Thursday, October 19, 2006

Nothing Works Like Homoeopathy.

EoR has been browsing the website of Brauer, an Australian manufacturer of homoeopathic medicines. Whether Brauer actually believes their own hype, or they're simply concentrating on the commercial aim of selling their various products, they certainly don't hold back in their claims:

Symptoms are not an illness. They are signs that your body is out of balance and is attempting to correct itself. The word symptom comes from the Latin word for "signals". Conventional medicines could possibly suppress or mask the symptoms, and this suppression may lead to chronic disease that becomes harder and harder to deal with. Homoeopathic medicines work with your body to stimulate the body's own response to overcome the illness. It is the more complete form of healing that comes from your body's own resources that will give you better relief from your symptoms.

Forgive EoR for being slightly dull (it's all that stuffing in his head, you understand), but doesn't that mean:

Conventional medicines suppress symptoms (= BAD)
Homoeopathic medicines "overcome" the illness (= GOOD)
They do this by giving you "relief from your symptoms" (= CONFUSED)

Nonetheless, the homoeopathic medicine is far superior to that dangerous stuff your doctor will prescribe for you.

EoR is a little concerned with the useful advice that oral homoeopathic remedies may be "diluted with a small amount of water". Wouldn't this increase the dosage? Wouldn't every person estimate "a small amount of water" differently? How many people are being rushed to hospitals with homoeopathic overdoses because of this unthinking and, frankly, dangerous advice? Why aren't these tragic cases being recorded somewhere so the consumer knows the real toll inflicted by these vague instructions?

Brauer also state their products should be stored "in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight, perfumes or other strong smelling substances". Yet, strangely, the FAQ advises:

Because of the tiny amounts of active material in Homoeopathic products, Brauer medicines will not affect the activity of any other medication, and nor will other medications affect the activity of the Brauer product.

So, merely being near a strong smell could do untold (and unspecified) damage, but they can mix freely in the human body, with all the substances they might encounter there, as well as other medications with absolutely no harm to their magic powers. This is simply bad fiction.

Elsewhere in the FAQ Brauer state that you can take multiple homoeopathic medicines,

but if using more than one Brauer product at a time it's best to leave half an hour between the doses of the different products.

What happens in that half hour? Does all the powerful homoeopathic energy from the earlier ingestion somehow dissipate? EoR would ask how, but he really doesn't want to know what sort of studies determined this particular time limit (since they probably involved some occult ritual at a full moon, and the slaughter of various animals). EoR isn't joking about that magic energy. It's a wellknown, proven phenomenon involved in all disease processes.

When we are healthy, the levels of energy in all parts of our body are in perfect balance. When our inherited disease potential is triggered, the body responds by shifting some of this energy to the area where this trigger has been received. For example, in the case of hay fever, more energy is shifted to the eyes, nose and throat

Brauer also distribute a handy little brochure through pharmacists, entitled Your Guide to Homoeopathy which EoR really enjoyed and found highly illuminating. For instance, did you know that

Homoeopathy is a holistic system of medicine which uses micro-doses of biological, botanical and mineral substances.

See! In the wonderful pre-science world of the homoeopathist, "botanical" and "biological" are entirely different constructs, and "no dose" is equivalent to "micro-dose". We are also assured that the magic dilution principle of homoeopathy means

A homoeopathic treatment for hayfever may contain trace amounts of pollens and/or grasses.

That's "may contain" in the same sense that a lottery ticket "may" be the winning one. If you buy a few million bottles of your homoepathic medicine you just might get one with a trace (ie an atom) of the active substance.

The brochure ends up with the usual pharmaceutical style warnings to give the impression that these things actually are real medicines, such as not taking them with food and the warning about storing them near nasty smells, but EoR's favourite injunction is

Children under 12 years of age should take half the recommended adult dose.

Therefore children should only take half of nothing until they are 12. Then they are obviously considered strong enough to take a full dose of nothing.


  1. Yikes: "Children under 12 years of age should take half the recommended adult dose."

    I know I should not be amazed at anything altie anymore, but that made me choke on my coffee (I am ingesting it in the traditional, top-down manner, btw).

  2. EoR suspects anything up to 1 in 166 children are unwitting and undiagnosed victims of homeopathic overdosing. Er, underdosing.

  3. Well if the less "substance" in a dose the stronger the effect. Then this should surely apply to size of the dose as well as the concentration?

    This meaning that the smaller dose taken by the children contains less "substance" and will have a stronger effect

  4. Oh how you all may mock! I had suffered from psoriatic arthritis for 15 years (I an 34)and after poisoning my system with conventional drugs (and I am not joking when I use the word poison - to the point of needing a biopsy to check my liver hadn't developed cancer from the side-effects)I am being treated by a homoepath and for the first time in over two years I can actually bath my children on my own without crying with the pain.

    So explain that!


  5. Ver: EoR doesn't explain it. Correlation, however, is not causation. EoR is very happy for you, but there is no evidence that drops of water have any therapeutic effect.

  6. Oh BAH HUMBUG! We all know that phrase can be argued as a misnomer. The only evidence I need is not having to use the disabled entrance at work, being able to help my 2 yr old put on his socks and being able to dress myself in the mornings. And in case you are wondering I did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ELSE but take the 'drops of water' so unless I am imagining the swelling and pain in my fingers has disappeared then I think the correlation is linked to the causation in this case!

    Glad you are happy for me! I am happy for me too.


  7. What phrase is a misnomer? Correlation is not causation? Would you then please explain the causal mechanism? And while you state you did nothing else, did you also eliminate the possibility that you took a placebo? If so, how?

  8. This comment was deleted in error:

    Anonymous said:
    Oh that it was so easy to believe that any particular treatment would work and suddenly you are better. I suggest you look up psoriatic arthritis, its symptoms, causes and treatments. If it was belief that it would work that made the treatment work then I would have been cured long ago. Everytime I have been given a conventional drug with the promise that it would work, I have gone away with hope and true belief that it would work - why did the placebo effect not fit in then?

  9. Guess I'm a new age hippy then! At least now I'm one in a relative pain free state. I realy hope if you or anyone you love ever gets sick with a chronic or terminal illness, that you look beyond the conventional for help - because imbalance in the body whether mentally or physically cannot be helped by treating the symtoms and not the cause. I am walking (normally for a change) proof of that. All blessings and peace to you.



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