Friday, August 26, 2016

Beware homeopathy: it poisons!

(Bulgarians can read this post here.)

Shortly before the end of the summer semester, I caught laryngitis. I was drinking tea every hour and other liquids every 3 minutes and nevertheless I had no voice. Two friends advised me to try the homeopathic remedy Homeovox that were allegedly very useful to them in a similar situation.

Now, I agree with those who say that homeopathy is "science for idiots". I had used it only once when I had contracted sinusitis while pregnant and an otorhinolaryngologist had prescribed me the homeopathic remedy Cinabsin. Doctors avoid prescribing true drugs to pregnant women because they could harm the baby, as if the best for the baby is to develop amidst an untreated infection. I tried the tablets, to no avail. Nevertheless, I decided to try the Homeovox as well, hoping that they could help after all.

I bought a package from the nearest pharmacy and sucked a tablet. No improvement at all. The highly recommended remedy could not even compare in efficiency with the cheap mint candy offered by a third friend. I looked into the list of ingredients to see what is (or is presumed to be) inside. You can see it here. I mentioned in the list the ingredient Mercurius solubilis, that is, soluble mercury. The medicine claims to be "toxin-free" and one indeed expects it to be safe because it is produced in France. So what was this mercury doing there? Indeed, many vaccines used to contain the mercury compound thimerosal (thiomersal) as preservative, and a few still have it; but tablets do not need such a preservative. Besides, Mercurius solubilis was listed among the active ingredients.

I searched the Web and found out that mercury is a regular component of homeopathic "remedies". The explanations why it is there, and generally how these "remedies" act, read as if their authors have some serious psychiatric diagnosis, and no adequate treatment. Here are some examples:

Jonathan Hardy, the site of the British Homeopathic Association: "Mercury is an element which has been known to man and used in medicine for millennia. Used homeopathically it is a very deep-acting and wide-ranging medicine. As is often the case we can see fascinating parallels between the chemical nature, properties, toxicology, as well as associated mythol­ogy and psychology and the homeo­pathic application of the substance... Highly toxic, mercury is most poisonous when inhaled but dangerous amounts can be ingested and absorbed through the skin over time. Our homeopathic knowledge of Mercury comes partly from the provings carried out by Hahne­mann and others and also from the extensive toxicological knowledge that has been built up over the centuries. The symptom picture gained is similar to many common diseases and Mercury is thus a frequently prescribed homeo­pathic medicine." Got it? Because mercury is toxic and the symptoms of poisoning with it resemble those of some other diseases, homeopathy considers it therapeutic! Of course, if you obtain your mercury not from a homeopathic potion but from a vaccine, do not expect any therapeutic effects, only toxic ones! The author claims below: "The FDA in the United States has admitted that children have been ex­posed to unsafe levels of mercury through vaccines containing thimerosal" - a statement that is just a blatant lie.

A site called Home Remedy Central: "When we hear the word “mercury” many of us automatically assume that it’s bad. Though high levels of it can be toxic to humans, it has also had some fantastic healing properties that have been used through the years.It was used in mainstream medicine until it was found, in its natural form, to have adverse side effects. Since homeopathy dilutes to the point that not a molecule remains, it is safe and we can reap all of the healing benefits."

For the record: in the dark ages of medical history, mercury was used by (what passed for) official medicine for treatment of syphilis, until the team of Paul Ehrlich developed a drug based on the less toxic arsenic. Other "healing benefits" of mercury do not exist. Is it at least safe at the levels used by homeopathy, as its promoters claim? Not always. In 1991, Montoya-Cabrera and co-authors published in a Mexican medical journal an article with the following abstract:

"Mercury poisoning caused by a homeopathic drug
We report an infant with diaper dermatitis and mild respiratory and enteral infections, treated with a homeopathic mercurial medicine: Mercurius 6a (cinnabar dilute 1 x 10(6)), who thereafter became seriously ill with exacerbation and dissemination of the dermatitis as well as irritability and albuminuria. Mercury urine levels were 60 micrograms/L (reference less than 10 micrograms/L). The homeopathic medicine was suspended but symptoms persisted. Therefore the chelating agent D-penicillamine was administered per os (50 mg/kg/day during 10 days). The clinical conditions improved and urinary levels of mercury decreased to normal values. We concluded that homeopathic medicaments should be recognised as potentially harmful substances.
The good news is that at least some consumers show critical thinking abilities. Below, I am copying a short discussion from the Mothering forum.

1st participant: "Sorry if this is a dumb question, but my exposure to homeopathics has been limited to just a few remedies, so far. I purchased Traumeel drops for pain, then saw "Mercurius solubilis 8X 2 ml" listed in the ingredients. I looked it up online, and the info I saw said "also known as quicksilver" "mercury" "nontoxic." It seems odd that it is a good thing to consume. What am I missing?"

2nd participant: "Sorry, not sure about your question, but I know that Arsenic (yes, the poison used in many crime novels) is a homeopathic remedy (very much diluted of course as all remedies are)."

3rd participant: "This, the arsenicum, and Uranium Nitricum made me skeptical of homepathy. While there is good from the herbal remedies (undiluted arnica for ex.), to assert that 100 million-fold dilution of mercury is good and useful? (Esp. when we're worrying about million-fold dilutions in vaccines?) Eh. It reads like a Victorian medicinal primer. Some good, some bad, and some hocus pocus..."

1 comment:

Estranged said...

Alternative medicine doesn't have to conform to regular safety requirements. It can even burn holes into you.
Black Salve - cancer 'treatment' that burns holes in you