Looking for the medicine in Target’s asthma remedy

Tuesday’s post on Target’s decision to sell homeopathy for the treatment of asthma stirred a lot of questions towards Target, given their decision to market the a product that has no proven medical benefit. There were also supporters of homeopathy in the comments, from a pharmacy student who said homeopathy works because of radiation, and another that suggested that if I don’t believe in homeopathy, I can’t believe in the warmth of the sun. To be absolutely clear, homeopathy is not only unproven, it’s disproven. There is no serious scientific debate about this fact. The best evidence demonstrates that homeopathy is exactly what we expect – an inert placebo with no therapeutic effects. Homeopathy is not “alternative medicine”, it is an alternative TO medicine, and to consumers who may not understand what “homeopathic” means,  it’s highly misleading to package and sell this on pharmacy shelves alongside products that actually contain medicine.

Some defended the placebo value of an asthma treatment, confusing objective with subjective effects. This could be dangerous for patients, as placebos have no meaningful therapeutic benefit in asthma. There were also defenders of Target’s right to sell homeopathy, noting that it does say “NOT A RESCUE INHALER” on the front of the box. I disagree. This product is labelled as a oral asthma spray. But it contains absolutely no medicinal ingredients to treat asthma. It is no more an “asthma” spray than it a remedy to treat diabetes or arthritis. Here’s a shot of the side of the box (thank you Pieter B):

Ingredient List for Target's Fake Asthma Remedy

It looks indecipherable – and that’s the point. Homeopathic labeling is confusing, deliberately so, and is designed to obscure the fact that these products have no medicinal ingredients in it.

The label says that it has “Equal volumes of each ingredient in 10X, 30X, and LM1 potencies. There are 15 “ingredients” listed and the bottle is 2 fluid ounces (60 mL). If there is no further dilution of each each “ingredient” during the manufacturing, then let’s assume there is 4 mL of each diluted substance, divided by the three potencies, or about  1.3mL of each dilution:

10X -  This is dilution of a substance one part in ten, ten times in a row. Each time you perform a homeopathic dilution, you are supposed to bang the container on a hard surface (the inventor of homeopathy reportedly used a bible).  After 10 serial dilutions, the final concentration (compared to the original) is now 10−10 or 1 part per billion. (By comparison, this is more dilute than the allowable concentration of arsenic in drinking water.) If there is 1.3 mL of this solution in the bottle, that means there is  1.3mL x 10−10 of the original mixture or 0.00000000013mL of each “remedy” at the 10X dilution.

30X – This portion has been diluted one part in ten, thirty times in a row. The final concentration (compared to the original) is now 10−30. As per Quackwatch,

A 30X dilution means that the original substance has been diluted 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times. Assuming that a cubic centimeter of water contains 15 drops, this number is greater than the number of drops of water that would fill a container more than 50 times the size of the Earth.

Basic mathematics tells us therefor that there isn’t a single molecule of the original remedy. So the 30X component is 1.3mL of pure water.

LM1 – This dilution is made by starting with a 3C dilution (1:1000) and then taking a single drop, and diluting it 1:50,000. Suffice to say it’s unlikely there is a single molecule of the original substance in the product. So this component would also be effectively 1.3mL of pure water.

When we add it up, for the 15 “ingredients” there’s actually only 0.00000000195mL of potential substance in the entire 2 oz (60mL) bottle. Given a single drop of water is 0.05mL, that’s only 0.0000039% of a single drop of possible ingredients in the bottle. So this means Target’s asthma remedy is, by my calculation, 99.999999% water.

Homeopathy’s defender’s will claim that, despite the lack of medicine in the product, homeopathy is working through some mysterious mechanism we don’t understand. So for the sake of argument, let’s look at the ingredient list. Where data are available, I’ve pulled efficacy (for asthma) and safety information from the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database:

  • Aconitum napellus: Common name: Aconite, from plant genus Aconitum. Efficacy: None established. Safety: Unsafe when consumed at non-homeopathic doses. Aconite is a toxic alkaloid and a strong, fast-acting poison.
  • Adrenalinum: Common name: a secretion of the adrenal glands. Efficacy: None  established. Conceivably the original substance could have contained some epinephrine, which has medicinal effects. However it would quickly degrade in water and be ineffective – even before any dilution. Safety: Not established.
  • Ammonium carbonicum: Common name: Ammonium carbonate or “baker’s ammonia” Efficacy: None established.  Safety:  Probably safe.
  • Antimonium tartaricum: Common name: Tartrate of antimony or Antimony potassium tartrate. Efficacy: None established Safety: A powerful emetic, antimony potassium tartrate is used to induce vomiting in animals. The The chemical is probably safe at homeopathic dilutions.
  • Aralia racemosa: Common name American spikenard, an ornamental plant. Efficacy: None established Safety: Considered unsafe in pregnancy.
  • Bromium: Common name: Bromine. Efficacy: None established. Safety: Unclear. Laughably, one homeopathic reference notes that “most homeopaths give [Bromium] up as a perfectly useless medicine.”
  • Chlorinum: Common name: Chlorine Efficacy: None established. Safety: Probably safe. There’s more chlorine molecules in the diluent (from chlorination) than from the remedy.
  • Eriodictyon californicum: Common name: Yerba Santa Efficacy: None established Safety: Safe when consumed.
  • Eucalyptus globulus: Common name:Eucalyptus, Blue Gum. Efficacy: None established. There is a preliminary study in asthma, using 200mg, 3x/day. No efficacy data when diluted as per homeopathic principles. Safety: Likely safe.
  • Grindelia: Common name: Gum Weed. Efficacy: None established. Safety: Possibly safe.
  • Lobelia inflata: Common name: Indian tobacco Efficacy: None established. Safety: Considered unsafe when consumed in large amounts.
  • Natrum Sulphuricum: Common name: Sodium Sulphate. Efficacy: None established. Safety: Appears non-toxic.
  • Phosphorus: Common name: phosphorus: Efficacy: None established. Safety: Depending on the form, it’s considered a poison.
  • Quebracho: Common name: quebracho. Efficacy: None established Safety: Likely safe in foods.
  • Trifolium pratense: Common name: Red clover. Efficacy: None established. Safety: Safe when consumed.

What can we conclude? Target is selling an asthma “treatment” that is chemically indistinguishable from water, and taking advantage of consumers to sell an ineffective product, that if used in place of real medicine, could cause life-threatening harm. Target and its pharmacists have a professional and ethical responsibility to stop selling this product, immediately.

 

Update: A petition has been started asking Target to stop selling homeopathic asthma treatments. Go sign it.

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74 thoughts on “Looking for the medicine in Target’s asthma remedy

    • Actually proven medicines are called proven because there are studies that show benefit even after taking into consideration confounding variables like the placebo effect. Thanks for trying though.

      • @coolzog….Weak argument when one considers the hundreds of class action law suits by patients forcing pharmaceutical companies to pay millions of dollars to settle because their “beneficial” drugs caused severe permanent adverse side effects, including death.

      • @Sandra Courtney – Statistically pharmaceuticals work, the success stories outweigh the failures by orders of magnitude.

    • When the nominal dilution is low, and the substance is toxic (belladonna!) and the quality control is sloppy you can have a problem. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2010/ucm230761.htm
      Normally (with typical dilutions) there’s no incentive to control the dilution properly, since that’s extra work and it makes no difference.
      These tablets are made with unusually low nominal dilution (5X, I think), presumably because it’s for babies and therefore they wanted it (*ahem*) milder…? So, batshytt logic combined with poor process control leads to poisoning babies with belladonna instead of giving them nothing at all.

      • @ Greg Smith

        The report you cited about Hyland’s Teething Tablets is from Oct. 23, 2010

        Just below I have pasted a quote from a Hyland’s communication in answer to the complaint. This type of misinformation and dishonesty by omission, is what makes homeopathic supporters strive to present the true picture. This only one of the hundreds of reasons why I and other homeopathic supporters feel we have a legitimate beef with skeptics’ “talking points.”

        “We’ve added a child-resistant cap and updated the packaging and are introducing new strengths of the same ingredients that have calmed teething babies and their moms for more than 85 years. We have made significant changes in our manufacturing process and introduced rigorous testing protocols. We have kept all of the same ingredients that have made Hyland’s Baby Teething Tablets effective and safe and improved effectiveness by increasing the homeopathic potency of each active ingredient. As homeopathic potency increases, raw drug concentration decreases, providing an even wider margin of safety than before. There have been no further recalls of this product since its reintroduction to market in 2011.”

        http://www.snopes.com/medical/drugs/hylands.asp#bywrFHCijFPZllWk.99

        Hyland’s products, including this one, are doing well world-wide.

  1. I agree with you homeopathy is just selling snake oil water but people should still have a right to choose whatever treatment they want. You act as though “proven” medical treatments are labelled better, here is why I think they are not:

    When you say something Is a proven medical treatment you are only talking about proven to be effective for one particular disease, most studies on mainstream pharmaceuticals do not prove that these products do not cause other health issues instead, or increase death from all causes (people don’t realize this, but even taking lots of vitamins increases death from all causes, most other drugs do even in very smaller quantities).

    I was prescribed medication for a condition that was not that serious but the medication turned out to have serious side effects for me long term, like accelerated vitreous degeneration in the eyes, which in my case caused a retinal detachment, then I was misdiagnosed in the ER and sent home, and later had to haves clearly buckle surgery, after which I suffer from dry eyes to this day (thankfully I still have some vision).

    My point is often I prefer to not take prescription medication anymore unless I really need to, and many alternatives I have found are much safer.

    For example I was prescribed restasis for dry eye, but simply eating healthy foods high in omega 3 like chia seeds and flax oil turned out to be far more effective.

    Years later, the medical community proved what I had figured out on my own- that intake of high amounts of omega 3s IS a very effective treatment.

    Previously doctors said the same stuff about it as you are saying about alternative medicine, “that can’t possibly work you better take your drugs”.

    You guys obviously have no idea what works, and the piss poor way I have see that you all do scientific experiments is not confidence instilling at all that you are correct about what you consider “proven” treatments.

    So in light of how poorly most medical science is done, you can’t fault people for deciding not to trust you when you say something is “proven”.

    Each person has a right to decide for themselves. If so many people believe in wackos selling homeopathy instead of mainstream medicine, what does that tell you about how shitty a job mainstream medicine is doing that people have that littl confidence in it? People have had bad experiences with you guys, lots of them, that is why they believe in this shit instead. So instead of trying to convince people In a blog, do a better job and next time someone comes to you for treatment and pages feeling better instead of worse try are less likely to see out this homeopathy crap.

    • It doesn’t sound like the author is directly making a case for ONLY pharmaceuticals, but rather, explaining why homeopathic drugs are not biologically active medicines. It’s one thing to say “do this,” and another to say “don’t do that.”

    • Good luck Mariana.

      Homeopathy has been approved by the FDA for OTC sales since 1938. Homeopathic treatment for asthma/allergies has been proven effective in at least 19 studies. The Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the U.S. (which is acknowledged by the FDA) includes these remedies in its literature making them legal to sell. The FDA acknowledges that homeopathic provings are valid and equal to conventional drug trials.

      By the way, did you know that conventional treatments for asthma do great harm? Perhaps they should not be available.

      • Almost completely true. In a delightful quirk of history, US Senator Royal Copeland (who was also a homeopathic physician) used his clout in the Senate to have the entire homeopathic pharmacopoeia included in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) of 1938. Because most homeopathic preparations are so dilute that no active ingredient can be detected (or, indeed, is even present), FDA inspectors are charged to this day with analyzing homeopathic remedies to be sure there is no active ingredient, and if any is detected, with declaring the product “adulterated” and unfit for sale. The part that is not true is that “The FDA acknowledges that homeopathic provings are valid and equal to conventional drug trials.” The FDA has never acknowledged any such thing. Everyone at the FDA knows (as does anyone who has followed scientific developments since around 1811) that homeopathic provings are complete bullshit. The FDA wishes, as do we all, that this painful travesty would end. Oops, I’m sorry. It works for you.

      • They also save countless lives. Please provide some links to a few of the best studies for homeopathy in asthma, I’m curious to read them for myself and not just take your word for it.

      • jre:

        I recommend that you read the material at:

        http://www.fdaimports.com/

        It states:

        “However, if a homeopathic drug is subject to valid homeopathic PROVING (of EFFICACY as a homeopathic product), is compliant with all drug labeling requirements, is from an FDA registered drug establishment, and is listed as required by FDA regulations, it can be marketed in the U.S. without FDA approval.”

        From the court testimony made during the King Bio suit:

        “Thus, the inclusion of an ingredient in the homeopathic literature confirms that it has passed the applicable homeopathy approval process analagous in many ways to the new drug approval process to which allopathic medicals are subjected.” That is, drug trials = provings.

        King Bio won the suit.

        http://www.kingbio.com/shared_files/Homeopathic_Drug_Regulation.pdf

        It works for 500 million people, is growing in use at rates of 10% – 30% in countries around the world and is recognized as a medical specialty or system of medicine and/or is supported on national health care programs by the governments of 20 countries including Switzerland, the U.S., the UK, Brazil and India.

        And, yes, it does work for me too.

      • There is nothing above the God. whatever man tries to suppress the reality, the god always there to rescue. many people especially allopaths tried their level best to admonish Homoeopathy with the fear that it affects their unscrupulous way of earning money, but nothing can stop the popularity of Homoeopathy, because it is benign, effective, economical and sure to cure almost all diseases. it is god given gift to mankind. hats-off to the great doctor Hahnemann. experience yourself and then believe it. any words are inadequate, unless anyone uses it and regain your overall health.

      • jre

        “I was both the doctor and patient when I found myself involved in a surf accident. One that pit me against my board.

        While finishing riding a wave, I was struck by my board. It somehow managed to fly back and whack me under my chin. Suddenly, I was feeling the crunching of teeth and enamel floating around in my mouth. I used my tongue to assess the damage and I was frightened to feel nothing but jagged edges and loose teeth. I called my dentist after I reached shore, spitting blood the whole way (no, this is not a shark story), and was able to go in right away. I stopped at home first for the one and only thing I could think of that might help my scenario. I prescribed myself Arnica 200C.

        After examination and urgent procedures to stabilize my mouth, I went off to the endodontist for an x-ray of my jaw. Meanwhile, I dosed with Arnica again. The x-ray was conclusive that my jaw wasn’t broken however the joint capsules on both sides of my jaw were ruptured. Ultimately, I was left with the following diagnosis and outcome. A total of 6 capped teeth, 4 root canals, and after nearly 6 months and $14,000, I was finally done.

        The amazing story behind this story was that I continued to dose with Arnica 200C four-times-daily for 2 days after the accident as well as before and after each root canal procedure. Miraculously, I never felt any pain higher than a 3 on the 1-10 scale! If you would have told me that I would sustain a small laceration in my chin (from the board), 2-sheared teeth, 1-exposed pulp, 2 broken TMJ capsules, 4 root canals and my pain tolerance would never register greater than a 3, well I’d have to tell you that you were crazy. However, on those days, it was true! Simply amazing! Simply Arnica!”

        Dr. Peter Wannigman, ND, Rph, Posted on 12 May 2009

        http://www.homeopathiclaboratories.com/articles/feature.php?subaction=showfull&id=1242139473&archive=&start_from=&ucat=4&

        Homeopathy has worked for me as well, for the past 25 years for both acute and chronic conditions.

        Jre, have you ever consulted a homeopath yourself and found that a remedy did not work for you?

      • Re “valid homeopathic PROVING…” can you point me to one proving which was *ever* done on *anything* which did NOT establish that the substance had an effect? For bonus points, can you tell me why the lack of such an incident completely undermines the credibility of the ‘proving’ process? (whereas, to homeopaths, this lack only goes to further support homeopathy).

        For anyone who’s not familiar with the Alice-in-Wonderland bias-amplification process known as ‘proving’, check this out: http://thethoughtstash.wordpress.com/2010/10/24/weird-homeopathy-neptunium-muriaticum/

        Here, homeopaths actually ran a control group (not the usual practice) and when the control group showed no difference from the actual test group, they came up with a story to explain that, rather than admit that ‘neptunium’ doesn’t actually have effects related to the mythical god Neptune (I did not make that up). Because, and I quote from the proving, “…the criteria which give this type of study scientific validity”.

        Homepathic ‘Proving’ has shown itself to be worthless itself over and over again, by ‘proving’ every kind of ‘nothing’ you can imagine (e.g. ‘the focused light of Venus’; and ‘vacuum’). And homeopaths completely fail to see that — draw your own conclusions from that.

      • @Greg Smith:

        I was going to say something like ……same old talking points copied from another skeptic, Rob Hinkley. But, another skeptic Andy Lewis on 10/13/07 said it better. Andy refers to Rob only as “Hinkley” at the bottom of the article.

        Andy Lewis wrote this: “Which brings me on to the rest of you sorry lot. How many times do I have to tell you that copying your essays from Google is not acceptable? Its downright plagiarism. And this week we have seen an awful lot of you doing it. About a hundred. Not just from skeptics class, but the politics class too. You should all know better.”

        http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2007/10/skeptics-circle-72-you-very-naughty.html

      • “same old talking points copied from another skeptic, Rob Hinkley. ” I don’t know what he wrote. I wrote that myself. Is it so hard to believe that someone can look into homeopathy and see the serious problems with it for themselves, without having to ‘copy’ conclusions from others? Again, don’t you see a problem with a test that’s always positive? Really?

        Sandra, does calling something a “talking point” mean there’s no need to answer it? May I point out that the objections to homeopathy have not changed, simply because homeopathy, and all that is wrong with it, have not changed, in many many years. The valid objections to homeopathy, and they are many, remain valid regardless of whether homeopaths are tired of hearing them. With responses like yours being common, it really is like very much like talking to a wall.

        And since you were kind enough to quote Mr. Lewis, allow me to quote from Dr Hahnemann for you. It’s the very first footnote in the Organon.

        “The physician’s high and only mission is to restore the sick to health….
        His mission is not, however, to construct so-called systems, by interweaving empty speculations and hypotheses concerning the internal essential nature of the vital processes and the mode in which diseases originate in the interior of the organism… nor is it to attempt to give countless explanations regarding the phenomena in diseases and their proximate cause (which must ever remain concealed), wrapped in unintelligible words and an inflated abstract mode of expression, which should sound very learned in order to astonish the ignorant – whilst sick humanity sighs in vain for aid. ”

        If Dr. Hahnemann were alive today, it seems to me that he would be absolutely apalled by what homeopaths are doing in his name, since they are doing pretty much exactly what he says *not* to at the start of his work. Also, he was under the impression that the various ‘phenomena’ would “ever remain concealed” — understandable, 200 years ago — so he would likely be amazed to find we now know a great deal about these phenomena — far more than he could have imagined — and utterly shocked and apalled that his followers have chosen to blind themselves to that information and the various methods of research by which it was obtained. I really don’t think he meant ‘must ever remain concealed’ as a prohibition on learning anything — do you?

      • @Greg Smith

        You did not read the article you cited for all to read? I was referring to the author of the article you posted the link to.

        You said: “I point out that the objections to homeopathy have not changed, simply because homeopathy, and all that is wrong with it, have not changed, in many many years. ”

        Exactly what I referred to but instead of objections I called them “talking points.” In spite of excellent scientific research proving the effectiveness of homeopathy, skeptics continue to move the goal posts saying this or that is unacceptable. Most people who defend homeopathy, including myself, have been helped by homeopathy, even cured of chronic diseases that conventional medicine is only able to palliate. If you can honestly state that you have yourself consulted a homeopath and not depended on other skeptical views (talking points) of this form of alternative medicine, I may take more stock in your opinion and the sources you cite. Otherwise, the skeptics need to find a three-legged stool.

        “Homeopathy, the skeptics: How effective are they really?”

        http://fighting-for-homeopathy.blogspot.com/p/editorial-comments.html

      • Maria…..

        You’re linking to a well known “skeptic” site. It’s run by The Amusing James Randi, magician and high school drop out.

        Randi tried to spread the same propaganda against homeopathy in Brazil using their media. The Brazilian people, who have used homeopathy for a long time and for whom it is their traditional medicine, ran their own campaign. In the end the Brazilian government charged Randi with sedition and disruption of the social environment and the research community. He was made Persona Non Grata and can never set foot on Brazilian soil again.

        You see, the Brazilian government recognized homeopathy as a medical specialty in 1980.

        avilian.co.uk/?m=201302

      • Coolzog:

        “Please provide links to a few of the best studies…….”. That is not a sincere request. If you had a genuine interest in seeing them, you would have found them for yourself by doing a google search. Even pre-teens can do it.

  2. The author of this article has stated: “To be absolutely clear, homeopathy is not only unproven, it’s disproven.” Without citing a link to a skeptic blog or other anti-homeopathy opinion article, I challenge you to provide links to any definitive research study that concludes that homeopathy is “disproven”. Hint: There are none.

    In support of homeopathy, I am taking the liberty to post the following:

    “In 2003-4 the World Health Organization issued a 40-page draft on homeopathy “Homeopathy: review and analysis of reports on controlled clinical trials”. It noted that the majority of peer-reviewed scientific papers over the previous 40 years have demonstrated that homeopathy is superior to placebo in placebo-controlled trials and is equivalent to con med in the treatment of illness in both humans and animals.

    Examples: 82% of rheumatoid arthritis patients helped by homeopathy vs. 21% helped by placebo

    http://hpathy.com/scientific-research/research-in-homoeopathy/

    A study of 782 patients with diseases of the major organs severe enough to interfere with daily living in 78% showed that of the homeopathy group 52% were able to discontinue one or more of their drugs; 95% were fairly or very satisfied with homeopathy; 89% found it improved their physical conditions. Of those who had used con med, 13% found it improved their conditions; 32% found it made no difference; 55% found it worsened their conditions.”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14960096

      • After the negativity about homeopathy, there is this in that same article:

        Paula Ross, chief executive of the Society of Homeopaths, said it was right to raise concerns about promotion of homeopathy as a cure for TB, malaria or HIV and Aids.

        But she added: “This is just another poorly wrapped attempt to discredit homeopathy by Sense About Science.

        “The irony is that in their efforts to promote evidence in medicine, they have failed to do their own homework.

        “There is a strong and growing evidence base for homeopathy and most notably, this also includes childhood diarrhoea.”

        The UK’s Faculty of Homeopathy added that there was also evidence homeopathy could help people with seasonal flu.

        Dr Sara Eames, president of the faculty, said people should not be deprived of effective conventional medicines for serious disease.

        But she added: “Millions die each year as those affected have no access to these drugs.

        “It therefore seems reasonable to consider what beneficial role homeopathy could play. What is needed is further research and investment into homeopathy.”

      • It depends on how you define ‘disproven’, of course. But there’s no reason it should work – no good evidence it does work, and perfectly plausible explanations which explain why many are convinced it does work. Bertrand Russell’s teapot can’t be disproven, either.

        Another point – usually lost in the smoke – there’s utterly no plausible process by which homeopathic ‘knowledge’ has been built up as being a true representation of reality. The original premises (still intact!) are legacy from a time of medical near-ignorance. All of the methods used by homeopaths to develop knowledge (provings, clinical records, etc) take as a base assumption, which is never to be questioned, that the remedy has an effect (and is usually assumed to be the most salient factor). Negative results are discarded, blamed on whatever is handy. Anyone within the bubble who has the awareness to realize that the emperor has no clothes will simply leave the bubble, being unable to change it, thus the bubble remains intact.

        Under those conditions, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be a self-perpuating group delusion.

        That, plus all the other issues… How close to ‘disproven’ do you really need to get?

      • Greg Smith:

        You say “….there is no reason it should work…”. Unless you are God or have unlimited scientific knowledge such a sweeping generalization cannot possibly have any basis in fact. Dismissed!

        You say “….there is no good evidence it does work…”. Since you have no knowledge of what homeopathy has accomplished for millions of people (and would refuse to acknowledge the true facts if you did) that statement is merely an uninformed opinion. Dismissed as such!

        Here are the responses of people with vast experience and experimental knowledge to such claims:

        “…..the skeptic has no experience relative to the action of preparations of such exalted medicinal power. If, then, he who pretends to be a seeker after truth will not search for it where it is to be found, namely, in experience, he will certainly fail to discover it; he will never find it by arithmetical calculations.

        “How insignificant and ridiculous is mere theoretical skepticism in opposition to this unerring, infallible experimental proof.”

        - Samuel Hahnemann

        “Why, we can ask, is the outcome of this research on the physico-chemical properties of UMP’s (ultra-molecular preparations) so unwelcomed by skeptics…..First, skeptics tend to approach homeopathy from a purely theoretical point of view, as it had done for 25 centuries previous to the advent of experimental medicine. (It is “skeptics” that are behind the times, not homeopathy.) They have thus not been at all able to appreciate facts presented by homeopaths, as they DON’T EVEN BOTHER EXAMINING THEM. Their whole argumentation lies on the theory of Avogadro’s limit and on the placebo response.

        “They belief so strongly in their theoretical argument that they DON’T EVEN TAKE THE TROUBLE to enquire into what homeopathy really is or to examine the enumerable, wonderful facts reported in the vast homeopathic literature which they perfunctorily reject with dismissive arrogance.

        “Their theoretical scheme takes precedence over any fact thus sacrificing truth at the alter of prejudice.”

        - Andre Saine

      • @ChristyRedd: I do hope you’ll put your money where your mouth is and go in for major invasive surgery using only homeopathic anesthesia. I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful tale to tell.

        Keeping your stitches infection-free with only homeopathic antibiotics ought to be a hoot, too.

      • Oh, and another thing. If, Ms. Redd, you claim there ARE homeopathic anesthetics, why are none being produced as recreational drugs? I mean, come on, it’d be the perfect crime: All the effects of opiates that the cops can’t detect is anything but water? It’d make millions!

    • That observational study you posted is garbage evidence. Do you actually read and evaluate them or are you happy just posting links to random blogs and such that support what you’re trying to say? Show me some randomized double-blinded controlled trials with enough subjects to draw statistically significant conclusions. trials that eliminate most of the bias and poor quality study design/data collection present in that study. Just because something gets published doesn’t mean it’s worth anything scientifically. and just because it shows up on a homeopathic blog doesn’t mean anyone with any real knowledge critically appraised it.

  3. Actually the warnings about use in pregnancy and to keep away from children are there only to masquerade as medicine. There is no risk to either because there are no active ingredients in the spray.

    • The warnings on the box (i.e., that nursing and pregnant women consult with their doctors and that medicine be kept out of reach of children) are standard warnings required on ALL medicines irregardless of their type.

      In fact, two large studies show that homeopathics are safe for infants, children, nursing mothers and pregnant women.

      http://homeopathyresource.wordpress.com/2009/01/05/extensive-study-concludes-homeopathic-remedies-and-treatment-are-safe/

      As natural systems of medicine including homeopathy become increasingly popular more and more pharmacists are learning about them so that they can answer questions and provide their customers with more up-to-date information about treating health issues.

      France is a country where homeopathy is used by huge numbers of people. (France was also chosen by WHO as the country with the best health care.) 62% of French mothers use homeopathy. 94.5% of pharmacies recommend homeopathy to pregnant women. 70% of French doctors consider it effective. 25,000 French doctors prescribe it. 21 of France’s 24 schools of pharmacy teach it.

  4. For the LM1 ingredients, if you’re starting from a 3C dilution it would actually be a 1:10^6 (1 ppm) initial dilution, subsequently diluted 1:50,000. The net result would be a 1:(10^6*5*10^4) = 1:(5*10^10) = 2:10^9. So you probably would end up with some of the initial ingredient there. More than the 10X ingredients, in fact.

    Of course, all of those concentrations are too low to have any meaningful effect. I just like doing the math.

    • Provide proof that there is more of the original substance in an LM potency than in a 10x potency. You can’t for the simple reason that 10x contains more of the substance than LM’s which are far beyond Avogadro’s limit.

      Provide proof that “all of those concentrations are too low to have any meaningful effect”. Please, no cherry-picked studies.

  5. Homeopathy is far from having been disproven despite the fact that some people would like the public to believe that.

    25,000 volumes of cured case records exist as a result of its clinical use in hundreds of millions of people over the course of almost 250 years. For contemporary cured case records of everything from cancer to coma to gangrene to addiction to Rx drugs google “homeopathy cured cases”.

    There are 307 studies published in 119 respected, national and international peer-reviewed journals showing that homeopathy products significant to substantial health benefits in a wide array of health conditions.

    https://drnancymalik.wordpress.com/article/scientific-research-in-homeopathy/

    There are studies which show that homeopathy is superior to con med like this with 782 participants who had diseases of the major organs so severe in 78% as to impact on daily living. Of the homeopathy group 52% were able to discontinue one or more of their conventional drugs; 95% were fairly or very satisfied with homeopathy; 89% found it improved their physical condition.

    Of those using con med, 13% found it improved their conditions; 32% found it made no difference; 55% found it worsened their condition.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14960096

      • You are making a claim that there are no studies and no clinical evidence showing homeopathy is effective in treating asthma or allergies. You can’t provide proof of that claim for the simple reason that there are at least 17 studies showing that it is very effective. There are many, many clinical case records showing that it’s not only effective but curative.

        It seems that you are the one who is cherry picking. You reference one study as compared to 307 published in 119 respected, national and international peer-reviewed journals showing that homeopathy produces significant to substantial health benefits.

        http://www.homeopathycenter.org/research
        http://www.extraordinarymedicine.org

        http://hpathy.com/scientific-research/research-in-homoeopathy/

        Additionally, the Swiss government commissioned the most comprehensive analysis of all of the homeopathic literature ever conducted by any government. It found that homeopathy is equivalent to, and in some cases superior to, conventional medicine and that it is vastly safer.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16883077

        You have a long row to hoe!

      • Additionally, Mariana, there are 11 meta-analysis and 8 systematic reviews including 1 Cochrane review showing homeopathy is effective.

    • Not really. The study you cite (Pubmed ID 14960096) is an observational study of people already seeking out treatment at homeopathists. A long way from a multiple long-term, high quality, large participant, double-blind studies of the same underlying condition. This is not evidence; rather, typical of the poor quality “evidence” marshalled in support of homeopathy.

      In 250 years, scientific medicine has gone from strength to strength, while homeopathy remains a derided backwater sought by only a credulous few.

  6. There have been at least 17 high-quality studies conducted between 1990 and 2006 showing that homeopathy is effective in treating asthma and allergies (which cause asthma). One of them is this study which showed that significant positive changes took place from baseline to 4 weeks in the homeopathy group. Subjects reported no adverse effects.

    Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 2005 39:617-624

    From “Homeopathy and respiratory allergies – A series of 147 cases”:

    “Allergies, especially respiratory allergies, are one of the indications for which homeopathic treatment is most frequently sought. The progress of 147 cases of respiratory allergy (seen) in private homeopathic practice is reported here. Only two cases of ear, nose and throat (ENT) allergies out of a total of 105 showed no improvement. No patient deteriorated.”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16569621

  7. it is very clear that you are an commission agent of big pharma. without knowing practical results you are just blaming nature and nature cure. you are mad it seems

  8. (Response from Target so far)

    Dear Mariana Abadie,

    It’s great to hear from you!

    Suggestions like yours are important because they help us learn more our guest concerns. That’s why I’ve shared your suggestion to remove these products with our Store Operations team.

    We work hard to make Target such a fun place to shop. Whether it’s our merchandise, services or commitment to the communities we serve, we’re always looking for ways to improve your shopping experience.

    Thanks for your suggestion and helping us make Target even better.

    Sincerely,

    Tricia
    Target Guest Relations
    http://www.target.com
    (800)440-0680
    [THREAD ID:3-F9GDGJ]

      • They’ll know where to send the petitions, I already got a second response, now taking it a bit more seriously. The first one was called a suggestion now the second one is an inquiry. Two replies in a day I’d say they doing something about it, The best thing, the signatures keep adding, over 500 now and the comments are coming from some people that I know are doctors and science people, not cherry pickers, they know why they are signing and that homeopathy should not be sold with lack o f evidence.
        Here is the last message:
        Dear Mariana Abadie,

        We’ve taken these comments very seriously, so thanks for taking the time to let us know about your concerns with our merchandise.

        We appreciate your feedback. We’ve documented your thoughts and we’ll share them with our leadership and our Merchandising team for review.

        Thanks for writing. Your feedback helps us improve our service commitment to you.

        Sincerely,

        Sig
        Target Guest Relations
        http://www.target.com
        (800) 440-0680
        [THREAD ID:3-F9HEWB]

      • Mariana…..

        That’s a standard response any customer service department of any store would send to any customer writing to them about any product.

        Homeopathic medicine is being used more and more widely because it’s effective, safe and inexpensive.

        Good luck in getting Target to stop selling something that’s popular and has all those attributes!

      • @Mariana….

        The health care industry is a profit driven entity. Because conventional medicine has failed them, health care consumers are educating themselves and choosing to spend their money on what works. Nothing sells better than sex and success. Homeopathy offers success over hype and failure. Target is not going to remove something from their shelves that is profitable, effective and safe.

  9. I am sure people use medicine if they have a real problem. The ingredients used in these products are diluted due to the fact they could be harmful at higher rates. If homeopathic products work for someone why push drugs on them. The nasal spray I use works for me without having to shoot addicting drugs in my body. I love it when fear mongers post information like this. Use what works for you.

  10. @Sandra Courtney

    “The health care industry is a profit driven entity.” Sandra, you can’t get much greedier than selling tap water for $8 an ounce. Think of that in relation to gasoline, and the multibillion dollar conglomerates that are getting filthy rich selling gasoline for $4 a gallon. If homeopathy had any significant following at all the companies making these products would be household names, which speaks volumes about just how vanishingly small the cult of homeopathy has become.

    @ChristyRedd, post #21

    Some homeopathy blogger made a post full of nonsense about James Randi visiting Brazil, and others have been reblogging and retweeting it for years. You seem to think that if you repeat these lies often enough they will become the truth, the homeopathic principle as applied to journalism, no doubt.

    But do you really think a famous and controversial American could go to another country and be charged with sedition and that it would receive absolutely zero news coverage? And before you start in about a big pharma conspiracy to cover it up, what about the Brazilian press? The whole point of the inane fantasy that started this out was that this was a big win for homeopathy. There was a big stink, public backlash, the government ruling on your side, and yet no mention in the Brazilian press either… Seriously, pull your head out before you suffocate.

  11. Homeopathic preparations are mostly sugar and water. They are “safe” inasmuch as they are only likely to cause hyponatremia or hyperglycemia. But they won’t treat any underlying condition. And if people forego real scientific medicine they will die. Asthmatics taking sugar water instead of bronchodilators like salbutamol (albuterol) for immediate treatment or corticosteroids for longer-term management are likely to suffer serious consequences.

  12. Re Sandra Courtney #19 Wow, a personal anecdote, by a naturopathic “doctor”. That is hard-hitting science…no, it isn’t at all.

  13. Lots of assertions by the usual suspects with respect to studies showing positive for homeopathy. Here is how it works: When homeopathy is compared against placebo, as long as the studies are properly conducted they will show positive for homeopathy approximately 50% of the time, and occasionally they will even show strongly positive. These are the studies that the homeopathy supporters latch onto and tout to all and sundry.

    What they do not publicise is that the other approximately 50% show positive for placebo (and, surprise, surprise occasionally they will even show strongly positive). Curiously, these studies are not touted as vigorously, if at all. Ignorance or simple mendacity? I have no idea.

    This is exactly equivalent to doing trials where you toss a coin a number of times and seeing whether heads or tails is favoured — then latching onto those that “show positive” for heads, and claiming that this is evidence for the coin being biased. This is, of course, sheer nonsense.

    The easy way to see what the real evidence is is to go to the Cochrane Library and do a search on “homeopathy”. You are not limited to the few hundred touted here by Christy Redd, but there are several thousand trials/studies.

    However, there is one phenomenon that cannot be ignorance: this is when the touts for pseudomedicine cite a study and claim that it is positive for that particular pseudomedicine. The clearly hope nobody will follow the citation because, often when you do follow it, you find that it does not say what the quack pretends it says. Nasty!

    Another common trick is to pretend that conclusions like “These results suggest that a positive treatment effect of homeopathy when compared with placebo in acute otitis media cannot be excluded and that a larger study is justified.” are somehow “positive for homeopathy”. In reality, it is essentially polite academic code for “This study was rubbish, mostly owing to the woefully inadequate sample size, and no meaningful conclusions can be drawn from it. If you want to get meaningful results, get a much bigger sample.”

    And has anyone else noticed how the “larger study [that] is justified never seems to get published even decades later. Could this possibly be because it didn’t show the desired result?

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