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The truth about homeopathy

The following text is taken from an ASR brochure prepared by David Bailey and Lisa Johnson. Feel free to use these facts and arguments in the comments section of articles touting homeopathy as effective.

What is homeopathy?

The idea behind homeopathy is that ‘like cures like.’ This might seem correct, because isn’t that how vaccinations work? But no, a vaccine works because the small dose of the (usually dead) virus triggers the immune system to fight against it. Homeopaths believe that using extreme dilutions of substances causes them to become potent healing treatments. Homeopathic solutions are often so dilute that not a single molecule of the original substance remains in it, so how can this have any medical effect

Homeopaths claim that the water somehow retains the “imprint” (memory) of the substance, but that science has not yet figured out how or why this happens. Clearly homeopaths don’t require observational evidence or ‘science,’ yet they try to confuse people using techno-babble, and invoking quantum and subatomic physics.

Is homeopathy science?

If homeopathy falls into the realm of science, then its effects must be provable or disprovable, verifiable, and replicable. If its effects cannot be proven or replicated, then it is not science and it has no role in treating medical ailments. Scientific studies of homeopathy under proper double-blind protocols have failed to show evidence of any medical effects whatsoever. (In fact, if homeopathy worked as advertised, it would upset much of what has already been learned and proven about physics, chemistry, and biology.)

How are homeopathic treatments prepared?

To make a homeopathic preparation, a substance is continually diluted and shaken. The dilutions are done at a rate of 1 part of the original substance to 100 parts of water or alcohol. This is referred to as 1C. After some shaking, called ‘succussion’ by the homeopaths, the resultant solution is then diluted the same amount repeatedly, often up to 30 times.

Here is what that means:

3C = 1:100,0000 (One part of the original substance to 100,000 parts of water/alcohol.)

(That’s about 1 drop in a volume the size of 4 Olympic-sized swimming pools!)

(That’s 60 zeroes! At this dilution there is probably not one single molecule left of the original substance, but homeopaths claim it is the most potent.)

What’s the harm?

When properly prepared, a homeopathic solution is simply water or alcohol in liquid form, corn starch or sugar in pill form, so what’s the big deal? The biggest danger is that it is often used in place of proven, evidence-based medical treatments. Alternative treatments whose efficacy is no greater than placebo can lead to progression of ailments as people put off real medical treatment. It can lead to serious illness and often to death. Also cause for worry is that some homeopaths are now dosing their preparations with real medicine, which they may not have the training or knowledge to properly administer, and which may have negative health effects. Finally, people pay good money for what they believe is a scientifically proven treatment but is nothing more than water or sugar that magically contains the ‘memory’ of an undetectable substance.


When you purchase a homeopathic product, you’re getting little more than an unproven, unscientific falsehood with about as much efficacy as a placebo. In liquid form, it will be water or alcohol; in pill form, corn starch or sugar. What it will not be is medicine (hopefully!). Homeopaths will try to tell you that it has been tested and proven, but the fact is that no scientifically conducted trials have ever shown homeopathic products to have any efficacy whatsoever beyond placebo effect.

If homeopathy worked, it would mean that all of the world’s water would be a toxic soup filled with deadly infinitesimal poisons. There are many toxic substances in the world; fungi, puffer fishes, toads, and other aquatic creatures all produce lethal tetrodotoxins that will kill you. These substances certainly make their way into our oceans and lakes, and those oceans and lakes surely shake (‘succuss’) them. Is it fair to conclude, then, that dilution in fact has the opposite effect that homeopaths claim, therefore rendering their mode of practice false?

Homeopathic practitioners claim that their treatments are effective because the water retains the “imprint” of the substance, even though it has been immeasurably diluted and there remains not the slightest trace of the substance. So why take it at all? If you don’t need any of the original substance, then you need not take the treatment at all! Leave it on the shelf and get cured for free! Just have some water or a spoonful of sugar. (While you’re at it, the next time you’re hungry take a big bite of the air — maybe it’ll contain the ‘memory’ of a sandwich.)

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