Homeopathy Medicine Politics Pseudoscience Quackery

Will 2018 be the year that the FDA finally regulates homeopathic remedies as drugs?

Earlier this week, the FDA issued draft guidance that would, if adopted, allow it to regulate homeopathic remedies as drugs. Will 2018 be the year that the FDA finally stops deferring to homeopaths and regulating homeopathic remedies as drugs?

Regular readers might have wondered why I haven’t posted in a few days. The reason is simple and the same as it usually is whenever I disappear for a while: Grant deadlines. But the grant has been submitted, and I’m finally free to get back to my little hobby. As I approached this post, I noted that there were several things that happened during or near my time away. One thing that happened demands some coverage because it allows me to update a story that I actually participated in a couple of years ago. Granted, it was a small role, assisting in writing statements to the FDA, but it’s always intersting to see what ultimately happened.

Nearly two years ago now, I asked the question, “Will 2016 be the year when the FDA and FTC finally crack down on homeopathy?” The reason was that earlier that year, in the wake of the stinging rebuke of the pseudoscience of homeopathy in the UK by the Science and Technology Select Committee in a report called Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy, our FDA started making noises about regulating the magic that is homeopathy. Throughout the year, there was frequently false balance in reporting on the issue, but ultimately the FTC also joined the fray, submitting a comment to the FDAduring its public evaluation period, recommending that the FDA reconsider its lax regulation of homeopathic products. As was noted at the time, it’s highly unusual for one government agency to recommend that another government agency reconsider its regulatory framework. A year later, in November 2016, the FTC issued a statement that it would be holding efficacy and safety claims for homeopathic drugs to the same standards that it does for other products making similar claims. Not surprisingly, the response of homeopaths to the statement was epic in its scientific ignorance.

So, as I disappeared into my grant-induced cocoon of web hibernation, to be roused only briefly for brief bursts of frustration-reducing rants on Twitter and to repurpose posts published on my not-so-secret other blog rather than writing fresh material, it had been over a year since the FTC action and response of homeopaths, and the FDA still hadn’t decided on a policy for regulating homeopathy. Then, on Monday, the FDA proposed a “new, risk-based enforcement priorities to protect consumers from potentially harmful, unproven homeopathic drugs.” As you will see, it’s a good start but doesn’t go nearly far enough.

Of course, whenever I write about homeopathy, I feel obligated to include a brief explanation of why homeopathy is such ridiculous, vitalistic pseudoscience. I know my regular readers know why, but, as happened with my post on Charlie Goldsmith a month ago, sometimes I get an influx of newbies. In any case, there’s a reason why I nearly always refer to homeopathy as The One Quackery To Rule Them All, and that’s because it’s a near-perfect quackery. It’s generally water. Of course, these days, I sometimes view reiki as a worthy competitor for the title, but in general homeopathy still reigns supreme.

Here are the basics. Homeopathy was invented in the late 18th century by Samuel Hahnemann, based on two laws, neither of which are in any way scientific. The first law is the Law of Similars, and states that “like cures like”; i.e., to relieve a symptom you use a substance or compound that causes those symptoms. We now know this to be a ridiculous law, with no scientific reason to think that it would be true as a general principle of medicine. The second law is the Law of Infinitesimals, which posits that, to make a homeopathic remedy more potent, you dilute the remedy. This takes the form of serial dilutions of 10- or 100-fold, each with vigorous shaking (“succussion”) to “potentize” the remedy. These dilutions often reach ridiculous extremes, to the point where there isn’t likely to be a single molecule of original substance left. For instance, a 1C dilution is a 100-fold dilution. Frequently, remedies are 30C, which is thirty 100-fold (102) serial dilutions, or (102)30 = a 1060-fold dilution. This is so far beyond a point where there’s likely to be anything left that, for all intents and purposes, there is nothing left. For example, one mole of a substance equals roughly 6 x 1023 molecules, and one mole will have a mass in grams equal to the molecular weight of the molecule, which can range from a few to hundreds of grams, depending on how big the molecule is. That’s more than 1037-fold more dilutions than are particles in a mole, and rarely is the starting material even a mole’s worth. It’s utter pseudoscience, and I haven’t even gotten into the utter ridiculousness of homeopathic provings, the method by which homeopaths claim to determine which remedies are good for which conditions.

As I’ve said many times before, homeopathy is sympathetic magic, and homeopathic remedies are magic potions. Yes, I know that most homeopathy is sold in the form of pills, but that just involves taking the water or ethanol that remains after the whole dilution-succussion-dilution process and adding it to sugar or other fillers to press into pills.

The other thing you have to know about homeopathy is why the FDA has for so long taken a hands-off approach to something that is unabashedly magical nonsense. It’s a issue baked right into the heart of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938. Basically, the inclusion of homeopathic remedies as accepted drugs in this legislation was due to the efforts of a single Senator. This Senator, Royal Copeland, was one of the principal authors of the FDCA and was a physician trained in homeopathy. Basically, the FDCA identifies substances acceptable for sale as homeopathic medicines as those listed in the United States Pharmacopeia-National Formulary (USP-NF) and the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States (HPUS). The HPUS was first published by the American Institute of Homeopathy, a professional body for homeopaths, in 1897. It’s now published and maintained by the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia Convention of the United States (HPCUS), an independent organization of homeopathic “experts.”

Now, the FDA appears to have decided that homeopathic products should be regulated. The reason is simple:

Until relatively recently, homeopathy was a small market for specialized products. Over the last decade, the homeopathic drug market has grown exponentially, resulting in a nearly $3 billion industry that exposes more patients to potential risks associated with the proliferation of unproven, untested products and unsubstantiated health claims. During this time, the FDA has seen a corresponding increase in safety concerns, including serious adverse events, associated with drug products labeled as homeopathic. In addition, the agency has also found an increasing number of poorly manufactured products that contain potentially dangerous amounts of active ingredients that can create additional risks.

So these days, homeopathic remedies are big business. Also, most people don’t know the true ridiculousness of homeopathy. They think homeopathy is nothing more than herbal or natural remedies. You might be asking, though: If homeopathy is just water, what’s the harm? Besides fraudulently claiming or implying that magic water and magic pills might have therapeutic effects, unfortunately homeopathic remedies as manufactured today are not always just water:

In September 2016, the FDA warned against the use of homeopathic teething tablets and gels containing belladonna, a toxic substance that has an unpredictable response in children under two years of age, after the products were associated with serious adverse events, including seizures and deaths, in infants and children. An FDA lab analysis later confirmed that certain homeopathic teething tablets contained elevated and inconsistent levels of belladonna. A similar issue occurred in 2010 when Hyland’s Teething Tablets were found to contain varying amounts of belladonna. An FDA inspection of that product’s manufacturing facility indicated substandard control of the product’s manufacturing.

The FDA has issued warnings related to a number of other homeopathic drug products over the past several years. These include certain homeopathic zinc-containing intranasal products that may cause a loss of sense of smell, homeopathic asthma products that have not been shown to be effective in treating asthma and various homeopathic drug products labeled to contain potentially toxic ingredients, like nux vomica, which contains strychnine (a highly toxic, well-studied poison often used to kill rodents).

Yes, sometimes there are actual drugs in products labeled as “homeopathic.”

So what does the FDA plan to do? It is proposing a “risk-based” approach:

  • products with reported safety concerns;
  • products that contain or claim to contain ingredients associated with potentially significant safety concerns;
  • products for routes of administration other than oral and topical;
  • products intended to be used for the prevention or treatment of serious and/or life-threatening diseases and conditions;
  • products for vulnerable populations; and
  • products that do not meet standards of quality, strength or purity as required under the law.

As I said at the beginning, I don’t think these proposed changes go far enough, but I can understand the political decision to prioritize the biggest threats to the public. I can also understand it from a consideration of available resources, given that the FDA is chronically underfunded and understaffed to carry out its mandate as vigorously as it should.

If you look at the full text of the proposed new guidelines document, you’ll see that basically the FDA now considers homeopathic products drugs. It has traditionally deferred to the the HPUS, but no longer. Noting that a drug, including a homeopathic drug, is considered a “new drug” if it is not “generally recognized as safe and 63 effective (GRAS/E) by qualified experts for use under the conditions prescribed, recommended, 64 or suggested in the labeling (section 201(p) of the FD&C Act) (21 U.S.C. 321(p))” and that that the FDA “makes 65 GRAS/E determinations for OTC drugs marketed under the OTC Drug Review,” the FDA observes that it has “has 66 not reviewed any drug products labeled as homeopathic under the OTC Drug Review, because 67 the Agency categorized these products as a separate category and deferred consideration of them. 68 (37 FR 9464, 9466 (May 11, 1972)).” The FDA has, however, determined a rationale that it believes to allow it to change this, noting that “absent a determination that a drug product labeled as homeopathic is not a 74 “new drug” under section 201(p), all drug products labeled as homeopathic are subject to the 75 premarket approval requirements in section 505 of the FD&C Act or section 351 of the PHS Act.”

Not surprisingly, there are no drug products that are homeopathic that are FDA-approved, nor have any been determined to be GRAS/E.

Of course, where the rubber hits the road, so to speak, is how the FDA will act on these new regulatory guidelines. Actually, given that these are draft guidelines, the FDA has to adopt the new guidelines. Indeed, there is a 90 public comment period beginning the date the proposed regulations were anounced (December 18). What should happen is that the FDA should start taking these items off the market, starting with the most potentially harmful and working their way down to the merely ineffective.

I’ve pointed out that the new FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is basically a pharma shill in favor of less regulation; so it is a hopeful sign that he has decided to let the regulatory process begun under his predecessor reach its fruition:

“In recent years, we’ve seen a large uptick in products labeled as homeopathic that are being marketed for a wide array of diseases and conditions, from the common cold to cancer. In many cases, people may be placing their trust and money in therapies that may bring little to no benefit in combating serious ailments, or worse – that may cause significant and even irreparable harm because the products are poorly manufactured, or contain active ingredients that aren’t adequately tested or disclosed to patients,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “Our approach to regulating homeopathic drugs must evolve to reflect the current complexity of the market, by taking a more risk-based approach to enforcement. We respect that some individuals want to use alternative treatments, but the FDA has a responsibility to protect the public from products that may not deliver any benefit and have the potential to cause harm.”

Ugh. The weasel words just had to be there, “We respect that some individuals want to use alternative treatments.” However, the rest is good.

Of course, the response of homeopaths to the proposed regulations is, as usual, comedy gold. The National Center for Homeopathy Board of Directors issued a statement:

The National Center for Homeopathy supports the FDA’s efforts to ensure safety and good manufacturing practices in the industry. We are committed to working with industry partners to protect consumer access to homeopathic medicines, and we are hopeful that this action will not impede access. Homeopathic medicines are safe, gentle and effective when products are manufactured in accordance with HPUS (Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States) guidelines under CGMPs (Current Good Manufacturing Practices). We welcome the opportunity to educate consumers and healthcare professionals about the unique aspects of homeopathic medicine.

“We are hopeful that this action will not impede access” to homeopathic medicines? I am hopeful that this action will very much impede access to homeopathic medicines. I also can’t wait for homeopaths to “educate consumers and healthcare professionals about the unique aspects of homeopathic medicine” in response to this draft guidance. I foresee blogging material aplenty.

In the meantime, we can’t rest. You know that the homeopathy industry is going to be burying the FDA with comments about these guidelines. We need to do the same thing.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

70 replies on “Will 2018 be the year that the FDA finally regulates homeopathic remedies as drugs?”

Just to mention that the FDA always has resources issues, can never cover everything, and prototizing based on risk is a reasonable approach to regulation in any area. Though I understood your alternative. And announcing such enforcement approach at that level of detail isn’t usual for agencies.

But picking up regulation of something considered out of bounds for decades isn’t business as usual.

There is an international perspective to this as well. US supplements and homeopathic medicines often end up in other countries – imported by vendors who do not understand regulation in their own country. US products are currently permitted indications and claims that would be illegal in, say, the EU. This is not to mention vendors that are actually US based but use domain names, telephone numbers and mailbox addresses. There is also a problem with products that can not be placed on the US market legally but as the FDA/FTC haven’t acted against them, they end up on other markets too.

Although the volumes are unknown, some US consumers/practitioners import homeopathic medicines from India. US prices can be very high compared to other markets. The FDA have issued warning letters to Indian manufacturers/vendors who offer products to US consumers but it is also the case that many of these products can not be legally marketed in India (see for details) or anywhere else for that matter (export of marketing is illegal). Indian manufacturer non-compliance with cGMP is a big problem in the pharmaceutical sector – situaton likely to be worse in homeopathic sector.

I didn’t realize that homeopathy had its own pharmacopeia but none of this magic water would pass true compendial testing. There’s some comedy gold in this aspect.

I suspect that Scott Gottleib feels that the sale and use of nonsense, such as homeopathy, in some way threatens the real pharmaceutical industry. We have seen that sort of reasoning spelled out recently in the FDA’s attempt to crack down on stem cell quackery, that the nonsense threatens the entire field.

If that’s the case, and I really think that it may be, he’s doing the right thing for the wrong reason. It’s a little hard to complain about the action, but the problem is going to be what that sort of thinking does to the regulation of real drugs, and I think that they desperately need to be regulated properly. Without proper regulation, it would be hard to tell Gleevec from homeopathy. That’s a fine point that I don’t think that he understands.

@ mdfinfer:

I think that you might be correct. And it’s horrible.
Is anything NOT beneficial to ( BIG) business ever considered? Safety and efficacy of medical
formulations is just a by-product I suppose.

Just like tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations include the side effect of less middle class write-offs and eventual higher rates.

I can’t stand these people.

The big money in homeopathics isn’t with your local homeopath, but with OTC products, like zinc tablets, all the Hylands baby stuff, Boiron this and that. The most popular of these are stocked in many chain pharmacies – CVS, Walgreens, Wal-Mart outlets – and sometimes even featured in their advertising circulars. More extensive offerings are available on these big chains’ websites. Retail is certainly part of the “real pharmaceutical industry”, yes?

The FDA may be making encouraging noises about homeopathy and stem cell clinics, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the Trumpers to add one new regulation on anything. And then there’s the fact that Orrin Hatch is still a VERY powerful Senator, very chummy with Trump, and a major flack for the supplement and OTC homeopathics manufacturers, which are concentrated in Utah.

And then there’s the fact that Orrin Hatch is still a VERY powerful Senator, very chummy with Trump, and a major flack for the supplement and OTC homeopathics manufacturers, which are concentrated in Utah.

And will likely be retiring at the end of his term. But yes, he’s one of the architects for the de-regulation of supplements and homeopathic “remedies”.

Yup, and the now retired Senator Tom Harkin was Hatch’s co-conspirator on this. Nothing like bipartisanship over quackery, eh?

Well, Harkin would NEVER have backed the Trumpian attacks on science generally, like the crapola at CDC, HHS, EPA etc. etc. etc. that Hatch is all in on, and he also, I think, actually believed CAM could help people, as opposed to Hatch, who is just pimping for companies in his state that help fund his campaigns…

Likely true. Harkin was an interesting character. NIH loved him because he was a champion for funding research at the NIH, but he was also the primary driver behind the foisting of NCCAM (now NCCIH) on the NIH, with all the pseudoscience and quackery associated with that.

This post got me thinking about impending outrage by vendors of homeopathic goods. I realized that I’d never visited the Natural News site so I headed over there to check for some reaction. On finding nothing obvious I typed “homeopathy” in their search engine and found this screed at the top of the search results in reaction to the FTC’s enforcement notification mentioned in today’s post. Indignation was most strident for the case made by FTC that homeopathic product labels should include a statement claiming no scientific evidence indicates the product works and that homeopathy theories are not accepted by most modern medical experts. It is both sad and risible:

How ironic would it be if Health Ranger-branded products somehow become subject to regulatory action per the new, risk-based enforcement approach endorsed by Dr Gottlieb, the FDA Commissioner selected by the current (antithesis of liberal) administration?

@ Moose:

I see you’ve discovered the miracle that is Mikey!

He accepts any woo included in Naturopathy but homeopathy is not his first choice: he loves super foods, various supplements and CLEAN foods and herbs ( non-GMO, organic) especially that which you grow yourself in your food forest or grow boxes so that you can survive civil strife, gang wars, hurricanes and food shortages.
And when the socialists take over and confiscate your guns.**

Mike now has his own state of the art lab where he tests for contaminants. Send in your samples ( some restrictions apply)

** if only!

Interestingnly, many Socialists are all for guns. I am agnostic. Marx was definitely in favor of arming the proletariat.

Rats; thanks for clarifying.
Perversely I was looking forward to the Ranger’s response after an FDA-style manufacturing inspection…

Well, I am talking about socialists, not liberals. And even then there are differences of opinion and different flavors of socialism.

are u people for real….we in australia are doing fine & ok big pharma have lost their gripe they are a nothing…. like the f.d.a….. going forward they are being left behind …goggel/utube & online every thing…the punters are leaving gps & others behind …cures & treatments will come from the masses no more years @ a med school etc …..cheers …

cures & treatments will come from the masses

Do flesh this one out for everyone; the purported wisdom of the crowd doesn’t seem to suffice, and I’m not sure where you the the inputs to “goggel” and “utube” are supposed to be coming from in any event.

“we in australia are doing fine & ok”

“Homeopathic teething products investigated over links to 10 baby deaths in America are being sold in Australian pharmacies, including one at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital.

The US Food and Drug Administration warned last month that Hyland’s homeopathic teething tablets contained inconsistent amounts of the “toxic” substance belladonna and posed a risk to children.”

If the FDA ever does something to regulate homeopathic drugs, maybe the companies will move to Australia and you can enjoy even more of their products.

Oh – and discover complete sentences, capitals and spellcheck while you’re at it, Robert.

Walton either typed that on a mobile phone, mistook this for a twitter thread, or is an illiterate who was raised by koalas. Or possibly all three.

Too much time at the gym on the elliptical trainer.

My college girlfriend, a dancer, often referred to the “kick yourself in the ass machine” at the gym. I myself was always curious about the little-used “face machine,” which appears to have evolved when I wasn’t paying attention.

Please don’t bad mouth ellipticals. I prefer them over treadmills, as they’re easier on the knees and as a bonus, they won’t hurl you against a wall.

PGP – I think he was raised by a Tasmanian devil, not a koala.

Yeah, some drunk Australian will chew on a plant and finds it cures his cancer. Sure, masses of bull. Can’t wait.

Jane Ostentatious: Maybe. Tasmanian Devils have some manners, I’ve heard.
Actually, no, you don’t even chew on the plant; you drink water that was NEAR the plant at some point.

Orac’s minions appear to be on a roll since robert commented; let me see if I can contribute to the seasonal merriment-

Mikey ( Natural News) discusses how conspiracy theories were shown to be real in 2017.
Jake ( Autism Investigated) finally discusses The Pathological Optimist and argues with its director, Miranda
Kim Rossi ( @ kimrossi1111) is all about cooking and karate lately

Not much on the other websites I survey but I’m sure that a few of them may include ((shudder)) year end lists.

Poor Clyde makes the perfectly good funny and for his effort has it literally – literally reduced to the state of ancient Carthage (punic ruins).

“Mikey ( Natural News) discusses how conspiracy theories were shown to be real in 2017.”

As in his “only prediction that really matters for 2017”?

“As the debt collapse unfolds, we’re going to see the freezing of banking transactions, government payments and food stamp debit cards. The stock market will collapse (or be frozen), pensions will collapse, many banks will implode, the FDIC will go bankrupt, real estate will collapse, international banks will save themselves with “bail ins” and so on. It’s going to be financial Armageddon on a scale no living person has ever witnessed before.”

True, he covered himself by explaining that while the house-of-cards collapse would be set in motion in 2017 (and we’ve still got six days left for that to happen), the exact timing of Armageddon was impossible to predict. If it isn’t 2017, then 2018, or maybe later. Still time to buy your toxin-free survivalist supplies at the NN store.

@ Dangerous Bacon:

Right. Both he and the other idiot ( having been predicting financial collapse ever since the real financial crisis: usually Null and his fellow loon, trendcaster Gerald Celente, say that hyper inflation, deflation and depression will occur “within 24 months”- thus giving you time to “get off the grid” and become an organic farmer
It’s always 24 MONTHS it seems..

In the darkest days of March 2009, he told listeners to get out of the stock market, bonds and banks because there would be further losses and no recovery ever. The Dow was at 6800 or so ” headed for 3000″

HOWEVER my stock-based accounts and bond funds have soared since then. I wonder why I didn’t listen.

All of these dudes believe in buying farm land and silver or gold. Don’t buy consumer goods, take care of your health.
“Buy my stuff”.

It’s hilarious to watch but I wonder how many of their followers have been hurt financially. Their INexpertise extends beyond medical issues.

The Dow was at 6800 or so ” headed for 3000″

I am reminded that former physicist Lubosh Motl has been railing about Bitcoin for months. This is probably correct from a brass-tacks perspective, but the analysis has mostly comprised asshurt. He’s like a smarter version of Jake.

I think Hahnemann was deliberately ridiculous, to be used as a poppinjay for the the rest. This serves a few functions, not least of which is to shift the focus towards homeopathy whenever illogical medical practices are criticized: “Sure we could probably do better, but have you heard of homeopathy?”

But woobashing is seen as a pathetic public relations stunt by many. There is little logic on websites like this, just an endless stream of fun‐diddly mockery and distractions. If Orac was a serious person, he’d post serious content. There are many interesting things to be known about cancer, like how the cell cycle is controlled by polyamines which both stabilize microtubules and lower the energy barrier towards the Z‐DNA conformation. Since these catalyze replication directly—even during routine PCR—there is no need to explain anything downstream. I would be fair to say that polyamines basically are proliferation. There are no exceptions to this.

So why not be more constructive? Cancer really is well understood to those who are actually serious. Is Orac is tacitly promoting tumors so he can later remove them? If so this is immoral, and they way it’s done is jejune. I would be frankly embarrassed to write articles such as this.

Season’s greetings and a Good Yule to all!

I got some pretty sweet presents last night; a beautiful handmade necklace with a polished stone, a knitted red scarf (now I’ll be rocking the black and red all the time!), two six packs of excellent homebrew, a gift card to my favorite coffee shop, and some jalapeno cranberry jam.

I got Legos and stuffed animals for the kids and I made paper crane ornaments with really nice Japanese washi yazen paper for the adults.

My aunt asked about the patches on my hoodie, particularly the red and black flag, and I said it was the flag of the anti-fascists during the Spanish Civil War. (Which it is, but then I didn’t have to mention antifa or anarcho-communism.)

I made paper crane ornaments

One of those has been rotating on a crazy LED light box that I mistook for a Bluetooth speaker in the dark since last night, as it happens.

I got some pretty sweet presents last night

I got a rock.
Also an entertaining accusation that I am part of an international gang of cybercriminial extortionists, determined to blacken the reputation of Indian nanotechnologists just because they prefer to create their results using photoshop rather than experimentation.

Now I am humming “Red and black, that’s their color scheme”, and it’s all JP’s fault.

Love that song. I need to start playing the guitar again; my old little classical guitar that a friend gave me when we were hurriedly moving out of a squat in Seattle (somebody called the fuzz) is sitting here waiting for me.

JP that’s cool.
I know someone who reenacts the Spanish Civil War on occasion. An interesting but tragic period.

Reminds me that I want a t-shirt with (excuse my Spanish) “Ne passera” on it. As good as Gandalf, but with fascists as Balrogs!

I have scoured the woo-esphere for tasty holiday treats for Orac’s minions to enjoy- although they’ve probably already eaten enough
( my own tally- two nights out for Chinese and Japanese places with green tea ice cream and yesterday MY OWN roast chicken Alice Waters style, 5 vegetables and frozen coconut cream pie)

However, it’s slim pickings:
maybe the vegans all vegetated and the paleos over ate like cavemen ( although Mercola regularly starves himself) and went to sleep

so here goes:

via our esteemed host’s twitter
Heckenlively ( Bolen Report) challenges Bill Nye to a duel .. er.. debate. Kent fancies himself to be Aragorn: Dude! Aragorn is fictional just like your science
Mercola talks about “murderous” medicine and big business. He should know.

-Thinking Moms’ Revolution features a nurse practitioner narrating how she converted to anti-vax. TMR’s Prof responds to a few SB commenters and another anti-vax nurse shows up. Many comments for this usually slow blog.

a burning log video at AoA
Mikey ( Natural News) tells us what we have to be thankful for ( must be a tax cut)
Null ( rants on Boxing Day. But wait, he rants every day.

Did you know that some people are selling what could statistically be viewed as pure water? I think we had better bitch about that, but then hypocritically state they should be regulated as drugs.

You know that scene in Airplane! where . . .

Did you know that some people are selling what could statistically be viewed as pure water? I think we had better bitch about that, but then hypocritically state they should be regulated as drugs.

Gee, if only the purveyors didn’t market them as drugs and there weren’t an agency that had been created to regulate such things….

Your blog needs a bit of content, BTW.

I only have a little, but I need to learn more. (I understand more than I speak.) That way I can talk to my aunt Donna and Uncle Yesi and their kids and grandkids and the gringos won’t understand. ?

Also my cousin Jake’s in-laws were telling me to learn Spanish better. His FIL actually grew up speaking an old Mazatec dialect it turns out, so Spanish was his second language and English his third. (He taught himself English from records when he moved up here in the 80s or so.)

Oooh, poor Orac is on notice that he isn’t a properly serious person (italics in lieu of A Font of Suitable Solemnity).

Why is it every one of these dopey trolls shows up singing The Whining Song in the key of F? (not the note that follows mi, sondern the grade that follows D …) And sings a second chorus when it doesn’t get the attention it craves from the first?

Here’s hoping 2018 will be the year of multitudinous bridge collapses. And the retirement of the Whaaambulance fleet.

I’d be ok if they would just certify that the homeopathic ‘meds’ didn’t have anything in them. There’s benefits to the placebo factor, and finding a safe placebo can be hard!

In other news:

The CBC reports that the Stephans will be appearing before the Supreme Court of Canada on May 15 to appeal their convictions in the death of their son Ezekiel (see Insolence archives).

As I mentioned previously, the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled against them, but Mr. Justice O’Ferrall dissented, strictly on a matter of law with regard to the original judge’s charge to the jury, Because this is a criminal matter, dissent automatically entitles them to have their case heard by the Supreme Court of Canada. Without that automatic right, they’d likely get the semi-automatic big red rubber NO! stamp that requests for leave to appeal typically get.

Tim Caulfield was quoted on the matter a few weeks ago.

I can’t ride the CTrain to Ottawa for the Supreme Court hearing, but frankly, I don’t think I could stomach another round of the Stephan’s lovey-dovey gak while they sit in the dock.

My guess is that at best, from the Stephan’s point of view, the Supreme Court will order a new trial. I think it very unlikely they will set aside the convictions. If a new trial is ordered, I have no idea where it would be heard.

via Mike the Mad Biologist, an account of a good outcome from a quack remedy:
I do enjoy seeing someone plumb et up with the dumbass gettin’ their re-ward.
[et = “ate”, for you highfalutin’ types what needs to consult a dictionary]

when USA thaught, that Iraq could have biological weapons, a homeopathic remedie was sold in USA for 39 US$ (prepaid !)

it consists of the following

Bio-Organism Prophylactics Kit
Kit Contents:
Cholera-30c…intestinal bacteria
Anthrax 30c…burning/swell/gangrene/lungs
Bubonic Plague-30c…Plague
Poison gas-30c…sinus/lungs
Dengue Fever-30c…Fever
Staphlococcus-30c…staph or other infection
Variolinum-30c…Small pox
For epidemics: use the cap of the bottle, place 1 pellet on the tongue and allow to dissolve
before eating or drinking, 1x/day.
As a prophylactic, place 1 pellet on tongue and
take 1x/week for 3 weeks, then stop.Repeat if epidemic arises.

and this explanation was given:

“If you are unfamiliar with homeopathy, the remedy will not have ANY toxins or poison, but is able to eliminate the symptoms of those diseases. Homeopathics have proven safeand effective for centuries. ”

meanwhile the HP changed but originally it was found on . A HP with this name still exists but I could not find the remedy there.

For diluting Ebola Virus, one needs a biosafety lab level 4 – so how was this homeopathic drug produced?

The best contemporary critique of Homeopathy is probably that of Oliver Wendell Holmes, titled “Homeopathy and it’s Kindred Delusions”. In this, Holmes points out that not even lake superior is enough water for a proper homeopathic dilution. Also, James Randi has taken a goodly amount of “suicide levels” of homeopathic sleeping pills, and survived with no ill effects. I just recently attempted to steer a friend away from those zinc products, because they’re of little use.

What a surprise that Orac is a professional grant-seeker. Glorified welfare. As there are plenty of [cheap] opportunities to get drugs, etc., who cares about bothering the others?

He does actual scientific research that result in actual published papers. What do you do? Push sugar pills and give random advice even though you are not a licensed therapist?

Your hypothesis would definitely be easily proven wrong. Orac probably is not capable of honest inquiry. (That’s a hypothesis. It is not worth testing. He should just be cut off.) Hopefully no one is “granting” him much money for his religious zealotry.

Luc1, so why should we care about your rambling thoughts? At least we know who Orac is. You are just a random stranger on teh internets who has no idea how academics work nor anything about scientific research.

Actually, in my family we have used homeopathic globuli for teething complaints in infants.
Although anecdotes don’t make data I implore you to follow this testimonial, because I do believe it may have a possible effect.
Quite simply, you need a darker underground for contrast. Then you establish a physical boundary, maybe a playpen. You put an unspecified number of globuli on the ground, and the infant will stop crying to play with the sweet sugar balls. Cleanup afterwards is easy too, simply use a vacuum cleaner. We have tried it with several children in several different bouts of teeth coming in, and miraculously it always seems to work!

I would freeze wet terry washcloths. They are cold, slightly abrasive and worked like a charm. I am not keen of giving babies sugar, especially in something related to their teeth.

I am not a practitioner, I am a consumer. I have always understood that allergy shots and vaccines are a form of homeopathy. Introducing miniscule amounts of pathogens to the blood stream to invoke an appropriate immune response is the homeopathic impetus of “like cures like”. I see some ridicule on this page of that sentiment, which seems a bit self sabotaging. I would like to know how the FDA can rule out homeopathy while championing vaccines? And will my allergy shots be at risk? Without them my life is miserable.

Because allergy shot and vaccines are (as you correctly state) based on an immune system response. Homeopathy is not based on the immune system at all.
Here’s a specific example: Homeopathy says that (extremely dilute) deadly nightshade will reduce the pain from teething in children. Pain from teething is not modulated by the immune system, and there is no reason to think that teething pain is caused by an allergic reaction to deadly nightshade.
Thus it is nothing at all like a vaccine or an allergy shot.

Vaccines and allergy shots are based on science. Homeopathy is based on magic (the law of similars and the whole dilution thing), and is only permitted because the laws governing the sale of homeopathy were written before a scientific understanding of medicine.

Who is Orac and who pays him to invalidate homeopathy, Big Pharma? The big boys with the money always try to squash real alternatives when those alternatives threaten their profits. Hearst and hemp plants vs timber; Big Pharma and marijuana; Big oil and sustainable, clean energy alternatives; Big Pharma and herbal remedies. I have had consistent, great results with some remedies–without question. But no one here is looking for evidence. The FDA also banned Ma Huang (Ephedra) in the US because some people died after Overdoing concoctions combined with caffeine for athletes. It was simply abuse. I used Ma Huang very successfully during cold season for years. I didn’t abuse it and look, I’m still here to talk about it. Sorry to burst your subversive, close minded bubbles. Actually, no I’m not.

Yawn… it is the boring old stale evidence free Pharma Shill Gambit:

Newsflash: homeopathy is not herbal medicine. Plus the reason that the FDA could not do much about Ephedra is because of their hands were tired by supplement barons like Orrin Hatch:

Though if you insist on using homeopathy, at least don’t give money to Big Pharma companies like Boiron or Hyland by making your own:

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 bits.

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