I’ve always been skeptical of the over-hyped claims of alternative medicine, including homeopathy.
(Heck, if you’d read my blog for long you know I’m skeptical of a lot of mainstream medicine, as well!)
So I read with much amusement an article on The Daily Beast: Sorry, Hippies, Homeopathy is Totally Useless
Homeopathy is a worthless means of sustaining your health. In terms of preventing or treating disease, it’s up there with bloodletting or erecting a shrine to Asclepius in your pantry. It is literally good for nothing from a medical perspective.
The author, a physician, wrote in response to a recent report published by Australia’s version of the National Institutes of Health, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), that concluded “there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective.”
The author didn’t hold back his contempt:
In a nutshell, [homeopathy’s] the belief that substances that cause symptoms in healthy individuals can, when given in eensy, weensy doses, alleviate those same symptoms in sick people. This supposedly creates a reaction within the body that allows it to cure itself. Homeopathic preparations are solutions derived from natural substances, diluted several times by a ratio of 1 to 100. At each dilution, the solution is “succussed” which means shaking the bejeezus out of it. This vigorous shaking purportedly imparts memory to the water in which the substance is shaken.
Of course, this is all complete claptrap, as any attentive high school chemistry student could tell you. Diluting a substance by a factor of 100 over and over and over again means that in the end you’re left with a vial of water in which nary a molecule of the original substance remains. Claiming that the hydrogen bonds in water somehow retain memory of homeopathic substances, and that the weaker the concentration the stronger the medication, is just a fascinatingly medical-sounding way of saying “magic.” From a scientific perspective, homeopathy is pure, unalloyed shitcrockery.
Good stuff 😀
The docs over at the blog Science-Based Medicine also discussed the NHMRC’s report: Another Review Finds Homeopathy Worthless
It is long past time to close the door on homeopathy. After thousands of studies, homeopaths are still unable to produce convincing evidence that homeopathy works for any indication.
This pattern is now clear – gold standard clinical evidence shows that homeopathy does not work. Homeopaths do not respond by either producing high quality evidence of efficacy or by changing their views to account for the evidence. Rather, they whine about the game being rigged against them and try to change the rules of evidence, so that weak studies that are almost guaranteed to be false positive are used, or studies that are not even designed to test efficacy.
Americans spend billions of dollars every year on homeopathy and other forms of “complementary and alternative medicine” or CAM.
What worries me the most is that the CAM people have very active lobbyists in Washington, DC, that want to force insurance companies to pay for these treatments even if, like homeopathy, they have no proven benefit.
I feel our health care system is already burdened by too much useless medicine; let’s not add more!