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Homeopaths ride to swine flu rescue

Did you know that there is nothing to worry about? Homeopaths will save us all from the devastating results of the flu pandemic! At least, this is what thousands of websites now claim.

Did you know that there is nothing to worry about? Homeopaths will save us all from the devastating results of the flu pandemic! At least, this is what thousands of websites now claim.

The flurry started with just very few sites making such claims. By 29 April, I counted 9000. On 30 April 26,000. By 2 May, 50,000.

The evidence? Homeopaths state that during the flu pandemic of 1918, "homeopathy proved its superiority over conventional medicine". The death rate, they say, was only half. But essentially this is based on hearsay and, even if true, it could be the result of many confounding factors.

Helios, the UK homeopathic pharmacy, quickly jumped on the bandwagon and stated that "there are remedies which have been used successfully over many years to treat all stages of flu". They even list 7 remedies that should be used for "the acute stage" of swine flu.

The Homeopathic College goes one step further by advising patients to "avoid antiviral drugs (cause suppression of the damage to the immune system)" (an email from The Homeopathic College "Swine Flu and Homeopathy-Some helpful information" received 29 April 2009 20:17).

This organisation is confident that "Homeopathic treatment is likely to be an effective treatment for any new flu-like illness".

So there you have it; we are in safe hands as long as we listen to our homeopathic colleagues.

One would really need to be nasty to spoil this fun by pointing out that perhaps they are in it for the money and that listening to their advice is a sure recipe for disaster.

Professor Edzard Ernst Recent posts

Just because a patient gets better, doesn't mean their treatment worked 28 April 09
Homeopathy for cancer is nothing more than placebo 23 April 09
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Don't let your practice become an evidence-free zone 15 April 09
Natural doesn't mean safe. And CAM is neither 06 April 09

So-called 'integrated medicine' is disturbing nonsense 30 March 09


Why 'belief' in complementary medicine is misguided 23 March 09

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