Saturday, 25 February 2012

Essential sugar pills

Self Help Homeopathic Remedy Kit for Friends & Family

Ainsworths Essential Remedy Kit contains 42 remedies in 30C potency in 2g vials (approx 35 doses per vial). The remedies are made with sucrose pills. The kit comes in a beautiful dark green plastic box with sturdy hinges and includes a 72 page instruction booklet.

The remedies included are:
Aconite, Allium Cepa, Ant Tart, Apis Mel, Argent Nit, Arnica, Arsen Alb, Belladonna, Bryonia, Calc Carb, Calendula, Cantharis, Carbo Veg, Chamomilla, China, Cocculus, Drosera, Euphrasia, Ferrum Phos, Gelsemium, Hepar Sulph, Hypericum, Ignatia, Ipecac, Kali Bich, Lachesis, Ledum, Lycopodium, Mag Phos, Merc sol, Mixed Pollens, Nat Mur, Nux Vom, Passiflora Co, Phosphorus, Pulsatilla, Rhus Tox, Ruta, Sepia, Silica, Staphisagria, Sulphur

Cost: £43 (plus £2.50 P&P)

Now there's an attractive offer: all that for little more than a pound a remedy!

While this advertisement doesn't say what these things are actually good for, you can no doubt find that information in the 72-page instruction booklet. Ainsworths have to be very careful about what they claim for fear of being found to be contravening the regulations of the Advertising Standards Association, which now apply to advertising on the web as well as in leaflets and on packaging. The ASA is already investigating many false claims made by homeopaths relating to the value of their products as a "cure", as a "remedy", or "for the relief of" named conditions.

However, one claim which may be made with absolute confidence by vendors of homeopathic preparations is that they do not cause undesirable side effects: they cannot, for they contain no active ingredient whatsoever. One third of a drop of some original substance diluted into all the water on earth would produce a remedy with a concentration of about 13C.

Those in this kit are all at 30C dilution, the "potency" advocated a couple of hundred years ago by the inventor of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, for most purposes. On average, this would require giving two billion doses per second to six billion people for 4 billion years to deliver a single molecule of the original material to any patient. So you don't need to worry about whether it is the Belladonna or the Lycopodium that you need to ease your distress, for none of the little vials contain any of the exotic ingredients listed; you can swallow the whole contents of all 42 vials in one go: they will do you no good, and no harm either, though it is never advisable to consume so many sugar pills at one time.

[HERE is an explanation of "potentization", and other terms used by homeopaths.]



David Colquhoun said...

Ainsworths don't seem have taken in fully the ASA judgement. Illegality doesn't seem to worry homeopaths yet.

One aspect that I found interesting is that the numerical value of Avogadro's number was not known in Hahnemann's time. That was not discovered until 22 years after Hahnemann died. My guess is that if Hahnemann had lived long enough to have done the calculation he would have disavowed 30C pills: see .

Tony said...

For those who are interested but don't want to follow the link and read the whole of Professor Colquhoun's explanation, here is an extract from it:

Armed with the numerical value of Avogadro’s number, it is easy to calculate that a 30C homeopathic dilution contains nothing whatsoever. More precisely, it would contain, on average, a single molecule in a spherical pill with a diameter equal to the distance from the earth to the sun.

But Hahnemann could not have known that. If had lived another 25 years he would almost certainly have renounced the idea of using 30C dilutions.

He had a good excuse for getting it wrong. He was dead before the knowledge existed to do the calculation. But modern homeopaths have no excuse whatsoever for believing the impossible.

Hahnemann would have thought they were nuts, I suspect. He was too intelligent to believe that medicines that contain no medicine could be effective. In his words, “It cannot go on to infinity”.

Tony said...

Unsurprisingly, this post evoked nine abusive and illiterate comments along the lines of "ur an idiot, u don't know what ur talking about".

Grumio said...

Sounds like those 9 need to keep taking the pills.

For a billion years.

Froog said...

The carrying case looks nice though. There must be other uses you could put it to after throwing the pills away.

Grumio said...

I use mine for carrying my snuff collection between Reginald's and the off licence. It works very well, with no intermingling, although I take care to put the clove-infused as far from the liquorice-inflected as possible, obviously.