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Sep 9th 2009
It would be of interest if the BHA could provide a verifiable mechanism of action for ANY homeopathic remedy. Their statement under the About Homeopathy tab is woefully inadequate for a patient to make an informed decision about a course of treatment.
Homeopathy is often touted as having no interferences with any other conventional (read genuine) medicines. If even mild dosages of rather benign herbal remedies can have potential life threatenting interactions with pharmaceuticals - why not homeopathic remedies? After all, their claim of effectiveness is based upon affecting the whole of the person with their "like cures like".
Sep 10th 2009
You can view proposed mechanisms of action on the BHA's research pages here: http://www.britishhomeopathic.org/research/how_homeopathy_might_work.html At the moment though, no one knows how homeopathy works.
Mar 19th 2010
Dr. Peter Kay.
I would welcome the opportunity to discuss some recent scientific discoveries that may shed some light on the mechanistic heterogeneity of homeopathic remediation. Please see my article recently published in Positive Health. Go to
Apr 8th 2010
I see six essential premises, all of which are necessary for there to be any scientific credibility in the claims of homeopathy. These are:
1. Dilution from an original concentration to a level where no trace (not a single molecule) of the substance or of the original water (solvent) remains - yields an efficacious preparation which can medically treat disease.
2. This comes about because the process of dilution is done in such a way that a “memory” i.e. a structure is conferred on the resulting water of dilution, dominating any already held structure of that water.
3. This structure is unique to each and every process, depending on the original substance used.
4. This structure, which is delicate and can be destroyed by improper treatment (such as elevating temperature) is nevertheless capable of conferring itself into pill preparations made with significant concentrations of sugar (itself a ready solute in water), and survives intact as a structure despite mixing with the known solute (sugar) and subsequent drying (evaporation) of the water or absorption in a solid matrix (pill).
5. Whether delivered as a dry sugar pill (as described above) or as a phial of water (with or without the addition of any sweetener) the structure (“memory”) remains sufficiently powerful to impact the human body, even when provided in very small doses and when in contact with human saliva, other gastric juices including low pH hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
6. This “memory” effect is not only able to survive sugar, shelf life, the human gastric system, but also is specifically able to treat a specific cause of disease, by association with a non-existent substance that were it existent would cause similar symptoms. (The original basis of Hahnemann's flawed thinking)
If any of these 6 premises fails, then homeopathy fails, and the treatment ritual is nothing more than that, and is a sham treatment. Any self-respecting chemical scientist will quickly confirm that all six premises are chemically absurd – scientifically implausible, and would require extraordinary levels of scientific proof to be taken seriously.
A further problem is the claim that increasing dilution increases potency – which flies in the face of all known chemical thermodynamics and kinetics – subjects which have been studied in great depth and been subject to enormous degrees of rigorous testing for well over 150 years.
Beyond the issue of scientific plausibility we have the completely non-mechanistic observation of trial and error. Do patients benefit? In order to really understand the answer to this, properly conducted, double-blinded clinical trials would have to be conducted for every claimed homeopathic remedy. Some trials have been conducted and those which stand up to the rigour of examination for correctness of conduct as well as analysis fail to show any effect. Those which appear to show positive results are always flawed – because it is simply so easy to be led astray in this kind of investigation. A recent Horizon programme demonstrated this quite effectively – positive vs neutral observations require foolproof double blinding to avoid even subconscious bias.
Such trials are expensive. The above clearly demonstrates that further trials would not be money well spent. The results are only too predictable. Homeopathy is complete nonsense and has no basis in science – it is completely implausible.
By offering treatments that do not work on patients who may have underlying serious conditions, the practice is putting these patients at risk. Homeopaths are not generally clinicians – i.e. are not medically trained and therefore are not in a position to spot potentially serious underlying conditions. Even those who are medically trained (which medical training does not include homeopathy - homeopathic training is neither medical nor scientific) may be biased to homeopathy and overlook more serious underlying complaints. Also offering treatments that do not have proper clinical evidential basis is immoral. In effect the patient is being asked to accept a belief rather than a properly scientifically tested best understanding.
I welcome the science and technology committee’s excellent and well studied recent report. Taxpayers should not fund non-evidence based treatments. The list of MPs signing David Tredinnick’s rather silly EDM908 is significantly sad, pointing only to the depths of scientific illiteracy amongst our representatives. Let’s hope the new ones can do better.
I welcome all explanations as to why all the six premises above are not flawed.
Apr 12th 2010
From the BHA: You might like to read the BHA website's summary of homeopathy research, including the section on 'ultramolecular dilutions'. That many homeopathic medicines are not diluted beyond Avogadro's number, together with the substantial number of positive findings in laboratory and clinical research, are facts that demonstrate the potential for given homeopathic medicines to be biological effective. Further high-quality research is clearly required to enable a full and proper judgment on the matter.
Comments regarding medical practitioners of homeopathy are outrageous and unacceptable. Such doctors do not 'overlook more serious underlying complaints': they are as skilled in diagnostics as any other doctor, and they use homeopathy as a complement to conventional medicine, not usually a replacement for it. As an individualised system of medicine with a gradually growing evidence base in clinical and laboratory research, homeopathy often improves a person's health when no other form of medical intervention has worked, including in patients with complex medical predicaments and multiple morbidity.
Apr 12th 2010
Well thanks for responding ipeacock; but (and I'm not surprised) you have failed to address my point that the 6 premises are all necessary for any scientific plausibility. Yes, yes - some preparations may have miniscule content - but many do not. The research on ultramolecular dilutions is all very well - but a complete waste of time unless you explain why these premises are not flawed.
I wonder how the medical authorities (you know - the ones who can strike you off..) regard the diagnostic abilities of those who have not undergone proper medical training - i.e. taken a proper university and clinical training leading to MBChB or equivalent. (Not a "BSc" in homeopathy or some such.)
Come on - address my six premises - scientifically, if you can.
Apr 19th 2010
7 days and no response. Let me know if there is some part of the science in my first post you do not understand. I'll be glad to help.
Apr 21st 2010
The last message was on behalf of someone else in the office. If he has anything else to say I will post his response.
In response to your comments about those who have not undergone proper medical training, all members of the Faculty of Homeopathy are statutorily regulated and either registered with the GMC, GDC, NMC, etc. depending on their profession. If you would like to ask about non regulated homeopaths you can speak to "The Society of Homeopaths".
Apr 21st 2010
And so you avoid answering the basic questions, by focusing on a side issue.
To repeat: I welcome all explanations as to why all the six premises above are not flawed.
Here are some references you might like to consider:
Apr 22nd 2010
I am not a scientist or homeopath and was just asked to respond to your message by somebody else.
Jul 1st 2010
So - as a scientist, I find I cannot get a genuine scientist to respond. Not, I suppose surprising, because there is no science in homeopathy, and no scientists who give it any credit - it is mere nonsense.
Nothing since April 22 when the "go-between" responded for those who cannot speak directly in defence of their daft beliefs. (See if that causes a response.)
I have asked perfectly reasonable (and simple) scientific questions - no sign of any of them being answered. Hello!
Jul 12th 2010
This forum is supposed to be for people to discuss homeopathy, if no one wants to respond to you there is nothing I as the moderator can do about it. If you really want answers to your questions you could try emailing the office directly using the details on the contact us page.
Jul 25th 2010
Thanks, Ipeacock, but in fact I don't expect answers and there is no point in me emailing the office because I know very well no-one there or anywhere else, for that matter has any answers to my questions. Homeopathy - the nonsense that it undoubtedly is, is still peddled to the serious health detriment of the gullible and the scientifically illiterate. To give one example - take a look at this link:
Shame on those who peddle this claptrap as efficatious medicine and who try through web sites and such associations like this to try to give homeopathy some credibility!
Dec 14th 2010
I have only recently come to this forum,and would enjoy more input from members,discussion is such a great way of enhancing our knowledge.
I am not a 'qualified' homeopath, just an interested member, in researching, reading and practicing the use of Homeopathy.
I always find articles as OP above, facinating, in that the scientifically unprovable, must therefore be rubbished.
Purely as a layman, Could you explain for me a very basic 'Q'.
Why when a carpenter who has unfortunately (generally when working outdoors on bitterly cold days,) accidentally hammers his finger instead of the intended object.
That for many years this resulted in agony, swelling with throbbing and then that nail on the finger digit will eventually die and be replaced with new growth.
Now when this happened and I was nearby, I used 'Arnica' topically, and internally.
He could not understand,the absence of throbbing pain and more over that whilst the bruising (obviously), led to black nail. he never lost that nail then or any other, since.The dead blood just worked its way out under the old nail as new growth continued.
He now always carries these items with him.
This is just a simple test,for the proof that Homeopathy is useful, that I would appreciate your comment.
Dec 17th 2010
Hi, homeop - what you describe is a classic annecdote, and, on its own, no evidence of anything. The problem is simple - you have no control for the "experiment" and therefore have no idea if the new response by the individual to thumping his nail would have happened anyway for reasons unknown to you, or me.
You do not mention whether the application was of homeopathic dilution - i.e devoid of arnica, or not. If not, then this is a dangerous process as you are not licenced to treat patients with potent medicines, particularly when you have no idea of possible side effects. I suggest you desist if there are real contents to your "medicine". If of homeopathic dilution, then it is absolutely safe, but of no clinical benefit other than of potential placebo.
Boots have (last time I looked) some 29 Homeopathic offerings available on line. 21 of these contain no original content, such is the dilution and certainly no "memory" held by the water of dilution - as in most cases there is no water there either - these preparations being nothing other than dry sugar pills. The Boots spokesman at the Parliamentary investigation clearly admitted that there was no medicinal benefit to any of their homeopathic products, but that they were happy to take people's money from them, if that is what they wanted to spend it on. The words naive, suckers and gullible come quickly to mind.
Finally - if the effect you describe were genuine, there would be tremendous commercial interest - by proper pharmaceutical companies and by the medical establishment. Why don't you take your evidence to them for proper clinical trials? (You will need a thick skin).
Dec 20th 2010
If you have followed the above thread, you will be aware of the spokesperson for the BHA - "ipeacock" who, by her own admission, (above) is neither scientist, nor homeopath but seems to be the "go-between" when the discussion gets real. Well, it appears that she is there on Facebook as well, with the following description of homeopathy, and how to get involved: (I follow this up with an edited version which tells more of the truth. - read on to read the original, and then go the next discussion entry for the edited version)
What is homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a therapeutic system that has been used for over 200 years. It works on the principle “like cures like” meaning an illness is treated with a substance which could produce similar symptoms in a healthy person. The substances that homeopathic medicines are made from are highly diluted and formed into small tablets or liquid medicines and are therefore extremely safe and have little or no side effects. Homeopathy is a completely separate form of treatment from herbal medicine though it is common for people to get the two confused. For more information on homeopathy visit the British Homeopathic Association website - http://www.britishhomeopathic.org
Many people (and animals) across the globe benefit from homeopathic treatment for conditions such as asthma, allergies, anxiety, depression, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, eczema, menopausal problems and migraine. Currently in the UK homeopathic treatment is available for free on the National Health Service though this is not a well known fact and many people are surprised when they find out. It is also true that when some people ask for this treatment on the NHS it is refused by their GP or local PCT (Primary Care Trust). The British Homeopathic Association and its supporters believe homeopathic care should be available on the NHS, and we help people trying to access treatment. Homeopathic treatment is also available for animals from homeopathic vets.
Sep 29th 2011
Everything you need to know here:
Or check out some of Ben Goldacre's columns in the Guardian.
It's laughable that homeopathy still exists and has not been done away with along with bloodletting and other quackery.
And the next time someone says "so, it's just a placebo, but where's the harm?" I beg to differ.
There are now numerous studies to show that where a person THINKS they have taken something healthy, they change other behaviours as a result, eg smoking more, taking more risks or eating more unhealthy food.
Prescribing sugar pills is unethical and wrong, except as part of a controlled experiment.
We are all paying for this stuff with our taxes, and it benefits no-one except the practitioners.
May 8th 2012
Following on from the post two above - here is a reposting of the promised edited version of the description of homeopathy. This was posted previously, but was censoriously removed - not because it was rude, offensive or otherwise inappropriate, but because it was not welcome as a criticism of the non-evidence based and unscientific practice of homeopathy - i.e. critical. I wonder how long it will survive the censorship this time...
What is homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a non-proven and unscientific therapeutic system that has been used for over 200 years with no known or established therapeutic value over placebo. It claims to work on the principle “like cures like” meaning an illness is treated with a substance which could produce similar symptoms in a healthy person, an entirely fallacious supposition with absolutely no evidential basis. The substances that homeopathic medicines are made from are so highly diluted and/or formed into small tablets or liquids that are therefore extremely safe and have little or no side effects and no pharmacological content. It is impossible to overdose – all that will be hurt is your wallet. Homeopathy is a completely separate form of treatment from herbal medicine (another form of treatment that has no scientific basis) though it is common for people to get the two confused.
It is claimed (without any evidence – all well conducted double-blinded trials (collected as meta studies) fail to find any effects beyond placebo) that many people (and animals) across the globe benefit from homeopathic treatment for conditions such as asthma, allergies, anxiety, depression, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, eczema, menopausal problems and migraine. This claim is dangerous and irresponsible as it potentially diverts seriously ill patients from proper evidence-based treatments.
Currently in the UK homeopathic treatment is available for free on the National Health Service despite the select committee’s careful study and findings that this treatment is basesless, and taxpayers money should not be wasted on it. It is also true that when some people ask for this treatment on the NHS it is refused by their GP or local PCT (Primary Care Trust) because they are not fooled into thinking this is a valid treatment. The British Homeopathic Association and its supporters believe homeopathic care should be available on the NHS, and we help people trying to access treatment. Homeopathic treatment is also available for animals from homeopathic vets.
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