Thoughts on the world, homeopathy, mindfulness and food...
A collection of blog posts - feel free to respond with your thoughts and comments - I love to have feedback - thank you!
Homeopaths ‘risking lives with bogus coronavirus treatments’ runs the headline. Seriously? Again. But yes, indeed, another article. There are so many incorrect statements here I thought I'd run through it a step at a time as I'd done previously. The Times is in normal font. My comments in italics.
Monday April 13 2020, 12.01am, The Times
One website claimed that homeopathy can be “very highly effective in treating flu, and Covid‑19 is no exception”.
Medical experts have condemned homeopaths they accuse of giving false hope to coronavirus victims by offering bogus treatments.
Can we look at the word bogus for a start? From the Urban Dictionary, Bogus is a word going back a couple hundred years which refered to counterfeit money and anything else that's fake. It also means wrong, uncool, unfair, unreal, off, messed up. Popularized in the late '80's ...
Homeopathy has a long history also dating back a couple of hundred years - however should you wish to look at the history of homeopathy in epidemics and pandemics, you'd see a far less "bogus" picture than The Times may wish to paint. What you'd see is homeopathy out-performing conventional medicine. Time and again. And, you could argue that back then, in those historical times, the medicine of the time wasn't that great. Fair point perhaps. However recent history shows how effective homeopathy can be too. The study in Cuba where homeopathy was used as a prophylaxis for leptospirosis was hugely effective. There is a BMJ article on it here. A longer piece in homeopathy journal Hpathy here. Perhaps we should write it off as the Cubans were homeopaths running the trial so it couldn't have been accurate? Except they weren't. Dr Gustavo Bracho was Advisor to the President and General Director of Finlay Institute, Havana, Cuba, and head of the Homeopathy and Biotherapic Projects at the Institute. He is an experienced researcher in molecular and cellular biology, and has headed the Adjuvant Group within the Immunology Department of Finlay. In 2005-2006 he was a researcher in a Collaboration Project with the Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide, Australia, examining vaccine production methods.
Bogus? I think not.
Across the country, hundreds of homeopathic practitioners have been identified using the pandemic to drive sales of “remedies” and consultations.
Again, I think not. No one is "driving" sales of homeopathic medicines. Except one thing I did find really interesting was that as soon as this began, sales of homeopathic remedies and supplements soared. Too early for any "driving force", I feel. This came from the people. To the point that pharmacies were overflowing with orders, I think totally unprecedented times. People wanted something to support their health and they voted with their orders.
The Times built a database together with the Good Thinking Society, a pro-science charity, to identify practitioners selling virus-related products and services. The investigation uncovered a wide range of examples that experts say could place lives at risk.
Even where to start on that one. The Good Thinking Society, a renowned anti-homeopathy organisation...
Sage Homeopathy, a north London-based business, states on its website, that homeopathy can be “very highly effective in treating flu, and Covid-19 is no exception”.
To be fair, I'm not all that on board with this one. Homeopathy can be highly effective for so many, many things, but we don't treat conditions, we treat people. We treat symptoms and give remedies based on the individual. I don't know if homeopathy can help anything and never guarantee that it will do. I can say afterwards where it has helped though. Do have a watch of the video here. There's some really fascinating information shared.
Also this video from medic Dr Elizabeth Thompson who talks about how homeopathy helped her with COVID-19 like symptoms.
It adds that in the past few weeks it has “treated the symptoms associated with this virus — high fever, dry persistent cough, difficult expectoration, intense muscle pain, chills, stabbing headache, loss of taste and smell, unquenchable thirst, relapsing symptoms and complete exhaustion with slow recovery”. The website states that fees are £25 a week for “all remedies and daily check-in by phone”.
The NHS advises that people should seek proper medical advice.
Of course. And I don't know any homeopath who would say otherwise. That said, I've heard of several people, who've consulted medics (do continue to do so - I would never suggest someone didn't), for example in A&E, who were told to go home, they weren't ill enough for admission. The most up to date advice via the NHS site is for less severe symptoms to take paracetamol and wait it out. Do wash your hands and stand 2m away from anyone. So, if there was another option to help with uncomfortable symptoms - surely it could be worth it? We had COVID-19 like symptoms earlier and self isolated for the appropriate time. Was it another virus? Does it matter? My main point was that homeopathy helped. Why would I not want to use it? There also seems to be an issue that homeopaths are charging for their services. This is their work. That's cheap. There is work behind the scenes to do on assessing which remedy to give. There is work in sending remedies out. Less than £3 a day for a fair amount of work. Fair play if it was hundreds, maybe it's worth noting or complaining about, but that is nothing.
Over recent decades the Prince of Wales has consistently campaigned for homeopathic treatments. However, The Times understands that he did not receive homeopathic treatment when he contracted the virus.
Prince Charles is the patron of the Faculty of Homeopathy and once wrote a letter to the public titled “Science and homeopathy must work in harmony”.
Yup. So they should. And, to be fair, I think they can and they do in many places. The UK seems to be fairly backwards, or at least the skeptic community, in thinking so. And yet globally there is loads of really fascinating research going on. This popular video recently did the rounds and shows how homeopathy works in plant models. The scientific study, led by a Swiss research group, showed homeopathic arsenic to be more effective for treating poisoned duckweed than water alone.
Practitioners suggest a range of homeopathic treatments for coronavirus including phosphorus, bryonia and ipecac.
Well, yes. These are remedies that can help in many situations and have been used for many, many years. But again, I refer you back to my mention of symptoms, not labels. We are not treating diseases, we're treating people.
South Devon Homeopathy advises the plant aconite, for less severe symptoms, and arsenicum — highly diluted arsenic — “if the symptoms become more severe”.
Very basic, but relevant info - you could perhaps think that the article actually wanted to share something helpful with the public. Aconite can be a great remedy to take at the start of a cold, flu - and was a fabulous remedy for my daughter with croup many moons ago. Arsenicum helped me along with symptoms at various stages too.
Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor at Exeter University, warned that the pubic was being put at risk by the promotions. He said: “Such marketing is misleading, dishonest and endangers public health.
“To offer homeopathy for the treatment of or the prevention of coronavirus is unethical to the extreme.
“The Society of Homeopaths have the duty to forbid these things and protect the public; unfortunately, they also have a very poor track record for doing their duty.”
Perhaps, and I think this is a very real problem, the public is being misled by being told homeopathy is a waste of time. Perhaps, something that could help individuals is being ignored. Perhaps that is unethical. It just strikes me that if there's something more elegant, more refined than "just take paracetamol for everything", that might help with symptoms - fatigue, fever, shortness of breath perhaps. These were the ones it helped us massively with for example - perhaps we should be talking about it more, not less.
In a statement, the Good Thinking Society said that the Society of Homeopaths is failing to meet the standards required from it by the national regulator.
“Any responsible register — especially one which continues to enjoy the accreditation and conferred legitimacy of the government’s Professional Standards Authority — should make it absolutely clear that their registrants should not make any claims regarding coronavirus, and certainly should not be selling patients ineffective treatments during this crisis,” said Michael Marshall, project director at the Good Thinking Society.
To be fair, should the GTS have their way we as homeopaths should not make any claims about anything. We could say we're nice people. Perhaps. But as to the long efficacy of homeopathy in epidemics? I'm sure we shouldn't talk about that. At all.
The homeopaths advertising their services were approached for comment but had not responded by the time of publication.
Well, fair enough really. It's not like there was going to be a balanced article written.
I'm a Homeopath working in the Skipton (North Yorkshire) area. I am also able to offer food intolerance testing using Kinesiology and advice around diet and lifestyle.
Em Colley MARH, Practitioner of Classical Homeopathy, BSc(Hons) Psychology and Neuroscience
Focussed Mindfulness Practitioner
Dip (SNHS) Kinesiology
Dip (SNHS) Holistic Nutrition
Certificate in Whole Food, Plant Based Nutrition