Confessions of a Homeopathophobic I'm a great fan of the Three Rivers Market; I was there before the beginning, scraping linoleum and printer's ink off the floor. Remind me to tell you of our ill-fated rooftop garden sometime; that was my idea. And I've never criticized the good folks there beyond a disappointed demurrer when they added meat to their offerings. But I was compelled to object when their promotional email not only mentioned the homeopathic remedies they carry, but actually endorsed one to protect members in the upcoming flu and cold season. This is said to protect against - and contain the essence of, since that's the theory of sympathetic magic, which seems to be the basis for homeopathy - the bad vibes germ Oscillococcinum. The germ is called Oscillococcinum because it vibrates. No, I'm not making this up; homeopathy is really, really silly. Three Rivers promotes the homeo remedy for this bug (the real cause of colds and flue and just about any other disease that might trouble you) right under a link to Benefits and Responsibilites of Ownership , mentioning that its worth has been validated "as evidenced by four clinical studies."Following is the copy endorsing Oscillococcinum™ (same as the name of the universal germ it "cures") from the Three Rivers email, and my response. I haven't received a reply.
ON SALE THROUGH OCTOBER!
Oscillococcinum (or Oscillo) (Pronounced o-sill-o-cox-see-num)
• Oscillo helps to reduce the duration and severity of flu symptoms as evidenced by four clinical studies.
• Oscillo works best when taken at the first sign of flu˜when you start feeling the chills, fever, body aches and pain. It is very easy to take. Pour the content of one tube in your mouth and let it dissolve. Repeat for two more doses at six-hour intervals.
• The benefits of Oscillo as a homeopathic medicine are: Safe for the whole family˜from two year olds to seniors. There are no known side effects, it does not interact with other drugs, and is not contraindicated with pre-existing conditions. Does not mask potentially new developing symptoms that could be an indication of a more serious condition.
Any information provided by our staff is for informational purposes only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your doctor or other healthcare professional. You should not use such information for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or as a substitute for prescribing medications. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. ~ eNews from Three Rivers Market
Speaking of "responsibilities," you have a responsibility to your shareholders and customers not to foist worthless quack medicines off on them. Not only are you wasting the money of those who take you at your word (just where were these "clinical studies" published?), you might actually endanger the health of those who decide to try this diluted pate de foie gras instead of taking a more realistic course of treatment for the flu like getting a flu shot or even just staying in bed, not to mention the other maladies this crap supposedly "cures." Despite your statement to the contrary, you obviously are not selling this as a "dietary supplement" and may even be placing the co-op in a legally precarious position. Here's a link to one of the first sites on this bunk that I came up with with a cursory search: The History of Oscillococcinum
Since many of your customers are vegetarians, and since many people confuse homeopathic with herbal remedies, you probably should at least inform customers that the "active" ingredients are duck liver and heart, although, as is the practice in authentic homeopathic remedies, so diluted that it scarcely matters. Wikipedia says: "The ingredients of a 1 gram tube of Oscillococcinum are listed as: •Active: Anas Barbariae Hepatis et Cordis Extractum HPUS 200CK (extract of the liver and heart of wild duck, diluted by a factor of ten to the 200th power.) •Inactive: 0.85g Sucrose, 0.15g Lactose." Unlike most homeopathic remedies (also worthless), oscillococcinum is a proprietary product; it also differs in being even more diluted than most, to the extent that its "active" ingredient is pretty much irrelevant, except in principle.
I've never taken strong issue with Three Rivers' stocking decisions (I've only mildly suggested that we return to our vegetarian origins), but this is really bad. The next step would be selling charms to ward off cancer and prevent VD. Please; your patrons deserve better.
Yours truly, John Mayer
Lying Eyes: Iridology I got a notice from the Asheville Vegetarians informing me of two events; one was the Organicfest, which sounded worthwhile, the other was a visit from an “Iridologist,” yet another form of quackery. Again, I regret the mindset that seeks to equate vegetarianism and veganism, logical and evidence-based approaches to health (among other motivations) with some of the silliest of practices. Even though the notion that there are little trouble gauges in the dashboard of our eyes seems ridiculous, any practice that becomes widespread enough is likely to get some serious scrutiny, and iridology has been studied by real scientists. The results, in short, revealed not a shred of validity. Learn more at trusty Quackwatch. The eyes might be the windows of the soul, but they don’t tell us much about the body. This nonsense is especially annoying to me, having lost my left eye to contact sports and a series of operations attempting to save it (yeah, conventional medicine definitely has its limits). No doubt an iridiological analysis of my left eye would reveal me to be dead. JM
Nation Awakening to Dangers of Hydroxl Acid. Just as a hitman may have several aliases, this potentially deadly compound is also called dihydrous oxide, dihydrogen monoxide or simply dhmo. Scientists and industrialists have long known of its dangers, but placed a higher value on its importance as a widely used industrial solvent than on the scores of lives it costs directly in this country alone each year, to say nothing of the hundreds of deaths to which it contributes; for example, it decreases the effectiveness of brakes. Dhmo accelerates the corrosion of metal and can cause tissue damage to human skin with prolonged exposure; it is colorless and odorless and can be fatal if inhaled. Learn more about hydroxl acid.
There is no question that hydroxl acid is ubiquitous in our industrialized nation, far less so in some of the middle eastern countries we are even now attempting to Westernize. But for how long? You can find links to both sides of the controversy at dhmo.org. There is an article concerning PeTA's presumably unwitting endorsement of the use of products containing dhmo here. With new public awareness have come calls for action; one city councilman recently called for banning its use in a local factory, depite the potential loss of jobs. This issue points up the importance of focusing the limited energy and resources of the nation's vegetarians on those issues that pose the greatest threat to the nation's health and our own, and to our principles of compassion, and that we arm ourselves with as much information as possible in the process.