How can homeopathy help to stop the Ebola outbreak?

homeopathy-waterIn case you’re assuming that it can, it really can’t.

Since any reasonable person would understand that homeopathy violates some of the basic principles of physics, chemistry and biology. And because there is no viable mechanism that would make you think homeopathy actually could work, clinical trials show that it doesn’t work, or, at best, it is a mythical placebo. So, if it doesn’t work in clinical trials, and there is no possible mechanism underlying it, employing Occam’s Razor, we would have to say the simplest explanation is the best: Homeopathy does not work. It’s a lie. It’s a scam. Period. End of story.

The current outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa has been making significant headlines lately. The virus is deadly, with a mortality rate well over 90%, easily transmitted by any bodily fluid, and there is no known cure. The course of the disease is horrifying, starting with symptoms similar to a bad flu, but eventually leading to blood clotting problems, failing organs like the kidney and liver, then finally death. The disease is not selective about whom it attacks, young or old, healthy or not.

Early treatment may increase the survival chance, since there is no known cure. Treatment focuses on replenishing fluids, maintaining proper blood pressure, replacing lost blood, and treating related infections.

And there is no vaccine to prevent the virus from infecting individuals. This isn’t a massive conspiracy to prevent a new vaccine from coming to the market. Developing the vaccine has been incredibly difficult because traditional vaccine development strategies, such as inactivation, have not been successful. In fact, several vaccines have shown to be successful in preventing Ebola infection in animals and non-human primates, but as I’ve said many times, success in animals only rarely translates to success in humans. Those vaccines that have shown promise are now undergoing substantial clinical trials, but human clinical trials for vaccines are complex and take time. In fact, there might Ebola vaccines available in the next few months.

Of course, the lack of a cure or prevention for Ebola means the anti-science quack pushers are out in force. And that means homeopaths.

One of these deranged homeopaths even suggested a treatment:

Dr. Gail Derin studied the symptoms of Ebola Zaire, the most deadly of the three that can infect human beings. Dr. Vickie Menear, M.D. and homeopath, found that the remedy that most closely fit the symptoms of the 1914 “flu” virus, Crolatus horridus, also fits the Ebola virus nearly 95% symptom-wise! Thanks go to these doctors for coming up with the following remedies:

1. Crolatus horridus (rattlesnake venom) 2. Bothrops (yellow viper) 3. Lachesis (bushmaster snake) 4. Phosphorus 5. Mercurius Corrosivus

ebola-virus-diseaseYes, three snake venoms. Ebola is dangerous, but I’m not sure getting venom from snakes is a risk I’m willing to take, even if all of this pseudoscience actually worked. Oh, and the irony of “Mercurius Corrosivus”, which is nothing more than mercuric chloride. Yes, mercury. My irony meter just blew up.

These pseudoscience pushing nutjobs even have their own “peer-reviewed journals” (by peer-reviewed, we mean other homeopaths reviewing each other for the quality of their pseudoscience), one of which describes a dilution with a ground up crustacean. Seriously, these people live in a world that somehow passed over the last 200 years of real science. Medieval alchemists have more credibility.

But let’s back up a bit, and explain the “science” of homeopathy, because a lot of people, mostly Americans, conflate homeopathy with natural medicine, like herbal medicine. It isn’t. Basically, homeopathy, known as the “law of similars”, relies on belief that “let like be cured by like”, and is a term coined by Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician who was appalled by the state of medicine at the time, the late 1700’s. And frankly, the state of medicine at that time was pretty bad, so any new idea might have been worthy of trying. However, when Hanneman was alive, basic scientific knowledge was missing. Cell theory and germ theory were a few decades from even a basic understanding.

Homeopathic potions are prepared by serially diluting the original substance (could be anything from diseased tissue to arsenic to snake venom plus mercury) with shaking by forceful striking on an elastic body, which they term succussion. Each dilution followed by succussion is assumed to increase the effectiveness. Homeopaths call this process potentization. So far, it’s just merely diluting and shaking, so nothing much there. But the level of dilution is such that there is only a tiny possibility of any molecule of the original substance showing up in solution.

The dilution is precisely described by Hahnemann. The first dilution is one part to 100 parts water. Then, one part of that is diluted in another 100 parts water. Each dilution is called 1C, so two dilutions would be called 2C, with one part of the similar diluted in 10,000 parts water. But it doesn’t stop there. Homeopathy uses >30C dilutions, which means that the dilution is simply water. At 30C, the dilution is now 1 part substance to 10^60 (or 10 followed by 60 zeroes) parts water. You would need to drink 10^34 (or 10 followed by 34 zeroes) gallons of water (which is about 10 billion times the amount of water on earth) just to get one molecule–one single molecule of the original substance. Now diluting substances to create a physiological response is a well known, evidence based method in medicine. For example, allergy hyposensitization uses extremely diluted antigens (say cat dander), while slowly increasing the concentration to build a tolerance to the immune response. But the dilution is substantially higher, maybe 1-2C at most.

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So, then the homeopaths overcome this mathematical issue by stating that water has a memory. This claim is based on a long-disputed, unrepeated, and basically, disregarded experiment. Every attempt to repeat the experiment, in a double blinded manner, was a failure; so at some point, you have to say, “no it doesn’t work.” And of course, there is just no evidence that it might work. Just to be clear, there’s the clinical evidence that homeopathy absolutely doesn’t work:

The results of our meta-analysis are not compatible with the hypothesis that the clinical effects of homeopathy are completely due to placebo. However, we found insufficient evidence from these studies that homeopathy is clearly efficacious for any single clinical condition.

Then, recently, I saw this Tweet appear on my feed:

I haven’t mocked Homeopaths without Borders in a year. Homeopaths without Borders (HWB) is an American organization that claims that it provides humanitarian aid, in the form of homeopathic “medicine”, to devastated areas of the world. Of course, HWB is attempting to co-opt the name of the more famous group that does real lifesaving work across the world, Doctors without Borders, who are probably too busy, utilizing real evidence-based medicine with real medications, risking their own lives, and performing great service to humanity, to be worried that a bunch of pseudoscientific homeopaths stole their noble trademark to push quackery.

HWB has sent their water magicians to Haiti, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Sri Lanka, and El Salvador, all countries that have suffered so much during the past few years. During their time in Haiti, “the team will be in Port-au-Prince to complete the final session of the Fundamentals Program—a foundational curriculum in homeopathic therapeutics incorporating theoretical and clinical training.” So not only are they providing nonsense, useless, unscientific healthcare to Haiti, they are training new homeopaths there. Haiti needs to train real doctors who use science based medicine, not quack medicine.

Setting aside all of my snark and all of my outrage at the homeopaths, real physicians are putting themselves at the frontline of battling this disease. A real doctor and a real nurse from the USA have contracted the disease, and they are getting the best treatment possible by the world class physicians and researchers at the CDC. (They did try an experimental method to treat the disease, but the results are unknown.) The actual Doctors without Borders (better known outside of the USA as Médecins Sans Frontières) is battling the outbreak with real medical facilities and real physicians.

MSF, the CDC and WHO have their best and brightest researchers, physicians, and other health care workers standing at the frontline of this disease. They are risking their lives through sheer bravery, no different than a soldier going into a battle. When I hear some pseudoscience-pushing lunatic (sorry, I can’t help being snarky) say that the CDC is bought off by Big Pharma or some nefarious Jewish conspiracy (no, I’m not making that up), I’d like to see them go off to West Africa and try to save lives right in the middle of an epidemic of a deadly disease.

Where are those homeopaths? Oh, they’re actually just cowards, spending their days trying to take money from saps who believe in their lies. Homeopaths aren’t going to risk their lives for free.

Actually, it’s probably good that the woo-pushers aren’t there. They’d just get in the way, end up getting sick, and a real doctor will have to try to save their lives.


Key citations:

The Original Skeptical Raptor
Chief Executive Officer at SkepticalRaptor
Lifetime lover of science, especially biomedical research. Spent years in academics, business development, research, and traveling the world shilling for Big Pharma. I love sports, mostly college basketball and football, hockey, and baseball. I enjoy great food and intelligent conversation. And a delicious morning coffee!

70 Replies to “How can homeopathy help to stop the Ebola outbreak?”

  1. ScepticalRaptor, is a member of the anti-Homeopathy cult which has
    raised its anti-Homeo outlook to the level of superstition. It is bizarre that
    this zombie is demanding “evidence” for the efficacy of Homeopathy
    when people all over the world have been treated by it in the last 200 years.

    ScepticalRaptor, has mentioned a certain dilution technique for
    Homeo medicines. The fact is such a technique is not followed in toto. There are
    many variations.

    But for me this is not the main issue.

    The issue is the irrational reactions of the insane anti-Homeo cult. They are parading all kinds of pathetically mischievous arguments to condemn
    Homeo, without even trying out Homeo for themselves. Have these people ever visited a Homeo clinic and got
    themselves treatment for some ailment? NO!

    But, why not?

    Will this puncture their prestige & their ego?

    When people go about condemning a medicinal system without even trying it out, they can best be called as LUNATICS!

    It is indeed shocking that qualified Homeopathy doctors are going
    about curing people around the world and zombies like ScepticalRaptor are
    branding Homeopathy as Quackery! Shocking indeed!

    There is no diff. btwn between the minds of these people and that of religious fundamentalists.

  2. Skeptical Raptor, have you ever tried out Homeopathy? For curiosity sake at least, just to see if it is working or not.

    If yes, what was the result like?

    Let me assume, you say a big “NO!”! In that case, why not? What prevents from you checking it out (for some ailment you may’ve) when
    you are certainly not going to lose anything in the process?

    What about the experiences of people you know who have got themselves treated with Homeo?

  3. Here’s the thing about homeopathy, when the premise used by it’s originator some 200-250 years ago is assessed today with by a rational scientific, chemical and medicine based approach. Hahnemann’s tenet of like cures like actually stemmed from him poisoning himself with quinine from some bark because he was hypersensitive to quinine. Rather, Hahnemann deduced that the symptoms he experienced mimicked those of people with malaria (which at the time was thought to be caused by bad swamp gas), and the falsely based doctrine of a woo-woo healing belief was born. He then for some reason decided to dilute the crap out of the bark ignorant in his day of the idea of moles of a substance and Avogadros Nbr, and then devised some magical ritual of wacking the diluted “remedy” an exact number of time on a leather bound book so as to make it more “potent”. See…….

    Yeah, now I can see why the gullible swallow this rubbish hook line and sinker, and why they’re the same one’s who believe they offer up “proof” by telling their own experience stories or others’ anecdotes. When backed into a corner, these believers then offer up rubbish studies of “trials” that are so poor in their methodology that they have zero value, or then revert to using science-y words and expressions like “quantum”, and “vibrational molecular energies”, or the classic one being “homeopathy works…truly ruly….it’s just that science doesn’t know everything and it hasn’t caught up with the wonder of hom”. And don’t get me started on the memory (selective of course) ability of water that just so happens to forget about all the other shite it’s been exposed to over it’s magical lifetime since the formation of the universe, let alone the contaminants from where these “remedies” are made.

    Here’s my favourite challenge. Get 3 different types of the magical pillette hom remedies, pour them out and mix them up onto a table top….now request a homeopath to put them all back into their correct original containers and provide proof that they are all back in their respective containers.

    1. Two hundred years ago, medicine had hardly progressed for 2000 years, so Hahnemann was trying anything that would make medicine better. Then real scientific analysis of potential clinical techniques, and we have modern medicine. And homeopathy ended up being a dead end of pseudoscience.

  4. If homeopathy is quackery, western medicine is defrauding to a superlative degree. 30 tablets of Lipitor = $120 HA!!! And mind you, it has ALL kinds of side-effects, So swallow at your own risk.

    Any western medication is “approved” after “clinical trials” on a “small” group of people for a “small” period of time. If that is the case, homeopathy should trounce the daylights out of western medicine as it has been used for centuries in many civilizations very effectively. Western countries tout themselves as “healthy” and pride themselves on its “healthcare”, all pure hogwash. They are some of the unhealthiest societies. 80% of the ppl are on medications of some sort. Shut that off and they will fall like flies. Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical companies are minting money off of humans. It all seems like the propaganda of powerful organizations. Sadly, all simple and good things are coming to an end in this world. Homeopathy is such a casualty.

    After reading this guy’s posts and responses, reminds me of another saying – Empty vessels make loud noise. When he/she/it/they has nothing better to say, they resort to name-calling and cursing. HE HE HE!! Unbelievable. And this raptor guy is not “talking through his hat” as somebody commented…He/she is talking thru his/her, and I quote “pimple on my ass.” Need more be said!!!

    1. If you have health insurance, you wouldn’t pay that.

      Statins have evidence supporting their use in reducing cholesterol, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

      Your strawman arguments are hysterical. There is no “Western Medicine.” There is MEDICINE, supported by science based evidence, or there is just magic. Homeopathy is magic. It simply cannot treat heart disease, since it’s fucking water. There is no scientific plausibility.

      Your conspiracy theory is just really insane.

  5. Dear sKeptical rAptor,
    I observed on having a view on your conversations with those who commenced in favour of homoeopathy and I understood that all that you want is an evidence that proves homoeopathy is science.
    I am very sure about the things that you will surely get an evidence on reading the following I listed down here.
    1.Lectures on homeopathic philosophy by j.t.Kent
    I hope this is enough to give you the enough evidence you need.
    My suggestion for you in reading through the book is read this with full mind else don’t read it.
    If you understood what it contains then you understand what homoeopathy is,I hope you don’t know about homoeopathy except the process of drug preparation by diluting .
    As you understand what homoeopathy and s then I am sure about that you will serve homoeopathy and you will never speak against it because most of the homeopathics or those who initially doubted on it.
    A few among them are Kent ,Nash e.b.,boenning hausan a relative of hahnemann.
    If you hearted anymore by this forgive me .
    I must wait for your reply.
    Thank you

    1. Evidence must be in the form of published peer-reviewed articles that have been indexed by PubMed, and appear in high impact factor journals. Appeals to Authority, Appeals to Popularity and other logical fallacies have no value whatsoever to this discussion.

      Show us a real clinical trial with real results published in a real journal, and maybe you have something. I’ll save you some time. There are none.

  6. Rattle snake poison potentized to homeopathic drug specifications answers symptoms exhibited in Ebola.Dr James Tyler Kent In his lectures on Homeopathic Materia Medica circa 1904 has described symptoms treatable with”Crotalus Horridus” in homeopathy.
    Dr Constantine Hering was another renowned physician who had worked successfully
    with snake poisons in drug form.Yours faithfully is a Thyroid Cancer case with nodules
    in lungs Underwent partial thyroidectomy and Radio active Iodine131 therapy but lung affectations could not be treated (opined as in 3rd stage) as too risky.That was 5 years ago.Having read Dr Kent’s tome I took Calcarea Carb in very high potency Six monthly.Xrays of my lungs show nodules but it has been status quo since 4 years.I am 83 years old lead normal life of a 65 year old healthy(male) patient with manageable type 2 diabetes.I am holistic in approach to medication so take modern medicine,use modern diagnostics and so on.Homeo,Ayurveda,etc minus QUACKERY can coexist with
    modern therapy.As a retired Senior Air Force Officer I declare the above with truth and conviction


      1. Please cool down,i too am not interested in what you think of what i am/was.Sarcasm is the escape route for those who feel cornered..Was quoting what had been written over 100 years ago about the concerned drug by a Yankee Dr based in Chicago.We have no Ebola reported here in India ,as modern medicine is unable to cope with it Homeo drugs may act and save lives.Let us call quits,no more verbal sparring please.

        1. “There are immense information you do not now in this world.”

          Yeah, and there are immense English language rules you do not know and will never learn, dearie.

      1. Dear Skeptical Raptor, I don’t agree with your so called concept and scientific observation. There is also a thing called “Seeing is believing”. I think you believe what you see. Right. I am an ardent follower of homoeopathy and it works like magic. I will give you an example. If you are having loose motion (hope you have experienced any time in your life 😉 ) with fever (chilly with body temperature above 99 F), Try Merc. Sol. 30 (two drops) every 2 hours. In one day you will see the change. Try it and I think your opinion about homeopathy will change. There are many examples I can provide. Thanks.

          1. I have given you the evidence. That should be more than enough. I practice homeopathy in my daily life and also use for my family. I have always got wonderful results and I don’t depend on allopathy medicines. I just hate it.

            And money wise, it is the cheapest. Now it is up to you. Take it or not, but the fact will always be fact.

            1. You have a different idea of what constitutes evidence. Provide valid, scientific evidence, published in high impact factor medical journals. It must be a double-blind clinical trial with several thousand patients. There must not be any confirmation or observation bias in the trials. And it must be peer-reviewed.

              Finally, a one-off primary research study has little validity. Real science requires systematic reviews also published in high impact factor journals.

              Anecdotes, uncontrolled studies, and your personal opinion have all the validity of alien abductions or creationism.

  7. You can all believe whatever you want, but if you have not tried homeopathic remedies at all for important viruses or experimented with it, you just might be talking though your hat.

    1. I don’t believe in anything. Either something is supported by evidence, or it’s not. And homeopathy is not supported by any evidence, unless inventing shit and claiming it’s evidence is what passes for science in the homeopathy delusion.

  8. In any case I got the most natural weapon (just an exercise) against any viruses, known on Earth – I got the Ebola virus (any strain and mutant) devastating destroyer by which the virus is killed the moment it touches us – Its protein decoy cannot save it from being destroyed instantly – I can eliminate the Ebola crisis for just a few days – Once I am paid the corresponding funds for that.

  9. If homeopathy did not work we would not have such a discussion like the one we have here, and countless other places.
    If homeopathy does not work it would have disappeared by itself. Over time, people would have realized that this is just quack medicine.

    The reality is completely different, homeopathy is growing like never before and it’s not because people like to be fooled, but because they are actually getting help for their health problems.

    A problem that all opponents of homeopathy have is their almost religious relationship to science. Without scientific approval, in some science magazine or the like, it is impossible for these people to see the truth. It’s almost like a black curtain is pulled over their eyes.

    These people do not have an objective mind, but more similar to extremism.

    Just because science has not found if homeopathy works, or how it works, does not mean that homeopathy does not work.
    The apple fell to the ground long before Newton formulated his gravitational law.
    And there were germs and viruses etc long before science discovered them with their microscopes and experiments.

    1. Cherry picking very bad studies? How about the hundreds of studies that show that Homeopathy is just plain water.

      And your Appeal to Popularity and Appeal to Ignorance logical fallacies are most amusing. You really have nothing.

      And your Newton strawman is laughable. Go ahead. Show us that water remembers anything but water (it can’t), you’ll have a Nobel Prize. Don’t be a coward, give us the evidence.

      We await your foolishness.

      You’re pretty lame.

  10. That’s exactly my point… you don’t know jack about homeopathy… it works on a vibrational level – you are utilizing the vibration of these elements which has an equal and opposite effect of the actual element – Nickolai Tesla said a famous scientist before him told him that all the power was in vibrational energy… You can be sure that any “clinical trials” by Big Pharma will show homeopathy doesn’t work – of course their trials show that their Big Pharma isn’t killing people either… sic – But there have been zillions of trials and research on natural remedies that show they work… but they don’t count because Big Pharma didn’t perform them… right?! It works and the big boys that charge $10 a pill for life-destroying big pharma don’t want anyone to know that…

    1. I know more about homeopathy in my left pinky finger than you ever will.

      Your Big Pharma Strawman Argument was most amusing. Big Pharma’s medications save lives. Homeopathy is just expensive thirst quenching. And I thought a bottle of Evian was expensive.

      I love ignorant fools. They’re so much fun.

  11. I love how people with no knowledge or experience with homeopathy know so much about it… it would be like me giving advice on heart surgery… get a clue… homeopathy works… you just don’t know thing one about it…. I’ve seen virtual miracles with and obviously you are shills for Big Pharma…. who is killing millions annually.

    1. There is simply no known way that water molecules can confer any medical benefit to anyone unless it’s dehydration. Furthermore, the implausibility of such a “belief” is such that if we assumed that water had such power, we would have to suspend all of our knowledge of physics, quantum mechanics, and chemistry. It would be Nobel Prize worthy knowledge.

      More than that, short of poorly designed studies published in low ranked journals, every stitch of evidence in high quality systematic reviews has shown that the scientific evidence simply refutes the possibility that homeopathy has any clinically significant effect.

      Thus, homeopathy fails because it is utterly implausible, if not impossible. And second it fails because clinical trials have shown it doesn’t work.

      So, yes, I have knowledge with homeopathy. It is garbage. And your anecdotes have all the validity of cat feces. Meaning, it stinks, and it needs to be thrown in the trash.

  12. Just shared on my Twitter. A must read. This whole New Age fluff is plain dangerous. They have flipped the common sense from the legs to the head and turned the conventional medicine and doctors into the Forces of Dark, conspiring to ruin humanity through dangerous practices and “greedy” alliances with the Pharma companies. How easy to do that, living in a 21st century with the unprecedented longevity, achieved precisely thanks to those trashed forces of dark and their greedy allies.

  13. Know more about homeopathy on a deeper level before dissing it. It cured 80% in the 1919 flu epidemic, whereas regular medicine lost 80%.

    1. Evidence please. And it better be in the form of peer reviewed historical or medical analyses of the 1918 (get the date right) epidemic.

      Here’s thing. I know more about homeopathy in my left testicle than you know in your uneducated bunch of neural matter that you claim is a brain. There is NO plausible chemical or physical mechanics that could make homeopathy work. There are no clinical trials that show it works.

      So you are sadly misinformed, a problem with people like you.

      1. Not saying Homeopathy works. But this current Ebola outbreak has a mortality rate of 60%. Yes, Ebola can have a mortality rate of 90% but could be confused that this was referring to the current situation. So perhaps someone incorrectly dating flu epidemic as 1919 can be forgiven too.

          1. Oooo! A bit touchy? The 60% isn’t wrong, even if it is a gross simplification of complex and heterogeneous data.
            Regardless, as you say, any reasonable person cannot but conclude that mortality is remarkably high and homeopathy won’t do diddly. Or perhaps, inasmuch as it is pure water, it could help to keep Ebola sufferers hydrated, if taken intravenously with a little salt and in sufficient quantities.

            1. An “Anon” commenter shows up and says something dumbass. I get to call him that. I’m mean to everyone I don’t like. It’s just me.

              You should see what I say about Mr. Andy Wakefield, the fraud and criminal.

              Not touchy at all. You should know better.

  14. How to test homeopathic dilutions for efficacy: Find a person with a lethal nut allergy. The type of person who will die if they walk past a shop that in 1975 once sold a jar of peanut butter… make a 30C homeopathic dilution of peanut oil. Administer to test subject. Watch them not die. Increase to 20C and then 10C etc – Continue until symptoms appear. This is the minimum effective dilution for homeopathy.

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