Homoeopathy Without Borders: Treating AIDS With Bullshit

Quacks without principles

Everyone knows about the great work done by Médecins Sans Frontières — Doctors Without Borders — but now we have something new.  Homeopaths Without Borders.

Charlatans Sans Frontières.

Can you believe this bullshit?  Adopting a name very similar to that of an established – and qualified – charity and going into Haiti of all places claiming to cure disease with something that has no basis in reality.

And then we have Homoeopathy for  Health in Africa, claiming to treat AIDS using plain water.

This is beyond ludicrous.  This is dangerous.

Read the following nonsense:

Our Mission

1) To relieve the suffering of as many HIV/AIDS patients as possible using classical homoeopathy.

2) To develop a homoeopathic understanding of the disease and identify those homoeopathic remedies that are most successful in treating HIV/AIDS.

3) To spread this knowledge throughout Tanzania and Africa, teaching local health practitioners to run sustainable services prescribing homoeopathically for large masses of people.

4) To produce formal and ethical research on the treatment of HIV/AIDS with homoeopathy and to demonstrate what it is able to achieve.

5) To help local communities with sustainable nutrition, garden projects and education.

Let’s be clear.  Homoeopathy is about giving people plain water.  It’s just water with nothing else in it.   Homoeopathy might relieve a headache by the placebo effect if you’re stupid enough to believe that a bottle of water can make you better, but it can absolutely not treat AIDS, and to claim otherwise borders on the criminal.

The bullshit goes on:

In many ways homoeopathy is the perfect medicine for persons suffering from HIV/AIDS. AIDS means Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Homoeopathy works by stimulating and enhancing the immune system and therefore it is precisely in this disease that homoeopathy can be most effective.

Medicine?  Homoeopathy is not medicine.  It’s quackery.  Pseudo-science dressed up as treatment in order to make quacks rich fast.  But what I find so objectionable about this campaign is the attempt to take advantage of AIDS victims in Africa.  Surely there are enough rich fools in Europe willing to dig into their pockets.

What do you call an alternative medicine that has been proven to work?

Answer: medicine.

There’s only one thing that homoeopathy can treat successfully: dehydration.

Everything else requires proven treatments, and there isn’t a single scientific study to support homoeopathy, which is hardly surprising since homoeopathy is about giving people water.  Plain water with nothing else in it.

What sort of people would go to Africa and assure AIDS victims that a bottle of water will make them better?


UPdate: during the course of a discussion on Facebook, somebody sent me this link, perhaps intending to persuade me in favour of homeopathy.  I came away converted to Scientology.

67 thoughts on “Homoeopathy Without Borders: Treating AIDS With Bullshit

  1. Tragic. One of the many dubious things about homeopathy is that people take a sugar pill, not water. So sugar, which is molecularly more complex than water, is remembering something that water has remembered. Defies logic, thermodynamics, and common sense.

  2. The water also has to forget all the other things it dissolved since the dawn of time. Quite a feat for something without a brain.

  3. Oh, but they have explained that. When they shake/invert their solutions they bang the solution being mixed a specific number of times on a traditional leather pad (stuffed with horse hair I think). This makes water forget everything else, apparently. One of their dilutions, which is 10 to the power of 60, theoretically should have been diluted with more molecules of water than atoms exist in the universe. Also, I should mention the whole thing was invented before Amedeo Avogadro made his discovery in 1811.

  4. I just remembered. Haven’t we said all this before? Shit. Somebody must have bashed me against a leather pad.

  5. Eh, maybe we have. It wasn’t a post about homeopathy though–i’m glad you highlighted the issue. I remember reading about a group of “practioners” who were claiming to cure malaria using sugar pills, placebos. Very dangerous stuff, the official homeopathy association in the UK couldn’t hold them to account.

    If they are being sold as medicines, or referred to as, then they should be treated as so. They should be subjected to the same strict guidelines, controls and testing as other medicines. That should expose them for what they are.

  6. I don’t know what it was about, but I have a little flask of water here that I use to remember all important matters. Give me a minute while I ask it what I said.

  7. A rather timely addition to the site. I’m going along to the Science Museum in London tomorrow to “complain” about the quack bullshit they have included “for anthropological and sociological reason” in their history of medicine exhibition. A few other activist type friends have a rather Cartesian idea of what complain means. But its all justified. Or i hope it will be.

    And now for the shame and guilt part. I did go along to a “pregnancy yoga” class on the insistence of my wife. She is eight and a half months pregnant, not her usual self, and i thought better of a reasoned, conscientious objectors stand.

  8. Leslie — Yoga is a fine way to improve your life. It makes no fake claims. I would have nothing to say against it and I would urge you to support your wife in this initiative. There’s no downside.

    Please report back on the results of the complaint.

  9. On yoga, maybe you are right. i know little of Yoga other than the invocations of the crazy lady leading the group to “touch the earth and try to feel at peace with yourself and all those around you”. So, two hours is what i know, and the two hours i did when before my first child was born. But i guess there is nothing fake in it. And no claims to cure anything. And my back is feeling a little better than it did a few days back!

    But the homeopathy people are as sinister as any weird cult. They call their detractors the New Fundamentalists, because the evil empirical types in “biomedicine” insist on such weirdo things as double blind trials and so on.

    Check out the profound rubbish on this link http://www.similima.com/thesis56.html (sorry for posting a link, but the quackery gets quite sophisticated and wholly depressing).

    Right, now I’m angry.

  10. The really sad thing is that in many places on this planet, there is no clean water. Having a bunch of raving mad homeopaths bottling it will make it worse due to all plastic packaging, transport etc. And the Über-homeopath will spend all the money s/he pilfers from the scam, probably on useless luxuries, etc.

  11. homeopathic cures, it’s as absurd as credit in Ango Irish Bank. There is no money, only a big hole from where money passed, once upon a time.

  12. Leslie – Yoga is just a form of physical exercise. It’s a great thing. Admittedly, some people add other baggage to it, but that’s not yoga’s fault.

    Kropotnikus – Precisely. The idea that drinking water will cure AIDS in Africa is demented.

  13. Variation on the banker/lawyer joke:

    Q. What do you call 50 homeopathists at the bottom of a lake?
    A. A faint memory.

  14. on front of me is a booklet,’ food for people living with HIV/Aids’ produced by the Network for African people living with HIV/AIDS (NAPS+). It is an excellent guide to assisting people with HIV/Aids on developing a balanced diet to help reduce the likelyhood of catching an infection.
    One item it specifically mentions is sugar, it recommends reducing sugar intake as any yeast infection such as candida etc thrive on sugar. so straight away this blows their claims right out of the water.
    There are enough fake cures from traditional healers here in Africa with out this lot sticking their oar in

  15. Well here’s a big fat spanner in the works. I sing for my supper sometimes and some years back lost the singing voice completely.
    Went to see the ear nose and throat man in the regional hospital in Limerick. He advised that I would need investigative surgery. Next morning under general anaesthetic, I had the exploratory surgery. In the afternoon the consultant arrived into the ward and he advised me that the inflammation on my larynx has caused irreparable damage to my vocal cords and that the singing voice was gone and there was nothing could be done to heal it. I would be able to speak again, but on a much lower register, but forget about the singing.
    This was devastating news for me at the time as I was putting the bread on the table for the family with the odd song or two. The band I was with at the time left me twiddle away on an instrument or two, so I could earn a crust, but I was very uncomfortable with this. So out of desperation I confided in a very good acupuncturist friend of mine who advised me that there was very little if nothing acupuncture treatment could do for my problem. He advised me to visit a homeopath in the Clare Limerick region to see it that might help. I was desperate and would try anything. I had the same attitude to homeopathy as most, if not all of you have now. The first visit lasted two hours, where the individual went through my whole life and in particular any medical condition I had suffered from. I found this very tedious and a waste of time. Then the individual advised me to visit again the following week. I thought “fuck this what a load of shit” But I was desperate. The next visit I was given 3 pills and advised to take one a week for the next three weeks. After a week my voice improved. By the time I had finished the last pill my voice was back to 100%. This was over 9 years ago and touch wood I have had no reoccurrence of the problem. That has been my experience. Make of it what you will.

  16. Congratulations!
    You were healed either by your own body, i.e. the placebo effect.
    You were not healed by consuming pellets of water plus whatever sweet substance they encased it in.
    Homeopathy = Bullshit, plain and simple.

  17. It’s a little condescending to tell anyone how they were healed, IMO.

    Good for you Long John! I’ve heard other people swear by it too.

  18. You’re quaint idea of getting “healed” is lovely, but would you not agree that it’s more of an insult to anyone’s intelligence to intimate that pure water, WATER, H2O, agua, wasser, uisce, can cure anything other than thirst.
    It’s a placebo. Nothing more.

  19. It’s not my quaint idea at all. You told him how he was healed not me Huron.
    It worked for him. I’ve read of and heard from other people who’ve said after years of trying traditional medicines that didn’t work, homeopathy worked for them too. I couldn’t say for certain to them it’s definitely a placebo effect.

  20. I love the way the homeopathy industry adopts scientific terminology to give it credibility while at the same time rejecting scientific scrutiny.

  21. Huron you seem to be very fond of the word quaint, but let me tell you there was nothing “quaint” about my illness or indeed quaint about my particular healing. They are both what they are, I was very ill – a fact! My healing was real – a fact!. Placebo effect? No. Why? because I was very skeptical from the outset and was in no way expecting to be cured. But I was.
    These are the facts. Are you a medical practitioner?

    Bock, I don’t know what was in the pills, to be honest I didn’t really care, because after the first visit, where the practitioner spent 2 hours going through my whole live history, and I mean the lot, and then asking what illnesses I had suffered from in the past, I began to loose any hope that the treatment would work. But I thought what the fuck, lets go back and try it, it wont hurt after all. So I went back took the first pill and left the others in a drawer in the bedroom, not really giving the whole exercise any real hope. But the improvement was dramatic, even in the first few days and I thought what the hell lets finish off the course. I did and I haven’t looked back. These are the facts. As I said earlier, make of it what you will.
    I wouldn’t have even contemplated this course of action, if it wasn’t for my friend saying, why not give it a go, you’ve got nothing to loose. I haven’t become a homeopathy freak since, telling all and sundry that this is the new miracle medicine and you all should stop going to your GP etc. This was my one and only experience with homeopathy.

  22. LJS — I ask the question in order to establish what commonality your experience has with that of others who consulted people describing themselves as homeopaths. It’s important to establish that we’re discussing the same thing.

  23. It is equally illogical to dismiss a persons experience of healing retrospectively as it is to make unsubstantiated claims as to cures of immune deficient illnesses.
    If in fact LJS experienced a complete absence of symptoms, Leading to a sustained performance of previously compromised laryngeal action then it cannot have achieved such sustained performance through means of placebo! All placebo effect is short lived and it’s use predicates the return of initial symptoms.
    Many areas of alternative or complimentary medicine or practice is as dependent on the practitioner as is allopathic medicine , The damning of Homeopathy as a science is fair enough but to damn anything that has the potential to aid people without thorough investigation is just as illogical as some of the claims made by some groups / practitioners of all areas of health and healing.
    I would not believe that Homeopathy would have any efficacy in the cure or eradication of AID’s / HIV virus , However that is not to say that secondary symptoms could not benefit in some respect from support via good nutrition and responsible prescribing of specific remedies.
    The above article quoted seems incomplete , I would like to read the article in it’s entirety, The piece at the end regarding gardening, education etc looks promising, It is very arrogant and irresponsible for any group involved in the area of immune compromised illness to issue claims which are misleading and deliver false hope and in that regard it should be investigated further.
    I believe in maintaining an open mind based on personal investigation and research, A poster in Barcelona which caught my eye stated ” Everything fits here , But not everything goes ” I thought that to be very relevant to a swiftly changing world.

  24. You’re quaint idea of getting “healed” is lovely, but would you not agree that it’s more of an insult to anyone’s intelligence to intimate that pure water, WATER, H2O, agua, wasser, uisce, can cure anything other than thirst.
    It’s a placebo. Nothing more.

    I would consider the above fairly dismissive. wouldn’t you?

  25. I must admit I overlooked that comment.

    However, the point I made was about the substance used, because clearly, plain water will cure nothing but thirst.

  26. I agree plain water will cure nothing but thirst. I was not cured by any placebo effect. The illness was far too serious to be cured by any such nonsence. I also doubt that I cured myself by some kind of mind over matter process. All I know for sure is that a very well respected ear nose and throat specialist advised me that my condition was not curable. I took three pills, I am cured. this is all I know for sure.

  27. I don’t doubt your experience for a second. The problem is that the homeopathy industry would use your experience with one individual to validate all the charlatans out there masquerading as therapists.

  28. The Homeopathic industry won’t use LJS’s experience to validate anything, Based on LJS’s comments he attended a very reputable Homeopath and therefore his case will be treated with the ethical confidentiality guaranteed by such Practitioners.
    In your comment @ 31 Bock we come nearer the truth, As in identifying and exposing Charlatans and there are many who corrupt the entire area of Human Health but most especially Complimentary therapies.

  29. While i can`t remember his name a doctor said one time ” there is no such thing as alternative medicine, just medicine that works and medicine that dosen`t work “

  30. Let’s look at the reasons why these things need to be tested and trialled.

    I can see a number of ways in which an individual might get better following a visit to a therapist.

    First, the conventional doctor might have been wrong in saying the complaint was incurable. It might have been on the way to spontaneously clearing up. He might have been a very bad doctor.

    Second, the homeopath might have prescribed the right cure by accident or he might have correctly diagnosed the disorder and selected the right treatment.

    Strong coincidence is not enough. If I cut the grass and the sun immediately starts shining, I don’t conclude that mowing my lawn brings good weather, unless it happens time after time.

    The key is repeatability in order to rule out coincidence. Once a large number of people with the same complaint have been successfully cured with the same medicine, and those treatments are monitored in a way that makes sure everything is done honestly, then, as Islandbank says, it becomes accepted as medicine that works. If it can’t be repeated, then it’s medicine that doesn’t work. Or to put it another way, it isn’t medicine at all.

    The sooner they start submitting these cures to independent scrutiny, the sooner each treatment will gain acceptance.

    However, none of this negates the original point that homeopathy is about nothing more than giving water to sick people and telling them it will make them better.

  31. You know what, I’m quite happy to be very dismissive and insulting of someone who chooses to try and treat their illness with water and sugar.
    The next time they become ill they may just think twice before using smarties to cure their issue. The next time their kids become ill they may just think twice before giving them sugar pills to sort out what ever their kid is sick with.

    Look, homeopathy is bullshit, nothing more, nothing less. It’s been tested. The reason that homeopathic products are for sale is because they are sugar and water. The makers NEVER claim efficacy because there is none.
    Anyone who believes they were cured by homeopathic remedies is quite welcome to their beliefs. But NEVER, PLEASE, NEVER put any store in water and sugar to cure anything other than thirst.
    Please, please do some research:
    and as bad as the Daily Mail is; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1216727/Couple-jailed-manslaughter-baby-died-used-homeopathic-remedies-skin-disorder.html

  32. It’s one thing to disagree with, and even insult a person’s beliefs, but I ask commenters not to insult the individual in an ad hominem way.

  33. I don’t know what kind of clinical trials or means of testing efficacy of Homeopathic remedies have been conducted in detail , I’m fairly sure though that those that have been carried out within the criteria of standard drug testing, As in blind trials etc, Would not contain the precision to assess accurately the efficacy of same, Reason being , For example a patient presents with a staph or strep infection to a GP the drugs effective for either type of bacteria are fairly straightforward, With Homeopathy a bigger picture is taken into consideration and other factors exhibited or experienced by the patient will be repertorised via a very comprehensive Materia Medica which provides a very detailed bigger picture of variant symptoms both physical and psychological to fit the individual picture, There is no one remedy for specific presenting symptoms, It is common for a Homeopath to find at least 3 remedies that will appear effective for what is presented, It will be the refining of that picture via repetorising that will identify the remedy.
    That makes it very difficult to conduct accurate trialling which satisfies Science, Two people can present with what would on initial inspection appear to be the same condition, It is unlikely though that they would be prescribed the same remedy.
    I do think Homeopathy and some other therapies have a place and can be of benefit, However I think it’s a difficult area to regulate but having said that so is Allopathy, I don’t think they need to oppose each other but I heard recently of a GP who saw 63 people in 4 hrs, How can that be effective.
    I think it’s very disturbing to hear claims which are disproportionate and irresponsible, I have always had an interest in more natural means of maintaining health but I did become extremely irritated at suggestions of alternative remedies by some when a family member was diagnosed a couple of years ago with a lifelong immune compromised condition.

  34. I have zero interest in crusading any kind of therapy, I was throwing my tuppence worth for what it’s not worth, Recently I had mind numbing toothache, trip to Dentist failed to identify offending tooth, Was prescribed heavy gauge painkillers which made me too Sick to function, A friend of mine produced small bottle of ” bootleg ” applied to suspected offending gnashes Had me pain free within hours, On return to Dentist and revealing my trusty pain relief source I was told it was impossible and exposed nerve quickly diagnosed, Appointment a month away but do I care……no my trusty painkiller is with me at all times.

  35. I think people often confuse the practitioners with the practice. The doctors aren’t the science. They’re just the ones who delivers its results, and often they’re very flawed, but that doesn’t invalidate the underlying principles.

    Clearly, in this case, the dentist didn’t understand the science behind the bootleg’s effect.

    With homeopathy, there’s nothing to understand because it has no substance, and that’s why practitioners end up flailing around looking for fake-scientific terminology to support what cannot be supported. A lot like Scientology.

  36. How can the use of arnica in veterinary practices be linked to ” placebo” ?

  37. No, it’s about the inefficacy of homeopathy, claims for which are refuted as being nothing other than the placebo effect. How does Daisy know she’s being treated with homeopathy ?

  38. It’s also not about individual substances like arnica,. It’s about homeopathy, a doctrine which involves dilution to the point where the substance is no longer detectable.

    If your horse was treated with arnica and got better, I’m glad, but that’s not homeopathy.

  39. But if arnica is one of the individual substances used by homeopaths………. ??

  40. What would your response be if several horses were treated for various conditions using a variety of remedies ?

  41. Many natural remedies are effective, and I have no objection to them. Arnica clearly has some therapeutic qualities, but that has nothing to do with homeopathy. which is a spurious pseudoscience.

  42. Arnica is used almost exclusively in homeopathic form only , If that has some therapeutic effect why would it be the only one ?

  43. You stated that Arnica has some therapeutic qualities, As it is largely produced by companies producing Homeopathic remedies and is available without prescription in 6c and 30c dilutions so how can you think it contains some therapeutic qualities ? To the best of my knowledge Arnica is not available in any other form for general sale.

  44. To the best of my knowledge, Arnica has been in use for centuries, long before Hahnemann came up with his lunatic ideas about dilution. Therefore, I refer to the substance itself and not to the fraudulent homeopathic preparations using its name.

  45. Many plant and mineral based substances have been used in natural form for centuries, The benefits of Arnica are found in the root of the plant as it contains Thymol which is effective in dilution of blood vessels therefore of some effect in preventing bruising, All I’m saying here really is other than Homeopathic preparation of Arnica in tablet form there are only topical applications available so in what form do you believe it to have therapeutic qualities ?

  46. Huron, Are you a medical practitioner?
    Oh and by the way, sugar does not cure thirst, and I am fairly sure that most if not all homeopathic remedies do not contain sugar, I stand to be corrected here. Then again I have no real expertise in this area as I am not a medical practitioner in any shape or form.

  47. Sometimes confusion can arise because people are not talking about the same thing. It’s important to distinguish between homeopathy and herbal remedies.

    I have no doubt that all sorts of herbal remedies are effective in treating illnesses. However, homeopathy is different because it involves diluting the original substance so much it can no longer be detected.

    It’s gone.

    Maybe we’re really talking about herbal remedies here, where a certain amount of the active ingredient is still present?

  48. The most common homeopathic dilution is 30C.

    This means that there’s one molecule of the remedy for every (deep breath)


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

    That’s 10^60.

    Since all the water in the oceans contains only about 4.4*10^46 molecules, it means you would need to drink

    (deep breath)

    22,000,000,000,000 times all the water on earth to have a chance of finding a single molecule of the remedy.

    I saw a calculation which appears to be pretty close, describing this as follows.

    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. 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,

  49. Norma, would your ” Bootleg ” be Oil Of Cloves. Has been used for years applied to the gums, brings almost instant relief. This is a herbal remedy. It is now classed as a narcotic, available on prescripition only.

  50. Islandbank. Bless your innocence ! I had the clove oil but no luck there, What i used was also around for years…………and apparantly stll is ! And has its own brand of ” prescription ” ! but thanks for asking, very thoughtful, If you ever have a bad toothache…………………………

  51. Totally correct Mr Bock it be the essence of antiquity and 0 dilution in excess of 40%

  52. A small percentage of people recover from serious illnesses all the time, with no explanation, even experts in those particular fields are baffled. It happens, although to a small proportion of people. Ever hear of somebody making a miraculous recovery with little or no treatment. Not to mention that doctors/experts are human and diagnostic mistakes are frequent.

    Many people do something about an illness when symptoms are at their worst, be it by using mainstream medicines or alternative therapies. When symptoms are at their worst they usually get less severe as the illness runs its course, its natural frequency. People then attribute miraculous and speedy recovery to an intervention that may have been doing nothing at all, mainstream or alternative, the illness just ran its course. I’m not saying that this applies to you LJS, more to minor ailments.

    The placebo effect is really powerful, studies have shown that two sugar pills have a greater effect than one, coloured sugar pills have a greater effect than white sugar pills, an intravenous saline injection has a greater effect than a sugar pill and dud keyhole surgery has an even greater effect again. Generally, the more dramatic the intervention the greater the effect. And these findings have been mirrored in animal studies, which is interesting to say the least. There have been really good meta-analysis studies conducted over the years focused on homeopathy and the conclusion has been that homeopathy performs no better than a placebo (I’ll post the study info if needed). No better than a pill a person takes, who believes that it will treat their ailment, but contains nothing but sugar.

    Most of the homeopathy remedies I have seen are little sugar pills, they don’t contain water–It would evaporate off as these are quite porous and are stored at room temperature. They might contain water of crystallisation, water molecules trapped in these sugar crystals, but they won’t do much. I don’t know the statistics but I doubt very much that there is a single biologically active molecule in these remedies, more so in the higher dilutions. Even so, if there were some present they would more than likely be below the threshold needed to elicit a response.

    James Randi has a one million dollar prize on offer to anybody that can distinguish a homeopathic solution from pure water.

  53. It turns out that water is not important in homeopathy. The vital thing is dilution, whether by water, sugar, alcohol or some other agent. In other words, the less you have of the stuff the stronger it becomes. Go figure.

  54. That makes perfect sense. By that logic a pure solution would be the most potent, and could potentially cure everything.

  55. That’s right. Obviously therefore, water that contains nothing at all would be the most powerful medicine known to mankind.

  56. Even better. Since the water isn’t part of the cure, the ultimate remedy is nothing at all.

    Headache? Here. Have nothing. It will sort you out in no time.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.