The homeopaths are on the ground

I wish this were a parody, but it isn’t – it comes from the real actual National Center for Homeopathy – which is at least a website indistinguishable from a real website devoted to homeopathy. It wants to tell us about homeopathy and Ebola. Yes really, Ebola. It’s here to help.

The Ebola epidemic raging through West Africa has become a humanitarian crisis of great proportion. Homeopaths worldwide have been mobilizing their efforts toward gaining entrance in those countries affected, in order to provide homeopathic medical intervention to those individuals stricken with Ebola.

The overriding goal is to investigate Ebola firsthand, and thereby determine which remedy or remedies are best for treating this disease.

There is already investigation of that, with good results. Medical results. A drug with active ingredients.

Homeopathy has had a longstanding record in our over 200 year history in the successful treatment of a wide variety of epidemic diseases, including hemorrhagic fevers, some of which are in many ways very similar to Ebola.

Including hemorrhagic fevers? I can’t help noticing there’s no documentation of that claim. I can’t help suspecting it’s not even a little bit true.

In our tradition of working with epidemics, homeopaths attempt to determine a central or core remedy that proves effective for most individuals who have contracted the disease, which is named the “genus epidemicus.” This remedy is derived from culling symptoms from many cases, and finding the very few, or preferably, the single remedy which best matches the natural disease expression of the epidemic under consideration.

As opposed to what everyone else does, which is to find a different remedy for each individual who has contracted the disease?

While there is ample reason to expect that such a remedy can be found for Ebola, to date our homeopathic world community has not yet determined what that remedy or remedies might be. Once such a remedy is found and administered empirically to patients, if it is shown to be effective, we will have in our hands both a treatment for Ebola victims and, very likely, an effective remedy to help prevent or dramatically diminish the spread of the disease to those exposed or at risk of contracting it (homeoprophylaxis). Discovering such a remedy and applying it successfully for Ebola is still unproven, though completely in line with our historical experience with epidemic diseases, both for their treatment and prevention.

Not if the “our” in that last sentence refers to homeopaths it isn’t. Homeopaths haven’t found any remedies for any epidemic diseases. How could they?

The good news is that a small international team of experienced and heroic homeopaths have arrived in West Africa, and are currently on the ground working hard to examine patients, work out the “genus epidemicus,” and initiate clinical trials. This work is being done alongside the current conventional supportive measures and treatments already in place. We applaud and congratulate this team’s dedication and courage in joining the front lines in treating Ebola with homeopathy. The answer to whether homeopathic medicine has an important role in the Ebola epidemic could be forthcoming quite soon.

Oh, brilliant – a bunch of homeopaths getting in the way of the real doctors and nurses and ambulance staff and everyone else. What a terrible thing to do, and to congratulate each other on.


  1. Jean says

    Can’t they just stay home and boil off their “medication” in the atmosphere. That would provide so much dilution that it would cure the whole planet at once…

    And that would have the real benefit of keeping them out of the way of those providing real help and not adding to the burden by increasing the number of infected people.

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    These guys are way behind the curve: Avicenna found a bunch who already know just what to do (it seems to involve giving them money).

  3. RJW says

    The report is a parody, the last sentence is the ‘punch line’.

    If it isn’t, there definitely will be some new candidates for the Darwin awards very, very soon.

  4. quixote says

    Oh fercryinoutloud. My past comments mark me as rather strong proponent of “we don’t know everything yet, keep an open mind.” But this is beyond stupid. It betrays a lack of understanding of just about everything, starting with what constitutes evidence. Just aaaargh.

    (And in defense of some homeopaths, eg in Germany, the ones I’ve met are very clear on the fact that clinical medicine works for things that homeopathy — or the placebo effect, whichever you prefer — does not.)

    The only good thing (gallows humor here) is that the idealistic homeopaths won’t be around very long to get in anyone’s way.

  5. Blanche Quizno says

    Not just “homeopaths.” HEROIC homeopaths. I’m envisioning a comic book cover…

  6. chigau (違う) says

    Blanche Quizno #5
    I really wish you hadn’t said that about comic book covers.
    ’cause now I’m picturing something along the lines of the recent Spiderchick cover…
    and the combinations are going to fuel my nightmares tonight

  7. Turi says

    @ Jean
    Thats how stupid homeopathy is: Your idea would still lead to a lower dilution than used by homeopaths.
    The atmosphere contains roughly 1.79 * 10^20 mol or 1 * 10^44 atoms. If you would boil one mol of a substance* (a few tens of grams in most cases), you would get a dilution of 1 to ~10^20 or d20. Homepathic remedies often have a dilution of d24 and higher.

    *and wait a while

  8. says

    I’ve heard that homeopathy did prove somewhat effective in the treatment of cholera outbreaks in London — in the sense that the standard treatments of the day were all sorts of useless things, whereas the homeopathic hospital was just giving their patients clean water.

    Of course “better than standard 18th-century medicine” is a pretty low bar to set. It wasn’t until we figured out things like proper sanitation and germ theory that headway really began to be made against the epidemic diseases.

  9. Pliny the in Between says

    At least 20 virus species from any of 4 diverse taxonomic families can cause VHFS in humans. The mortality rates run from < 1% to a high of 92% reported with Marburg infection in humans. It stands to reason that one or two patients may have taken a homeopathic potion and survived
    one of the less lethal forms – which they would have survived without it of course but cause and effect isn't a big part of the homeopath curriculum, from what I gather.

  10. says

    Let me help these idiots find their specific for hemorrhagic fever: diluted-into-oblivion warfarin would be the obvious treatment. No need to thank me.

  11. johnthedrunkard says

    Since homeopathy depends on the increasing effectiveness of medicines NOT TAKEN, perhaps the most ‘homeopathic’ response to an epidemic is to stay home.

  12. says

    OK, I’ll say it. If there really are Homeopaths on the ground in Africa and are “treating” patients, I truly hope they all get Ebola as they will so richly deserve, before they spread the disease around. Perhaps a very, very serious dose of reality will show these people as the frauds they are. I pity any of the African patients these horrible human beings try to help. What deluded assholes.

    Was that too harsh? Too bad.

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