Coronavirus homeopathic potions – here comes the quackery and woo

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The quacks are out in force with this potential COVID-19 pandemic. Predictably, people are pushing coronavirus homeopathic potions to treat or prevent this dangerous disease.

In case you don’t feel like reading this article, let me give you a spoiler alert – homeopathy is 100% water, and it will do nothing to treat or prevent anything. It’s useless.

Homeopathy 

Homeopathy is a pseudoscience, meaning there is no robust and repeated evidence that it has any clinical effect. Homeopathy contradicts established, and well understood, principles of biology, chemistry, and physics.

Homeopathy states that “like cures like” and that a diluted ingredient can be activated by shaking in between dilutions is the opposite of any scientific view. It relies on a belief, for which there is no evidence and is utterly implausible,  that the simple water molecule, H2O, has a memory

Every rigorous scientific study demonstrates homeopathy does not work. It is not ethical to prescribe a remedy that does not work. It is simply a scam by unethical people pushing their coronavirus homeopathic potions for money. 

In addition, homeopathy rejects the germ theory of disease, which states that microorganisms known as pathogens or “germs” can lead to disease. Without this fundamental tenet of medicine, the belief that a coronavirus homeopathic potion will do anything is both laughable and frightening.

Instead of the germ theory of disease, homeopathy invented miasms which the quacks think treat the physical, mental, and emotional or spiritual levels of the whole person. Like most pseudoscience, this sounds very “scientific,” but it’s not. This is not how one treats diseases caused by germs.

The excellent Wikipedia article, which keeps out the pseudoscientific nonsense, describes the history of homeopathy. And the scientific debunking of the clinical usefulness of homeopathic potions.

The basis of homeopathic quackery is the law of infinitesimal doses. The “drug” is activated by violently shaking the substance between dilutions. According to these quacks, the dilutions remove the side effects of the ingredient while the shaking activates the healing properties of the ingredient.

Homeopathic dilution chart.

Anything diluted after 12C is diluted beyond Avogadro constant (6.0221409e+23). That means that at this level of dilution, there are zero molecules of the substance remaining in the solution (see Note 1).

In real chemistry, we understand that dilutions make the active ingredients weaker. Homeopathy believes the opposite, again, with zero evidence supporting such a belief.

As the witty Orac once wrote about homeopathy:

… I’ve been writing about homeopathy for more than a decade now. Regular readers, of course, know that homeopathy is quackery, utter pseudoscience based on prescientific vitalism based on two “laws”: the Law of Similars and the Law of Infinitesimals.

The former states that, to relieve a symptom, you use a substance that causes that symptom in healthy people. There is, of course, no science or logic to support this as a general principle other than sympathetic magic. The latter Law states that to make a remedy stronger, you must dilute it. That in itself is silly enough and goes against much of what we know about how drugs work in the body…

So, are we clear? Homeopathy is useless. And any coronavirus homeopathic potion is not only useless but could be dangerous.

Coronavirus homeopathic quackery

According to this article, Indian authorities are ready to allow homeopathic quackery to treat or prevent coronavirus.

…the Central Council for Research In Homeopathy (CCRH) of the Ministry of AYUSH claims that there are other preventive options. 

Anil Khurana, who heads the CCRH, tells The Scientist that Arsenicum album 30C, a homeopathic solution prepared by diluting aqueous arsenic trioxide until little or no arsenic remains that is used in respiratory disorders and has been in widespread use for more than 220 years with a good safety record, was found to be an effective prophylactic during the swine flu epidemic in India in 2009.

A study conducted by Robert Mathie of the British Homeopathic Association and his group, in collaboration with the CCRH, reported in Homeopathy that of the various homeopathic medicines given to patients with swine flu symptoms, Arsenicum album was most successful in reducing fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, and headache. 

This study was useless. It did not have a control arm, a fundamental part of any clinical trial. The study was published in a journal that is basically a promotional arm for the pseudoscience. And the impact factor is laughably low at 1.524.

Although we are not sure of the actual danger of the coronavirus right now, it does appear to be highly infectious and it has a mortality rate of around 2-3%. Why would you risk your life using any coronavirus homeopathic potion? 

These potions are nothing but water.

There is no evidence that these potions can treat or prevent CORVID-19 infections. Actually, there is no evidence that homeopathic potions can do anything for anything.

They are useless.

It is a scam.

Notes

  1. Although water is usually used to dilute homeopathic potions, alcohol and sugar are also used. So if you see a homeopathic pill, it’s just 100% sugar with no clinical usefulness.



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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!