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cloverbee
I totally agree w/ cacha on the point that your body is connected to your mind and that if you are under stress, your body has a much harder time fighting off antigens. but i also agree w/ midge that a cold is a virus attacking your body from the outside. your body cannot produce a cold. the only reason a cold is a good thing to catch is b/c early in life you build up immunity to colds that you come into contact w/ and in the future, you are immune to that particular strain. the problem w/ viruses, though, is that they mutate so fast that we keep getting colds that we have never been in contact with. if your immune system is weakened, you are more succeptible to colds and such. as for allergies, they do wear your body down considerably but it is not b/c your body is worn down that you get allergies. well, they can be exacerbated by a toxic body. such as if your colon is not working properly or if you are under a considerable amount of stress in your life. so i guess we do agree and disagree on some things.
pow
Oh homeopathy, why must you appear in all alt med discussions? Herbal med, yes, traditional chinese and ayurvedic meds, yes, but homeopathy's diluted essences and time regression tablets? Mehhh. Gives alt med a bad rap. Oh sure there's undiluted arnica and a few other selling points but for instance Natrum muriaticum, suggested below, is the homeopathic remedy commonly known as table salt or sodium chloride (diluted to 1 part per million for 6X potency or one part per trillion for 12X). For only $15!
mornington
ok... defense of homeopathy... yes, it's overpriced, and yes, a lot of people just don't get it. It does work, though - although not for all people; I've had successes and failures just as I have with allopathic medicine. Tbh, you can't lump homeopathy straight in with "eastern" med - it's a western concept - and it doesn't fit in with natural medicine either. In the UK, homeopathy is recognised by the NHS as a medical treatment (while ayurvedic meds, for example, are not) and in Germany it is taught as part of medical training. It's personal opinion whether or not you wish to put it with alternative med, or not.

I'm going to shamelessly whore this essay I wrote a few years back... yes, I was still at school, and yes, it's shite, but there is some interesting info in there if you can wade through the gibberish. I recommend the sources
pow
hey there, how to clarify this? I hadn't meant to lump western and eastern traditions, or even take apart the non-"diluted essences and time regression tablet" parts of homeopathy. In fact, the german monographs are an important resource for any herbal medicine practitioner. I also know NHS recognizes 'homeopathy'. In quotes because there are several modalities within the homeopathic practice, right? To name two, the dilutions/energy work, and the herbal tinctures/teas. The former rides on the coattails of the latter as far as homeopathy's reputation is concerned (speaking of lumping things together!). I'm just arguing against the, as I mentioned, "diluted essences and time regression tablets". Those IMO are well into the woo domain, require firm belief in their efficacy (= placebo effect), and are not inexpensive.
mornington
I've come at homeopathy from a slightly different angle; I'm training to be a vet, and I've worked with a vet who used homeopathy in conjuction with allopathic meds. When you treat animals, you can't have a placebo effect because the animal doesn't expect a cure; most veterinary homeopathic meds come in water form (ie not on pills) so the animal doesn't even know that it's being given a treatment. However I will admit that Beauvenist's "memory of water" and the latest "theory of high dilutions" are most definitely beyond wacko.

I don't put herbal tincures in with homeopathy; when I talk about it I'm referring to the homeopathic dilutions. Tinctures come under the "natural medicines", although the shops tend to put them damn near the homeopathic stuff.
cloverbee
homeopathy is a 'voodoo science' IMO. it is merely alcohol and water most of the time and the placebo effect does come into play there so no personal success story counts as empirical evidence of its effectiveness.
pow
THat is interesting about the animals. If you wouldn't mind writing, how is the efficacy measured? (not intended to sound challenging there!) I know many come across as obnoxious a-holes when it comes to homeopathy. The "Ask Emma" column in the Guardian seems to have one man particularly upset. Crazy essays on his blogspot, most of which I disagree with BECAUSE he tosses baby with bathwater. This in part had me adamant about separating the dilutions of homeopathy from full-strength herbal remedies, etc, because people holler about sugarpills and in the process toss "alternative medicine" aside. I know (and appreciate) that many homeopathic practitioners label tinctures and so on as you do, outside of true homeopathic practice, but the public understanding seems to be a hodge-podge. I suppose that's not your fault at all though! Now I feel the need to apologize, heh. :-)
mornington
no problemo pow - I never include tinctures with homeopathy because it was never included in it when I learnt, so I have to remember the public group them together. You don't need to apologise!

There's a link in my post down there - if you go down to the section titled "The Arndt-Schultz Law, The D8 Effect and Hormesis" that's what I'm working from. My grasp of pharmacology is woefully dodgy (I blame father christmas) so this might be convoluted, or utter nonsense. But... efficacy is normally measured as how well a drug binds to the receptor - how well it stimulates a reaction. In vitro studies are best for this. You use a dose-response curve to compare efficacy in allopathy, and the same in homeopathy. The homeopathic dose-response curve in an inverse parabola (not s-shaped) with the greatest efficacy at the "D8" dosage - not the lowest dilution. Does that explain it? I'm not entirely sure how they measure efficacy in vivo, but again I think it's similar to allopathy.
chachaheels
Homeopathy isn't eastern in its essence, but it does have many, many parallels in common with eastern medical treatment methods. One big one: it is based on a vitalist medical paradigm. Samuel Hahnemann, who founded homeopathy, spoke several languages and was quite well versed in medical literature published in the eastern medical schools (he read a great deal of arabic science, and chinese writings on science, medicine, chemistry, and physics). He noticed that the Law of Similars was the scientific basis in restoring health in many cultures all over the world, and it had been employed for many centuries by doctors as ancient and as well known as Hippocrates (Hahnemann read Greek as well). So not only is the basis for homeopathy several millennia old, Hahnemann's refinements of how to apply the Law of Similars actually made homeopathy an exact science and a demanding medical art. That eastern medicines do share that "energy medicine" base with homeopathy is further evidence that the energetic or vitalist paradigm in medicine is actually the most effective way to effect cure and understand health and illness in the body. Hahnemann's real contribution to energy medicine, aside from perfecting the scientific method in homeopathy, was to come up with the idea of medical "provings" (tests to determine the real effects of all medicines on the human being--on all levels) and to dilute and succuss medical substances so that they would not cause the massive harm crude substances cause--but heal much more deeply, more quickly, and permanently. That is, if they are applied properly, as per the scientific method of applying the law of similars.

The most progressive scientists are well aware of this--and the closest western science which comes to understanding homeopathy is physics--quantum physics, most closely. To date, the mechanism by which homeopathy works isn't understood by medical scientists because they only focus on biochemical material data--and don't want to understand that the body obviously operates on a dynamic, energetic level above all else. Physicists get it, though, and so do many medical scientists who approach the understanding of the body on an energetic level. No one's actually explained it yet--but it does work, as at least 200 years of clinical documentation of cure attests. There is quite a lot medical scientists don't understand aobut their own medications (aspirin, for example, is "not understood" as a drug! and it's been over a hundred years that it's been on the market!)--so you don't need to know how things work to see that they work.

A lot of people think homeopathy is bunk, but it's just clear something threatens them about it (and it should threaten you--"getting" how homeopathy works means you really have to reconsider many things you don't question at all in your life, and that's really scary for some people). It is extremely effective, however, and though naturopathy does have it's good points (it certainly works far better than pharmaceuticals in so many cases of illness) it can't touch homeopathy for sheer efficacy. The remedies are cheap (what's a tube of enough pillules to last you an entire lifetime, about $8?) and the consultations, no matter how expensive they are, cost a lot less than one prescription drug. Plus, you get better so much faster...and stay better.
Fact is, as mornington mentioned about treating animals with homeopathy (which I do too!), the "placebo" effect as an explanation for homeopathic efficacy just doesn't hold water. Though animals do often wish to please their human companions (a prerequisite for the placebo effect, as is the presence of someone that the patient sees as "an authority"), they still do get better very quickly and very inexpensively through homeopathy, especially when conventional veterinary medicine can do nothing for them (my favourite pet patients are the ones the vets call "incurable"...he hee!).

If homeopathy didn't work, and if its scientific basis were unfounded, it would have fallen out of use as a treatment method a long, long time ago. Instead, its use has grown worldwide and it is now the second most widely used form of medical care throughout the world, according to World Health Organization.

And finally--I have to say this--Anyone who thinks spending $15 on a remedy that will very likely cure them of an ailment as being expensive is deluded--people spend far more on allopathic medicines and on allopathic doctors and never get better. One bottle of diluted and succussed Sodium Chloride (Natrum Muriaticum) that can stop your symptoms very likely for good compared to years of injections, anti-histamines, prescription drugs made from steroids, and drugs to counteract the side effects the earlier prescriptions created --that adds up pretty darn quickly, and the drug use/side effect management/more drug use doesn't stop...you must be joking if you think homeopathy's expensive next to that ongoing bank drain. One box of loratadine (generic) alone costs more than one bottle of tissue salts...but I digress.

Oh, and Mornington, Jacques Benveniste's "memory of water" is not his theory--it is a theory in physics that he's put his own spin on. And, incidentally, Benveniste is strictly anti-homeopathy. Most homeopaths and physicists don't have many good things to say about his work.
There is much better science out there, including research and experimentation that supports the efficacy of individual reactions to individual remedies.

****herbal tinctures and homeopathic mother tinctures are the same thing, but of course you would apply the mother tinctures differently from the way herbal tinctures are used*****


....and that's enough noise from me.....thanks!
pow
Just jotting notes here quickly: Hahnemann's "provings" were conducted largely on himself, with the idea that causing symptoms would alleviate diseases with the same. I'd say this is a small sampling size, heh, not the basis for an "exact science".

While eastern medicine (esp. TCM) uses the concept of qi energy (as do plenty of positive thinking-based western approaches), where do practitioners use ppm or ppt levels of herbs or salts to alter bodily resonances? The underlying concept may be similar - and heck, one I believe myself - but my issue is with the homeopathic approach.

I did see, on my parents' recommendation "What the Bleep do we know?" - my stepmom's favorite movie that year - and was not impressed with the extrapolations of physics. Water retaining energy states and the like - this is metaphysics at best.
Things that are not fully understood are the basis of most (all?) religions. I'd be careful with using that as a basis for explaining homeopathy, unless you expect people to accept the mystical, mystery-laden explanation. Homeopathy IMO cannot be dismissed out-of-hand, nor can it be advocated so strongly! As for the 200 years of homeopathic success, please show even a few double-blind studies of the dilutions with efficacy higher than placebo. I have looked (and could not find the study for veterinary homeopathy either).

Homeopathy does threaten the reputation of herbal medicine because the two are conflated often as not. So yes, I am threatened, though not by the mystical unknowable aspects, more the practicalities of explaining that one's use of alt medicine is not necessarily the homeopathic dilution approach (which relatively few people find plausible).

Homeopathy (again IMO) is still widespread because it includes in the catalogue the arnicas and elderberries and echinaceas of herbal medicine. People see success in one area and stop thinking critically about the dilutions aspect.

As for the $15 on 1 ppm of salt, if this "will very likely cure" allergies and is not placebo, I'll eat my post.
mouse
i was raised on homeopathic medicine and i'm far from dead; i didn't get any vaccines either. arnica is fantastic.
pow
Exactly my point, mouse - people see success with an herbal remedy (like arnica) that happens to be in the homeopathic arsenal, and therefore assume "homeopathy" as a whole is effective, dilutions included. A vaccine gave me a nice blood clotting disorder, so I'm well into anti-vax territory too.
cloverbee
I am not afraid to question things in my life nor do I feel "threatened" of homeopathy. I was raised on homeopathic remedies and herbal remedies and western medicine and I can say that the latter two worked for me and the former failed miserably (in my experience). and, oh, you do not need an authority figure for the placebo effect to work, although that may make the effect stronger. I think people believe what they want to believe and that's okay if it works for you.
mornington
pow, if you can find it, the BBC did a Horizon show dated 21 May 2003 that notes a couple of vet med homeopathic studies (the best is the treatment of cushings, a form of cancer that affects equines). I'd also be interested in Boyd, who did tissue studies comparing homeopathy and allopathy in the 40s.

chacha, I did say that beuviniste's theories were into the truly weird - I personally think he's talking out his bum. I'm not a trained homeopath, and when I looked into homeopathy I took a selection of theories and studies; it seemed foolish to leave beuviniste out as his theory is the most famous. As of 2003, he was still trying to prove it.

Finding any one explanation is like finding a needle in a haystack; I tend to think there might be a little truth in all of them, but if it works it works. I've had luck with homeopathy and not (allopathy cleared my skin up, homoeopathy didn't; homeopathy helped a dog live longer than allopathy would) so I can see where clover is coming from. I'm gonna sit on the fence a bit longer.

(oh, and here in the uk, homeopathy is expensive because unless you're going through an NHS referral - which takes forever - you have to pay).
turbojenn
homeopathy can be expensive here too - its *never* covered by insurance, so its all out of pocket, but I can tell you it was a helluva lot cheaper than the $360 a month I paid for allergy shots and pills - and I *had* insurance.

Can we agree that different approaches work for different people, and that you should work with the system of healing that feels true to you, and just leave it at that.....personally, I'm not really in here to cut on other people's practices....merely to share my experience, and maybe pick up a tool or two from the shared experience of all of you.
anarch
A naturopath wanted me to try a homeopathic remedy (dilution) as a general "constitutional", not for a specific medical problem. I had no experience with homeopathics and thought they were mumbo-jumbo, but she had helped with TCM for certain problems and she was nice, so I agreed because I wanted humour her, thinking privately that nothing would happen (ie, placebo effect was irrelevant).

That stuff gave me the most coherent, symbolic, powerful, releasing dreams I've ever had. It happened again a few years later with another naturopath who prescribed a different remedy. I've never dreamed like that otherwise. I can't speak about homeopathics for particular medical problems but I sure can't categorically dismiss dilutions any more.

Re double-blind studies, I thought the rationale of homeopaths was that a remedy, chosen properly, is tailored to each individual, so one remedy wouldn't be expected to "work" the same across a large number of people.

I'm more skeptical than I used to be about the relevance of double-blind studies to me personally, because according to them, diet doesn't cause acne. But after 12 horrible years of trying everything (including accutane), I finally discovered through rigorous experimentation that my acne's triggered by several foods. I've concluded that diet may not cause acne in most people (particularly those in the original double-blind study groups), but it sure does in me.
pow
ok I'll lay off- I agree that different approaches work for diff people. And thanks Mornington for the BBC show information - I'll look for it.

Let me just repeat something I wrote below: Homeopathy IMO cannot be dismissed out-of-hand, nor can it be advocated so strongly!
cloverbee
I don't want to discount anyone's personal experience w/ homeopathy. I am glad that it works for some people. I still have my opinions which may change in the future. I will say this and I am paraphrasing an idea from Dr. V.S. Ramachandran, a world renowned neuroscientist and doctor. Anything you do to your body will register with your brain so that placebo effect is relevant whenever we do anything to our bodies whether we think it will work or not. So I am not discounting the placebo effect with homeopathy. But even if it is the placebo effect or a real physical effect, if it works for you, that's all that matters.
chachaheels
Pow, I'm afraid it looks as if you've never read anything about homeopathy except the stuff published by quackbusters (and everyone knows they're owned by the pharmaceutical companies, who are awfully threatened by anything that doesn't keep them all powerful and all profitable).

If anyone's interested in what homeopathy really is, you can find Hahnemann's provings in a book called Materia Medica Pura (he proved about 100 remedies on numerous subjects, many doctors and laypeople, women as well as men). Over the past 200 years, those remedies were proven hundreds of times over with ever larger groups of people, in various potencies and with placebos used in the trials, and the results had little variation from Hahnemann's initial recorded data. All kinds of new remedies have been proven since Hahnemann's time, using large or small groups of people, again both sexes, various potencies of the remedy and placebo as well; provers never know what they're proving, and neither do their supervisors who monitor all their symptoms and experiences on the drugs. The documentation is out there, all you have to do is read it; there are plenty of terrific sites on the web where you can access a great deal of it for free. Contact me via PM if you'd like a list of them.

As for the exact science of homeopathy, that's in the Organon of Medicine, which is basically how you prepare and use the remedies, how you take the patient's case, and how you monitor the progress and effect of the remedy on the patient. That part is an exact science: the practitioner's skill in applying the scientific method is the variable. If homeopathy fails, it's because the method has not been applied properly, and the practitioner's lack of ability is at fault (also: you can't self treat with homeopathy. You need to work with a well trained and objective practitioner. Period.) Otherwise, the medicine works if it is applied according to the scientific method. And wow, does it ever work amazingly well.

Pow, maybe you don't know this but Arnica in an herbal or crude form (that is, extracted and then preserved in alcohol and water) can only be used topically because it is a poison. What a shame it would be if that were the only way it could be used! You'd only be able to swab a few bruises with it, and, over the course of a number of days, the bruising would fade. It still might have a limited effect on some of the mild pain, though, so its not as if it does nothing: but truly, it's effectiveness in tincture is very limited.

In potency, however, you can heal any kind of blunt trauma--from falls, automobile accidents, broken bones, contusions of any kind, concussions, blood re-absorption immediately after strokes (which makes a huge difference in full recovery rates for victims of strokes). Using it for post-surgical pain relief and tissue healing is so effective that the very best surgeons employ it even in conventional medicine. When I use it for patients who undergo surgeries of any kind--dental, cancer, bone repair...their doctors are always amazed when they decline the use of heavy pain killers like oxycontin/oxycodone, percocet, or morphine (which makes it great for cancer patients, because the morphine almost always causes complications in digestion which end up threatening their lives while they're in hospital). Tissue heals much more quickly, with minimal scarring and no chance of infection; internal bleeding is lessened considerably, bruising from the surgery is kept to a minimum and heals extremely rapidly. Docs and surgeons who are in the know use arnica on all their surgical patients: those who don't know are consistently amazed at how much more quickly these patients using homeopathic arnica heal, compared to their other patients. None of that could be accomplished if the Arnica could only be used as a tincture, topically.

Maybe you're not aware of this either, Pow, but homeopathic remedies aren't just made from plant materials. You're very confused about what herbalism consists of and what homeopathic medicines are made from. That's understandable: a lot of people who sell medicines lump them all together and use homeopathy as an umbrella term.
Since this is a thread on alternative medicine, information clarifying the differences should be made available here.

Finally, Pow, if you think physics that you don't agree with is "metaphysics", what can I say? A closed mind is a closed mind. There are an awful lot of physicists who would not agree with you (many more than the ones featured in What The Bleep Do We Know, although many of their credentials were pretty good, don't you agree?)

Not promoting homeopathy strongly (I practice homeopathy primarily, but I also use herbal tinctures, essential oils, nutrition therapy, and supplements to treat various pathologies as well, so I get a chance to see what does what all the time), just don't want to see people who know nothing about it dismiss it and discount it, especially as this is an alternative medicine thread, where people might want to learn about the non- conventional options available to them.



chachaheels
One last post and then I swear I'm outta here:

If the placebo effect is so widespread (even in conventional medicine--placebo works as well or better than SSRI's, apparently, according to one study conducted by Harvard Medical School in 1999), we REALLY ought to be spending all our money and time and scientific energy studying it.

After all, our own bodies are the only things which can heal our illnesses. If we can stimulate our own body's ability to effect cure just by "believing it in", then we ought to be doing a hell of a lot more research on this so far discounted human ability, instead of dismissing it.

pow
(arg) Just in my defense, I neither read nor believe "quackbusters" - the main author is unpublished in professional journals.. to my eyes, a failed scientist with a vendetta. Heck, they were even dismissed as "non-credible" and biased in a CA court not long ago.

I will look up Hahnemann's provings, though I must admit when I could find no successful double blind studies, I was not encouraged. How are his provings er, proven given what another poster mentinoned about double blinds failing homeopathy, which by definition is a personally tailored medicine?

I was not speaking strictly of tinctures when I mentioned arnica. My gripe? The dilutions of homeopathy. If homeopathic arnica is not a dilution (and it is not, the tincture vs gel issue is red herring time, come on) please lay off the ignorance-insinuating comments. Maybe you missed my whole point?

At least one of the credentialed scientists in "What the Bleep", a Columbia Univ prof, was unhappy about the liberal applications of his quotes. From a NY Times article:

"David Albert, a professor of philosophy and physics at Columbia, who has the dubious honor of being one of the talking heads in both "What the Bleep" films and is not pleased with the results.
Many physicists today say the waves that symbolize quantum possibilities are so fragile they collapse with the slightest encounter with their environment. Conscious observers are not needed. As Dr. Albert pointed out, Wigner framed the process in strict mathematical and probabilistic terms. "The desires and intentions of the observer had nothing to do with it," he said."


Finally, I'm fully aware that homeopathy is not simply plant material. I said as much ("herbs and salts" were my words) - I'm very aware of the use of mercury salts ("mercurius"), arsenic ("arsenicum"), uranium, sodium chloride, "moon energy" and various other materials for the dilutions. Darn good thing the uranium is 12X, heh.

I think you're putting at least a few words in my mouth. If you want to show the efficacy of homeopathic dilutions, please do, but this "maybe you don't know" business - then arguing against an issue no one has stated - is called shoot the messenger. Shoot the arguments pls.
cloverbee
homeopathy has never been proven in the medical or scientific community. what the general concensus among scientists is that it needs to be studied much more b/c the results of several double-blind studies w/ homeopathic remedies were unsuccessful. I don't know about the book that chacha mentioned but I would question the "proof" that is not embraced by the scientific community or studied using scientific principles (i.e. the aformentioned double-blind studies).
the only reason I single out homeopathy is that it has failed to burgeon scientific results unlike herbal remedies and not due to the fact that the homeopathic rememdies are not regulated by the FDA or embraced by society at large.
turbojenn
chacha - my mom's had tons of suregeries over the years for cancer and heart issues related to all of the chemo, and I got her to use arnica a few years ago when they first cracked her chest open, and she AND the doc were simply amazed at the quick healing of all of her bruises post-op. Previously, she would look battered for months. Its good stuff.

And absolutely agree that we should be putting a lot more money and research toward how we can heal ourselves - whether you call that placebo effect or really utilizing our body's natural healing powers...I know I've come along way on my healing journey, and none of the true healing has come from western med - that just masked symptoms. Taking stress off my body so I could get at the underlying emotions and history - that was the true healing path for me.
chachaheels
1. Homeopathic remedies are, in fact, regulated by the FDA, and their manufacture is ensconced in law in the US (has been since the early 1900's) in The Homeopathic Pharmacoepia of the United States. This includes detailed descriptions of the chemistry involved in serial dilution and succussion in creating each and every potency of every remedy used in homeopathy.

2. What "scientific" community are you talking about, cloverbee? And which "medical" community? I don't think you realise how curious, inspired, and involved many scientists and conventional medical schools and doctors are about homeopathy. In fact, many of the most well known homeopaths the world over used to be medical specialists, at the very top of their professions. They learned about homeopathy, started to use it to treat patients they never saw get well conventionally, and now, those MDs and PhDs teach and use homeopathy exclusively with their patients. Sure there are always a number of closed minded, willfully ignorant people in every profession--but who cares what they say when so many patients get well and stay well?

Every medical school worth its tuition has a department of Integrative medicine, and every one of those departments teaches medical students about classical homeopathy. As for "embraced by society at large", the World Health Organization states that homeopathy is the second most widely used form of medicine on the planet--that's after the Asian medical traditions (including Ayurveda and TCM). After homeopathy comes herbalism; and only after that comes conventional medicine...I don't thing homeopathy has a hard time being embraced by "the public at large".

Again, it would be great if people didn't post just to malign medical systems like homeopathy--particularly when their familiarity with that form of medicine is painfully, obviously limited.

***and thank you, Anarch, for youf post about the inapplicability to "double blind" studies (widely acknowledged to be dangerously flawed tests anyway by conventional medical "scientists").



cloverbee
my familiarity is painfully and obviously limited? I'll have you know that I personally used homeopathic remedies for several years and I know that no double-blind "scientific" study has EVER confirmed that homeopathic remedies are successful. Like I said before, if they work for some people, great. But it is not science.
as forthe FDA,Homeopathic products do not have to be approved by the FDA before sale and they do not have to be proven either safe or effective like most medications.
and as for which scientific community I am referring to. I am referring to the latest meta-analysis from 2005 published in the Lancet which stated that of 110 trials done on homeopathic remedies, no conclusion could be drawn that did not point to the placebo effect. and the AMA (American Medical Association) says there is little evidence for the efficacy of homeopathy and that there needs to be more research done on it which I agree with.
chachaheels
Go to google and type in Boiron Oscillococcinum Double Blind. You'll find at least 4 favourable double blind studies (control group sizes from 100 to several hundred people) using remedy and placebo to treat symptoms of flu. 2 Original studies done by the lab which makes and markets the remedy: 2 studies done independently and published by the British Journal Of Clinical Pharmacology, another by a German university--same outcomes. These are most famous because they're used in marketing materials now worldwide.

So much for "never".

The "favourability" of double blind studies depends on who sets them up. If you take into account how homeopaths actually use the remedies in your study, you'll get impressive results. If you ignore these protocols and act as if homeopathic remedies were the same as conventional pharmaceuticals, you won't get much. Most people who want to apply double-blind protocols don't "get" that you can't use homeopathic remedies as if they were conventional drugs. That would be like expecting to prove the efficacy of anti-biotics to treat symptoms in a control group of stroke victims. That would never be done when testing conventional medical drugs, anti-biotics were never designed to be used in such cases. But, oddly, it's the way homeopathy's tested by conventional medical scientists who don't understand that homeopathy's very different from conventional medicine.

If you'd actually read the Lancet meta-analysis, you'd know that that's exactly the kind of faulty study type the meta-analysis was based on. That was a clearly politically pressured article (meaning the Lancet board and editors knuckled under to political pressure to publish it--a big no no) and the medical community's been demanding to know how the Lancet could stand behind its reputation and peer review process when it's published so many favourable studies of homeopathic medicine in the past. Was the Lancet's peer review process wrong in the past, or is the Lancet not applying the peer review process to the meta-analysis, which contradicts what they've published before? Things aren't looking good for that journal these days.

Cloverbee, you may think all you need to do to know about homeopathy is self treat with a combo remedy, but you're wrong. You don't know what you're criticising--you really should read a bit about it instead. At least read the Organon of Medicine...or just stop saying anything about it cause you're no authority on the subject. Right now, you're just parroting Quackbusters (down to the Lancet meta-analysis reference), and I wonder why someone would do that on an alternative medicine thread.
pow
"Since 1925, Oscillococcinum has been prepared as follows. Into a one litre bottle, a mixture of pancreatic juice and glucose is poured. Next a Canard de Barbarie is decapitated and 35 grams of its liver and 15 grams of its heart are put into the bottle. ... The glass containing the remedy is shaken and then just emptied and refilled, and the dilution factor is assumed to be 1:100."

Come on hon, I know you can show some evidence for the part per million+ dilutions. Double blind studies for the 6X, 9X, and 12X remedies please. Oscillococcinum's 1:100 is within the allopathic dilution range. Yet again, in case you missed it the first time, no one is arguing against normally diluted herbs (like arnica, what was that tangent below about?) and sick duck bits. As for oscillococcinum, ingesting pathogens is common to allopathic medicine after all. See: oral polio vaccine. Some efficacy is no surprise..
lucizoe
I'm wondering if maybe y'all wanted to start a separate thread to debate all this. It's really really off-putting (in case you haven't noticed) for those of us who just want to talk about the non-pharmaceutical ways we deal with the various shit that comes our way. Just a thought.
hellotampon
I second that!
pow
sorry dudes, it's just annoying some others of us when homeopaths prescribe 1 ppm salt cures and won't back up their sources, saying only yay arnica, yay oscillococcinum which have nothing to do with the woo dilutions. Maybe to you western alt medicine means accepting every magnet therapy unquestioned, but IMO, internal debate is a good thing. Though I agree BUST is not the best place. Back to your regularly scheduled harmony!
lucizoe
Uh, yeah, that's exactly it. We're all into magnets.

Look, nothing wrong with debate. Yay debate. But it's sort of derailing the original intent of this thread. You want to debate with chacha so much, why not take it to PM? Sheesh
turbojenn
thank you, pow, for respecting the intent of the thread. We are a board where debate can be lively, but we did want this thread for sharing, support and learning, and thus far that's not happened since you stirred the pot. So if you want to share in a positive way in this space, you are more than welcome, as are all. chill, and enjoy the ride.

And with that...I'm going to toddle off to bed. See ya'll tomorrow!
cstars124
does anyone know of any natural alternative to boost mood? I don't know if it was discussed in any earlier posts, but I take an anti-depressant now and i frequently get in these depressed moods even when I take the medication religiously. Instead of increasing my dosage or anything like that, is there a vitamin or some sort of supplement that would do the same thing just naturally? Thanks
girlygirlgag
St. Johns Wort might work.

also, do you exercise regularly? I know it is hard when you are depressed, but even gettong out for a walk can get your endorphins running?
cloverbee
the B vitamins may help also.
lucizoe
B vitamin complex, omega-3 oils (either fish or flaxseed), Vitamin D (really important, especially if you avoid the sun, as I do)...I take those plus St.John's wort and an amino acid (L-Tyrosine) which is often found to be lacking in the systems of the chronically depressed...and yes, exercise is absolutely key if you want to treat depression without pharmaceuticals. And just in general, really. Heh...
tatiana
catars124, it can be very dangerous to take an herb for a condition that you are already taking a medication for. Taking one or the other is ok, but taking both is a no-no. Have you talked to your doc?
lucizoe
oh, yeah, what tatiana said. I wouldn't add the st.john's wort to your existing meds...the vitamins, etc., should be okay, though...
pepper
definitely the essential fatty acids. they have been shown to be directly linked to mood especially depression, depletion being a major cause of postpardum depression btw. i like help and/or borage myself but think that switching back and forth is a great idea too. and it won't affect any drugs you're on.
however, most people are fairly depleted so it takes an intensive round of mega dosing to get back up to where the body should be, after that daily doses are fine for maintenancing but there wouldn't neccessarily be a noticable effect until reaching that point.
chachaheels
Yes, the omega fatty acids are a great suggestion--the best combination of omega 3's and 6's are usually fish oils (especially cod liver oil, if you need the extra vitamins D and A) as your high DHA omega 3's, and evening primrose oil as your omega 6. You can get combinations of the right oils easily enough--lots of very good oil companies make them. One of the best I've found for mental clarity and mood balance is made by a company called Efamol...they make a 3 and 6 combo called Efalex with high quality oils. It's reasonably priced and you can find it in lots of places. As for how long before you feel an effect--that really depends on the individual. I always tell people to give a supplement treatment 3 months; but I've actually heard from many people that they experience results right away.

One other herb which really makes a dramatic impact on stress levels and mood is Holy Basil.

Cstars, if you're not getting any result from your anti-depressants, they don't seem to be effective for you and you are right to consider doing something natural instead. However, you should consult a qualified natural health practitioner about this and never self treat. You can definitely replace your prescription meds but you should be working with someone who knows your health history, knows how to wean you off the meds, and knows how to make sure you do well on the alternatives you'll be using. Nutritional therapy, naturopathy, chinese medicine, homeopathy, energy therapies of all kinds--these all work really, really well...if someone who is trained in their application actually manages your case. Good luck!
anarch
Chacha, do you think Bach Flower Essences help people with depression? Two friends of mine swear by them. I just googled them and found a couple of studies saying that any effect they have is placebo. I know nothing about them personally.

also, sorry I didn't acknowledge your thank-you, last weekend. I didn't check the Lounge for a few days and completely missed all the fireworks! I learn a lot from all the stuff you post generally, so thanks for sharing your knowledge.
chachaheels
You're very kind, and very welcome, anarch! I've been away a few days too and the "fireworks" weren't much to speak of.

Bach flower remedies...they're actually quite effective. Anyone can use the Rescue Remedy in any situation where they're facing trauma, hysteria and panic, or a tremendous amount of anxiety and pain. I learned from a couple of RNs I studied with that they gave Rescue remedy to women who were in labour, with great success (really calmed the anxiety down, helped to soothe the pain intensity, and helped women focus enough to breathe properly, as they had planned to). I've also used RR in animals (one very stable- seeming Arabian 9 year old filly, who would suddenly bolt in terror during rides...RR stopped that); and in one of my autism patients, the RR worked to calm him significantly when he started to panic during a trans-Canada flight. I don't use them often, but they are "quick and dirty" and very effective, and they don't interfere with the homeopathic remedy's effects on my patients. I've never seen anyone try them who didn't think they worked well in their particular situation.

Generally the RR's easy to use and extremely effective, so if you want to see results for yourself, use as directed, as necessary. I like the other bach flower remedies because they are easy to select and prescribe (you don't have to do a full work up and casetaking, but you can still get someone out of a very bad situation. They can be sold safely by people in a health food store, for example, with no training in homeopathy, and just enough knowledge to know how to use the Bach Flower Remedy repertories to find the right remedy to use for each customer). I think they're good options for challenging, acute emotional states, and they might even be great when treating chronic psychological pathology (under the supervision of a qualified classical homeopath)...but in serious cases of depression or psychosis, they wouldn't be my first choice.

I have a hard time believing it's a "placebo" effect, as all of the Bach remedies are low potency remedies (not highly dilute, like other homeopathic remedies) and you can still measure the medical content in them, easily. Isn't the argument about "placebo" based on the idea that they don't contain any medicine?
turbojenn
I'd second the recommendation for Rescue Remedy. It has worked brilliantly for our dog Turbo who panics in thunderstorms - calms him right now. And I've used it as well with great benefits - I don't think I can get through a visit from parents without RR on hand!
chachaheels
RR and parents--that was my introduction to the Bach Flower Remedies right there!



midgemcgrath
back from vacay--looks like i escaped the drama just in time, but you all have managed to get things back on track!

just a reminder re: st. john's wort--do NOT take this if you're on hormonal birth control! it decreases its effectiveness!

i got an interesting book while i was away on holistic approaches to IBS, so if i discover anything interesting, i'll post. anyone else suffer from digestive probs?
miss_jane
Has anyone ever tried reflexology? I had a small session of it and to be honest all I really got from it was a nice foot rub, but I wasn't in an ideal environment, it wasn't for very long and the next day was extremely hectic. My friend however, swears by it. I was just wondering what the busties thought.
tyger
my uncle took a course on reflexology once and gave me a footrub 'cause i had a sore throat, and it just went away (he didn't tell me what he was doing or anything, he was just like 'footrub time!', and afterwards asked if my throat felt better, which it did), but i haven't had, like a professional session of it or anything
anarch
Thanks so much for the info on Bach RR. I'll look into them.
chachaheels
Hope it helps, anarch.

I have a friend who is a wonderful reflexologist, and she treated me to a free treatment once. I didn't have a specific health issue to address, but I was really, really run down, having trouble getting and staying asleep, and feeling all around exhausted. It made me feel much more energetic after the fact--and I remember sleeping really well that night.

Generally, I think any of the treatments which focus on opening up the energy movement in the body are great. "Energy medicine" is huge umbrella term, but basically all these medical treatments do is allow the body access to it's optimum activity, so that it can easily cure itself of whatever ailment its suffering.

The wonderful thing about this kind of medicine is that you're never "taking" something that imposes a specific primary response in the body (i.e., forces the body to react to specific stimuli caused by the drug--and suppressing what the body is actually trying to do) so you never feel like you're simply being forced to create a new set of symptoms. Instead, energy medicines have a very subtle effect on the body--you feel like you simply "just got better". Sometimes, you don't even notice you're better--but others see it clearly (especially when the ailments were emotional or mental in nature).
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