Don’t Waste Your Money on Homeopathic “Remedies”
I’m sure I’ll get some serious verbal abuse for this one, but I can stay silent on this no longer. I’ve been following this homeopathic trend for years now, and I am convinced that it is nothing but a bunch of mumbo-jumbo that delivers empty promises and fake cures. Worse than that, I think it’s dangerous, and it rips people off. (See also: Job-Search Scams That Target High Performers)
To understand where I'm coming from, you would first need to understand what homeopathic medicine is. It’s important to note that homeopathy should not be confused with natural cures. By that I mean herbal remedies, vitamins, minerals, and so on. No, I fully believe that our planet contains a wealth of natural cures that can do the body a world of good. My article about witch hazel is a good example of that.
Homeopathy was started over 200 years ago in 1796 by Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician. It basically takes minute doses of what you are suffering from, and then dilutes it repeatedly in water. For example, if you have a cold and the symptoms are similar to those caused by Mercury poisoning, then 1 part Mercury is diluted with 1,000,000,000,000 parts of water. That’s your cure. And regardless of your symptoms, that’s the cure you are given. The premise is that water has memory, and the more diluted the remedy, the more powerful the cure becomes.
There are four general parts of homeopathy. They are:
- The proving. This is explained more below.
- Matching the symptoms of a patient to the proving and using that as a basis for the treatment.
- NOT giving the patient the substance found from the proving, but an incredibly diluted form of it.
- The final product (I hate to say medicine) gets stronger the more diluted it is.
Now, what’s a proving? Basically, you take a completely healthy person and give them a known substance. You then record any symptoms that arise from prescribing that substance by observing and asking numerous questions. And then you use that substance to reverse those symptoms. For example, if you give someone caffeine and they have trouble falling asleep, caffeine is used to treat people who can’t fall asleep.
Therefore, highly diluted caffeine becomes a sleeping pill! See what I mean by mumbo-jumbo?
You can read all about homeopathy on the ABC Homeopathy website and at Homeopathy.org. These are just a couple of the many sites devoted to the subject, and I don’t want anyone to think that my “oversimplification” of this medicine is not doing it justice.
The Big Issue — It’s All Done on Faith
Scientists around the world have tested millions of different homeopathic remedies ad nauseam. They have found no active ingredients within these cures. In fact, they are usually just water.
“Ah yes” the homeopathic practitioner will say. “But you cannot test for the efficacy of this medicine. You cannot test for something that is not picked up by modern scientific methods. You cannot test for water memory.”
How handy. You can’t test for the tooth fairy either, but I’m fairly sure that relying on one to deliver money for your old teeth will leave you very disappointed.
So if you cannot test for it, how can people who dispense these medicines stand behind them? Well, they have proof in the form of patients who have been cured by the medicines they prescribed.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t really stand up because in legitimate studies, the results of homeopathy fared no better than sugar pills and placebos. The water given by homeopaths is as effective as curing disease and illness as, well, water! What are the odds?
There are stories of people who swear by it though. And people make careers from this pseudo-science. How is that possible? Well, the mind is a powerful thing, so it is believable that we can cure ourselves if we actually believe something is working. But does that give these people the right to charge gullible people an arm and a leg for a bottle of water or packet of sugar pills?
Prove Me Wrong and Get $1 Million!
This is where homeopathy has the chance to prove itself, and if you practice it, please come forward and defend your chosen profession. James Randi is giving away $1 million to anyone who can prove that homeopathy actually works. It's all part of something called the 1023 Challenge, which I urge you to read more about.
Now, you can't just submit affidavits from people swearing it really did work, because that’s not evidence. No court in the land would accept that as proof. You need to submit hard evidence that homeopathic cures actually do what they are supposed to do.
I don’t see anyone coming forward though, and that’s because it cannot be proven. It’s the stuff of witch doctors and fancy imaginations.
For instance, thousands of people have proven the ineffectiveness of the homeopathic sleeping pills by taking a huge overdose of them. (The recommended dosage is two, by the way.) And the results?
No one died. No one got even remotely sleepy. Nothing happened to anyone because there are no active ingredients in these products. It’s all nonsense. The fact that there is an overdose warning on the pill box is laughable. You can’t overdose on nothing.
The Real Danger Here Is for the Patient
My biggest beef with homeopathy is that people with genuine illnesses put their trust (and money) into useless medicines. It’s dangerous to think that you can treat illnesses with anything that has been diluted so much that it is now just plain water. It’s wrong, it should be against the law and I for one would support any act that did so. In fact, there are some diseases that homeopaths and homeopathic remedies are not allowed to treat.
For instance: “In 1996, oncologist Vincent Speckhart, MD, was ordered to pay the widow of deceased patient Robert Rizzi $235,715. Rizzi's widow charged that Speckhart led her husband to believe that homeopathy was enough to cure him of his Hodgkin's disease after Rizzi refused further chemotherapy because of side effects.” You can read more about that on this page about legal issues in homeopathy. I have also posted some links to videos below that I hope will open your eyes somewhat. But please, if you have any kind of real proof that homeopathy works, let’s hear it. I will be the first to admit that I was wrong.
Somehow, I think that’s about as likely as a diluted caffeine pill putting me to sleep. So unless someone offers you real, hard evidence that homeopathic remedies actually work, don't waste your money on them. You'll sleep better.