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Paracelsus' poison

World Homoeopathy Awareness Week Has Passed

Illustrating Homoeopathic dilutions using coffee. Ian Musgrave

World Homoeopathy Awareness Week has just passed (10 April to 16 April), but I would still like to take this opportunity to make people aware that Homoeopathy is expensive placebo that has been failing clinical trials since 1835.

I’ve written about homoeopathy before*, showing that homoeopathic treatments, which either have no trace of active ingredient or levels so low as to be biologically meaningless, have no good evidence of therapeutic benefit.

This video on homoeopathy covers a lot of similar ground to my articles. You may be amused at the sight of me taking an overdose of homoeopathic sleeping pills (around 3:52 into the video). That sequence had a great missed opportunity moment. When Frank Pangallo asks me if I feel sleepy, I should have replied “if this was real medicine, we would be in hospital now”.

There are a number of other discussions relevant to World Homoeopathy week. This article at Science Based Pharmacy about the implications of homoeopathic products for Pharmacists is thought provoking reading. The Guardian’s report that even homoeopaths disavow homoeopathic vaccination should give you pause as well.

There are several relevant videos aside from the one linked above. Here’s Richard Dawkins investigating homoeopathy. James Randi’s TED talk on homoeopathy, and this video from CBC marketplace.

For more general infomation on homoeopathy start at the 10:23 campaign for a good one-stop basic information source. For further detail, over at Science Based Medicine, there is a good, easily readable series on homeopathy.

Then there is the weighty House of Commons Science and Technology Committee (STC) report, Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy, which concludes that there is no evidence that homeopathy works any better than placebos (commentary here). A more general article is the Ars Technica report on homoeopathy.

If you are wondering why people would use homoeopathy when it doesn’t work, this article might help you understand.

For some light relief, a homoeopath explains how physics works, then there’s an amusing poster from the Centre for Inquiry Canada and a song from Australia’s Tim Minchin (warning: rude words).

*My Conversation article ‘Doctors’ orders: debunking homeopathy once and for all’, was included in The Best Australian Science Writing 2012 anthology.

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