Science

Prince Charles and homeopathy: worse than useless

At his What’s New website, University of Maryland physicist Bob Park writes:

I was still recovering from a serious overdose of royals when I learned that the Prince of Wales was in Washington, DC this week to promote sustainable farming. Back in the UK, the Daily Mail charged Prince Charles with secretly lobbying ministers for homeopathic medicines on the NHS. The NHS spends millions of pounds each year on alternative medicine at a time when it’s restricting proven lifesaving drugs for those with cancer. The most popular cold medication in the world is Oscillococcinum; the active ingredient is Anas Barbariae Hepatis et Cordis Extractum (extract of liver and heart of the Barbary duck) 200CK HPUS. The 200CK means the solution has been diluted 1 part in 100, shaken, and repeated sequentially 200 times. HPUS means the medication is listed in the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States, and prepared according to 1938 federal guidelines. That the ignorant and antiquated law sanctioning homeopathy is still on the books is a national disgrace. The dilution is totally meaningless; somewhere around number 30 of the 200 sequential dilutions, the dilution limit will be reached. That is, not a single molecule of the so- called “active ingredient” remains. Millions of people all over the world reach for this non-medicine every time they sneeze. The French company, Boiron, that makes Oscillococcinum should be locked and its officers put on trial. In terms of “sustainability,” all this makes perfect sense. The world will not run out of Oscillococcinum.

The Daily Mail may be a trashy rightwing rag, but it does a good job (mostly) of exposing homeopathy for the quackery it is.

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