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MSNBC Jumps on the Anti-Alt Med Wagon PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

In the latest of a series of articles critical of "alternative" medicine, MSNBC proclaims that Zicam is not the only remedy that may harm your health. From the article:

an Associated Press analysis of the Food and Drug Administration's side effect reports found that more than 800 homeopathic ingredients were potentially implicated in health problems last year. Complaints ranged from vomiting to attempted suicide.

So once again, we're happy to see alternative medicine getting negative press. But hold on... homeopathy has no ingredients. How can they be harmful? Well, they can't. Homeopathy contains ingredients so dilute that not a single molecule remains in the final preparation. However, homeopathic remedies do include other ingredients that can be harmful, such as alochol. In the case of Zicam, they were simply lying... the preparation was in no way homeopathic as it contained a significant amount of zinc gluconate, which is supposedly the chemical that's creating anosmia in many people.

Ok, we understand that... but MSNBC apparently doesn't:

homeopathic medicines are derived from cancerous or other diseased tissues. Many are formulated from powerful poisons like strychnine, arsenic or snake venom.

No, they're not. There is NO strychnine, arsenic or snake venom in any truly homeopathic medicine. Naturopathic medicines? Maybe, they're completely different from homeopathy, though it seems like a large percentage of the public considers them the same.

And then, the article quotes homeopath Iris Bell:

Even some leading homeopaths have begun to change their minds about independent oversight.

Dr. Iris R. Bell, a psychiatrist and homeopathy researcher at the University of Arizona, Tucson, says the suspended Zicam products deliver the homeopathic ingredient right into the nose — not an accepted homeopathic method. She says the FDA should act against such products.

So it's the nasal application that's at fault? Sigh. Again, though this article has some really good information, it's tainted by so much misinformation that it's no surprise the public is confused.

Here's all they really need to know: alternative medicine that works is called medicine. Most doctors are trustworthy and reliable sources of health information. If you have a medical problem, see your medical doctor. Modern medicine is far from perfect, but it's the best thing we have.

 

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written by Otara, June 17, 2009
Didnt I read somewhere that its not unknown for people to put real ingredients into homeoepathic ones so that they might actually work?

Which leads to the amusing thought of a regulatory body ensuring the removal of real medical ingredients in order to make sure that it does squat like its supposed to.
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written by Kuroyume, June 17, 2009
It seems to me that the FDA is playing hopscotch over 'medicinal' drugs. If is has 'medicinal' use and is taken in some way like a drug doesn't that put it under the purveyance of the FDA (hypothetical - or morally)? Why are so-called medicinal herbs, homeopathic concoctions, and naturopathic medicines considered 'non-medicinal'. We aren't talking 'for entertainment purposes only' types of loopholes. We're talking chemicals (whether they contain purported chemical agents, active ingredients, or nothing) that are proclaimed as drugs or ointments with medicinal 'powers'. I find it beguiling. Even 'supplements' should be under the same clinical rigorousness. Some may complain about too much government involvement but we establish standardization and regulation to ensure safety, efficacy, and quality. How do these products remain exempt after cases like Ephedrin and now Zicam? We aren't protesting enough!
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written by Daryl, June 17, 2009
Steve Novella today gave a good description of the FDA regulations re. homeopathy. http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=530
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written by Kuroyume, June 17, 2009
And this gets to the gist of my argument. Hahnemann may have recommended dilutions to particular levels, unbeknownst to him at the time that they were below the Avogrado limit, but it is not uncommon for homeopathic solutions to have dilutions which retain the 'active ingredient' to some degree. This allowance of the label 'homeopathic' even when the active ingredient still exists in solution is a fatal oversight (and advantageous loophole to the peddlers of such useless medicine). And the mentioned DSHEA is utter B.S.! Again, several of these so-called 'dietary supplements' have been shown to have, if not fatal, at least adverse effects on consumers who use these products. Ephedra is the notable case (sorry for the incorrect term in my previous post).

The agency is the 'FOOD and DRUG' administration. Anything ingested or injected should be under regulation and scrutiny - constantly and preemptively. The tainted lettuce, spinach, tomato scares come to mind. The good thing is that there was prompt reaction. The bad thing is that there was not sufficient prevention which should have been in place before the fact! Far, far too often our response is after the disaster instead of measures that thwart it (barring those events with which we have little recourse). Some situations are unknown or complex until the event occurs (as is often the case in airplane crashes). Still, distractions and laziness rule and people, real living people, die because of it - and we then fix it until the next disaster claims a few more victims and we once again slothishly react.

I'm not requesting such a degree of caution that one is plastered in fear to do nothing at all. But there are definitely steps of investigation that allow one to evaluate situations in a safer environment than simply letting the lions out of their cages into the public and hoping that they favor the deer over the tasty humans amassed in quantity. My point, supposedly, is that we err on the side of profit and success, with a good injection of hope, over hazard and fatality a bit more lacsidasically than we ought.
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written by Karl_Withakay, June 18, 2009
"homeopathic medicines are derived from cancerous or other diseased tissues. Many are formulated from powerful poisons like strychnine, arsenic or snake venom."

Homeopaths can't really complain too much about the lack of accuracy here; if they were more up front to consumers about the fact that their preparations contained no actual ingredients other than water, their consumers would know true homeopathic products are both safe and ineffective.
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A sense of smell, Lowly rated comment [Show]
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written by kenhamer, June 18, 2009
...homeopathic products are both safe and ineffective.

I fear that the above phrase would actually be a very effective and convincing advertisment to people who buy into homeopathy in the first place, in much the same way as a southern politician recently (and successfully) "attacked" a competitor for being a "practising heterosexual." (Or more specifically, to an aquaintance who still that infamous simply means very famous.)

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Ah Chemicals
written by Genie, June 18, 2009
This reminds me of the fact that I saw a non-stick frying pan claiming to be chemical and toxin free. I appreciate a non-toxic frying pan but I cannot say the same about a chemical free frying pan.

What exactly is a chemical free trying pan suppose to be made with as it cannot be made with any element on the periodic table?
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written by Willy K, June 19, 2009
Maybe a (minor) disinformation campaign should generated about homeopathic potions.

Just say these words over and over to whoever you meet especially while you are waiting in line somewhere.... "I heard there's e-coli in homeopathic medicines!"

Maybe this would get the FDA's notice. smilies/wink.gif
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Naturopathic/homeopathic
written by Kay-the-fish, June 22, 2009
Naturopathic medicines? Maybe, they're completely different from homeopathy, though it seems like a large percentage of the public considers them the same.

I used to use one word for the other. I used to used homeopathy when talking about naturopathy. I was unaware of the word naturopathy. When I watched Randi's explanation of what homeopathy really is a year or so ago, I realized my error. I didn't know what word to use for naturopathy until reading this article.

I'm going to ask family and friends and see what they think homeopathy means, and what word they would use for herbal/home remedies. I think there is confusion about this in the US.
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written by HiEv, June 22, 2009
This article seems to assume that homeopathic medicines are so well regulated and tested that the contents always match the dilution level claimed on the box. Seriously, with no regulation they could claim 100x and produce batches that range from 1000x to 2x, and who would know the difference? Unless the company tests their batches themselves, and there is no legal need for them to do so, there really is no way to know whether the "activating ingredient" is always completely diluted away or not.

We already know the outsides of boxes of homeopathic "medicines" lie, right? So why assume the dilution levels listed there are always true? Since it's quite likely that there is no quality testing, it's entirely possible that some "homeopathic" medicines actually do occasionally contain some nasty stuff, despite the dilutions claimed on the outside of the box.

Until they are regulated or some group does some testing and releases the results, we'll never know.
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written by Jahal, June 25, 2009
Homoeopathy can be dangerous because people who use it exclusively can ignore actual, viable treatments and succumb to illnesses that really could have been treated.
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