Much in the news at the moment is the action taken by the police against the purveyors of penis enlargement pills.
A woman has been fined R10 000 for being in possession of illegal medicine and illegal posters promoting penis enlargement, Johannesburg metro police said on Saturday. “ - http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Penis-poster-woman-fined-R10-000-20130406
Now the by-law infringement for pasting unsightly posters all over the place I understand and the cops would do well to go after all transgressors. However, the “ possession of illegal medicine” seems to me to be unwarranted and discriminatory. As far as I know it is not illegal in this country to sell quack remedies otherwise one would expect similar action to be taken against all the muti sellers and every pharmacy which sells homoeopathic remedies. Of course consuming rhino horn to give one a big horn or to cure bunions is as effective as chewing one's nails but action is only taken against anyone who sells it since it is the product of an endangered species.
But it is homoeopathy that I want to highlight here. But before I do that I want to draw a clear distinction between herbal remedies and homoeopathic remedies. They are two very different things. Homoeopathic medicine is the crackpot idea that if you dilute something with water, the water still "remembers" the properties of the compound that you diluted. Homoeopathic preparations are diluted so much, millions of times, that the chances are the little brown bottle you purchase is 100% overpriced sugar water. There is no scientific evidence to support the idea that water remembers the energies and other such bollocks touted by homoeopaths.
On the other hand herbs are, well, real herbs. Many herbs form the basis of effective registered medicines but many have not been studied thoroughly, although clearly many of them really do work, or do something. Just like regular registered medicines, however, herbs can have side effects, so it is better to seek professional medical advice before using them.
Anyone can buy some little brown bottles, fill them with sugar water, paste on a fancy label with a Latin sounding name and call themselves a homoeopath or distribute them to chemists for retail distribution. The beauty of this is that there are no controls over what you put in the bottle provided it is harmless, i.e. totally ineffective. Homoeopathy is a very lucrative scam that enjoys way too much undeserved respect and privilege.
Homoeopathic remedies are as effective as penis enlargement pills in doing anything except to have a short term placebo effect although it won't be too long and hard before you realise this with the latter.
The real problem is that people are conned into believing muti cures and homoeopathic medicines really work and are this is exceptionally dangerous. A particularly pernicious example of this is touting the idea that people suffering from cancer can use some crackpot concoction, appropriately called Arsenicum Album, instead of getting professional medical treatment.
How is this for A1 baloney? “Arsenicum Album is a primary remedy for cancer and is often recommended for individuals with terminal cancer that are entering into the death process. It helps the individual confront and deal with their fear of death – feelings of being stuck in limbo, not knowing what lies ahead, not knowing what to expect, feeling terrified of the transition, afraid to let go of their life. When used appropriately, it can be a powerful tool for assisting individuals in coming to greater peace about the death process, enabling them to embrace the transition with greater spiritual centeredness.”
“embrace the transition with greater spiritual centeredness”. Yeah, it works, like my arseinadrum and if I, a cancer and chemotherapy survivor, had fallen for the homoeopathic bullsh I would be dead by now.
Some other points:
Homoeopathic medicines, like Marikana bullet stopping muti, does not have to be approved by the Medicines Control Council. Why? Because they know it is not medicine and is ineffective.
There is no reliable clinical evidence showing that homoeopathic remedies can treat cancer. The basic premises of homoeopathy, developed more than 200 years ago, are not in agreement with modern scientific principles .
Homoeopathy: The Ultimate Fake
England’s chief medical officer tells House of Commons Science and Technology committee that homoeopathy is ‘rubbish’:
There are real medicines and alternative medicines. Alternative medicines are called alternative because trained medical professionals have evaluated them and established they are useless. If they were effective they would no longer be “alternative” but registered medicines.
So, apart from the illegal pasting of posters all over town, I want to know why are the police going after the peddlers of bigger dick muti and not the purveyors of other useless muti, the quack homoeopaths and pharmacies who sell snake oil?
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