What is homoeopathy (aside from annoying to spell)
If you thought bottled water was a scam, listen to this.
Homoeopathy (homeopathy for the yanks?) is based around the idea that water has a memory. Although it seems the memory only works immediately after preparing a homoeopathic preparation (the past 4 billion odd years of floating through everything from oceans to dinosaur bladders to beer kegs is forgotten).
Anyhow, the water is shown/exposed/whispered something nasty that would cause the symptoms or make them worse (so for cancer you’d stir it with a cigarette? For stiffness you pour it over a playboy magazine.. makes sense right?), then diluted to the point of a drop of water in the pacific ocean or something similar. So basically turned back into plain old water. It remembers what the bad stuff was and somehow magically does the opposite and makes you well.
It’s touted as a cure for everything. I was going to list out what it is claimed, but like all good snake oil it fixes everything (and given it is water: also cleans your dishes!).
If homoeopathy worked: drinking water would simultaneously kill and heal you for any number of ailments. A swim would mean no one ever died from skin cancer cos I’m sure somewhere in the ocean some time ago there was cancerous material diluted away.
What is the 10:23 campaign then?
For those not in the know, the 10:23 (or ten to the power of 23) is a campaign against the afore mentioned quack remedies on shelves next to real medicine.
The 10:23 (or 1023) refers to the time of day the campaign was to take place and a nod to Avogadro’s constant (a chemistry figure that you learn about in highschool chemistry and then forget sometime between now and then.. but basically dealing with concentrations/atoms etc).
Letter to Boots about the above
Boots is a chemist/pharmacy chain in the UK. It (like other chemists) seems to be pushing homoeopathy as a viable treatment for a range of ills. My letter to boots about homoeopathic “remedies” in response to the underwhelming death-rate (e.g. zero) of the 10:23 campaign.
To Boots customer support,
It has been well established that homoeopathy has no active ingredient, described by various medical groups as “quack treatment” or “snake-oil” and consistently fails to differentiate itself from placebo in any scientific tests performed. Additionally people may take these treatments instead of actual medicine/vaccines which means treatable conditions end up going untreated. Of particular worry is the notion that people can cure anything from headache to cancer or replace vaccinations with this snake-oil “treatment”.
So in light of that: why is Boots stocking such ridiculous products?
If they are to be sold they should be labelled as sugar pills (and sold in the same location) as the sweets and chocolate bars.
Please could you also explain or comment on:
- What medical benefit you think this provides beyond placebo?
- Will you be pulling them off the shelves after the rather convincing 10:23 homoeopathy “overdose” which resulted in no noticeable impact on hundreds of people worldwide?
- Will you clearly label these products as having no medical affect whatsoever other than as a placebo so that customers are not lulled into believing they are purchasing a real medical treatment?
Take that with some magic memory water Boots..
Will post up the reply (if I get one).
Does it really matter?
If you’re thinking “what’s the harm” perhaps check out some of the examples given by Simon Singh in “What’s the harm” including:
- Homoeopathy practitioners advising parents against vaccines (many diseases are returning thanks to this and other vaccine crackpot theories about vaccines)
- Might replace conventional (i.e. “useful”/”real”) treatment e.g. malaria prevention
In addition millions of dollars are spent on these sugar pills and overpriced water.
People can, have and will continue to die from these things because they are fed a load of rubbish instead of real medical advice.
There is, I think, a moral duty (that Boots and other chemists would do well to consider) to inform people of what is real (backed by real results) medicine vs some made up shit.
That’s why it matters.