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July 14, 2006

Homeopathic Malaria Treatment

Good God!

Look, I’m happy enough if some dingbat gets their hand held for a couple of hours while a homeopath discusses their bowel movements. The two hour consultation probably does as much good as any drug that would be offered.

But homeopathic medicines for malaria?

The warning follows an investigation by the BBC which found 10 homeopathic clinics and pharmacies allegedly went against government guidelines by recommending unproven remedies for malaria and other tropical diseases such as typhoid, dengue fever and yellow fever.

Scientists said the homeopaths' advice was reprehensible and likely to endanger lives. Professor Geoffrey Pasvol, a tropical medicine expert at Imperial College London, said: "Medical practitioners would be sued, taken to court and found guilty for far less. What this investigation has unearthed is appalling."

This is, as the man says, appalling. Killing people, not through ignorance, but by design: homeopaths are not actually so stupid as to believe that the sugar pills do anything for such infectious diseases (well, I hope they’re not that stupid), but to admit that there are some things that cannot be cured by their witchcraft is to cast doubt upon the entire idea: and that would never do now would it?

The defense?

A statement from Helios said: "We give advice on traditional homeopathic remedies which have been used by people for many decades in their attempt to avoid conventional treatment for malaria. There are many bibliographic references to the use of these remedies."

Err, there are many references in books to people using these sugar pills? OK, great. What was the effectiveness?

There are many references in books to the prophecies of Nostradamus: you going to use those to predict the next election?

On a lighter note, last time I said anything about the idiocy that is homeopathy someone dropped a very good joke into the comments. Sorry, forgotten who:

Did you hear about the homeopathic doctor who forgot to take his pills? Died of an overdose.

Update. D2 provides another good one in the comments. Anyone else know some good homeopathy jokes?

July 14, 2006 in Scams and Frauds | Permalink


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I always thought that we should give state funding to homeopathy. Specifically, we should give them 5p to share between the lot of them, and see if the tiny amount of money had an incredibly potent effect when it was massively diluted.

Posted by: dsquared | Jul 14, 2006 9:32:34 AM

According to homeopathy, if you really want to get smashed you should drink smallbeer.

Posted by: Anders | Jul 14, 2006 11:20:51 AM

Er - correction. Yes, many adherents of homoeopathy really, honestly, truly believe that it works.



Posted by: llamas | Jul 14, 2006 2:04:30 PM

I can back up llamas's point; the home that I worked in was run on vaguely Steiner principles and not only the main doctor and the owner, but also many of the patients (including a reasonably famous, non-mentally impaired paediatrician) really believed in the efficacy of these "medicines".


Posted by: Devil's Kitchen | Jul 14, 2006 2:13:05 PM

I'd guess the proof of the pudding will be in the eating, so to say.

If people with life threatenening diseases like malaria, typhoid etc recover using homeopathy then there's some evidence it might work and homeopathy will cease to be a fringe science and become part of mainstream medicine.

If on the other hand they all die horribly not only will homeopathy have been proved to be completely bogus, but the market for these quack remedies will have died out too.

Either way, we might not be having this discussion in ten years time.

Personally, I'll place my faith in the proven products of the pharmaceutical industry, thank you.


Posted by: The Remittance Man | Jul 14, 2006 3:07:50 PM

I remember reading an article a while back about a women who was diagnosed with a malignant breast tumour and refused surgery insteading opting for homeopathic and other alternative treatments. Sufficient is it to say she died rather horribly.

Posted by: Josh | Jul 14, 2006 4:45:25 PM

This is realy a case of you get what you pay for. They die horribly all the time but as Barnum famously said, a sucker is born every minute. It's a fringe "science" at best and generously said, because it's not even science at all. Simply making scientific-like behaviors and using measurments and scientific-like equipment does not make it science or medicine. It's cargo-cult science with coconut radios and bamboo antennas.

Posted by: DirtCrashr | Jul 14, 2006 5:38:00 PM

since you're actively soliciting this crap, here is another version of the same theme:


Posted by: dsquared | Jul 14, 2006 5:55:04 PM

There's even a NHS homeopathic hospital in Bristol. Still, I suppose that means there's good chance there'll be a cock-up and someone will get given some proper medicines instead.

Posted by: Tim Almond | Jul 14, 2006 8:24:18 PM

Well, lets just say that most people are very imaginative, but the proof is in the pudding as they say! I have been in rural Africa for 6 months and while many are contracting Malaria (a very unpleasant disease!) I have been fine protected by - - guess what! - - homeopathic medecine!

Posted by: Rob The Rob | Jan 12, 2007 1:40:43 PM

Excuse me, but how many people have you cured in your life? It must be a great many, for you to be such a self-proclaimed expert on medical matters.

Tim adds: I've cured exactly the same number of people as homeopathy: none.

Posted by: Diderik Finne | Mar 14, 2007 3:55:13 PM

It saddens me that without taking the time to research, study and understand homeopathy so many negative comments are given.
Homeopathy addresses an individual and their unique symptoms, usually not disease conditions.
In the unlikely mis-administration of a remedy, you will not find death such as with the accidental deaths with prescription drugs.
Liken a parachute and the mind - when closed neither one of them works!
Be blessed in your choices.

Posted by: Linda Ott | Jul 14, 2007 12:54:00 AM

Homeopathy is simply an alternative that stimulates the body's immune system to work itself rather than weaken it by taking drugs instead. No it hasn't been proven, but neither has conventional medicine. There is no possible way to 100% prove that something works, because you also cannot prove that the immune system wouldn't have done the job anyway. I've always used it, and I never get ill. So it works for me.

Posted by: Bob | Sep 13, 2007 1:36:56 PM

My sister who has some kind of a skin condition went to a Homeopath last week and she said she was hooked up to some kind of machine which diagnosed her as having two kinds of jet fuel in her blood. I'm not kidding. She really believes that jet planes have caused fuel to appear in her blood. Do you have any idea what the machine could possibly be and how in the world anyone could believe this? She does have diabetes and is blind. I suppose in that condition you would grasp at straws, but I feel so alarmed by this.

Posted by: Carol | Feb 2, 2008 6:36:38 PM

The very fact that you are writing against homeopathy, when the entire world is taking it with great benefits.
Shows your negativity that you hold fo homeopathy for whatever reasons best known to you.
keep writng & just like St.paul you will be in later life god willing one of the greatest promoters of homeopathy.

Posted by: Dr George | Aug 13, 2009 9:38:56 AM

There may be some who think it works. But I for one was a skeptic when I started taking it. My skepticism was blown away when, much to my chagrin, it actually worked. We've used it ever since!

Posted by: T. Eschen | Oct 23, 2009 3:16:34 AM