No, There Isn’t A Homoeopathic Covid-19 Remedy
“…at the heart of science is an essential balance between two seemingly contradictory attitudes — an openness to new ideas, no matter how bizarre or counterintuitive, and the most ruthlessly sceptical scrutiny of all ideas, old and new. This is how deep truths are winnowed from deep nonsense.”
There are no “scientific facts”. Science is a living, changing, dynamic document. Unlike religious texts, it isn’t set in stone. It’s constantly updated with new data and evidence. Yesterday’s fact could be today’s fiction could be day after’s fact.
Proven hypotheses are the paradigms of our day. In the early 16th century, the “fact” was that the Earth was flat. Ferdinand Magellan’s epic sea-voyage around the earth proved otherwise. Science was updated.
The scientific method scrupulously separates theories, fantasies and truths.
Homoeopathy, despite being around for almost two centuries, hasn’t passed any scientific test. The only thing it’s successfully proven is that it’s almost as effective as the placebo effect. Ergo, it’s pseudoscience: a pale imitation of science with lofty claims and zero evidence. It’s horseshit.
Three things happened this last week that drew my attention to homoeopathy. The first, was my current read, the excellent “Trick or Treatment” by Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst. The second was this article plaguing my Twitter timeline claiming homoeopathy could be a powerful tool in fighting Covid-19. The third was the news that India has over 200,000 homoeopathic doctors with 12,000 being added every year — a figure proudly flaunted on the Government’s Ayush website, a bastion of pseudoscience.
So, I decided to list some “facts” of homoeopathy so you can gauge the sheer ridiculousness of it for yourselves.
- The principal foundation of homoeopathy is ultra-dilution. Homoeopathic remedies have zero molecules of an active ingredient. Homoeopathic remedies go through so many dilutions that they are basically just water. Like, pure unadulterated water. Not only is this proven, but it’s also regarded by homoeopaths as a feature, not a bug.
- Why is ultra-diluted water with zero molecules of the active ingredient a feature? Because of, wait for it, memory. The claim is that the water molecules “remember” the active ingredient and are thus efficacious. Strangely, the water molecules don’t remember sloshing around in sewage or urine. Anyway.
- Another foundation of homoeopathy: the more diluted the remedy, the more potent it is. Think about that one. If you are currently on zero homoeopathic medicine, you may be at the risk of OD-ing.
- The homoeopathic consultation process is truly wondrous. They begin with an hour-long interview where all your symptoms are recorded. Say you go in complaining of indigestion. Your personality, whereabouts, sleeping patterns and a myriad of other things are also recorded. These symptoms help the homoeopath in administering the correct remedy, allegedly. How? The symptoms are referenced against the “Materia Medica”, a sort of Wikipedia-on-acid reference guide that lists every possible symptom, in varying combinations and their respective treatments. Here are a select few examples: “Aceticum Acidum” to be used to treat those suffering from “poisoning by sausage” and/or “people worried about business affairs.” I mean…what?
- Because there are literally hundreds of thousands of combinations of symptoms, homoeopaths have a bulletproof method of ensuring the correct remedy is administered. How? Dowsing. This is the process whereby a pendulum is held above a list of possible candidates and the direction of swing indicates the correct remedy. No kidding.
- Homoeopathy was used to treat Napoleon's pubic lice. Need I say more? This should have been the headline of my article.
- Another example of an excellent homoeopathic remedy from the 19th century. Maybe I should cut them some slack as this is ancient and hopefully no longer applicable. “Pus from an itch pustule of a young and otherwise healthy Negro, who has been infected with scabies.”
Look, the science for homoeopathy simply isn’t there. Not because of the arrogance of “Imperialist” Western medical science but because of the fundamental scientific method. Science is always open to incorporate new ideas and data. That’s its essence. Despite several trials, homoeopathy barely delivers on its own claims.
So instead of patronising this drivel anymore (all homoeopathic pills are basically sugar pills), how about you educate yourself by picking up this excellent book instead? Not only does it lay bare homoeopathy’s pseudoscience, it also casts a sceptic eye on herbal remedies, acupuncture, reflexology, Reiki, Ayurveda and a whole host of “alternative medicine”.
It’s an armour to guard you against the dangers of pseudoscience and charlatan quacks. Scientifically proven, of course.