Homeopathic Medicine

I’ve never known much about homeopathic medicine. but what little I’ve known has caused me to be skeptical; faintly possible, I supposed, by not very reasonable/logical or very likely. Then I read “Homeopathy by the (mind-boggling) numbers” by Matt Parker, a guest writer for the Science section of the (London) Times OnLine, published January 20, 2010, but no longer available in their archives.

Here are some excerpts…

I have just purchased a packet of Boots-brand 84 arnica homeopathic 30C Pills for £5.09, which Boots proudly claim is only 6.1p per pill. Their in-store advice tells me that arnica is good for treating “bruising and injuries”, which gives the impression that this is a very cost-effective health-care option.

Unlike most medication, it didn’’t list the actual dose of the active ingredient that each pill contains, so I checked the British Homeopathic Association website. On their website it nonchalantly states that to make a homeopathic remedy, they start with the active ingredient and then proceed to dilute it to 1 per cent concentration. Then they dilute that new solution again, so there is now only 0.01 per cent of the original ingredients. For my 30C pills this diluting is repeated thirty times, which means that the arnica is one part in a million billion billion billion billion billion billion.

The arnica is diluted so much that there is only one molecule of it per 7 million billion billion billion billion pills.

It’s hard to comprehend numbers that large. If you were to buy that many pills from Boots, it would cost more than the gross domestic product of the UK. It’s more than the gross domestic product of the entire world. Since the dawn of civilisation. If every human being since the beginning of time had saved every last penny, denarius and sea-shell, we would still have not saved-up enough to purchase a single arnica molecule from Boots.

Well, call me easily influenced, but that convinced me! You’d have to read the whole article (hint: the numbers get worse, not better!) and then go on and look into the justifications/reasons offered by the British Homeopathic Association in their website. Such as: “The more stages of dilution and succussion the preparation has gone through, the more potent the medicine is – so a 30c medicine is more potent than a 6c medicine.”

Mmm-hmmm. So if the “medicine” is diluted down to the point that you can guarantee with almost absolute certainty that not even one molecule of the target substance is left in the solution… that’s medicine at it’s most powerful?

I suppose you can call me an old fuddy-duddy, or whatever, but I think I’ll just stick with Doctor prescribed medicines that have passed clinical trials and all that modern hogwash and give a pass on homeopathic medicines.


A tip of the hat goes to the blogger Coyote Blog for directing my attention to this article.