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17 Concise Reasons Why Homeopathy is a Fraud

Posted by Jerry De Luca on Thursday, October 31, 2013


homeopathy, medicine


One can’t help but be perplexed by the bizarre world of homeopathy. From miracle cures to snake oil peddling, from deceptive advertising to FDA warnings, from questionable medical claims to rigorous scientific testing, it’s an uncanny circle of health declarations and assertions. Here is hopefully a comprehensive overview of the evidence in 17 concise reasons…… 

1)  The active ingredient of a homeopathic remedy is diluted to a ratio of: 1 : 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Or to look it another way, combine all the world’s oceans, let one drop of the active ingredient plunge into the middle, stir, and the result is a genuine homeopathic cure. The world’s most powerful microscope would be needed to locate even a single molecule in the average pill or tablet. When two completely different homeopathic remedies with two completely different “healing” agents are compared under a microscope, they are INDISTINGUISHABLE from each other!

2)  Homeopaths claim their pills work because “the water remembers” - the active ingredient has made “contact” with it. This has never been proven in any field of science – chemistry, physics, and molecular biology. Furthermore, many homeopathic remedies are dry tablets or pills. There is no water to remember.

3)  The FDA does not require manufacturers of homeopathic products to prove their efficacy or safety. They are under no obligation to test their products. You have to take their word for it.

4)  Homeopaths advocate the “Principle of Similars”. They assert if you take the substance that made you sick in the first place, and dilute it to almost total invisibility, then ingest it, you will be cured. With a couple of rare exceptions (anti-venom is derived from venom, but contains numerous other elements), this has never been proven scientifically. A comparable is the homeopathic remedy that is supposed to help you fall asleep – the sleeping pill. What is the miniscule active ingredient? Caffeine! Time and again skeptics have publicly ingested several full bottles of “sleeping pills” without exuding even a yawn. http://www.1023.org.uk/the-1023-overdose-event.php

5)  Many homeopathic manufacturers lie when they claim on their product labels that the remedy is FDA approved. Most consumers assume this refers to its efficacy. In fact the FDA has only ratified its safety. These are the exceptions, as most homeopathic products are not sent for any testing to the FDA.

6)  In recent years the FDA has successfully sued several homeopathic companies for making unsubstantiated claims to cure a variety of diseases. However, many companies have found a legal loophole by claiming cures for general illnesses, not specifics. For example, the product will help your “liver problems”, with no mention whatsoever of hepatitis. Also, many homeopaths will make these claims verbally in one-on-one sessions with the patient, where there is no legal liability.

7)  Homeopaths deceive the public when they sell a homeopathic product, usually a tablet or cream, that actually contains a medicinal substance. For example, a homeopathic cream for acne will contain both homeopathic water and tea tree oil, a common conventional aid to fight acne, produced and sold by non-homeopathic manufacturers. The consumer is given the impression that a homeopathic product has helped, when in fact it is the widely used and non-homeopathic tea tree oil.

8)  Most of the apparent success of homeopathy is due to the time and attention given to patients – a holistic approach. A 7 minute doctor visit with a prescription can’t compete with a homeopath’s sixty minute caring and nurturing environment. This is the placebo effect and works frequently for some basic health problems, but not for serious illnesses like cancer. 

Anthony Campbell is the former editor of the British Homeopathic Journal. In a recent book on the subject he wrote: “Most homeopaths like to allow at least 45 minutes for a first consultation and many prefer an hour or more. Second, patients feel that they are being treated ‘as an individual’. They are asked a lot of questions about their lives and their likes and dislikes in food, weather, and so on, much of which has no obvious connection with the problem that has led to the consultation. Then the homeopath will quite probably refer to an impressively large and imposing source of information to help with choosing the right ‘remedy’.” 

Homeopaths claim it is more than the placebo effect and their remedies actually contain healing properties. Not only has this claim never been proven, but rigorous scientific testing has proven over and over that “there is nothing there”. Essentially, the deception is the cure.

9)   The Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine (Second Edition) is very fair in crediting the few alternative medicine treatments that have been proven to work. On this subject: 

“Homeopathic medicine is popular. However, it lacks good studies to prove its effectiveness. Studies that have been done have generally been small and have produced conflicting results. In general, the scientific community also finds the theories on which homeopathic medicine is based questionable and difficult to accept. These factors have kept it from being widely accepted into mainstream medicine. 

“Because homeopathic medicine mainly involves diluted substances containing little, if any, of their original formulas, the risk they pose is likely minimal. The risks you may be taking are spending money on something that may not work and forgoing proven conventional treatments for homeopathic therapies.”

10) Most homeopaths and users follow a New Age, mystical, philosophical world view. When solid evidence is presented that a treatment or pill is no better than a placebo, they insist the science is wrong, because their religious views cannot be. When irrefutable evidence is presented, advocates claim persecution and fabricate conspiracy theories. 

The Journal of the American Medical Association did an exhaustive study on people’s motivation for using alternative medicines like homeopathy. The overwhelming majority did so because “they find these health-care alternatives to be more congruent with their own values, beliefs and philosophical orientations toward health and life.”

11)  In 2005 the British medical journal The Lancet conducted a meta-analysis of 110 controlled studies of homeopathy and 110 studies of comparable conventional medicine studies. The result was “there was no effect beyond that of a placebo for homeopathy. When account was taken for these biases in the analysis, there was weak evidence for a specific effect of homeopathic remedies, but strong evidence for specific effects of conventional interventions. This finding is compatible with the notion that the clinical effects of homoeopathy are placebo effects." (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?cmd=Retrieve&list_uids=16125589)

12) In 2006 the European Journal of Cancer conducted a meta-analysis of 6 studies. The conclusion: “Our analysis of published literature on homeopathy found insufficient evidence to support clinical efficacy of homeopathic therapy in cancer care.” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16376071)

The American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT) and American Academy of Clinical Toxicology (AACT) have jointly released a public statement: “Don't use homeopathic medications, non-vitamin dietary supplements, or herbal supplements as treatments for disease or preventive health measures.” 

13)  What’s the harm in homeopathy? A group of British doctors working among the rural poor across Africa wrote a letter to the World Health Organization. Part of the letter read: "We are calling on the WHO to condemn the promotion of homeopathy for treating TB, infant diarrhea, influenza, malaria and HIV. Homeopathy does not protect people from, or treat, these diseases. Those of us working with the most rural and impoverished people of the world already struggle to deliver the medical help that is needed. When homeopathy stands in place of effective treatment, lives are lost." 

14) In Canada a homeopathic product called Mozi-Q is marketed. The claim for this pill is not only that it will keep mosquitoes away, but if you are bitten, itching will be lessened. Chemist Dr. Joe Schwarcz writes: 

“What evidence is provided? There’s talk of how mosquitoes avoid delphinium flowers, which may or may not be true. But what does that have to do with swallowing pills sprayed with an extremely dilute extract of the plant? Are the nonexistent delphinium molecules exuding through the skin? And itching is supposedly relieved because a pill contains a trace of stinging-nettle extract? According to the perverse theory of homeopathy, nettle causes stinging on contact with skin and therefore when diluted is a simple remedy for the same sensation. Simply asinine.”

15)  Further proof that homeopathy is merely a placebo is found in the words of practicing homeopaths themselves. Prominent Canadian homeopath Anna Sienicka writes in her web site: 

“It really comes down to what you choose to believe. Whether the example is morphine or Homeopathy, if you believe it is not going to work, it is simply not going to work. By listening to people with negative opinions about Homeopathy and accepting them as true, you are buying into their beliefs and accepting them as your own. Please remember that only you are the one to decide what your experience will be.”    http://www.homeopathiccare.ca/IsHomeopathyaScam2.php

16) For a good bird’s eye perspective on the world of homeopathy, and the authentic amazing power of the placebo, consider this illustration. You’re sitting in your basement formulating hundreds of bottles full of 100% fake sugar pills. When finished, you do some research on what’s ailing people the most. Look, a lot of people are suffering from arthritis. You then label each bottle: “Homeopathic remedy to help alleviate arthritis”. There’s more.    

You have a lot of money to spend on advertising, so you hire professionals to create a slick internet campaign to promote your product. You sell hundreds of bottles! What’s the result? At least 25% and possibly as much as 50% of buyers will send you an unsolicited email telling you: “Thanks, your product helped alleviate my pain.” Welcome to the world of homeopathy!

17)  Some marketers actually sell Homeopathy First Aid Kits. It could be very unhealthy to use a non-existent remedy in an emergency situation. Who knew that certain homeopathic remedies could counteract the "effects of fear"? Just three of the mixtures out of a total of 18 for only $54.99 are:

Aconite (the “queen of poisons”): for colds, flu, sore throats, effects of fear, fright, chicken pox and croup.

Arnica: after injury, mental and physical shock, before and after operations or visits to the dentist. Stops bleeding, aids in the healing of wounds and reduces bruising and swelling.

Arsen alb (arsenic): stomach upsets from food poisoning, diarrhea, vomiting and acute hayfever. Good for some dry skin conditions.






Sources:
   

Paul A. Offit, M.D., Do you Believe in Magic: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine, Harper Collins, 2013


Related posts:

9 Brazen Reasons To Shun Naturopathic “Medicine http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2016/02/9-brazen-reasons-to-shun-naturopathic.html

Liars! How Snake-Oil Doctors Use 5 Logical Fallacies http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2015/11/liars-how-snake-oil-doctors-shrewdly.html

Homeopathy: More Contrary Evidence That Can’t Be Diluted http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2015/04/homeopathy-more-contrary-evidence.html     

Photo: danbuzzard.net CC     
  

Jerry De Luca is a Christian freelance writer who loves perusing dozens of interesting and informative publications. When he finds any useful info he summarizes it, taking the main points, and creates a (hopefully) helpful blog post.

22 comments :

  1. Ok, let's be scientific here. This article contains precisely 2 reasons why homeopathy is a fraud. Reasons 11) and 12) which are peer-reviewed literature, based on controlled clinical trials. And that's all the reasons you need to say it's a fraud
    All the other reasons are interesting or scary or both, but they are circumstantial and anecdotal. There are crazy or dishonest homeopaths? There are crazy or dishonest traditional doctors too. There is no evidence that homeopathy works the way it is claimed too? Plenty of traditional drugs have later been shown to have a different mechanism of action than originally proposed (e.g. gabapetin got its name by being designed to bind gaba receptors... which it doesn't. It probably works on voltage-gated calcium channels). Patients pick homeopaths because of silly reasons? Welcome to the world of how every patient picks every healthcare provider.
    Don't get me wrong, all very interesting and warms my evidence-based cockles... it's just that most of your evidence wasn't evidence-based.... and no more evidence is needed when meta-analyses show a lack of efficacy (except any future contrasting meta-analyses, I guess).

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    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

      I’ll have to disagree on your main point. All 17 points are there to persuade the objective consumer of the truth about homeopathy. The article is not intended as a scientific paper for a peer-reviewed scientific journal. It is for the average Joe and Jane.

      For example, number 1 tells the consumer that there is nothing there! This is a solid proof of homeopathic fraud, not circumstantial or anecdotal. Homeopathic manufacturers lie to the public when they add a conventional active ingredient to their product but advertise it as a homeopathic product (number 7). This is a con that most people don’t know.

      Does the average person know that the FDA does not require homeopathic manufacturers to prove efficacy? (3 and 5) Do they know number 9 – Mayo Clinics’ view of homeopathy based on their hospital’s extensive use?

      There are many other examples. Number 17 is the BBC documentary of James Randi’s scientific testing of homeopathy.

      You wrote: “There or dishonest homeopaths? There are crazy or dishonest traditional doctors too.” ALL homeopaths deceive the public. It is the nature of their craft. It’s the placebo effect. An honest homeopath is a contradiction. This article is more Consumers Report than Nature.

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  2. Just do a single test, buy a vial of any homoeopathic medicine (prefer the most diluted). Take it in every fifteen or thirty minutes in a very small quantity for two days.

    I'm sure a single reason will appear to believe in homoeopathy. Dear friend this is the only way to prove homoeopathy and this is called "homoeopathic proving".

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    1. This is all the placebo effect. How can it work if there is NOTHING THERE! For more authentic proving, see:
      51 "Facts" About Homeopathy
      http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/51-facts-about-homeopathy/

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    2. You might want to look up "placebo effect" in a dictionary, where you will learn that placebo effects are real effects. If it sounds paradoxical, that's because it is. If you study placebo effects closer, you will recognize that they are 'spirit effects', based on the belief of the patient. Are you suggesting that belief does not have any effects, or that those effects are not important?

      You might also check your facts and your math on your very first sentence about the dilution of homeopathic medicines. The sentence is simply wrong. It doesn't say much for your arguments if you can't get the first simple fact right.

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    3. Dear Reader:
      Your statement: “You might also check your facts and your math on your very first sentence about the dilution of homeopathic medicines. The sentence is simply wrong.”
      … is 100% wrong. No homeopath disputes this. It is page one of their manual. That’s why they advocate the pseudoscientific idea that “the water remembers”. Get the facts:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeopathic_dilutions
      Regarding the placebo effect, did you read number 8 and 16? It’s all right there. Homeopaths are liars and deceivers – why don’t they tell their patients the truth about their products and let the patient decide?
      And again, we’re still waiting for the answer from homeopaths - The Question No Homeopath Will Dare Answer – When will the world’s first homeopathic birth control pill come out? We’re waiting patiently.

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    4. You're a rude nasty man . . . :{

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    5. Thanks for the compliment. I work hard to expose fraud and any encouragement is helpful.

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  3. Tracy Kolenchuk your understanding of "placebo" is simply wrong in every respect. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placebo
    This is why placebos are used as controls in many medical trials. The placebo is, in effect, doing nothing.
    Furthermore, anyone using the word "spiritual" in relation to science or medicine is immediately, without question, a laughing stock.

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    1. What is more laughable?
      To consider that there is a difference between a live body and a dead one and factor that into all your considerations when treating a person's illness?
      OR deciding that it is too hard and therefore not 'scientific' to consider because there is not formula or even logical explanation for that difference?

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    2. There is no mention of dead bodies in my article or any other disproving homeopathy. There is no logical explanation because something that does not exist cannot heal, apart from the placebo and the kind words of the homeopath.

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  4. I have only one criticism of the article. That concerns the use of the word "holistic".
    Homeopathy itself is the antithesis of holistic. It is the epitome of a symptom-based model - like cures like, referring to like symptoms.
    Apart from the inescapable fact that homeopathy is water (sometimes a spot of alcohol) and sugar pills, and the notion that diluting a substance makes it more "potent" is demonstrably drivel, another reason that homeopathy is fraud is the germ theory of disease.

    An interesting characteristic shared by all alternative reality medicine advocates is their ability to reconcile all mutually exclusive, un-evidenced, competing hypotheses of the cause of disease, except the only one with an overwhelming base of empirical evidence to support it. Advocates of homeopathy never criticise advocates of any other form of quackery. If we assume that all said advocates do actually understand the various competing hypotheses, we can quite reasonably describe their unconditional support of each other "honour among thieves". They are either deluded or liars.

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    1. Another rude and nasty commentator here.
      Dr Rustum Roy, a well respected scientist, was open minded enough to suggest that the explanation for the way homoeopathy works may lie in the way giant molecules are formed by subjecting them to many G's of force by the succussion process whereby each dilution is pounded on the palm in a vial.
      The latest investigations into faecal transplants to may be treat obesity and other disorders related to the gut functioning, including of course auto-immune diseases since the immune system is intimately associated with the micro biome of the gut, is only just catching up to the investigations of Dr Edward Bach who discovered that he could predict what gut flora he would find just by having a real conversation with the patients when he went to collect their faecal sample to analyse at the Homeopathic Hospital in London.
      He developed the Bowel Nosodes which are a far more sophisticated way of delivering the same result - just as Hahnemann's preparation of mercury to treat syphilis was a far superior way to deliver this highly toxic compound which was more likely to kill than cure the way it was used in those days.
      We can only hope that 'science' catches up with homeopathy before too many more people miss out on it's wonderful gentle, safe healing benefits.
      I'm just off to look up some remedies for the highly abusive personalities that appear to haunt these pages . . . have a nice day . . . :}

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    2. Ask these scientists to prove their beliefs with double-blind, randomized clinical trials. They won’t because they know full well the result. So why believe them? Homeopaths like everyone need to make a living, so why not have a nice career depending on placebo and encouraging words? Even if the remedy is fake, who cares?

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  5. There is no question whether homeopathy works. The question is whether it is real or placebo. I am a chronically ill user of homeopathy and I proved it to myself using two administrators in a double blind trial that I performed many times over over the course of over a year and my body was correct EVERY TIME in identifying whether I took placebo or the remedy. I am shocked that no one else seems to have thought of this way of proving it beyond any doubt (of course there are trials on animals and babies but those are harder to judge from an objective POV). Anyway, all that needs done is to get a group of chronically ill people together who currently take a specific homeopathic remedy and who *also* react very strongly to their particular remedy. Keep bias out of it by telling them the purpose of the trial has to do with something other than dis/proving placebo. Make them believe they are all still getting their remedy. The result will be more trustworthy when a person that reacts very strongly to their remedy does not react to a placebo. This should be easy to do but we know why some trials never produce results and it's because the more "official" a trial is, the more chances there are for bribery and corruption. And that goes no matter whether we are talking allopathy or homeopathy.

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    1. Albert Aruse

      Thanks for your interest and I sympathize with your chronic condition. In regards to your trial and that you were correct in identifying whether you took a placebo or the remedy, there is no active agent in the remedy. Homeopathic labs dilute the “healing agent” to the point where the world’s most powerful microscope cannot detect even a single molecule. Homeopaths concede this but assert “the water remembers”. Where is the evidence that non-existent molecules remember water and that memory actually heals a person when ingested?

      Below is just one sampling of a mountain of research that disproves your assertion. Notice that these are 110 clinical trials involving over 6,500 people. It is never scientific or logical to arrive at an accurate conclusion based on one person’s experience. If this was always done we would still be in the Middle Ages.

      Are the clinical effects of homoeopathy placebo effects? Comparative study of placebo-controlled trials of homoeopathy and allopathy.

      “Biases are present in placebo-controlled trials of both homoeopathy and conventional medicine. When account was taken for these biases in the analysis, there was weak evidence for a specific effect of homoeopathic remedies, but strong evidence for specific effects of conventional interventions. This finding is compatible with the notion that the clinical effects of homoeopathy are placebo effects.”

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?cmd=Retrieve&list_uids=16125589

      The following is an overview of 176 individual studies dealing with 68 unique health conditions. Notice the list of conditions on page 18 and 19.

      “Overall findings based on the evidence There is no reliable evidence from research in humans that homeopathy is effective for treating the range of health conditions considered. There were no health conditions for which there was reliable evidence that homeopathy was effective. For some health conditions, studies reported that homeopathy was not more effective than placebo.”

      http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/cam02a_information_paper.pdf

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    2. Unfortunately many of the studies are done by people with little in-depth understanding of homeopathy.
      There is no one remedy for any one condition, illness or symptoms even but many remedies for the individual person experiencing any of these.
      The trials I have seen are not adhering to the homeopathic principles but try to apply the same reasoning as allopathic medicine: expecting quantity of dose related responses when effective homoeopathic administration is more related to frequency of dose.
      Even those on animals fail to make this distinction but they still show a result that is hardly likely to be a placebo wouldn't you agree?

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    3. The homeopathic remedy is diluted to the point where there is barely a molecule left. Something that does not exist cannot cure anyone. Implying that some kind of invisible force is a healing agent is occultic and spiritually dangerous. I have never heard of an animal being healed by a homeopathic treatment.

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  6. The question of why there is no homeopathic birth control pill is not a reason to classify homeopaths as liars. The answer is simple and I bet the question was never even posed to homeopaths. There is more than one possible answer.
    1) 'Pregnancy' (or non-pregnancy) is not a chronic ill-condition.
    2) Homeopathy is mostly for chronically ill people (no affect on the chronically healthy) and ten people with the same symptoms may require ten different remedies. I can swallow a gallon of sleeping pills like the short minded James Randi did and have no effect but if I take one that resonates then I have an effect. Why do I react to some remedies and not others? And why do I react negatively so often when I expect a good outcome?
    3) By asking a question like that it is almost like admitting you have no real reason to deny homeopathy

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    1. Albert Aruse

      Thanks for taking the time to read the article.

      1) The question of why there is no homeopathic birth control pill DOES classify homeopaths as frauds ALONG with the 17 other evidences and endless others. It proves that there is nothing there, and NOTHING cannot prevent pregnancy, as well as make you fall asleep, etc etc. If homeopaths did come out with a homeopathic birth control pill they would be completely exposed as frauds because PLACEBO cannot prevent pregnancy.

      2) Whether pregnancy is a chronic illness or not is irrelevant because homeopathic companies offer dozens and dozens of “remedies” for non-chronic illnesses. Is homeopathic mosquito repellant for a chronic condition?

      3) You react to some remedies and not others for several reasons. Just one is:
      “The human body is an incredible machine with its own recuperative capacity. Alternative practitioners know and rely on the fact that many diseases run their natural course over a period of time without any outside help. Also, some conditions like allergies, arthritis, gastrointestinal problems, and multiple sclerosis are cyclical. The symptoms come and go. A person may seek and use the alternative treatment as her condition is naturally in remission, and falsely attribute the healing to the bogus treatment. Coincidence = cure.”

      There are at least 9 ways homeopaths and other alternative medicine practitioners deceive their patients: http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2015/01/9-reasons-why-some-alternative-medicine.html Especially read number 8.

      4) Your statement “By asking a question like that it is almost like admitting you have no real reason to deny homeopathy” makes no sense. You ask the questions and come to a conclusion without waiting for my answer. Does this make sense? Simple and basic logical thinking means that you carefully evaluate an issue from both sides. Have you carefully evaluated all 17 overwhelming evidences? Ultimately it’s all about pride and ego, and humbling oneself and actually admitting one is wrong, well, that just ain’t happening! (Your next 2 comments answered Monday)

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    2. Sir why don't you just start taking any homeopathy medicine say in 30 potency for 10 days(3 times a day). If it does not produce any effect. then I will accept that it is placebo.Please accept the challenge of taking the medicine

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    3. Homeopathic labs dilute the supposed active healing ingredient to the point that barely a molecule is left. So how can NOTHING possible be a remedy except by placebo? If you want to see people actually trying homeopathic pills, just watch this video: http://www.1023.org.uk/the-1023-overdose-event.php
      Also, if homeopathy does work -- The Question No Homeopath Will Dare Answer – When will the world’s first homeopathic birth control pill come out?

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