Homeopathy is Witchcraft

Discussion in 'Science / Nature' started by Vladd67, May 19, 2010.

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    Vladd67

    Vladd67 Stake Holder

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    BookStop

    BookStop If you see a stranger...

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    It's certainly not all "witchcraft", whatever that means, and I smell some grant money asking to be taken.
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    Wybren

    Wybren Crooked Warden

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    What I can never understand is that some people are willing to jump up and down and call alternative therapies witch-craft and codswallop but no one seems willing to do any scientific testing to determine either way.
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    Parson

    Parson This world is not my home

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    Not completely true. I have heard of some testing done on some alternative medicines and the results were mixed at best, and on many of the alternative medicines tested there was no discernible advantage over a placebo.
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    BookStop

    BookStop If you see a stranger...

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    But to be fair, you've got to try 'em all.
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    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    Homeopathy has been tested... again, and again, and again... and always found to come down to the placebo effect (when it works at all). Which really isn't surprising, as the entire idea behind it is utter nonsense.

    The simple fact is that whatever substance is supposed to be the active ingredient is so diluted that you would (as has been pointed out) have to have a swimming pool almost as large as a big chunk of our solar system to have one single molecule of that substance. What people are getting is simply water. That's it. Water has its beneficial aspects, certainly. But curing various ailments (including, as some homeopathists claim for some of these solutions, cancer) ain't one of 'em....

    It's bunk, and bilking people out of their money, pure and simple, in most cases; and delusional thinking on the part of the peddlers in others....
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    HareBrain

    HareBrain Lagomorphing Staff Member

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    I've no particular interest in homeopathy, but one thing I've heard its adherents claim is its beneficial effect on animals, which would not be subject to any placebo effect. Has this been tested?
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    J-WO

    J-WO Pretentious Avatar Alert.

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    I don't have the details here but I'd say a 'visual placebo' is going on there. If the observer thinks its useful to give Homeopathy to his/her pets/livestock, than their observations are going to be skewed towards what they wish to see.

    That or animals are very gullible.
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    StormFeather

    StormFeather http://gratefuldaize.blog

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    I'm afraid that I'm one of the gullible here :eek:;) - but really only for one remedy as I haven't seen the benefit in others. I always have a tube of the Arnica 30C remedy with me, as it really does seem to make a difference to my children when they have big bumps and bruises. Ever since they were little (and at 4 and 2 they're hardly big) I have given them 'magic medicine' when they've had a nasty fall or accident.

    Hocus pocus, mumbo jumbo it may be, but after taking it, there is often little to no bruising or swelling on the affected area, and with some of the accidents you'd expect to see something. I'm honestly not sure if the placebo effect works in children so young. Maybe part of why I like using it is because they have to stop crying for a bit to take the medicine and by the time it's eaten, they've calmed down.

    There was also a noticable difference in the speed of healing and recovery after childbirth with both my kids when I took arnica. If it's all down to a placebo effect then I'm happy to be duped under such circumstances as post childbirth discomfort is eye-wateringly painful and anything that can ease that has got to be worth the £3! (mind you, I'm not having any more, but I do recommend it to others)

    I have tried other homeopathic remedies, but I can't say I've noticed such positive effects.
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    Ursa major

    Ursa major Bearly Believable Staff Member

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    Calling Homeopathy witchcraft is being very unfair on witchcraft.


    And I'm not joking: People should be free to believe whatever they like about the meaning of life, our existence and that of the universe, but homeopathy pretends to have some sort of scientific basis, and it has no such thing.


    By the way, the term, Alternative Medicine, covers all sorts of things. So, for instance, many herbs have powerful medicinal properties if applied in the right way (some of which are very much not alternative medicines nowadays: e.g. aspirin); thus herbal medicines may have recordable effects in double blind trials, should these be performed. Homeopathy, by contrast, is the worst sort of pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo.
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    The Judge

    The Judge Truth. Order. Moderation. Staff Member

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    Re HareBrain's question: There's always simple coincidence. The horse is given a potion, the horse recovers -- and it appears the potion is the reason, whereas in fact the effect of further nuturing or the condition having run its course is the answer.


    Arnica cream is probably different, StormFeather -- arnica has been used as an anti-inflammatory since the Middle Ages, and I imagine there is substantially more of the active ingredient in the creams than in the dilutions of other homeopathic preparations.
    Last edited: May 19, 2010
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    Mouse

    Mouse roar

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    I've had lots of pet rats, and rats tend to get respiratory infections. There's not a lot you can do and if it's a mild case then it's not really a problem. Vets bills are mega bucks, and all they'll do is give your pet Baytril - which is as useful as a chocolate teapot.

    So for one of my rats I tried a homoeopathic remedy. It was these little white round ball thingies. Did it work? No. Couldn't even get the rat to eat the bloody stuff! :D
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    HareBrain

    HareBrain Lagomorphing Staff Member

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    They are! The "squeak like a mouse" trick always works on the cats that visit my garden (except the deaf one) and when you pretend to throw a ball for a dog, it gets them running nine times out of ten. And racehorses! They run their hearts out thinking they're the ones who are going to get the prize money. No wonder humans rule the world.
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    StormFeather

    StormFeather http://gratefuldaize.blog

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    Nope - never used the cream, always the little white ball things. Like I say, maybe part of it is that it stops them crying for long enough to take the things, but I've seen egg sized bruises on heads disappear in a very short time (less than an hour) without the use of a cold compress. If it's a placebo effect on them - well, anything that stops the tears and helps calm them down is worth it to me:)
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    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    "The little white balls" may, as with the cream, actually have more of the active ingredient. In which case, it isn't actually homeopathy by the strict modern sense, which has as one of its major bases that the more a substance is diluted, the more effective it is. In other words, the common practice is to add, say, a drop of a genuinely pharmacological substance to a large container of water. You then dilute that by a factor of ten (following other procedures such as "succusion" -- forceful striking to agitate the substance in the container); then dilute that by a factor of ten; then dilute that by a factor of ten; and so on. Very quickly, you reach nearly astronomical proportions of water-to-active-ingredient... so much so that what you have is pure water.

    The theory homeopathists advance is that water has memory of all substances which have come in contact with it... which is utter gibberish. Were this so, we wouldn't touch any water, as all sorts of substances, including numerous lethal chemicals or biological byproducts, have come into contact with nearly all water on the planet!

    It has been said that with every glass (or gallon -- I don't remember the statement precisely) of water one drinks, chances are at least one molecule within that amount has passed through the bladder of Oliver Cromwell (or whatever other personage you choose to pick). This is a statistical statement, nothing more. But there we are dealing with a much lower amount of dilution than that which homeopathy utilizes... which rather points up the fallacy of the practice quite sharply.

    While Wikipedia is by no means an authoritative source, they do seem to have a fair amount of worthy citations on their piece on the practice, so you might want to take a look at that:

    Homeopathy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Oh, and as to whether placebo effect can be detected in dealing with children:

    http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pediatrics/GeneralPediatrics/10525

    And the effects on those around them may also make considerable difference:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090629165611.htm
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    The Judge

    The Judge Truth. Order. Moderation. Staff Member

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    Not too much, I hope. Arnica is toxic if ingested.

    StormFeather -- don't panic! I should imagine that in the case of this preparation we're talking negligible amounts. And you're right -- if it's helping, then placebo effect or not, it's worth it for a few pounds, since we're not talking serious injuries.
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    Ursa major

    Ursa major Bearly Believable Staff Member

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    According to Wiki (Arnica - medicinal_uses and Arnica - toxicity), arnica can be used for non-homeopathic (and thus proper) medical purposes, but is also toxic (as are many medicines in high doses).
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    Karn Maeshalanadae

    Karn Maeshalanadae Why?

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    All I have to say about this is, the only thing worse than homeopathy is "faith healing". There was a case here in Minnesota recently where a teenage boy died because his family refused to give him proper medical treatment for his ailment (can't remember what it actually was he had) and instead relied on prayer to cure him. Obviously it failed. :rolleyes:


    That is not to say you should run to the doctor over a mere sniffle, but neither should you ignore the hospital if you have serious injury or infection. What do you think would have happened to me back in 2008 if I hadn't gone to OHSU over my tumor? It would've eventually eaten into my knee joint and then that would have almost definitely destroyed my ability to walk.


    Homeopathy. What a joke it is.
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    StormFeather

    StormFeather http://gratefuldaize.blog

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    Before you all disregard me as being a totally gullible fool:eek: . . .

    I used arnica in pregancy and for my kids based on many sources, and lots of internet research (not always correct I know, but not always wrong either, if you take a balance from many different sites).

    Parents of other kids suggested it when Sam was about 18 months old, and it became another tool to help when he did things like slip over in his little car, bashing his chin and forcing his new lower baby teeth into his upper lip and gum, or when he fell over and hit his head on a table leg, which initially looked like it was leaving a dent in his head. Mainly because he had to calm down to take the tablets, but he really didn't have anywhere near as much bruising and therefore as much pain as you would expect from such injuries.

    I actually trained as a paediatric nurse, so do have a reasonable medical background. I'm not liable to run off with every kookie and off-the-wall suggestion, but, and it's a reasonably big but, I do believe that current knowledge and practices don't cover everything.

    However, I also have my limits. A colleague at work petitioned me on a regular basis when she found out that I was taking Sam for his MMR. She had a background in homeopathy, and tried to convince me that medicating Sam in this fashion, if he ever got ill, was the best way to go. She swore that neither of her kids had had any kind of vaccinations and they were strong and healthy, as she'd treated everything homeopathically. Due to my background though, I'm well aware of the statistics. I'm purely stating my own beliefs here so don't want to offend anyone with opposing views, but . . . . .

    Nothing about the research into MMR and autism really convinced me. Even if there was a link, which was, and still is to my mind, unproven, the chances were still incredibly small. However, the chances of an unimmunised child getting one of these diseases and suffering the nasty or fatal side effects are much greater.

    The thought of only having homeopathic remedies to protect my child - na-ah. To alleviate symptoms of mild bruising or swelling is one thing. To believe it can prevent or cure major illnesses and diseases is another.

    If it's taken alongside conventional medicine - even if it's just a placebo effect - maybe there is some merit in that, as the placebo effect in itself can be quite powerful. But on it's own - I'm certainly not convinced.

    So, although my brain is often stuffed with fluff:p, there is some rationale there too
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    StormFeather

    StormFeather http://gratefuldaize.blog

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    Forgive the double post, but wanted to acknowledge this;

    Thank you for this JD - much appreciated.

    I have to say that right now I'm too tired to get my mind round the second article as it's quite technical in it's own way, but will have a look tomorrow.

    Re the third - very interesting, and not entirely surprising. But, they were studying behavioural responses, and I was looking at a physiological response. I don't believe that my expectation of a bruise getting better in my child will actually result in a) the bruise getting smaller or b) my interpretation of a bruise getting smaller. If a medicine didn't work on my child, I wouldn't be inclined to give it again. I'm not that sold on homeopathy!;)

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