Does homeopathy work or not? That’s a question that Professor Joe Schwarcz answers in big capital letters…. “NO.”
Professor Schwarcz, Director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society, is well known in Canada for his very entertaining public lectures on the topics of science and chemistry. With a deep love for the magic of science at an early age, Professor Schwarcz uses science magic to wow his audiences at lectures and seminars. His goal and what his biography terms as his “mandate,” is to demystify science to the public and the media (one could consider him the Canadian version of Carl Sagen, only for chemistry).
In an article published in the Calgary Herald, author Valerie Berenyi uncovers Professor Joe’s views on Homeopathy (please don’t hold back professor)…
“The main theme in all my books is separating sense from nonsense and providing interesting information. It’s entertainment for the mind, as well as feeding the mind. I try to make it compact, because in these days people have been conditioned to sound bites, which is why I make them punchy and to the point.”
He pulls no punches debunking alternative health practices, especially homeopathy, which has been trumpeted by British royals, including Prince Charles.
“Homeopathy is the most absurd of all of the alternative beliefs,” Schwarcz says.
In 1790 a German physician theorized “that a substance that causes certain symptoms when given to a healthy person in a high dose will, when given in a smaller dose, cure sick people who suffer from the same symptoms. He then compounded his illogical idea by suggesting that the smaller the dose, the more powerful the remedy,” the chemistry prof writes in Dr. Joe’s Brain Sparks. The doses are diluted so much they don’t contain a single molecule of the original substance.
“It’s utter nonsense,” says Schwarcz, explaining that people are being fleeced for what is essentially the placebo effect.
“Many, if not most, diseases are self-limiting and will get better no matter what you do, whether you take a homeopathic remedy or the triply distilled extract of virgin Himalayan mules. If you believe in it, it will work for you 30 to 40 per cent of the time.”
Likewise, he dashes the hopes of menopausal women everywhere when he says there’s no evidence that natural remedies black cohosh and soy extract help with hot flashes. (A Mayo Clinic study published earlier this week also dismissed the use of flaxseed for treating menopausal symptoms.) “We see this over and over again,” says Schwarcz. An initial study shows a positive result; typically they’re poorly controlled or done with few people, and as better studies with proper controls and larger populations are mounted, cold water is thrown on the benefits.
He cautions people to be careful with herbal remedies. While many pharmaceuticals stem from plants, the active ingredient is isolated, purified and standardized. “The approval system is not the same as for prescription drugs; you don’t have to show the same degree of efficacy and safety. And people assume because it’s natural it can’t be harmful, which is totally incorrect.” Read more:
I do agree with Professor Schwarcz that people should always be careful and proceed with caution with any type of homeopathic remedy. That of course is what this site is dedicated to (uncovering the truth with holistic remedies, what works and what doesn’t). So does homeopathy work or not? Many MD’s who are now using homeopathic remedies in their practice would tend to disagree with the good doctor. I will also point out that Professor Schwarcz has a PHD in chemistry- no where was I able to find that he also was a Medical Doctor.