Homeopathy, does it work?

Does homeopathy work?

Poll ended at 13 Jul 2019, 9:10am

Yes!
5
9%
Tend to yes
2
3%
No!
49
84%
Tend to no
1
2%
Worth a try if normal treatment fails
1
2%
Don't know yet
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 58

Tangled Metal
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby Tangled Metal » 11 Jun 2019, 9:44am

So if water has the memory of what was in it that promotes a condition such that it can cure that condition right? So I'm pretty sure tap water at one point was probably used to flush a toilet. So does that mean it's likely to be a cure for dysentery and other pathogens in dirty water?

Sorry, I'm a cynic. Bit there's a semi serious point to make. I do want to know if it's the principal that's important or if it's the person preparing it then charging the big money that's important to homeopathy efficacy?

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Audax67
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby Audax67 » 11 Jun 2019, 9:48am

Our first Leonberg nearly died of an ear infection because a raving homeopath of a vet 'treated' her. The unscrupulous butt-weevil was actually a judge of Leonbergs at national show level, not that we wanted to do that to the poor dog but it was a great line in the CV. We didn't know anything about homeopathy back then and it wasn't mentioned in the phone-book, so we wandered in innocently.

She recovered after we took her to a real vet, but she was left epileptic for the rest of her life.

The same lousy bloke later 'treated' a neighbour's cat by hypnotizing it via the telephone*, and had the effrontery to send her a bill. I believe he was subsequently stricken from the rolls.

Show me a homeopath and I'll show you a charlatan ripe for kicking.

* the same effect may be observed in children and adolescents, but this was a land line.
Have we got time for another cuppa?

pwa
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby pwa » 11 Jun 2019, 9:49am

The official explanation for homeopathy is so ridiculous as to be comical, so it has to be placebo. Which is where it becomes interesting.

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Audax67
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby Audax67 » 11 Jun 2019, 9:52am

I reckon its main advantage is that whereas people know placebos do nothing, homeopathy is backed by a great body of misconceptions and downright lies.
Last edited by Audax67 on 11 Jun 2019, 9:52am, edited 1 time in total.
Have we got time for another cuppa?

Tangled Metal
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby Tangled Metal » 11 Jun 2019, 9:52am

A lot of old herbal cures were based on plant leaf shape. For example a liver shaped leaf cured liver complaints, kidney shaped cures kidney complaints and so on.

It has been shown that in most cases this was simply wrong. However there are some herbal remedies that modern medicine has discovered does work. I know of people who chew the bark of certain species of willow tree for pain such as toothache. It gets the active ingredient salicylic acid iirc (aka aspirin) right where it's needed. I've seen online discussions about dosage too.

So I can see how herbalists stumbled onto effective treatments by chance just by matching organ being treated with a feature of a plant. I just can't really see this chance success with homeopathy only placebo.

Mike Sales
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby Mike Sales » 11 Jun 2019, 9:53am

horizon wrote:
Mike Sales wrote:Homeopathy chooses for a remedy a substance which produces the same reaction in the body as the illness it purports to treat. This idea is daft.


Homeopathy as it is practised today in the UK relies on this idea. The little white pills are really only the end product of this thinking. The idea is that the substance stimulates the body's own healing ability. I wouldn't say this is a daft idea.

Modern western medicine chooses OTOH a substance that produces an opposite reaction in the body to the illness. This is fine insomuch as it purports (and really does with pharmaceutical drugs) to halt the symptoms, some of which may be life threatening. However, taken to an extreme, all bodily symptoms are removed: homeopaths would say that this either now or later prevents the body from properly healing itself.


Conventional medicine has a theory about what it is doing. This theory is part of a large body of understanding about how the body works, which is tested and verified at several levels. The particular medicine is itself tested, usually in double blind trials, to eliminate the placebo effect.
Homeopathy has no coherent theory, just "woo".
It fails to better the placebo effect in all trials.

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horizon
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby horizon » 11 Jun 2019, 10:05am

Tangled Metal wrote: I do want to know if it's the principal that's important or if it's the person preparing it then charging the big money that's important to homeopathy efficacy?


We pay doctors through the NHS (they earn around £100,000 p.a. AFAIK). So your trip to the doctor is free under the NHS. That isn't the case in the US.

When you see a homeopath (or a chiropractor or any other non-NHS funded practitioner) you pay upfront for everything - their room, their holidays etc). I very much doubt that money is an issue and, unlike the NHS, no-one will be forced to pay for homeopathy once it is removed from the NHS.
I have two doctors, my left leg and my right leg. (G. M. Trevelyan)
PS I always wondered why the YHA HQ was called Trevelyan House. :)

roubaixtuesday
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby roubaixtuesday » 11 Jun 2019, 10:09am

horizon wrote:When you see a homeopath (or a chiropractor or any other non-NHS funded practitioner) you pay upfront for everything - their room, their holidays etc). I very much doubt that money is an issue and, unlike the NHS, no-one will be forced to pay for homeopathy once it is removed from the NHS.


The issue is that homeopathy amounts to obtaining money by deception, and has the potential to be extremely harmful to, and exploitative of, very vulnerable people. There's a good reason why medicines are regulated.

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horizon
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby horizon » 11 Jun 2019, 10:12am

pwa wrote:The official explanation for homeopathy is so ridiculous as to be comical, so it has to be placebo. Which is where it becomes interesting.


The official explanation for homeopathy is like cures like, which, while you may object to it, isn't comical. The claimed action of the remedy (dilution in water) is ridiculous to our thinking. The only effective way to know if it is real or not is through the statistics which do not show an effect. But try telling that to the thousands of people who wear and promote cycle helmets.
I have two doctors, my left leg and my right leg. (G. M. Trevelyan)
PS I always wondered why the YHA HQ was called Trevelyan House. :)

Mike Sales
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby Mike Sales » 11 Jun 2019, 10:16am

Audax67 wrote:I reckon its main advantage is that whereas people know placebos do nothing, homeopathy is backed by a great body of misconceptions and downright lies.


What advantage? If placebos work as well as homeopathy when openly administered, there is no advantage.
Except to the wallet of the homeopathy shaman.

roubaixtuesday
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby roubaixtuesday » 11 Jun 2019, 10:19am

horizon wrote:When you see a homeopath (or a chiropractor or any other non-NHS funded practitioner) you pay upfront for everything - their room, their holidays etc). I very much doubt that money is an issue and, unlike the NHS, no-one will be forced to pay for homeopathy once it is removed from the NHS.


The issue is that homeopathy amounts to obtaining money by deception, and has the potential to be extremely harmful to, and exploitative of, very vulnerable people. There's a good reason why medicines are regulated.

pwa
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby pwa » 11 Jun 2019, 10:19am

What would be interesting would be if a trial were done with, say, patients with rheumatoid arthritis, in which they were told to carry on with whatever conventional treatment they were taking, but also take a tiny dose of clear liquid once a day. In reality the liquid would just be water. The "control" group would not have the water. So the water would be a placebo. Would it affect the results? I bet it would, and not because people are stupid and suggestible.

roubaixtuesday
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby roubaixtuesday » 11 Jun 2019, 10:28am

pwa wrote:What would be interesting would be if a trial were done with, say, patients with rheumatoid arthritis, in which they were told to carry on with whatever conventional treatment they were taking, but also take a tiny dose of clear liquid once a day. In reality the liquid would just be water. The "control" group would not have the water. So the water would be a placebo. Would it affect the results? I bet it would, and not because people are stupid and suggestible.


It almost certainly would.

As linked above, the placebo effect has been widely studied and is truly remarkable - here's a quite incredible landmark study. https://www.painscience.com/biblio/fasc ... ritis.html

It even works when both doctor and patient know it's just a just a placebo.

None of these proves that homeopathy is effective, only that we would expect placebos to have the same effects claimed by homeopaths. Perhaps they should rename themselves placebopaths.

Mike Sales
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby Mike Sales » 11 Jun 2019, 10:30am

horizon wrote:
pwa wrote:The official explanation for homeopathy is so ridiculous as to be comical, so it has to be placebo. Which is where it becomes interesting.


The official explanation for homeopathy is like cures like, which, while you may object to it, isn't comical. The claimed action of the remedy (dilution in water) is ridiculous to our thinking. The only effective way to know if it is real or not is through the statistics which do not show an effect. But try telling that to the thousands of people who wear and promote cycle helmets.


I guess that hundreds of years ago, when the accepted theory of the function of the body was in terms of the humours (black bile, yellow bile, phlegm and blood) homeopathy did not appear comical. In the light of modern understanding of physiology it is arbitrary and ludicrous. There is no way homeopathy has any relation to modern medicine. One might think this funny, in a bleak sort of way.
Those early doctors, who tried to rebalance the humours, must have had the same placebo effect as homeopathy to reinforce their beliefs, and so did doctors who bled their patients, or applied leeches. No doubt the placebo effect helps more scientific treatment.

reohn2
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Re: Homeopathy, does it work?

Postby reohn2 » 11 Jun 2019, 11:52am

Audax67 wrote:I reckon its main advantage is that whereas people know placebos do nothing, homeopathy is backed by a great body of misconceptions and downright lies.

That'll be about right :wink:
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