Hair Transmission Homeopathy

Cut free from the tethers of evidence and reason, homeopathy, as a system of thought, is free to soar into lofty heights of wild fantasy. Unrestrained by the weight of reality and the heavy ethical demands of accountability, practices and principles are able to float into almost any area that the imagination will allow. There are no maps to guide this flight of the bizarre and no compass to return the traveller to a safe base.

Despite two hundred years of existence, you will still find vigorous debates on homeopathic discussion boards about what exactly homeopathy is. There are homeopaths who will only ever give one pill. There are homeopaths that do not mind mixing pills. Some only accept remedies based on the original forms of testing, known as the ‘proving’. Others allow themselves to dream what a remedy might do. Homeopaths squabble about what is right, but can never resolve their difference because they have long ago abandoned objective means of settling disputes. An uneasy truce exists between the various schools of thought with only occasional cold war like peripheral fights breaking out, mainly in the form of a diatribe by one side denouncing heresies and calling for all homeopaths to unite under the scriptures of Hahnemann, the founder, and the One True Authority.

A few common principles bind the various factions together – the idea of similarity, that like cures like; the need to match the totality of symptoms to a remedy; and the idea of minimum dose – use the smallest amount of remedy possible. This last point means that homeopaths most often give no dose. The medicine has been so diluted away that not a single molecule remains. The beauty of homeopathy, and probably the reason that it is has done so well, is that it is a pure placebo therapy. There are no risks of side effects and the patent is quite free to allow nature to take its course and the complaint to get better on its own.

When the actual physical acts of homeopathy are completely inert and when practiced by people with no regard for critical self appraisal, the scientific method and the objective collection of data, one can expect a certain amount of arbitrary evolution of ideas and the generation of whimsical variants. The only criteria that restrain such ideas are the need to keep the treatment inert, the philosophical acceptability to the vitalist mindset of the homeopath and, most importantly, its profitability in practice.

Thus, in the UK, we have seen the former founder of the Society of Homeopath, Peter Chappell, invent the homeopathic delivery of remedies by MP3 file. Since homeopaths invent cod explanations for their work along the lines that it is an ‘energy medicine’ or a ‘vibrational medicine’ then the thinking goes that because MP3 files can encode sound vibrations, then they can also encode ‘healing vibrations’. And so, we find Chappell running a little business where people can download MP3 files and play sounds of waves crashing as they worry that they might have swine flu.

It is in India though that we must look to see some true inventiveness. The country has more homeopaths than any other and the government appears to be quite happy to support all manner of quackery in the name of political expediency.

And so, I stumbled across the works of the followers of Dr. B. Sahni who runs the Research Institute Of Sahni Drug Transmission & Homoeopathy (risdth.org). Without a hint of irony, the home page proclaims “Welcome to Medicine Free World“. The Sahni protocol is rather wonderful: a homeopathic remedy is chosen in the classical way, by matching symptoms to a remedy. The chosen pill is then dissolved in a vial and a single hair is then plucked from the customer’s head and placed in the vial with a little bit sticking out. The hair is then able to transmit the remedy back to the owner.

Naturally, there are great benefits in this method. Once the homeopath has the hair, then no further visits are required. A letter or telephone call can update the choice of remedy (“Yes, don’t worry. I am dipping your hair in the new remedy now. Can you feel that? Good.”) If a patient’s illness gets worse (as homeopaths come to expect – they call this an aggravation and this shows the remedy is working) then the hair can be removed from the vial until the aggravation passes. All marvellous stuff.

Naturally, the most wealthy homeopaths in India are not those that stick to treating customers, but those that manage somehow to take money off other homeopaths. The Sahni institute is able to train other homeopaths in the invaluable hair dipping technique for the sum of US$500 (a rather large amount in India where the annual average per capita income is under $1000).

Claims for the technique are of course high with case histories of customers with renal failure and diabetes. Online customers are invited to come forward for the treatment of cancer and multiple sclerosis, fill in a form, send in up to $300 if you are from the USA or Europe, and, of course, send in a sample of your hair.

Nice work if you can get it.

Of course, we will not see any homeopaths here in the UK condemning such practices. They will look on. Wonder if it is strictly Hahnemannian. But ultimately let a fellow homeopath do whatever they like. It does not matter how much such delusional thinking might end up hurting vulnerable people. This is an evidence free environment. A criticism void. What matters is that the Sahni Institute is finding another means to denounce ‘allopathy’.

It would be tempting to ignore and dismiss this variant of homeopathy as utterly bizarre. But it reminds us that all of homeopathy is just as equally implausible and nonsensical. What you might find in Boots the Chemist is just as daft. The NHS Royal London Homeopathic Hospital is dealing in similarly batty ideas. We become numb to the idiocy of our own local brands of quackery and heightened to exotic forms. We must remember that all forms of homeopathy are essentially forms of sympathetic magic – the idea that an object once in contact with something either good or bad can inherit those properties. The sugar pill, once associated with a healing object can retain healing properties. The hair on your head retains a connection with you and can transmit the goodness of the remedy to you. The pin stuck into a doll wrapped in the torn corner of your skirt can inflict pain in you. Its all voodoo. Let’s not kid ourselves that our NHS is beyond such superstitious thinking.

The justification for supporting homeopathy in India comes in some part from references to the old colonial power that still provides homeopathic hospitals under its National Health Service and is supported by the Royal Family. The NHS, by allowing this vestigial remnant of pre-enlightenment shamanism to remain, and keep certain aspects of the middle class and worried well happy, is responsible to helping to allow the Indian government to deprive some of the poorest people of even basic medical care.

69 comments for “Hair Transmission Homeopathy

  1. Blue Bubble
    July 15, 2009 at 7:30 am

    Only a matter of time before someone suggests that the hair sticking out of the bottle is acting as some sort of antenna, and that because it's "in tune" at the same vibrational frequency with the owner's hair (because we're all unique), it must work.

    A very good write-up, LCN.

  2. Le Canard Noir
    July 15, 2009 at 8:13 am

    That is exactly how it is described to work.

    e.g. see here

    http://www.hpathy.com/homeopathyforums/forum_posts.asp?TID=9684

  3. hat_eater
    July 15, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Oh no! And what happens if you lose one of your hair and it becomes immersed in something you'd rather have no contact with? Say, city waste?
    Does it work with pubic hair too or are they too lousy antennas to send any signals?
    I'd be laughing out loud if it weren't so sad.

  4. Anonymous
    July 15, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Pubic hair may turn out to be crucial – when the prospect of baldness rears its ugly head (as it were), you'll be screwed if your pubic hair isn't able to tune in. You could lay up stocks of scalp hair for the future – a hair bank – but it wouldn't work without your scalp hair still growing to act as a receiver.
    Maybe nasal hair will provide a lifeline?

  5. Clarinda
    July 15, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Have homeopaths ever considered immersing their own heads (bald or otherwise) in water for a prolonged period and blowing bubbles (vibration), until losing consciousness, to provide herd immunity to shysterism? I think we should encourage them.
    Is there also an opportunity here for the well-known baked bean manufacturer to ask its customers, following the ingestion of their product, to note any unusual health benefits following a bath? I think we should be told.

  6. Mojo
    July 15, 2009 at 9:44 am

    "Some only accept remedies based on the original forms of testing, known as the ‘proving’."

    However, since 'provings' carried out according to the instructions of the prophet Hahnemann use 30C remedies (see The Organon, 5th or 6th ed., aphorism 128), they actually involve observing the symptoms that result from not giving the subjects the substance in question.

    For some reason homoeopaths generally imply that 'provings' are carried out with undiluted substances. Perhaps they think that 'proving' with 30C remedies sounds too silly.

  7. John H
    July 15, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Mojo

    Hahnemann only invented dilution when "proving" dangerous compounds "proved" indeed to be dangerous. Until he "invented" dilution and banging his kids lives must have been a complete misery.

    I am now really concerned about what the hairdresser does with all my hair when they sweep it up off the floor. How do I know I won't risk sympathetic energetic vibrational poisoning if I have no idea where my the hair ends up. It is all very worrying.

    Another great post Andy. Keep shovelling the merde so we don't
    have to.

    I think the quacks do indeed do provings with watered down and banged water (errr – can you water down water ?). That fruitcake Scary Mary had her shipwreck potion watered down and battered by Ainsworths (no idea why as she had already decided before the "proving" that ancient diluted shipwreck cured blockages). I wonder how she knew she had "proved" a shipwreck rather then merely waterlogged old wood. One of life's little mysteries.

    I read a SF novel last week whilst languishing in hospital but none of the weird and wacky stuff in that was half as nuts as this rubbish.

  8. Mojo
    July 15, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    "Hahnemann only invented dilution when "proving" dangerous compounds "proved" indeed to be dangerous."

    It seems that he invented the dilutions when he discovered that treating his patients with undiluted toxic substances (as he initially did) wasn't very good for them. He subsequently also decided that the 'provings' should also be carried out using diluted remedies.

  9. Matthew Cline
    July 15, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    If you can cure someone at a distance with one of their hairs, couldn't you harm someone at a distance with one of their hairs? Would the courts accept this idea if someone accused a defendant of remote poisoning? Dr. B. Sahni could act as an expert witness.

    • Uj
      January 20, 2011 at 10:37 pm

      you can harm someone also.. and i think this technique is also being used in black magic, because what i heard and read about black magic is that , practitionrs usually use the target person’s nails, hair or other body parts. It means that the same theory of the transmission is applied in black magic also. anyways may God prevent us from being used in such cruel acts. Amen
      But overall this therapy is marvellous , i had personally experienced very impersive and fast effects on patients of leucoderma, scabies, other skin diseases, baldness, insomnia etc

  10. le cheveux noir
    July 15, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    Linking homeopathy on the NHS in the UK with the Indian Government depriving the poor in India of modern medicine is quite a leap for me.
    Is the Indian Government going to be so influenced 60 years after independence?

  11. pvandck
    July 16, 2009 at 12:10 am

    Really great post Andy. Nothing to add except that I'm still waiting patiently for that single incontrovertible case of homeoquackery ever having cured a non-self-limiting medical condition. It's supposed to cure all these life threatening conditions and there's not a single verifiable example that it is responsible for any effect on anyone, anywhere for anything. Just 200 years worth of suggestion and insinuation. Extraordinary!

  12. Mojo
    July 16, 2009 at 7:50 am

    @Matthew Cline: "If you can cure someone at a distance with one of their hairs, couldn't you harm someone at a distance with one of their hairs?"

    As the duck says, it's all voodoo.

  13. Kate
    July 16, 2009 at 8:46 am

    "Linking homeopathy on the NHS in the UK with the Indian Government depriving the poor in India of modern medicine is quite a leap for me.
    Is the Indian Government going to be so influenced 60 years after independence?"
    Possibly not, but aren't the Indian government and the NHS both using homeopathy for the same reason? Not because it's effective, but because it's cheap and keeps people happy, thinking they're getting medical treatment. While I doubt the Indian government is actively looking to copy UK policies, the NHS's use of homeopathy does give it some apparent legitimacy.

  14. Le Canard Noir
    July 16, 2009 at 9:06 am

    Kate – quite.

    It makes it quite hard to argue that the Indian Government should not support homeopathy. In the UK, NHS homeopathy is by and large a trivial quirk. In India – where huge healthcare issues remain – it is a massive waste of resources – both human and financial.

  15. Chris Coltrane
    July 16, 2009 at 9:10 am

    Excellent post. It's always good to be reminded that the quackery we see in far-off lands might seem like lunacy, but the quackery we have right on our doorstep is equally as foolish. Just because we get used to it, doesn't make it any less insane.

    Great write up, keep up the good work!

  16. Dr Ravi Singh
    July 16, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    See some cases by this method then again comment link
    http://homoeopathic-cure.com/homeoforum/viewforum.php?f=3

  17. Zeno
    July 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    Nope. I see no good evidence of cures by this bizarre method. All I see is before and after pictures (presumably the same individual, but with no timescale given). Have you written up any of these cases and had them published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal? Perhaps you got one of a serious non-self-limiting condition? Say, cancer or motor neurone disease?

  18. Mike Eslea
    July 16, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Wow Dr Ravi, that's amazing. I'm convinced! But here's an idea to make your argument even stronger. Get your next 50 patients or so to agree to take part in a little experiment. Randomly choose half of them, and make sure that they get your wonderful cure. Let the other half have their hair placed in pure water. Here's the most important bit: arrange for all this to be done by an impartial third party, so that neither you nor the patients themselves actually know whether they got the real cure or the water. Wait a few weeks and then see if you can tell which patients are which. Grumpy old Mr Quackometer would probably say there won't be any difference between the two groups, but you and I know there would be a massive improvement in the treatment group compared to the controls. So why not do it, and prove the doubters wrong? I look forward to reading your results…

  19. Olefin
    July 17, 2009 at 12:10 am

    Interestingly the slogan of http://homoeopathic-cure.com/ is "We treat Homoeopathy cures" – difficult to see how the effects of water would need treatment, unless you over indulged and drowned.

  20. Dana Ullman
    July 17, 2009 at 2:16 am

    There are many things in this world that make NO sense but that are simply true. The person, actually, the medical doctor, who invented radionics (of which hair transmission is but a part) was Albert Abrams, MD.

    Abrams initially graduated from medical school in Heidelberg, Germany, in 1882, and then graduated from Cooper Medical College (the medical school that later became Stanford Medical School), where he later served as a professor of pathology and Director of Clinical Medicine. In 1894, he was the vice president of the California Medical Association (Scholten, 1999), and even leading skeptics of his work acknowledge that he wrote a dozen reputable textbooks (Gardner, 1957); one of them, on the value of x-ray in cardiac diagnosis, is considered an outstanding contribution to the medical literature of its time (Flaxman, 1953). Although Abrams was initially a bitter opponent and skeptic of homeopathy, his own research on the subject led him to change his opinions (Dean, 2004, 160).

    In addition to support from Upton Sinclair, two other advocates of Abrams were Sir James Barr (a past president of the British Medical Association) and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (author of the Sherlock Holmes detective novels). Sir James Barr duplicated some of Abrams’s experiments and described him as one of the greatest medical geniuses of his time (Russell, 1973, 17).

    Sinclair was Abrams’s strongest advocate in part because Sinclair had interviewed hundreds of health professionals and patients who used or were treated by radionics diagnosis and treatment. Sinclair asserted: “[Abrams] has made the most revolutionary discovery of this or any other age. I venture to stake whatever reputation I ever hope to have that he has discovered the great secret of the diagnosis and cure of all major diseases.” Further, Sinclair claimed that Abrams had treated “over fifteen thousand people, and my investigation convinces me he has cured over ninety-five percent.”

    Don't ya hate it when some good "rational" thinking gets in the way of truth?!

  21. Dr.Ravi Singh
    July 17, 2009 at 6:25 am

    Dear Oleifin, Mike Eslea, Dana Ullman , Zeno and …
    The purpose of any such forum should be healthy discussion rather than bombording racklessly. Everbody is arguing by its own idea as someone said homoeopath must put his head inside bucket and lets see( we apre putting carefully selected medicine not the pure tap wate)
    Someone said what happened when my hair fallen off to garbage(garbage is not potentised medicine and we can not transmit adynamic or allopathic medicine moreover In Hindu tradition MUNDAN SANSKAR – removing of child hair at early age hairs are collected and flowed in sacred rivers rather than putting them garbage. )

    "Do not accept anything without investigation, but still less, do not reject anything without trying it." – Dr. Luc De Schepper

    Is it logical that if u or allopath cure anything then it is said cure and if homeopath or me then it is called BY CHANCE or SPONTANEOUS.

    I am practicing with this method since about 10 years and that in private practice where patients come only from referal of cured patients .

    My few cases were publised at National Reputed Journals as

    1- Some Clinical Cases ‘Vol. 31, No. 6, June 2006 The Homoeopathic Heritage’ B. Jain Publishers Pvt. Ltd ,New Delhi, India

    2-Homoeopathy in Genetic Disorder Hemophilia A –December 2007. ‘The Homoeopathic Heritage’ B. Jain Publishers Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi, India and Vital Informer October 2007 Tagore Garden ED15 New Delhi.

    Our real appreciation are patients who are benefited from this therapy . If I or transmission is Quackry then people will reject it in time. Here at Lucknow I am treating most intellectuals like Doctor, Engenniers anf It professionals , matter of faith keep any one attach to their doctor only for few days to months..

    Regarding its Double Blind control trial In my private practice i can not do that because
    1 – I have need not to prove myself that it works.
    2 – If Government of any Research organisation want my help then i can do it.

    Dr.Ravi +91 9935898134

  22. Ramel
    July 17, 2009 at 6:36 am

    Seriously guys this one works, I accidently flushed a hair a while back, felt like crap ever since…

  23. Derrik
    July 17, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Dana

    Many physical and biological phenomena are indeed counter intuitive, at least at first. It does not follow that any idea that conflicts with current knowledge must therefore be true.

    The important thing is to identify and characterise the counter intuitive phenomena. This requires stacks of observational data and carefully designed experiments. This is not a luxury, without such information you don't KNOW weather your phenomena is REAL or just a strange one off COINCIDENCE.

    What you have there are a set of quotes from secondary sources. I'm particularly unimpressed with Conan Doyle's, he became an ardent spiritualist and really wanted to believe in this guff.

    Really you don't have to dig into historical texts. Just point us at a validated radionics based diagnostic device. Surely if radionics is being used by genuine medics rather than charlatans someone would have put in the effort to make sure their specific devise actually works?

  24. Prozac
    July 17, 2009 at 9:26 am

    An interesting concept, to say the least. Requires a bit more research, and maybe a touch more insanity, I'd say.

  25. Mojo
    July 17, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Conan Doyle isn't the first spiritualist that Dana has attempted to use as an authority. He also likes to cite 19th century hydropathic quack James Manby Gully who was not only, according to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, "a fervent believer in spiritualism" (ODNB Vol 24 p. 228), but also used mesmerism and clairvoyance on his patients. However, there seem to have been limits to even Gully's credulity: while he gave at least some of his patients homoeopathic remedies, it is not clear on what basis he did this, as he wrote in 1861 that he "never much cared for the doctrine of like curing like" (British Medical Journal, Nov. 16, 1861, p. 544).

  26. Dana Ullman
    July 17, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Derrik and other skeptics,

    It is useful to watch your own mind (and your words). Despite all that I wrote above, you chose to pick out one item (the reference to Arthur Conan Doyle)…and yet, you chose to ignore the reference to the President of the British Medical Association AND Upton Sinclair (a very serious investigative journalist and social reformer). Perhaps more significantly, you ignored my reference to the respect that Albert Abrams got from MARTIN GARDNER, one of today's leaders in the skeptics movement (yes, I realize that I didn't mention Gardner's first name in my quick reference, but heck, I figured that you all would KNOW the guy.

    Finally, I too enjoy the humor that some of you try to bring to this subject…but you all are missing the point between the power of potentized medicines and its effects. This lazy thinking is akin to being skeptical of the atomic bomb because you assert that buying your legs together doesn't seem to create the same type of explosions (perhaps with rare exception)…

  27. Le Canard Noir
    July 17, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    So, Dana

    Would you like to make an unequivocal statement that you believe hair transmission homeopathy is capable of doing anything other than taking money off the gullible or ignorant?

  28. Derrik
    July 17, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Your quotes are all secondary sources however eminent the individual quoted. Science is about interpretation of primary data. I asked for one instance of a validated instrument that operates on the principles of radionics.

    This is the lowest possible hurdle. After all anyone building such a device would go many cycles of designing, testing and refining the instrument wouldn't they?

  29. Dana Ullman
    July 17, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    I do not know any good modern controlled trials on hair transmission, but rather than simply condemn or trivialize phenomena that I don't adequately understand, I prefer to encourage more investigation rather than to condemn things from simply superficial knowledge. When people I respect (such as Sir James Barr, Upton Sinclair, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) express high regard of a physician/scientist and/or a specific treatment modality, this becomes a part of the body of evidence that I consider.

    To me, the best scientists are not just good researchers but are humble philosophers.

  30. Le Canard Noir
    July 17, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Dana – is there anything you would not dismiss as delusional crackpottery if it had a 'homeopathy' tag attached to it?

  31. Ramel
    July 18, 2009 at 2:49 am

    Dana – You routinely appear on skeptic sites to tell us how wonderful homeopathy is and how many famous people support it, and every time you are asked to provide evidence to support your claims. Not once have you ever provided evidence beyond anecdotes, appeals to authority (often citing people who lack any credible authority such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), and badly done trials usualy printed in quack journals of poor reputation. Until you do so why do you think that anyone will take you any more seriously than we do AIDs denialists, UFOlogists, bigfoot hunters, astrologists, 911 truthers or Manchester United supporters?

  32. URL
    July 18, 2009 at 7:25 am

    Dana I entirely agree with you about the importance of humility.

    I just think that the appropriate expression of humility is to do the hard work confirming phenomena are real and validating their application BEFORE selling said application to the public.

  33. Derrik
    July 18, 2009 at 7:26 am

    Sorry mad moment. URL is Derrik

  34. Mehul
    July 18, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Having spent lot of energy in replying to anti homeopathy propaganda , I have finally understood the great Indian saying 'Bhains ke aage been bajaana' in the real sense.

    This ancient saying can be translated as: 'It is futile to play flute to a buffalo'. The buffalo is a different species and one can't fault her. Unfortunately it is more difficult to deal with you so called scientific persons

  35. tazzage
    July 18, 2009 at 10:00 am

    A summary of teaching a buffalo to play the flute:

    Homeopath "Homeopathy works, and here is a link to prove it"

    Skeptic "That's just an anecdote, and doesn't show anything"

    H "No, it does work and here is another link to prove it"

    S "That's another anecdote. The plural of anecdote is not data"

    H "Ok, here's lots and lots of links to prove it works"

    S "Those are still all anecdotes. Look, since you don't seem to understand, I'll explain why this does not count as evidence. In each case, how do you know that
    - the subject wouldn't have got better anyway?
    - the subject didn't get better due to the placebo effect?
    - the subject didn't get better due to doing something other than homeopathy?
    - the subject didn't get better due to not doing something else?
    Do a proper RCT, and get it published somewhere where the reviewers will spot any flaws in your methodology. Then you can claim it as evidence"

    H "appeal to authority/ad populum/big farma/yet more links to anecdotes"

    S "Oh, for goodness sake"

  36. Elias
    July 18, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    That buffalo saying can easily work for the homeopaths too no? No matter how many well designed trials show their failure it's still just us playing flute to buffaloes.

    There's so many questions asking "how the hell do you know that happens?" for all those mad claims in the hair antenna site that simply shut up and bow before the master scammer.

  37. Mark
    July 21, 2009 at 8:38 am

    "There are many things in this world that make NO sense but that are simply true."

    No there are not.

    There are some things that take a level of understanding that is beyond the patience and ability of most people (quantum physics, say). It may make no sense to you at present, but it makes sense if you take the time to study it. Don't confuse "sense" with ignorance.

    There are some things that are not fully explained, but that appear reasonable in the world as we know it (ball lightening, say). We can't explain them 100%, but they do not contradict what we do know to be true.

    But I don't know of any phenomena that make no sense at all. And I call you out to list some.

    I believe that all you will come up with is more woo. UFOs, reiki, astral projection etc. Because you want to believe that there are things that make no sense.

    The rest of us live in the real world. Where things that make no sense are called nonsense.

  38. John H
    July 21, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Excellent point Mark.

    It always struck me as funny that science can identify stuff from the micro sub-atomic level all the way up to the macro inter-stellar level with all the meso-levels in between. Yet somehow quackery, woo, drivel and mumbo-jumbo should somehow be an exception and remain curiously exempt from scientific proof.

    Doesn't really seem very likely does it ?

    If homeodoodahs are going to troll this site I wonder if (whilst they are typing rubbish) they could answer a question which has puzzled me for a while. I assume most homethingy stuff is watered down and shaken and banged in a glass container. In most cases and especially with magic pills made from components of glass (silica, quartz, salt etc)surely the only active ingredient (apart from what's in the water – but we will let that one go) should be those components.

    I find it hard to believe that there are not molecules of glass' constituents in all fairy dust potions given the banging and shaking against a bible. So if you are prescribing a quartz or silica remedy how do you know you are giving the "right" molecules rather than the renegade ones polluting the mix. And could this be dangerous in terms of over/underdose as the dilution would not be correct. You could have at least three extra quartz molecules in a pill which might provoke some sort of medical emergency.

    (And because you cannot make this crap up, Ainsworths – who else – sell fairy pills of silica, quartz and salt).

    And could the Indian wooster troll help me with this query. I trimmed my beard last night and accidentally flushed the trimmings down the sink. Am I in the crap when they reach the sewage plant ?
    And as a supplementary question how do you wash out your glass phials without your clients overdosing ?

    Or am I confusing all of this with angels dancing on a pinhead.

  39. Dana Ullman
    July 22, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Ramel's assertion that I "never" reference research is simply additional evidence of how little he reads (or how blind he is). This unscientific attitude is so typical of hyper-skeptics, and this is such major chutzpah that I must laugh.

    Here's some research to consider:

    References to water and homeopathic medicines:
    –Site of Professor Martin Chaplin, a world renowned expert on water: http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/homeop.html and http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/memory.html

    WB Jonas, TJ Kaptchuk, K Linde, A Critical Overview of Homeopathy, Annals in Internal Medicine, March 4, 2003:138:393-399. Although this is not a meta-analysis, it is still a very good review of the clinical literature in homeopathy.

    Vickers AJ. Homoeopathic Oscillococcinum for preventing and treating influenza and influenza ‐ like syndromes. Cochrane Reviews. 2007. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/485935. Four treatment trials (N=1,194) found “promising” results from Oscillococcinum in the treatment of influenza or influenza-like syndrome. Three prevention trials (N=2,265) did not find efficacy of Oscillococcinum in the prevention of these conditions. Because Oscillococcinum is made from the liver & heart of a duck and because ducks are reservoirs of flu viruses, this drug make sense, biologically. It has been used in homeopathy since the 1920s and thus verifies that homeopaths have been knowledgeable of avian sources of flu virus for a long time.

    J. Jacobs, WB Jonas, M Jimenez-Perez, D Crothers, Homeopathy for Childhood Diarrhea: Combined Results and Metaanalysis from Three Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trials, Pediatr Infect Dis J, 2003;22:229-34. This metaanalysis of 242 children showed a highly significant result in the duration of childhood diarrhea (P=0.008).

    Frass, M, Dielacher, C, Linkesch, M, Endler, C, Muchitsch, I, Schuster, E, Kaye, A. Influence of potassium dichromate on tracheal secretions in critically ill patients, Chest, March, 2005;127:936-941. This is an impressive study was conducted at the University of Vienna and published in the leading respiratory medicine journal…with substantially significant results in the treatment of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD is the #4 reason that people in the USA die). At present, two different universities are conducted trials to replicate this important study.

    Bell IR, Lewis II DA, Brooks AJ, et al. Improved clinical status in fibromyalgia patients treated with individualized homeopathic remedies versus placebo, Rheumatology. 2004:1111-5. Participants on active treatment showed significantly greater improvements in tender point count and tender point pain, quality of life, global health and a trend toward less depression compared with those on placebo. People on homeopathic treatment also experienced changes in EEG readings. “Helpfulness from treatment” in homeopathic patients was very significant (P=.004).

    More in the next post…

  40. Dana Ullman
    July 22, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    Continued…from previous post…

    Belon P, Banerjee P, Choudhury SC, Banerjee A., Can administration of potentized homeopathic remedy, Arsenicum album, alter antinuclear antibody (ANA) titer in people living in high-risk arsenic contaminated areas? I. A correlation with certain hematological parameters. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2006 Mar;3(1):99-107.

    Sunila ES, Kuttan R, Preethi KC, and Kuttan G. Dynamized Preparations in Cell Culture, eCAM. October 3, 2007; doi:10.1093/ecam/nem082

    Complement Ther Med. 2007 Jun;15(2):128-38. Epub 2007 Mar 28.
    The in vitro evidence for an effect of high homeopathic potencies–a systematic review of the literature.
    Witt CM, Bluth M, Albrecht H, Weisshuhn TE, Baumgartner S, Willich SN. From 75 publications, 67 experiments (1/3 of them replications) were evaluated. Nearly 3/4 of them found a high potency effect, and 2/3 of those 18 that scored 6 points or more and controlled contamination. Nearly 3/4 of all replications were positive.

    Banerjee, P.; Biswas, S. J.; Belon, P.; Khuda-Bukhsh, A. R. A Potentized Homeopathic Drug, Arsenicum Album 200, Can Ameliorate Genotoxicity Induced by Repeated Injections of Arsenic Trioxide in Mice. Journal of Veterinary Medicine, Series A, Volume 54, Number 7, September 2007 , pp. 370-376(7).
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0442.2007.00945.x

    Elia, V, and Niccoli, M. Thermodynamics of Extremely Diluted Aqueous Solutions, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 879, 1999:241-248. Elia has published a dozen or so other articles in basic science (usually chemistry) journals that consistently find differences between "homeopathic water" and "control water."

    Rey, L. Thermoluminescence of Ultra-High Dilutions of Lithium Chloride and Sodium Chloride. Physica A, 323(2003)67-74.

    Responses to the “junk science” review of research published in the Lancet (2005) by Shang, Eggers, et al.:
    – Lüdtke R, Rutten ALB. The conclusions on the effectiveness of homeopathy highly depend on the set of analysed trials. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. October 2008. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2008.06/015.
    –Rutten ALB, Stolper CF, The 2005 meta-analysis of homeopathy: the improtane of post-publication data. Homeopathy. October 2008, doi:10.1016/j.homp.2008.09/008 (These two reviews and re-analyses of the Shang data threw into doubt the narrow analysis of Shang and team.)

  41. Dana Ullman
    July 22, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    John H is right about "contaminants" from the glass containers in the making of homeopathic medicines, but actually, the "silica hypothesis" discussed in many places, including the above reference to Martin Chaplin's site on water, may provide an important mechanism by which each substance attaches (or at least interacts with in an idiosyncratic fashion that then changes the structure of the water).

    One day (soon), skeptics of homeopathy may be leaders in the field that try to optimize how to use homeopathic medicines.

  42. Le Canard Noir
    July 22, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Perhaps Mr Ullman would like to consider this reference…

  43. Ramel
    July 23, 2009 at 12:37 am

    Remember the part where I said "and badly done trials usualy printed in quack journals of poor reputation"
    Examples include: "Evid Based Complement Alternat Med", "eCAM", "Complement Ther Med" and referencing London South Bank University, home of the "Confucius Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine"? really?

    The rest is sadly for me hidden behind paywalls which limit my ability to go through them in any detail. I agree with Le Canard Noir about the cherry picking. I am curious as to how many of these you have actually read beyond the abstracts? If you remain true to form I suspect half of those won't say what you think it does, and the other half seriously flawed. Anyone have access to some of these studies so we can test this hypothesis?

    I agree with Le Canard Noir about the cherry picking, this list of studies does not appear representative of the scienctific reaserch carried out to date, in short I'll see your evidence and raise you all known laws of physis and chemistry.

  44. Ramel
    July 23, 2009 at 12:38 am

    Argh, looks like I hit "copy" instead of "cut" when I was editing that post…

  45. Ramel
    July 23, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Before I get accused of being close minded (again) here are two things that I would need before I could even consider taking homeopathy seriously:

    1) Complete the quackometer challenge: http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2007/12/simple-challenge-to-homeopaths.html This test should be advertised complete with a proposed methodolgy for reveiw well in advance and should be fully documented and supervised by a credible independent source. The remedies tested should be of at least 30C to demonstrate effects at very high levels of dilution. If you can't tell your remedies apart you cannot expect to be taken seriously. I will even discuss other tests that will allow homeopaths to demonstrate the ability to tell one remedy from another as long as the basic criteria of a fair test are met.

    2) Then demonstrate theraputic effect with 3 double blinded RCT's of the same remedy carried out by 3 different credible institutions, former polytechnics and small universities in India will not be accepted. Trials should be carried out on not less than 500 test subjects. Again the remedy should be of a high dilution as if it still contains the original substance then it is effectivly a herbal remedy and thats a totaly different question.

    Extrodinary claims require extraordniary evidence, and if you can provide what I've asked for I will take you seriously, until then you are just talking crap.

  46. Dana Ullman
    July 23, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Cherry-picking? Would you prefer to reference studies like Shang's Lancet (2005) article that ignored high-quality studies (by their definition) and instead only evaluated high-quality studies with large numbers (in which 6 of the 8 studies used only 1 medicine without any individualization of treatment). Ironically, of the 6 conventional medical treatments that were chosen, 3 of them were for drugs that are now outlawed due to their dangers (but heck, there were "proven" to be effective at one time!…and now, they are "proven" to be more dangerous than effective…but oh yeah, Shang only chose to look at efficacy, not dangers…how convenient. And Shang purposefully ignored all of the Reilly studies and even one large high quality study on polyarthritis because he said that he could not find a matching study (once again, how convenient!…he actually asserted that there has never been a study on polyarthritis…whooops).

    The below reference is to a couple dozen basic science studies on Canova, a homeopathic combination medicine. All of these studies have been conducted at universities by a varied group of professors.

    http://www.canovadobrasil.com.br/english/works.htm

  47. Le Canard Noir
    July 23, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Dana – we might take you seriously if you were consistent.

    Let's take it you at face value that you somehow view non-individualised homeopathic treatments not good enough to include in the meta analyses. If so, why is the homeopathic community not shouting from the rooftops trying to eradicate this heresy? Why do you not denounce the homeopathic pharmacies and practitioners who use this stuff?

    And then, of course, in the profoundest of ironies, you then go on to push forward some research on non-individualised quack guff.

    You want it all ways, and you are happy to switch tack half way through a sentence if it serves your deluded self promotion of this nonsense.

  48. Ramel
    July 23, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    You get accused of cherry picking so you post a link to a list of studies supporting a product on a commercial web site. Well done.

    Well lets have alook, hmmm when studies start with "Summary of Dissertation presented to the Post-Graduation program in Cellular and Molecular
    Biology of the Biological Sector of Federal University
    of Parana, for obtaining the title of Master in
    Molecular and Cellular Biology." (http://www.canovadobrasil.com.br/english/works/Stroparo_Elenice.pdf) you are not looking at published research thats going to win you any points. Interestingly of the 10 results for "Canova Medication" on pubmed, 5 were from the same university department that gave us this dissertation. In fact "Oriented by: Profª. Drª. Dorly de Freitas Buchi" from the dissertation looks a lot like "Buchi Dde F" who appears in all 5 of those studies, looks like someone has a hobby… Wow, of 9 published articles on pubmed, 7 are on homeopathy, closer inspection all 7 are on canova, what are the odds.. The other 2 date from 1993 and 1994, then there's a gap before he reappears in 2003. Amazing what you find when you actually read these things. Do you really expect me to trawl through all of them?

    Even found space to argue that pharmacuticals are dangerous, well yeah. Not even almost relevent, and when you give a link to a medication that claims to be able help people with AIDS and cancer with no compeling evedence that it actuall works?

  49. Ramel
    July 23, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Hmmm, seems Profª. Drª. Dorly de Freitas Buchi has her own website http://www.dorlybuchi.com This lady qualifies as a complete git, check this: "In 2003 a lab`s team went to Botswana, Africa, in order to collect data on HIV positive patients after treatment with complex homeopathic medicines. The project continues in other African countries". What is it with homeopaths and testing on africans with serious diseases? Holy crap, under the heading Positions Already Performed in the University we find "Chairman of the Management Committee of Public Ethics", WTF? I swear every time I look into homeopathy I end up horrified by something.

  50. Anonymous
    July 23, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Perhaps I should open a Barber shop called "good vibrations" were I soak the off-cuts’ in vodka to produce happy returning customers. I wonder how often I can recycle the vodka before they go grumbling about poor service.

    Homeopathy and medicine share the idea of treating like with like in the form of immunotherapy, only, that instead of the absence of the molecule, one does it in the presence of well controlled numbers of molecules. Even antibiotic therapy can be described as such as you ward of a microorganism by giving you bits from a microorganism. That they are not the same microorganisms is a minor detail.
    Now dilutions are a miraculous invention. I once had a student who tried out a recovery experiment on heat injured bacteria and found a special medium that gave a 6 log higher recovery in his most probable number dilutions. Unfortunately he failed to test the uninjured bugs by the same method as he would have found the same with them as nobody had told him to change the pipette tip at each step. He was very convinced about his discovery and I failed at that point to recognise his talents as a salesman for sticky medium.
    Anyhow, calm down over taking some anti panic pills and listening to some anti-swine flue vibrations http://www.healingdownloads.com/swine-flu.php

    With the best wishes

    Placebo Overdose

  51. Dana Ullman
    July 23, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    Mr. Duck…Shang's "review" actually included a "high quality" study testing homeopathic doses of Thyroid for "weight-loss." I do not doubt that this study was well-done and high quality…but I don't know a single homeopath who knows any other homeopath who uses this medicine for weight-loss. Another study tested Oscillococcinum in the prevention of the flu (this study was funded by a competitor to Boiron, who makes Oscillo). Boiron has only claimed (and verified) that Oscillo is effective in treating the flu, not preventing it.

    Are high-quality study still "high-quality" when the medicine tested is NOT for the indication for which it is being tested? Come on…you folks claim to understand and respect good research.

    As for testing with and without individualization, experience confirms that individualization is usually necessary, but not always…and this is because experience and research also confirms efficacy for CERTAIN medicines for CERTAIN ailments. The COPD study and Kali bich is another example. Canova may be another.

    Ramel's comments above are totally ho-hum and simply superficial, though he does get extra credit for blinding himself to the results of the body of research.

  52. Ramel
    July 23, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    "though he does get extra credit for blinding himself to the results of the body of research."

    That echoing bang you heard was my head hitting the desk.

  53. Sean Ellis
    July 24, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    If I go for a haircut, and there are (say) 40,000 hairs on my head, do I receive 40,000 transmissions of "barber's floor"?

  54. Le Canard Noir
    July 24, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Dana – can I direct you to a rather marvelous tool called 'Google' that will allow you to find many homeopaths claiming sugar pills can aid weight loss?

    Another simple search will reveal homeopaths who claim oscillo can prevent the flu…

    e.g.

    http://www.elementsofhealth.com.au/catalog.php?item=53

    And so not individualisating a remedy is necessary when exactly? When you feel like it? When you think you might want to squeeze out some minor small study 'evidence'? Completely ad hoc.

    Once again, you pick and choose your evidence, deny the contrary exists, or find ad hoc reasons for dismissing it.

    It is the same old story – over and over.

  55. Michael Kingsford Gray
    July 25, 2009 at 8:19 am

    How is it that otherwise semi-intelligent folk can fall for this utterly juvenile wishful-"thinking" bullshit?
    Is it that they have the OPPOSITE standards of evidence to scientists?
    (Vis: The weaker the evidence, the more profound the claim.)

  56. Dana Ullman
    July 27, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Mr. Duck,

    Let me introduce you to logic. Since WHEN do researcher assume that the fringes of a system of medicine should be declared its mainstream? I know that you do not want to defend what MANY medical doctors do with conventional drugs and surgery (remember: the Institute of Medicine has determined that one-third of Americans take 5 or more medications.

    Further, before any large-scale research is ever conducted, smaller studies are conducted to determine if this is a worthwhile area of research. Please point me to a single previous study testing Thyroidinum and weight-loss? Come on…you know how to use google, don't ya?

  57. Le Canard Noir
    July 27, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    And Mr Ullman – let me point you back at my article. Homeopathy is free to make up any claims it likes and is unable to settle disputes because it cannot agree on what constitutes evidence. What may be fringe to one homeopath is mainstream to another. Who sets the standards?

    What ever the 'homeopathic community' means – there is no attempt within it to resolve these disputes in any meaningful way. Homeopathy is nothing but post hoc rationalisation of noise within a pseudoscientific framework.

  58. Olefin
    July 28, 2009 at 7:05 am

    Micheal Kingsford Gray
    "(Vis: The weaker the evidence, the more profound the claim.)"

    I think you've hit on something – the homeopathic belief system. As the evidence becomes weaker, ever more dilute, the belief becomes stronger and stronger.

    A 30C belief system would be the strongest but by then no evidence would remain.

    Sound familiar?

  59. BadlyShavedMonkey
    July 28, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    "Homeopathy is nothing but post hoc rationalisation of noise within a pseudoscientific framework."

    Repeated that because it's rather good.

    Dana should take up ballet. He pirouettes rather impressively to face all directions at once. And best of all, he does it with his eyes shut.

  60. BSM
    July 28, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    p.s Better still is that DU is not a homeopath, but lives off homeopaths.

    Entirely tangentially, I might mention that I like to watch The Wire and my favourite character is Omar;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omar_Little

  61. Anonymous
    August 4, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    have missed this thread for a while and did not realise it had gone from hair loss to weight loss. The best diet for weightloss is Dr Ashcans new revolting diet
    Listen to http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/howardshapiro
    who nicely explains it's details

    It might sell much better in D10 for celebriteis who according to DU all believe in homeopathy. To take that diet neat is far to strong for anyone but I am sure at D10 it is much more potent an a real seller. To eat your food in D10 style would have a slimming effect already but Ashcan is much better than that as you can eat what you like and as micu as you like.

    all the best

    Placebo Overdose

  62. corrie
    August 19, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Le Canard, I am totally confused here please help. I was kept very ill for years on the anti epileptic drugs by medical doctors with a string of medical degrees behind their name. I was eventuallu cured, yes CURED from epilepsy by a homeopath. I have no relapses since. Now, I really don't know who was a bigger quack in my situation, the medical doctors who kept me ill for the several years or the homoeopath who cured me and gave me a a better state of health! I think I will be the biggest Quack head if i select the former over the latter!

  63. corrie
    August 19, 2009 at 11:13 am

    I really cannot understand why there is much of an uproar about homeoapths. They have helped and contributed a great deal to the public and hence in my opinion allowed to treat people who need their treatment. The greater threat we all face today is the threat of terrorism. It would be very kind if you could devote all your energies towards irradicating it.

  64. corrie
    August 19, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Le, I think you should be ashamed of your self in involving some of the world's most popular homoeopaths, who have contributed a great deal in improving health for individuals like me, please leave them alone and go find your self something else better to do- make a child laugh, compose a tune, scuba dive, moon walk, bungy jump, ab sail, plant a tree, love someone, meditate, do a head stand, hug a tree, feed the poor and there are millions more you can choose from. If you cannot make someone feel better, then step aside and let the others do it.

  65. Le Canard Noir
    August 19, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    What you present is an anecdote to the effectiveness of homeopathy. As evidence, it is the weakest form. The overwhelming bulk of strong evidence lies with basic physics and chemistry and several meta-analyses of clinical trials that suggests that homeopathy is nothing but a sugar pill – exactly as it says on the tin.

    The contradiction can be explained by the simple realisation that you might well be wrong in your belief that it was the homeopathic sugar pill that cured you. There are lots of other explanations that you have either not thought of or have easily dismissed. Why, I am not sure.

  66. Le Canard Noir
    August 19, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Have homeopaths ever helped anyone with their sugar pills. A documented case would be good.

    And is the biggest threat we face today terrorism? That is laughable. Terrorism kills very few people. Many more are killed by road accidents, household accidents, gun crime, lack of access to healthcre (in America).

    In the US, the same number of people that were killed in 9/11 are killed on the roads every 26 days.

    You have a quite distorted view of the world!

  67. Ensign Crusher
    January 24, 2011 at 3:54 am

    “Welcome to Medicine Free World”

    Dr. Sahni meant to say, “Welcome to Medicine-Free World”.

    Silly man.

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