Wikipedia on Homeopathy: The Blackness of Kettles

A series of posts examining some of the statements made on Wikipedia regarding Homeopathy. (These comments derive from a 2012 edition of the Wikipedia article. Only those statements have been reproduced which are misleading and should be corrected.)

Wikipedia: “Although many people assume that all homeopathic medicines are highly diluted and therefore unlikely to cause harm, many of them contain high concentrations of active ingredients and therefore can cause side effects and drug interactions.”

Ouch, whiplash! In a stunning turnaround, the Wikipedia editors, who spend more than 30,000 words trying to convince us that there’s not enough medicine in a homeopathic remedy to be medicine, now want to tell us a homeopathy remedy can be dangerously concentrated and toxic. Which is it, fellas?

I started off this series with the feeling that not one of these writers actually had any clue how homeopathy was practiced, because they speak as if all homeopathic remedies were given in what we call, “high potencies,” which have been processed and diluted a lot. In fact, we often use tinctures of milder substances, either orally or externally. And we also have “potencies” that are not highly diluted. But now I see that someone editing this page does understand this fact and is simply trying to mislead his readers.

By far the hardest thing to swallow from a medical fundamentalist is the idea that a homeopathic remedy is too concentrated.

The homeopathic medicines that we use in tincture are things like Hypericum (St. John’s Wort), Valeriana (Valerian root) and Urtica urens (Stinging Nettle), substances that can be used directly as herbs without being prepared homeopathically. Some of these can be used internally as an herbalist would use them, but the most common homeopathic use for tinctures is external application.

So, while there are some low potency homeopathic preparations out there that might, if taken in large doses for a long period of time, cause a toxic reaction, they account for a very small proportion of homeopathic prescribing. No one under the supervision of a homeopathic practitioner is likely to come anywhere near a toxic reaction to a remedy, no matter how frequently repeated.

Most importantly, none of these preparations are as “highly concentrated” as a tablet of ibuprofen.

(The edition of the Wikipedia page that we are examining existed sometime during 2012. We will not attempt to keep up with the page edits since then.)


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