Social Question

partyparty's avatar

Does homeopathy work?

Asked by partyparty (9139points) February 5th, 2010

I have known many people who have tried alternative medicine, but have never heard from people who have tried homeopathic medicine.

I believe that it can also be used on animals with great success.

Do you think it works? How does it work. Have you tried it? What were the outcomes?

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301 Answers

chian's avatar

I have tried it for almost 2 years of my life..It solved for me problems that not only medicine could not but also made worse by. I highly recommend it. It works, in my opinion, by restarting your body from the beginning and giving it a “new life” so to speak. I did a strong homeopathic 5mth course and I have never felt better, (this was two years ago) refreshed and my problem has gone completely! I believe that for some homeopathy works, for others not – i also believe that homeopathy is not for every illness and it certainly isnt to be used alone for serious ilnesses for example, like cancer but more as way to ease the chemo…

the100thmonkey's avatar

There are no empirical studies performed which validate the efficacy of homeopathy over the placebo effect and/or random noise in the data.

That suggests to me that it doesn’t do anything.

See this article for more.

grumpyfish's avatar

@chian I’m glad it helped you.

Homeopathy itself does not work, it is just very expensive water.

It does work through the placebo effect, however never works when double blinded with a placebo, as @the100thmonkey said.

A very critical look here: http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4034

gggritso's avatar

I have no real personal experience, but I’m reminded of this. It’s obviously meant as a criticism, but I don’t know enough about the subject to judge how accurate it is.

Blackberry's avatar

It’s just a placebo, it tricks people into thinking it cured them of something. Did you notice how Chian claimed it worked for her, but not for serious illnesses? What exactly did it cure her of then?

syz's avatar

There’s no science to support it and the premise seems patently ridiculous. I doubt very much that it works in any manner other than placebo effect.

Cruiser's avatar

I am not sure what you mean by homeopathy, but I do know the combination of eliminating excess in your lifelike stress, smoking, drugs and or alcohol, a healthy whole food diet based on you body type along with aerobic exercise, a daily yoga practice and meditation will help to bring your body into balance.

Most illnesses can be directly attributed to excesses in our lives that can create illnesses and by bringing awareness to how we run our lives and treat our bodies with the above suggestions will help to achieve balance and harmony in your body and you will feel amazing as well.

I feel the deck is stacked against homeopathic efforts as it would put a serious dent in the big buck mega corporation medical, big pharma monopoly.

EmpressPixie's avatar

Listen to @grumpyfish. The fish knows. The placebo effect can do amazing things for people—the body is a very interesting thing. But homeopathy does not work (or at least, it doesn’t work better than anything else that triggers the placebo effect).

grumpyfish's avatar

@Cruiser Homeopathy is a specific alternative treatment based on taking a little bit of something that causes ill, then diluting it to “increase its potency”. The more diluted it is, the stronger the remedy is supposed to work. That is, if it’s diluted 1:100 it’s considered a mild remedy, if it’s diluted 1:1000 it’s a much more potent remedy. The water in a homeopathic remedy is quite literally just very pure water, plain and simple.

What you’re talking about are good things, but have nothing to do with Homeopathy or Homepathic Remedies.

If the big buck mega corporations could sell pure water or sugar pills for $1.70 a dose, I’m sure they would.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Almost everything “works” occasionally. The question is whether this treatment is more effective than others, and that has yet to be proven clinically.

Frankly, the best treatment for nearly any condition is adequate rest, good nutrition and hydration, giving up recreational drugs, smoking, drinking to excess, salty and fatty foods, getting a fair amount of exercise, having work to do and finding some success in that—and having a clean conscience.

After that, if you contract an illness anyway, then the best thing is to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment that you expect to work. The placebo effect is very strong.

Snarp's avatar

Here’s a good resource for actual facts on homeopathy.

Homeopathy is water. The dilution levels of the substances in homeopathic remedies mean that there is not a single molecule of the supposed active ingredient left in the water. The only way that it could work is that somehow some magical property of water allows it to be imbued with the essence of some substance that has long since been diluted out of it. Of course if that’s true we’re all drinking shit and urine all the time.

So much for the mechanism by which it would work (there is none other than magic).

In all properly conducted placebo controlled clinical trials homeopathic remedies have no better effect than placebos.

So it has been shown not to work, there is not known mechanism by which it could work, and the remedies are chemically identical to the water in your tap. But if you want to pay lots of money for tap water because you believe in magic, who am I to stop you.

snowberry's avatar

I had a long and very involved discussion about this very subject. Other posters basically tore this subject apart. What I maintained there is that doing “scientific studies” to legitimize such remedies costs too much money for the average person, and don’t exist. Pharmacies (think BIG Money) do this to make MORE MONEY, and they do it by patenting their product. As far as I know, it’s pretty hard to patent homeopathy. Therefore you’re not going to see the rigorous testing that would prove it works, because a drug company can’t make money off of it.

Anyway, I don’t think you are going to convince anyone here that homeopathy is a fact, because they don’t want to believe it, and nobody has put it through the rigorous testing that a patent must have…therefore it isn’t real. Circular reasoning, if there ever was one. Anyway, tell the honey bee that, according to scientific experiments, it should not be able to fly.

Here’s the link to that discussion: http://www.fluther.com/disc/47250/does-homeopathy-have-any-grounding-in-scientific-fact-or-is-it/

Snarp's avatar

@snowberry Tests have been done. Homeopathy failed them. And it’s just water, so if it did work, it would have to be by magic.

snowberry's avatar

Oh, and I also have tried it, and swear by it. Some remedies have kept my kids out of the emergency room, but aw, that’s all placebo too. It’s sure a good one though, so I’ll keep buying it. Sorry for the sarcasm, but…sheesh.

syz's avatar

@snowberry Ahhh, have you read the discussion of what Homeopathy theory is? You really think that could have any basis in reality? Really? Wow.

snowberry's avatar

I know…And honeybees shouldn’t fly. Tests say so. Get out of the air, honeybees! Stop flying!

grumpyfish's avatar

@snowberry Honeybees fly just fine?

Snarp's avatar

Also, the “bees can’t fly” business is a myth. Modern science has understood the mechanism by which bees fly for some time. Science does not say that bees cannot fly, a couple of scientists seventy years ago thought that and they were wrong.

Snarp's avatar

From the site I linked above, here’s a description of what’s actually in a homeopathic remedy:

“The law of similars [a “law” made up by homeopathy’s inventor, Samuel Hahnemann] states that whatever would cause your symptoms, will also cure those same symptoms. Thus, if you find yourself unable to sleep, taking caffeine will help; streaming eyes due to hayfever can be treated with onions, and so on.

Taking a single drop of caffeine and diluting in ninety-nine drops of water creates what is known to homeopaths as one ‘centesimal’. One drop of this centesimal added to another ninety-nine drops of water produces a two-centesimal, written as 2C. This 2C caffeine potion is 99.99% water and just 0.01% caffeine. At 3C the dilution is 0.0001% caffeine, at 4C it’s 0.000001% caffeine, and so on. Homeopathic remedies are commonly sold at 6C (0.000 000 000 1%) and even 30C (0.000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 1%) dilutions, which homeopaths will often drip onto little balls of sugar to sell.

When these numbers are written out, it’s easy to see how absurd they are. At 12C you pass what is known as the Avogadro Limit, the point at which there is likely nothing of your original substance left.

By the time you reach 30C, you have more chance of winning the lottery five weeks running than you have of finding a single caffeine molecule in your homeopathic sleeping draft. It’s just ordinary water, dripped onto ordinary sugar.”

snowberry's avatar

Well, my point still works. At one point, scientists said that it was impossible for bees to fly. But bees still flew. Then, according to @Snarp, that was eventually explained. Well, I think that homeopathy will eventually be proven. Until then, it will be a farce. And I’ll continue to use it because it works, regardless of anyone who wants to say otherwise.

tinyfaery's avatar

If someone has a sickness, then uses a homeopathic remedy and gets better, then I guess it works. It doesn’t really matter what studies say.

No harm in trying. Just don’t expect a miracle. That goes with all remedies, even the scientifically proven ones.

Snarp's avatar

@snowberry It’s not that “scientists said” bees couldn’t fly, a few scientists said bees couldn’t fly without conducting adequate studies or properly understanding the mechanisms of flight. There was no consensus, and very little scientific study on the subject. If science can prove (and it has) that homeopathic remedies contain nothing but water and sugar, and it can show that homeopathic remedies don’t, across a broad sample of patients, work any better than a placebo (which is what they are), then homeopathy has been proven not to work. This is quite different from occasional mistakes or misunderstandings in the past.

You are choosing to believe that a man who lived two hundred years ago was right and all of medical science since is wrong, based purely on anecdotal evidence that does not hold up under scientific scrutiny. That’s fine if you want to believe in magic, but it doesn’t make science wrong.

Also, this brings up this classic essay. It’s not about homeopathy, but anyone who argues that science was very wrong in the past and therefore shouldn’t be trusted today should read it.

Snarp's avatar

@tinyfaery The harm occurs when homeopathic practitioners offer homeopathic cures and advise patients that they work better than scientifically proven medicine, or even that scientifically proven medicine doesn’t work. This happens. If someone is taking a homeopathic sugar pill instead of a proven remedy and suffers illness or even death as a result, then that is harmful. It’s also harmful for people to spend a lot of money on sugar pills because they think they will work. That’s money they could have used on food, rent, utilities, or even a real treatment that might actually work. Homeopaths are no better than thieves, and probably worse.

Snarp's avatar

Alright, I’ve gone on enough, take it or leave it.

tinyfaery's avatar

You don’t have to like people’s choices, but it is their choice.

partyparty's avatar

@chian So how does it work?

Snarp's avatar

@tinyfaery No, I don’t like people to be misled. Homeopathy is no different from snake oil, or from me going out and selling my own sugar pills with my own brand of magic attached.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Thanks for that link, @Snarp. Here’s a link that I should have given to an answer one day last week, when I raised the topic of Cargo Cult Science (same link).

Keep fighting the good fight. Not everyone listens, but enough seem to. Sometimes “barely” enough, but enough nevertheless. (Asimov sort of alluded to this in his essay, the number of people who pay attention and learn is apparently between zero and some tiny number, but it isn’t zero, anyway.)

Snarp's avatar

@CyanoticWasp I content myself with the thought that there are some who will never be convinced and who I will anger with my statements, but there are others who read and often don’t comment, who are legitimately undecided, and who need and value facts.

partyparty's avatar

@Snarp So how and why does it work in animals?

nikipedia's avatar

@snowberry: If you are using homeopathy to treat your children instead of taking them to the emergency room when they are seriously ill you are a criminal and you are jeopardizing your children’s health.

@partyparty: It does not work in animals. It does not work in humans. It does not work.

syz's avatar

@partyparty It doesn’t. Here at the emergency clinic, we see a regular flow of patients that have been treated homeopathically until they become critically ill and then get transferred to us. I strongly suspect that owners that see an improvement due to homeopathy are seeing an improvement that would have happened anyway and are merely attributing the improvement to the treatment.

shilolo's avatar

@nikipedia My interpretation of homeopathy “working” on children who “need to go to the ER” is simply that they never needed to go to the ER in the first place. Many people mistake coincidence for causality, and this is just one such example.

Even in medicine we make this mistake all the time. Child arrives with fever for 4 days, is given an antibiotic for an “ear infection” (which may or may not have been a true infection). Fever goes away after a couple of days. We pat ourselves on the back: problem solved, another life saved. But, there is a very real possibility that the child was improving (or would have improved) independent of the treatment (probably was a virus all along, for which antibiotics don’t work).

As you know, I think homeopathy is bunk. @Snarp has done a fantastic job of elaborating the arguments that refute homeopathy. I would simply add that, even IF we concede the whole vibrational memory of water hypothesis as true (which I don’t, but bear with me), homeopathy still has to overcome the hurdle of how it actually works, in the body. When you ingest this water (as opposed to say, tap water, which should also have vibrational “memory” of it’s interactions with other chemicals), how precisely is the effect of treatment A mediated, physiologically? There is no explanation for it. Mechanoreceptors do exist to sense physical vibrations, but they are in the skin, not the gut. Moreover, those receptors are sensitive to significant vibrations only, not the minute atomic vibrations one would expect from the “water vibrational energy” hypothesis.

In the end, homeopathy fails on three levels:
1. The scientific basis for vibrational memory is absent.
2. The physiologic basis for sensing such vibrational memory, should it even exist, is also absent.
3. Well done double blind placebo controlled studies have found no evidence for a clinical effect.

whitenoise's avatar

Homeopathic medicin is not working through any other way than suggestion. In general that is no issue, but sometimes people rely on it that should actually not.

The best sold flue medicin in France is something called Oscillococcinum, for instance. Something that is over and over proven to be ineffective. That in itself is not a problem, until people refuse to be inoculated against a very dangerous strain and rather rely on magic.

edit
and of course one could consider something like this a form of fraud, which I think it is

Snarp's avatar

@partyparty I think @syz and @nikipedia answered the question you directed to me well enough.

chian's avatar

@Blackberry I was filled with yeast infection throughout my whole body if you must know!!! I still consider these things serious just obviously not as serious like cancer!!!! I also was getting sick al the time from a young child and because of typical medicine like antibiotics i got worse and worse, the antibiotics created the build up of yeast and stopped working. I would get a cold and it would turn in to a full blown virus lasting two weeks with fever, doctors having to come to house etc.
I can ONLY speak from experience and i dont know about water, placebos and such scientific stuff, i am not a scientist. I just know that my body is completely changed since i did homeopathy, i dont care why or how, i just know that i lead a far more healthy and normal life. I never get sick anymore except for the normal 3 day cold, neither do i have yeast problems and i feel very strong. This is all due to my homeopathist and his techniques. Homeopathy is not just medicine, it is a way of life. I had to cut out alcohol, wheat, sugar and whole bunch of other things for months, homeopathy takes time, its not a quick fix like antibiotics but unlike antibiotics that kill all good bacteria homeopathy is natural. How do you think people got better in Ancient times? from plants etc. Point is it worked for me and that was the question asked!

shilolo's avatar

@chian It’s a misconception to think people “got better” in ancient times. Life expectancy was probably around 30 years, owing to disease and malnutrition. Now that we have proper agricultural techniques, and understand germ theory, we can effectively prevent illness through vaccination and good hygiene, and treat diseases that in ancient times would have resulted in a certain death (meningitis, gangrene, pneumonia, sepsis, plague, small pox, etc.). Modern techniques have extended life expectancy to more than 80 years (for women at least)! That isn’t due to homeopathy, period.

Snarp's avatar

@chian A lifestyle and diet changed may have helped you, but that’s not what homeopathy is. Some homeopaths may advocate that, and good for them if it is truly a healthy diet and lifestyle that they are advocating, but the root of homeopathy is the notion that “like cures like” and that those similar things are effective when diluted to the point of non-existence. Had you changed your diet and lifestyle and not spent any money on homeopathic remedies, you would likely have experienced the exact same thing.

Blackberry's avatar

@chian We’re not attacking you, by the way. It’s just that the mind can be deceived very easily, and asking questions is the best way to counter that. When I hear of things like this, knowing 99.9% of the time it doesn’t work, then someone says it works all of a sudden, it’s only a natural part of me to be skeptical and assume there’s a reason for your reasoning, which is the reason why I also believe your drastic lifestyle and diet change helped you, the homeopathic treatment was just there to take the credit when it shouldn’t have.

Snarp's avatar

I once had a mild knee injury, and a friend of mine talked me into seeing an ayurvedic physician. He felt my pulse and told me all of these problems that I had. It was about as accurate as any psychic reading – basically guessing about complaints most people like me would have, like back trouble, and some of it was completely off base. Then he massaged my leg, moved my hip around, moved my knee around, and asked me to try it. It felt much better and had nearly full range of motion. Then he wanted to sell me an herbal poultice and some herbal tees. I said no thanks. Gentle massage and manipulation loosened up my knee, but I would have done at least as well with a massage therapist or a physical therapist. My knee continued to get better without subjecting myself to overpriced herbal remedies that have no method of action on joint tissue. Same basic principle, he did something that helped me, but it does not vindicate the practice of ayurvedic medicine in general.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

In the simplest terms:

If something is really effective, then a properly controlled scientific study will find that it does work better than some other treatment or no treatment at all.

The lack of evidence that homoeopathy is effective despite attempts to demonstrate that it works, should tell most reasonable people not to waste their money and risk their health avoiding other effective treatments.

Rarebear's avatar

No. Not at all. Not even a little bit. Take ten bucks and throw it in the trash—it’ll do you more good.

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/02/ums_open_shame_the_center_for.php

snowberry's avatar

@nikipedia Why don’t you calm down and listen? I never said I don’t take my children to the doctor. You assumed that, and went off and called me a child abuser. What a nut!

What I said, is “Some remedies have kept my kids out of the emergency room.” (I had to edit that to make sure I quoted myself properly). Here’s why I say that. Years ago when my kids were young, they always had the same symptoms when it came to flu: It was fever aches and vomiting. That’s the way flu always showed up at our house, so that’s what I thought flu was. And until I discovered Oscillococcinum (a long nasty word for a great homeopathic for flu), we were ALWAYS at the doctor’s office. My kids would go from having NO symptoms to being dehydrated and needing emergency care in 12 hours flat. They never gave me any warning!

Then one day, a friend told me about Oscillo (that’s what we call it-it’s easier). I thought, what do I have to lose? So I bought some, and tried in on my sick kid. Sure enough, we didn’t go to the emergency that time. Wooo hooo! I began to keep an extra box on hand so I’d have it handy, because our doctor visits for flu dropped right off. Then one day, my daughter started out with an illness, but this time I didn’t recognize it as flu, until we were in the emergency room again because she was dehydrated and needed a shot to prevent vomiting.

The doctor said “Oh, this is that horrible 5 day flu. As sick as she is, she’ll be out of school for 10 days, at least!”

“The flu?” I thought…Hmmm. And I went home and gave her the Oscillo as directed on the box. She went to sleep, and slept through the night, except for the dose which I gave her 6 hours later. When she woke up she had breakfast, and I continued to dose her with Oscillo as directed.

By mid-morning, she said she wanted to start in on her homework. That afternoon I got a call from her doctor, wondering why we weren’t back in her office getting my kid re-hydrated again. I said, no, she was fine, and was sitting up in bed getting caught up on her homework. The doctor was amazed, and I explained about my discovery with the Oscillo. I told her as soon as I had realized it was flu, I knew what to do.

She was back at school the next day (edit- I think I actually kept her home an extra day just to be safe). Anyway, this is a typical story of how Oscillo works at our house.

But as many others on this site insist, if it works, it’s all placebo effect. OK, if it is, it’s a durned good one! I think I’ll stick with my “placebo”, thank you very much. It’s certainly cheaper, and it sure does work on my kids! I have told a lot of friends about Oscillo who swear by it as well. They’ll be delighted to learn it’s a placebo, too.

Sheesh.

shilolo's avatar

Indeed, as Abraham Lincoln said “You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.”

snowberry's avatar

I’m still ticked off. @nikipedia I didn’t quote you properly. You said, “If you are using homeopathy to treat your children instead of taking them to the emergency room when they are seriously ill you are a criminal and you are jeopardizing your children’s health.”

You called me a child abuser AND a criminal. How nice. If I followed your same train of thought, perhaps I should call you a pedophile and a junkie just because I felt like it, but I’m not going to because I am relatively certain you aren’t either of those.

gggritso's avatar

@snowberry I don’t think anyone here is going out of their way to insult you personally. The general consensus is that homeopathy is at best a mystery. There are inappropriate times to use it, and people like @nikipedia are simply urging you to take your children’s health seriously and not to gamble on the well-being of others when they are seriously ill.

(Don’t let me put word in your mouth, ma’am, but I think that’s what you’re getting at.)

the100thmonkey's avatar

Homeopathy is not a mystery. It doesn’t have any effect. That’s not difficult to understand.

snowberry's avatar

Well, the problem comes when people start calling other folks names because they don’t happen to agree with them. I AM a responsible parent, but because I happen to practice something that isn’t popular here, I’m now a CHILD ABUSER and a CRIMINAL????

No, nickipedia was not trying to insult me personally, she was simply not thinking. But not thinking, or being stupid, the result is the same. I’m not interested in descending to the level of name calling. I actually took the time to look her up, and from her profile, she appears to be intelligent. Therefore I think she made an assumption, and popped off without putting much thought into it. Still, it’s not right to do what she did.

nikipedia's avatar

I was not insulting you. I was making a statement of fact. It is a crime not to provide children with necessary medical care. People who commit crimes are often called “criminals.”

snowberry's avatar

It’s beginning to look like nobody reads what I type.

Just above, I put in a rather long explanation of exactly how carefully I treat my children’s health (it’s in a green section about 7 posts above this one, in case you can’t find it). As I mentioned above, my kids were seriously ill. They would have DIED if I didn’t get them into the emergency to be re-hydrated all those times. But as I also mentioned previously, I also found something that prevented them from getting so sick they had to go to the doctor at all.

Wait. That makes me a criminal. And a child abuser. Why don’t you read what I’ve already said? Is this the same logic you are using to convince me homeopathy is bad? You are messed up.

nikipedia's avatar

You seem not to be very interested in data. That’s fine. It’s not everyone’s thing.

So since you seem to believe in stories, let me tell you a story. A good friend of mine is about to start an MD/PhD program. Before he applied, he shadowed some doctors to be sure he was actually interested in medicine.

One of the doctors was an oncologist. The oncologist had a patient with terminal cancer. My friend met the patient and spoke with her for a little while. He was surprised to learn that her cancer was terminal, because as he knew from his limited experience in the oncology ward, it was a cancer with a relatively high survival rate.

The patient explained what had happened. When she first started to get sick, she went to her alternative medicine practitioner. This person had cured lots of headaches and colds for her in the past, and better than any Western doctor had done! So of course this was her first choice to treat her mysterious illness.

Her alternative medical practitioner gave her some herbs to take. She kept getting sicker. He gave her more herbs. And she got sicker and sicker.

Finally, her family insisted she go to the hospital. That was when she learned that she had cancer, and her cancer had progressed so far that it was no longer treatable.

She died a few weeks later.

snowberry's avatar

And you believe in calling people names, and making unsubstantiated allegations of child abuse. There’s a law against that too. Or do I have to find that link for you?

As for the cancer story, we’ve all heard lots of stories like that one.

I can also introduce you to a number of people who were sent home by their doctors with NO hope.

So, with nothing else to lose, they found alternative remedies that did in fact give them health or at least a quality of life they would not have otherwise. And years later, most of them are still alive. I know these people, and I talk to them from time to time.

(probably all due to a placebo effect)

nikipedia's avatar

Let me reiterate that at no point did I call you a name. I made a statement of fact.

But let’s not split hairs. (And if you would like to continue accusing me of “not thinking,” or “not listening” simply because I disagree with you, suit yourself. To be entirely honest, I find it vaguely amusing.)

You say that you know people whose cancer has been cured by alternative medicine. And I report at least one case of someone who was effectively killed by alternative medicine. These statements could both be true. (In fact, I am certain that one of them is!)

So are we at an impasse? I don’t think so. I think we should compare how often alternative medicine cures a given ailment to how often western medicine cures that same ailment.

What do you say? Are you up for the challenge?

snowberry's avatar

I cannot have a rational conversation with someone who with every post calls me a criminal and a child abuser, takes what I say out of context, or never seems to read it at all. I feel sorry for you.

the100thmonkey's avatar

All @nikipedia has done it tell you that it’s a crime to deny your children medical care when they need it.

@nikipedia rightly does not believe that homeopathy is medical care. You cannot have a rational conversation with them if you believe it is.

Do you believe that homeopathy is appropriate medical care for a sick child?

gggritso's avatar

@nikipedia said: “If you are using homeopathy to treat your children instead of taking them to the emergency room when they are seriously ill you are a criminal and you are jeopardizing your children’s health.”

That clearly states, that in the case that you are denying your children medical treatment while they are in serious need you are committing a crime. This statement, as we later discovered is 100% true according to US Law. Following the “correlation isn’t causation” argument and the effects of the Placebo Effect we say that we cannot with certainty say that it was the homoeopathic remedy that cured your children. Therefore, her quote was in no way false, and in no way accusing you of anything.

Blowing her words completely out of proportion and calling her a nut is hardly calm. She has at this point stated several times that she did not call you anything. Please stop ignoring this and playing the victim. We’re only trying to have an educated conversation.

Qingu's avatar

You guys are a bunch of microfascists!

@snowberry, do you understand the principles of homeopathy? If you don’t, perhaps we should talk about that. Most people don’t know how it supposedly “works.”

The reason people feel strongly about it—at least, why I feel strongly—is because it’s clearly a fraud. It’s like astrology, or magic crystals. And by supporting it, you’re supporting an industry of hucksters.

I’m glad to see you took your child to actual doctors when she was sick. But don’t for a second confuse the placebo effect with actual medical care. If you refuse to give your child actual medical care as opposed to magic pills, that would indeed be child abuse.

snowberry's avatar

I already mentioned that I took my kids in to the doctor. A lot. Did you read that? Apparently not.

I already mentioned that I took my kids in to the emergency room, (many times because they needed urgent medical care), UNTIL I FOUND OUT HOW TO RESOLVE OUR PROBLEMS SO THEY WOULD NOT GET SO BAD THAT THEY HAD TO HAVE EMERGENCY CARE SO OFTEN. There, I put it in a slightly different way, and in caps, because you have trouble getting it. Apparently you didn’t read that either.

Did I ever say I don’t take my kids or myself to the emergency room now? No. For the most part, they don’t need to go now.

Have I said I would never take them again? No.

The fact is, you take my statements out of context, twist them, and have a ball.

This conversation has become ridiculous. And you call yourselves scientific. I’m done.

Qingu's avatar

I did read that you took your kids to the doctor and the emergency room, which is why I said “I’m glad to see you took your child to actual doctors when she was sick” in my post. Perhaps you should follow your own advice?

And why do you think homeopathy resolved your problems in any way?

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Homeopathy is based on the idea that one can “immunize” one’s self from damage done by non-living substances by employing the same theory discovered by Louis Pasteur used to inoculate one against viruses. The body doesn’t build resistance against non-organic poisons. In this sense homeopathy is bullshit. One can build resistance against some organic poisons by diluting them before repeatedly introducing them into the body.

I cite the old treatment for poison ivy and poison oak:
By drinking one drop of poison ivy extract in a glass of water the first day, then increasing one drop per day for ten days, a person can build a resistance to poison ivy upon contact.

But. by drinking a 0.0001% dilution the heavy metal methyl mercury in 4 ounces of water, you will not protect yourself from the dangerous effects even moderate amounts of methyl mercury will have on your central nervous system. In this case, homeopathy is bullshit, a waste of money and possibly dangerous.

partyparty's avatar

@Qingu Do YOU know the principles of homeopathy? Care to elaborate?

chian's avatar

Listen everybody, i am sticking to my knowledge, my body and they way I FEEL. I didnt just diet when i did himeopathy, i took numerous drops, pills etc that were NATURAL. I stuck thoroughly to this doctor and I AM SO MUCH BETTER that i dont care if you all think its in my head or that i dont know the expertise enough or if you all think i am naive!!! I respect your opinions a lot, respect mine since i am the one who went through it first hand. I didnt just eat salad and water and fruit and got better, i was already a healthy person going to the gym, eating VERY healthy (i live in greece so its hard not to). Its not like i was obese, eating crap everyday and some person showed me the way to eat and i think in my head its homeopathy! I went to a very good doctor with numerous degrees in his field who did not rip me off and changed my life and my health, you have no notion how sick i used to get, how much time i wasted sick in bed in my house and through him, his drops, his advice and my effort i got better!! each entitled to his opinions but also should respect others!!!!!!!

the100thmonkey's avatar

Homeopathy is not a way of eating or a diet.

Homeopathy is diluting a substance in water so much that there is not even a single molecule of the solute in the solvent, then ingesting this “mixture” to cure an illness.

I believe that the changes you made in your diet through your doctor’s (what did he qualify in?) advice changed your life, and I respect that. Those who are sceptical in this thread – myself included – are suggesting that drops of water or sugar pills are likely not the proximate cause of the changes.

I’m glad you’re better, @chian, I really am, but I don’t believe in magic.

partyparty's avatar

@Snarp Who says it’s ‘just ordinary water, dripped onto ordinary sugar’?
@snowberry Think some of the remarks given to you have been extremely rude. Good for you that you stick with your beliefs.
@chian So glad it has worked for you, and sharing your experiences.

Blackberry's avatar

Not that it matters anymore, but no one was being rude to Snowberry at all, if you look at her 2nd answer…..before she explained that she actually had taken her kids to the hospital….of course a rational person would think: “Wow….this chick avoided taking her kids to the hospital for homeopathy?”. There is just this societal notion that questioning a strangers parenting is rude when actually it’s being aware and questioning situations you’re skeptical of.

Rarebear's avatar

To all who think homeopathy is anything but quackery medicine: “My mind’s made up. Don’t confuse me with the facts.”

snowberry's avatar

Sorry, Fluther wouldn’t allow me to emphasize part of this, so I put it in caps.

@Blackberry, Well, that’s not exactly the way it played out. After I gave AT LEAST TWO VERY CLEAR EXPLANATIONS of why and how I did what I did, @nikipedia STILL insisted I’m a child abuser and a criminal, but she legitimized it by calling it a “fact”, so somehow that made it all OK. Then a lot of the rest of you took up the hue and cry.

This has become a character defamation contest, disguised as “legitimate concern”. Very very few of you have actually bothered to READ AND THINK about what I said.

In view of that, many of those comments were irrational, which is unbecoming of anyone who claims their statements are based on fact, on science, etc.

I have yet to see any of the ***original*** crap tossers back down, or apologize. I can only conclude this is a window into the condition of their own characters and mental conditions.

@partyparty Yeah, you can say that again. Thanks for being decent, at least. I don’t know if you agree with me or not, but you are one of the few who are actually appropriate and even kind here. Maybe you could give classes to the rest of them? Thanks.

partyparty's avatar

I have just spoken to a scientist (and friend) and we have discussed homeopathy in detail.

He tells me ‘the structure of the water molecule is altered when it is diluted with the medicament. So it is no longer water ie H2O (something to do with the hydrogen). Because this molecule is altered it can be diluted many, many times, but this altered structure will remain the same’. I don’t really know what he is talking about, but I trust his views implicitly.

He knows of many papers written about this, and says that the next time he is in the university library he will get copies of these papers for me. When I receive them I will be able to cite them and give you details, so you can see for yourself – and decide for yourself, of course.

Also, he tells me, the fact that it works on animals throws the ‘placebo’ effect out of the window immediately.

Rarebear's avatar

@partyparty I have an honors degree in biochemistry with 7 years of postgraduate training, and a doctoral degree. The structure of water is altered anytime you put any kind of solute in it. For example, water freezes at a lower temperature when you put salt in it. In fact unless you drink only distilled water, you are drinking water with solutes in it. So just because a few of the hydrogen bonds are disrupted, does NOT translate into clinical effectiveness. Show me one, just ONE, well designed multicenter double blinded placebo controlled randomized controlled trial and I will consider it.

partyparty's avatar

@Rarebear As I said, I am waiting for him to show me these papers he is talking about. I am NOT a scientist, so I don’t understand the why or how of homeopathy. Nevertheless I am still interested. I don’t doubt what you are saying, but I also respect what my friend is saying to me. By the way he has a D.Sc, he is an ex-professor and is still publishing his work.

Rarebear's avatar

@partyparty When you get the papers, please post the citations.

mattbrowne's avatar

How does it work? By believing in it. The scientific term is placebo effect.

Never tried it. We should invest our money wisely.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@snowberry I wish there was an ignore button on Fluther, because if there were then I would use it on your ridiculous assertions. It doesn’t mean that I’m ignoring you; it’s a conditional statement: if [this] then [that].

If you still don’t understand that @nikipedia didn’t ever ‘call you’ a child abuser and a criminal then you’re demonstrating that on top of an inability to understand science, you also can’t (or won’t) read simple English.

nikipedia's avatar

@snowberry: I am glad to see that you are willing to take your children to the emergency room when you deem it necessary. If you didn’t, that would be criminally negligent! But you do, so that term does not apply.

I think it is perfectly morally acceptable to give your children water, sucrose and lactose when they have the flu. It would probably be better to get them a flu shot preemptively, but once they’re sick there’s nothing you can do, so sugar pills and a nice story about the memory of water seems as good a solution as any.

However, I do hope that if your children had an illness that could be treated by real medicine you would continue to take them to the doctor.

I notice that you were not interested in my challenge. Are you up for it now?

Snarp's avatar

@partyparty Your friend may be a great scientist, but is misinformed on this issue. Any given amount of solute can only affect the structure of a certain number of water molecules. The point is that substances used in homeopathy are diluted to the point that there are very few to zero altered molecules left in the final substance. For more detail see my post near the top. Even homeopaths admit that they dilute substances this much. Science tells us that at a certain point of dilution, there is nothing left but plain, unaltered water. Some homeopaths will even admit the simple fact that chemical tests of their remedies will reveal no trace of the original solute. What homeopaths believe (or claim to believe) is that water has some ability to “remember” the “vibrations” of the original substance, even though it has been diluted to the point of non-existence. Basically, it’s sympathetic magic. It is nothing more than 18th century snake oil. You can believe in the magic, and even believe that it is some yet unknown property of water, but there is no doubt that there is no chemical difference between homeopathic remedies and any other water. And if you believe in the magic, then you also have to be willing to believe that all the double blind placebo controlled studies are wrong and the handful of anecdotes are right. You can believe all that, but it’s not science.

chian's avatar

you are all so exhausting, all i think you know who i mean

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@chian have a drink of water, then, and re-energize.

Snarp's avatar

So I looked up this Oscillococcinum stuff, because I thought you might like to know what’s in it. It’s made from duck liver and duck heart, which is then diluted to 200C. Look to my post near the top for an explanation of what that means, but the key is this: “By the time you reach 30C, you have more chance of winning the lottery five weeks running than you have of finding a single caffeine molecule in your homeopathic sleeping draft.” This is 200C. That’s 1 part duck organ to 100 to the 200th power water. So literally this cure contains nothing but water, but if there was anything left in it, it would be duck liver. You could get some pate of duck liver, and it would give you way more duck liver (meaning more than none) and you could at least enjoy eating it.

Snarp's avatar

@snowberry I haven’t been addressing you specifically in this, but rather addressing the facts about homeopathy. As a parent I understand that the merest suggestion that one is a bad parent is insulting on a level that non-parents can’t begin to understand. But I do want to mention a couple of things.

First, the doctor telling you that your child had a particular flu based on symptoms was not entirely responsible, and not in the least accurate. The doctor made an assumption about what other patients have been experiencing lately, but could not have made an accurate diagnosis. There are countless viruses that cause cold and flu symptoms, and the doctor couldn’t even know if the virus in question was a cold, a flu, or something else entirely without doing tests. Doctors rarely do these tests, even with H1N1 patients who have symptoms roughly similar are assumed to have it, very few are actually tested to see what virus they really have.

Second, how old were your kids when they stopped having to go the emergency room every time they got sick?

Third, and I don’t in any way mean this to be insulting, but flu shots are a lot more effective than duck liver diluted out of existence.

shilolo's avatar

Why does it always seem like these discussions never make progress? Also, why does it always seem to be that rejection of homeopathy (and other random “cures”) correlates with advanced education? Is it that homeopaths (and others) prey on those that cannot understand their “methods”? Is this a failure of our education system? What happened to critical thought?

Snarp's avatar

@shilolo I don’t think there’s a correlation with advanced education per se. There is likely a correlation with advanced degrees in scientific fields, but even that can be made up for with a healthy dose of skepticism and enough interest in basic science to make sense of the claims. I’m certain there are plenty of very intelligent and well educated people how believe in these cures, and I expect the number is growing.

Snarp's avatar

Wow, you should really look at the Wikipedia article on Oscillococcinum. It’s quite an eye opener. And you can check the source material to verify some of the claims, I always do. My favorite is the quote from a spokeswoman for Boiron, the company that makes the stuff. She is quoted in U.S. News and World Report responding to a question as to the safety of Oscillococcinum: “Of course it is safe. There’s nothing in it.”

the100thmonkey's avatar

@chian. Yes, facts are so bothersome.

snowberry's avatar

Actually, we don’t get the flu shots. We don’t need them. We haven’t had a bad case of the flu since I started using Oscillo…. even with the H1N1 concerns. When we do get the flu it doesn’t last that long, a day at the most, sometimes less. At the first sign of flu, now I take Oscillo. Haven’t had a bad case of the flu in years. It’s because we use this great placebo. You oughtta try it. It works. Actually, it works well on all viruses, but especially well on the flu.

Comments to the lurkers: Now watch them burn me at the stake for not taking flu shots. LOL.

snowberry's avatar

I can’t remember exactly when, but I started using homeopathics about 20 years ago. It was not too long after that that I found Oscillo.

Rarebear's avatar

@Snarp “I’m certain there are plenty of very intelligent and well educated people how believe in these cures, and I expect the number is growing.”

No. An intelligent and well education person will evaluate the level of evidence and realize that there is none for homeopathy. It has nothing to do with “believe”.

snowberry's avatar

If anyone is going to convince me that homeopathy, or anything else I’m up to is not a great idea, they are not going to get very far with insults. However, that’s been the tone here for the most part. :*(

Thanks for the complement, @Snarp I do appreciate your respectful tone. You said, __“As a parent I understand that the merest suggestion that one is a bad parent is insulting on a level that non-parents can’t begin to understand.” __ You are absolutely right. I am hoping that the insulting comments here must have been made by clueless childless people, rather than arrogant bores. You have proven that it is possible to carry on an intelligent conversation without lowering yourself to that level. Good for you!

As for what age my kids were, I don’t exactly remember. I’m guessing the youngest were age 10 or so, and the oldest was in high school. It seems that they all had these weird immune systems that went from no symptoms to really sick with only 12 hours warning. As I said previously, after I started using Oscillo, we learned to head off the flu before it got so bad they had to go to the emergency. To me, it doesn’t matter a bit that it is a “placebo”, or “doesn’t work”, or “can’t work”, or is “impossible” due to “scientific fact”.

I have had years of experience in this, not that I am an expert by any stretch. I don’t care how or why. It works, and that’s enough for me. If it were just Oscillo, and I had not had excellent results with the other homeopathics I had already used, I would be more inclined to agree with you about the placebo thing.

Qingu's avatar

@snowberry, when you say “homeopathy works because I haven’t gotten sick since I started using it,” do you understand why this is not a valid argument?

On 9/11 I bought a magic crystal that prevents terrorists from attacking the United States. Since we haven’t been attacked since then, obviously the magic crystal is working!

I also have an enchanted egg that prevents polar bears from eating me. I know it works because I haven’t yet been eaten by a bear.

snowberry's avatar

I’m stating why I use it. If you don’t like that, you will have a problem with most of the world, because that’s how it works. Human beings are funny creatures who do things that don’t make a lick of sense to other human beings, but we do it anyway.

I will continue to use Oscillo and other homeopathics, just as I have for years now. If for some reason in the future, it stops working for me, I’ll re-think it. But I’m betting it won’t. You’re betting it will. I can live with that. Can you?

I am very disillusioned (see next post) by the claims of “modern medicine”, the kind that’s had tons of scientific proof that it works. For me, it is once burned, twice shy, that sort of thing. I have been burned by this medical system more than a few times, so this scientific proof that you are so proud of does not carry the weight you hope it would with me.

I’m also skeptical of many of the claims made by alternative people. This is complicated by the fact that both sides are out to make a buck…So I really go slow with a lot of the stuff out there, and I don’t make my claims lightly. The stuff I talk about is always from personal experience.

Through the years I have carefully, and prayerfully thought out my actions every step of the way. (Yes, really!) I always have and I always will continue to take full responsibility for the consequences.

*As for the jokes, keep ‘em coming! I love ‘em! Thanks! *

snowberry's avatar

Side note: Disillusion means to remove illusion. I love that definition. When at first I was disillusioned with the medical system in the US, I was very sad and very angry. Now I just see it as a deeply flawed system that sometimes works and sometimes does not.

Now I find it liberating, for now I have no expectations regarding the medical system. I use it when it is convenient or appropriate, knowing that I might have to go elsewhere to get what I need, and even pay a lot of money to get it. Sometimes I will spend a lot before I get what I need, but since I already spent a fortune going to medical doctors who hadn’t a clue what was wrong with me, it all evens out in the end. It is not fair, but the world is not fair.

Now I understand that I myself, and nobody else, is responsible for my health.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Qingu I was sure you were going to make a sale or two there.

the100thmonkey's avatar

This is a thread about religion.

Actually, it’s similar in many ways to the “discussions” people have about Apple and Microsoft.

shilolo's avatar

You know what is “ironic” about most homeopathy/alternative medicine adherents? Deep down, they know it is fraudulent. Why? Because when the proverbial shit hits the fan and someone is really and truly sick, where do they turn? To their herbalist/homeopathic provider, or to the hospital for IVs and strong (appropriate) medicines? I wonder….

snowberry's avatar

Interesting. Homeopathy is about religion???? In an existential sort of way, you might be right. But I’m unfamiliar about Apple and Microsoft.

@shilolo, Please clean up your language. I have not used those words in here, and it’s not helping you communicate anything, except that you are crude. Please?

shilolo's avatar

@snowberry OMG, I said shit hits the fan? It’s an idiom. Get over it. I suspect that the veracity of my commentary is what strikes more of a nerve. There, I used “clean” words like veracity and commentary. Happy?

shilolo's avatar

Let’s set up a little thought experiment for all the homeopaths here.
1. You’re experiencing sudden chest pressure, shortness of breath and left arm numbness. You suspect a heart attack. Do you A) hit up the homeopath or B) call 911 to go to the nearest hospital for emergency angioplasty?
2. You’re coughing up horrible greenish phlegm, and now you are severely short of breath and dizzy. You suspect bacterial pneumonia with low blood pressure, perhaps even early sepsis. Do you A) reach for some more homeopathic remedy, or B) go to the doctor/ER for antibiotics and ICU care.
3. You notice that your father suddenly can’t speak and cannot move the right side of his body. You suspect a stroke of the left middle cerebral artery. Do you A) call the homeopath right away for some pills, or B) rush him to the hospital (hopefully within 3 hours) for some t-PA?
4. Your child starts vomiting, has no appetite and is complaining of severe pain in the right lower quadrant of his abdomen. He has a fever and refused to move due to the pain. You think he might have appendicitis. Do you A) rush him to the herbalist/homeopath, or B) to the surgeon for an appendectomy?
5. You’ve been diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia. Do you A) reach for some herbs or B) see an oncologist for some Gleevec?

I’m curious how many would even consider answering A to any of these? If you choose B, why? Why not stick to your guns on the ability of homeopathy to cure disease? Clearly, as the links above show, homeopathic treatments exist for all of those ailments. Why not go for it? Oh, I know why…

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Cursing is allowed here.

snowberry's avatar

I’m not a homeopath by any stretch. I’m a mom. I also use a lot more than just homeopathy. At different times, for different reasons I use herbs, Chiropractic, naturopath, massage, accupuncture, accupressure, home remedies, or various other modalities that I have found to work. Some of these I am knowledgeable about, and some of them we have to go to an expert in the field, and I pay them. In addition, I have already mentioned that I have no problem with using medical care as needed, but obviously my definition of need and yours differs widely. Obviously, as I mentioned in previous posts, if I have no other means at my disposal, I will go to the emergency.

As for (#1), if I had no warning, I would certainly go to the hospital, especially for immediate breathing problems like that. Then I’d look to appropriate nutrition, herbal remedies, and other modalities to support my lungs and other body systems. I might consider going to a natural healer of some sort (see the list above). I would also carefully consider the medicine the doctor gave me, research it, and take it until I could safely get off it.

For (#2), stuff like that does not happen in a minute. It takes time for a person to get that sick. I would have started treating myself at the first sign of illness, and it never would have gotten that bad in the first place. I can check my blood pressure at home, so I would have dealt with that long before it got to this point anyway, probably by talking to my naturopath first, then researching a bit, and doing what I thought was appropriate. I have successfully treated a variety of potentially very serious infections with various herbs and modalities, so, depending on what I had on hand at the time, and the situation, I would deal with it appropriately. And once again, if I had nothing on hand, I’d go to the emergency. In fact I did exactly that last summer when we were traveling, because I had nothing on hand.

In the case of my father (# 3), since he did not believe in alternative anything, of course I would respect his opinion. I don’t care for other folks forcing me into stuff, and I don’t force them into it. I did take my father to the hospital for a stroke. ‘Nuff said about that.

For (#4), if it was flu symptoms, I’d treat my child for flu, just like any normal person would. In my case, that involves homeopathics, along with the usual liquids and bed rest. If there is severe pain, more vomiting, and the possibility of appendicitis, we’d go to the hospital.

I could go on, but this is long enough.

Can we be friends now?

shilolo's avatar

I see. So when the problems are serious or life-threatening, off to hospital (where life-saving measures/techniques exist). Conversely, when problems are mild, herbs and homeopathic remedies. You don’t seem to appreciate the disconnect, or the logical flaw in assuming that your home remedies prevented more serious complications (i.e. more likely than not, the “flu” was getting better anyway?)

I simply fail to see how someone could feel so strongly about homeopathy, but then turn their back on it for more serious problems. It suggests a lack of faith in the underlying basis of homeopathy/herbalism, for if you truly believed in it, well, why not use it to cure appendicitis? I propose it is because you know, deep down, that modern medicine trumps homeopathy. There is no other explanation.

snowberry's avatar

Think what you want. What it means is that I acknowledge that I am not learned in all things, and that sometimes I have to get help. As I have mentioned previously, I have been pretty much beat up by the medical system. I have received medication I didn’t need, and surgeries I didn’t need which has given me life long problems as a result. I don’t consider hospitals to be safe places in general, and I only use them as a last resort. They are dirty, and the doctors follow a line of thinking I don’t agree with. I also don’t much care for the arrogant attitude (learned in medical school) of the majority of the doctors I have known. Hubris hinders a doctor’s ability to properly care for people, but so many wear it like a badge of honor. But I’ll use hospitals when I must.

As for homeopathy, I am not an expert in this. I have found some specific remedies that work really well on some health issues I have dealt with on a more or less regular basis. That does not an expert make. I have mentioned this before.

Also, I have never encountered the same overbearing pride in the alternative people I have known (after 30 years, that’s a lot of people). That’s a plus right there.

partyparty's avatar

@Snarp If you read what I said about the altered structure of water I said ‘Because this molecule is altered it can be diluted many, many times, but this altered structure will remain the same’ ie IT IS THE WATER structure that is altered, no matter how often it is diluted. The how or why it works I really don’t know. I am not a scientist. Perhaps there should be more research on this.
I am quite happy listen to believers and non believers of homeopathy, but will you all please stop attacking @snowberry. She is allowed to state what she believes. It would seem that many of you are being extremely arrogant in your views, almost to a point where you are bullying her. Stop it please, just accept that is what she believes, and we will accept what you believe,.
@Rarebear You are obviously a scientist with knowledge of the structure of water. Can you please explain in laymans terms please, WHY the theory of my friend doesn’t work. I’m not saying you are wrong, I am more than happy to try to understand why it doesn’t work.

mattbrowne's avatar

@snowberry – Suppose your child or another relative or a close friend becomes a type 1 insulin-dependent diabetic. Would you distrust modern medicine? Recommend Oscillo and other homeopathics?

snowberry's avatar

Again, this is the sort of thing that can be headed off at the pass, if you are paying attention. A lot of people don’t think about it until it is too late. I’m not one of them.

As for what can be done in alternative modalities, I am sure there is something that would at least lower the need for so much medication. But since I have not studied the subject, I could not say.

whitenoise's avatar

In my mind, anybody that has an ounce of intellect and invested more than two minutes of thought into the facts of homeopathy (and oscillococcinum in particular) is a fraud him/herself, when advocating these types of products.

snowberry's avatar

@mat, As I mentioned before, MANY TIMES, Oscillo is only for flu.

It’s not for diabetes, broken bones, ear aches, hang nails, your car running out of gas, computer viruses, or an overflowing trash can.

snowberry's avatar

@mattbrowne, I am pretty sure there are homeopathics would help diabetes type one, but I don’t know that much about it. I’ve never studied the problem.

mattbrowne's avatar

I just wanted to point out that we should be very careful expressing disillusionment by the claims of modern medicine. A slippery slope. The fact is in most cases modern medicine is a blessing. Just take vaccines as an example. Some people take too much for granted and cry out when medicine fails for a small percentage of cases. Promoting homeopathy is okay if people want to waste their money. Others buy celebrity tabloids. But when push comes to shove like in Haiti right now, tens of thousands of people live because of modern medicine.

No, homeopathics cannot help diabetes type one. Only one substance can: insulin. If your homeopath is honest he will tell you exactly this.

Placebo effects only work when our psyche can create hormones or neurotransmitters that have a physiological effect. Beta endorphines can reduce pain. Our psyche can’t create insulin. If the beta cells in the pancreas are destroyed there’s no alternative.

snowberry's avatar

@mattbrowne, Speak for yourself. Are you suggesting that I should buy into everything that comes down the pike that my doctor suggests? If I had, I’d have received more surgeries and medication I did not need, be financially destitute, and likely be dead by now, because of screwy medical advice.

I do not believe absolutely everything my alternative people tell me either, and nobody I know ever does that with anyone’s advice (medical or otherwise), at least if they are smart.

snowberry's avatar

Well, if it’s a placebo effect that’s worked so well for me, my family and friends all these years, Yaaay for placebo effect! Bring it on, Baby!

Qingu's avatar

Yay for a placebo effect which is draining you of income and giving it to frauds?

That’s really why I’m so against homeopathy, @snowberry. It’s not because I think you’re a bad mom. It’s because I think you’re gullible and you’re helping to support an industry of fraudsters. It pisses me off that people in this industry are able to essentially rob you of money to sell you “magic pills” that are exactly as effective as “terrorist-attack-preventing-crystals.”

snowberry's avatar

I’ve repeated myself SO MANY TIMES here. I’ll say it again and differently, yet again.

I have lost far money to doctors who didn’t have a clue, than to homeopathy. Of course, you people are so into exact numbers and percentages, but the scale is off the charts, like over 1000 percent.

Especially since the remedies I buy are very cheap over the counter or over the internet. Even if my doctor admits he doesn’t have a clue, he still charges big bucks. I already know the specific remedies I need for specific problems that occur in my family, so I rarely have to go to someone to help me sort it out.

Hey, it works for me. And as I already mentioned before, I don’t much care what your stats say. Placebo effect or not, I’m betting homeopathy will work for me next time, just like it’s worked for me all the other times I’ve used it for the last however many years. You’re betting it won’t work. I can live with that. Apparently you can’t. What are you going to do???

gggritso's avatar

Asking “If your mom is having a heart attack, would you go to a homeopath?” is a misleading and manipulative question that isn’t relevant to the thread. The question was “Does homeopathy work?” not “Does homeopathy cure strokes?” The thread should address whether homeopathy successfully treats the ailments that it claims to treat.

snowberry's avatar

Excellent point. Homeopathy works for me.

Qingu's avatar

Do you understand what “placebo effect” means?

It means the medicine in question doesn’t work. the effect is all in your mind, if there’s any effect at all.

And the fact that you spent lots of money on doctors who could not help you doesn’t somehow mean you’re not wasting your money on fraudulent snake oil products.

snowberry's avatar

Um, I think we’ve been through this, yes. It means that it’s through the power of suggestion that it works, and not through any change brought about by the remedy. That’s pretty close to it, although I didn’t bother to look up the definition.

Like I said, In my experience, if it’s a placebo effect, it’s a durned good one. However, I will say that to have the placebo effect work properly, if you have the flu, it’s better to use Oscillo, than just eating a chocolate chip cookie.

Chocolate chip cookies are not good for flu. At least I don’t think so, but then I’ve never seen any well designed double blind studies done on them regarding curing the flu by a placebo effect.

Snarp's avatar

Well, I think I’ve said all there is to be said here, just about, and we’re obviously not moving forward so I’ll just hope that anyone considering homeopathy who is not already convinced will read what I’ve said and get the facts. Here are my last comments on this thread:

1. Many people believe many things work to keep them from getting sick or to cure them when they are sick that don’t work. Vitamin C, homeopathy, goodness knows what else. They think it works because they’ve seen changes in their lives that they attribute to it, but immune systems change, the viruses active in an area change, the list of reasons something could seem to be working goes on forever.

2. @partyparty When something is diluted in water past a certain extent, there aren’t enough altered molecules left. When you take a drop of duck liver and put it into 100 drops of water, maybe all the water molecules are altered, maybe not. When you then take a drop of that solution and put it into 100 drops of water, and then do this 200 times there are unlikely to be any altered molecules left. It’s just pure water at that point, unaltered in any way. And even if you were right, it would mean that everything from tap water to fancy bottled water to filtered water (because filters don’t remove every particle) would have been “altered” by a whole host of contaminants including fecal matter, urine, bacteria, viruses, toxic chemicals, and heavy metals. Those components are more present in your tap water than the duck liver is in homeopathic Oscillowhatsis (don’t feel like scrolling up to check the spelling of the made up word).

3. And finally, I know a lot of people who are into alternative medicine are also vegetarians or vegans. I wonder if this stuff is acceptable for vegetarians because there is no actual duck liver left in it, or if it is unacceptable because it required a duck to be killed. If the active ingredient is duck, and a duck died to make it, but there’s no duck left in it, is it vegetarian?

snowberry's avatar

LOL, it’s the “essence” of duck. Maybe just the quack? He, hehe

Qingu's avatar

If I sold you a “magical” chocolate chip cookie and you convinced yourself it was indeed magical, it would work exactly as well as homeopathy.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@gggritso I disagree that “If your mom was having a heart attack, would you take her to a homeopath?” is a manipulative and irrelevant question. The question that began this thread is “Does homeopathy work?” It’s perfectly reasonable to explore the extreme examples of when people might use it; such as a medical emergency.

And for the record, no, I don’t believe it works.

snowberry's avatar

@Quinqu Yeah, I know. I’m just cracking jokes because the drama gets old after a while. And I get tired of saying the same thing over and over. Still, the conversation is interesting, even if it has turned into a crap-toss a time or two. It’s amazing how nutty and nasty people can get about this. I know I know, you think I’m a nut too. Got that part, big time.

gggritso's avatar

@Dr_Dredd Unless homeopathy specifically sells cures for heart attacks it’s absolutely unreasonable to bring it up at all. I don’t measure how well physiotherapy works by examining its effect on toothache. For the record, I don’t believe homeopathy works either, I just want to promote a healthy and reasonable conversation.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Shut up, please, y’all. I want to hear @Qingu‘s pitch for those cookies. Do you have them in a white chocolate chip with macadamia nut?

snowberry's avatar

That’s absolutely true, @gggritso. Specific remedies for specific situations. And the same remedy can vary from one patient to the next patient with the same problem. I also don’t know if it there is a remedy to eliminate a heart attack when it’s happening, but I would not be surprised. But such a situation occurring is about impossible, because the person would have to be having the attack in front of a homeopath for it to work, and he’d have to have all his remedies at hand at the time.

By posting these sorts of comments, you people show that you are basically uneducated in this area. Nevertheless you present yourselves as experts on how much it does not work.

(Once again, those sort of things don’t just HAPPEN, the problem generally grows over time), but I’m pretty sure there is something available to help mitigate the damage. There probably is also a remedy to prevent the problem from becoming such a nightmare in the first place, but I would not know for sure.

ROFL @CyanoticWasp! Yeah!

shilolo's avatar

@gggritso Did you look at my links? Every one of the homeopathy links I provided were indeed listed for said indications (heart attack, stroke, pneumonia, appendicitis, cancer). It’s absolutely the height of irony that @snowberry says that we “are basically uneducated in this area”. I’m actually quite educated in this area, and know full well how poorly these things “work”. In the end, homeopathy is very much like religion. It requires faith alone. No amount of logic or experimental evidence will convince it’s adherents that it doesn’t work, just like no amount of (lack of) evidence will convert a religious zealot into an atheist. Why is it always that when scientists present evidence against something, it is immediately disbelieved by people that have no scientific training? They somehow “know better” than the scientists? To use @snowberry‘s own words, it is pure hubris.

FYI, for people that really want to be informed, this is a fantastic read regarding the history of homeopathy. Moreover, as an actual doctor, I can tell you with 100% certainty that no amount of homeopathy can correct the destruction of islet cells that leads to Type I diabetes, or reverse the rapid progression of a severe infections like pneumonia, necrotizing fasciitis, streptococcal toxic shock, urosepsis or meningitis.

I don’t know why I bother. This whole thread is evolution in action. Let the homeopaths do what they want.

Qingu's avatar

@snowberry, I don’t think you’re a nut, I just think you’re gullible, and your gullibility provides income for fraudsters. I feel the same way about people who believe in astrology, faith healing, and energy crystals.

I also feel the same way about people who think prayer works, but at least they don’t spend money on their placebos.

Qingu's avatar

@CyanoticWasp, I actually have made magical cookies before. Though they aren’t magical in the “cure diseases” sense. They’re more magical in the “Whoa Avatar in 3-d is so fucking awesome” sense.

gggritso's avatar

@shilolo I confess that I had not looked at the links. I have now; leaving my point about half-valid if taken in a general case.

syz's avatar

I don’t think I’ve ever seen such clear resistance and unwillingness to become educated or learn something. Amazing. Sad. And so very disturbing.

snowberry's avatar

You’re not the “expert” I’d turn to, @shilolo. Thanks for sharing tho.

Sorry, no I have not looked up EVERY link. Because of your position on the subject, most of them are bogus as far as I’m concerned anyway, so I totally missed the one about the links you mentioned. I admit I am uninformed about a lot of homeopathy, and it is possible my information is either out of date, or wrong in my last post. It’s also possible YOUR information is wrong. Just because you’ve read a lot about it doesn’t make you an expert, any more than I am. Only difference is, you call yourself an expert, which IS amusing, but not surprising.

I guess if I’m going to have to be OK with you thinking I’m gullible, I’d better get used to you thinking I’m a child abuser and a criminal too. After all, why stop there? YOU KNOW EVERYTHING, and there’s nothing left to learn on the subject, even though several posters who claim to be scientists have mentioned the possibility that something else is going on that cannot be explained with the current information we have (that it works on animals, for example).

Regardless, we’ve covered this topic multiple times, I’ve explained where I’m coming from in as many ways as I can, you think I’m full of hooey, blah blah, blah, nothing’s changed.

I really can’t believe you are actually concerned for my safety or well being. What ARE you upset about anyway?

shilolo's avatar

You’re funny. You haven’t looked at the links, but they’re “bogus”. Sure thing. All of the homeopathy links came from homeopathy websites. I didn’t invent those, they exist, as do many more. As for my medical links, they come from reputable medical websites, so they are far from bogus.

As far as expertise is concerned, I majored in Chemistry, have a PhD in Immunology and a medical degree. I’m a full time scientist. Conversely, there hasn’t been one comment from anyone claiming to be a scientist that shows that homeopathy works on animals, only a suggestion from one poster who acknowledged NOT being a scientist. Please find me a link from a reputable source that even comes close to demonstrating a scientific explanation that doesn’t involve life forces.

For what it’s worth, I never claimed you were a child abuser or criminal. You are confusing people (and putting words into their mouths no less). Go up and look for yourself. As I said above, you can feel free to subject yourself to whatever you want, and experience the consequences of those decisions. I do remain concerned about people using homeopathy for children, who don’t have a say in the matter and thus could suffer irreparable harm from such poor decision making.

Finally, this discussion isn’t about you, frankly. I really couldn’t care less what you do to yourself, though I still find it amusing that you ridicule the medical system but use it for serious illnesses. Any objective observer would identify the flawed “logic”. This thread is only for anyone who might come via a web search trying learn about the fraud that is homeopathy. I only hope that soon the FDA will begin to regulate homeopathy like other medical pursuits, and then demand clinical trials before homeopathic “medicines” can be sold (like any drug). Then we’ll see how quickly homeopathy disappears into oblivion.

Rarebear's avatar

@snowberry It is true that some doctors will waste your time and money. But that doesn’t make homeopathy any more valid.

snowberry's avatar

It’s a relief to know that this discussion is not about me. There for a while I thought you were trying to convince me to stop using homeopathics! WheW!

OK, I stand corrected again. It’s from homeopathy websites. The other reason I didn’t look at your website is that I have a few books of my own on the subject, so I was going off of what I remember from my books, (my books are in boxes right now because we moved). I get you have a bunch of degrees behind your name. You are an expert in your field. Wow. But your field is not homeopathy. You are not an expert in homeopathy; you are an expert in how it can not work based on the information you have at hand, and your bias.

I believe you when you say there are no links that fit your criteria (see above).

You insist that all information must pass muster through your scientific filter, however that does not always work for everyone, which is why homeopathy (and other healing modalities) are so popular. Could it be that people are not totally sold on big medicine? Could it be that there are traitors in your ranks who are slipping over to the other side?

I personally know of two MD’s who have done exactly that, because they were frustrated by their inability to treat their patients effectively. Another one, a woman with a doctorate in biomedical engineering, (or something like that) nearly died at the hands of her physicians. In the Park Record (located in Park City, Utah) I have a news article about it. This is the jist of the article: When she went to have her blood tested, she overheard the technician say, “How long ago did this patient die?” She says in the news article that’s the day she stopped depending on the medical profession to help her, for everything they did to help her made her sicker. She went home, did the research, and got herself well. This person was my “doctor” for a while. Another MD I had went to England to became a naturopath as well, and she uses a full complement of homeopathy on her patients.

Evidence be hanged, my personal experience says it does, and has worked on me and my family and friends (and animals) for years. It’s not scientific enough for you, but it works for me.

Regarding regulation, the various branches that govern medicine in this country AMA, FDA Big Pharma, etc. want to capture the alternative medical fields because medicine is big money. If people are spending their money on alternative means, they’re not spending it on prescriptions and doctors. If they regulate it and what not, they will be making some money off it anyway. That’s partly why we are starting to see alternative medicine move into hospitals. You know, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, that sort of thing. They have been moving toward that very obvious goal for years. You’re just one of their cheerleaders.

My philosophy about the FDA is that if it’s against it, I’d better take a second look.

snowberry's avatar

OOPS…That last about the FDA really got me in hot water.

@Rarebear, I’ve sure paid out a lot of good money to a lot of mis-informed, unethical, and awful doctors. In my opinion, they also killed my parents, but they did it in such a way that they were covered legally. I’d rather take my chances with alt medicine, thanks.

snowberry's avatar

As I recall a conversation with my naturopath MD, homeopathy is a regular part of medicine in England. But we’re so arrogant, we think we’re the only authority on anything, so that doesn’t count.

snowberry's avatar

By the way, has everyone given @partyparty a proper thank you in the way of lurve? He/she deserves it.

Qingu's avatar

@snowberry, out of curiosity, what do you think about magic crystals?

Do you think they work? Evidence be hanged?

Qingu's avatar

Also, what are the names of the two MD’s you “personally know” who have switched over to homeopathy? I’d love to do some research on their qualifications.

And lastly, there are some forms of alternative medicine that may work. More research needs to be done. Homeopathy, however, does not work. There’s not really any dispute about this. Do you even disagree that homeopathy does anything beyond a placebo effect?

snowberry's avatar

About crystals, I have no opinion. Interesting, but I’ve not pursued it.

Anna Lambertson is one. Based on your criteria though, she would not pass muster. She uses homeopathy, and that’s not a good thing. http://www.homeopathydr.com/

As I recall, she was in a serious car accident and had unresolved health issues. (yep, not everything can be cured with homeopathy or anything else). Her website is no longer up, and I think she closed her practice. I used to go to her when we lived in Indiana.

I’m sorry, I did not mean to mislead you. Anna is the only one who I can think of, off the top of my head who uses homeopathy, but I cannot be sure. I’d have to contact my old and present docs to see. There is another one, but it’s been 20 years since I knew her. I cannot remember her name right now, but I think she did use it too, come to think of it. I’ll try to see if she’s still practicing and call around to get the name.

Regarding your question @Quinqu, Yes, I have maintained over and over that I DO believe that homeopathy works, without the placebo effect. But since I cannot prove it to your satisfaction, and you are so set on calling it a placebo, fine, I’ll go with that. But yes, I do believe it works.

Rarebear's avatar

@snowberry It’s fine not to trust some doctors, and it’s true that doctors may cause harm in some cases. I also think that many medications are overprescribed. However, you’re better off not taking anything than wasting your money on homeopathic therapies. Just eat lots of fruits and vegetables, limit salt, limit refined sugars, don’t be overweight, and get regular exercise. It’ll do you a lot more good (and has actual clinical evidence to support it) than homeopathic remedies that do nothing more than empty your pocketbook.

shilolo's avatar

@snowberry You are correct that I am not an “expert” in homeopathy, if such a person actually exists, for there is nothing to be an expert in. Water, diluted ad infinatum, is essentially the treatment for everything. A homeopathic provider just needs to remember the creatively named “substance” for the person’s ailment. “Oh, sir, you suffer from allergies, you must need Sasafras of Caligula. Here, take this water sugar pill cure.” I’m reminded of an old Far Side cartoon which would have been perfect for homeopathy.

Actually, the reason people are “sold” on homeopathy is precisely that, it’s marketed to people who can’t think critically for themselves and don’t understand what an (almost) infinite dilution really means. Most people in the US don’t even take high school chemistry, let alone understand or remember the Avogadro constant. Therefore, ignorance is bliss would be an apt description for homeopathy.

As for the FDA, I can only dream that they will regulate it away, as has been attempted in the past. Your skepticism of the FDA is not surprising. These two issues usually go hand in hand, since “true believers” in alternative medicine tend to also be conspiracy theorists and vaccine rejectors.

Finally, in your response to @Qingu, you mention that you “believe that homeopathy works.” Can you provide a mechanism (it doesn’t even have to be scientific, I just want to know what YOU understand about it?)

shilolo's avatar

@Rarebear Outstanding +100.

Rarebear's avatar

@shilolo I thought you’d like it. He’s brilliant.

augustlan's avatar

I just snagged that for facebook and tumbler. Fucking brilliant.

Rarebear's avatar

@augustlan There was on version of it where you actually see him performing it and it’s even better because you can see his facial expressions. Unfortunately it got taken down and this was the only version I could find with words.

Qingu's avatar

@snowberry, you’re “interested” in crystals and don’t know for sure if they’re bullshit? Okay.

What about snake oil? Like, the actual snake oil that people sold as medicine back in the 1800’s? Interested in that?

What if I took a random rock I found in my backyard, packaged it in a box that said “alternative medicine,” and then marketed it by whining about the microfascists in the modern Western medical establishment? Because that seems to be the entire basis of your decision to pursue such remedies.

Also the website you linked to doesn’t work.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Qingu man, you’re onto something here. Let’s start a company; you should definitely be in Sales and Marketing. I’ll be Production; we have lots of rocks in Connecticut.

Snarp's avatar

@CyanoticWasp I think the cookies are a better product than the rocks.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Snarp much better profit margin on the rocks, though, and as long as we include a well-written disclaimer that this is “not for internal consumption” and “not to be used as a weapon” then I think we can sidestep the potential liability that cookies might bring.

We could do cookies at our Friday morning Production and Sales meetings, if you like. Save them for ourselves, anyway.

Snarp's avatar

@CyanoticWasp But I really believe that chocolate chip cookies will heal the world!

snowberry's avatar

I did not say I was interested in using crystals to resolve anything. I did say I thought they were interesting. I have no opinion about them other than that. I don’t study them, and other than a mild interest, I don’t much care. However I do think some crystals, properly cut, do look really great in a gold or platinum setting and worn around the neck or on the fingers. I have noticed that most other people like crystals like that too. I’m especially fond of the dark green emeralds. I also like fire opals from Australia, but that’s another topic. :o)

Here’s something we have not discussed. As I understand it, homeopathics work, not because of the inert sugar pills. Your source was correct about that. But they do carry a unique but subtle electrical charge. That’s delivered to the pellet by the water they talk about. Each remedy carries a different charge. This charge is then delivered to the nervous system by way of the mucus membranes of the mouth. In the case of Oscillo, it in effect says, “Relax! This is not an emergency! Calm down, stop your fussing, and begin to act normally.” It seems to act like a suggestion, rather than in an arm-behind-the-back sort of way. That’s why it is necessary for the person to be open to homeopathy, rather than against it, for it to work. Although my personal experience is not “scientific”, it is my experience, and after years of experience, I have gained confidence and a bit of the sense of how it works.

With Bach Flower Remedies, I have seen almost instantaneous results. At first glance, this sounds completely bogus, but when you remember that the nerves operate by tiny electrical impulses, maybe this isn’t so far off after all. All it takes is the right subtle message to the nervous system, and things can change that fast, which is what I have seen the body do.

Here’s another (I admit, not scientific, personal example). I have used Bach Flower Remedies are for emotions that are so extreme, they prevent you from thinking or behaving normally. These remedies are liquid, and rather sensitive to electrical fields, so they must not be stored close to one, or it will negate their charge, and you will see no response to your efforts. Anyway, I had a chihuahua mix that was terrified of the very thought of the vet’s office. One day he got sick, and I had to take him in. It occurred to me that it’s pretty hard to give a proper exam to a creature that cannot speak, and when it is in a state of terror, so I brought along Rescue Remedy. The vet asked me to put my dog on the table, and when I did, he was trembling so badly, he made the heavy table vibrate. I informed the vet what I was going to do, and put a couple of drops of Rescue in my dog’s mouth. Within maybe 10 or 15 seconds he stopped shaking and looked around. Just to see what would happen, I put the dog on the floor, and he began to wander around, sniffing under all the chairs. As you can imagine, this is not the behavior of a terrified animal. It is illogical to explain the immediate change of behavior by any other means than to at the very least say, “What just happened?” But I am certain you will tell me it was just a placebo effect, and that I am gullible.

Hey, I don’t care. It works for me, and like I have said, many years of personal experience gives me confidence I’m on to something. Side note: I have tried Bach flower, and noticed a distinct change in my attitude about something, but I also discovered I could easily override it, power on through, and my old attitude would return.

My son in law is a few classes short of a masters degree in animal behavioral science, and his father was head of animal research at a large university. He grew up helping his dad with the animals. My son in law was understandably skeptical about homeopathy. My daughter is not into alternative medicine much at all. She will cheerfully tell you she’s too lazy to bother. But now they use it from time to time because they have found it to help. It does not replace their doctor, but they have found homeopathy to relieve some of their symptoms until they could get in. My son in law mentioned to his dad that there has to be something to it other than placebo effecct, but he doesn’t know what.

Chocolate chip cookies are the best. When are they coming out of the oven???

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Snarp well, dammit, start believing in rocks instead, please, because we don’t have to wear hair nets when we pack the rocks. We can just eat the cookies ourselves like more or less normal people.

Damn. An essay intervened.

snowberry's avatar

Yeah, that was long winded, wasn’t it?

Qingu's avatar

But they do carry a unique but subtle electrical charge. That’s delivered to the pellet by the water they talk about.

This is, to be frank, bullshit. Electricity doesn’t work like this.

Listen. You’ve invested money in homeopathy. Nobody likes to be called gullible, and nobody likes to admit they’ve been duped. But what you are saying is exactly the same as people who think crystals have “energy” or “electrical charge.” It’s made-up. Someone made it up to sell you shit that you don’t need. And the more you buy into it, the sorrier I feel for you.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Qingu I hope you’ve got orders for those rocks, because people in Connecticut are getting real excited at the prospect of selling them to people who are willing to pay even more for them than we already have.

We can include the special electric charges at no additional cost.

snowberry's avatar

Hey, I think you’ve totally sold out to a misguided and badly flawed system that is based on, instead of “do no harm” but on “what makes the most profit for me.” -And even more so, “what makes the most profit for those with the most power”.

It’s called “follow the money” folks. Money and power go hand in hand. Sometimes they are easily confused. The AMA, the FDA and Big Pharma all go around with their hands in each others pockets. Unfortunately, it’s a rather unsavory club they have.

And who would be motivated to actually cure anyone, what with all the money to be made on sick people? If you actually found a cure for illness, you’d put all these people out of work. It actually makes sense, in a sick sort of way. My best doctors are the ones who have actually told me, “It’s my goal to work myself out of a job, so you don’t need me anymore”. Wow.

Instead you’d have me invest more thousands in surgeries I don’t need, and medicines that make me sick? And that does not work out so well, I should throw more money at it, and do it again?

Why do you think they call what a doctor does a “practice”? Because that’s what they’re still doing. They’re practicing on the populace. Sometimes they get it right, and in my experience, sometimes they get it a lot wrong. Some of us pay a lot more than others. I’ve paid my dues.

As I mentioned before, I have spent at the most, a few hundred on homeopathy, which has never caused me harm. Sometimes the remedies I’ve tried have not worked out all that well, but they never harmed me, and they didn’t cost that much. On the other hand, I’ll have to deal with the harm done to me by the medical people, who admittedly, meant well, but made just a few mistakes, not to mention all the money lost, and the money I now have to spend trying to resolve their screw ups.

snowberry's avatar

@CyanoticWasp You crack me up! I love it!

Qingu's avatar

@snowberry, apply that same skepticism about profit-motive to homeopathic remedies and you’ll do fine.

And of course homeopathy remedies didn’t harm you. They don’t do anything.

shilolo's avatar

@snowberry Yes, doctors and scientists are out to control the populace and not cure them.~ Let’s see a short list of cured/eradicated (almost) diseases (at least in Western countries):
1. Smallpox (vaccine)
2. Polio (vaccine)
3. Pneumonia (vaccine/cure)
4. Meningitis (vaccine/cure)
5. Rabies (vaccine/passive immunization)
6. Gangrene (antibiotics ± amputation)
7. Peptic ulcer disease (antibiotics)
8. Gonorrhea/chlamydia/syphilis (antibiotics)
9. Cervical cancer (vaccine)
10. Liver cancer (vaccine against Hep B)
11. Cataracts (surgery)
12. Glaucoma (medicine)
13. Many other cancers (drugs/radiation/chemotherapy/surgery)
14. Plague (public health)
15. Cholera (public health)
16. Tuberculosis (public health/antibiotics)
17. Gastroenteritis (public health/antibiotics)
18. Endocarditis (antibiotics)
19. Damaged heart valves (surgery)
20. Appendicitis (antibiotics/surgery)

This list could go on and on. The fact is, our lifespan has been doubled in the past 200 years, and that is due primarily to medical/public health advances. Homeopathy…not so much.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@shilolo I don’t see Heartbreak of Psoriasis on your list. Or Heartbreak, come to think of it.

shilolo's avatar

@snowberry Let’s now address your “mechanism”. On the one hand, you say a person has to be “open to it”, which alludes directly to a psychologic effect rather than a physiologic effect. This is precisely how placebos work, and more importantly, is precisely why homeopathy is typically recommended for benign, functional disorders like allergies, depression, vague “flu-like” symptoms, chronic pain, etc. When you take it, and think, “ah, I’m going to get better”, you invariably do “feel better”, since the symptoms are primarily in your head.

Now on to the logical problem. If you have to be “open to it”, why should it work on an animal? You mean to tell me that your dog was mentally “open” to receiving a homeopathic treatment? Highly doubtful. More likely, the dog got the sugar water treatment, and the sugar itself provided the calming effect (in addition to soothing words from you). The same effect has been observed in humans.

In the end, the reason homeopathy is used for minor ailments is that they are going to get better anyway, and it doesn’t really matter what you do. People are, in general, poor scientists, and assume causation when what they are truly observing is correlation. Homeopathy simply taps into that.

shilolo's avatar

@CyanoticWasp Well, there are some fantastic new treatments for psoriasis, depending on the severity. As I said, it was a short list, and I left out conditions that require regular therapy, as I assumed that chronicity would be interpreted as “the drug companies don’t want to cure disease X, simply treat it chronically.”

As far as Heartbreak is concerned, let me introduce you to Dr. Shilolo’s Famous Concentrated Urine Tablets. They cure heartbreak, and also herpes. Go figure.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@shilolo you don’t need to tell me. After reading this thread I am positively and completely convinced that Western doctors are out to murder us all, but only after extracting from us every dollar that we’re worth.

And nothing anyone tells me can convince me otherwise. See? I’m closing my eyes now and putting my fingers in my ears. La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-

Snarp's avatar

@shilolo Urine Tablets? Thanks, but I’ll stick with @Qingu‘s magic rocks.

shilolo's avatar

@Snarp No, no, they only contain my concentrated urine (how much they’re concentrated is a trade secret), but they taste like strawberries. I promise (I eat a lot of strawberries).

nikipedia's avatar

@shilolo: But only if you believe they taste like strawberries, right?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I remember what strawberries taste like. Is that because I’m about 70% water? (Actually, more like 80% right now. Please excuse me for a few minutes.)

shilolo's avatar

@CyanoticWasp Stop! Don’t waste that waste! It’s pure, liquid gold. That water carries your memory of strawberries. Call it Strawberry Heaven, and sell it as a cure for wasp stings, headaches and loose stools. Don’t worry that these ailments have no connection to each other, because they’re all controlled by the same life force.~

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@shilolo I wouldn’t say “pure gold”, but it did have sort of a golden tint. Maybe it was an alloy of some kind.

snowberry's avatar

By openness, I mean a spiritual openness. Animals and small children are wide open. They always will be. Humans, as we get older, and with our advanced intellect and sense of self importance, agendas, and etc. can become spiritually closed to any number of new ideas. Homeopathy in many ways, is a spiritual exercise as much as it is a science, and you cannot take that element out of it.

A spiritual condition is not something you will ever be able to measure in a laboratory setting. It cannot be quantified, x-rayed, graphed, seen, felt, heard, or any other measurement you might use in a scientific study. You cannot tell if your subject is spiritually open or closed by those means.

Rarebear's avatar

@snowberry “A spiritual condition is not something you will ever be able to measure in a laboratory setting.” Right, just like a faith in a god. Faith in homeopathy is no different than faith in a supreme being. It’s not science, and has no basis in science, and certainly no basis in medicine.

If there is any verifiable scientific evidence that homeopathy is anything but “snake oil”, I will eat crow so bad I will sprout feathers.

Tim Minchin said it best:
What do you call alternative medicine that has been proven to work? Medicine.

snowberry's avatar

I did not mention faith here. You did. It’s not the same thing. Of course, if you want to talk about faith, that’s another topic.

Rarebear's avatar

@snowberry I know I did. I said, “just like faith in a god”.

Allow me reword your paragraph:

“By openness, I mean faith. Animals and small children are wide open. They always will be. Humans, as we get older, and with our advanced intellect and sense of self importance, agendas, and etc. can become closed to faith and to any number of new ideas. Homeopathy in many ways, relies on faith as much as it is a science, and you cannot take that element out of it.

Faith is not something you will ever be able to measure in a laboratory setting. It cannot be quantified, x-rayed, graphed, seen, felt, heard, or any other measurement you might use in a scientific study. You cannot tell if your subject has faith or does not by those means.”

And getting back to what you really wrote: “Homeopathy in many ways, is a spiritual exercise as much as it is a science, and you cannot take that element out of it.”

No. It’s what Shiloh, me, and others have been trying to say. There is NO science in it. None. Zilch. Zero. To imply that there is any scientific validity to it is disingenuous at best.

snowberry's avatar

I don’t think faith is the same as spiritual openness. An animal or small child does not have any idea what homeopathy is, so how could they have faith in it?

shilolo's avatar

Ah, the definition of Faith. “A firm belief in something for which there is no proof.”

By the way, @Rarebear, this conversation is edging closer and closer to that poem. Eerie. Isn’t it?

snowberry's avatar

I think it’s about time to close this. I can’t think of anything more to say that has not already been said.

shilolo's avatar

@snowberry By the way, why didn’t you comment on my alternative mechanism (i.e. the calming affects of sugar?) Also, I realize why we’re at an impasse with your last set of quips. You claim (like the religious), that the effects of homeopathy “cannot be quantified”. Well, there you have it. Pure, unadulterated, faith.

snowberry's avatar

Dogs don’t have faith. If you think they do, may I recommend a good mental health professional?

Flower remedies are liquid. They contain NO sugar. So your comment appeared to be irrelevant to me.

shilolo's avatar

Wait, I’m no botanist, but don’t flowers make nectar? Isn’t nectar highly concentrated sugar? Isn’t the Bach’s remedy a 5 flower mix? Also, sugar is highly soluble in water, so, I don’t think your liquid argument holds water. Furthermore, as a 5x dilution, it could easily have enough endogenous sugar to produce the well established effects, even diluted five fold.

And hey, would you look at that? Just as predicted. Bach’s Rescue Remedy is for “emotional imbalances.” Now there’s a real disease.~

snowberry's avatar

LOL, no this has nothing to do with nectar. When homeopathics are made from plants, sometimes it’s a certain plant part. I am not familiar with what plant part it’s from, but as you have so often repeated, it’s been reduced so many times with plain water, there’s hardly anything left of the original substance.

With Bach flower being a liquid remedy, how then could there be sugar in it?

That’s what Bach Flower Remedies are for, emotional imbalances, and nothing else. That was the condition of my little chihuahua mix when I took him to the vet. He was so scared he was shaking a heavy exam table. That is an example of an emotional imbalance. He was not truly in danger, and his state of terror prevented him from acting normally enough for the vet to give him a proper exam.

shilolo's avatar

Actually, according to the Bach’s website (scroll down to the bottom), Bach Flower Remedies “Are made 100% naturally from spring water infused with wild flowers, either by the sun steeping method or by boiling. The Remedies are hand produced exclusively in England, at the Bach Centre, without the aid of mechanical device.” Also, according to Wikipedia, these remedies are not homeopathic as they do not follow the same principles of dilution or “law of similars”. Thus, I maintain that this is A) not homeopathic and B) likely “works” through an established physiologic mechanism, namely, via the calming effects of sugar (even small amounts can be calming). That it is spring water infused changes nothing, since pretty much everyone knows how easily sugar dissolves in water.

shilolo's avatar

I should amend my quip above to “if it “works” at all, it is through an established mechanism…” I am not aware of a single clinical trial showing that it is indeed superior to placebo.

snowberry's avatar

I was not aware that it’s not a homeopathic.

Liquid Bach Flower Remedies do not have any taste. Not sweet in any way that I can tell.

I’m pretty good then, because for the first time, in however many trips to the vet (I’ve had a lot of dogs), my dog stopped freaking out. All because of a placebo. Cool! (Grin!) Do you suppose the placebo showed up when I gave the dog the remedy, or because I was trying to comfort him, just like I comforted him all those other trips to the vet when he didn’t stop freaking out? How can I duplicate the placebo?

Honestly, how can a placebo work on a dog?

Qingu's avatar

Did your dog actually stop freaking out or do you just have a “spiritual openness” that this is what happened?

snowberry's avatar

Uh, Yeah, he did. You either did not read what I said about his behavior after I administered the remedy, or maybe you think I’m lying??? My spiritual openness was not at issue. It would have worked whether or not I thought my dog would respond to it.

Rarebear's avatar

@shilolo I listened to that Minchin poem before I posted it for you to double check it was relevant to the thread so it was on my mind. Snowberry is like Storm and you and I are like Minchin getting increasingly drunk on that wine

Qingu's avatar

I don’t think you’re lying, I think you want to believe you’re not being duped so you are mistakingly citing this example with your dog as being something more profound than simple confirmation bias.

Snarp's avatar

What I read also said that Bach Flower remedies are also made with brandy. I wonder if a tiny amount of brandy, too little to taste, could help to calm a small dog?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Okay, @Snarp and @Qingu and @shilolo and @Rarebear (and @me) ... we need to stop arguing with @snowberry on this. It’s like arguing with a kitten, in a way. A responsive, somewhat bright kitten… who doesn’t even speak the same language that you’re arguing in. So stop it.

And you get to work on those cookies, @Qingu—and get me some orders for those magic rocks. (Can you use some magic asphalt, too? The snowplows chunk up a lot of the road and curbing materials at this time of the year, and we can get you really good prices and delivery dates on that.)

Qingu's avatar

@CyanoticWasp, that’s really condescending to @snowberry. Everyone is capable of thinking reasonably. And everyone is capable of being duped.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Qingu your first statement is correct, your second statement is questionable (“capable” has to include “willing”), and I agree completely with your third statement (both of the latter statements backed up by this entire thread).

snowberry's avatar

You guys are really flattering, condescending, hilariously funny, and I think you are awesome. ROFL! I’ve got to go get some cleaning done, and I’d like to continue this later. Thanks.

@snarp, That’s an interesting thought. LOL! I’ll just take my drunk dog to the vet…“Doc, what’s up with my dog?”

partyparty's avatar

Because of such a multitude of answers I have received (many thanks), I don’t think I DARE ask this question, but here goes. Do I understand that all but @chian and very brave @snowberry think that homeopathy DOES NOT work?

I am awaiting with interest the copies of the papers my friend is going to produce to show that homeopathy DOES work, because of the altered H2O!!

shilolo's avatar

In general, animals’ senses (like smell) are much more extensive than ours. For example, whereas humans have ~10cm2 of olfactory epithelium (cells), dogs have 10 fold more (~170 cm2). This website states “The olfactory center of a dog is more than forty times bigger than that of a human and a dog’s sense of smell is estimated to be one million times more efficient than humans. Dogs also have a vomeronasal organ in the roof of their mouths which allows them to “taste” certain smells. This organ transmits information directly to the part of the brain known as the limbic system, which controls emotional responses.” Thus, it is highly likely that even subtle smells/“tastes” like sugar or brandy, or even a human “calming” pheromone accounts for any observed response IF A LEGITIMATE “RESPONSE” OCCURS.

Again, there has never been a single published trial showing beneficial effects of Bach’s remedies. In fact, at least 7 randomized trials have been done (example here and as summarized here) that show no benefit at all. Indeed, here is a blog post from a veterinarian with experience in such matters. In conclusion, neither humans nor animals have been shown to have a quantitative response to this treatment, and the same is true for homeopathy.

shilolo's avatar

@partyparty I eagerly await those same papers. I will swallow a whole bottle of Oscillatinattusiosns (or whatever it’s called) and overdose if proven wrong.

Rarebear's avatar

@shilolo I too will swallow the bottle—followed, of course, by a pint of Guinness.

shilolo's avatar

@Rarebear Deal. We can have a a homeopathy “suicide pact”. Maybe it will have to be more than one Guinness.

Snarp's avatar

I won’t swallow it because I don’t want to buy it and contribute to the manufacturer’s profit.

Rarebear's avatar

@snowberry You wrote: “I don’t think faith is the same as spiritual openness. An animal or small child does not have any idea what homeopathy is, so how could they have faith in it?”

Who gives the homeopathics to the child or the dog? The adult. And it’s the adult who has faith in the homeopathic. Personally, I think if a parent is giving a homeopathic instead of a potentially medically proven lifesiving remedy to a child, it’s no different than child abuse. But that’s a different topic, obviously.

mattbrowne's avatar

If people become fully aware of the placebo effect, in most cases it doesn’t work anymore. This means if you lose your trust in homeopathics it doesn’t matter whether you swallow homeopathic pills or chocolate chip cookies or gelatin-based gummy bears.

In free countries we allow people to waste their money, whether it’s homeopathy or lotteries or horoscopes or psychics. Freedom of speech makes sure we have the means to expose fraud (as @Qingu rightly did) and if people still ignore the advice it’s their choice. We should respect that.

To me there’s only one case this whole thing turns into a serious crime: the homeopathy movement advises against real medicine when real medicine is the only option, for example treating a newly diagnosed type 1 diabetic with insulin. If a homeopath or parents advise against the insulin shots, they should get arrested and go to jail.

snowberry's avatar

I’m not going to be posting very much for a while. We have a family moving in with us, and I will be very busy. I have noted your comments, and if I have time, I will certainly post later. Thanks

@mattbrowne, your comments were, for this crowd anyway, polite, almost complementary-even generous! Wow. Thanks.

mattbrowne's avatar

@snowberry – First things first. Good look! We can always resume the discussion later. And thanks for your feedback!

partyparty's avatar

@snowberry Enjoy your time with the family, and I admire you for saying what you feel, and sticking with what you know. Thanks again

shilolo's avatar

@partyparty Get those “papers” yet?

partyparty's avatar

@shilolo I am on the ‘phone to him right now. He says the next time he goes to the university library he will get them for me. (He is retired so I don’t know when that will be),

I promise I won’t forget about it because I want to know WHY he says it works.

shilolo's avatar

Ask him for the references via email. I work at a major university and have access to most journals for free via the net.

Rarebear's avatar

@shilolo And after you get the citations, let me know, because I also have access to most journals for free via the net.

Qingu's avatar

You guys are never going to see those references

Or they’re going to end up being the dude’s geocities website or something

Rarebear's avatar

@Qingu Of course we’re not. But I’m curious what @partyparty‘s friend has to show us.

partyparty's avatar

@Qingu @Rarebear @shilolo I am just as curious as you are about this.
I also want to see these papers and references, because I really don’t know what to believe, so I am just as curious as you are.

Up until I spoke to my friend I was more than happy to believe the majority of replies ie that it doesn’t work. I have no reason to doubt him, and will happily contact you when I have sight of these papers. (I won’t understand them of course, as I am not a scientist), but I am sure that those amongst you will be able to interpret them for me.

By the way, he doesn’t use a computer. He sticks his head in books all the time, but I know he goes down to the library from time to time.

I PROMISE I won’t forget, and because I haven’t posted anything for a while, doesn’t mean I am hiding my head under a stone.

Thanks for all your answers.

Snarp's avatar

@partyparty Seriously though, you don’t need to get us the papers. Several of us have University library access to most scientific journals, so all we need is adequate citations so we can find the articles ourselves.

Rarebear's avatar

@partyparty Exactly. All we need is the journal name, year, volume number, and which pages. Author and title would help, but is not necessary.

partyparty's avatar

@Snarp @Rarebear Yes, I do know what you need, but I want to see these papers for myself.

(Oh dear what have I got myself into? I will never be able to show my face again on Fluther if I am wrong) LOL

shilolo's avatar

@partyparty If you can get the citations as mentioned above, one or all of us will (if it’s a reputable journal in the past two decades) be able to download the PDF files that we can then share with the group.

Rarebear's avatar

@shilolo Is there a way to share files on Fluther? Just curious.

shilolo's avatar

@Rarebear No, there isn’t, though I’m sure we can figure something out. For example, drop.io is an easy to use site.

Rarebear's avatar

@shilolo Come to think of it, there are a couple of people I work with who know a lot about CAM. I’ll ask them as well.

Rarebear's avatar

@shilolo Okay, I got my first answer. I have a friend who is an internist and a certified medical accupuncturist. He also uses some Chinese herbal therapies in his practice. He said that he doesn’t know of any good studies about homeopathy.

Snarp's avatar

@Rarebear Here’s a good study about homeopathy that reviews 21 other good studies about homeopathy along with 89 not so good studies.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16125589

Rarebear's avatar

@Snarp On first glance it looks like a review article, but I’ll get a copy of it and review the methods and data. Thanks.

Snarp's avatar

@Rarebear It is a review article, but it’s a very good review, and it’s a review of a lot of other studies.

Rarebear's avatar

@Snarp That’s fine. I’ve requested it. A review article is only as good as the data it’s reviewing, so depending on how they present the data I may need to go back to the original sources.

Basically what I’m looking for is ideally a multicentered, double blinded, placebo controlled trial with a lot of patients enrolled. I may not find that, but I may accept less powerful levels of evidence if the evidence is compelling enough. I’ve been reading medical literature for many years now, and generally I start by ignoring the introduction and the conclusions, and go straight to methods. If the methods are suspect then the conclusions are often overreaching.

Rarebear's avatar

@Snarp And after I said I don’t read conclusions, it is noteworthy to point out to everybody the last sentence of the article you linked to:

“This finding is compatible with the notion that the clinical effects of homoeopathy are placebo effects.”

I’ll still pull the article, though.

Snarp's avatar

@Rarebear Yes, well what else would you expect a good study about homeopathy to find?

shilolo's avatar

@Rarebear If you want the article now, I can send you the PDF. It’s a meta analysis of all published homeopathy studies with comparable conventional studies.

Rarebear's avatar

OK, I’ll PM you with my email address. Do you also happen to have the letters to the editor from the Dec. 17th issue?

Rarebear's avatar

Hey @shilolo, this is interesting. It’s an in vitro study and not a clinical study, though.

Here is an article that was written by a homeopathy guy. I haven’t had time to go through the references, though.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-ullman/the-case-for-homeopathic_b_451187.html

partyparty's avatar

@Snarp Just spoken to my friend again. He is in the middle of getting a new book published, so he is quite busy. I haven’t forgotten about the papers.
He asked me to say the following to you:- “A proton nuclear megnetic resonance investigation of the samples would indicate a modified water structure”. So why not try it for yourself.
@shilolo Please see my reply to @Snarp

shilolo's avatar

@partyparty You mean something like this study of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), a standard physical chemistry test, on homeopathy solutions that showed absolutely no difference between water and the appropriately prepared solutions?

partyparty's avatar

@shilolo I really don’t know what you are saying… as I have said before I am not a scientist. My friend merely said for you to try out this investigation for yourself.

As you are obviously au faut with science, I wonder if you could look at my latest question which was ‘do you know of any good chemical structures software’, as I will need to use a programme like this soon. (My friend is in the process of writing a book and I will need a software programme which will use structures). I have used ChemWindows in the past, but I am sure that programme has since disappeared. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Sorry I don’t understand what you are saying, but I have copied ‘this study’ and I will let him see what it says, and then get back to you.

shilolo's avatar

What I am saying is that by the most sophisticated test available, that there is no detectable difference between distilled water and two different homeopathic solutions. Surprise, surprise.

Rarebear's avatar

@partyparty Perhaps I can help. Your friend in saying, “A proton nuclear megnetic resonance investigation of the samples would indicate a modified water structure” is seeming to say that water structure changes with solutes. You don’t need a NMR machine to prove that. What we’re saying is that it doesn’t matter. There is no clinical difference in outcomes, which is what is important.

partyparty's avatar

@Rarebear Thanks for your reply. I THINK I understand what you are saying. But I have become very confused as I have no reason to doubt my friend. I would always have to agree with what he is telling me, as he is a scientist – and a very respected one at that!!
When I asked why there hadn’t been much research on homeopathy, he said ‘well perhaps the big pharmaceutical companies DON’T WANT to put their money into the research, because then they would be out of a job… because homeopathy DOES work.
I am really confused by this, but thanks for being polite… and patient with me.

shilolo's avatar

@partyparty Hey, I’m a respected scientist too (B.S. Chemistry with Honors, MD and PhD in Immunology). Your friend the scientist clearly doesn’t understand clinical trials, as they unequivocally show no effect of homeopathy greater than placebo. Also, from a physical chemistry approach, it is impossible that there would be an effect at maximal dilutions, and indeed, the NMR studies prove that (though they really weren’t necessary). What kind of scientist is your friend?

EmpressPixie's avatar

From a business perspective, pharmaceutical companies would be all over it if homeopathy worked. They spend vast amounts of money trying to cure or curb the things that homeopathy claims to treat. If it worked, they would repackage it, patent their variation and up the price in a heartbeat. The markup on water is amazing—far better than for actual controlled substances and chemicals. Add in the brand loyalty and trust that would come from a big name drug company and it would be a huge cash cow for them. As long as there is pain and disease, pharmaceutical companies will not be out of a job.

shilolo's avatar

@EmpressPixie Good point. If 50 cent can make a killing selling water, why wouldn’t another company do the same with homeopathy water? Come to think of it….

Rarebear's avatar

@partyparty Okay, there are many different types of research. As Shiloh said, there is a difference between physical chemistry results and clinical trial results.

For example, let’s say I have a hypothetical new drug that when I stick it in a petri dish with bacteria, and it kills every single type of bacteria that it comes into contact with—even the resistant ones. Wow! Wonder drug, right? Okay, so I put this drug into pill form and I give it to animals. What happens? The animals all die. I give it to humans, what happens? The humans die. Why? Because this drug is called “bleach.”

On the other side of the coin, I have a new drug that changes the structure of how water molecules interact with each other. This drug is so powerful that it even lowers the freezing temperature of water. It must be good, right? You give it to animals, and they do fine, so you give it to humans. And what happens? Nothing, because this drug is table salt. (Okay, maybe your blood pressure goes up a tad)

My point is that you can have all kinds of interesting effects in a laboratory, but until it’s tested with clinical outcomes in humans, it means nothing.

There are several types of medical evidence, and our goal is to find the “Best Evidence”.

So, in decreasing order of strength I’m leaving a few steps out, but writing just enough so you can get the point.

1) Large Multicentered, double blinded randomized placebo controlled trial. This means that multiple medical centers particpate in the studies. The study is placebo controlled. Neither the subject or the experimenter has any idea of what they’re giving, and they have large numbers of patients to increase the power.

This is the most important type of study, the most difficult to do, and the most rare. But it is by far the most powerful.

2) Single institution placebo controlled randomized trial. Same as above but only one institution and usually fewer patients.

3) Case control trial. You have one cohort of “subjects” and one cohort of “controls” and compare the two. It is often non randomized.

4) Expert opinion: This is the opinion of an expert in the field.

5) Anecdotal evidence. “It looked like it worked in this one particular patient, so it must work in all patients”. This is the level of evidence of homeopathy. When you subject homeopathy to the more rigorous studies above it is found that there is no difference than placebo.

I hope that helps your understand of what we’re trying to say.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@Rarebear “The plural of ‘anecdote’ is not ‘data’.”

partyparty's avatar

@Rarebear Thank you, thank you, thank you. Now I DO understand what is being said. (I actually worked in a clinical trials unit for some time where students were ‘paid volunteers’.) It was very interesting.
But now I am even more confused by what my friend has said to me. He did actually say that there hadn’t been enough research as to WHY it works.
I find it easier to agree with what you are saying.
When he has finished his book I will push him for the citations of what he has said to me, then I will forward them to you. I won’t forget and thanks again for simplifying what is being said about the placebo effect. (I daren’t mention the fact he said it works on animals) haha!!
@shilolo There was never any indication in my replies that you weren’t a respected scientist. Sorry if you were offended. What I was trying to say was I KNOW my friend, but I don’t know you. @Rarebear has explained what you are all trying to say to me, particularly the placebo effect.
It leaves me even more confused about what my friend is saying. What do you mean by what kind of scientist is he? Do you mean his field of expertise, the subjects he taught or what?

shilolo's avatar

@partyparty Yes. I know he is your friend and all, but lots of people claim to be “scientists”, even homeopaths.

Rarebear's avatar

@Dr_Dredd I was going to write “case reports” instead of “anecdotal evidence” but I decided to write the latter because I figured it would be better understood.

@partyparty In response to your comment “He did actually say that there hadn’t been enough research as to WHY it works”. He’s making the assumption that it works in the first place, which I dispute. I’d like to see research THAT it works. Show me that first, and then show me research of why it works. But you have to walk before you can run.

And as a side note, there are plenty of things in medicine that work that we don’t know why it works. Inhalation anesthesia is an example. We all know that inhalation anesthesia works, but nobody really understands why.

partyparty's avatar

@shilolo That was a rather cruel comment about my friend. He is a retired university professor, with a D.Sc and is still having his work published.
He is writing a scientific book at the moment.
Please be constructive. HE IS A SCIENTIST… not in homeopathetic medicine
(As an aside… would you know where I could buy a copy of ChemWindows? I want to do some chemical strucutres for this ‘scientist’) Many thanks

shilolo's avatar

Why cruel? Retired university professor in what discipline? That is all I want to know. Indeed, I am confused as to why a retired professor would need help writing a book, since being a university professor tends to require a lot of writing (i.e. publish or perish…).

Rarebear's avatar

@partyparty @shilolo wasn’t being cruel. He’s just trying to determine what kind of scientist he is. What are his qualifications? That’s all he wants to know. (Me too)

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@Rarebear The bit about data not being the plural of anecdote was one of my mentor’s favorite sayings. Usually right before he started trashing the studies I designed for my grant application.

Rarebear's avatar

@Dr_Dredd It’s a good saying, I agree

partyparty's avatar

@shilolo @Rarebear I am merely typing it for him. I am a professorial secretary. As I say I know nothing about science, although I have been involved with the work (albeit in a secretarial role) for 20+ years. I think I have told you his qualifications already. What more do you want to know?

Rarebear's avatar

@partyparty I’m just curious what kind of scientist he is.

partyparty's avatar

@Rarebear My first thought to your question was ‘A GOOD ONE’. But I really don’t know what you are asking of me by ‘what kind of scientist he is’ ..... researching archaeology? basket weaving? Languages? What?

Rarebear's avatar

@partyparty That’s exactly what I’m asking. I’m just curious what his field of study is.

partyparty's avatar

@Rarebear @shilolo Molecular Pharmacology!! What about your field of study, expertise, qualifications?

Rarebear's avatar

I have an undergraduate degree with high honors in biochemistry, and a medical degree. I direct an ICU at my hospital.

shilolo's avatar

As I mentioned above, a B.S. in chemistry, a PhD in Immunology, and a medical degree. I supervise @Rarebear so that he doesn’t screw up.~

In all seriousness, I’m a full time bench scientist at a well respected academic medical center.

Rarebear's avatar

I’m not a bench scientist; I’m 100% clinical (with some administration). But I know how to evaluate medical literature for clinical efficacy.

@shilolo I never screw up ~

partyparty's avatar

@Rarebear @shilolo So does him being a molecular pharmacologist tell you that he DOES know what he is talking about? And do YOUR qualifications mean that you know more about the question than he does? I’m not being argumentative, just curious about what you think now I have told you what his field is. (I don’t know what a molecular pharmacologist does in all honesty, so anything you can tell me would be a great help – in laymans terms please).

Rarebear's avatar

@partyparty That’s a good question. Our training allows us to evaluate the literature to see if there is any clinical efficacy of treatment, which is ultimately what we’re talking about.

shilolo's avatar

@partyparty I don’t know. Anyone who is truly a molecular pharmacologist would know that the data for homeopathy is either non-existant, or negative. That there is neither a physical mechanisms for how it would work to dilute something infinitely, nor a pharmacologic mechanism for how a “vibrational energy” would be detected by the body. Furthermore, anyone with training in pharmacology should know how to assess a placebo controlled trial, and all well done trials have shown no effect.

A molecular pharmacologist studies the effects of drugs at the molecular level. For example, how does aspirin work? Or, how does an antacid work at the level of the cell (or a specific protein receptor).

Rarebear's avatar

@shilolo I just found a terrific new podcast called For Good Reason. If you download this episode, which is about teaching Evolution to kids, and fast forward to the last 6 minutes or so, you’ll hear a good (albeit slightly sardonic) commentary on homeopathy.

http://www.forgoodreason.org/daniel_loxton_evolution_for_kids

Rarebear's avatar

@shilolo Patient came into clinic today after being discharged from the hospital. She had eschewed “Western medicine” for years, by doing homeopathy, being a vegetarian, and exercising. About 4 months ago she started experiencing some chest pains, and went to her naturopath who prescribed her various homeopathic “remedies” and herbs. Finally she came into the hospital, had a stress echo which showed major ischemia, got transferred for cardiac cath where she had a 2 cm proximal 95% LAD stenosis. She got stented with a DES and now is on appropriate medical therapy. Fortunately for her she didn’t have an infarction and had intact LV function.

shilolo's avatar

@Rarebear Why am I not surprised? As I’ve said repeatedly above, when people need real medical care, they know to turn to what works, and not bogus “treatments”. The reason homeopathy (and much of alternative medicine) exists today is that it is targeted towards nebulous “illnesses”, like mood disorders and anxiety. “Oh, this herb makes me happy, not sad…..” (Well, sure….)

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@shilolo I’d argue that mood disorders and anxiety are not nebulous. Depression has almost killed several of my patients and family members.

Rarebear's avatar

@Dr_Dredd Well, I think we’d all agree that depression and anxiety can be harmful. But he’s right in that they are nebulous in that’s it’s difficult to measure. I don’t think he was minimizing it. But with angina, you’re either having ischemia or your not. It’s much more concrete.

Depression and anxiety is different. Many people are diagnosed with depression when they don’t really have it, and many people have it and aren’t diagnosed. So if someone just has a mild adjustment disorder, but a homeopath says they have depression and give them a potion, they might feel better. But they’d probably feel better anyway. It’s difficult to objectify a subjective complaint.

shilolo's avatar

@Dr_Dredd Yeah, what @Rarebear said. I certainly wasn’t trying to minimize depression, and I agree that it is a very real disease with very real consequences. But if someone is simpy sad, but says “I’m really depressed” (but has no objective depressive features), and they turn to homeopathic remedies and are “cured”, who’s to say what that was? But, they think, “That homeopathic treatment really helped!” This is the target for homeopathic treatments. Vague, subjective symptoms that cannot be quantified (like say, hypertension) that “improve” with “treatment.”

ItsAHabit's avatar

I suggest reading the book “Snake Oil Medicine,” written by the former head of the US federal government’s agency on complimentary and alternative medicine. He examines the scientific evidence for homeopathy and other alternative medicines, of which there is virtually none.

partyparty's avatar

@ItsAHabit Many thanks for your comments. I appreciate what you are saying, but if you read some of the answers to this question, you will see that people have used homeopathy as a cure, and it has worked.
I really don’t know what to think myself, but thanks anyway.

Rarebear's avatar

@partyparty They would have gotten better anyway. It’s a placebo and whoever bought it on this thread threw away their money.

If you would like to see how homeopathy really works, watch this video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jqP_1beVXQ

partyparty's avatar

@Rarebear I can but say you know best, BUT as I mentioned earlier, I have been told that it works on animals, so it can’t possibly be a placebo effect. What do you think? Why does it work with animals? They can’t possibly tell themselves they are going to feel better by drinking something or taking a tablet can they? I would really like to know the answer to this, but I do respect you obviously know much more than me on the subject.

shilolo's avatar

@partyparty Look at my quips higher in the thread. You’ll see a discussion of how Bach’s remedy (for animals) might work applying normal physiologic mechanisms (and not “homeopathy”).

ItsAHabit's avatar

No, it doesn’t work, except as a placebo technique. However, believers can’t be persuaded by scientific medical evidence such as that presented by the first director of the fed’s office on alternative and complementary medicine in “Snake Oil Medicine.”

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Actually yes, it DOES work in animals, I know because my dog almost died 2 years ago after her rabies vaccination until I gave her a homeopathic remedy. After she’d been laying there for hours, with labored breathing, no desire for attention and absolutely NO movement to leave her crate, I gave her the remedy and 20 minutes later she was out of her crate, sipping from her water bowl all the way in the kitchen. Tell me my dog healed herself. Tell me it was just coincidence that she miraculously got better right after I gave her a remedy. Riiiiiiiight.

I’m so sick of everyone calling it “water” and “placebo” and all that shit. I know it works. I’ve been using homeopathy for over 15 years, I have my kids on it, and my pets too. And I’ve seen it work. And it’s done some truly wonderful things for me and my family. Tell me it’s just a coincidence every single time someone in my family feels better or gets rid of a long standing health problem after taking a remedy. There aren’t enough coincidences in the world to cover everything homeopathy has done for us.

It’s not in water form, I take homeopathic pellets, and it can’t be a placebo because it’s worked on my pets and it worked when my daughters were babies. Let’s ee, pets have no clu what a placebo is, and babies don’t either. They can’t think to themselves, “Oh, mommy’s putting something in my mouth- that means I’m about to get well” and then get better because they “thought” they would.

If it’s such a placebo that I can “will” my own children to get better or “will” my pets to get better, then maybe I should go into business as a psychic healer, because I’ve apparently been mentally healing my pets and kids for almost 10 years now, since my first daughter was born. “Water” and “Placebo” are just words that skeptics use, because they’re afraid of what they don’t understand, and afraid of anything that the greedy drug companies ridicule. Well, I choose to think for myself and not be a drug addicted sheep.

nikipedia's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate: But homeopathic pellets like oscillococcinum literally are made out of water and sugar. How does that cure illness?

Rarebear's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Wow. I just hope that when your kids are really ill you don’t kill them by eschewing medicine that actually works, or that your avoiding preventive care like vaccinations. That would be akin to child abuse.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Guys, really it works. Call me stupid or abusive all you want, but it works. I’ve seen it. You can overpay for doctors and pediatricians all you want, but I’ll continue to trust what has been working for us. Oh, and BTW, quite a few of the actual MDs around here are becoming more and more familiar with homeopathy, have researched it on their own, and my homeopath has several clients who are MDs.

Like I said, if all the good that has come out of my family and our animals using homeopathy is a placebo that I “willed” to work, I could make a killing off faith healing people. Placebo, my ass.

Ridicule it all you want, but it works. And I could argue that injecting your children with dangerous toxins is a form of child abuse, but maybe I shouldn’t go there since you will continue to praise the drug pushers and you will refuse to accept that they only want your money and don’t give a rat’s ass about the possible dangers to your child.

Nevermind that there have been numerous doctor reports of vaccinations linked with phoysical damage and even death; those studies were biased and skewed, right? Yeah, they were biased and skewed because the drug companies and greedy physicians claim they were biased and skewed.

Sheep. Baaaaa.

nikipedia's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate: No one is insulting you and I’d appreciate it if you’d show the same courtesy. I’m not a sheep; I’m a scientist and I work very hard to ensure that my findings are sound and rigorous.

Can you answer my question? Since you have a very strong belief that this really works, do you have any thoughts on how or why that might be true?

Rarebear's avatar

Wow. So @WillWorkForChocolate is a vaccine denier also. I truly feel sorry for the kids and I hope that @WillWorkForChocolate‘s ignorance won’t mean their death or serious illness.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@nikipedia I do not have a lab in which to break down the pellets I take, so I have no freaking idea what all is in them. What I do know is that I’ve taken many different remedies over the years and they’ve helped me with many various problems. I’ve also given them to my children and my pets, and like I said, the remedies worked for them too, even though they can’t possibly understand what “placebo” means. I know for a fact that an infant can not “will” themselves to be healthy and they cannot have a remedy placed in their mouth and think “oh, I’m taking a remedy so I will now be cured” and have it work. Whatever residual matter that is in the pellets work. I’ve seen it, I’ve felt it. That’s what I know to be true.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Rarebear Go on believing what you will, but my own personal doctor believes that vaccinations are dangerous and doesn’t give them to her own kids. One day, there will be one too many kids that have died or become tragically damaged after receiving their “routine vacinnations” and people will start to listen. Until then, I hope your children or any children in your family do not become one of the statistics. God help your conscience for ignoring the warnings of people like me if they do.

nikipedia's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate: But I just told you what’s in at least one of them: sugar. A quick google search will likely tell you what the ingredients in your preferred pellets are. If you tell me what the name of the pellet is, I will even look it up for you. I would really like to know how you understand them to work in your body.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@nikipedia Since I’m not breaking them down and watching what happens to my insides, I can’t begin to say exactly “how” they are working. All I know is that they are. My dog going from death’s door to walking to the kitchen within a span of 20 minutes was pretty damn amazing. And the time my daughter’s temp dropped from 107 to 103 in a matter of 10 minutes, even though the tylenol and motrin hadn’t done a damn thing for her fever… well that was pretty amazing too.

I have no comprehension of exactly how they “work”. What I know for fact is that they have worked quite phenomenally for us.

And you can’t just google most of the remedies we use, because they are not found in health food stores; they have to be ordered from special homeopathic companies.

nikipedia's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate: But aren’t you even curious how they might work? If something is really that efficient, don’t you want to know what’s happening in your body? Shouldn’t doctors and scientists be studying it to learn how it works?

Tell me the name of your preferred homeopathic remedy and I will search the ingredients for you. I am a pretty handy googler.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@nikipedia LOL, it’s not a matter of preferred remedy, it’s a different remedy every single time. And I don’t argue that they contain sucrose, or whatever other name… and to be perfectly honest, since they’re natural products without harmful chemicals, I don’t really care how they work, as long as they do.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Rarebear Make sure you look at any and every report of a normal child getting routine vaccinations and then, out of nowhere, the child starts displaying signs of autism, asperger’s, or even dies. Granted, the cases are few and far between, but I refuse to be just another one of the sheeple who takes that chance with my kids, simply because the drug companies claim the vaccinations are safe. The number of children that have either died or have become dysfunctional after receiving their vaccines are just far too many to be random coincidence.

And you can give me reports from the drug companies saying that the reports of sudden autism and death are biased and skewed, I don’t care. It’s my opinion that the drug companies’ studies proving the safety of the vaccines are themselves biased and skewed. They stand to lose a lot of money if they reported negative findings, so of course they’re going to claim that people against vaccination are hysterical, paranoid, and generally full of shit.

Oh and BTW, I WAS a child with chicken pox, and I made it through just fine. Now… try letting an adult get the chicken pox and it’s a far different story. Get it when you’re a kid and become mostly immune to it. Get it when you’re an adult and it can literally be fatal.

You want to gamble with your kids, that’s on you. I can get rid of most of the diseases you mentioned with homeopathic remedies that are all natural and don’t introduce anything dangerous or deadly into my body or my kids’ bodies. In fact, my homeopath has treated many clients who’ve gone to her with rubella, tetanus, pertussus, and the common childhood illnesses of measles and chicken pox.

And one more thing, when it comes to the vaccine for cervical cancer, you might want to read up on all the girls and women who became horribly ill or died after receiving the Gardasil vaccine.

Rarebear's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Well, your mind’s made up. I hope your kids do okay.

nikipedia's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate: I know this is a lost cause. But what about reports from scientists who have no affiliation with drug companies who find the vaccines to be safe?

Would it change your mind at all to learn that the person who started the rumor that the MMR vaccine causes autism was trying to sell his own vaccine? And that those findings had been discredited repeatedly by independent agents with no connection to the vaccine or pharmaceutical industries and officially retracted by the journal that originally published them because the data had been falsified?

Rarebear's avatar

@nikipedia Not only falsified, but even if it were real data, the study was so badly designed in the first place that the conclusions he made were ridiculous. It was a huge embarrassment for Lancet.

Smashley's avatar

I know this is pretty late, but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on the subject, having discussions with those who swear by homeopathy (while attempting to maintain my objectivity as best as possible) a few med-school friends of mine who just laugh at the subject. In addition, I’ve done my reading, and I’ve recently come to a few conclusions that seem to have been missed in the whole “HOMEOPATHY IS BULLSHIT” vs “NO IT ISN’T! AND BUMBLEBEES CAN’T FLY!” argument.

To begin, I began my exploration of the topic as a skeptic. Scientific understanding would suggest that homeopathy shouldn’t work, and indeed, tests have borne out efficacy rates quite similar to the placebo effect. So in a sense, homeopathy doesn’t work.

Discussing homeopathy with a friend, she’d mentioned how well this one product she was using had been working on skin irritation. Being a little curious, I checked out the tube of the stuff. After examining it, I noticed something. This is not homeopathy. At least, not as skeptics tend to portray it. It “qualifies” as homeopathic because the active ingredient was a type of calendula, which does show up in the homeopathic pharmacopoeia, but in fact, this was an herbal remedy. That is, it was advertised as homeopathy, the ingredient was a recognized homeopathic ingredient, but it had not been diluted past Avogadro’s number, it had barely been diluted at all (comparatively). It had a full 0.7% calendula, by weight, which is huge compared to my understanding of homeopathy. Reading up on it, there is indeed some empirical evidence that calendula has certain anti-inflammatory properties. In a sense, this wasn’t homeopathy, this was actually medicine, pretending to be homeopathy, because the makers realized that people are stupid, but still realized they had to make a product that worked better than placebo if they wanted people to keep buying it.

Exploring the aisles in stores, I’ve realized that this is incredibly common. Things are called homeopathic, but have nothing to do with homeopathic theory. It is this theory that skeptics get hung up on. If a 13C homeopathic preparation actually works beyond placebo, this would represent as massive a shift in scientific understanding as if the moon actually turned out to be made of green cheese. To a scientist, the notion is patently ridiculous as has absolutely no supporting evidence whatsoever. Skeptics use this fact to mock homeopathy while supporters are forced to come up with inane defenses like “water memory” and “science says bumblebees shouldn’t fly,” that just deflect the fact that a proper homeopathic dilution requires unequivocal evidence of efficacy to have any place in modern medicine.

But what of herbal remedies, as many of these fake-homeopathic remedies turn out to be? Could they work? Sure they could. They perhaps require more study, but let’s not forget that the world has a long history of documenting herbal remedies (albeit occasionally vexed by folklore and superstition). Some in fact have been studied, and actually do work. Hell, aspirin is plant derived.

There’s definitely more work to be done in the field, and more understanding to be had, but as always we must follow the scientific method and focus on knowledge, not speculation. But all would benefit from thinking a little more openly.

Skeptics: just because it’s called homeopathic, doesn’t make it a part of Hahnemann’s junk science. Just because it’s unproven, doesn’t mean that you should dismiss all anecdotes as placebo.

Homeopathic embracers: read your labels. Herbal remedies have varying degrees of scientific support, but whatever you use, until someone does come up with a real, reproducible experiment that a preparation of 12C or higher (which will necessitate the revision of over a hundred years of scientific understanding from chemistry to biology) has any effect beyond placebo, you will still be laughed at when you support it. You are wrong. Well.. you may not be wrong, but if you’re right, it’s by sheer dumb luck and not evidence.

Rarebear's avatar

@Smashley “Skeptics: just because it’s called homeopathic, doesn’t make it a part of Hahnemann’s junk science. Just because it’s unproven, doesn’t mean that you should dismiss all anecdotes as placebo.”

The pleural of anecdote is not evidence. Any remedy should be subjected to a double blinded randomized controlled trial. If you could show me one (just ONE) well designed RCT that shows that homeopathy has any effectiveness I’ll eat my shorts.

Smashley's avatar

@Rarebear – Perhaps I wasn’t clear. Homeopathy as it is usually understood, is obviously bullshit, but there are many things marketed as homeopathic which simply aren’t. They are indeed dilutions of plants and what have you, but they actually exist in a concentration great enough to have actual effect, if the original ingredient has any medicinal effect, which many actually do. The point about anecdotes wasn’t that they should be taken as evidence, but that they shouldn’t be dismissed entirely. The common line for the skeptic is “since homeopathy is dumb, this anecdote must be entirely placebo.” As I pointed out, there are herbal remedies that do have real, tested, effect, and many of these “homeopathic” products are actually misrepresented herbal remedies.

Rarebear's avatar

@Smashley Okay, you’re right, I misunderstood. There are some herbal remedies which may be useful—after all aspirin was an herbal remedy. And you’re right. People do misrepresent all “natural remedies” as “homeopathic”.

Smashley's avatar

@Rarebear – there is some overlap in people’s understanding of herbal remedies and homeopathy, but it’s not “all”. I was referring to products that are in the homeopathic aisle in stores, say “homeopathic remedy” on the label, and “qualify” as homeopathic because the ingredient they are using appears in the homeopathic pharmacopoeia, not because it has been ridiculously diluted. it has actually only been “diluted” to the point that you might expect in any medicine. That is ~1 to 10% of the product is the actual medicine, and the rest is some agent for applying it. My example was the calendula cream. Though calendula has medicinal properties, (actual anti-inflammatory ones, not the “like cures like” voodoo that homeopathy lives by) it seems more effective to put it in a cream you can rub into your skin than simply taking the flower and rubbing it on yourself.

Rarebear's avatar

“calendula has medicinal properties”. Does it? Is there evidence to show that calendula really works? (I’m not being snarky, I’m actually interested to know if you know if there are any data)

Smashley's avatar

This was the first thing I could find. Calendula has medicinal properties, but has certainly not been as widely tested and studied as something like aspirin. It does seem to have many properties, but due to lack of study, has not been recommended for treatment beyond certain kinds of lesions. Luckily only very few people are allergic to it, which makes it perfect for herbal medicine. It works… a bit… how well, for what, and how predictably are all up for debate, but it does have certain, tested, medicinal properties. In my book, this makes the “homeopathic remedy” an actual medicine, in spite of its tenuous status as homeopathic.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19374166

Rarebear's avatar

@Smashley Oh, it’s a vet med. That’s why I haven’t heard of it. Thanks.

Smashley's avatar

@Rarebear – It’s not a vet med, that just happened to be a study done on animals. Calendula is better known as “marigold”. Here is a more detailed account of it and the studies done.

Rarebear's avatar

@Smashley I’ll do some research on it when I get a chance (and if I remember) on my medical databases and get back to you.

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