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Homeopathy is worse than witchcraft – and the NHS must stop paying for it

Posted in Confessions of a Quackbuster by Skepdude on February 17, 2009

Many people swear by homeopathy. It is a popular dinner party topic of the Hampstead set, of which I am a member. My friends – otherwise educated, cultured people – say it can help them recover from a cold in just seven days. Yes, I reply, and left alone it would take a whole week.

The problem is that few people know what homeopathy really is. I’ll tell you: it is a 200-year-old practice that hasn’t changed since its inception.

Homeopathy is based on three principles: treat the symptoms of a disease rather than the disease itself; cure like with like (an onion makes your eyes stream and so does a cold, so treat a cold with an onion); and the greater the dilution of the ‘medicine’, the more potent the potion.

Some homeopathic tinctures contain so little of the magic ingredient there could just as easily be a molecule of my urine in them.

Homeopathic companies are making a fortune marketing placebos. Yet, despite this, last September, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority approved the marketing of homeopathic remedies for ‘self-limiting conditions’ (these are conditions which should improve by themselves) – even if there is no evidence of their efficacy.

This scares me. Homeopathy is to medicine what astrology is to astronomy: it’s witchcraft – totally barmy, totally refuted, and yet it’s available on the NHS. For while homeopathic medicine is not toxic, its use as an alternative to conventional medicine can, in fact, cause serious harm.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “Confessions of a Quackbuster”

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