Homeopathy for malaria? Again?

I know I’ve said it many, many times before, but it’s something that, in my opinion at least, can’t be repeated too often. Homeopathy is ridiculous. Arguably, it’s the most ridiculous of “alternative” therapies ever conceived. And that’s saying a lot. After all, among “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) or “integrative medicine” (IM), we have therapies in which people claim that they can tap into some sort of “universal source” and channel it into you for healing effect (reiki, a.k.a. faith healing based on Eastern mysticism instead of Christian beliefs); they can change the flow of some sort of unproven and as yet undetected “life energy” and thus heal you by sticking needles into you (acupuncture); they can diagnose illness by mapping it to your feet, hands, or ears and treat it by massaging those areas (reflexology); they can draw “toxins” out of your feet with foot pads; they can cure cancer with baking soda; and many, many more ideas with no basis in human anatomy, biochemistry or physiology or based on a tortured misunderstanding of these disciplines.

Homeopathy tops them all.

Remember, homeopathy is based on two principles. The first is that you treat a symptom by giving a patient something that normally causes that symptom in a healthy patient. The second is that diluting these remedies “potentizes” them or makes them stronger. Indeed, homeopaths routinely dilute their remedies far beyond the point where one could reasonably expect to find even a single molecule left. They even acknowledge this and explain it away by torturing physics and chemistry to try to claim that water has “memory” that can remember the remedy but forget all the other things that water routinely comes into contact with. That’s why I routinely refer to homeopathy as The One Quackery To Rule Them All. It is, after all, only water, tarted up with magical, mystical, wishful thinking imposed on it by homeopaths. If water really could take imprints of “intent,” homeopathic remedies would be imprinted with terminal stupid.

So stupid that homeopaths once again claim they can treat serious diseases like malaria with homeopathy, as I found on this discussion forum, where a denizen asks:

52 yrs male was attacked by P.vivax malaria parasites in June 09. He was treated by a course of Chloroquine

( Resochin-DS). After completion of the course, the malaria antigen test was again got done in July 09 and the result was found negative. But he is again attacked by the same P, vivax parasite on 5.3.10 which is got confirmed through the malaria antigen test . Now, again he is treated with the same chloroquine drug. At present he has no problem except weakness and low BP . The peripheral blood smear also did not show malaria parasite today. The doctor has advised for G6PD tests for blood after three weeks to assess any cause of relapse of malaria.

What may be the causes of relapse of malaria? Are there any homeo remedy to prevent such relapses to the said patient in coming future? What is the preventive homeo remedy to protect the other family members against spread of malaria ?

The sensible answer to this question would, of course, be “no,” followed up with, “Are you crazy?” However, we are dealing with homeopaths. Sense does not enter into the equation. To demonstrate that, let’s look at a sampling of the responses. First, we have Jayashree Kanoi stating:

For Malaria the best medicine as advised by my late Sir is Ars 6 or 30 alternated with Ipecac 6 or 30. Both must be same potency. First take every 2 hours and then when the patient is better increase the frequency time.

By “6” and “30” I presume that Kanoi means 6C or 30C, where each “C” represents a single 100-fold dilution. 6C dilutions are actually the more dangerous of the two; there might actually still be some actual starting material there, as it would “only” be a 1012 dilution. A 30C dilution is, of course, nothing more than water, as it is a 1060 dilution, which is 1036-fold more than Avagadro’s number. In other words, it’s just water. But note the logic, such as it is. “Ars” is short for Arsenicum Album, which is basically arsenic trioxide. Yes, you read that right. It’s arsenic. On the other hand, I’m guessing that most of my readers already know what ipecac is; it’s an emetic; i.e., a substance used to induce vomiting. Why are these chosen? Because apparently arsenic can induce fever, while ipecac induces vomiting, and fever and vomiting are major symptoms of relapses of malaria.

Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

The problem is, in the world of homeopathy it does make “perfect sense.” Indeed, one of the commenters spells it out:

The main symptoms of Arsenic Album are :

  1. Fever will start arund 1 P.m. or after Midnight (around 2.a.m. usually). Sivering and heat will be there together or alternating. Heat inside and chill outside. Restlessness with anxiety or fear, Drinking water little by little in large quantities. Nausea and Vomit. Bitterness in the mouth, Severe headache, All symptoms aggravate when there is fever and shiverng. Medicine is suitable and moreeffective for those who have been using lot of quinine and complicated the case.
  2. Ipec: Nausea and vomiting are important symptoms of Ipec.There will be distention in the chest before the shiverig starts. Thirstlessness when there is shivering. More thirst when there is heat(fever) in the body.
  3. Nux : Will not cover the body even when there is sweat, due to fear of heat or fever. Dizziness or vertigo. Cramp like in stomch and below knees. Tinnitis.headache, constipation, thirst, Pain on the the sides of the body,.
  4. Arnica ; Intermittent fever. Scanty urine, thirst, pain in bones, Thirst and shivering together., restlessness, the whole body is sore and feels like beaten up., Bed seems rough and try to find soft space on bed. Turning in the bed several times, If the blanket or cover is removed immediatey shivering starts, Intolerable heat, Sore sweats etc.

I will give this commenter credit for one thing. He actually does follow the nonsense above with actual good advice for avoiding malaria by avoiding getting bitten by the mosquitoes the carry the parasite by using insect repellents and mosquito nets and getting rid of the standing water where the malaria-carrying mosquitoes breed. I’d also point out that, if all you’re going to use is homeopathy, your only hope is one of two things. Either avoiding getting bitten altogether or hope against hope that you survive your bout of malaria. That’s about it for homeopathy.

I also can’t help but notice that the undiluted form of the homeopathic remedies for malaria described above sound almost as bad–or even as bad–as the disease itself, at least in the short term. Of course, those symptoms must be the symptoms caused in healthy people by the undiluted form of the remedy. The homeopathic remedies themselves, if diluted to anything higher than around 12C, will be just water.

As if all of this weren’t enough, it is later suggested that this patient be given homeopathic China, which is a an extract of the Peruvian tree Cinchona Pubescens which grows wild in the tropical forests of South America. Here is the recommendation:

You can continue China 30 for longer period. it is a medicine for convalescence. It is a great remedy for affter effects of Malaria. Arsenic Album Should also be given. Cina 30 was advised on my own personal experiments and results and you will not find any reference of that in any of the books or any matching symptoms. The basic philosophy in the use of Cina is that it is a medicine which will work in kind of microorganism entering the body as parasites and thrive in the body. It was experimented on Malaria and the pathologists findings in an instant case cofirmed the thought process. with best wishes.

The “explanation” of how China supposedly works against malaria is, of course, a fetid load of dingo’s kidneys. But how did China become a preferred homeopathic remedy for malaria? It was Samuel Hahneman himself, who declared it so:

This bark is of particular historical significance for homeopaths, since quinine extracted from it became the subject of Hahnemann’s first homeopathic proving. In 1790 he tested quinine on himself, and noticed that it caused symptoms similar to the malaria for which it was prescribed as a cure. He developed the remedy China, which has become a key treatment for malarial symptoms and exhaustion due to fluid loss or long-term illness.

Homeopathy apologists sometimes ask, “What’s the harm?” It can sometimes seem to be a compelling argument. After all, homeopathy is nothing more than water and is therefore not going to cause the symptoms of the starting compounds diluted away to nonexistence in the name of homeopathy’s particularly nonsensical brand of sympathetic magic. The harm, of course, occurs when homeopaths develop delusions of grandeur and think that they can treat anything more than a self-limited disease like a cold. I know, I know, they can’t really treat colds, either, but their likelihood in causing harm by treating a cold and causing it to last seven days as opposed to one week is much less than if they try to treat a potentially life-threatening disease like malaria. There’s the problem. Untreated malaria can kill, and treating malaria with homeopathy is every bit the equivalent of leaving it untreated.

People die that way. Quackery kills.