Slipping through the Cracks: Health Canada, Traumeel, and Homeopathy

It’s World Homeopathy Awareness Week. Today’s post is a deeper dive into the world of homeopathic “evidence”. Looking at the science, we’ll highlight the implications of regulators applying two sets of standard to health products: One for medicine, and one for homeopathy. Today’s post is a collaboration with Kim Hebert, who blogs at Science-Based Therapy.

The kindest that can be said about most homeopathic products is that they won’t cause adverse effects. After all, most common “strengths” or “potencies” used in homeopathy are so dilute there’s no possibility of a single molecule of the original substance remaining in the remedy. But what if, instead of diluting a product the typical 30 times, it’s only diluted once or twice? Is it still homeopathy? There’s a very good chance of some molecules of the original substance remaining. That’s the case with today’s case study, Traumeel.

What is Traumeel, and what does it do?

If you haven’t heard of Traumeel, this full-page ad that appeared in the Globe and Mail last month explains [click to embiggen]:

Traumeel is marketed to treat sports injuries, inflammation, and pain. Conventional treatments, like anti-inflammatories, are effective but can have multiple serious side effects. So any product that’s “safer than anti-inflammatories” and gets “to the source of the pain”, yet is “without side effects”, would be a tremendous medical innovation. The ointment, gel, tablets, injection, and drop versions of Traumeel all have same labelled use: “For the temporary relief of muscular pain, joint pain, sports injuries and bruising.” and Health Canada (search Natural Health Products Database licenses 80005012, 80005063, 80005218, 80007675, and 80007958) has approved the following statement about Traumeel products:

“Homeopathic preparation used to relieve pain, inflammation and bruising associated with injuries such as sprains, dislocations, contusions; to relieve muscle and joint pain.”

Are these statements backed up by good science? Let’s start with looking at the ingredient list.

Ingredients and Evidence

When you buy a medicinal product, the active ingredients is disclosed, along with the amount. For example, a 1% ointment is 1 gram of a drug per 100 grams of ointment. Compared to medicine, homeopathic product labels seem not to be designed with consumers in mind. Here’s the listing for Traumeel ointment:

Each 50 g contains: Aconitum napellus 3X (Reduces pain after injury) 0.50 g; Arnica montana, radix 3X (Reduces swelling and bruising) 0.75 g; Belladonna 3X (Reduces swelling and pain) 0.5 g; Bellis perennis 1X (Treats bruising) 0.25 g; Calendula officinalis 1X (Stimulates healing process) 0.75 g; Chamomilla 1X (Soothing pain relief) 0.25 g; Echinacea 1X (Immune support) 0.25 g; Echinacea purpurea 1X (Stimulates healing process) 0.25 g; Hamamelis virginiana 1X (Relieves bruised soreness) 0.75 g; Hepar sulphuris calcareum 8X (Stimulates injury healing) 0.125 g; Hypericum perforatum 6X (Relieves pain) 0.045 g; Mercurius solubilis 8X (Reduces swelling) 0.06 g; Millefolium 1X (Treats minor bleeding) 0.15 g; Symphytum officinale 4X (Relieves joint pain) 0.05 g. Inactive Ingredients: Cetylstearyl alcohol, ethanol, paraffin, purified water, and white petrolatum.

It baffling, but sounds impressive and technical. Let’s look at one ingredient: Arnica montana. Arnica montana is a plant with the more common name of leopard’s or wolf’s bane. To make homeopathic Arnica montana, the plants are collected, ground up, mixed with alcohol, pressed and filtered. The final liquid is called mother tincture. The mother tincture is then diluted, mixing one unit with nine units of water. The diluted tincture is then shaken or “succussed”. The process is repeated three times in total (i.e., “3X”). So the final product is a 1/1000 dilution of the “mother tincture”. Of that final dilution, 0.75 g of this is used in the ointment. That means the ointment has 0.00075 g of the mother tincture, and the final ointment is 0.0015% Arnica tincture. Not a lot.

Working through the entire ingredient list, we can calculate there is is 4.68 g of diluted tinctures in the 50 g tube. The remaining 45.32 g are the inactive ingredients: alcohol, paraffin, and petroleum jelly. Given the tinctures have all been diluted one to eight times, it’s clear there’s not much “active” ingredient there.

Let’s look at each ingredient more closely and see if there’s any supporting scientific evidence, as either homeopathy or medicine (all evaluations taken from the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, an evidence-based compendium):

  • No supportive evidence: Calendula officinalis 1X (garden marigold), Bellis perennis 1X (wild daisy), Hepar sulphuris calcareum 8X (calcium sulfide), Mercurius solubilis 8X (mercury). The purported effects, such as “stimulates the healing process” and “immune support” are too vague to evaluate.
  • No supportive evidence at homeopathic doses: Hamamelis virginiana 1X (witch hazel), Arnica montana radix 3X, Chamomilla 1X (German chamomile), Millefolium 1X (yarrow). Though these ingredients have been researched as natural remedies, there is no evidence to support their use at homeopathic doses.
  • Potentially unsafe: Aconitum napellus 3X (aconite), Belladonna 3X (deadly nightshade), Symphytum officinale 4X (comfrey). These are considered unsafe when taken orally (note: these ingredients are in the pill form of Traumeel); Aconite is also considered unsafe to be used topically.
  • Inappropriate: Echinacea angustifolia 1X, Echinacea purpurea 1X (echinacea), Hypericum perforatum 6X (St. John’s Wort). Echinacea is generally used for coughs and colds and St. John’s Wort is used for depression, so the inclusion of these ingredients is puzzling.
  • Other ingredients: Purified water, Paraffin, White petrolatum, Ethanol, Cetylstearyl alcohol. Traumeel ointment is 13.8% alcohol. Rubbing an alcohol-based ointment into the skin is likely to produce a cooling effect — exactly what you might be looking for if you’ve got a bruise, injury or swelling.
  • The ingredient list tells us a a lot about the plausibility of Traumeel. There’s no scientific evidence to support the use of any of the key ingredients to treat pain or inflammation and, while there may be a molecule or two of each ingredient left, there won’t be enough to have any meaningful effects by either medicinal or homeopathic principles. But implausible doesn’t mean impossible, so let’s see if there’s any evidence.

    Clinical Trials

    Heel makes a number of claims (pdf) about Traumeel, but none are backed up by persuasive evidence. Mostly they compare Traumeel to anti-inflammatory drugs like ASA and ibuprofen, claiming that Traumeel is faster, more effective, and has no side effects.

    Unfortunately, there are no well-designed, double-blind, peer reviewed, head-to-head trials that have established this. This is unfortunate, because there’s no information to support the included dosages, nor to suggest that any of these ingredients would even be absorbed into the skin. However, the relatively vague claims that Traumeel is “well-tolerated” and has “almost no side effects” are very plausible, given there isn’t enough of any ingredient to have any medicinal effects.

    Is Traumeel even homeopathy?

    Traumeel has a listed range of dilutions between 1X (1/10) and 8X (1/100,000,000). Typical homeopathic remedies are diluted to something nearer to 30C, which is 1/1060, a dilution of 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Homeopaths believe 30C is a “moderate” potency. But if Traumeel is considered homeopathy at such “weak” dilution, and it’s effective, the major premise of homeopathy is invalidated. Why are 30C dilutions even necessary when something is effective at 1X?

    It’s probably more likely that neither dilution is meaningful. The most likely way Arnica could be said to be equally effective at 1/1000 and 1/1060 would be to recognize that they’re both providing placebo effects only. That’s a far more simple and probable explanation for Traumeel, as opposed to rejecting the physical laws of the universe.

    Is Traumeel a safe placebo?

    Homeopathy is promoted as “safe” because the ingredients are so dilute that they cannot exert a biological effect. Conveniently, dilution gives a substance potent healing properties with no risk of overdose or side-effects. These concepts are antithetical. A medicine cannot have both an extremely potent therapeutic effect and be completely risk-free. It’s a wonderful fantasy, but it’s not chemically possible. And Traumeel illustrates this point.

    Alexa Ray Joel (daughter of singer Billy Joel) attempted to overdose on Traumeel tablets. She was hospitalized, but luckily, no overdose was observed. Heel commented on the reports only enough to reiterate that their product is safe and effective. However, doctors say that the reason Traumeel was of little threat was that, contrary to homeopathic claims of potency, Traumeel is far too dilute to cause an overdose with any of its ingredients, even if taken in significant excess. This tragic situation is persuasive evidence against claims of homeopathic potency. Though this story had a happy ending, it illustrated the safety, ethical, and regulatory grey area that Traumeel occupies.

    However, Traumeel does contain trace amounts of apparently ineffective, though in some cases potentially dangerous, ingredients. Yet the product avoids having to demonstrate robust clinical efficacy by obtaining the label of homeopathy. This recalls the product Zicam, which was labelled “homeopathic” but contained enough ingredient to cause people to lose their sense of smell. Zicam contained Zincum Gluconicum 1X and Zincum Aceticum 2X — dilutions similar to those seen with Traumeel ingredients. Could a similar situation occur with Traumeel, or another poorly regulated homeopathic product, if someone ingests enough of it?

    What’s the bottom line with Traumeel?

    While it is possible the diluted ingredients in Traumeel could have drug-like effects, there’s no evidence to suggest any component will have meaningful therapeutic effects, even at much higher amounts. And that’s probably a good thing, because you don’t want to be rubbing mercury into your skin or ingesting nightshade, when all you want to do is treat a sports injury. If there was real interest in evaluating Traumeel’s efficacy, a clinical trial comparing it to placebo and relevant drugs would be straightforward. Unfortunately, no such research exists. And given it’s already been approved by Health Canada with an impressive-sounding recommended use, why would we expect the manufacturer to bother? The homeopathic evidence standard was met, and the product can be sold.

    The marketing of Traumeel neatly illustrates a consequence of the regulatory standards for homeopathic products: It’s possible to claim Traumeel has only desired effects and no side-effects. As it’s not immediately obvious that Traumeel is a homeopathic product, few will realize that a different evidence standard was applied. Further, the labelling standard does not clearly communicate to consumers that there are essentially no active ingredients in the products. Nor is the manufacturer required to indicate that homeopathy has not been demonstrated to have any meaningful therapeutic effects. The net result is the veneer of scientific legitimacy.

    If the Canadian regulatory system doesn’t properly inform consumers about the content and evidence for homeopathic products like Traumeel, how effective is it? Consumers cannot be expected to make rational decisions about their own health when basic information like ingredients and effectiveness is unavailable. That a product such as Traumeel, with such poor evidence to even justify its ingredients, let alone the claims of efficacy, can have the above statement of efficacy approved by Health Canada is a disgrace and consumers quite literally pay the price.

    For More Information

    For a homeopathy primer, see Science-Based Medicine’s topic overview.

    A Reality Check on Traumeel, from Paul Ingraham at saveyourself.ca

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    86 thoughts on “Slipping through the Cracks: Health Canada, Traumeel, and Homeopathy

    1. Per homeopathy as “a wonderful fantasy,” I paraphrase from Wohler, who synthesized the first organic compound synthetically in 1828 and that was, as Wikipedia says “a landmark in the history of science which disproved and undermined the vital force theory which was believed for centuries” [though many say it took quite some time for that theory to die off after that, and it is a basic theory in homeopathy -- the immaterial vital force being affected by the made-immaterial 'remedy' therein like cures like]:

      ‘I have destroyed a beautiful idea with an ugly fact.’

      It has become quite obvious to me that so much of co-called CAM cannot meet the parameters of regular ‘fair trade’ / commerce, never mind the higher standards of professionalism.

      With homeopathy, I don’t think the buyer should beware. Instead, the buyer should boycott.

      Here’s an anecdote: I was at the NECSS yesterday in NYC — and homeopathy was discussed with appropriate critical analysis [to be polite] — and I had a headache. So, I went to the local Duane Reed pharmacy on about Lexington and 61st to get some acetaminophen.

      Now, usually the shelves in a pharmacy are organized by product type, in sections. What was so interesting about my experience is that the homeopathic remedies there are scattered on the shelves amongst the legitimate products that aren’t from cloud cuckoo land.

      I thought this was a shame, because I feel it sets up a false equality between the homeopathic product and the actually vetted product.

      -r.c.

    2. I find it baffling at the very least, that our Government passes these homeopathic products and allows the labels not to disclose more accurate information. In my view, “Consumers BEWARE” is a very weak statement that should be placed on every homeopathic product that is placed on the shelf, thereby warning the consumer to research this product BEFORE using, rather than experimenting and suffering the possible consequences later, which may end up being fatal.

      • Canada is not run by the pharmacutical companies….and homeopatic products don’t end up in the coffers of these companies, so, those who stand to make a profit condemn them…some are snake oils, but, some are so much better than the OTC and scripts…don’t throw the baby out with the bath water…and don’t believe all that is written..those condemning have no studies to back up their irresponsible claims

        • Umm…no. If homeopathic products worked the pharmaceutical companies would brand them and market them – make their own money on them. They don’t because they know they’re BS.

        • But if it works, it works right?

          Some people just don’t want to put the same chemicals that are used to clean cars into their bodies so they choose “natural” products.

          Certainly, the writer of this article seems more than a little biased towards big money paharmaceutical companies…

        • Some people just don’t want to put the same chemicals that are used to clean cars into their bodies so they choose “natural” products.

          Like…water?

    3. Pingback: Traumeel-isiert « Kultur oder Wissenschaft

    4. I’ve been using Traumeel for several years for joint pain and all I can say is “IT WORKS”. I also have friends who use the product and swear by it. Having tried several other rubs before Traumeel, I’ll stick with Traumeel.

      • I just discovered Traumeel at our most trusted health food store in Fort Worth, TX. I have had a bad knee for six months and nothing was giving me relief. Not aspirin ( a scientifically proven and nationally marketed product) not acetaminophen ( a scientifically proven and nationally marketed product) Not Icy Hot or Ben Gay or any other so called joint relief product. A regimen of ibuprofen and Traumeel has reduced my daily discomfort by at least 85% and at times during any given day I am completely pain free. It is clear to me that the people on this site that are criticizing this product, obviously have a vested interest in the pharmaceutical machine and it’s continued abuse of the american consumer. No one recommended Traumeel to me. I found it on the shelf along side other pain relief remedies and and when I saw that it was anti-inflammatory as well as analgesic I thought I would give it a try. You’re right, Celine. IT WORKS!!!! Don’t listen to these naysayers who would almost assuredly tell me that my brilliant chiropractor that I have been seeing for years, and has helped me with numerous physical ailments is a Witch Doctor and a Quack.

    5. Settings: I have chronic neuropathic pain in the neck for now 5 years.

      I’ve been using Traumeel creme for 5 months and pills, for 1 week. It works, amazingly. By decreasing pain, it has given me more energy to do stuff I want to do, like working out, going out with friends.

      SAD AFFAIR that clinical studies are not done on these “alternative” products. Alternative is in brackets, because really, they shouldn’t be alternatives! My doc is recommending opioids, so naturally I prefer Traumeel’s ingredients.

    6. Pingback: Israel Bans Homeopathy TV Ad : Homeoquackery

    7. I was given a sample pack ointment spread of Traumeel to help give me some relief from plantar facitious. I read the packet, forgoing my normal routine of 3 tylonal in the morning,and three in the evening, just to see if it worked. it did. Not being able to take anti-inflamatory perscription pills I was wondering how to get this. I knew nothing of the product, looked online, found this and thought, did they ever talk to someone who used it? I will continue to use, it helps.

    8. I cringe to write again, knowing that there is no point. Why do I bash my head against a virtual brick wall?

      But apparently I am writing again. I’m sure I’ll learn not to bother sooner or later.

      Your lack of knowledge of homeopathy — whether by design or not — is astonishing. No, it’s not astonishing for our “Western” culture standards, but rather it is astonishing for someone who thinks he has any business pontificating on the web about the principles of homeopathy.

      Maybe homeopathy works. Maybe it doesn’t. As far as I’m concerned, the jury’s still out on that point. But, if you’re going to have a reasonable discussion, you need to inform yourself before presenting yourself as an expert and, for the record, reading a couple other homeopathy-bashing blogs on the web doesn’t count.

    9. My wife has had a sore shoulder and arm for months and since she received a bottle of Traumeel from a friend the pain has all but disappeared in a matter of days. That’s pretty good for a pill so diluted it’s apparently a placebo!

    10. Author says, “A medicine cannot have both an extremely potent therapeutic effect and be completely risk-free.”

      I say, “A medicine cannot be so dilute as to be a total fraud and be so dangerous that it needs to be regulated.”

      You’re talking out of both sides of your mouth. Nice try.

      I was “prescribed” Traumeel tabs two weeks ago by a physician. It works.

      (Sorry if this posts twice,)

    11. I know that this was written over a year ago but I am here to tell you that Traumeel works and it works very well. I just finished my first bottle and I will be replacing it the next time I am out shopping.
      Not only did it relieve the pain in my muscles and joints, it relieved the pain in my lower back. An amazing side effect of this medication is that it reduced the swelling in my leg.
      First you should know that my leg had been swollen for several years. Doctors said that some people have one leg that is larger than the other. Mine was swollen to the point that you couldn’t see my ankle.
      Now my leg is almost the same size as the other and I have my ankle back.
      Yes this medicine works. No side effects at all.

      • I told my best friend just today that my hands and feet are not swelling anymore. I love this stuff.

        Something that I should have noted in my first post is that I have been in constant pain for eight years. I am allergic to codeine so my options are limited. (I do well with morphine. Funny, no dr would prescribe it for me.)

        Traumeel has given me relief I haven’t felt in all this time.

    12. I found it interesting that an MD anesthesiologist run pain clinic in the Phoenix area is using this medication for spinal-epidural ingections.

    13. It does work, BUT I think I do have a side effect I cannot get rid of even though I stopped using it after I figured out it gave me an adverse reaction.

      I used it 4 years ago without any issues. I had it hanging around, I put it on my sore wrist and it worked, kinda. After nearly 2 weeks after only 2 applications, I am experiencing pins & needles throughout my entire body. It started at the wrist and spread to my extremities. I think I’m experiencing a really bad reaction from the assumed no side effects. I am either the exception or this is unreported.

      Despite this though, I had tender joints throughout my body and they disappeared after the Traumeel.

      Any ideas? I’m bringing it to the doctors office today.

      AJ

    14. It works very well and no side effects. I use many homeopathic remedies.
      It is quite amazing how the drug industries always knock something that really works.
      It is the 21st century get with it!

    15. Traumeel falls into the same category as Colloidal Silver, drug companies cant patent it so they knock it. Get hold of a copy of a book called MIMS and read all about the nasty side effects drugs made by drug companies produce and you will think that safe homeopathic remedies look real good. Its funny how Colloidal Silver was portrayed as being evil yet today we find it in hospitals used in the burns units, in band aids on the supermarket shelves and many other locations. Drug companies have 2 agendas one is never to find a cure as there is no ongoing profit in cures and the other is to make as much money as possible. People in healing are there to help people not to poison them.

        • I don’t think so. Andrew is summing up his skepticism of prescription drugs, the demonization of homeopathic remedies, and the irony of the industry using the very remedies they previously demonized.

      • I agree that Traumeel and Colloidal Silver fall into the same category: Products without scientific evidence of efficacy. Compared to Traumeel, however, there are active ingredients in colloidal silver – enough to cause toxicity. Silver can have therapeutic effects. But there’s zero credible evidence that colloidal silver does anything beneficial. Check out Science-Based Medicine for a complete review.

        • “Products without scientific evidence of efficacy.”

          Isn’t it possible that Science doesn’t have ALL the answers?

        • I think Dara O’Briain said it best. “Science knows it doesn’t know everything. Otherwise it would stop”. :)
          Seriously, from a consumer protection perspective, what sort of evidence should we demand before accepting a claim? The scientific method is the best approach we have for sorting out what works from what doesn’t. A properly designed trial could demonstrate that Traumeel works. But the manufacturers haven’t done that. And why would they? The product sells based on testimonial evidence – anecdotes.Paul Ingraham explains the problems with anecdotes over at another SBP post here.

        • @Scott

          If the scientific method is all that separates an accepted claim, ie Thalidomide, Vioxx, Bextra, Darvon, from mere anecdote, of what benefit is the Science?

          As a non-scientist consumer, I’ll take the anecdotes and my own experience. Thank you.

          If scientists want to be taken seriously, they must stop selling themselves to the highest bidder becoming corporate whores without a shred of decency. To my mind, that’s how the claims for Thalidomide, Vioxx, Bextra, Darvon were accepted, making the scientific method utterly worthless.

    16. I have been using Traumeel gel for a couple of years, and have had incredible relief from back and neck pain. I originally used it for chronic heel pain that is now completely gone. I’ve recommended it to many others and several have used it and loved it. I gave some to my granddaughter for severe back pain, and she has had more relief from Traumeel than from all the other stuff that she tried. I will continue to recommend it to anyone with any kind of muscular pain. it’s amazing stuff.

    17. What I get from this is that you do not understand what homeopathics are, how they work, and why they work. It’s a paradigm shift from allopathic approaches and enlists the body to heal itself. I won’t go into the scientific explanation, but I encourage you to study the science from an open mind and see what you can understand. I and my 80+ year old parents have found Traumeel extremely helpful when nothing else would cut pain or muscle spasms. And we DO know that many pharmaceuticals have serious and multiple side effects.

      • Um, in other words, “the body heals itself and then homeopaths take the credit”. I know you won’t go into the scientific explanation, because there isn’t one Jeanine.
        It’s very condescending of you to presume that Scott’s statements come from ignorance of homeopathy; in fact, learning more about homeopathy simply leads to a greater appreciation of the totality of the delusion . It is entirely misleading of you to imply that there are people who understand “what they are, how they work and why they work”, since all of that talk of miasma and energy is just made up pseudoscientific nonsense, to help people (practitioners and clients) to believe what homeopathy requires them to believe. Trust me on this, there are plenty of people who know a great deal of the ‘theory’ of homeopathy and who nonetheless aren’t fooled.
        Couldn’t I far more reasonably suspect you of holding your views due to an ignorance of science? What is your education in pharmacy or biochemistry? You use the term ‘allopathy’ – a word coined by Hahnemann to describe the opposing view in the late 18th century, and which simply does not apply to modern medicine; this is just a part of the lie that they sold you in homeopathy school (hint: non-homeopathic medicine has made considerable progress since Hahnemann’s time, homeopathy has made basically none).

        • OK, I don’t have a lot of time for this, but I’m going to do my best to respond to both you, Greg, and to Og (August 1, 2011 at 7:58 pm). First, I realize that my tone was a little overbearing, and I apologize for that.

          Let me start by explaining that my experience (and, yes, you can call it anecdotal, but I have learned to trust my insights and not have them discounted by someone who is doing their best to generalize what works for many people but perhaps not for me) is that I am highly sensitive to CNS drugs and many antibiotics. For example, 20 years ago, 1 child dose of pseudophed which was supposed to last 4 hours made me drowsy to the point of being nonfunctional for 3 days. 15 years ago, one Naprosyn for inflammation related to carpal tunnel syndrome also made me drowsy beyond functioning for 3 days. Some other pharmaceuticals have the reverse effect on me of hyping me up so severely that I can’t sleep, have extreme tension, and sometimes became unnaturally anxious. 25 years ago, one Tagamet caused me to have a sensation where when I turned my head, the vision in the room followed by about a second delay – very disconcerting and certainly not safe for driving. Although I avoided antibiotics as much as possible, 16 years ago I ended up with antibiotic poisoning (Claustridium Dificile Toxin, also called C-Dif), and it took me 6 months to overcome the worst of it. Every one of these was a pharmaceutical prescribed by a good, well-meaning M.D. (internist), and every one of these pharmaceuticals had been scientifically approved.

          I do not have education in pharmacy and no formal education in biochemistry, although I have read and learned a fair amount from my naturopath in the process of discovering what I can do to stay healthy and overcome illness, in light of the fact that my experience has been that pharmaceuticals have made me sicker than the original condition for which they were prescribed.

          What I believe is that our bodies are wonderfully made and are designed in so very many ways to heal themselves when given proper support. For instance, a fever fights off the “bugs” (virus or bacteria). But I believe that our over-controlling allopathic medicine sometimes tends to not hold on to and honor the benefits of our own bodies’ healing process. When I’m sick, I don’t take an aspirin to bring the fever down because that’s undermining my body’s attempt to overcome the illness. Of course, if my fever is too high, I do take an aspirin, and I’m grateful that we have such tools for when they’re needed. But ultimately, I feel the value of listening to my body, which also appears to be saying, “Slow down,” when I am sick. Slowing down is also part of allowing the healing process.

          The explanation of homeopathy (which I know from my naturopath who was an RN for 15 years, is an environmental medicine specialist, and who is an LAc) is one that truly does come from another paradigm of understanding. My understanding (and I did not go to school to study homeopathy, but I do personally experience the benefits without side effects) is the following:
          a) When the body is aware of a concern, it goes to work to restore balance, harmony, health, and well-being.
          b) Generally speaking, homeopathics are diluted to the point where there is not a whole molecule present because what they deliver is the vibration of the item and not the physical content.
          c) The body recognizes, say, a vibration associated with nerve pain and says, Oh, need to address this nerve pain, and sure enough, the pain is gone in a brief period of time (as with the homeopathic Hypericum, which is one of the ingredients in Traumeel). Our bodies know so much more about each of us as individuals than any form of medical science may ever know. So is it bad to enlist our body to heal itself? That’s working with our body rather than fighting it.

          Please understand that I recognize the value of all forms of medicine and health care, but I don’t feel comfortable when a single approach is considered the only way. Let’s be realistic that the reason there aren’t more studies for various forms of alternative care is that research is very expensive and often may be an alternative to a pharmaceutical that corporations want to be able to make a profit selling. I personally would like to see more research done regarding a wider variety of resources, so that we can have more than just anecdotal evidence and powerful personal experience. But to deny the benefit of a product because all that is available is anecdotal evidence is not really acknowledging the politics and the finances of medicine in our Western world.

          And honestly, if homeopathics haven’t changed since the late 18th century, it may be simply because they were the precise vibration needed for the body to respond and bring about healing. Aspirin hasn’t changed either because it works. Yes, they’ve added enteric coating to address stomach distress side effects. But homeopathics don’t cause side effects, so that form of refinement is not needed.

          I would love to see various forms of medicine collaborate for the highest good of each unique individual, that body’s needs and that body’s process. Some people can handle pharmaceuticals like muscle relaxants; others need a less invasive and more natural process like Traumeel. Would you deny the health of those who need the natural process, who might be made seriously ill from a muscle relaxant?

          Allopathic medicine is doing the best they can to provide optimal care, and sometimes other resources are needed also. For instance, the ultimate job of chemotherapy is to kill the cancer before the chemotherapy kills the person. Whoa. That sounds pretty barbaric, but it’s the best we can do for now, and thankfully, over the years, the forms of chemo have been expanded and refined or complemented by other meds, so there’s less nausea, so that more people survive the cancer, and so on. But chemo also often leaves people with lifelong consequences, such as “chemo brain” (memory is shot); peripheral neuropathy where one cannot even feel a hairbrush in the pocket (true example) and where one easily trips because of numbness, tingling or other pain in the feet; lymphedema where one’s limb (arm) swells up so seriously because of the lack of lymph flow, etc.

          As a last comment, the better we understand the body’s process, the more we can work with our bodies. For instance, when I have over exerted muscles shoveling snow, a doctor shared with me to take bromelain (a proteolytic enzyme) away from food, because the enzyme processes the inflammatory markers (which are proteins!) lodged in the joints. Now that’s what I call quality medicine! It isn’t masking the pain; it’s actually removing the source of the problem. In my experience, it takes 30 minutes, and it’s done, without any side effects and without masking the problem.

          So, I guess my knowledge of science is more about what our body is doing, and how can we inform our body and help it to do its natural job even better.

          And, by the way, I’ve had at least 3 “spontaneous remissions” in my life, which science could not explain, but the diagnosed condition was completely healed. I can’t argue with results, even if they were anecdotal.

          Apologies for the length of my response. Now that I had the time to respond, I hope this is a little more respectful and also clearer as to my intention and understanding. I have a few CAM links on my website, papers and research that might be of interest.

          Best wishes for good health and well-being for all,
          –Jeanine DuBois
          Compassion’s Doorway

    18. Hahaha! New Thalidomide record: only 7 comments before someone smugly drops the T-bomb.

      I think this line says it all: “As a non-scientist consumer, I’ll take the anecdotes and my own experience. Thank you.” Translation: Ignorant and Proud!

      Congratulations on setting back critical thinking 20,000 years. Fire burns Og! Careful with fire!

      • @Og

        Is there a good reason to leave Thalidomide off that list? Are we supposed to sweep T under the rug? Forget it ever happened? We don’t want to remind the scientists of their gross failures?

        So all who aren’t scientists are ignorant? ( I guess when it comes to smug, it takes one to know one because you reek of it.)

        Since you’re such a critical thinker, why don’t you answer my question? Surely, someone as smart as you can take a crack at it. It’s a valid question that deserves an answer.

        If you decide to condescend to answer my question, please note that there are questions in this post also that require answers. Please don’t leave them out.

        • Scientists seem to be much better at admitting their few failures, learning from them, and advancing science even further than any homeopathy acolyte is at admitting that the *entire field* of homeopathy is a gross-transgression-against-all-we-know-about-the-world failure.

      • My response to Greg is also intended for you, Og (just above your post). It’s lengthy but does address some of what you say here. I hope you’ll consider investing in the time to read it.

        Best wishes for a respectful learning experience for all of us,
        –Jeanine DuBois
        Compassion’s Doorway

    19. If you actually wanted answers, I’d gladly supply them. You are content to loudly shout your ignorance from the rooftops, and you already said you’d stick with anecdotes and your own experience. Perhaps we’re both smug, but only one of us is pretending to actually want answers to questions.

      • @Scott @Og

        This is the most ridiculous cop out I’ve ever encountered. So much for the scientific community.

    20. Jeanine, I’m quite happy to engage in a mutually respectful dialogue with you, because you are clearly interested in advancing the discussion, rather than throwing out angry accusations disguised as questions (notsotupelohoney – are you listening?).

      My take on *any* intervention is very, very simple:

      1) An intervention either works or it doesn’t.
      2) There is evidence for that intervention or there isn’t.
      3) We either know why an intervention works or we don’t.

      You take homeopathics because when you do, you feel better. You avoid pharmaceuticals because when you take them, you feel worse. However, you are sophisticated enough to know that symptomatic relief or exacerbation can be due to a great many factors, and those factors may have nothing at all to do with whether any disease process is being modified. In fact, you (more or less) claimed you want treatment for a disease, not just symptomatic relief.

      So, when you take Traumeel and feel better, how do you know it’s working on inflammation? What evidence is there that Traumeel is effective against inflammation? How does Traumeel reduce inflammation?

      • Hi, Og,

        Thanks for taking the time to read my lengthy post and for your kind response and queries.

        I am discovering that I don’t seem to be able to post another reply (maybe too long or cannot include reference links), so I will modify, and I’ll see if I can send a few short replies, which are chronological in response to your post.

        Realistically, I think with my experience, that I come from different background than you do, so I may not be able to communicate in a way where you can fully see what I’m saying. I say this with respect for you and with the hope that you’ll delve in a bit and not quickly discount my thoughts.

        Regarding your take on *any* intervention, here’s my response to your 3 points:

        Og: 1) An intervention either works or it doesn’t.
        JD: I don’t think it’s that simple at all. A muscle relaxant works for some people, and it knocks me out for literally days to the point that I’m not functional. We also know that some substances have the opposite effect on those who have ADHD / Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, suggesting that some of us are wired differently. (Ritalin is in the “class of medications called central nervous system (CNS) stimulants” (per NIH publication)
        and yet it has the opposite effect on someone who is hyperactive with ADHD.) In addition, many interventions only work with a portion of the population, but because it’s all we have, those interventions are approved. So, I have to conclude that interventions work for some people and not for others, or that in some cases the side effects are so extreme that even if the intervention “works”, the consequences eradicate any benefit.

        End of Part 1 8-4-2011
        –Jeanine DuBois

        • I have no disagreement with anything you have to say here. There are statistically distributed responses to a given intervention, and there are statistically distributed side-effect profiles, including the extreme responses which would occasionally be expected in the tails and which you, unfortunately, appear to suffer. But again, that really does just boil down to, an intervention either works or it doesn’t. I make no claims about universality of the effectiveness of interventions.

      • Part 2 of Jeanine’s August 4, 2011 reply to Og (looks like these are posting from bottom up, so scroll down a bit for Part 1):

        Og: 2) There is evidence for that intervention or there isn’t.
        JD: “Evidence” may be experiential, or it may be in a laboratory setting. In addition, there’s an interesting monkey wrench identified by quantum mechanics called the “observer effect” or “quantum entanglement”. (It looks like I can’t site websites.)
        I realize this gets pretty hard to swallow for folks who like very structured reality, but in fact theories of quantum entanglement go back to the 1930’s and are not new-age or woo woo. If you want to research, the Double Slit Experiment is another term you can google that demonstrates this observer effect.

        Og: 3) We either know why an intervention works or we don’t.
        JD: Although on the surface this seems plausible (or perhaps to some, obvious), I’m not sure this is *always* true.

        Thanks to René Descartes, we have a mechanistic view of the world, which separates mind from body. This goes back to the 1600’s, and yet we have since learned that mind and body are intricately interwoven through biochemistry. Each of our 70-100 trillion cells has around 100,000 chemical reactions per second. (Joe Dispenza DC in Evolve Your Brain). Candace Pert PhD (a Harvard bench scientist on the leading edge of the original work discovering the process of endorphins) has elaborated on this in her scholarly work, Molecules of Emotion.

        So, in addition to our woeful lack of elaborate and complete understanding of our bodies (especially the energetic, electrical, and magnetic functions and interactions), we have the fact that a belief about an intervention can send cascades of biochemicals to impact the results. We know that the placebo effect works on average 30% of the time (per Bruce Lipton, PhD cellular biologist), which is pretty significant to get that level of benefit with nothing more than belief. And, we even know through epigenetics (see University of Utah on epigenetics)
        that our perception of the environment can turn on or off gene expression. (See The Biology of Belief by cellular biologist Bruce Lipton PhD, former med school professor whose experimentation involved cloning stem cells back in the 1960’s and contributed to development of epigenetics. Explained nicely on You Tube Bruce Lipton epigenetics.)

        End of Part 2 from Jeanine on August 4, 2011

        • Quantum entanglement applies at the subatomic level. The two-slit experiment applies to an electron beam. No quantum effects have ever been convincingly demonstrated at the molecular, biochemical, or physiological levels of size and complexity. If you think otherwise, I’ll need to see your evidence. Furthermore, even if I grant you quantum entanglement for the sake of argument, I don’t see how this refutes my claim that interventions either have evidence in their favour or do not. I never claimed science was perfect, nor did I claim that all evidence is of equal quality. My claim is much more basic. The evidence is there, to be examined and questioned, or it is not.

          Regarding your explanation that the placebo effect exists, well, ok, sure, it exists. That in no way addresses my claim that we either understand why an intervention works or we do not. I do not deny the possibility of partial understanding, and I make no claim that we have complete understanding or we do not. And sure, I agree, human physiology is complex. Ok, so what? Does that suddenly mean anything gets to slip through the door?

          It kind of sounds like you want it two ways. On the one hand, you are claiming that physiology is deep and mysterious and we know very little, so how can we possibly understand pharmacology. On the other hand, in previous posts, you seem to have no problem at all saying that homeopathy is clearly understood and relies on “vibrations.” If these vibrations which apparently require a whole other scientific paradigm to understand are *so* simple, why aren’t they in physics textbooks? If pharmacology is *so* complex, why *is* it in textbooks? Are academics just a raging pack of fools?

      • Part 3 (final post) of Jeanine’s August 4, 2011 response to Og:

        On the topic of symptomatic relief versus modification of disease process…

        First, I have to say that a huge percentage of “scientifically proven” pharmaceuticals only provide symptomatic relief. That, in fact, is one reason why I greatly appreciate my naturopath, because her goal is to reduce or eliminate disease process. When she became my doctor 2 years after I developed C-dif (antibiotic poisoning), she didn’t simply say that I have IBS / irritable bowel syndrome as my MD did, but rather she traced back my health conditions from diagnosing and treating candidiasis through food allergies to the mercury toxicity which had weakened my body and contributed to the allergies which had further weakened my system to contribute to the candidiasis.

        As far as how I know, when I use Traumeel and feel better, whether it’s treating my inflammation… Good question. A few thoughts on this.

        a) I know the uses / effects of many (not all, as I have not researched all) of the homeopathics, including addressing trauma, bruising, nerve pain, and such, so I don’t focus on inflammation specifically but on the elements that are addressed as they are pertinent to my condition.

        b) Honestly, when I’m having severe muscle spasms in my back, am in serious pain and can’t sleep, I’m like the rest of society in that I’m grateful for relief. It just happens that Traumeel has been the only thing that has worked for me the few times this happened. The pain reduced, the spasms subsided, I was able to sleep through the night, and usually by the next morning or mid-day, the pain was completely gone, and the whole situation was no longer an issue.

        c) My doctor, who was an RN for 15 years, is a naturopath, is a licensed acupuncturist, practices Chinese medicine and homeopathy, and is a specially trained environmental medicine specialist recommended Traumeel for such cases. Since she has been trained by 3 medical institutions (Western, naturopathic, and Chinese medicine) and since she believes in addressing the root cause, I trust her guidance. Of course, that’s in addition to consistent results with use of Traumeel.

        d) I personally would be conscious of checking with my doctor first, and I would not use such a product for an extended period of time if the situation recurred, because that would tell me that there is some underlying cause that is not being addressed. I personally have not found that to be the case.

        Again, an extremely long response from me. I hope you find these thoughts worthy of your consideration.

        Best wishes,
        –Jeanine DuBois
        Compassion’s Doorway

        • You state with rather astonishing confidence that “a huge percentage of ‘scientifically proven’ pharmaceuticals only provide symptomatic relief.” How do you know this? What is your evidence? You don’t get a free pass on outrageously huge and sweeping claims like that.

          How did your naturopath diagnose your candidiasis, food allergies, and mercury toxicity? You’re going to say lab tests. How do you know those lab tests are: a) reliable; b) valid? It’s rather a mystery to me that naturopathic labs, run by naturopaths, trained at naturopathic colleges, have no connection whatsoever with basic, evidence-based, peer-reviewed science. As long as you know the dogma, you’ll get your paper in a naturopathic journal. This is why all major scientific bodies (not just physicians) totally reject naturopathy. It refuses to submit its claims to open and honest scrutiny in the marketplace of ideas.

          So, again, you say Traumeel gives you symptomatic relief, but you are unable to say whether or not it directly affects a disease process.

          Finally, why so dismissive of IBS? It is not a well-characterized condition, but that doesn’t mean you’re getting the brush-off if that’s what your MD tells you.

        • Og, it looks like I can’t reply to your reply, and I’m really feeling done with this discussion. Your tone felt somewhat aggressive and dismissive with comments about the (standard, not different) labs my naturopath used. And I just looked up IBS on an NIH site, which says, “There are many possible causes of IBS. For example, there may be a problem with muscles in the intestine, or the intestine may be more sensitive to stretching or movement. There is no problem with the structure of the intestine. It is not clear why patients develop IBS, but in some instances, it occurs after an intestinal infection. This is called postinfectious IBS. There may also be other triggers.” So all they know about IBS is what it’s not but not the specific cause, which is why my MD was not treating it. And my naturopath tracked down the causes, treated them, and I finally got well.

          It appears we have 2 different views of reality, and I need to put my time into experiencing my reality, so I won’t be replying to any further posts.

          My hope is that some day we will all be able to better understand the value and perspective that comes from both allopathic interventions and naturopathic, homeopathic, and other forms of interventions. I’m grateful to see institutions like Scripps Integrative Medicine utilizing the best of both.

          Sincerely,
          –Jeanine DuBois

      • Please elaborate on your question and the examples. Real drugs have real effects. Studying them scientifically tells us what they are. Are you advocating that products should not be subject to evaluation?

        • @Scott

          No. I am stating that despite the scientific community’s acceptance of these drugs’ claims, they are dangerous to the point of endangering life thereby making the scientific acceptance of no real value.

          So, if the scientific community cannot be trusted to render valuable evaluations, why do you think you have the right to remove a product from the shelves just because you haven’t evaluated it?

    21. Commenter Jeanine DuBois: “Your tone felt somewhat aggressive and dismissive…” Translation: “I expect people to accept what I say without contradiction, and am incapable of arguing against those who are knowledgeable scientific sceptics.”

      Commenter Jeanine DuBois: “It appears we have 2 different views of reality, and I need to put my time into experiencing my reality, so I won’t be replying to any further posts.” Translation: “I have lost touch with reality, and need to get back to relieving my marks of their money … err … helping my customers using other unproven, pseudoscientific ‘health’ modalities.” See http://www.compassions-doorway.com/index.html Compassion is a great quality. The definition of the word does not include fooling yourself and others with make-believe nonsense.

      • You know, I think this is getting really rude. I spent plenty of time responding twice, and I don’t feel that disagreeing with me should result in your defaming me. I see that the theme (bottom of this screen) says Contempt. I don’t approach the world that way, and since I said I am not responding further, I would like to not have that be taken as an opportunity to be further disrespectful of me and my work. What you have said here is hurtful, untrue, and without any experience with me. Please stop.

        Sincerely,
        –Jeanine DuBois

        • Ms DuBois:

          ‘Contemptuous’ is the prefect word to describe the behavior of the scientists on this board.

          But, I guess, they would describe us as ‘disrespectful.’ We don’t defer to their superior intellects, their years in university, their scientific skepticism.

          Who knew that pharmacists graduate with the same ‘god’ complex that doctors do?

          It’s just too bad that “manners’ weren’t part of the curriculum.

    22. to notsotupelohoney August 7, 2011 at 7:56 pm:

      Thanks for your thoughtfulness towards me. However, I really don’t wish to ignite further misunderstanding between different points of view.

      I will just trust that my request to stop (posted at August 7, 2011 at 2:14 pm) will be honored.

      Peace and well wishes to all,
      –Jeanine

    23. All I was looking for was something to safely help my father with the pain the cancerous tumour in his jawbone is causing him, I would like him to stop living off of Tylenol everyday. I’m confused (and dizzy) after reading all these comments, people can be very mean to each other. He is dying, my mother is dying and my 35yr old brother died 4 months ago, all from cancer. The western, scienticfic approach has failed them all, to the point of death, so what do I do when doctors have said we have nothing to help you, would it be foolish of me to go the naturalpath route? All these comments led me to the conclusion that both, the scientific meds and the naturalpath remedies would cure a lot of people if they worked together, combine the best of both worlds, why does there have to be a medical war? together is aways better than alone when both parties are willing. Am I supposed to believe that if pharmacueitcal companies can’t make money off of a product, even if it actually has healing properites, they would not approve it because ‘it’s all about the money’, should I beleive that money means more to people than life itself? if so my family is headed, and has gone to a far better place than this earth. I have been literally told by the world of scientific medicine that there is nothing to offer my parents, from the previous comments, I see then, some would have me believe, that there is nothing that can help them, other’s would have me believe, there is a whole world of natural methods that can literally save them. These comments are not good for someone who’s life is so full of tragedy. I ask “If a believer of the scientifically proven path were to be given the sad news that there was no longer anything to offer and they were dying, and soon, months to live, then offered a chance at life, a chance to continue life with their loved ones, to watch thier families grow, but the treatment was all natural, would they begin to believe and even give the natural path a chance?

      • @Sad and Confused:

        I am so sorry for your pain. What an horrific tragedy.

        If your father’s cancer is terminal, it may be time to demand morphine for his pain.

        My mother died of cancer in the sub-lingual tissue of her mouth. She was on a self-administered morphine drip the last nine months of her life.

        Please talk to his doctor. You need some peace.

        Again, I’m sorry.

      • I am so sorry for your family’s suffering. I pray that you find what will work, bringing comfort and peace.

        It is also my deepest hope that we can collaborate with Western medicine and complementary care.

        When my husband was in ICU for 67 days before he died, I was so blessed that the hospital (a teaching hospital) allowed me to bring in products prescribed by our naturopath because my husband was very agitated under the effect of one of the pharmaceuticals. They even allowed our naturopath to sit in on the meeting with Bill’s other doctors when we were deciding what to do. (He had cancer and a tumor, surgery to remove half his liver and his gall bladder, with his surgeon’s projection of his being out of the hospital in 7-10 days, instead of 67 days ending in his death.)

        I was also deeply blessed by the nurses who were there for him around the clock and the residents who changed his lines, sometimes when they were operating on only a few hours of sleep.

        For what it’s worth, Healing Touch is endorsed by the American Holistic Nurses Association. It was very helpful to me in minimizing pain and increasing healing time when I had a gum tissue graft.
        http://www.healingtouchprogram.com

        Well wishes,
        –Jeanine DuBois

        • Oops! I meant decreasing healing time / increasing healing speed. The endodontist noted that I was a week ahead of schedule (in 3 weeks, it looked like I had been healing for 4 weeks).

          –Jeanine

        • Jeanine, seriously? Energy medicine? Endorsed by the “American Holistic Nurses Association”? Well, that is certainly a prestigious organization dedicated to proving the effectiveness of treatments through science. As I have also mentioned to Terri below, how do you *know* that healing touch worked to speed you post-endodontic surgery healing? What other factors did you control for? Can you think of no other reasons? Here are a few I offer at no charge. Could healing time not naturally vary between different patients? Was the endodontist correct in characterizing the “normal” healing time? Without a thorough accounting, the story cannot even be counted as a single case study, and even that would be only a tiny portion of the evidence and scientific scrutiny required to adjudicate the effectiveness of a treatment.

    24. Over the counter “vetted” products like Tylenol and Advil have their share of side effects as well. I suffer from periodic “freezing up” of my neck, where I can’t turn my head and the pain is excruciating. No amount of pain killers or muscle relaxants has ever helped – just last week, while on the phone with a girlfriend, she suggested I take a traumeel (I keep it on hand for my dog’s bad shoulder that acts up once in a while). Within 1/2 hour, I was 100% pain free, could move and turn my head, put my ear to my shoulder, and do everything I couldn’t do for days. The pain I suffer when it happens takes over my life, to the point where all I can do is sit or lay perfectly still – traumeel has given me a new lease on life, sincerely. It’s like a miracle non-drug. Frankly, I’m willing to ‘risk’ any side effects…

      • Sorry, Terry, but your convenient report of a miraculous cure is not credible. One, we have no evidence that your condition was one that could be treated be painkillers and/or muscle relaxants in the first place. Secondly, there is nothing in Traumeel that could possible have a medical effect. Thirdly, how do you know it is not something else you did (like maybe even massaging in the Traumeel) that relieved you of your condition? What other possible variables have you accounted for? Anecdotes are pleasant … and useless in assessing the effectiveness of a treatment or medicine.

        • @Art Trick

          “Secondly, there is nothing in Traumeel that could possible have a medical effect.”

          Yet, here is a whole thread devoted to it and the insidious ways it has convinced us that we feel better when we take it, even though the pharmacists didn’t give it it’s Seal of Approval. For whatever good that is.

        • Art, you have been given a report of a cure, yet you say it is not credible and the account is anecdotal.

          Whether you consider the cure to be credible or not depends on your beliefs, and I suspect they might not be universal.

          All science springs from evidence that is anecdotal.
          Newton’s apple falling from the tree was an anecdote.
          By observing several anecdotal incidents a theory may be proposed, such as the theory of gravitation. This theory may be used to predict other occurrences, but no scientist would say that a new anecdote might discredit the universality of that theory. Newton’s concept of gravitation had to be modified by Einstein’s Theory of Relativity because new evidence demanded it.

          My experience with Traumeel matches that of Terri (above).

          Anecdotes like these two, mine and Terri’s, gave rise to the theory of homeopathy. Maybe it can explain the effects of the medication, maybe it cannot, but the fact remains that many people have been healed by Traumeel.

          Attempts to discredit this product are based on two assumptions-
          1. That current medical theory as it now exists has ALL the
          answers and can never be contradicted. and
          2. that the dilution of homeopathic remedies may be so extreme that there are no molecules of remedial substances in a dosage.
          I have calculated that there are 15 x 10(e23) molecules in a tube of Traumeel, so no matter what the dilution we could not be sure the odd one would not sneak in.

          I am now free of pain. Am I wrong? and does it matter if I am?
          Not to me.

          rem

        • With some irony, Mr. Robinson does not know how homeopathic products are made. Massive dilution of a substance takes place first, then the water that is left over, devoid of any of the original substance, is added to sugar, alcohol, creams or whatever other inexpensive non-active ingredients for which homeopathic companies then charge huge mark-ups. So, no matter how many molecules he has calculated are in the tube, there are none of any substance that could be considered an active ingredient.

      • “Over the counter “vetted” products like Tylenol and Advil have their share of side effects as well.” They also have actual medicinal effects, that justify their use in the face of side-effects. As opposed to homeopathic preparations which have no side effects but also no medicinal effects.

    25. Your arguments present a false dichotomy: the choice is not between western, eastern, all-natural, scientific. There is medicine or medical treatments that work, and everything else. The best way we have to figure out what works and what doesn’t is the scientific method. Science does not care — and I certainly do not care — where a medical treatment originates, be it toxic sludge, standing on one’s head and rotating, or chanting to a coloured crystal. It is subjected to scientific scrutiny, and if it passes muster, gets adopted. If not, it is consigned to the rubbish heap. Homeopathy clearly belongs in the latter category. BTW, anyone typing comments here has accepted the scientific method in every other aspect of their life: literacy, electricity, computers, the internet ALL have come about thanks to the scientific method. If one can accept the method everywhere but in medicine, then one has a serious psychological issue that requires urgent resolution.
      As regards the comments by you and others as to the “tone” of the discussion. This *is* a discussion, not a confessional. Do not confuse vigorous debate with rudeness. They are *not* synonymous. If one expects “peace and light” and not a forum where ideas are subjected to intense and candid scrutiny, then one is not serious, and should seek another place to share one’s thoughts.
      Finally, as regards to your emotional distress. We are all mortal. We have no panaceas that can prolong life forever in the face of all illness and disease. Thanks to science, we have come a long way. We still have a long way to go, in a journey that may never end. We all have suffered the loss of loved ones, and feel your pain. Yet, where no scientific solution is left to be tried, I prefer to face and let those whose are ill along with their loved ones and caregivers face their condition and even death with resolution, rather than torture them with false hope and thereby diminish their emotional capital, sap their physical strength and waste their financial resources.

      • The preceding comment was intended as a reply to Sad & very confused’s comments of August 9, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    26. Pingback: Science-Based Medicine » Oh yeah? Thalidomide! Where’s your science now?

    27. Commenter notsotupelohoney believes in homeopathic preparations and scorns the seal of approval by pharmacists, yet for severe pain recommends not a homeopathic preparation, but a real, honest to goodness pharmaceutical: morphine. Which was discovered in 1804 by Friedrich Sertürner, a … pharmacist. That is two cases of not believing in one’s own arguments. Which side of the argument is notsotupelohoney on?

      One cannot have it both ways: either one believes in science or not. One believes in electricity and airplanes and computers and chemistry and biology and hygiene and the scientific method, or one believes in fairy tales like homeopathy.

      • Good article to reference. But I believe you can have it both ways and apparently so do some scienctist. As scientist are now studing the healing powers of prayer these days. They are realizing there is more beyond our five senses. That our bodies are not a solid mass but, rather slower moving molecules giving the impression of being solid. That prayer produces a concentration of energy capable of moving those molecules in the body thus healing it. Did you know that the first vaccines would be considered homopathic med today.

        Take smallpox for example we eradicated (we believe and I hope) in the 1970’s. Yet inoculations for it have been around since the 1500’s in India. They would take a scab from an infected person and place it under the skin of a healthy person. Thus introducing the virus directly to the blood. This caused a milder version of the disease which most survived from thus making them immune to future outbreaks. Later they ground up the scab into powder you sniffed up the nose. George Washington did this very thing to his troops in 1777 I believe.

        It was later discovered in the 1700 that those who milked cows were immune to smallpox due to contracting cowpox from their cows which is seldom fatal to humans. Unfortunately even though a doctor noted it and wrote about it nothing was done about it until the 1900 That knowledge finally resulted in producing the vaccine in the 1970ties.

        Placing an infected scab under the skin sure would sound crazy today and very much Homopathic. A simple homopathic remedy for a mild baldder infection is a teaspoon of baking soda to 8oz of water. I learned from my Mother. When I had to see a urologist on follow up due to passing a kidney stone.

        He noted I had a mild bladder infection and offered to prescribe me an antibiotic. I told him “No need as I’m prone to getting them & if I took them everytime I got one I’d end up resistant when I needed them.” I went on to tell him “I’ll just have a glass of water with baking soda and follow up with more water to flush the infection out.”

        He laughed and said “Oh, you know about that old trick…huh?” and smiled. I returned with “Oh…you know it works too don’t you. But we both know you don’t get compensated for home remedies from the Pharm Co. Part of way they made it against the law for you Dr’s to suggest Homopathic remedies.” He smiled and shrugged.

        Be careful fully trusting in Science alone. I love science but much has change in many fields of it from what I learned in school. Scientific Peer Review is a Failed method. They know that themselves but don’t want to admit to it. I could go on about that but I rattled on enough.

        • The arguments put forward by Pouch lack scientific, logical and even homeopathic rigour.
          With further irony to the comment about Mr. Robinson above, Pounch does not know what constitutes a homeopathic product. Both using scabs as an inoculating agent and a teaspoon of baking soda in water are not massively diluted and contain measurable quantities of an active ingredient; thus, they are not homeopathic, and never have been considered at any point as such.
          The remedy Pouch cites for bladder infections is not scientifically proven. Antibiotics and plenty of fluids are the only recommended treatments; and there are a number of preventive measures outlined including consuming cranberry juice. (See the National Institutes of Health Medline Plus page Urinary tract infection – adults). Thus, using baking soda as a “remedy” is a medical fail.
          The suggestion that homeopathic products are against the law is false. It is scientifically unproven products that are against the law. The further arguments are essentially the “it’s all about the money” gambit. And doctors are not compensated by pharmaceutical companies: they are compensated by public heath systems, insurance companies, and the patients themselves. Every day, thousands of doctors recommend diet, exercise and lifestyle changes, as examples, which bring no money to pharma companies, cost little money to patients and earn little money for them (except for trivial consult time fees). And if cancer could be cured by eating a teaspoon of salt, every doctor on the planet would be recommending that remedy.
          Turning to Pouch’s first paragraph, the suggestions about prayer creating fields that move molecules perhaps have religious merit, but zero scientific merit. And the comment that scientists “…are realizing there is more beyond our five senses” is prescient without Pouch understanding why. The fact that our senses are easily fooled is exactly why the scientific method exists (plausibility, rigorous basic research, multiple stage trials, follow-up surveillance, constant attempts to falsify the hypothesis) and why the scientific method itself is continually refined. Believers in homeopathy have let their senses delude them into thinking it works, while ignoring the proven techniques of the scientific method — some might say even adopting an anti-scientific and anti-modernist belief system. We have modern science, every aspect of which is constantly probed, updated and refined, and homeopathy, stuck in and not working since 1800.

      • Excuse me: a number of times I have misspelt commenter Pounch’s name as Pouch. This was an inadvertent error.

    28. @Art Trick

      “One cannot have it both ways: either one believes in science or not. One believes in electricity and airplanes and computers and chemistry and biology and hygiene and the scientific method, or one believes in fairy tales like homeopathy.”

      You’re an inflexible absolutist. I am sorry that the ‘scientific method’ has atrophied your brain and heart muscles.

      • Commenter notsotupelohoney:

        You’re an inflexible absolutist

        Yes, I am (with an agile brain, and a strong and caring heart too). There are things that work, and things that do not, a clear dichotomy evaluated by science. The question remains: where does notsotupelohoney stand? He/she still refuses to answer. When does he/she believe in science, and when not? When he/she says Traumeel works, what other variables were evaluated? And why suggest morphine, a pharmaceutical developed through science, instead of a homeopathic preparation? Finally, to misspell my name once may be regarded as a misfortune; to misspell it twice looks like carelessness.

    29. Wow, can’t beleive how heated this got about Science. Point blank many Meds are made from plants. Off the top of my head lets go with Foxglove, real pretty flower, also known as Digitalis purpurea which is used as a heart med to this day. Yet it is also a poison. Many poisons are used in medicine today. Rather than seeing the Latin names of a plant on the label as with Homopathic Meds you see the chemical that is extacted from the plants in Med labels.

      Recent scientific study shows that Kale reduces the risk of getting both breast & ovarian cancer. They do not know why it does right now, but they know it does.

      Another true point is many Pharm Co. have Dr’s & Scientist beat down Homopathic and natural remedies as there is no profit in it for them. Take L-Tryptophan for example a natural sleep aid (found in Turkey breast, bananas, etc.) a couple of contaminated batches come into the states & it’s banned. Or is it? As now you have to get a prescription and pay far more for it than before. Those bad batches made that Pharm Co. real happy.

      I heard about Traumeel from my pain doc. As I have a rare Chronic pain disorder (known as RSDS or CRPS) and have tried just about every pain drug there is. He told me only to use the gel or cream due to my other meds. I’ve used a ton of prescriped topical treatments even an experimental Ketamine cream that I had to have made up for me personally. The Pharmacy’s that do that are a trip to see. Sealed clear plastic room, containment suit and all. None of the prescriped topical treatments helped.

      But I figured what the hell on trying the Traumeel. If the relief that Traumeel gives me is a Placebo effect then I’ll take that kind of placebo effect any day of the week. My daughter-in-law visited from CA. Complained of a kink in her neck she had for 3 days. She tried other topical pain treatments that didn’t work. I got my tube of Traumeel and offered it to her. She rubbed some on and we went back to chatting. Approx 5 mins later. She say’s “OMG! the kink is gone! I mean completely gone! What is that stuff and where can I get it!”

      I fell and ended up with a real big ugly bruise on my leg. I 1st figured well I guess I’m stuck with seeing that for the next week or two. Then I remembered about the Traumeel claim about bruises and thought what the heck. I put it on the bruise, the pain stopped, I continued to put it on each day. The bruise was almost completely gone in 3 days to my surprise.

      As far as Western Dr’s & Scientist god bless them for many of the achiements and advances. But, I always keep in mind that it was Western Dr’s & Scientist who thought Lobotomies cured the mentally ill and that can milk & kayro syrup was better for our babies than their Mother breast milk. They also knocked Acupuncture & Chiropractors, Hypnoises for pain, the list goes on and on. Keep the past mistakes on both sides in mind when arguing.

      I just know that Traumeel works for me and I haven’t delt with any side effects that I know of. I have with many of my non-homopathic meds. So as far as I’m concerned this article is right up there with Mothers should feed their babies can milk because it’s so much better for them than their own Breast Milk. Or Lobotomies are on the cutting edge of curing mental illness.

    30. I don’t know what to say except traumeel in the pill form works for me! I suffer from chronic back pain due to herniated discs. I hate taking pain pills….this stuff works almost as well and is a good alternative. :-)

    31. Jeanine DuBois, I am very grateful for your comments on Traumeel. I recently purchased the tablets for my 28yr.old daughter, who was in a terrible car accident a year ago Sept. I heard about them from a lady who was taking them for back pain. We both are very sensitive to pharmaceuticals. At the top of this page was an article about the unsafe ingredients in Traumeel (belladona) – I paniced thinking what have I done – then your comments greatly helped me. Thanks so much for taking the time to write such an encouraging perspective. Love does cover a multitude of sins!!

    32. Well, all I can say is that my cat is eternally grateful that I relied on anecdotal accounts and used Traumeel in the pill and gel form for the tail amputation he went through last Wednesday. Felines don’t tolerate NSAIDS well. The vet sent some home with me but didn’t want me to use them unless his pain got to be extreme because Metacam can cause sever kidney damage in cats. The cat was lethargic, depressed, and started to hide on days 2, 3, & 4 after his surgery. I researched pain relief for cats and found Traumeel. I found it at a nearby health food store and gave him 1 pill and put the gel on his tail stump after belly crawling into the crawl space beneath our basement stairs to retrieve him. He went back into hiding after I dosed him. An hour or so later, he came upstairs and wanted to eat and drink; started socializing with his humans and fellow cat. His eyes were no longer dull and he miraculously was almost like his old self. Frankly – I don’t give a damn if there’s scientific proof or not, nor do It think that the cat cares. In my mind, this pretty much shoots the “placebo effect” theory right out the window. How can a cat experience a placebo effect??

      • Hey, Judy, thanks so much for sharing. Sweet happiness for your cat and your family. I work with animals as well as people, and I often feel animals are my teachers for this very reason, among others. Thanks for sharing and for your loving persistence for your sweet kitty guy.

    33. Received this in my email today and thought it would be an interesting addition to this discussion.

      Nicholas Humphry is the author.

      ” . . . If human health has changed for the better in the late stages of evolution, this has surely had a lot to do with the possibility of consulting doctors, and the use of drugs. But the surprising thing is that, until less than 100 years ago, there was hardly anything a doctor could do that would be effective in any physiological medicinal way—and still the doctor’s ministrations often “worked”. That’s to say, under the influence of what we would today call placebo medicine people came to feel less pain, to experience less fever, their inflammations receded, and so on.

      Now, when people are cured by placebo medicine, they are in reality curing themselves. But why should this have become an available option late in human evolution, when it wasn’t in the past.

      I realized it must be the result of a trick that has been played by human culture. The trick is to persuade sick people that they have a “license” to get better, because they’re in the hands of supposed specialists who know what’s best for them and can offer practical help and reinforcements. And the reason this works is that it reassures people—subconsciously —that the costs of self-cure will be affordable and that it’s safe to let down their guard. So health has improved because of a cultural subterfuge. It’s been a pretty remarkable development.”

      http://edge.org/conversation/the-evolved-self-management-system

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