Homeopathic Dilutions

 Posted by on March 18, 2011  Add comments
Mar 182011
 

Homeopathy preaches that the more you dilute the mixture, the stronger the treatment becomes, and the most common homeopathic dilution is called 30C, which is very diluted indeed.

How dilute?  Is it one in a thousand?

No.

Is it one in a million?

No.

Is it one in a hundred million?

No.

Is it one in a thousand million?

No.

Is it one in a trillion?

Not even that.

Is it one in a trillion trillion trillion trillion?

No.  You’re not even nearly there.

A dilution of 30C means that there’s one molecule of the remedy for every

(deep breath)

1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,

000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,

000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,

000,000,000,000,000,000,000

molecules of water, sugar or whatever else is used to dilute it.

That’s 1060.

Since all the water in the oceans contains only about 4.4×1046 molecules, it means you would need to drink  all the oceans of the Earth, not once, not twice, not even a hundred times, but

(deep breath)

22 million million times to be certain of finding a single molecule of the remedy.

I saw a calculation which appears to be pretty close.  To deliver a single molecule of the remedy to a single patient, at this level of dilution you would have to give two billion doses per second to six billion people for 4 billion years.

Here’s an interesting list of remedies with the required dilutions. Remember, 30C is something that has been diluted by a factor of 100 thirty times, while 30X means dilution by a factor of 10, thirty times.

That’s only

1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,

000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

It means you’d probably only have to drink a medium-sized lake to get your single molecule of 30X medicine.  The problem is, would one molecule be enough?

Probably the most extreme example of this is oscillococcinum, or duck liver, used to relieve flu symptoms.  This dilution — 200C  — has four hundred zeroes. It means that in order to have a chance of finding a single molecule of the remedy, you would have to consume the entire visible universe millions of times over.

Quite a task, when a week in bed would probably see the end of your flu and you could catch up on your reading instead of eating galaxies and black holes.

In fairness to old Samuel Hahnemann who dreamed up this idea at the end of the 18th century, he was working at a time before the concept of molecules had been properly set out or agreed upon.  In his time it was common to regard substances as infinitely divisible and he wasn’t to know that after his dilutions, nothing remained except water.  He was also working at a time when medicine was primitive and often dangerous to the patient.  However, when he dreamed up succussion, which involved banging the bottle of water against a leather cushion, he was drifting into the region of magic and belief.  Admittedly, this was probably no worse than some of the barbaric medical practices of the time, but that was 200 years ago and science has moved on.  We now realise that you can shake water all you like and it won’t know a damn thing about it because it’s just water.

Hahnemann was also on dodgy ground by claiming that the more a substance is diluted, the more powerful it becomes.  Following that logic, once it’s on the point of disappearing completely, it would be almost infinitely powerful.

This all gives rise to an interesting question.  Homeopathy makes no effort to remove whatever has been previously dissolved in the water.   And since the dilution is so minute, even a single drop of water containing the substance would be more than sufficient to make all the water on the planet into a homeopathic remedy.  Furthermore, it seems reasonable to assume that everything has been dissolved in water at some time since the formation of the planet, and therefore the waters of Earth already contain traces of every single homeopathic remedy in concentrations far greater than 30C.

The water of the Earth is constantly mixing and mingling and it seems reasonable after all these millions of years evaporating, falling as rain, churning around in the Gulf Stream and so on, that it’s pretty well mixed up.  Therefore, it seems to me that all the water on Earth must already be a homeopathic remedy for every conceivable disorder.

So the question I want answered is this: if the water remembers what was dissolved in it, how does it know which one to remember for the patient and how does it forget all the others?

Do homeopaths hypnotise water by  aqua-mesmerism?  Hydrohypnosis.  Who knows?

The homeopathy industry uses faux-scientific words like succussion and potentization in the same way that Scientology does, without ever explaining the underlying processes it claims to describe.  Although Hahnemann doesn’t begin to approach L Ron Hubbard for cynicism, the industry he spawned rapidly attracted chancers and charlatans as well as those drawn to the idea of healing through unexplained magic.  Believing in magic is easier than thinking.   It’s all about mystifying the gullible, and there’s no shortage of them.

I will say this however.   Many of the tests quoted in favour of homeopathic remedies claim that they are not more harmful than conventional (for which read “tested”) medicines. This is true.  They are not more harmful because all homeopathic remedies are just water.

People often confuse herbal remedies with homeopathy.  They are not the same thing.  Herbal remedies are often effective in treatments because they contain active ingredients, even if those ingredients are not administered in a measured dose.  Homeopathy, on the other hand, is based on 18th-century superstition.   It’s hard to see much  difference between the fake science of homeopathy and the fake science of Scientology.

The British Homeopathic Association has a website which offers, at best, ambivalent answers to the concerns of patients.

I quote from it as follows.

Is it safe?
The patient’s first concern is whether homeopathy is safe. There are two aspects to consider here;  is the medicine itself safe (intrinsic toxicity) and is it safe to use homeopathy in the circumstances presented (extrinsic safety). Homeopathic medicines are very dilute, containing minute quantities of active principle, in some cases such small amounts that we cannot detect them with methods that we have available today.

Let’s be clear about this.  The only methods available are the ones we have today.  Therefore, the final sentence should be stripped of irrelevancies to read as follows:

Homeopathic medicines are very dilute, containing minute quantities of active principle, in some cases such small amounts that we cannot detect them.

Why can’t we detect them?  Because they aren’t there.  Relying on non-existent detection methods is not science.  It’s bunkum.

What can it treat?
The conditions that lend themselves to OTC treatment are mainly acute self-limiting conditions including coughs, colds, allergies, etc.

This is semantic ducking and diving to avoid prosecution under the British trades descriptions acts.  It doesn’t say that homeopathy can treat anything because to do so would be to make a false claim.

The site goes on to say as follows:

homeopathic medicines are not strong enough to eliminate invaders to the body and so cannot be used alone in the direct treatment of infections

This is correct.  The reason is that homeopathic medicines are water and nothing else.

Does it work?
This is a difficult question and one for which there is no answer brief enough to include here.

The answer is brief enough: No.  It doesn’t work, because it’s only water.

How does it work?
The honest answer is that we really don’t know exactly how homeopathic medicines work.

Nearly honest.  Homeopathic medicines are known to cure one disorder and one only: dehydration.  They also alleviate smelliness if applied with soap.

And finally …

What potency and dosage should I use?
The 6c potency is the most readily available OTC potency and the dosages below refer to this strength, but for first aid and acute use the 30c potency can also be used and indeed is preferable if available.

I’ve already explained what 30C potency is. To get a single molecule of the active ingredient, you’d have to drink all the oceans of the world 22 million million times.

Now that’s what I call dilution.

6C is more benign. It means that the thing you seek is in the bottle in the ratio of one part to 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

That’s powerful.

 

________________

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Elsewhere: Quackwatch

If you really want to hear undiluted nonsense at source, you could visit the Irish Society of Homeopaths, or the British Homeopathic Association.  They’ll both be delighted to defend their point of view.

  73 Responses to “Homeopathic Dilutions”

Comments (73)
  1.  

    BOCK; how surprising! I thought everyone knew that molecules are very clever thingys.
    After all, they made everything.

  2.  

    Did they?

  3.  

    Excellent! One thing is for sure, the Placebo effect can be very powerful. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placebo
    It can even ruin a proper experiment if the subjects don’t believe in the experiment.

  4.  

    Homeopathetic!

  5.  

    Not to be a total cynic about it, because I do believe peoples’ experiences.. but I’m just thinking, imagine if the same theory applied with liquor.. the less alcohol, the more drunk you’d be.

    Imagine the scene at AA meetings.
    Hello, my name is Bob and I’m an alcoholic.. I drank 8 pints of water last night with a drop of vodka in each one. I was twisted.. even my dog wouldn’t listen to me.
    Hi Bob.. welcome aboard.

  6.  

    Always knew you were a bit of a homeophob Bock.

  7.  

    Theres a wonderful video on YouTube debunking Homeopathy in which the guy makes up a solution using his own urine as the active ingredient. See it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1B2aFElfjE Its worth a look!

  8.  

    That’s great. I’m going to put it in the post. Thanks.

  9.  

    Piss mixed with lots of water. The secret ingredients of McEwans lager laid bare at last.

  10.  

    And Budweiser.

  11.  

    While taking the piss out of homeopathy is important, it appears that homeopathy became popular because it was more effective than most mainstream medicine of the time. The reason is that mainstream medicine at the time relied on ridiculous practices such as bleeding people for many illnesses. Much conventional medicine for most of history did more harm than good. At least homeopathy is harmless (but no better than a placebo).
    For most of even recent history, doctors resisted accurate testing of their drugs and pet theories (based on intuition and authority). The idea of using large sample sizes, good controls and randomisation of subjects when testing drugs had difficulty gaining ground even in the last century. Druin Burch’s book “Taking the Medicine” gives interesting accounts of how so many medicines and standard medical practices have been badly tested.
    Needless to say, most “alternative” medicine has not been accurately tested either.

  12.  

    I studied up on this a while back… the way I understand it, the water or alcohol or whatever your medium is, it doesn’t really matter. When a new molecule is added to the medium and you bash the bejeezus out of it, it’s like the molecule imprints itself, or makes a fingerprint of itself on the other molecules. If a fingerprinted molecule then repeats itself in a new batch of fresh medium, the concentration is increased. So, it’s not dilution at all, it’s mass-reproduction.
    It’s the somehow of it all that’s so vague. But the somehows are what makes the world interesting, innit.

    I’ve used the stuff many many times on both my family and myself and can honestly say from an alfway educated perspective, it’s too effective to be called anecdotal or coincidental. I agree to the possibility of there being a placebo effect, but small babies can’t say the same. The stuff is brilliant, I’ve no idea why Ireland won’t innovate a bit and introduce homeopathic hospitals such as those that have been around for aeons in other countries.

    Pfizer has you all in its back pocket!

  13.  

    Like I said, there’s a difference between homeopathy and herbal.

    As a matter of interest, how does Pfizer have me in its pocket?

  14.  

    There’s a vague chain of command it seems, between pharmaceutical companies and local GPs in Ireland, leading to extermination of symptoms at any cost. Eliminating the symptom doesn’t mean it goes away, however. Using a steroid to get rid of a rash, say… makes the rash disappear for a while, but often times drives the sickness deeper, so that it manifests itself in different (or more extreme) ways.

    That’s why holistic therapies are so much better, they’re about solving the problems of the individual as a whole… but there’s no money to be made in that lark, is there?

  15.  

    I’d like to make a distinction between holistic treatment, which every practitioner should engage in, and homeopathy, which preaches plain nonsense.

  16.  

    K8, molecules do not imprint each other. Imprinting is not a characteristic of or function that a molecule can carry out. Its like saying a cabbage can imprint a turnip. Meaningless.

    The placebo effect is powerful, underrated and often misunderstood. Animals experience the same effect as humans–why not babies?

    How would a homeopathic hospital treat someone with a ruptured appendix, or a broken finger? Stroke patient? Someone with a really bad hangover?

  17.  

    Bock- Homeopathy is holistic in that your first consulatation with a practitioner involves a lengthy discussion about your own personal medical history, your family’s, and your tendencies towards certain symptoms. From this, a basic picture is built, and a very specific remedy or group of complementary remedies is prescribed to help your body correct itself. It’s a supportive mechanism, not a cure. Not black and white, but a pretty shade of grey.

    Irate Chemist – Much as those of yore didn’t have a clue what lightning was, we can’t now claim to know everything. There is still a lot that can be explained quite simply that hasn’t been put into scientific phrase yet. It would be highly irresponsible to try to cure the things you mentioned with homeopathy alone, that’s why practitioners are trained to recognise certain ailments and direct a patient towards other means of cure, which is something that GPs are slow to do!! But! Those operations to heal a ruptured appendix or a broken finger can be hugely helped by Arnica, a remedy for bruising, or Calendula, which heals scar tissue. Stroke patients are in brain territory, repetitive excercises can never be replaced by homoeopathy, but it can help with endurance. As for really bad hangovers? Sure everyone knows those are cured by a dirty great big fry-up.

  18.  

    If I’ve made any, mistakes in this post I’d be glad to hear about them.

  19.  

    On d’contrary, it’s an excellent post, I love these sort of discussions as much as I love talking about ghosts. What bakes my biscuit, is the fact that the water we drink has been through many people before us. The pills they have taken, the additives they’ve eaten, it’s all filtered and served back up to us, soon to be at a cost. This in itself has to have an effect in a homeopathic sort of way. Eughh.

  20.  

    Indeed, Clonakilty black pudding saved many a day. There is no doubt that natural products are beneficial, over 50% of recent pharmaceuticals are analogues of or were inspired by chemicals produced by nature. The point is that these remedies do not contain any of these molecules or so little of that they have no effect. One cannot claim that arnica is responsible for healing if it was never present in the body. By all means if it works for you it works for you, but call a spade a spade.

    Scientist don’t claim to know everything, if we can’t solve a problem we admit it. If a theory is no longer valid it is discarded and understanding is improved. Homeopathy has none of these traits, they have clung to theories that make absolutely no sense. This leads to problems explaining dilutions, as Bock has illustrated.

    Statistically, its very probable that there is a molecule of water in you’re bladder right now that was once floating around in Newtons eyeball, and Bertie Aherns. Ahem.

  21.  

    Brings new meaning to the phrase ‘taking the piss’, doesn’t it?

    I love homeopathy for the fact that it’s not as conceited as science, it doesn’t assume that elimination of a sickness is the best answer and it allows for mistakes, and learns from them. Their theories do make sense, but in an unconventional sort of way. It takes openmindedness, which in these cynical times is misinterpreted as nonsense I think.

    Personally speaking, last year I bore witness to a pretty horrible bicycle accident which involved my offspring and a badly bumped noggin. Albeit miracles happen and all, but my witnessing an enormous forehead bruise dissapear within minutes of giving a third dose of potent arnica.. it goes beyond placebo, beyond explanation. I don’t care, the bruise is gone. It’s not up to me to be judgemental. I used paracetamol too though, I’m not stupid :)

    There’s a lot to be said for the practice of homeopathic consultations, such lengthy descriptions of personal illness can be cathartic, not often listened to by your average GP, a fact that’s probably reflected in the cost. Still cheaper than a psychiatrist though, hey.

  22.  

    The intersting thing about this discussion and the other thread on the same subject is that many facts are presented, Usually facts tend to bring about a change in perspective of a subject but i’m fairly certain that won’t happen in the case of Homeopathy, Those who believe it makes no sense will continue to believe that, and those that have found it to be of benefit will continue to use it.

  23.  

    I am in total agreement with your last paragraph, there is a lot to be said for good bedside manner. Thats part of the placebo effect, the fact that you are being listed to and that someone is actively going to help you.

    I don’t believe the scientific method to be conceited and goes beyond elimination of sickness, people may have inflated views of themselves and their abilities but you’ll find that the world over. You talk of open-mindedness but homeopaths seem to be completely blind of plain facts, the only thing they seem to be open-minded about is moving the goal-posts, in my experience. As I said, their therapies have a place but its time to drop the pseudo-science and call it as it is. When you have practitioners claiming to cure malaria, AIDS and other serious conditions its time to say stop.

  24.  

    If there is evidence of its efficacy above that of placebo I will change my mind pretty quickly, Norma. The same goes for any light shed on proposed mechanisms of action. I’m not sure if the same can be said for homeopaths.

  25.  

    There are quacks in every profession though! Those airy fairy dangly-earring types will claim to cure cancer and they should indeed be stopped, they have no right to claim payment for that sort of crap. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t genuine practitioners out there… they’ve been given a bad name by hype-seeking media leeches, and should be overlooked.

    Homeopathy is not a replacement for conventional medicine, but it should be given more space where peripheral healing’s concerned, many ailments could be hugely helped by such a cure instead of your average Prozac fix, that’s what I’m getting at. Chemicals are bad, m’kay?

  26.  

    Then we are all doomed–nearly every cell in your body is a complex chemical factory, performing chemical reactions that scientists can only dream of. If I could do one of these reactions on the bench I’d be a Nobel Laureate in the morning. Deciding on a course of treatment is a balance between potential benefits and side-effects, backed up by top quality research.

    There are quacks in every profession, agreed, but when the homeopathic association refuses to intervene when a rogue member claims to be able to cure malaria things jump up a notch. At least a doctor can be debarred and held to account. Whats wrong with a placebo, it is what it is.

  27.  

    K8 — I imagine there was actually some arnica present in the stuff that helped the bump. As I understand it, gels for external use contain a detectable amount of the active ingredient, unlike homeopathic preparations, which contain none at all.

    Norma, I think, pointed out that the active substance in arnica is thymol, also known as 2-isopropyl-5-methylphenol, which, aaargh, is one of those dreaded chemicals.

  28.  

    K8 – There is one big difference between conventional medicine and Homeopathic medicine. You can actually observe the interaction of conventional medicines with the body on a cellular or molecular level. These interactions may be good or bad for the body but they are really there. This cannot be said for homeopathy.There are no visible interactions between homeopathic medicine and the micro level of the body except those observed when water is consumed.
    The simple fact is that Homoeopathy was completely dreamed up in the mind of one human being over 200 years ago and, like Scientology, it has grown pretty much like a cult. It has the same basis in reality as Tarot card or crystals and if thats your thing, fair enough.
    Conventional medicine doesn’t have all the answers but it delivers the goods. Homeopathy may deliver on a psychological level, much like prayers can, but that’s about as far as it goes.

  29.  

    For sure Anadin/Aspirin will reduce the symptoms of a headache. Or sleepiong. I have tried it and it works.

    The same apllies to homeoptahic Arnica. Every now and again I have to exert my body beyond normal usage and I find that a dose or two of Arnica reduces the aches that arise from over stretched muscles. I have tried it and it works.

    I can’t explain either, though I could look up some stuff on the net that purports to explain both.

    I can however verify the experience I have had, by repetition. The lived experience is Prima Facie evidence.

    I am a Survivor of Irish Catholic Boarding Schools. I was profoundly traumatised by that experience. 12 years of it. Suicide was a regular thought for almost 35 years of my life.

    I tried to get ‘help’ from a number of psychologists, and ended up feeling MORE abused, because they blamed me for not responding to their ministrations in the ways they expected. And they charged me for the pleasure.

    I tried prayer, in a number of Relgious settings. Bhuddist Meditation. Kabbalah. Shinto. Hindius, and Yoga. Animism. No change.

    It wasn’t until I found a way of approaching my experience that helped me develope genuine empathy for the small defenceless child I was, and with that a deeper understanding of the experiences that I lived through, the internalisations of the messages my abusers introjected into me and the defences I built up to protect what remained of my core psyche, that I began to make any real changes that could be described as ‘recovery’ …. ‘healing’ is another thing altogether.

    There is no true ‘healing’ as long as the toxic societal power flows that generated abuse persist. Most of what is called healing is about getting the ‘client’ to ‘fit into’ the toxic Society and live a ‘normal life’ by those standards. Assimilation.

    It was the work of Alice Miller, Judith Herman, John Holt, Carl Rogers and Jean Leidloff, amongst many others, that was in my case at least, the most helpful.

    Certain natural psychedelics also were useful. For me. I found them useful.

    Establishment Psychology, Religions, Pharmaceutical Medicine, the New Age and many others all purport to hold the ‘cure’ or ‘best management of symptoms’ to physiological and psychological distress, and who all too frequently will also say that the patient who does not respond is part of the problem, yet none of these have made serious or meaningful inroads into those aspects of Power and Society that create so much psychological distress, and thus they have a constant supply of ‘clients’. Jobs for life. Cushty.

    http://www.davidsmail.info/talk01a.htm – The Moral Tyrannies of Therapy : Well worth a read for his insight into the dynamics of Power.

    I look to those whose core practice is to make themselves redundant. Akin to the old Chinese Medicine. Akin to Modern Cuban Medicine and Health System Practice. I look to those who help those who need help to help themselves. Who work at prevention as much as they deal with the symptoms. Who are honest, through and through.

    And I trust my own experience above all. I was there.

    As that old light bulb joke goes “How many Vietnam Vets does it take to change a light bulb?”

    “I don’t know, man. How many Vietnam Vets does it take to change a light bulb?”

    “YOU DON’T KNOW, MAN, ‘CUZ YOU WEREN’T THERE, YOU weren’t there!”

  30.  

    Corneilus. You always write such truly beautiful posts, I mean that in the true sense of Beauty, Its honesty and approach always makes me reflect on what i am trul;y grateful for.
    I too spent 6 years in a Catholic Boarding school, I never felt traumatised and my experiences were’nt extreme other than my lonliness and feelings of isolation because i never felt i ” fitted in “, It made me probably rebellious and angry and most of all detatched with a good spoonful of social anxiety, The positive side was that sent me on a lifelong quest for something outside of the banal, Thats remains a work in progress, My Fathers explanation for my ” banishment ” ( exaggeration ! ) was that he believed it would make me more independent, As with most parenting they were none too keen when i exhibited those signs of independence, My parents both died not very long after i left school so i felt a very strong urge to ” Educate ” myself in as open minded a way as possible, I made and continue to make many mistakes but i can remind myself that Yes I was there and I will always and forever stand somewhere between there and here for my kids, Alternative or Compliant whatever it takes to stay on the journey in as relevant a manner as possible.
    Thanks so much for your lovely insights.

  31.  

    Is homeopathy itself another form of medicalisation, Corneilius? That a little white pill is the answer to your problem? Except that the situation is a little more cruel in that the pill contains nothing at all.

  32.  

    It could be said that soap-bubbles contain nothing at all. Still, they wake up our sense of kiddishness and make us remember things that were and cheer us up, even for just a little bit. Medicine comes in strange forms. There’s no need to rip it apart.

  33.  

    There is nothing wrong with scrutiny, K8. I think the reality of soap bubbles is far more interesting and fascinating than any imaginary construct.

  34.  

    Irate Chemist. Many congratulations ! You can blind us with your insight on Chemical activity inside and outside our bodies and you can even place your vast knowledge aside for a moment to cyber sneer at someone who has the courage and consciousness to reveal his inner struggle, You are correct though @ comment 33 ” There is nothing wrong with scrutiny ” It is most beneficial when we scrutinise ourselves.

  35.  

    I’m not seeing the sneer there. Making money out of pills with no active ingredients. Isn’t that even more cynical than Big Pharma?

  36.  

    Might be that my teeth are’nt the only part of me thats overly sensitive at the min !

  37.  

    There was no sneer, Norma. While I sympathise with Corneilius I can’t see what it has to do with the topic of the post. If you are blinded by any supposed insight then there is something that you can do about it, besides trying to have a go at me.

  38.  

    Irate Chemist. Yes, I will definitly look into what I am blinded by, Thanks.

  39.  

    Anytime Norma!

  40.  

    Soap bubbles are wonderful. A sublime example of the natural world made real. What’s more, you couldn’t hope for a better example of a natural phenomenon illustrating a principle of physics.

    All in all, I’d say soap bubbles are the best possible illustration of the difference between real science and the fakeness of homeopathy.

  41.  

    Soap Bubbles in colour! We had only black and white in my day! We could only dream……

    I didn’t feel sneered at. My response was experience is prima facie. Raw Data. I was there.

    The Arnica dose always works. I put lavender oil on small burns and they heal real quick. I use vinegar to do all my household cleaning. Cold water and a wire sponge cleans most plates, etc etc. The water that leaves my sinks is free of pharmaceutical scientifically proven more or less useless guaranteed products with shiny labels.

    Fact: in yer house, all surfaces in yer house a (at least) 14in” layer of bacteria overthem, as you do yourself, all around you….. those ‘cleaners’, personal cometics, ) etc etc are biologically pointless, unnecessary and dangerous.

    More toxic chemicals = more pathology and profit; less toxic chemicals = less pathology and loss.

    These are facts. This is Science. How to interpret the data, is another thing. One can take it at face value. Or not.

    More Poison? Less Posion?

    Coloured Soap Bubbles…. i do use eco bloody washing machine powder. That’s as far as it goes.

    Oh – I am friendly with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and fungi that eats alcohol and makes vinegar.

  42.  

    Thanks Norma, for the kind words of encouragement.

  43.  

    Is your arnica diluted 30C?

  44.  

    I’m glad that you didn’t feel sneered at because that was not my intention, Corneilius.
    I’m not arguing with your subjective experience, as you said–I wasn’t there. But when double blind randomised studies are conducted homeopathy has no more effect than a placebo. A placebo IS an effect, a positive healing effect produced by the brain/body, maybe by the anticipation of being healed (or listened to by a homeopathy practitioner). On the other side of the coin, a negative effect could also occur-a nocebo effect. If homeopathy works for you, fine. But what i’m saying is lets call it what it is.

    I was looking into the mechanisms and the society for homeopaths invoked quantum mechanics. Of course! They do not use the scientific method, they are hijacking it to hide behind.

    Fact: in yer house, all surfaces in yer house a (at least) 14in” layer of bacteria overthem, as you do yourself, all around you….. those ‘cleaners’, personal cometics, ) etc etc are biologically pointless, unnecessary and dangerous.

    These are facts. This is Science. How to interpret the data, is another thing

    Really, 14” of bacteria on all the surfaces in my house and on me? Can you reference that data so that I can see it for myself? Should I stop washing my hands after using the bathroom–since soap is biologically pointless?

  45.  

    Irate Chemist. On rereading the comments here, My comment @ 38 could well be interpreted as a bit snide, I was being genuine and when I did look at what might ” Blind ” me, I realised that week-ends are my most stressful times, I won’t go into it here as to why but your comment to me did help me recognise that and might prevent in the future my overeaction to many things now that its highlighted for me.

    Cornelius. I do applaud your adherance to a lack of chemicals and damaging components which litter our lives, I used to always veer toward the most natural sources of food, healing/health products that I could find, Now though my life is full of Anti Bacterial gels, Hibiscrub and Medi wipes, I’m hyper aware of Bugs / Bacteria etc, Personally I seem to have a fierce immunity to such things but very aware of my carrier status of same, Its a fine line of neurosis and safety / responsibility but I have to walk it and try to maintain an open mind while being aware of the neurosis !

    I have the view now that all these things have a place in our lives dependent on our own health status at the time they can lend a certain amount of assurity more to our philosophical views than to any scientific reality, That then somewhat contradicts the emergence of such superbugs like MRSA and Kleibseilla and Pseudomas when we see that the emergence of Anti Bacterial products do not address the spread of such superbugs, So its an ongoing process of learning how to combat and accept a new reality.

  46.  

    There’s one problem with adherence to a lack of chemicals. Everything is a chemical. Even water is a chemical compound. Our entire bodies are one big continuing chemical reaction. Therefore, when we talk about avoiding chemicals, we need to specify precisely which chemicals we mean. Don’t forget, herbal remedies are also chemicals. How do we tell which chemicals are good and which are bad?

    I begin to suspect that it depends on whether the person selling them has pursued a formal course of scientific study. A chemical supplied by somebody with no understanding of chemistry is alternative and therefore good, whereas a chemical supplied by somebody who has worked hard to understand the fundamental structures of Nature is mainstream, and therefore bad.

  47.  

    I agree with you, I found a huge amount of arrogance in the ” World of Natural Medicine ” And even back in those innocent days i believed arrogance to be the biggest obstacle to understanding.
    So many ” Remedies ” puported to be ” Natural ” and therefore concluded to be harmless yet beneficial is very misleading as many of the compounds in products Herbal and Essential Oils can be very toxic and the indications given as to dosage and correct use are very vague.

    The seller of such remedies is structured to make profit and will normally only supply information supplied by the manufacturer as to guidance of use, I still use various forms of natural products on a limited basis and conduct my own exhaustive research into their value, I dont want to be blinded by either but its a bit of a tightrope.

    Its only of recent years that I have been introduced to the world of daily heavy hitting pharmaceuticals , so i’m still in the infancy of learning all the Science, The whole concept of the ” Cure ” being as dangerous as the ” Illness ” is one that i accept but still struggle to fully comprehend.

    Ultimatly I have come to the conclusion that its all fine n dandy to piss about with whatever ” Natural Remedy ” floats your boat until something comes into your life that completly defragments all your previous thinking and you have to take a long hard look and tell yourself you are full of shit and need to completely overhaul your beliefs and listen hard to the Science because that is what saves and extends lives.

  48.  

    Or something comes into your life and conventional medicine doesn’t work for you, so you swallow your pride and try some alternative medicine, or “holistic healing” and what do ya know – it worked. That might overhaul your beliefs too.

  49.  

    If it was a herbal medicine, you might have been cured by the chemical it contained r you might have spontaneously got better. If it was homeopathic, you’ve been taking water or sugar.

  50.  

    You also could have taken allopathic medicine and it mightn’t have cured you, but you spontaneously got better. The placebo effect is very powerful and applicable with all medications really.

    My comment above is to say that beliefs are specific to the individual. So not meaning to take a stance either way on what works for any individual.

  51.  

    FME I don’t think we are talking about same levels in regard to ” Something coming into your life ” When open mind has a whole different meaning .
    The entire area of Alternative or Natural Healing seems to have become mired in endless bullshit, I came across a leaflet yesterday advertising courses on ” Holistic Parenting ” Now I’m all for great, responsible positive parenting, Of which the fundamental components are in my opinion, Listening, Talking, Awareness, Health, Consistency and the support and encouragement of curiosity in a safe supportive environment, But bandwagon and jumping comes to mind at this blandishment of someones idea of ” Holistic Parenting” at a charge of 120 euro for 6 one hr group sessions, Do you see parents who really need help and support signing up for this ? Maybe they will, what do I know ? Just sounds hollow and tiresome to me, Whatever happened to positive loving extended families and all the grounding gleaned from them.

  52.  

    Yeah I’ve no idea what ‘holistic parenting’ means either Norma.. all those components you listed sound ideal though.

    RE: “I don’t think we are talking about same levels in regard to ” Something coming into your life ” When open mind has a whole different meaning”. I think we’re speaking along the same lines. Obviously if an illness is severe enough a person should be more inclined to try the traditional route of treatment.
    However I’m saying that if that wasn’t working for them, they may change their beliefs and try something new – an ‘alternative’ treatment. I’m agreeing with you that in cases where a person is desperate they may choose different options than what they’d normally consider.

  53.  

    What does “alternative” mean?

  54.  

    I think it means not conventional.

  55.  

    Still too vague. What does it mean?

  56.  

    I think that means it’s not clear. :) Ambiguous even.

  57.  

    I can only conclude therefore that alternative treatments are treatments that mean nothing.

  58.  

    Meaning is subjective to the interpreter I suppose.

  59.  

    I’ll be happy to set up a separate part of the site for people who want to speak in their own private language.

    However, the main section is devoted to people who share a common understanding of the English language, and therefore in this section I ask people to discuss on the basis of agreed definitions, which includes a common understanding of widely-used English words.

  60.  

    I thought my words were understandable and widely used. Sorry.
    I gave the best answer I could when I said, alternative means not conventional.. However it might mean something else to someone else – so that’s what I meant by meaning is subjective to the interpreter.

    I don’t bloody know what alernative means Bock. The parameters of what’s understood would have to be defined to say what it means. I’m just debating. Not disagreeing as such, with my point that people will turn to what they normally wouldn’t consider if something wasn’t working – regardless of their previously held beliefs. It’s just a point. I’m not pushing for any agenda.

  61.  

    FME, to a certain degree you are correct. people do indeed turn to ” alternative means” to ” alternative ideas ” to ” alternative medicines ”

    It only really means that they have not been given ” HOPE “, and so these alternatives give them some such hope.

    Unfortunately it is a forlorn hope. There is no such thing as ” alternative ” to their illness, there is no alternative cure. No pilgramage, amount of prayers, herbs, ointments, salve or kind and soothing words form any kind of ” Alternative ” to sufferring or death!

    To go back to my previous mention on a previous post, ” there is medicine that works and there is medicine that does not work, there is no ” alternative “, no matter what alternative means!

  62.  

    Norma, your comment at 45 was very decent of you. I don’t engage here for anything other than to add to discussions, i’m not interested in taking digs or sneering at people and glad you realise that.

    Natural medicines are chemicals and can have very dramatic effects on the human body (morphine etc). Most active natural products extracted from plants etc can be synthesised fairly easily in the laboratory, and there is absolutely no difference between a synthetic chemical and its natural equivalent (apart from isotopic composition of some elements in the molecule, but even that can be matched). Natural product remedies are often crude extractions and can vary greatly in composition of active ingredients, most of them are not subject to analysis of any kind. I’m not saying that natural remedies are bad, but just because they are natural does not mean they are safe to consume.

    Others, such as ‘detox’ products are pure nonsense, a money-making racket.

  63.  

    FME. what I meant by ” different levels ” was in regard to specific ” Illnesses ” not the type of illnesses which occur during our lifetime, Where choice of treatment can be an option, I was referring to Lifelong Genetic conditions where choice of treatment is not optional.
    My meaning of the term ” Alternative ” in this context is treatment outside of Allopathic Medicine, This somewhat generalised terminology seems to now encapsulate what are really ” Lifestyle choices ” and marketed as a means to an end which I think can be very manipulative.

    I am not adverse to improving my lifestyle choices in fact i nurture the whole world of personal growth and improvement but i resent the marketing of same when it is presented without integrity and substance.

    As Irate Chemist pointed out @62, The very big businness of ” Detox products ” is not just a fake money racket, It is actually very dangerous and misleading, There is no quick fix or instant improvement to health issues.
    The basic requirements to sustainable good health are very basic and very cheap and for the most part work efficiently.

  64.  

    Agree with everything you said there Norma. My meaning of alternative was also non allopathic medicine. Be it acupuncture, herbs, traditional chinese medicine, ayurveda, pranayama, massage therapies.
    I’ll admit I’ve taken echinacea whenever I’ve felt a cold coming on and without fail, it gets rid of it straight away. Obviously, I don’t think what might be considered alternative treatments would be of any benefit in curing a lifelong genetic disorder.

    Also agree Islandbank. There’s no alternative to suffering or death but just making the ride as comfortable and nice as possible.

  65.  

    1. Nature is replete with examples of self -healing mechanisms within organisms.

    2. Nature is full of healing relationships between organisms.

    3. Nature is founded upon nurture. Poo is food for life when treated in the appropriate manner. There is no waste in nature, all is food. The core biological function of all living cells is to improve the habitat for all life by being it’s self. This inlcudes learning new tricks that work in an environment that is dynamic. Random mutation is a lie. A neccesary lie, to protect the illusion of the dominant cultures hubris.

    4. If someone’s selling a remedy as opposed to sharing the knowledge on how to create or access the remedy, I ain’t buying. Those who sell, fear redundancy. Be they doctors or psychologists or priests… or snake oil sales-persons… or workers…

    5. Science is fundamentally about honesty and observation. However the application and interpretation of ‘science’ falls’ foul of this fundamental more often than not. Dishonesty and Hubris abounds. Pherenology. Libya (War is Peace) is a case in point. Economics another. Clean Energy is another: the Dominant Culture does not use any clean energy, in fact it produces shitloads of toxins and precious few nutrients. EG: take the whole discourse about -eco-fuels that omits to mention that the damage done by MAKING the cars, trucks, roads, trafffic lights etc etc is ten to many more times more toxic than the fuel use of all those cars, trucks etc etc….. DOH!

    6. Oil: what is the biological function of oil?

    7. Likewise coal, iron ore, bauxite, diamonds, gold, etc etc etc etc? Seems to me that messing around with things one has no real understanding of is ……….. STUPID?

    8. Understanding : How come chimpanzees use over 100m plants and specific medicines. EG: there’s one plant they eat to clear their guts of little parasite worms. The leaf of this plant has teeny weeny almost invisible velcro like hooks on one side. The Chimps pick the leaves at a certain time, and are VERY picky about which ones to use, and they unfold them in a way that makes them unfold, hooks facing the walls of their guts (after their stomachs….) scraping the teeny weent critters off their guts and dumping them out when they take a dump.

    8.a How do certain fungi make chemicals that are tree medicines and deliver them to specific trees showing the ilness or disease state that that chemical treats across disctances of many km?

    8.c. Nature is WAY more cleverer than human beings. It made Human Beings. DOH!

    9. How do over 30 ‘pre-literate’ cultures scattered across an almost impassible wilderness of immense proporations that have never directly intersected with each other independently suss out how to use a rare vine and a relatively rare shrub and a plethora of other herbs to make ayahuasca, which is used as a medicine….

    http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=E9C036F341E64EDB

    10. There is NO absolute proof of “genetic disorders” just as the gene theory has yeilded no magic cures.

  66.  

    What is absolute proof, Corneilius? Quite a cruel thing to say when there are many people suffering from cystic fibrosis in this country, due to a point mutation on chromosome 7. What about haemophilia, among others? Is it a coincidence that these diseases run in families and their inheritance can be predicted accurately, due to our accumulated knowledge of genetics?

    Who ever said there would be magic cures? The human genome was only fully sequenced recently, there have been a lot of surprises and “magic cures” take time and hard work. I think we have a good idea of things when DNA in pig cells can be altered to produce the insulin that saves thousands of lives every day. Or when we can alter DNA in yeast cells to produce an enzyme that can overcome an impossible step in the synthesis of a molecule. Nearly everything in science is a theory, current theories are those that have not yet been disproven, try as we might.

    Why is random mutation a lie? Random mutation has produced every living organism that has existed, well, natural selection acting upon random mutations.

  67.  

    1, Random mutation as opposed to responsive mutation….. we know now that RNA responds to environmental signals and that it sends singals to DNA that re-writes DNA (which are basically protein making instructions). Hence the precisions of adaptation. There are MANY living examples of this in process.

    2. To typify my comment as cruel is not to prove or disprove the accuracy of my statement. You are correct to point out the limitation of that statement.

    3. What we see is that Genes deal with structure, environment generates behaviour, most of which is learned. Thus some disease may well have structural origins, and other disease may have environmental origins. Whilst the structural diseases are more or less impossible to prevent, and deserve all the attention we can muster to help mitigate their affects, the environemntal are to a large degree avoidable. Prevention requires that the environemental toxicity is dealt with. Currently that is being avoided wholesale. Eg: The use of Depleted Uranium in LIbya, as we write…. no need to mention the huge toxicity of pharmaceuticals and industrial processes.

    And I’d like to hear your answers to the other questions and your response to messing with natural processes that we do not understand? Pick one, pick ’em all. Selective responses reveals more than you wish.

  68.  

    Corneilius — The post is about the fact that homeopathic remedies contain no active ingredients. Can we stick to the point please?

  69.  

    Corneilius, I couldn’t understand most of it–I don’t know but most of it came across as an incoherent rant.

    We know the causes of a great deal of genetic diseases, from gene right up to physical manifestation, and the probability of inheritance. What absolute proof are you looking for?

    There is random mutation, even in the absence of external environmental triggers (such as ionising radiation). Even with all the fantastic checks and balances in place copying mistakes are made. Sometimes this scrambling of code produces a protein that has no effect. Sometimes one that has an effect, good or bad. Natural selection acts upon that gene in an environment of other genes and if the organism ‘succeeds’, the frequency of its occurrence increases in the population, or if it ‘fails’ and is wiped out.

    Sorry, Bock.

  70.  

    @ Cornelius , Your statement “If someone’s selling a remedy as opposed to sharing the knowledge on how to create or access the remedy, I ain’t buying.” is a delightfully naive way to look at the world. If only we lived in such a utopian fairyland.
    So, are you saying that a guy who spends ten years of his life developing a cure for a deadly virus shouldn’t get paid for his efforts? Say he decides to share it with someone who goes off and gets it mass produced behind his back?
    I’m sure you are well meaning but it simply doesn’t work like that in the real world.
    I don’t believe in this conspiracy among pharmaceutical companies and doctors and so on. Its just that, like the rest of us, they aren’t immune to greed. They are entitled to make a buck just like any other industry.
    Whether you like it or not, the prospect of capital gain has been, and will continue to be, a big factor in the shaping and the progression of humankinds technology and medicine.
    There have been many well meaning scientists throughout the years who have developed remedies with the love of research as there first motivational factor. But if you want to reproduce a successful remedy on a mass scale, the simple fact is that the only medium by which this can be achieved is through industrial systems and unfortunately this costs money.

  71.  

    Commend ye again to Matt 17:20. Might add that a pint of McEwan’s lager has often had amazingly restorative effects upon me. Depending of course on whether it is my first pint or my last. It can also have the opposite effect too. In fact, that goes for beer generally.

  72.  

    My take on the stupidity that is ocsillo: http://is.gd/quack

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