I write about homeopathy fairly regularly on this blog because there is no quackery that is (1) so obviously quackery and (2) such a perfect topic to use to illustrate a lot of issues relevant to medical science, such as issues in clinical trials resulting in false positives and, of course, placebo effects. Basically, homeopathy is an excellent quackery to use to illustrate just how it is that a treatment that, in most cases, is nothing but water can give the appearance of being effective when in fact it is not.
Make no mistake, either. Homeopathy is quackery. It is a modality cooked up over 200 years ago by Samuel Hahnemann that has two “laws.” The first law is the Law of Similars, which states that substances that cause a symptom in healthy individuals can be used to relieve those same systems. Thus, to treat insomnia, you might use coffee or even caffeine. Yes, it is just as ridiculous and without a basis in science as it sounds. But it gets worse than that with the second “law,” known as the Law of Infinitesimals, which states that diluting a compound chosen according to the first law makes its effects stronger. To be more specific, serial dilutions, with vigorous shaking to “potentize” the remedy make it stronger. Many homeopathic dilutions are listed in measures of “C,” which is a single 100-fold dilution. So, for instance, a 30C dilution = a (102)30, or a 1060-fold dilution. Of course, the problem with this is that Avogadro’s number is only ~6 x 1023, making a 30C dilution roughly 1036-fold greater than Avogadro’s number. Basically, anything more dilute than about 12C is water, and anything above 10C is incredibly unlikely to have anything in it at concentration that can do anything.
Do you see why homeopathy is so great for discussing placebo effects and factors in clinical trials that can cause bias and false positives? It’s water!
So whenever I see articles discussing homeopathy as though it were anything other than the rankest pseudoscience, articles that discuss it as though it were real medicine, I get a little bit perturbed. I get especially perturbed when it’s children being subjected to this quackery. I get even more perturbed when it’s special needs children being subjected to this quackery.
No wonder I got a bit perturbed when I saw this post on The Not-So-Thinking Moms’ Revolution about homeopathy in which Amy Lansky is asked about homeopathic remedies for autism. The post is entitled Dealing with the Many Complexities of Treating Autism with Homeopathy. Yes, it is just as bad as it sounds:
I have a 10-year-old son with autism, and I did take him to a classical homeopath. His main issues are extreme controlling behavior; extreme lack of impulse control; severe constipation; very poor social behavior; and lack of focus/interest. He is very verbal and bright though. He responded very well initially to Tuberculinum and Lycopodium, but they now have stopped working for him and we don’t see any benefits from them. We are now trying Carcinosin (started) and Natrum Muriaticum (not started yet). But we don’t see the big gains we did when we initially started on Tuberculinum and Lycopodium. In fact he has shown regression in some of the behaviours we had eliminated earlier.
This mother had three questions:
- Is it common for a benefit to stop working?
- Is it common for some medicines to cause regressions?
- How long do people stay on a medicine that works for them?
Of course, this history sounds very much like placebo effects, which are usually transient, hence the “regression.” Of course, homeopaths often claim that children can’t exhibit placebo effects, but certainly parents change their expectations when observing subjective symptoms after having given their child a medication.
So first, what are Tuberculinum and Lycopodium? The mother doesn’t say how dilute the remedies used were; so it’s possible that there might actually be some Tuberculinum or Lycopodium in these remedies. There’s no way of knowing. Actually, yes there is. Given that Tuberculinum is a nosode derived from a tubercular abscess, I would very much hope there’s nothing left of the it after dilution; i.e., that it’s at least a 12C dilution. Lycopodium, on the other hand, is club moss (Lycopodium clavatum).
So here we have a mother who is giving her autistic child a medicine purportedly derived from a tuberculosis abscess, along with a medicine derived from club moss. Why on earth would homeopaths think that either of these do anything? Well, if you believe in the first law of homeopathy, that “like cures like,” then take a look at the symptoms purported to be caused by Tuberculinum:
Contradictory characteristics of Tuberculinum are mania and melancholia; insomnia and sopor
Desire to use foul language, curse and swear.
Fear of dogs
Irritable, especially when awakening
head; bores head in pillow;
head; movements of head; rolling head;
One could see how, if deluded homeopaths (but I repeat myself) think that Tuberculinum can relieve these symptoms they might think that it might be useful for autistic symptoms. Head movements could be part of stimmming, for example. Of course, there’s no evidence that a tubercular abscess will do anything other than risk infection with tuberculosis, and there’s no evidence that material from a tubercular abscess diluted away to nothing will (which I hope that this is) do anything at all, other than possibly induce placebo effects. Hilariously (well, it would be hilarious if it weren’t such quackery being used on children with neurodevelopmental disorders), the same source states that if Tuberculinum fails, Syphilinum often works. Yes, it’s derived from just what it sounds like it’s derived from, if you believe homeopaths.
But what about Lycopodium? Here are some of the symptoms it is claimed to cause and treat:
Shakes head without apparent cause
Twists face and mouth
mind; aversions, dislikes; being approached;
mind; behaviour; shrieking;
mind; behaviour; shrieking; during sleep; ;
mind; behaviour; shrieking; before urinating; ;
mind; delirium; raging, raving;
OK, if you believe the quackery that is homeopathy, I can see how you might think such a compound might be useful for autism.
So let’s see what Lansky answers. First, she asks whether the homeopath tried different potencies before abandoning the Tuberculinum and Locopodium or changed the dosing. Of course, different potencies or dosing of water still involve administering water; so Lansky’s first suggestion is as meaningless as any homeopathic remedy. Next up, she asks:
Also, why is the homeopath using two remedies at a time? I see that he or she is giving both a nosode (Tuberculinum, Carcinosin) and a more traditional “constitutional” remedy (Lycopodium, Natrum Muriaticum). I understand the thinking, but it may be possible that it was really the Tuberculinum or the Lycopodium that was doing the work.
How long have you been on the Carcinosin and Natrum Muriaticum? A week? Three months? Sometimes it takes a month to see changes. And even the most subtle improvements can be signs of the remedy working.
Or it could be that neither of them “worked.” Notice how cleverly, albeit inadvertently so, Lansky plants the idea of subtle “improvements” meaning that the remedy is working. This cues the parents to look for very subtle changes, and if there’s one thing about looking intently for subtle changes it’s that you will usually find them, thanks to expectation. That’s why double blinding is so important in clinical trials involving behavior or other subjective symptoms, so that the observer assessing the patient doesn’t see what he wants to see.
Out of curiosity, I looked up what Carcinosin and Natrum Muriaticum are, although I had a pretty good guess beforehand. Unfortunately, I was right about the first one. It is said to be derived from cancerous tissues, specifically breast cancer. Homeopaths claim that Carcinosin is good for this:
People who benefit most from Carcinosin are those who are introverted, extremely sympathetic and touchy during their childhood. This type of children usually holds back their emotions, loathe being censured or scolded and can become offended easily. When they attain puberty, such children may often find it hard to restrict their sexual emotions. When they grow into adults, they have a propensity to be obsessive and habitually turn out to be workaholics, incessantly driving themselves to the limits. They may possibly have an intense yearning for traveling as well as thrill. Their desire for profound contentment may result in fatigue as well as ailments.
Such is the rationale for using this in autistic children. Once again, I truly hope that the “potency” of Carcinosin used on this woman’s autistic child was at least 12C, meaning that it was water.
But what about Natrum Muriaticum? Take a guess? The first word gives it away. Basically, it’s sodium chloride, table salt. Excellent! I do like some electrolytes with my hydration! Of course, this is just as ridiculous as any of the other homeopathic remedies used here, but at least if it really does have what it’s claimed to have in it at least it won’t be harmful to a child if it is “less potent” than 12C.
But what about that regression? As I said before, the parents observing an apparent improvement for a while, only to be followed by a seeming “regression.” What they’re almost certainly seeing is a regression to the mean. But what does Lansky say? She lists three possibilities. First:
For example, sometimes a correct remedy can cause old symptoms to return. However, if this is the case, then those symptoms should disappear within a few days, or at most a couple of weeks. Think of it as bringing up the symptoms and then more completely healing them.
How many times do we hear this excuse from quacks? The remedy will make symptoms worse before they make them better! Nope.
Is it possible that you have introduced some new factor that is antidoting your son’s remedies or is a “maintaining cause” that is causing this regression? These factors could be new foods, supplements, changes in social milieu at home or at school, environmental, etc.
Here we go again: Blame the victim. It must have been something the parents did to counteract the powerful magical homeopathic remedies prescribed. Did they change the child’s diet? Did they start new supplements? Did they change the child’s environment somehow? That’s right, it’s the parents’ fault. It’s always the victims fault. This tactic is also very useful to quacks because it distracts attention from the fact that their woo isn’t working and sends the patient or patients’ parents off on a wild goose chase looking for what’s changed and might be keeping the woo from “working.”
It’s also possible, of course, that the new remedies are simply incorrect and that your homeopath has to take a new approach.
If one bit of quackery doesn’t work, try another bit of quackery! Never let the thought enter your mind that all homeopathy is based on prescientific vitalism. It is pure pseudoscientific quackery. Of course, that thought would never enter Lansky’s mind.
I’m sometimes asked why I refer to “The Thinking Moms’ Revolution” (TMR) as the “The Not-So-Thinking Moms’ Revolution.” The embrace of homeopathy by several of the so-called, arrogantly self-proclaimed “Thinking Moms” should be more than enough reason.
85 replies on “Homeopathy for autism? That’s certainly not thinking!”
“People who benefit most from Carcinosin are those who are introverted, extremely sympathetic and touchy during their childhood. This type of children usually holds back their emotions, loathe being censured or scolded and can become offended easily. When they attain puberty, such children may often find it hard to restrict their sexual emotions. When they grow into adults, they have a propensity to be obsessive and habitually turn out to be workaholics, incessantly driving themselves to the limits. They may possibly have an intense yearning for traveling as well as thrill. Their desire for profound contentment may result in fatigue as well as ailments.”
Is it only me, or does this look amazingly similar to the stuff astrologers write, loads of vague comments that could apply to vast swathes of the population.
I believe your assessment to be correct. I think it’s called the well effect (like a funnel-shaped well in the ground – drop on the side and you will end up at the bottom).
I liked this part:
Or maybe about one year or two in extreme cases… Really nothing to worry about, keep taking your medicine.
About the opposite of what a physician would (should) tell its patients when side-effects are observed.
This, I liked less:
That feels not right. Isn’t this cannibalism?
Wait, are the people taking this the same bozos who complain about monkey cells in vaccines?
Over the past several years**, I’ve noticed that the TMs have given much attention to homeopathy: personal posts, guest posts by homeopaths, webinars and have recited tales of its success at panel discussions at Autism One ( which go on for hours- I know because I watched them). They have experience with the CEASE form of homeopathy also-
that’s the one you can study yourself based upon the work of a dead Dutch quack ( which may even be the equal of dead duck quackery for colds, that is, not much at all)
** I believe that TMR just celebrated its fourth year and inaugurated a new president, Marissa Ali ( Dragon Slayer) of Indonesia, who cooks up various essential oil healing concoctions as well as some nice meals for Eid dinners…
I’ve been reading this crap for over four years! A university degree took less time and was mostly based on reality.
It says something about homeopathy that this is considered a symptom caused by what they allege to be a pharmacologically active substance. Something different from what their propensity to dilute beyond Avogadro’s number tells us.
@Helianthus: The derivation of the aforementioned remedy from tubercular abscesses is also highly squick-inducing.
I read that Amy Lansky, PhD, is a computer scientist form Silicon Valley. Note how anti-vaxxers like to display graduate degrees prominently even when they have nothing to do with medicine or areas related to autism/ LD. Habakus has an MA in marketting, Blaxill an MBA and I’ve seen MFA listed for presenters at Autism One.
FROM Silicon Valley
Is Lansky perhaps her married name? Because I can’t find any PhD thesis by anyone named Amy Lansky in Dissertation Abstracts
According to Linkedin, she got at PhD from Stanford in Computer Science in 1983.
yup, there it is. 1984, it says. Thesis: SPECIFICATION AND ANALYSIS OF CONCURRENCY
I’m not sure there is all that much cause for concern over eating someone’s cow-eye cancer so long as it is processed before they turn black:
[email protected]: “Is it only me, or does this look amazingly similar to the stuff astrologers write”
Or JJ Rowling.
I’ve been getting more parents bringing in these useless homeopathic nostrums that, not surprisingly didn’t help their child’s cold, cough, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. When I was at the pharmacy in a chain supermarket a few weeks back, the video screen right by the blood pressure monitoring station flashed a message that said “Check with your pharmacist to make sure your prescription medication doesn’t interact with your homeopathic medication”. I’m hoping the pharmacist thinks all of 0.00001 seconds to answer that one. But, when I explain homeopathy to parents, I get way too many “you’re kidding me” looks, probably because they can’t believe someone could be allowed to sell snake oil right next to ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Then again, lots of parents who vaccinate (and assume it’s required for school attendance) are amazed when they find out how many unvaccinated children are running around.
Actually, I find that MOST of what I read and hear from woo-pushers resembles the work of ( inept) novelists or is itself purely free association:
if there is any kind of connection that could possibly be made in any way, they believe that it exists. Thinking makes it so.
Aren’t all autistic individuals already receiving homeopathy by the glassful daily? Aren’t we all? I haven’t noticed a recent ‘epidemic’ of deaths from dehydration.
You mean JK Rowling?
There was something nagging me about that list of symptoms, and I think that’s it. It reminds me of things like the side effects from Euphoria (“unrestrained singing and nose-tweaking”) or Felix Felicis (“giddiness and overzealousness”)
“homeopaths often claim that children can’t exhibit placebo effects”
Completely ignoring the tried and true practice of “mommy will kiss it and make it better” school of medicine.
Or “put a band-aid on it.”
Just goes to show, with homeopathy, you have to basically deny reality.
Looks like their comment moderation policy is slipping a bit.
Where woud you even get a tuberclum (?) abcess or some of a tumour? Well I supose if you are a homeopath you wil likely have patients with them as your ‘treatment doesn’t work … But just yucky to use a technical term.
I know this type fairly well and fit it almost exactly, and the best medicine for them/us is just calling “letting us be.”
Perhaps these kids have reasons to swear at their parents. I know the feeling.
^ Just called “letting us be.”
I tried to understand what carcinosin cures. I really tried, because I had breast cancer, 11 years ago. All of the water I have had before and since must have produced an *all-natural* homeopathic cure for *something*. Or did it all just suck for no reason? I should be able to homeopathically cure other people by spitting on them. I just wish I could figure out what I would be curing. It hasn’t worked on my wanderlust. I still have it. I still get tired too, so it didn’t work for that. I’m not a workaholic, but I never was. Obviously carcinosin works!
“if Tuberculinum fails, Syphilinum often works.”
BdeeBdeeBdeeBdee What the fuck Buck? Is this the Bill & Melinda Gates school of philanthropic dill-holing, or what?
Marry Me, [email protected]: Obviously an embarrassing “JJ Abrams” brainfart on my part. Although that works too.
I made the mistake of reading this post over lunch. Somehow, I’d missed, in my past reading, that homeopathy used diseased tissue. I assumed it was just herbs and the odd mineral. Ewwwwwwww!
You might be surprised further to learn of these homeopathic preparations:
– Lachesis (snake venom)
– Limulus Cyclops (Horse-foot-King-crab)
– Lissinum (saliva of rabid dog)
Not to mention the ever popular light of Saturn.
I’ve been getting more parents bringing in these useless homeopathic nostrums that, not surprisingly didn’t help their child’s cold, cough, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.
They look awfully tempting there on the shelves at the local 24 hour drugstore, when you’re standing their in your winter coat and pajamas at 2 AM, looking for something, anything, to alleviate the coughing/puking/whatever is keeping the entire house up. Even to those who know better, man, they look good.
Also, I once had a pharmacist recommend some such potion for Delphinette’s cough. I didn’t buy it, but she was certainly somewhat convincing.
Homeopathic Berlin Wall anyone?
It doesn’t help that certain drugstores place these products among other products that aren’t homeopathic. I know this from personal experience–that’s how I was almost tricked into buying a homeopathic cough remedy.
Not “basically deny reality”, marry me mindy: you’ve got to systematically deny reality.
I can lurk no longer.
I have the solution (pun intended).
Observation: vaccines have “poisons”, (formaldehyde etc) in extreme dilution and cause autism etc.
Observation: the weaker the solution the greater the potency.
Solution: add more poisons.
If vaccines cause all of these health issues, and like cancels like, shouldn’t these folks want more vaccines?
Back to lurking, but first have to get my garden hose and fuel up my truck.
The “squick factor” may be the best way to fight homeoquackery.
Consider a poster or radio public service announcement:
Headline: “These are some of the things that go into homeopathic remedies:”
(Long list, starting with “Pus from tuberculosis abcess…” and ending up with “eye of newt” or whatever.)
After the list, in bold: “Just thought you might like to know.”
But where to put those posters where people will see them?
Doctor’s offices, public health clinics, hospitals, obviously. Anywhere else?
The radio spots can be delivered to stations to run, and if staff have any choices as to which public service ads they run at various times, chances are there’s at least one naughty person at each station who would love to run these because they have so much squick to them.
A video version would probably go viral, especially if it had pictures of all that squicky stuff.
I can just see the video now – three homeopaths meet in a cavern with a boiling cauldron and various sized vials…
It sounds like a job for the authoritative voice of the Ad Council, Gray Squirrel #32. LoL let me know how that works out for ya.
“How about instead of snorting worthless, watered down tinctures of syphillus and cow eye cancer, you take your family to a federally infested forest crawling with pompous, pushy, overtly well-armed bureaucrats with third grade educations instead. Brought to you by Minions of Respectful Insolence and the Ad Council.”
1) Just how is this homeopathic Faecum Bovis (I don’t know much Latin, correct me if I’ve gotten this wrong.) supposed to exert it’s action? Autism is due to structural changes in the developing brain. It’s like trying to remodel your house by throwing a bucket of water on it, or healing a broken arm by drinking a cup of tea. Do invisible autism fairies pass into the bloodstream and home in on the brain to restructure it?
2) Has anyone ever tried to sue the Faecum Equinum peddlers because they are unable to prove that anything they claim is actually in the water? Make them prove in a court that their ingredient list is truthful, or have independent blinded labs do a series of assays. Or take the other tack: call them out for selling harmful substances such as bacteria, cancer cells, spirochetes, even plutonium,thereby forcing them to own up to the fact that their products are so diluted that they can’t possibly have any effect.
And don’t forget to twig the pharmacists in the stores where the wooness is on the shelves.
Bonus question: Delphine, does your nom de blog come from Delphine Cormier,PhD of the Dyad Institute?
1. Mechanisms? We ain’t gotta show you no stinking mechanisms! Seriously, homeopathy is a relic of medicine’s prescientific era. It was better than a lot of what passed for state-of-the-art medicine in Hahnemann’s day, because homeopathy at least (pretty much by definition) satisfies the letter of, “First, do no harm.” But medicine has moved on since then, and for most ailments we can do better than Hahnemann did.
2. IIRC homeopaths have managed to get specific exemptions to US law in order to continue selling their products–basically, anything on the official list of homeopathic remedies is legal. The best that can be done (short of changing the law) is for the FDA to apply the same rigorous procedures that the law requires of pharmaceutical companies, and make sure that the products the homeopathic remedy manufacturers sell actually are (at least for products with 12C or greater dilution) distilled water or sugar pills.
Eric is correct. Homeopathic products have a loophole written into the drug regulations that exempt them from going through the process that any actual drug has to go through.
ORD, it comes from the novel Delphine, by Madame de Staël-Holstein.
As stupid as the belief that any homeopathic “remedy” will cure or ameliorate autistic behaviours, it’s a darn sight better than the other nostrums these so-called thinking moms force on their children.
Science Mom – fair point. It could be worse. They could be doing multiple enemas a day like some do (although I fear I might not want to say that out loud, it might give them ideas – multiple HOMEOPATHIC enemas each day….)
Excerpting those homeopathic indications makes some great (if subtle) comedy.
I clicked the Tuberculinum link to see what dilutions it’s offered in, and discovered something I hadn’t known before: It doesn’t end at 30C. They have an M scale (1/1,000) and an LM scale (1/50,000). You can get Tuberculinum from Boiron or Homeodel in anything from 8X to 100M.
So, could 8X of a tubercular abscess be dangerous? That’s 1/10th of 1/10th of 1/10 of 1/10th of 1/10 of 1/10th of 1/10 of 1/10th, right? 1 part in 100,000,000? That much math is hard for me… Serious questions: Wouldn’t that be benign. If not what are odds that little of the abcess could cause a health problem? And what would the possible problems be? [/serious questions]
The other end of the scale is more fun. I mean, think what they’re saying. They create a 1/1,000 dilution, and then dilute that 1/1,000 with the special mystic shaking, and then so on 99 more times. That’s a lot of shaking. How do they do that at a large quantity supplier like Boiron? Do they have massive squads of homeopaths with super-trained high-endurance wrists/arms/shoulders, working twelve-hour days just jiggling? If they have a machine, how did they get the robot to mimic the magic motion?
Does anyone, like, watch them go through this? ‘Cause, if it was me, I’d just pour some distilled water (and 20% alcohol) right into a little bottle and call it 100M because, how the hell could anyone prove it wasn’t?
Boiron charges exactly the same for every dilution of Tuberculinum, which makes no sense. The beauty of the scam should be that the less of the original substance in the bottle, the more you can charge because it’s more ‘potent’ and a lot more shaking labor went into it’s manufacture.
A little goes a long way… At least animal rights activist can console themselves that all the Oscillococcinum ever made comes from one dead duck dissected in Dusseldorf in 1866.
I think I’ll open a mail-order Skeptic Homeopathy business. I’ll start with a 10M dilution of Verum Crucis, as a cure for glossolalia, and a 100M dilution of Spiitilum Trumpum, as therapy for NPD.
From the Homeopathy Home website:
Chemistry Schmemistry! I’m takin’ the elevator down to that energetic level… located I think, somewhere below the colon.
True. At least they aren’t advocating the internal use of bleach, as the MMS pushers do. And at least in this case, contra MMM, a homeopathic version of MMS would be an improvement.
I don’t know specifically about Tuberculinum, but there are some substances that can be dangerous in those amounts. 8X is 10 parts per billion, as you correctly calculated.
Your assumption that labor costs dominate their manufacturing costs is at least superficially reasonable. One hundred dilutions should require about 12.5 times as much labor as eight dilutions. Their pricing scheme only makes since if the cost is dominated by the process of putting the final extract into the vials or sugar pills that they sell. It’s hard to envision a scenario, other than the sort of cheating you describe, in which this would actually be true.
But the reasonableness of this assumption is precisely the flaw in your reasoning: you are applying logic to a scenario that defies logic. As the quote from Homeopathy Home shows, they actually do know about Avogadro’s number, and not only do they not care about it, they revel in the number of proposed explanations (which they mislabel as theories–they are at best hypotheses, and none of them has any physically plausible mechanism) for how their remedies supposedly work.
Homeopathic ‘remedies’ may be exempt from normal regulations with regard to medicine — e.g. proven efficacy isn’t required — but are they also exempt from consumer law? Virtually all homeopathic preparations claim to have an ‘active ingredient’ that is not actually present, and to the best of my knowledge, consumer law does not allow manufacturers of products to claim the presence of an ingredient that in reality isn’t there at all.
Desire to use foul language, curse and swear.
Sounds like your average company gunnery sergeant.
Perhaps homeopathic tincture of Gunny is in order?
I would imagine that the dilution listed would cover their arses on that front. Which is great for the manufacturer given that very few consumers would even know what the dilution means.
Virtually all homeopathic preparations claim to have an ‘active ingredient’ that is not actually present
Makes me think of the Monty Python cheese shop sketch ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWDdd5KKhts )
After seeing several homeopathic products right next to real medicine, I had to explain to my husband what the difference was lest he purchase water for our new baby’s ailments in the future. You should have seen the look on his face.
Explaining the dilutions and what the notations mean is also important. Not every homeopathic “remedy” is just water. Take Hyland’s Teething Tablets, for example. They were recalled because they had measurable amounts of belladonna in them.
I am described by most, but not all, of this description.
But I don’t actually see a problem with that.
I also don’t think it is possible to ‘cure’ such behaviours. I have learnt how to change the way I respond when it is necessary, but the underlying behavioural traits are still all there.
Perhaps homeopathic tincture of Gunny is in order?
Senior staff non-commissioned officers are undilutable.
I’m quite shocked actually. I had always imagined the “active ingredient” being harmless (like many others I imagine a cabal of homeopaths mixing together a brew of leaves and bark like the witches of old). Seems I was sadly mistaken…
What sort of guidelines and security measures do homeopaths even have in place to guarantee that their magic potion remains safe to consume..?
P.S – If Syphilinum “contains” what I think it does, it should be forced to have the image of the now (in)famous Science Blogs Penis(TM) on it. Just sayin’.
“That’s some catch, that Catch-22,” he observed. “It’s the best there is,” Doc Daneeka agreed.
Please stop referring to homeopathic preparations as water. They are largely composed of lactose.
Exactly, Lighthorse. Though the method of production is to use water for dilution and then putting a drop on the sugar pill. Sometimes they just put the bottle of sugar pills next to the water.
Once upon a time in a grocery story that had a display of Boiron bottles full of their little sugar pills, I went to the cake decorating section and picked up a bottle of decorative sugar balls. I placed it in the Boiron display.
By the way, my recipe for Natrum Muriaticum. I created it after an argument with my niece about homeopathy (“but my homeopath was a chemical engineer!”). So for Christmas I created this recipe, bought her a copy of Hahnemann’s Organan, and placed it in the bookwhere he discussed the dilutions…. Enjoy.
Recipe for Nat Mur or Natrum Mur or Natrium Mur or Natrum muriaticum:
1) Take ½ teaspoon of sea salt and dissolve into 1 cup of distilled water in a bottle.
2) Shake well.
3) This is a 1C solution (ratio 1/100).
4) Take ½ teaspoon of the 1C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 1C solution.
5) Shake well.
6) This is a 2C solution (ratio 1/10000).
7) Take ½ teaspoon of the 2C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 2C solution.
8) Shake well.
9) This is a 3C solution (ratio 1/1000000).
10) Take ½ teaspoon of the 3C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 3C solution.
11) Shake well.
12) This is a 4C solution (ratio 1/100000000).
13) Take ½ teaspoon of the 4C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 4C solution.
14) Shake well.
15) This is a 5C solution (ratio 1/10000000000).
16) Take ½ teaspoon of the 5C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 5C solution.
17) Shake well.
18) This is a 6C solution (ratio 1/1000000000000).
19) Take ½ teaspoon of the 6C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 6C solution.
20) Shake well.
21) This is a 7C solution (ratio 1/100000000000000).
22) Take ½ teaspoon of the 7C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 7C solution.
23) Shake well.
24) This is an 8C solution (ratio 1/10000000000000000).
25) Take ½ teaspoon of the 8C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 8C solution.
26) Shake well.
27) This is a 9C solution (ratio 1/1000000000000000000).
28) Take ½ teaspoon of the 9C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 9C solution.
29) Shake well.
30) This is a 10C solution (ratio 1/100000000000000000000).
31) Take ½ teaspoon of the 10C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 10C solution.
32) Shake well.
33) This is a 11C solution (ratio 1/10000000000000000000000).
34) Take ½ teaspoon of the 11C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 11C solution.
35) Shake well.
36) This is a 12C solution (ratio 1/1000000000000000000000000).
37) Take ½ teaspoon of the 12C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 12C solution.
38) Shake well.
39) This is a 13C solution (ratio 1/100000000000000000000000000).
40) Take ½ teaspoon of the 13C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 13C solution.
41) Shake well.
42) This is a 14C solution (ratio 1/10000000000000000000000000000).
43) Take ½ teaspoon of the 14C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 14C solution.
44) Shake well.
45) This is a 15C solution (ratio 1/1000000000000000000000000000000).
46) Take ½ teaspoon of the 15C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 15C solution.
47) Shake well.
48) This is a 16C solution (ratio 1/100000000000000000000000000000000).
49) Take ½ teaspoon of the 16C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 16C solution.
50) Shake well.
51) This is a 17C solution (ratio 1/10000000000000000000000000000000000).
52) Take ½ teaspoon of the 17C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 17C solution.
53) Shake well.
54) This is an 18C solution (ratio 1/1000000000000000000000000000000000000).
55) Take ½ teaspoon of the 18C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 18C solution.
56) Shake well.
57) This is a 19C solution (ratio 1/100000000000000000000000000000000000000).
58) Take ½ teaspoon of the 19C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 19C solution.
59) Shake well.
60) This is a 20C solution (ratio 1/10000000000000000000000000000000000000000).
61) Take ½ teaspoon of the 20C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 20C solution.
62) Shake well.
63) This is a 21C solution (ratio 1 in 10^42 or 1/1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000).
64) Take ½ teaspoon of the 21C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 21C solution.
65) Shake well.
66) This is a 22C solution (ratio 1 in 10^44 or 1/100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000).
67) Take ½ teaspoon of the 22C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 22C solution.
68) Shake well.
69) This is a 23C solution (ratio 1 in 10^46 or 1/10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000).
70) Take ½ teaspoon of the 23C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 23C solution.
71) Shake well.
72) This is a 24C solution (ratio 1 in 10^48 or 1/1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000).
73) Take ½ teaspoon of the 24C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 24C solution.
74) Shake well.
75) This is a 25C solution (ratio 1 in 10^50 or 1/100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000).
76) Take ½ teaspoon of the 25C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 25C solution.
77) Shake well.
78) This is a 26C solution (ratio 1 in 10^52 or 1/10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000).
79) Take ½ teaspoon of the 26C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 26C solution.
80) Shake well.
81) This is a 27C solution (ratio 1 in 10^54 or 1/1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000).
(the zeros are running off of the page!)
82) Take ½ teaspoon of the 27C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 27C solution.
83) Shake well.
84) This is a 28C solution (ratio 1 in 10^56 or 1/100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000).
85) Take ½ teaspoon of the 28C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 28C solution.
86) Shake well.
87) This is a 29C solution (ratio 1 in 10^58 or 1/10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000).
88) Take ½ teaspoon of the 29C solution and put it a bottle with 1 cup of distilled water, throw out the 29C solution.
89) Shake well.
90) This is a 30C solution (ratio 1 in 10^60 or 1/1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000).
And then you are done! To make the pills, go to baking center of your grocery store and get some plain cake decorating sprinkles. You can try dropping some of the solution on the sprinkles, or just set the bottle next to the solution for it to absorb the energy (which is the typical method used for over the counter homeopathic remedies).
You can make up other remedies by knowing what the mother tincture is… For instance “Nux Vomica” (or Nux Vom) is from the Nux Vomica plant which contains the poison strychnine, Nux Sulph uses sulpher, and the stuff advertised on the radio for colds, Oscillococcinum is from duck liver.
I knew about the exemption from FDA regulation, but as has been pointed out, I don’t know if they are exempt from commerce law. Sometimes an obvious approach has nonetheless never been tried. For example, it was only recently that anyone tried a sex discrimination argument in a case involving LGBT rights.
Chris, I hope you didn’t type all that out. I wonder if the Shakers were used in the labor force. I’m sure they weren’t but it would be a nice irony.
Delphine, regardless, in my mind’s eye, I still see you looking like Dr. Cormier, although I am certain you differ in behaviour and temperament.
Sadmar @42 Chris @57
A year ago I got talking to an engineer, who for most of his life had done useful things. But he told me that recently he had designed and built a machine for a pharmacist friend to do all the shaking in the manufacture of homeopathic “remedies”. Do these things actually work? I asked him. They do for the pharmacist he replied, he now drives a porsche.
Old Rockin’ Dave: “Chris, I hope you didn’t type all that out. I wonder if the Shakers were used in the labor force.”
Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V are my friends. I created that years ago for the Alt-Medicine newsgroup on UseNet under the temporary ‘nym of “Naturally Cheap.” It resides in a text file with my “Trollin’ Song” done to the tune of “Rawhide.”
I posted it on a blog a few years ago, and an infamous homeopathy (I dare not say her name or she will show up here) posted these two YouTube videos in all seriousness. I removed the URL spamming her site, but kept the videos because they are hilarious.
Where’s the lyrics to “Trollin’ Song” Chris?
In other anti-vax/ autism news…
It appears that medical intuitive/ paradigm shifter, Dan Olmsted, have found a CONNECTION between all of these “new illnesses” ( autism, Alzheimer’s) which NO ONE else has seen before! ( AoA; MId-week Mashup**)
Hint; he’s wrong as usual.
** I’ll say!
Ahh Cris #60. That is my developed-in-sixth-grade *beat-0-matic*. You’re not supposed to put cow eye cancer and things in there — You stick your dick in it.
Liz DItz, it is in the same file as the homeopathic recipe (I mostly use it on SBM). But I shall post the song, and dedicate it to the semi literate blubbering of Lazarus above:
Trollin’ Trollin’ Trollin’
Trollin’ Trollin’ Trollin’
Trollin’ Trollin’ Trollin’
Trollin’ Trollin’ Trollin’
Trollin’ Trollin’ Trollin’
Though the threads are swollen
Keep them comments trollin’,
Move ’em on
(Head em’ up!)
Head em’ up
(Move ’em on!)
Move ’em on
(Head em’ up!)
Cut ’em out
(Paste ’em in!)
(Cut em’ out!)
Cut ’em out
Paste ’em in,
Keep trollin’, trollin’, trollin’
Though they’re disaprovin’
Keep them comments trollin”,
Don’t try to understand ’em
Just rope, laugh, and ignore ’em
Soon we’ll be discussin’ bright without ’em
Chris :” I dare not say her name or she will show up here.”
Could it be…Satanette?
(Couldn’t find an appropriate counterpart to Satan. if you know one please bear the light to me.)
No, it is an Indian homeopath.
“I write about homeopathy fairly regularly on this blog because there is no quackery that is (1) so obviously quackery”
I dunno. I mean, once you know how those pills are made they’re obviously nonsense, but the average person doesn’t know that. They’re as much of a black box as a bottle of ibuprofen. All they see is a pill in a bottle that says it’s medicine.
For obvious quackery, I find it much harder to beat reiki. I do not understand why that is so popular.
Let me guess.
And Linda1/LZ gets to show off her math skills:
“[I]f 62% of people with Alzheimer’s are younger than 84, then how is it a disease of aging, as doctors claim?”
Dan never fails to amuse. His commenters are an added benefit for us but occasionally there is dissent.
You guessed right, Narad.
Consumer product lawsuits: I agree, it’s worth a try, one might get a judge with some reasonable knowledge of science.
Sadmar re. “I think I’ll open a mail-order Skeptic Homeopathy business. I’ll start with a 10M dilution of Verum Crucis, as a cure for glossolalia, and a 100M dilution of Spiitilum Trumpum, as therapy for NPD.” YES, do it!
While we’re on the subject of candidates for office: an anti-Hillary “remedy” for Trumpists, that promises to convert their Hillary-hatred into Energy (capital E is obligatory) that will cause her supporters to stay home on election day. Advertise this in different venues and you might get more orders than you can fill.
Another product to add to the lineup: Guru Water, where the label has a blank space in which you write the name of your guru. Then, per the label instructions, you say a devotional prayer to your guru, drink up, and feel your guru’s Energy (capital E).
Now all you need is a source of little glass bottles with corks for the homeopathics, and slightly larger ones for the Guru Water.
Me:”Could it be…Satanette?”
Chris: “No, it is an Indian homeopath.”
As if that answers the question.
Click on the link by Narad.
By the Satanette showed up on SBM. It looked like everyone ignored her, possibly because no one could figure out her wall of text.
This is a shocker from here in New Zealand. The worst part is that he’s inviting people to give personal (and mostly utterly ridiculous) details on an unencrypted connection. Imagine the potential for voyeurism and blackmail in regards to the sex and pregnancy questions – despite all the mealy-mouthed promises in his mission statement. http://www.naturallyhealth.co.nz/consultation.htm
It would almost be funny if it wasn’t so utterly disturbing.
This is a shocker from here in New Zealand.
Dr Preet “has done his degree in Homeopathy in Jan 1987 from well reputed university in India”. Evidently a short course.
@ Sadmar #42
That’s a difficult question. It depends entirely on their fabrication process. And a bit on where exactly they get their initial bacteria-filled sample.
If the manufacturer is cavalier with sanitation and sample handling, while the inside of the bottle/the pills could be close to safely aseptic – by the sheer effect of diluting the sample again and again and again -, the outside could be potentially contaminated with some not-very-diluted biological bits coming from the initial sample. Fluids from bacteria infection tend to be sticky.
Or maybe the dilution process won’t break the blobs of bacteria-and-biofilm beyond a certain point and one pill out of many thousands could end up with a good amount of them. I don’t know, that’s not the sort of experiment a sane microbiologist is interested in doing with potentially lethal bacteria.
Actually, I am thinking the people more at risk are the workers in the homeopathic factory, assuming they are not cheating and they do manipulate biological samples with some wild Mycobacteria tuberculosis in them.
I once knew a doctor working in the tuberculosis wing of the local hospital, and she explained to me how the people working here were expected to catch tuberculosis, sooner or later. Mycobacteria are not as contagious as, say, the measles virus, but if you spend all your time in an environment with plenty of them occasionally floating around, if only due to the patients’ coughing…
And there is also the little issue of what the homeopathic factories do with the huge volumes of biohazardous material they are generating. The microorganisms in the initial sample had to end up somewhere. These 1X and 2X dilutions are not something to pour down casually in the factory’s kitchen sink.
Unless the samples have been thoroughly inactivated with some bactericide procedure. Add a viricide procedure, to be sure. Co-infection of tuberculosis with HepC and/or HIV is not unheard of. That would/should be SOP for any hospital releasing biohazardous samples to some outside third party. I hope this is the case.
The degree of sterility of the products is not a question we should have to ask anyone playing with these sorts of biological samples. If the answer is not readily accessible on the manufacturer’s website (or whatever else), this is a very serious oversight from the health agencies. For FSM sake, even the vendor of sausage-inna-bun in the block’s corner should abide by tighter regulations.
tl;dr: we are talking about biohazard, here. It all depends on which containment / decontamination procedures are in place.
Isn’t Boiron sacrificing a duck every year at the start of the flu season?
One should inquire if Boiron’s CEO is used to get a canard à l’orange once a year. Want not, waste not.
@Sadmar – you may want to take a look at FairDeal Homeopathy. (Sadly only currently available through Archive.org)
“Nothing acts as well as FairDeal Homeopathy”
Step 1: convince people vaccines cause children to exhibit the symptoms of autism.
Step 2: convince people dilute quantities of a substance can treat the symptoms provoked by that substance if prepared into magic water and sugar pills.
Step 3: make homeopathic preparations of MMR and other childhood vaccines.
Step 4: Profit!
I have a couple of Boiron annual reports that go into some detail about the amount of hazardous waste they generate and so forth. I also have a cat on my right wrist who is prone to go into attack mode if pushed off, so I not going to dig them up just at the moment, but they should still be out there.
Dr Hyman strikes again on Huffington claiming gut bacteria cause autism. http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/how-to-fix-your-gut-bacte_b_9318312.html
Dr Hyman refers to “grass-fed butter”. I’ve never fed my butter; am I doing something wrong?
And it looks like Dr. Hyman has a book to sell.
Love this comment from Pep Larson: