Wiki4CAM: Myths about homeopathy
Criticism and discussion of http://www.wiki4cam.org/w/index.php?title=Myths_about_homeopathy&oldid=1810 Wiki4CAM: Myths about homeopathy by RationalWiki.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Myth No. 1 – Homeopathic medicines cure nothing.
- 3 Myth No 2 – Homeopathic medicines are just water
- 4 Myth No. 3 – Homeopathic medicines are unscientific
- 5 Myth No. 4 – Homeopathic practitioners receive inadequate training
- 6 Myth No. 5 - There are no studies that prove homeopathy works
- 7 Myth No. 6 - Homeopathic hospitals are a waste of money
- 8 Myth No. 7 – Cure with homeopathy is simply the Placebo Effect.
- 9 Myth No. 8 - Homeopathic medicines contain no molecules
- 10 Myth No. 9 – ‘Anecdotal Evidence’ does not constitute scientific evidence!
- 11 Samuel Hahnemann
- 12 Treating the Whole Person or Holistic Healing
- 13 Attacks on Homeopathy
- 14 Historical Facts
- 15 See also
- 16 References
|Original article at Wiki4CAM||RationalWiki's responses|
HOMEOPATHY — Dispelling the MYTHS that Surround it!
In this article, I would like to dispel a plethora of myths surrounding homeopathy which have been used to discredit this highly efficacious healing art and science. Homeopaths are given few opportunities in the media to defend their profession, so a lot of misconceptions abound. The medical profession in general presents a fierce and blinkered opposition, yet as Big Pharma is learning of all sorts of amazing cured cases, they are determined to stamp out competition via EU regulation.
This is the standard persecution complex associated with woo practitioners — that the establishment refuses to accept new ideas because of closed minds, big money interests, and government coverups. This forms a nice impregnable defence against criticism as it works against any and all detractors: "Here's the evidence!", "Well, that's just what They want you to think" — and so on. Many quack-busters and skeptics do want to see these products banned because of how potentially dangerous they can be, but are unlikely to get their way. In reality, the medical profession (and health insurance industry) has been remarkably tolerant of those selling a mixture of water and alcohol as a cure based on unproven magic forces. That homeopaths, among other alternative medicine practitioners, are being censored and their wares covered up is far from reality.
Myth No. 1 – Homeopathic medicines cure nothing.
Homeopathy works by stimulating the body’s OWN healing mechanisms, through like for like. A substance that would cause symptoms in a healthy person can be used to cure the same symptoms in a sick person by giving a minute, highly potentised dose of that substance acting as a catalyst to jump start their own healing mechanisms. Everyone of us has our own natural innate healing powers. All that is needed is the correct stimulus to kick start it. In healthy people this may just be rest and good food but many people become 'stuck' in their physical, emotional or mental illness and cannot recover. Of course there are different levels of health and the choice of potency given should reflect that. Low potencies are given for very physically ill people and higher for those whose problems are emotional or of the mind. Homeopathy is very successful in treating emotional problems such as stress, anxiety and fears.
Unlike orthodox medicine, outcomes of homeopathic treatment are measured by the LONG TERM curative effects and the eradication of the disease state culminating in complete restoration of health. If we could have two year trials of outcomes for conditions such as asthma, arthritis and other chronic diseases, this could be proven.
The opening gambit of this article appears to shoot itself in the foot by stating that homeopathic "medicine" is a placebo. Research into the placebo effect indicates that a placebo works by stimulating the body's own healing mechanisms. That this process can occur is not disputed and that homeopathic remedies can induce the placebo effect is also not disputed. What is disputed, however, are the fallacious and pseudoscientific claims of homeopaths, which may appear harmless at first glance but often work to undermine confidence in real medicine, the abilities of doctors and the public's understanding of what is and what isn't real science.
What's missing here is any sort of mechanism by which homeopathy acts. Actual medicine depends on knowing things like biology, biochemistry, physiology, and anatomy to understand how a particular illness progresses, and making educated decisions on how best to treat it based on that knowledge. For instance, medications are prescribed (and work) because researchers figured out their specific effects on the body, not because of some hand-wavy "correct stimulus" nonsense. Nowhere in this entire document is there any explanation of what homeopathy actually does on a biological level.
The reason that doctors do not give sick people substances that would do harm to healthy people is that such substances are called "poisons". Again, no explanation beyond magic words like "potentised" (actual meaning: "shaken"; see below) is offered as to why poisons are good things to give to sick people. Scientists run two-, three-, or even twenty-year experiments all the time. Why can't homeopaths?
Myth No 2 – Homeopathic medicines are just water
Homeopathic medicines are NOT made using only dilution. Dilution alone would do nothing whatsoever. Many homeopaths are getting tired of reading this highly inaccurate reporting in the media. All homeopathic medicines are made by a process of dilution and SUCCUSSION (potentisation through vigorous shaking — 100 shakes between each potency — i.e. between a 1c and a 2c, between a 2c and a 3c potency, between a 3c and a 4c, etc. etc.) Most homeopathic medicines can be bought in either 6c or 30c from Boots or from health shops. Higher potencies of 200c and 1m (1000c) can be obtained only from homeopathic pharmacies. Succussion is nowadays done by machines, originally by hand. Succussion brings out the formative intelligence of the substance and imprints it upon the 60% distilled water + 40% alcohol medium used to make homeopathic medicines — alcohol acting as a preservative.
Oh, so you shake the water too?! Hot damn, that changes everything! Now these guys have instant credibility! Sorry, homeos, for causing you such exasperation on this point. And whoa, they're 80° proof? No wonder they work! Barman, a quack remedy if you please! Shaken, not stirred.
Sarcasm aside, this is often brought up as an accusation of a skeptical straw man argument by homeopaths. It's really an escape hatch argument as it amounts to just saying that adding an extra "magic" step circumvents all the other implausibilities. They would be right about "dilution" merely being a straw man, except for the fact that no coherent explanation has been given about how this "potentisation" changes the medicine or what effects it will bring after consumption, and it certainly hasn't been demonstrated. Therefore, from the perspective of scientific skepticism, homeopathic remedies are just dilutions — the succussion step may as well involve doing the dilution while wearing a silly costume, or saying a magic spell, for all the difference it has been shown to make.
"Explanations" about water memory, often invoking quantum woo, are all ad hoc attempts to make homeopathy seem plausible in the face of post-Avogadro chemistry. As homeopathic treatments haven't even been proven to work in randomised controlled trials, it seems a bit futile to search for such an "explanation" anyway.
Myth No. 3 – Homeopathic medicines are unscientific
Homeopathic medicines undergo a scientific 'Proving' where a control group of 50+ healthy volunteers ('Provers') are instructed to keep taking a remedy under trial until they develop symptoms which they must record in detail. Substances that have been rigorously tested include nearly everything on the Periodic Table — metals, minerals and gases as well as plants and even things like snake venom.
The Provers are given a bottle of a new remedy being tested in the 30c potency and must keep taking it until they develop symptoms, which must be carefully recorded and then submitted to a database. The Provers must be healthy and symptom-free to start with so that the symptoms they experience are new ones CAUSED by the remedy. They must keep a careful daily note of what happens and not discuss it with any of the other Provers. Whatever symptoms the Provers all experienced in common become the black type symptoms of the remedy which are then added to the Materia Medica of homeopathic medicines and Homeopathic Repertory (encyclopedia of symptoms). Thus the curative indications of a remedy are obtained for clinical use.
Symptoms have also been obtained through historical records of accidental poisonings, such as Arsenic and Belladonna. For example, poisoning by Arsenic causes vomiting, diarrhoea, restlessness, anxiety and extreme chill. Therefore you might get a patient in this state (possibly after food poisoning) and Arsenicum in a homeopathic tablet will quickly alleviate them.
There are more than 4,000+ homeopathic medicines including nearly everything on the periodic table. But of course all of the remedies tested have been diluted and succussed (potentised), so they are not toxic like modern drugs.
The Homeopathic Materia Medica and Repertory are extremely large books or divided into volumes. The Repertory is divided into sections in this order: Mind, Vertigo, Head, Eye, Vision, Ear, Hearing, Nose, Face, Mouth, Teeth, Throat, External Throat, Stomach, Abdomen, Rectum, Stool, Bladder, Kidney, Prostate Gland, Urethra, Urine, Male, Female, Larynx, Respiration, Cough, Expectoration, Chest, Back, Extremities, Sleep, Dreams, Chill, Fever, Perspiration, Skin, Generals. Obviously some sections are bigger than others!
In the various Repertories, remedies are listed alongside the full range of symptoms (rubrics) in abbreviated form — all information being systematically taken from Provings and clinical practice. Every human state of mind, emotions and body is listed. Symptoms that would mean nothing to a medical doctor can be looked up and the curative remedy found in these huge books. Homeopathy is a study of human nature, endlessly fascinating and how negative states of mind and emotions affect the physical body culminating in illness. Nowadays many homeopaths use computer software programmes which contain all this information.
Whether or not homeopathic remedies have been 'tested' by 'Provers' is irrelevant. To be scientifically tested they must undergo scientific tests using the scientific method. There is a long-standing and evolving methodology in the double blind testing of drugs which has been designed to mitigate false results due to effects other than the supposed remedy. Unless homeopathic remedies are tested using these methods then the tests most certainly will be unscientific and untrustworthy.
Already as early as 1835, homeopathic proving was shown to be nonsense in one of the very first scientifically conducted randomized double-blind tests, the Nuremberg salt test of 1835. Here, an attempt was made to replicate earlier proving results of a 30C table salt dilution, taking great pains to avoid any bias. The results were clear: only eight out of 50 participants reported any unusual symptoms, three of whom had received the non-homeopathic control substance. In the more than 175 years since then, numerous attempts were undertaken to replicate homeopathic provings, usually resulting in equally dismal failures.
Also note that at no point during the process of 'proving' are any actual patients or illnesses involved. The purported curative properties are lazily inferred from the experiences registered by the "provers". These experiences have no relation to any actual illness whatsoever, or even to the substance tested — as 30C dilutions are by definition inert — and usually boil down to random fluctuations in mood and physical well-being, vastly magnified by the provers' keen expectation of "symptoms". Even worse, the very link between remedies and symptoms introduces a fatal inconsistency when combined with the aforementioned 'law of similars. Many remedies are associated with huge numbers of symptoms. E.g., several hundred symptoms are associated with homeopathically diluted table salt, natrum muriaticum. According to the law of similars, healthy people should develop at least some of these symptoms when taking natrum muriaticum, yet the Nuremberg salt test of 1835 showed that this didn't happen, which makes this whole premise already very shaky. But what about sick people? When their symptoms match those associated with natrum muriaticum, they should get better when using this 'remedy'. The glaring problem, however, is that no patient in the world exhibits all the symptoms associated with the remedy, and thus, according to the law of similars, they should develop the remedy's symptoms they didn't have in the first place. What this means in simple terms is that if homeopathic principles are true, remedies such as natrum muriaticum should have lots and lots of side effects, more than any regular medicine. Yet this doesn't happen.
With less diluted substances, this testing could involve taking the compound until it makes you ill. Yet even such a process says nothing whatsoever about whether such a product would make you well. Indeed, if it says anything at all, it says that the product is toxic.
The fact that these misleading "solutions" to the problem of ill health are contained in "extremely large books" is completely irrelevant to their efficacy.
Myth No. 4 – Homeopathic practitioners receive inadequate training
In fact all qualified homeopathic practitioners undergo a four year training course at accredited Colleges, which includes Anatomy and Physiology, as well as Pathology and Disease, Materia Medica, Homeopathic Philosophy and study of the Homeopathic Repertory. Yet medical doctors and nurses treat after much shorter homeopathy courses. To be really good, you need to study intensively for about 10 years. Homeopathy is a lifetime's work and you never stop learning.
The amount of time spent learning a subject is irrelevant to its validity or the effectiveness of a particular medical practice. One could easily spend a lifetime studying and learning the history and stories of Tolkien's Middle Earth or George Lucas' Star Wars universe but this wouldn't make these fictional environments any more real. Studying every aspect of homeopathy, from the various water memory theories to learning the supposed remedies for different illnesses, does not change the fact that there is no evidence for its efficacy.
By comparison, real medical doctors train for years — a minimum of 9 years to become a General Practitioner in the UK, for example. Real medicine also evolves and develops over time, and doctors are well aware that what they are taught in medical school may be well out of date by the time they graduate, making it a truly life-long learning and development experience. The important thing is, that compared to homeopathy there is evidence supporting what they spend this lifetime learning.
Myth No. 5 - There are no studies that prove homeopathy works
In the past 24 years there have been more than 180 controlled, and 118 randomized, trials into homeopathy, which were analysed by four separate meta-analyses. In each case, the researchers concluded that the benefits of homeopathy went far beyond that which could be explained purely by the placebo effect. Another meta-analysis found that 65 of the 89 trials analysed had produced an effect way beyond placebo (source WDDTY www.wddty.co.uk )
A study of 6500 patients at the Bristol Homeopathic hospital was conducted showing that over 70% of patients reported complete cure or significant improvement of their symptoms. 
Historical records show that epidemics such as cholera and typhoid were treated successfully using homeopathy in the 19th century with very high success rates, compared to orthodox medicine.
A study on the properties of water was performed by Dr. Rustrum Roy. This paper provides an interdisciplinary base of information on the structure of liquid water. The Structure Of Liquid Water; Novel Insights From Materials Research; Potential Relevance To Homeopathy Rustum Roy1, W.A. Tiller2, Iris Bell3, M. R. Hoover4 Received: 2 August 2004 Revised: 6 September 2004 Accepted: 14   Homeopathy can never be tested properly through conventional trials because each prescription is individualised as every person is unique. Therefore 10 people with arthritis, for example, may all need a different homeopathic medicine. So it is far from ideal to follow the allopathic trial paradigm to test homeopathy. In orthodox medicine trials, all are given the same medicine to be tested. In homeopathy all may be given different medicines!
"Anybody who has an understanding of the principles of homeopathy can be left in no doubt that we are dealing with a scientific therapeutic method in the best possible sense: it is based on observation, facts and phenomena and follows the rules of inductive logic that can be tested in daily practice. It is a comprehensive and comprehensible mode of therapy, which in some countries is first line treatment for the whole range of acute and chronic conditions. It has been proven abundantly that it is superior in the treatment of epidemic diseases to allopathy.
It is amazing how people, who like to see themselves on the side of unprejudiced evaluation, can be so blinkered. People pass judgment on homeopathy who have never bothered to study it. Like any science it takes time to learn (especially to learn it correctly) and years of practice to master but the rewards for patients, practitioners and the NHS purse are great. Before those who preach pure science come down on therapies like homeopathy too heavily, they should ask themselves how many of the accepted treatments within the NHS have a scientific evidence base?" (Peter Morrell. Hon. Research Associate, History of Medicine, Dept of Sociology, Staffordshire University, UK.)
With every homeopathic medicine we know exactly the substance it was made from, unlike most modern drugs where we have no clue of the ingredients. This is ironic too as ALL natural health products, whether vitamin, mineral or food supplement must clearly state on the label every single ingredient. When we go to the supermarket or health food shop, we hold up the packet or bottle and read what is in the product, yet people happily swallow prescription drugs with no idea whatsoever what they have taken! They could contain cyanide or any poison and the patient would be none the wiser. With the new class of genetically modified drugs, such as the one used in the Northwick Park drug trial in London, the dangers of a massive allergic reaction, such as the drug testers experienced, are even greater.
Those, who claim to be scientists, should have the ability to at least try to understand different paradigms. If not, they look more like people who have settled on a comfortable view of the world which might soon look very outmoded indeed. As the great musician and conductor Sir Yehudi Menhuin once said: 'Homeopathy is one of the few specialised areas in medicine, which carries no disadvantages but only advantages'.
Regarding the Horizon programme on homeopathy, Prof. Madeleine Ennis was not involved in the Horizon test. The test was carried out by Wayne Turnbull at Guys hospital, London. It has been conceded that the Horizon test was not an exact replica of Ennis' successful trials. Many of his protocols were different. You can read at this link where he added in an ammonium chloride lysis step which would have ended up killing the very basophils that were such an integral part of the test.  Ennis' original test was replicated in 4 different labs in 4 different countries.
Dr. Peter Fisher's article in PubMed discusses the 'End of Homeopathy' editorial and meta-analysis published in the Lancet of 26th August 2005 and how nearly 100 successful studies that showed homeopathy worked were thrown out and only a few that were inconclusive were used. Dr. Fisher is the Queen's homeopathic physician and heads the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital. (The vitriolic editorial was caused by the World Health Organisation bringing out a draft report in 2005 which was favourable towards homeopathy!)
"The final analysis which concluded that ‘the clinical effects of homoeopathy are placebo effects’ was based on just eight clinical trials of homeopathy. The Lancet's press release did not mention this, instead giving the impression that the conclusions were based on all 110 trials." "One of the most serious criticisms is the complete lack of transparency: we have no idea which eight trials were included in the final, damning, analysis." "The literature references are not given, nor any information on the diagnoses, numbers of patients, etc., nor can these be deduced from the article. Prof. Egger has refused several requests to disclose the identity of the eight trials. This is not even a matter of scientific method, but of natural justice: the accused has the right to know the evidence against him."
"The Lancet meta-analysis in 2005 of homeopathic trials was said to be based upon 110 placebo-controlled clinical trials of homeopathy and 110 clinical trials of allopathy, which were said to be matched but were in fact reduced to 21 trials of homeopathy and 9 of conventional medicine and further reduced to 8 and 6 trials."  Other Responses from the Homeopathic Community on the Lancet Article  from WDDTY 
George Vithoulkas' 'Science of Homeopathy' is still considered an excellent exposition of the science.  More scientific studies:    Bizarre chemical discovery gives homeopathic hint 
Groundbreaking Research regarding Homeopathy using spectroscopy
As an appeal to authority, quoting "the great musician and conductor Sir Yehudi Menhuin" for a medical opinion is a bit strange. He played a mean fiddle, but we wouldn't have gone to him for medical treatment.
The claim that homeopathy is "a scientific therapeutic method in the best possible sense" could not be further from the truth. In essence, homeopathy is science turned upside down in every single respect: observations are biased to the extreme, and vast amounts of observations contradicting homeopathy are simply ignored or denied, instead of acknowledged and researched as in proper science. Homeopathic 'facts' are unproven (or even long disproved) assumptions, and 'phenomena' such as 'the law of similars' are equally made up and are not founded in reality. This topsy-turvy approach to reality even extends to basic logic, where it is claimed that the more diluted a substance is, the stronger its effect becomes — something which not only flies in the face of even casual observation and common sense, but has never been actually observed by homeopaths themselves: if in a homeopathic trial a diluted substance was found to have an effect at all, no relationship was found between the dilution used and the measured effect. The whole dilution-and-succussion process has nothing to do with science, and everything with belief in magic. This is further supported by the notion that absolutely no-one can distinguish plain water or an inert sugar pill from a homeopathic 'remedy', homeopaths and scientists alike, and by whatever test imaginable, no matter how sensitive. Furthermore, homeopathic 'provings' and tests are rarely if ever replicated, and even if they are replicated, produce wildly different results — which of course are subsequently ignored, in good pseudoscientific tradition.
The homeopaths' backwards approach to trivial details such as reality and truth is further demonstrated by the statement that people who use modern medicines supposedly have no idea what they're taking, whereas it is known exactly what homeopathic remedies are made of. This too couldn't be further from the truth. Real medicines are required by law to list not just each and every ingredient on the label, but also exactly how much of each ingredient is present. Homeopathic remedies, on the other hand, list 'active ingredients' that are not present at all. Yes, scientists know exactly what homeopathic remedies are made of: either water and ethanol, or sucrose and lactose (or sometimes xylitol). Yet the general public is fooled into believing that there is also an active ingredient present; even if we'd accept this for the sake of argument, no homeopath has ever explained what that 'active ingredient' exactly is. It is most certainly not a molecular substance, as even homeopaths admit. But then exactly what is it? Homeopaths don't know, and neither do their patients.
It is also entirely wrong to claim that, since homeopathic remedies must be tailored to the patient, this excludes the possibility of standardized double blind trials. Even laymen such as ourselves can devise a suitable protocol that removes the possibility of experimental bias. The administering homeopath merely needs to see every patient in the trial and tailor their particular remedy in the usual manner. The remedy would then be removed from their hands and checked against a randomly generated listing that determines whether or not to switch it with an identical-appearing placebo, depending on whether the subject is or is not in the control group. In short, this claim is merely used to escape the consequences of trial based evidence showing that homeopathy is no more effective than placebo.
The most recent meta-analysis of of homeopathy data was carried out by the Lancet in 2005 and concluded that homeopathy was no better than placebo.
Myth No. 6 - Homeopathic hospitals are a waste of money
There are 5 homeopathic hospitals in the UK — in London, Liverpool, Tunbridge Wells, Bristol and Glasgow. They cost the NHS around £6 million a year. Compare that to the £100 billion for the total 2008 annual NHS budget!! These homeopathic hospitals SAVE money for the NHS as the Smallwood report commissioned by Prince Charles has demonstrated.
At one of the earliest debates on the NHS Act 1948 the Government pledged that homoeopathy would continue to be available on the health service as long as there were "patients wishing to receive it and doctors willing to provide it". Many people who depend upon it are alarmed at the possibility that Homeopathy may no longer be available on the NHS. Since the passing of the NHS Act in 1948, a provision has always been made for people to be treated at homeopathic hospitals in the UK and until PCTs began to stop referring patients, there had indeed been long waiting lists, some 6 months or more.
See this letter sent out in May 2006 to the Chief Executives of all Primary Care Trusts signed by a group of Professors hostile to homeopathy and putting pressure on PCTs not to refer patients to the 5 homeopathic hospitals in the UK saying there was no evidence homeopathy worked. 
Eventually an explanation was put up on the Department of Health website at the end of October 2007, although by then the damage was done. 
Read what David Tredennick, MP had to say in February 2008 about the possible closure of the homeopathic hospitals, recorded here in Hansard. “The Minister may recall that in May 2007 some doctors issued a spurious document—printed on official paper, with the NHS logo—claiming that homeopathic services should be decommissioned. The Government have never written to PCTs to refute that document.” 
The Smallwood report says absolutely nothing about the monetary value of homeopathic hospitals. In fact, it concludes there is insufficient data to produce a cost-benefit analysis. The nearest it comes is with the comparison of costs for conventional drug therapies to those of herbal remedies, saying nothing about efficacy. It acknowledges there is scientific evidence showing homeopathy simply doesn't work, concluding that some of the better attested alternative therapies might be worth further research to cover some of the gaps in conventional medicine in instances such as the management of chronic pain. Hardly a glowing recommendation.
Myth No. 7 – Cure with homeopathy is simply the Placebo Effect.
When Prince Charles treats his farm animals at Highgrove with homeopathic medicines do they know that a remedy has been put in the water they drink? Farmers successfully use homeopathic medicines for their cows suffering from mastitis. Does a tiny baby know when their fever drops dramatically using Belladonna or Aconite, that they have been given a homeopathic medicine?! As anyone who has treated animals and babies with homoepathic medicines will tell you, homeopathy works even better on animals and babies than it does on adults! If proof were needed, this is it. Not placebo.
There have been studies showing that the interaction between the physician and the patient can have a placebo effect. Children and animals will be especially prone to this. As homeopaths are fond of anecdotal evidence here's an example. The mother of an editor here, in the later stages of cancer, went for aromatherapy. Their father, a medical statistician, knew that the aromatherapy was bollocks but was happy for her to go as she benefited from being pampered with lots of nice smellies.
In any case, if homeopathy works so well on animals, why has no clinical trial been carried out? Animal experiments are far easier to control, and exact far lower ethical standards than equivalent trials on humans. If homeopaths are so confident in the ability of their remedies to cure disease one might expect them to be eager to organize and conduct double-blind trials using such animals as they deem appropriate.
Myth No. 8 - Homeopathic medicines contain no molecules
Any remedy under a 12c or a 24x potency still contains the original molecules of the substance and this is known as Avogadro's number. These low potencies are most suitable for physical illness of long duration as well as to heal specific organs that are not functioning properly.
Let's apply the discipline dreaded by all such quacks and frauds, mathematics, shall we? What Avogadro's number actually is is the number of molecules in one mole of a substance. A brief survey of the internet seems to indicate a typical homeopathic remedy consists of about 20ml of water. One mole of water is approximately 18 grams. Thus a homeopathic treatment will consist of some 1.1 moles of water, or some 6.6×1024 molecules. Now, take a 10C solution of the active ingredient. This means the active ingredient is diluted to one part in 1020. If one took a straight random sampling of the molecules one might expect there to be some 70000 molecules of the active ingredient remaining in the final solution, or ~1×10-18% by volume. In comparison, the average tap water sample will contain several billion times more lead than this, without any effect at all on the drinker. Such concentrations might reasonably be approximated as "none".
Myth No. 9 – ‘Anecdotal Evidence’ does not constitute scientific evidence!
Most medical, surgical procedures and drug usage are not backed by studies - only by anecdotal evidence. According to the US Government's Office of Technology Assessment (Congress of the United States, Office of Technology Assessment: Assessing the efficacy and safety of medical technologies. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1978), only 10-20% of all medical procedures and off-label drug usage are backed by clinical studies. Strong anecdotal evidence among informed professionals is actually quite reliable - at least as reliable as clinical testing. Many clinical tests come to diametrically opposed conclusions. You could say that the problem was discovered through anecdotal evidence - and merely confirmed through a peer reviewed study.  The problem isn't with the use of anecdotal evidence. It's with the double standard applied by the establishment (medical and regulatory) that holds complementary medicine to an absurdly higher standard, allowing medical doctors to do pretty much whatever they want. If informed anecdotal evidence is allowable for 85% of all medical procedure and drug usage, why is alternative health held to an impossible 0% standard? Millions of people worldwide testify that homeopathy cures their illnesses yet apparently that cannot be construed as 'evidence'.
If a person were to walk out of their house to the town centre and witness someone having their bag snatched or witness a car accident, then when they relay this information to the Police or to their friends and family, it is anecdotal evidence.
If someone go on holiday, stays at a nice hotel, eats delicious food, swims in the sea, comes back home and relates the holiday to their friends, that is anecdotal evidence.
Does that mean that the above never happened? According to the detractors of complementary or alternative medicine, yes it does!
Millions of people have been cured of their diseases and afflictions using homeopathy, herbs, healing, vitamin supplements, special diets and on and on. Yet according to orthodox medicine all of these cures are anecdotal evidence and as such do not merit any further investigation, study, or validity. As far as orthodox medicine is concerned, these cures never happened.
Yet what if someone witnessed a car accident and the Police wanted them to make a statement? Would the statement in court be dismissed as anecdotal evidence? Would the police, even if they arrived at the scene of the accident to find the person still there comforting the passengers or trying to help, say they had not been there and their evidence is non existent? I don’t think so.
So how for so long have we put up with the top dogs in the medical establishment dismissing our cures as total nonsense, figments of our imagination, placebo cures, or outright lies?
How when millions are cured around the world using homeopathic medicines, can these cures be dismissed as unworthy of attention, simply ‘anecdotal evidence’.
Orthodox medicine implies through this that all cures with alternative medicine are untrue or simply imagined. Even when all the evidence is put before them, they become angry and even aggressive, simply refusing to see or to listen.
All the case notes in the surgery show that Mr. A had arthritis for 5 years, had been on anti-flammatory medicines, yet after homeopathic treatment, the arthritis is cured. The reaction of the doctor is either disbelief or an attitude where they will not talk about it and do not want to know.
Of course there are some orthodox doctors who practise acupuncture, homeopathy or herbs themselves and who do believe that these therapies cured the patient but they are in a small minority.
It is always the top cancer specialists and professors whose lives and vested interests are the most challenged by the idea that anything other than pharmaceutical drugs or surgical interventions can cure the patient.
Very often the doctor’s prognosis can create enormous fear in a patient making them much worse, striking terror in their hearts and creating a mental block to healing when told by ‘experts’ they will never get better.
Yet pharmaceutical drugs cure nothing. They merely SUPPRESS the symptoms driving them deeper into the body of the patient. Believe it or not, the disappearance of symptoms does not equal cure! Very often a new and deeper set of symptoms are created which are even more serious. Pharma drugs work through the Law of Opposites, eg. antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, anti-convulsants, anti-hypertensives, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, etc. etc.
Hence the eczema patient whose skin symptoms have been suppressed, goes on to develop asthma. The arthritic patient whose joint pains are suppressed, eventually will go on to develop heart disease.
The doctor makes no connection whatsoever that their drugs have created these deeper illnesses but just goes on to give the patient more and more powerful drugs, making the patient sicker still. Then when they die, they say, ‘We did everything we could’. Yes and you killed the patient!
So there is no question that dismissing cures as Anecdotal Evidence through the use of natural medicine, is nothing more than a whitewash and a desperate means of concealing the knowledge of those cures from the Public as a whole.
Medical treatments are often not put to trial because the mechanism of action is clearly explained and has already been proved. Homeopaths have yet to explain a credible causality for their magic water, and every bit of homeopathic theory has been shredded to bits by modern science—from potentisation to the Principle of Similars to water memory. Moreover, performing studies on surgery contravenes the Hippocratic Oath's do not harm. Yet, long-term studies are often done on surgery patients. For example, veterans having undergone splenectomies participating in one study were found to have significantly higher rates of pneumonia. More recent studies have looked at the results of tonsillectomies to find that while removing the tonsils reduces the occurrence of sore throats, the reduction is only modest. This is why tonsillectomies are performed far less often nowadays.
The claim that pharmaceutical drugs cure nothing is monstrous. The vast and ongoing improvement in cancer survival rates is built upon improved pharmacology and to suggest that the practitioners are 'making the patient sicker still' is plain evil.
Furthermore, eyewitness evidence is viewed with great suspicion in courts. Due to a wide variety of psychological effects (for example weapon focus), eyewitness evidence is extremely unreliable and would never be accepted in court on its own without any corroborating evidence. An eyewitness statement in court would be dismissed if there was no other evidence backing it up, as is the case with homeopathy.
Also, "off-label drug usage" is a red herring.
"Hahnemann was a doctor but gave up his practice because he was appalled at the poisonous side effects of most available medicine. He started experimenting and did something rather novel — he took some quinine, while perfectly healthy. He observed that the effect on him was identical to a malarial attack: alternating fever with heat and chills. This is where homeopathy started: a substance, given to a healthy individual, causes symptoms. If given to someone who suffers those symptoms, it will thus neutralise the sickness.
After his observations on quinine, Hahnemann went on to test hundreds of substances on himself and willing, healthy volunteers, used the tested substances for matching symptoms in his patients and all the while kept accounts of detailed observations. Of course, Hahnemann had an antecedent, still well-known today because all doctors still swear an oath to him to promise best medical practice: Hippocrates." (Peter Morrell. Hon. Research Associate, History of Medicine, Dept of Sociology, Staffordshire University, UK.)
Hippocrates stated that there were two laws of healing – the law of opposites (allopathy) and the law of similars (homeopathy). A Greek physician called Galen had laid these rules down in about 150 AD. Homeopathic theories are based on fixed principles of the Laws of Nature which do not change - unlike medical theories which are constantly changing! Homeopathy is both a science and an art.
"Far from being ideas-based, this is completely evidence-based, empirical medicine an almost unique concept at the time. After some years of practising like this, Hahnemann was still not satisfied. The substances he was using, while more effective than normal medical practice, were still having side effects. Or, if he reduced dosage too far, there was no effect. This is when he developed the concept of potentisation, the serial dilution that opponents of homeopathy deride.” (Peter Morrell. Hon. Research Associate, History of Medicine, Dept of Sociology, Staffordshire University, UK.)
We know full well what quinine's method of action is against malaria. It kills the parasites (Plasmodium falciparum) that cause the disease. It has nothing to do with "stimulating the body's own healing mechanisms" as we are led to believe homeopathy does. This is the key difference between conventional drug therapy and homeopathy. The former is carefully researched, often starting with a theorized method of action and then attempting to find a compound that will achieve the required end — and then testing it via double-blind trials. The latter is based on guesswork and vague, unscientific principles. Besides, Hahnemann likely got himself a bit of Cinchonism, on account of all the tree bark he ate to even get any quinine in him. Cinchonism and malaria share some symptoms.
Appealing to the science of the 19th century and, worse, the science of the iron age is hardly a good way to convince the skeptical.
Treating the Whole Person or Holistic Healing
|We are not just a collection of parts to be fixed as doctors treat us but ALWAYS operating as a whole person ALL of the time. In other words medicines are chosen that treat the whole person and not just the part. This may seem strange to grasp and yet doesn't it in fact make total sense? Do we leave our sore throat on the desk of the physician as we leave the surgery? Or our arthritic knee behind? No, every single tiny function of our body operates as a WHOLE, all of the time. You cannot treat one thing and not affect the rest. That is why pharma drugs are so dangerous, as for example, in treating a cancerous tumour, the medicine will affect and disturb the other systems of the body.||Again with the awesome 19th century anecdotes. Modern medicine takes into account many "individualistic" aspects during treatment of illness. Of course, these are based on evidence and experiment rather than silly woo. If a patient has an arthritic knee, chances are it has nothing to do with their sore throat. The two problems are addressed separately, with proper attention to the individual patient's biochemistry (allergies to various antibiotics or corticals, for instance).|
|We are all energy beings.  The electricity in our bodies transmits messages to all parts/systems of the body. Illness is caused when these messages are not getting through. All systems of the body are communicating with each other at all times. Water is a great conductor of electricity and it transmits the electrical current. This is how homeopathic mediums work – by communicating a current/pattern/frequency of energy via the whole human body to jump start the body’s own inherent healing mechanisms.||This paragraph manages the impressive feat of buggering up physics, chemistry, and biology in one go.
First of all, water is a terrible conductor of electricity. It is only when there are ions dissolved in it that it can transfer an electric charge. Second, many of the body's important functions (notably including the ways in which the body fight infection) involve chemical messengers — not electrical signals.
There are two systems in the body involving the transfer of electric charge. One is in neurons, in which charge is propagated by an exchange of calcium, potassium, and sodium ions through protein gates across a lipid membrane. The other occurs in mitochondrial membranes, in which a flow of electrons across proteins that is used to pump protons from inside the membrane to outside; the protons then flow back into the cell through ATP synthase, which uses the kinetic energy of those protons to generate ATP. Neither of these systems involves any sort of charged particle flowing through water; in both cases, the particles travel across proteins.
Some diseases are caused by defects in the nervous system, which prevent charge from propagating; multiple sclerosis is an example. However, the majority of examples are caused by invasive bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, or genetic factors. None of these have anything to do with electricity.
The description of how homeopathy supposedly works is handwavey bollocks. Disease has nothing to do with ambiguously-described 'energy', and the body's immune system run on the laws of chemistry. Macrophages and dendrocytes use proteins on their surfaces to bond to specific sequences on the surfaces of pathogens, and consume them. They then present those same sequences on their own surfaces, which are recognised by helper T-cells. These cells then stimulate killer T-cells and B-cells that are specific to the same pathogenic sequence. Killer T-cells bind to host cells that display the sequence on class I MHC proteins on their surfaces, and induce apoptosis, thus culling infected cells. B-cells produce antibodies, which bind to the pathogens themselves and induce the complement system, causing bacteria and infectious eukaryotes to explode, as well as causing viruses to clump together, which prevents them from binding to host cells and making it easier for macrophages to find and eat them.All this is well-established science, covered in high school biology textbooks. The mechanisms of action have been documented in exhaustive detail, and there is no 'vital force' involved.
|Homeopathy treats different sorts of people with distinct characters and personalities as well as different physical looks and natures. It individualises each person treating their diverse pattern of symptoms looking at them AS A WHOLE.|
|Is it not true that no two people are alike? That every person is unique? This is why you could line up 20 people with asthma and they might all need a different homeopathic medicine. There are in fact about 250 homeopathic medicines for asthma but the correct one for each person must be selected taking into consideration such things as what makes the condition better or worse, what time of day it comes on, whether the person is hot or cold, worse for damp, need fresh air or prefer the windows closed and so on. You would be amazed at how each person's symptoms are so different and yet all have been diagnosed with asthma.||Individualised treatment is a reasonable idea, but this doesn't mean that homeopathy works.|
|After homeopathic treatment, careful analysis is taken of the Direction of Cure of the patient’s symptoms. Constance Hering was a converted skeptic of homeopathy. As a young man in Germany in the early nineteenth century, Hering had been assigned the task of reviewing Homeopathy because his medical mentor (a fervent anti-homeopath) had been asked by a publisher to write a book exposing homeopathy as unworthy. Having been given this task, Hering conducted a detailed study but concluded the opposite from the requested results! He was the first to talk about the Law of Cure which says that symptoms are cured from above down, from the inside out and in the reverse order of their appearance. This has stood the test of time in clinical experience. A simple example would be after a curative remedy is given for eczema all over the body, we would see the eczema start to move down and when it is only on the ankles, we know it is nearly cured.||In the 19th century, mainstream medicine was harmful, while homeopathy, while not effective, was at least harmless, and so yes, a patient who took a homeopathic remedy had a better prognosis than one who took a mainstream remedy. In the 21st century, however, medicine does work most of the time, and 19th century remedies were abandoned long ago, making this argument a massive straw man.|
|The other very important point about homeopathic treatment is that very often the appearance of an illness stems back to an important event in the life of the patient such as a shock, fright, loss or grief suffered by them. The homeopathic practitioner will always enquire whether there was a life changing event that severely affected the patient. It is extremely common to find that the onset of a condition coincided with a major event. The homeopath will select a remedy that corresponds to the way the patient reacted to that event, mentally, emotionally and physically in order to clear the state which caused the illness. In other words you treat the cause, to remove the effect.|
|Examples of remedies for people who have undergone severe shock would be the following: If a person becomes very tired after a shock it would be Phos. Ac. when they become indifferent to their surroundings and loved ones. If they are just sitting there, not moving, staring in front of them, not speaking – it would be the homeopathic remedy Opium. If they become terribly restless and anxious it would be Aconite. Arnica is for shock when people say they are fine, when they are obviously not. Ignatia would be in floods of tears, hysterical, slamming doors and telling people to go away. Platina would be very proud, angry and indignant. These are all possible ways people can react from a shock and homeopathy must treat the individual. The trick is to work out how people are behaving and which one they need!|
|Homeopathy works on fixed principles that correspond with the Laws of Nature.
The body has its own intelligence. That is why the human race has survived. When a baby is conceived, Nature chooses the best genes from both parents in order to create a stronger, healthier human. If the parents are both taking drugs of any kind, whether legal or illegal, the health of the baby will be compromised.
|This is not how conception or evolution works.
When a sperm merges with an egg, chromosomes from each align with their respective counterparts and exchange random stretches of DNA, due mostly to the action of the enzyme Spo 11. Mutations can be introduced at this stage, and may also occasionally occur over the life of the conceived organism due to DNA replication not being 100% faithful. If a mutation is beneficial, it has a heightened probability of being passed on to multiple descendants. Thus, over long stretches of time, there is a general trend towards propagation of improved versions of existing genes, but there is no 'selection' of superior genes at conception; the set of alleles passed on by the father are essentially random, depending on which sperm happens to fuse with the ovum, while the set of alleles inherited from the mother depends on which ovum happens to be in the womb when the woman has sex.The mother taking drugs will indeed adversely affect the health of the unborn baby, but what this has to do with homeopathy is impossible to see from this article.
|Doctors should look at Nature in order to study disease. Doctors and scientists would find all the answers and instead of going against it, learn from it. They really need to study health first before they study disease. There is only one true science and that is the science of Nature.||Actually, doctors and scientists do study nature to work out how to cure disease. For example, in the 19th century, it was noticed that bacteria did not grow in the presence of Penicillium fungus. It was thus hypothesised that Penicillium produced some chemical that inhibited the growth of bacteria, and this turned out to be true when penicillin was extracted several years later.
Penicillin and related compounds work on well-established laws of nature; in this case, chemistry and biology. Most of them work by inhibiting synthesis of new bacterial cell walls, which results in the cell wall disintegrating and the bacteria dying.
Real doctors treat disease by identifying the infectious agent, identifying a substance that will kill it, and administering that substance in a dose which will cure the disease while causing minimal harm to the patient. This is in contrast to homeopaths, who seem to work exclusively on symptoms and psychology while deliberately ignoring pathogenic infection.Furthermore, the idea of working 'with' or 'against' nature makes no sense. Nature simply exists; it does not have any direction or goal.
|The human race has survived because we all have an innate healing power in our bodies. In homeopathy for example, this is called the Vital Force. Homeopathy stimulates the vital force to heal the body, through like for like (using a potentised substance that would cause the symptoms but in a tiny dose acts as a catalyst for healing).||See the above response to the bit about us being 'energy beings' for a refutation of this. In short, no, it's not some sort of 'vital force' that keeps us healthy, it's the chemistry of the immune system.|
|If people want to improve their looks, homeopathy does just that. When you are healthy and well, you obviously look better! Homeopathic practitioners believe in PREVENTION, having treatment can prevent illness rather than leaving it to the surgeon’s knife. There are thousands of homeopathic medicines which treat every ailment known to man, truly the most wonderful science on this planet.||You know who else believes in prevention? Real doctors! This is why we have vaccination, and why a good doctor will give her patients information on how they can avoid having to come in for other treatment. This paragraph gives the distinct impression that homeopaths want lots of patients to come in regularly for 'preventive' treatment.|
|Many people buy self help books or think they can treat themselves with over the counter remedies. This is a short term solution. The reason is as stated above. You cannot treat individual symptoms without taking into consideration the rest of you! Only a qualified and experienced homeopath who will spend 1-2 hours taking your full medical history and all of your symptoms can prescribe the remedy that fits best. In other words if you have hayfever, the homeopath will take into consideration all other physical symptoms as well as your personality, to come to the correct prescription. Itchy, watery, red eyes, worse morning and evening would be Sulphur but only if all the other things about you fit the Sulphur picture. You cannot prescribe for yourself as you cannot take all of it into consideration at once. So if for example you buy Natrum Mur. for your hayfever (which is also an excellent remedy for this), it may work for a bit if you are healthy but the hayfever will come back, will not be cured for good, because it was not the remedy that fitted best.|
|The only exception to this rule is in the treatment of first aid and even then it often has to be individualised. An example of when it does not is having a molar removed at the dentist. Firstly you would take Arnica for bruising of the gums, secondly Hypericum for the pain as the anaesthetic wears off (will remove pain completely), thirdly Ledum for injection and fourthly Calendula (the remedy not the cream!) for fast healing of the gums (or any other injury). Symphytum is the great healer of broken bones.|
|Homeopaths believe that illnesses manifest for three reasons: firstly they are genetically inherited from our parents, grandparents, forefathers. Secondly, they can be caused by a traumatic event such as death of a loved one, divorce, job loss - any event that has a serious impact upon the person. Thirdly they can be caused from drugs taken by our parents (passed on to the foetus) or by ourselves. There is also of course accidents and injury.||It is correct that certain diseases are caused by inherited genetic factors; anaemia and haemochromatosis are some examples. Drugs and other poisons will also cause illness. However, while emotional trauma makes one feel bad, it does not in itself cause disease (although it may contribute to aggravation of an existing condition). However, by far the most common cause of disease is infection, which this article and most homeopathic discourse seems to purposefully disregard.|
|Inherited disease can be traced back to one or more of what homeopaths call MIASMS — these are syphilis, gonorrhoea, psora (scabies), tuberculosis and cancer. We are all a mix of all of these as especially TB, dates back thousands of years. However one or more of the miasms is uppermost in a person and is an important aspect of the case-taking to determine the appropriate medicines.|
|So many people are in ignorance of the VAST amount of study needed to become an expert in this field. Also there are hundreds of homeopathic books only available at specialist bookshops, many printed in India where homeopathy is more popular than orthodox medicine. |
Attacks on Homeopathy
After the ever increasing attacks on alternative medicine in the media and in particular homeopathy, once again Professor Edzard Ernst, the 'first Professor of Complementary Medicine' (whose CAM qualifications have not been discovered despite repeated requests) discredits homeopathy. Yet in an interview with Geoff Watts in 2003  entitled 'A Scientist in the Alternative Camp', Professor Ernst stated: "Our family doctor in the little village outside Munich where I grew up was a homeopath. My mother swore by it. As a kid I was treated homeopathically. So this kind of medicine just came naturally. Even during my studies I pursued other things like massage therapy and acupuncture." "As a young doctor I had an appointment in a homeopathic hospital, and I was very impressed with its success rate. My boss told me that much of this success came from discontinuing mainstream medication. This made a big impression on me."
The truth is that homeopathy is getting ever more popular and the drugs companies are putting out their spin in overdrive through their science and media PR operation outlets to counteract this in any way they can.
The reason there is this incessant assault in the press against homeopathy is because Pharma wields enormous power over the media and because the popularity of homeopathy has been increasing due to the side effects of conventional medicine. Also, unlike other natural therapies, it is dispensd in pills and so in direct competition.
At leat six million people use complementary treatments each year in the UK, which offer clinically-effective and cost-effective solutions to common health problems faced by NHS patients.
The attacks against alternative medicine sometimes try to imply that it is dangerous. Yet compare the number of insurance claims against natural health therapies to those in conventional medicine. A top insurance company was asked how many claims had been filed against homeopathic practitioners and said there had been hardly any, “only a couple in the last 10 years”!
Most of the purported "attacks" are valid criticisms, especially for unjustified and uninvestigated claims into the efficacy of "alternative" cures. This passage is simply a Galileo gambit; whilst saying that something doesn't work and backing that claim up with evidence could be said to constitute an "attack," not all attacks are unjust or invalid.
In view of the highly inaccurate reporting and vitriolic attacks in the recent press coverage on homeopathy, I would like to point out some little known historical facts concerning homeopathy.
The practice of homeopathic medicine flourished in both Europe and the US during the 1800s and early 1900s and was spectacularly popular with European royalty and the British aristocracy, American entrepreneurs, literary giants, and religious leaders.
John D. Rockefeller referred to it as 'a progressive and aggressive step in medicine' and was under homeopathic care throughout the latter part of his life living to 99 years of age. A strong advocate of homeopathy, major grants of between $300-$400 million he intended for homeopathic institutions were instead used for orthodox medical institutions in the early 1900s, under pressure from his son and his financial advisor, Frederick Gates. (Source Dana Ullman)
In the United States in the early 1900s there were 22 homeopathic medical schools and over 100 homeopathic hospitals, 60 orphanages and old people's homes and 1,000+ homeopathic pharmacies. Members of the American Medical Association had great animosity towards homeopathy after its formation in 1847 and it was decided to purge all local medical societies of physicians who were homeopaths. This purge was successful in every state except Massachusetts because homoepathy was so strong among the Elite of Boston.
The AMA wanted to keep homeopaths out of their societies and discourage any type of association with them. In 1855 the AMA established a code of ethics which stated that orthodox physicians would lose their membership if they even consulted with a homeopath. If a physician lost his membership, it meant that in some States he no longer had a licence to practice medicine.
Drug companies were antagonistic towards homeopathy, collectively trying to suppress it. The medical journals they published were used as mouthpieces against homeopathy and in support of orthodox medicine.
At an AMA meeting, a respected orthodox physician said: 'We must admit that we never fought the homeopath on matters of principles; we fought him because he came into the community and got the business.' Economic issues played a major role in what was allowed to be practised.
Homeopathy attracted support from many of the most respected members of society in the US, such as William James, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Louisa M. Alcott, Mark Twain, former American Presidents James Garfield and William McKinley. In Britain among its supporters were George Bernard Shaw, Charles Dickens, W.B. Yeats, William Thackarey, Benjamin Disraeli, Yehudi Menuhin. Other famous supporters were Dostoevsky, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Mahatma Ghandi [sic].
Nowadays, celebrities using and supporting homeopathy are many and include among others: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Tina Turner, Whoopi Goldberg, Pamela Anderson, Jane Fonda, Cher, Rosie O'Donnell, Martin Sheen, the Chilli Peppers, Jane Seymour, Lesley Anne Warren, Mariel Hemingway, Lindsay Wagner, Paul McCartney, Axl Rose, Linda Gray, Susan Blakely, Michael Franks, Cybil Sheppard, Dizzy Gillespie, Vidal Sassoon, Angelica Houston, Boris Becker, Martina Navratilova, David Beckham, Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley, Cliff Robertson, Jerry Hall, Diane von Furstenberg, Ashley Judd, Naomi Judd, Olivia Newton-John, Julianna Margulies, JD Salinger, Blythe Danner, Pat Riley (coach of the Miami Heat). The list of famous people who supported homeopathy is endless…
See 'The Homeopathic Revolution' by Dana Ullman MPH www.homeopathicrevolution.com
The aristocratic patronage of homeopathy in the UK extending well into the 1940s and beyond can be easily demonstrated. In the Homeopathic Medical Directories there are lists of patrons of the dispensaries and hospitals. They read like an extract from Burke’s or Debrett’s. (See A History of Homeopathy in Britain by Peter Morrell, Honorary Research Associate in the History of Medicine, Staffordshire University, UK.) www.homeopathyhome.com/reference/articles/ukhomhistory.shtml
Homeopathy is practised nowadays in countries all over the world and is especially popular in France, South America and India where there are around 250,000 homeopathic doctors! In a recent Global TGI survey where people were asked whether they trust homeopathy the following percentages of people living in urban areas said YES: 62% in India, 58% Brazil, 53% Saudi Arabia, Chile 49%, United Arab Emirates 49%, France 40%, South Africa 35%, Russia 28%, Germany 27%, Argentina 25%, Hungary 25%, USA 18%, UK 15%.
Biomedical research moves at a stunning pace, and considerably more information is known since even the early 1990s. Certainly the public figures in the 1800s lived in a different society with considerably less medical knowledge.
Celebrities are susceptible to the same irrational thinking as any one else, and, more importantly, celebrities are not trained in medicine. It's not clear why their practices are relevant.
Wiki4Cam's disapproval of the AMA expelling homeopaths doesn't make it right or wrong.
-  Wiki 4 CAM article on "Myths about homeopathy" (archived copy from April 13, 2010)
- Accessed September 23, 2008, copied verbatim and complete under fair use/GFDL for purpose of criticism.
- Inventing the randomized double-blind trial: the Nuremberg salt test of 1835 by M. Stolberg. J. R. Soc. Med. 2006 Dec; 99(12): 642–643. doi: 10.1258/jrsm.99.12.642.
- Lancet: homeopathy = placebo
- Wikipedia has an excellent article on the subject. Why do the work ourselves?
- SPLENECTOMY AND SUBSEQUENT MORTALITY IN VETERANS OF THE 1939-45 WAR