Saturday, September 6, 2008

Black Water

"Proponents of homeopathy acknowledge the lack of active ingredients, but claim that water has a unique 'memory' that captures a substance’s 'essence' and provides a 'healing charge.' According to, 'homeopathic remedies are believed to work in the spiritual plane.'

In other words, it’s magic.

Several debunkers have attempted 'homeopathic suicide' by downing dozens of homeopathic sleeping pills. None overdosed — most didn’t even yawn. In 2005, the Lancet, a prestigious British medical journal, conducted an analysis of several studies and found that homeopathic treatments were no more effective than a placebo.

Not surprisingly, the U.S. National Institutes of Health has found that 'systematic reviews have not found homeopathy to be a definitively proven treatment for any medical condition.' Regardless, homeopathic products annually generate hundreds of millions of dollars from consumers who are likely unaware that they are buying inert filler and distilled water.

The FDA is hamstrung by a 1938 statute passed by a practicing homeopathic senator that mandates the recognition of all existing treatments listed in the
Homeopathic Pharmacopeia. Today, the FDA does not test for efficacy and is largley limited to enforcing labeling requirements.

Manufacturers of homeopathic treatments regularly boast that their products are completely safe: they can be taken without fear of side effects, drowsiness or dangerous interactions with other drugs. Just like water.

But safe doesn’t mean harmless. Consumers are spending millions of dollars on unproven products expecting them to work. There have been reports that parents are skipping standard childhood vaccinations in favor of homeopathic concoctions. Authorities in the UK had to warn travelers not to use homeopathic remedies instead of proven malaria medication before traveling abroad.

Our health care system fosters frustration due to its expense and lack of access, but that doesn’t mean we should jump at any alternative within reach that promises results. We should be free to use any treatment at our disposal if it is proven to be safe and effective. Thus far, homeopathy appears most effective at separating unsuspecting consumers from their money."

-- Matthew Casey, charging into the on-going fight against NewAge quackery in America, for the Wicked Local Middleton.

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