Diluted Duck anyone?
I am a member of the Center For Inquiry, which is currently involved as advisers in a class action lawsuit against Shoppers Drug Mart and Boiron Canada for selling Oscillococcinum, a popular cold and flu remedy. The lawsuit is happening because the remedy is homeopathic, and therefore is overpriced sugar with no medicinal properties. I have had quite a few friends and family use homeopathic remedies at one point or another, thankfully never for anything serious. I have even used them in the past, before I understood just what homeopathy was and how it requires the laws of physics to not exist for it to work.
I’m going to offer an explaination for just what homeopathy is and how its done using Oscillococcinum (which I am now going to call magic duck juice for ease of spelling) as an example. In order for a remedy to be considered homeopathic it must follow the two following rules:
Homeopathic Rule #1 : Like cures like – For example, if you have a fever, you take a very small amount of a substance that causes fever to help cure it. This likely made plenty of sense and was seen as a medical breakthrough when the other medical treatments of the time included blood letting and germs were not yet discovered. The sheer variety of remedies available today though stagger the mind as to what needs curing and how to cure it. I guess if your feeling like shit, you take some shit! Yes that is a remedy using dog excrement as an ingredient!
Anyway, back to how magic duck juice is involved in this rule. A doctor by the name of Joseph Roy was involved in the spanish flu epidemic in the 1920’s, and when he examined the blood of patients with the flu, as well as those with herpes, chicken pox, and shingles, he found what he thought to be a small bacterium that caused all of these diseases as well as several others including cancer. Of course now we know that simply isn’t true. So how did he decide magic duck juice was the answer? He looked for the same bacterium in several animals until he thought he found it in the liver of a duck. That is all you need to do to find a remedy in homeopathy! Maybe next time I feel the sniffles coming on I’ll go buy some Foie Gras and really nip that cold in the bud!
Homeopathic Rule #2: The more dilute the substance the more powerful the remedy – Now here is where we go from slightly plausible to complete mind numbing you cant be serious!? The thought of like curing like and getting results from a substance you have taken could be plausible, assuming you have taken some of that substance to begin with. Not so with Homeopathy. The process of diluting in Homeopathy begins by taking one drop of the substance and diluting it into a hundred drops of alcohol or water. That is called 1C. You then take one drop of that and dilute it one drop in a hundred again, making a 2C dilution. 2C would be one part substance to 10,000 parts water. At 4C you have reached the legal limit for how much arsenic is allowed in US drinking water. Most Homeopathic remedies are sold at 30C. At 30C to get ONE molecule of the original substance you would have to drink enough Homeopathic solution to fill the entire earth 10 billion times! Thats a billion, with a B! 10,000,000,000!
Now here is where the magic duck juice takes it one step further! The magic duck juice is diluted to 200C! 200C means you would have to ingest 5 times more atoms than are observable in the entire universe to get a single molecule! There are 1080 estimated atoms in the observable universe, and 200C requires 10400 molecules to get one of the duck liver!
Now if you actually believe that water has memory (it doesnt) that explains how this could work without having a single molecule of the original substances in the remedy. If you still think it works due to the water memory theory though, consider this. All the water we use has been around for millions of years, so how does the water know to remember the properties of a speck of duck liver, yet forgets all the toxins, poo, and general filth that it has been exposed to over the millenia?
If you are one of the many who have used Homeopathic remedies without really learning about them, I hope you reconsider. If you have a cold save your money, don’t help Boiron make $15 million of one poor duck, and buy yourself something like nyquil, chicken soup or rum. They still may not help, but at least you are getting the molecules you paid for!
More info on homeowatch.org