’s best interests? I think so.

A central charge against homoeopathy is that there is no evidence it works. OK but what about the missing evidence about the effectiveness or otherwise of Tamifu. For at least three years researchers have been asking to see the full evidence that this flu drug, on which the NHS has spent 500 million pounds, cuts infection risk or shortens time you are sick.

Not being told the entire truth

The BMJ reported that the journal’s editor had told a Commons committee that only half of the Tamiflu trials had ever been published and that a positive trial was twice as likely to be published as an unsuccessful one.

These are all long running examples of why it is perfectly rational to suspect you may not be told the entire truth about both the safety and the effectiveness of standard treatments. But now there is a new one. This issue of the BMJ also followed up on an alarming story the journal had broken a couple of  weeks about a new class of diabetes drug that was being linked with a raised risk of pancreatic inflammation and cancer, which the companies involved had been slow to investigate. See my story here.

Known as incretins, the drugs come in two types GLP1 and DPP-4 that both boost insulin production. The companies and their critics, which now includes the American Diabetic Association, are settling in for a long battle. The journal makes a strong case for believing the warning signs had been there since the drugs were first licenced and there had been little enthusiasm for investigating them.

Nightingale usually advances these arguments for why homeopaths must be hounded: that any reported benefit is due to the placebo effect; that treatment claims therefore lack evidence and are fraudulent; that homoeopathy distracts patients from getting a real treatment that works.

But all of these can be applied with equal force to one or more of the drug examples covered in the BMJ. Ultimately what Nightingale is attacking is the intelligence and judgement of people who are trying to find an effective way to heal themselves. If homeopathy, which even its most virulent critics cannot claim is remotely likely to be harmful, works for you, then someone needs to combine serious arrogance with real battiness to believe they have the right to stand in the way.

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Comments

  1. I know of four theories purporting to show how homeopathy works. I don’t believe any of them. However despite this I use homeopathy on animals and people with remarkable positive effects
    Alan

  2. Homeopathy is a powerful modality when applied correctly. Thanks for the great blog

  3. healing-naturally-with-homeopathy says:

    RosRoss said:
    Or as the maxim has it: ‘That which we condemn in others is that which we deny in ourselves.’

    I would add to that: “We see in others what we see in ourselves”.

    The way homeopaths are referred to here, says a lot more about those who choose to vilify other human beings in such a way, than homeopaths themselves or homeopathy for that matter.
    At the end of the day, those who are sick, and who have been sick for a long time, are beginning to discover their power of choice, and are voting with their feet. This is the basis for such antagonism and vilification of a mode of healing which has been and continues being used successfully all over the world.
    Personally I would say, carry on doing what you need to do; homeopathy will survive, as it has always survived, and the more we talk about Homeopathy the more people out there will hear about it, enquiry about it, and use it.
    Meanwhile, homeopaths will continue doing what they do best – helping people to heal effectively at all levels, and remain healthy without having to keep taking the tablets.

  4. I had to laugh. I took skepticat’s advice and looked up Escaping the Cult of Homeopathy and found it on a site which I had seen before and which, to my mind, called Quackometer as it is, reveals a bias which makes any article highly subjective if not thoroughly prejudiced. Beware anything with Quack in it because the same factor applies as when accessing sites which have the word God in the title. But to continue.

    As I have noticed in the past, the anti-brigade, of which Quackometer is a leader on many counts, is quick to reject non-allopathic medicine because of the reliance on ‘anecdote’ and here we have him basing his article on the anecdotes of a disgruntled former homeopathic student called Wendy.

    But to press on, having read Quackometer on Homeopathy before I can only say I had the same reaction – he has no idea what Homeopathy is about and has never researched it in any rational or considered way and has clearly never met any professional and sane Homeopaths. And most Homeopaths are professional and sane.

    Of course there are nutter, extremist, fanatical Homeopaths but there are nutter, extremist and fanatical Allopaths and scientists – who prescribe to science as religion, dubbed scientism by some – for that matter but no-one would ever suggest that the profession and practitioners as a whole are discredited by them. Except of course when it comes to Traditional Medicine where the extremists are ‘selected’ as representative of the methodology as a whole in ways which would never be tolerated in those methodologies which science/medicine and their acolytes accept.

    At the end of the day, anyone who wants to reject Homeopathy, or any field actually, really needs to approach the system in a careful, considered and rational way and be wary of any visceral response or passionate position, either for or against – just make up your own mind and accept that others will do the same.

    Quackometer also knows nothing about cults from what he has written and remains oblivious to the fact that so many of the charges he makes against Homeopaths are clearly evident in the anti-Homeopathy brigade. And that is because extremism on any count is about the shadow – the shadow side of an atheist is someone who is fundamentally religious for instance. Or as the maxim has it: ‘That which we condemn in others is that which we deny in ourselves.’

    I just hope Wendy is alright and has found more balanced ground.

  5. Jerome says of homeopathy that: “unlike regular drugs, these trials are not all run by those selling the remedies nor do they have vast marketing budgets”.

    And yet Boiron, a maker and seller of homeopathic remedies, spent 123.8 million Euros on sales and marketing in 2012. By contrast, they spent just 6.6 million Euros on research that year; 1/18th as much as they did on marketing. That’s quite a vast marketing budget compared to the research to find out whether the pills you’re selling actually work.
    It’s not as though they can’t afford to do more research if they wanted to; their profit after tax that year was 49 million Euros and they ended 2012 with 96 million Euros of cash in the bank.

    (Figures from Borion annual report 2012: http://www.boiron.com/en/content/download/6338/49822/file/BOIRON-DDR2012-GB.pdf ).

    • @RobH

      Jerome says of homeopathy that: “unlike regular drugs, these trials are not all run by those selling the remedies nor do they have vast marketing budgets”.

      Isn’t ‘all’ the operative word in this statement?

      And isn’t the reference to marketing budgets ‘comparative’? And isn’t the word ‘vast’ operative? Your figure of 123.8million euros includes sales and marketing and you need to give a breakdown for an accurate comparison but even taking the full figure the statement holds.

      For example. Pfizer spent $1.2billion in 2011 purely on advertising which is probably why the term ‘vast’ was used.

  6. @skepticat,

    You said:

    It would seem, Christine, that you think those of us who don’t share your rosy view on homeopathy, those us who are sick of being ripped off by false advertising, appalled at seeing dangerously false or misleading claims on homeopaths and other ‘CAM’ websites and horrified at the needless tragedies caused by the promotion of such falsehoods, must have some hidden financial motive. Thank you for that illustration of your lack of critical thinking skills. I’m beginning to understand why you embraced the nonsense that is homeopathy in the first place. I highly recommend the illuminating article “Escaping the cult of homeopathy”, which quotes extensively from an ex-homeopathy.

    Apart from the fact that attacking the individual does not make a case, methinks you protest too much. I highly recommend a deep breath and some calm and considered research, combined with respect for the views of others which differ from your own.

    • rossross

      You’re right: attacking the individual does not make a case. That being so, it is interesting that you should describe an article which describes us as “seriously potty” (as well misrepresenting what we are saying and doing) as ‘sensible and reasoned and professional’. Indeed, it is interesting that you should have directed your comment at me, rather than at the poster, Christine, who has effectively suggested I am a liar, a pawn of Big Pharma and motivated by financial greed.

      I’m not suggesting you’re biased, or anything but rest assured, if I spot this kind of mudslinging against us, I will protest. Whether you think it’s too much or not, doesn’t concern me in the slightest. The perpetuation of falsehoods against others and myself for the apparently heinous crime of trying to ensure that healthcare advertising doesn’t mislead people is what concerns me not the views of people with their fingers firmly in their ears and singing lalala. But thanks for the advice anyway. ;)

      • @skepticat,

        Sorry if I am in error but I thought the following comment was yours:

        It would seem, Christine, that you think those of us who don’t share your rosy view on homeopathy, those us who are sick of being ripped off by false advertising, appalled at seeing dangerously false or misleading claims on homeopaths and other ‘CAM’ websites and horrified at the needless tragedies caused by [...]

        And as to what Christine said, I did not see that one but would suggest to her also that attacking the individual does not make a case and is in fact counter-productive.

        As to the article, I know he used ‘batty’ but overall it was fairly balanced. And if Jerome ‘misrepresented’ I thought he apologised at one point.

        I don’t think anyone has a problem with protest, but I do feel, having read a few discussions on the issue, that maintaining a level of reason and courtesy is important.

        Beyond homeopathy, trying to ensure healthcare advertising does not mislead is admirable as long as you apply the principle across the board. Can I take it that you also focus on Allopathic Medicine as well, and the disgracefully erroneous and often dangerous advertisements for things like mouthwash, hygiene products, toothpaste, body-care products etc.? If you do, admirable work. If it is just Homeopathy and other non-Allopathic medical treatments then it is unbalanced and not so admirable. I hope it isn’t.

  7. Thank you for a fairly written article, Mr. Burne. Because homeopathy is so freely discredited by those either with financial interests in the allopathic approach or by those who have become convinced of its “ineffectiveness” by their own physicians or other avenues, it is very pleasing to see and read an article encouraging fair study of this medical approach which is more than 200 years old and based on principles Hippocrates himself espoused.

    As has been said many times in other places, there is abounding evidence that homeopathy works. A page to which I have frequently referred skeptics (and even those who simply want to know more about homeopathy) is from the website of the US-based National Center for Homeopathy. It is an abridge listing of many scientific studies of homeopathy. Here is the page:

    http://nationalcenterforhomeopathy.org/content/homeopathy-research-evidence-base-references

    In several areas I’ve been, it has been clear that homeopathic skeptics have not even bothered to take the time to look at what is here, or even what is on their page explaining what homeopathy is:

    http://nationalcenterforhomeopathy.org/content/what-is-homeopathy

    I was even rather ignorantly told by one author/skeptic that he would rather research from places not associated with homeopathy to learn about it. I suppose it is always best to learn something like how to make donuts from a butcher. Or even to learn about religion from an atheist. Sarcasm intended there– but hoping the point is clear.

    I have been using and studying homeopathy and practising it on a lay basis with family and friends for years. I believe nearly every form of medicine has its place. But homeopathy is the single approach I’ve known that works so well with the person at its three definite and distinct levels– mental, emotional, and physical– and its innate drive to be well.

    • 100ccoffury says:

      “Like asking an atheist about religion” – A perfect example, as the majority of atheists (as opposed to agnostics) reject religion *because they have studied it*. In this case, the sane majority reject homeopathy *because they have studied it and can see it’s nonsense *

      Of course you want to get your research from an unbiased source. If you go to a Ford car enthusiasts forum wanting information on which car to buy, they will do their best to get you to buy a Ford. If you go to a forum with no affiliation, you’ll get a much better idea of what’s available, and which are the better options.

      I guess the problem is that as the explanation of how homeopathy ‘works’ ignores basic science, so it’s difficult to find an unbiased scientist willing to give it more than a few seconds thought, let alone do months of research!

  8. @ Andy Lewis,

    You said: As homeopaths here have testified, they would seek homeopathic treatment before real treatment for serious conditions such as cancer. As such, they pose a clear threat to their own wellbeing and of those they come into contact with.

    Surely it is the right of an individual to choose which healing path they take and it is just not possible to talk about them being a ‘threat’ to themselves since it is their choice. Given the high failure rate of Allopathy in most cancers, is it not also surprising that many look elsewhere?

    And I fail to see how they are any threat to those with whom they come in contact unless it is to stand as an example of courage in determining one’s own healing path.

    The simple reality is that most people do not seek homeopathic or other treatment before Allopathic – which by the way, is no more ‘real’ than any other healing methodology but I understand the prejudiced message you wish to send by using that word – because most people take a very conventional approach to medicine and disease and prefer not to be held responsible or accountable for their own health by doing something so ‘disobedient.’

    It requires enormous determination and courage to seek non-Allopathic medicine for serious illness, like cancer and my guess is that those who do have either:

    . lost faith in Allopathy for their own reasons.
    . have a fear of the Allopathic treatment which even doctors have said will be seen as barbarous in times to come.
    . have used other medical approaches like Homeopathy in the past and therefore trust it more

    But the simple reality is that even if 90% of people, and it is as we both know a tiny percentage who do, chose Homeopathy in a first instance over Allopathy, it is their choice and their right to do so and no-one else’s business.

    At the end of the day I believe that the crucial factors in any form of healing is trusting the methodology you have chosen and trusting the practitioners you are working with. The reality is that most people use Homeopathy as well as other medical treatments, including Allopathy and it is spurious and irrelevant to suggest there is any threat to them or anyone else even if they opt for Allopathy last.

    There is already research which shows that ‘getting it early’ which was the old mantra is pretty meaningless; that taking every test available will help – in fact the evidence is that it harms more than helps; or that Allopathy has a better success rate at cancer than other methodologies.

  9. soroush1 says:

    @bob Turner Re Placebo effect
    A great number of Organic farmers are now using homeopathic remedies to treat their animals as opposed to using conventional medications – especially antibiotics which have become a scourge of mankind as more and more bacteria are becoming resistant to bacteria. Indeed milk from antibiotic treated cows is supposed to be thrown away for many days.

    When you divide a herd into two groups – treat them exactly the same with the exception of what has been added their water troughs and then the majority of one lot show resistance to say mastitis and the others don’t, then I think there is an effect that shows that there is something there that has a deep and profound and observable effect.

    However, many ‘scientist’ held that the Earth was flat and in fact supported the notion that those who though it was round should be killed. Today they are attempting to kill the practise of homeopathy. We also had ‘scientist’ believing that anything that was heavier than air could not possibly fly, despite the daily experience of seeing birds fly before their eyes!

    Sadly, it seems that in some quarters, some ‘scientist’ have not learnt anything from History of Science and the fact that according Albert Einstein, the more we know, the more that we know we do not know. The biggest enemy of Science is a closed mind.

    • @ souroush1

      So well said. Perhaps the worst refusal of science/medicine to ‘see’ was an understanding midwives had, although they had no concept of bacteria, that clean hands were vital when assisting women in childbirth and unconscionable numbers of women died in agony, once male doctors took over childbirth because it was so profitable, because the doctors, who knew it all, could see no problem in moving from the autopsy of a cadaver to the birthing room. There was no proof, they said, until science had learned enough to provide it, despite the advice of centuries of midwives, that washing their hands was necessary or that bacteria existed.
      The list of the things that ‘science/medicine’ has gotten wrong is very long and still growing.

    • Bob Turner says:

      OK, seems good, as long as the trial was double-blinded of course. Where are the results published?

  10. Given that:
    * Homeopathic “remedies” are prepared in glass vessels
    * Both water and aqueous ethanol dissolve minuscule quantities of glass
    * Homeopaths seem to deem it cool to give Latin names to their wares

    Why are all homeopathic “remedies” not, in fact labelled “Solutio Vitreum” given that, even if their theories were correct, that would be the most “potent” ingredient?

    • soroush1 says:

      @tetenterre
      Assuming you theory is correct and that minute amounts of glass and ethanol dissolve in water, they remain a constant. What varies the diluted and potentised ‘remedy’ which is different. And interestingly when PROVED on healthy volunteers, they produce a different range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms. Such symptoms are then used as the basis of prescription on the premise of if a patient presents with a similar set of symptoms, this particular remedy may cure it.
      Over 200 years of experience by vast number of people – including Her Majesty the Queen – has shown it has managed to cure where conventional medicine never cures but only suppresses the symptoms. If Homeopathic remedies did not work, why would people build hospitals for such a method of treatment?

      • Conventional medicine only suppresses symptoms? What about antibiotics? I would suggest that they deal with the causes of a lot if disease.

        • soroush1 says:

          @tetenterre – You wrote: “Conventional medicine only suppresses symptoms? What about antibiotics? I would suggest that they deal with the causes of a lot if disease.”
          Antibiotics have their own uses and can be a life-saver, But they are not without side effects. Do they suppress? – Yes they do. Let us take a case of a male with Gonorrhoea. After the antibiotics the discharge stops quickly. You might think all well and good. But the patient starts to have all sorts of symptoms. Even without contact during the ‘infected’ period, afterwards their partner may start having lower abdominal pains etc.

          When they visit a homeopath and correct remedy is prescribed, the discharge starts again (it has no bacteria in it) and the patient starts to gradually feel better. The facts that the patient’s discharge starts again and the patient feels better in themselves and other symptoms go away, would indicate to me that the antibiotics were suppressive.

        • Antibiotics rank as one of the worst and most dangerous of Allopathic excess and failure. There is no doubt that antibiotics have been invaluable in terms of crisis infection but the abuse and overuse of them by modern medicine has now rendered most largely ineffective. The use of them in food production along with the abuse of them by Allopathy ranks as criminal.
          And antibiotics do not treat the ’cause’ of disease for the cause of disease is always a failure of the immune response – they attack the ‘trigger’ as understood by mechanistic science and they do so with what amounts to a ‘slash and burn’ approach where the bacteria which does no harm and the bacteria which supports our immune function and keeps us healthy is also destroyed, thereby leaving us open to further infection. Antibiotics should have only ever been used in a live or die situation but with its materialistic mindset, modern medicine has squandered this once valuable resource.

    • @Tetenterre

      “Homeopaths seem to deem it cool to give Latin names to their wares”

      Hard to believe you just said that. Much of the terminology used in medicine and biology, including homeopathy is based on Latin prefixes and suffixes. The “cool Latin names” used in homeopathy have already been assigned to each substance by biologists and scientists, not homeopaths themselves..

      For example, a surgeon when dictating an operative report notes the title of a procedure to remove a woman’s uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes uses Latin terminology for brevity and exactness. The surgeon will say that the operative procedure is a bilateral hysterosalpingooophorectomy.(if both fallolpian tubes are removed) or a unilateral hysterosalpingoophorectomy. Yes, there are 3 O’s in that word. Consult your surgical terminology book or do a Google search for terms used in medicine. .

  11. p.s. Well done Jerome. Your common sense, reason and professional objectivity makes a refreshing change. And your call for a rational approach to Homeopathy is even more important at a time when the third biggest killer in the world is now iatrogenic – doctor or medical induced – and millions of people around the world are hospitalised or dead every year because of it.
    In addition, as we face the outcome of years of abuse and over-use of antibiotics where there are few if any effective antibiotics which could be used in the face of major epidemics, it may well we Homeopathy which comes to the rescue as it has in times past with disease epidemics. Well, in those times when most Homeopaths were medical doctors and the medical industry had not become so profit-driven that it sought to destroy any other contenders.

  12. There are many things in life which human beings use where they don’t actually understand how it works but the simple reality is this, Homeopathy does work and anyone who has made use of it with professional help – buying at the chemist and self-prescribing is generally ineffective although harmless and may certainly have a placebo effect – cannot but be impressed with its efficacy and convinced it does work. Anyone who has used it on a child or an animal, who may well be influenced by parental or owner’s belief, cannot help but be impressed and convinced. Anyone who has used it on their child or animal or themselves when they in fact do not believe in it but are in a position where they will try anything, is even more impressed and convinced.

    There is no conclusive theory as yet as to how it works but there is a great deal of information coming out of scientific research, particularly quantum physics, which gives insight into how it might work. There is also hard research data showing it does work so, in the meantime, while science develops enough to be able to understand how it works, human beings are very sensibly making use of it. Homeopathy is the fastest growing medicine in the world and particularly in India and even in Africa where, because it is so cheap to produce, because it is so cheap to use – sometimes one remedy taken once will bring about healing – and because it is so durable, if kept away from electronics and too much light (remedies 100 years old have been used effectively) it is vastly better for use in the less developed countries. But even without that, Homeopathy heals and does no harm.

    Anyone who studies Homeopathy and is exposed to it professionally becomes a convert. The reason why some in science/medicine so hate it and wish to discredit is very simple:

    The principles of Homeopathy which are about healing not removing symptoms run counter to the mechanistic nature of Allopathic or Modern medicine and medicine would have to have a radical re-think about its approach and its methodology and it resists such a challenge; the remedies cannot be patented and are economical to produce and use compared to pharmaceutical drugs and that means a massively reduced profit margin which the billion dollar drugs industry would reject out of hand; and the premise upon which Homeopathic remedies are produced and how they work would (will) destroy many of the basic premises on which science now rests and that would impact egos, careers, profits, professions and the entire basis of modern science.

    Truth will out however and in the meantime Homeopathy will keep healing and more and more people will make use of it.

    • rossross said ” Homeopathy does work and anyone who has made use of it with professional help – buying at the chemist and self-prescribing is generally ineffective although harmless and may certainly have a placebo effect – cannot but be impressed with its efficacy and convinced it does work. Anyone who has used it on a child or an animal, who may well be influenced by parental or owner’s belief, cannot help but be impressed and convinced. Anyone who has used it on their child or animal or themselves when they in fact do not believe in it but are in a position where they will try anything, is even more impressed and convinced.”

      “Anyone”, rossross? In light of the slow agonising and needless deaths of Penelope Dingle, Gloria Thomas, Cameron Ayres, Janeza Podgorsek and suchlike, all of whom died because they were “treated” by homeopaths and nobody else, you might like to rephrase that comment. The truth is that many, many people have tried treatment by homeopaths and have not been impressed or convinced. Why, even my hairdresser wasted £500 on a “professional” homeopath before he finally realised he was being sold a crock. (The off-the-shelf homeopathic remedies I bought before I knew what homeopathy really was certainly didn’t work, even as placebo.)

      I’m afraid justing stating that it works because lots of people believe it does, doesn’t actually tells us whether it works or not. The way to find out whether something works or not is to test it in conditions where all possibility of bias has been removed and, so far, homeopathy hasn’t passed that test. The totality of evidence available indicates that homeopathy is no more effective than placebo. That’s why the scientific consensus isn’t convinced by it. Well, that and the fact that homeopathy is scientifically implausible, of course.

      • The operative word was ‘professional.’ I have no idea who the people you cite ‘dying agonising and needless deaths’ are, nor any idea of whom they consulted or why, and apart from the hyperbolic nature of your comment, it is as irresponsible and erroneous to seek to discredit Allopathy by listing those who have died agonising and some might say needless deaths, because of the methodology.

        It is important to deal with facts not fantastic tales which fit a set of beliefs. As to your hairdresser, it is an anecdote and fairly meaningless since no-one reading this knows your hairdresser and therefore has no idea of how sensible, informed, or intelligent he may be.

        What I would say, is that having seen homeopaths around the world – Canada, Australia, the UK, the US and Europe one thing is certain, it is highly unlikely he saw a professional homeopath. The operative word was ‘professional.’ He would have spent far more seeing an unprofessional allopath and may well have died because of it, given the deadly nature of many Allopathic treatments. Be grateful Homeopathy does no harm.

        I did not state it works because lots of people believe in it – I stated that lots of people believe in it because it works. That is quite different. Homeopathy is tested – constantly, every day, around the world, by billions of people and has been tested for more than 200 years and it continues to grow in use because it works. That is the only test required.

        Homeopathy does not have to prove anything to anyone but those who turn to it and it does that time and again. So effectively in fact, that many Allopathic doctors, turn to it and train as Homeopaths and use it alongside their conventional medical treatments, although some drop Allopathy and focus on Homeopathy – the scientific consensus in that situation is utterly irrelevant.

        The fact that so many doctors trained in Allopathy happily use Homeopathy – in France you cannot practise Homeopathy unless you are trained as an M.D. means that they, like so many who benefit from it, require no ‘seal of approval’ from science, consensual or not, and neither do they consider it a placebo although there is no doubt that placebo and nocebo effects are in place, to varying degrees, with all medical methodologies, including Allopathy.

        It is a big leap to call something implausible based only on a relatively recent paradigm, that the world is material and mechanistic in every sense. This paradigm is now being questioned by Quantum physics so no doubt, eventually, the scientific system will be forced to change but what is plausible and what is implausible is a moveable feast both in science and medicine.

        Just as an example, Barry Marshall, the physician who came up with the theory that stomach ulcers were caused by bacteria, was ridiculed, because not just was it considered implausible by science/medicine, it was considered impossible that bacteria could live in the acidic environment of the stomach – how much they don’t know – and they did eventually change their minds when science/medicine learned a bit more.

        A Homeopath would not of course consider the bacteria the cause of the ulcer, but merely a trigger, sourced, for that person, at that time, in a variety of factors. But I cite it because it is how Allopathy approaches the body and disease and as an instance of science/medicine considering something to be implausible and being found to be completely wrong.

        The same will happen with Homeopathy when science/medicine advances enough to understand the world beyond its current materialistic paradigm. In the meantime, billions continue to use and be healed by Homeopathy.

  13. @sebastianarmstrong

    Ask the practicing classical homeopath nearest you for help. . . . .

    • Sandra Courtney said
      “@Anonymous
      Here we go again, another one of the methods disinformationists use; i.e., ridicule..#5 on the list of disinformation rules. Debby is not “confused.” You owe her an apology.. ..”

      I disagree. Debby Bruck seemed to think that the argument here is about patient choice. It isn’t.

      The topic is the ruling against homeopaths by the ASA, after all that is why HMC21 (*not* the Nightingale Collaboration) was protesting about in front of the ASA offices. That isn’t about patient choice. It isn’t about prohibiting homeopaths from practicing. It isn’t about preventing patients from seeking out homeopaths. It isn’t even about preventing homeopaths advertising their practices. If you read the ASA document that I linked to you would understand that.

      Attempts by homeopaths to frame this as being about patient choice rather than the desire of a special interest group to receive special treatment from the ASA is disingenuous.

  14. sebastianarmstrong says:

    To me it is simple, Hahnemman completely made up that like cures like and that diluting increased potency, and no one since has ever proven these central tenets (add to them that you need to bang the solutions against something leather bound each dilution) to be remotely true. Since then these ideas have been shown to be opposed to actual science, and each discovery makes them less and less likely. But instead of proving the science of homeopathy, homeopaths rely on trying to get exemption form proving that what they are using is not an inactive placebo. WHY SHOULD THIS BE ALLOWED? To my mind the homeopathic community is mostly made up of people who have neither the qualifications or intellect to make it as doctors, but like to promote their pseudoscience as somehow equal to or better than the accumulated medical knowledge, based on the say so of Hahnemma.

    So to all the homeopathic fans I have a couple of questions.
    1) when does the remedy lose it’s effectiveness? (Given that homeopaths have never been able to distinguish between their remedies once the labels are removed and they have no way of distinguishing between them they also have no way of measuring when the remedy loses it’s effecgtiveness)
    2) If you don’t (and you don’t) know when the remedy loses it’s effectiveness, how can you know whether the water you use for your remedies is not already containing an existing remedy that is exactly the opposite of what you are trying to create? (Again as they can’t tell whether water still retains a homeopathic remedy they cannot tell whether any process is capable of removing it)

    It seems to me that without any way of knowing when the remedy is no longer effective ( which they do not have since they cannot tell whether it contains an active remedy or not) it is impossible to quality control their product, and impossible to check that homeopathic remedy companies are not just selling water. (well they are but they claim to have done something to it which also cannot be checked). As such I do not believe that homeopathic remedies can work, but also that they can be shown to contain even the remedy that homeopaths claim, or be shown to not contain conflicting remedies that counteract completely the remedy they are supposed to be delivering.

    PS for scientific consensus look to Chief Medical Officers etc, they seem pretty unanimous that it’s nonsense, I tend to agree with them rather than people who’s medical qualifications require no medical knowledge and a willingness to suspend disbelief rather than understand a proven effect.

    • And here’s another example.

      “Thank goodness we still have the right to CHOOSE how we decide to look after our health…and this is the Crux of the matter if you don’t like Homeopathy don’t see a Homeopath”

      As I said earlier (though I appear to be listed as Anonymous), this is about being able to substantiate objective claims as required by the COP. No one is stopping anyone from seeing a homeopath. Homeopaths can advertise themselves. This is *not* about patient choice. It is about a group that wants special preferential treatment by the ASA so that they are able to make any claims that they like even in the absence of objective evidence.

      Again, from their apparent unwillingness to address this, like many a politician before them the homeopaths know that they have lost the argument.

      • 4tisblog:

        “It is about a group that wants special preferential treatment by the ASA so that they are able to make any claims that they like even in the absence of objective evidence.”

        You are making a sweeping accusation against thousands of qualified, dedicated, honest and respected practitioners. In no way could you possibly support that fallacious claim with evidence. AND it is evidence that YOU demand, isn’t it?

        The fact is that the evidence for homeopathy does exist. The questions are “why is it being rejected?”, “why is the ASA making judgments based on the opinions of the Nightingale Collaboration instead of on the evidence?”, and “who benefits when other systems of medicine aren’t available or when CAM practitioners can’t tell the public what they do?”.

    • sebastianarmstrong:

      You could also get the answers to your questions by reading a book about homeopathy. There are many good ones available and many written for the lay person who has no knowledge of the subject.

      • sebastianarmstrong says:

        Have read, and talked to homeopaths, but no answers at all at a method for establishing when a cure has deteriorated, because they give no method for checking it. So why don’t you enlighten me.

    • Do some reading so you can at least appear informed. Hahnemann was a doctor and a chemist and it was his disgust with the damage done by medicine which pushed him to find other ways to heal. He stumbled on the Like Cures Like and went on from there. He spent his life researching and improving and establishing Homeopathy and as a chemist and doctor, he was rigorous in his pursuit. I doubt you would be able to wade through the mammoth amount of words he wrote int hat pursuit. But perhaps you should try.

      • Worth remembering that Hahnemann worked during the age of “heroic medicine” when doing nothing *did* give you a better prognosis than the treatments of the day such as blood-letting etc. Things have changed over the last 200 years. It is worth understanding that.

        • I have no doubt if Hahnemann were practising today and Homeopathy did not exist, he would be so disgusted with the damage done by modern medicine he would have developed it. The percentage of people killed or injured by iatrogenic medicine is far greater than that done in Hahnemann’s day because there is far more interference, far greater arrogance in regard to the human body, far greater focus on bits of the body as opposed to the whole organism and a belief the body is a machine, and far greater experimentation at massively high levels, vaccination being a classic example, and IVF for that matter, where millions of people are affected, not just hundreds or thousands. The capacity of Allopathy to affect millions if not billions and do damage ranks at a far greater level than anything done in Hahndemman’s day. Having said that, no-one denies Allopathy has valuable skills – reconstructive surgery and crisis situations being the main two – but it remains deeply flawed because it is sourced in the Newtonian/Descartesian mindset. A mindset, ironically, that neither man would have ever supported.

    • @ Sebastian

      So to all the homeopathic fans I have a couple of questions.
      1) when does the remedy lose it’s effectiveness? (Given that homeopaths have never been able to distinguish between their remedies once the labels are removed and they have no way of distinguishing between them they also have no way of measuring when the remedy loses it’s effecgtiveness)

      If remedies are stored correctly, away from too much light and not close to electronic equipment, the latter being a more modern problem than when Homeopathy was developed, then they last indefinitely. Remedies more than 100 years old have been used and found effective.

      2) If you don’t (and you don’t) know when the remedy loses it’s effectiveness, how can you know whether the water you use for your remedies is not already containing an existing remedy that is exactly the opposite of what you are trying to create? (Again as they can’t tell whether water still retains a homeopathic remedy they cannot tell whether any process is capable of removing it)

      The first answer negates this one but, if a remedy has been affected and lost effectiveness, the reason the Homeopath knows is that there is no effect on the patient. This could also mean that the remedy was not the correct one but most practitioners are careful about sourcing remedies and would trust that they were in functioning form and if there were any reason to doubt, they would use the same remedy again from a fresh source.

      If you want answers to these questions there is plenty of information available. The Impossible Cure is probably an easy read and gives a good overview.

      • sebastianarmstrong says:

        1) Poppycock. As there is no way to distinguish between water and homeopathic remedies there is simply no way to assess this. It is simply made up. There is no way that anything has ever been shown to remove the curative properties of homeopathic remedies, just as there is no way to tell the difference between them.

        As to your answer to 2, you seem to have misunderstood. If the water first use in the new remedy contained one molecule of a previous remedy (with an opposite effect) the new remedy would be less dilute than the previous one, so in fact the old effect would be more powerful.

        Having no way of knowing what was already in the water they used, and having no way of establishing a way of removing the previous remedy it is impossible for the homeopath to create a clear and quality controlled remedy. Essentially with no way to distinguish between water an a previous remedy there is no such thing as a “fresh source”.

  15. I appreciate a sane and balanced approach to medicine. Thank you Mr. Burne. My wife and I are professionals that deal with evidentiary issues all the time. We have had years of real success with homeopathy and other of our friends and family have had the same experience.
    Of course, you’ll find those who are obsessed with anti-homeopath ideations and battiness, (I see it as a kind of irrational virulent disease itself) here again ranting.

    But I appreciate you taking the risk of their wrath in putting the whole thing into a sane perspective and bringing up the real dangers we face in determining appropriate health care choices. Homeopathy rocks!

    • wtf1962 says:

      What does this comment have to do with the blog post? Which is a diatribe aimed at the Nightingale Collaboration and was based entirely on false information, for which the blogger has made a couple of half hearted attempts at an apology.

      • @wtfl962

        This article is long past due. Mr Burne deserves kudos in the highest potency! :o) .

      • Little harsh I feel, there was an error of fact – even the best of us make that kind of slip up, and my apology is better described as fulsome – but that had no baring on the point made about the serious problems with lack of evidence for a range of medical interventions that, just as a matter of fact,have the potential to be far more damaging than homeopathy.

    • Anonymous says:

      Debby Bruck nicely illustrates why homeopathy is dangerous when she says ” many people claim it has healed their arthritis, cancer, auto-immune diseases, high blood pressure, hair loss, hormonal dysfunction, depression, poor eyesight, bleeding gums, abscess, cuts, angina, diabetes…” These are serious and life threatening conditions. If the claim that homeopathy can cure cancer could be substantiated then that would be truly wonderful, but I (and presumably the ASA) have yet to be shown anything that could do that. Making claims of efficacy without substantiation is a recipe for tragedy.

      Debby Bruck also seems to be confused about what is actually being discussed here, which is all about advertising content. It *isn’t* about outlawing homeopathy in the UK. It *doesn’t* affect patient choice. It doesn’t even prohibit homeopaths from advertising their services. It is about advertisers being able to substantiate objective health claims that they make. If anyone thinks otherwise just read what the ASA themselves say on the subject.

      http://www.asa.org.uk/Resource-Centre/Hot-Topics/~/media/Files/CAP/CAP/Guidance%20for%20Advertisers%20of%20Homeopathic%20Services%20September%20(Sept%202011).ashx

      Of course it is in the interests of homeopaths to frame this as something completely different. After all, who could be against things like patient choice? This is merely a tacit admission that the homeopaths have lost the argument.

      • @Anonymous
        Here we go again, another one of the methods disinformationists use; i.e., ridicule..#5 on the list of disinformation rules. Debby is not “confused.” You owe her an apology.. ..

      • Anonymous says: “If the claim that homeopathy can cure cancer could be substantiated that would be truly wonderful, but I (and presumably the ASA) have yet to be shown anything that could do that.”

        By phrasing the question as you did you are trying to imply that homeopathy cannot cure cancer and that cured cases have not been and cannot be substantiated. Although I’m not sure why anyone would feel the need to prove it to you, the required evidence most definitely exists. Whether or not the ASA wants to acknowledge that evidence has nothing to do with the fact that homeopathy cures cancer.

        “…..that would be truly wonderful….” That hardly seems like a sincere sentiment given your comments. However, it most definitely is truly wonderful for the patient, his family, his friends and his homeopath. And that’s what counts. Advertising standards are meaningless to them.

  16. Thank you for an intelligent article on medicine, both conventional and at least at present not so conventional when it comes to homeopathy. I have suffered enormously from Crohn’s Disease. It is officially an incurable illness and worse still for me was very ineffectively treated by conventional medicine despite the best efforts of very good and caring physicians. Homeopathy not just cured me of Crohn’s Disease, it has irrevocably changed my life. Yes, it’s a grand claim. I understand that. But it’s the truth. I tried a lot of remedies before the right one worked in a hugely profound way to make me healthy so I know that it’s not just a placebo effect because I experienced it. If I’m so effected by placebos anyway, why didn’t all the drugs I took work? It’s not like I didn’t trust the doctors prescribing them or didn’t desperately want to feel better. The world was round a long time before the majority of people on it came to believe that it was. The biggest problem with some rigidly minded scientists is that they seem to believe they know everything already but we live in a complex universe and we keep learning things that revise our opinions about how life operates the whole time. Is not change supposed to be to only constant? Then why oh why insist that things we might not understand now are completely lunacy? Why am I nuts because I insist homeopathy cured me of an awful illness? Or maybe thank goodness I am. At least, desperation to live an improved life drove me to see a wonderful homeopath and opened my eyes to how things actually work. Energetic medicine might not make complete sense to us now but it’s real and it works and whether some like it or not it’s the way of the future. It blows your mind trying to comprehend it or at least it does mine. But when you think about it life can blow your mind. It is awesome. Surely keeping an open mind and your curiosity alive is the hallmark of a great scientist anyway. What else can be discovered if you keep closing down options just because you can’t understand something? Homeopathy may not be a panacea (what is?) and this does not mean the end of the world for conventional medicine but maybe it could help so many more people than it does at present be better. The fact is that conventional medicine is both toxic and ineffective when it comes to many modern day diseases. It’s not to say it’s without its many, many wonderful attributes. I personally am very grateful for it but it often doesn’t address the core reason of why somebody is sick. Why only treat symptoms (and sometimes not very effectively) if you can actually treat causes and cure someone? Do some people think that others should stay sick just because they can’t understand how a particular modality that is cheap, effective (giving the right remedy to the right person) and wait for it – free of side effects works? At least try it first before throwing tomatoes at it and then make assumptions. Yeah it’s complicated but I’ve got some news for sceptics out there – life is complicated! You can stay sick if you like or you can try something else ‘that doesn’t make sense’ and maybe get better. You decide. In my case I made the decision to try something else and I am not denying desperation was hugely motivational but boy am I glad I did. I’m not saying it will work for everyone all of the time either but I am stating categorically I am not nuts and it did help me. Maybe it could help you too.

    • Great post. The nay-sayers won’t believe anything you say but others in need may decide to give it a try….well done.

  17. Homeopathy is a department of medicine which offers long lasting to permanent cure, treating the disease from its roots, for many ailments. Homeopathy is a rational science with respect to its concepts of health, disease and cure. Homeopathy does not treat superficially by just driving away the symptoms but heals the patient from within.

    It is based on Principle of similars i.e. Let likes be treated by likes. It states that The drug which manifest the “likeness” i.e. most likelyto cure or relieve a case of disease is that drug which when administered to a healthy person, has shown itself capable of producing symptoms which most closely resemble those of the case of disease.

    • Homeopathy treats the underlying causes of disease and not the symptoms? This is a common claim but the whole point of homeopathy is that a homeopathic “remedy” is chosen purely on the basis of symptoms. There’s *no* attempt to determine if the cause is neurological, due to bacterial or viral infection, genetic, or any other cause.

      • You are working under the assumption that homeopathy must adhere to the same rules that allopathy does. That is entirely unreasonable. To judge one system by the rules of another is outside the bounds of logic.

      • @ 4tisblog

        Yes, homeopathy treats the underlying causes of disease. The symptoms are the result of the disease, not the disease itself. A very simple example would be …. someone tickles my nose with a feather and I cannot stop sneezing for an hour or more. It would be nonsense for my homeopath to treat the feather which was the cause of my sneezing, I expect my homeopath to treat my body’s reaction to the feather. I hope that helps make the homeopathic approach a bit easier to understand. I can explain it in a much more lengthy manner, but this is not the forum for that.

        .

      • ‘Homeopathy treats the underlying causes of disease and not the symptoms? This is a common claim but the whole point of homeopathy is that a homeopathic “remedy” is chosen purely on the basis of symptoms. There’s *no* attempt to determine if the cause is neurological, due to bacterial or viral infection, genetic, or any other cause.’

        A Homeopathic Remedy is not chosen purely on the basis of symptoms. The Homeopath does find symptoms important, from the major to the minor and particularly those which are ‘different’ or ‘unusual’ but the Homeopath also takes into account the physical shape of the individual, how they talk, move, what they say, what is going on in their lives, what their birth, childhood and previous symptoms or illnesses have been, what their emotional, physiological, psychological and spiritual attitudes or responses are – in other words, they seek to get as complete a picture of the person as they can in any and every sense.

        The reason that Homeopathy does not attempt to determine a ’cause’ is that it approaches dis-ease and healing from the perspective that the ’cause’ is different for every individual. What causes hay fever in one is not what causes it in another; why one person gets malaria is not why someone else gets malaria, etc. In a healthy body the bacteria, virus, mosquito or genetic tendency does not harm which is why not everyone gets infection, the flu, malaria, or a disease because they are subjected to the virus, bacteria, mosquito or gene. So the crucial factor is not the ‘trigger’ but why the ‘trigger’ is activated and that means the immune response or the human organism is out of balance.

        The reasons for imbalance are not the same for everyone hence there is no one ’cause’ just a variety of individual, particular and unique ’causes’ for each and every one of us and the Homeopath must find the remedy which fits on that basis.

      • @4tisblog
        Symptoms are the language of a disease. A disease label is a combination of specific/particular set of morbid signs and symptoms. Different combination of symptoms can be given a new disease name. We focus on symptoms directly, or you can say by the disease name indirectly.

  18. Anonymous says:

    After seeing the healing effects of Homeopathy for my family, friends and myself for the past 30 years, I would be foolish to turn my back on it and deny its efficacy. I am so grateful to it for the gentle and quick cures it has offered. Although some say that it cannot be explained, what do I care? All I care about are the results. The apple fell from the tree even before science could explain why, but the fact remains that the apple did and still does fall from the tree. Long live Homeopathy! I as do countless others am grateful to Homeopathy. Give us the dignity and respect of the freedom to choose our own method of healing.

  19. lecanardnoir says:

    So, Jerome, (or any of the homeoapths here)

    I wonder which of these statements you would disagree with?

    1) Health claims in adverts should be substantiated with robust evidence.
    2) Homeopaths tend to rely on anecdote as their evidence base.
    3) The ASA is right not to allow homeopaths an exception as all other advertisers are not allowed to rely on anecdote as their evidence for claims.
    4) Claims that are wrong in health adverts may harm people.
    5) Claims about health that lack a robust evidence base stand a very reasonable chance of being wrong.

    If you agree with the above statements, then surely the Nightingale Collaboration are entitled to ask the ASA to challenge homeopaths on their claims.

    Interested to see where you think this logic fails.

    • I agree with you on adverts but that would mean that things like mouthwash (which actually kills the good bacteria which keeps you well); toothpaste with fluoride (which is harmful); sunblock (where the body gets a hefty dose of chemicals absorbed through the skin and where Vitamin D levels in the body are reduced leading to serious disease in many cases); anti-bacterial cleaning agents (which kill the good bacteria which keeps us well) and countless other products could never be advertised because there is no robust evidence they are good for us and quite a bit of evidence they do harm.

      Homeopaths do not rely on anecdotal evidence anymore than Allopaths. Both rely on feedback from patients although Homeopaths consider such feedback crucial and take it into account and Allopaths may well dismiss it because it does not fit some generic.

      Claims that are wrong in advertising may harm people but at this point no-one has been hospitalised or died from taking a Homeopathic remedy while millions are hospitalised and die every year around the world from taking prescribed medication where the ‘claims’ for the drug are the opposite of the effect.

      As to claims about health that lack a robust evidence base standing a very reasonable chance of being wrong, well, just look at the massive increase in iatrogenic deaths and damage and it is pretty clear that claims about health with what is called robust evidence, count for very little.

      • Rosross, if you believe that mouthwash adverts, toothpaste adverts, or any other adverts make objective health claims that cannot be substantiated then contact the ASA. That’s what it is there for.

        • Mouthwash is actually bad for your health but science/medicine is not yet able to fully appreciate that. The ads claim to be ‘good for you’ and they are not but since science/medicine is still ignorant – although learning slowly – about the importance of bacteria, good and bad, in terms of body function and immune response, the bodies which oversee ads would see nothing wrong with it.

  20. Sandra Courtney wrote, “the Nightingale collaboration…who I suspect are supported in some way by Big Pharma”.

    This is not the first time Sandra has said this nor the first time she’s been corrected. The Nightingale Collaboration is not supported in any way, shape or form by Big Pharma or any other commercial company.

    Anonymous wrote, “Agreed. Touting falsehoods is the Nightengale (sic) way. They lay on the ridicule and negativity while they’re at it.”

    I take strong exception to the accusation that the Nightingale Collaboration “touts falsehoods” and note that you provide no examples. That’s because there aren’t any.

    Please continue with the mudslinging – I am confident that objective readers will see it for what it is. For truthful information about the Nightingale Collaboration, please see our website.

    • Maria, you write: “The Nightingale Collaboration is not supported in any way, shape or form by Big Pharma or any other commercial company.”

      Interestingly, your own web site states that Simon Singh arranged for seed money (from whom?) for the first year of your web-site-perusal project because he felt it was “important” to get it going quickly. It would be hard not to know that Singh is anti-CAM, not just anti-homeopathy. He co-authored the basher “Trick or Treatment” with Edzard Ernst, another person known for his anti-CAM sentiments. Singh is also a member of Sense About Science along with Dr. Evan Harris who voted against homeopathy at the Sci & Tech Evidence Check. Between 2004 and 2010 SAS received 42% of its income from organizations connected with the pharmaceutical industry. In 2006 SAS published “Sense About Homeopathy”. At that point funding from those organizations jumped from 36.9% of total income (37,300 pounds) to 51.2% of total income (192,165 pounds). SAS is a registered charity. It is certainly unlike any charity I’ve ever heard of. It does things no charity would do.

      It is disingenous to claim your group is not supported by pharmaceutical interests. It would be difficult in the extreme not to recognize the impetus behind reporting homeopaths and CAM practitioners. According to your site you are soliciting donations from individuals, not companies. Who would those individuals be? In no way can you distance your activities from the interests of Big Pharma and its affiliated organizations.

      Maria, you are known by the company you keep.

      500 million people use and will continue to use homeopathy because it works and works safely, but you don’t want homeopaths to have the opportunity to tell the public what they can accomplish.

      • Christine

        I repeat: we are not supported financially or in any other way by pharmaceutical companies or by any other commercial interests – and nor will we ever be.

        Your labyrinthine reasoning for this accusation appears to rest on a false assumption that Simon Singh himself receives money from Big Pharma through his membership of the Sense About Science charity – at least I presume that’s why you mention Sense About Science in support of this accusation you are making against us. Simon Singh is a trustee of that charity and therefore cannot receive funding from it, so I’m afraid your argument falls at the first hurdle. Do you have any better ones?

        You say, “It would be difficult in the extreme not to recognize the impetus behind reporting homeopaths and CAM practitioners.” And yet you fail to do so. Hundreds of complaints about homeopathy websites were submitted to the ASA by members of the public as a result of our campaign. It would seem, Christine, that you think those of us who don’t share your rosy view on homeopathy, those us who are sick of being ripped off by false advertising, appalled at seeing dangerously false or misleading claims on homeopaths and other ‘CAM’ websites and horrified at the needless tragedies caused by the promotion of such falsehoods, must have some hidden financial motive. Thank you for that illustration of your lack of critical thinking skills. I’m beginning to understand why you embraced the nonsense that is homeopathy in the first place. I highly recommend the illuminating article “Escaping the cult of homeopathy”, which quotes extensively from an ex-homeopathy. Google will find it for you.

      • lecanardnoir says:

        It is absolutely vital that you cling to the Zombie argument that Nightingale is supported by Pharma in pursuit of their interests.

        It would devastating if this was a group of people merely motivated by a desire to see alternative medicine live up to some minimum standards of honesty.

        So, instead you gave to contort arguments that somehow because Singh and Ernst may have some involvement and are ‘anti-CAM’ then Pharma must, somehow, be involved.

        Whilst you fail to engage with the criticisms of Nightingale and others and instead try to paint them as some sort of deamons, you will never be able to understand what is going on and act in your larger interests.

        It is time for the alt med community to grow up and look at themselves and learn to address the issues being raised: that you should not promote yourselves with health claims that could cannot robustly evidence. It really is that simple.

  21. There are millions who would testify in the affirmative when asked if they were helped by homeopathy. I am an example of someone who turned to homeopathy when conventional medicine failed. Homeopathy saved my life. I have had only positive experiences being treated homeopathically and using it myself. For example:

    Homeopathic Sulphur cured two cases of conventionally treated mange in a dog of my husband’s aunt and the dog of one of my friends.

    Two family members with broken bones were facing surgery to repair. Homeopathic
    Symphytum cured the breaks without surgery. Before and after x-rays and ultrasound.
    documented the healing in both cases.

    Apis mellifica prevented the swelling and allergic reaction to several wasp stings on my legs.

    Silicea opened and forced the drainage of a lipoma the size of a golf ball from our family dog’s right shoulder. Now, one year later the area is healthy, and all the hair has grown back. We saved a good deal of money since no veterinary intervention was needed..

    Rhus tox helped my husband avoid back surgery for two herniated discs at the L4 and L5 levels. This was also documented by x-ray and ultrasound. He had been walking with a cane for six months.

    Living in Florida where fleas on pets is a huge problem, I have used homeopathic Ruta graveolens in all my dogs’ water dishes for the past four years. Before I discovered homeopathy, I had paid hundreds of dollars for flea shots, dips and whatever else I could get my hands on. None worked. I am so pleased to be able to use something this inexpensive and non-toxic on my pets.

  22. healing-naturally-with-homeopathy says:

    Homeopathy does not work? Really? How come then, that homeopathy is the second most commonly used therapy in the world, with acupuncture being the most used, and conventional medicine coming in third place?
    I would suggest that a small number of people (with a vested interested and lined pockets) want homeopathy not to work. And I can understand the reason why – they stand to lose billions of pounds. Greed moves them, not science, nor enquiry, nor evidence. The ordinary person out on the street can see this -they are not stupid.
    Of course homeopathy works, and it has been working for over 200 years. We may not be able to explain clearly the mechanism at the moment, but it won’t take much longer before we can – search the work done by Nobel Prize winner L. Montagnier, or the work done in Cuba by Dr G. Bracho and his team – so eloquently presented at the First International Research Conference in Homeopathy in Barcelona.
    Homeopathy works very well for animals and babies, who don’t seem to have questions about the placebo effect. Insurance Companies are quite happy to reimburse your fees for homeopathic treatment. There is evidence of high patient satisfaction from people who use homeopathy. We could go on and on. On the other hand, only 11% of all conventional treatments have been found to be effective. A good half have no known effectiveness whatsoever.
    Any scientist worth their salt should be using their intellectual skills to ask relevant intelligent questions and seek unbiased answers; instead, some are being influenced by a carefully orchestrated malignant campaign to discredit a therapy that has much to offer to world suffering. You have heard of the saying that”what goes round comes round?” I intend to be around for long enough to see it happen.

    • Do you have a reference for your claim that “homeopathy is the second most commonly used therapy in the world, with acupuncture being the most used, and conventional medicine coming in third place?”

      I would suggest that this is simple nonsense.

      I would also suggest that a small number of people are behind this attack on the ASA who believe homeopathy works and stand to lose billions of pounds if the industry collapses.

      Yes – homeopathy is a billion pound industry with companies making hundreds of millions per year from the sale of sugar pills.

      Scientists have looked at the work of Montagnier and Bracho and realised that, in order, it is confused nonsense, and substandard clinical trial work that had no control group.

      • More of the panicky hollow assertions from another homeopathy hater somebody who can’t substantiate his own. Where’s your “science” for the placebo hypothesis, Andy? He can’t even get his terms straight. How can you expect to understand anything if you can’t get your terms straight? Andy Lewis has too much money and pride invested in bashing homeopathy to have anything reasonable to say about it. He doesn’t even know what homeopathy is. Every vaccine has a homeopathic component to it, so he isn’t even complaining about the right thing. And it wasn’t clinical work Nobelist Luc Montagnier did, it was pre-clinical, both biochemical and physical in which he found indices for both, most notably electromagnetic. Nor is M. the only one to do this. Biochemical tests on supramoleculars have been done numerous times since Behring used them to win the Nobel prize in 1901. The anti-homeopathy mob keep caviling over the lack of a chemical reaction when it’s nuclear. This is electromagnetic, not material chemistry. And when was the last time anyone used a “control group” for a proven remedy in an active epidemic? Where was Jenner’s for small pox in 1796? The “skeptics” insinuation is that “homeopathy” has never been used in epidemics, when the fact of the matter is all epidemiology is the use of similitude (homeopathy) to immunize. You give a disease to cure a disease. This is a fact of usage, not theory. Nor is the use of a supramolecular substances as used as remedies in doctrinal homoeopathy by the Cubans (Bracho) to stop an epidemic the first time they’ve been used as such. Supramolecular medicine has been used in epidemics for more than 200 years , nor are Andy Lewis’ protests been the first to complain about it working so well. Andy, you lost this argument 200 years ago. I challenge Lewis to stand up to the facts in a debate, and the audience will see he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. All he has are reiterated fallacies and jumped to conclusions.

    • And I intend to be around right next to healing-naturally-with-homeopathy to see it, too!

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