Here’s a selection of e-mail comments received by Homeowatch Quackwatch. Some have been edited to remove identifying information and, in some cases, to make them read a bit more smoothly. — Stephen Barrett, M.D.
From a computer chip production worker and personal fitness trainer in Idaho:
I first visited your site during a pretty traumatic time of my life: I had just been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease Lymphoma. One of the women I work with is a homeopath who tried to convince me that doctors know nothing and “modern medicine” knows even less. Your Quackwatch site was one of the first that my browser pulled up during my research, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I’ve always held a deep respect for scientific practices, and the information posted on your site helped to reaffirm for me that true medicine is exactly that: A scientific practice. Homeopathy? Give me a break. I dove into this subject much further, and now use what I’ve learned as an example of just how much further some human beings have to go before calling themselves “intelligent.” The result? I’m now—after having both chemotherapy and radiation treatments—cancer free. Not bad for someone who’s life expectancy was once very limited. Thanks, and keep up the good work!
From a British journalist:
Earlier this year, I watched for several months while my (now ex-) housemate, a “qualified” homeopath with 17 years experience, became seriously ill with a bowel condition. She tried remedy after remedy, none of which helped, yet during this time she refused point blank to get medical attention. I finally forced her to a see a doctor who immediately had her admitted to hospital where a biopsy and scan showed she had advanced bowel cancer. Her homeopath (it would seem that homeopaths never treat themselves) advised against radiotherapy (!!!), but because nothing else was working, she did finally but reluctantly agree to have the treatment. She is now recovered—and yes, she’s back working as a homeopath! She feels that if only she had found the right remedy. I fail to understand how anyone with a modicum of common sense could possibly believe in homeopathy. I have little doubt that my friend would be dead now had she not had the radiotherapy. Of course I cannot prove it. I discovered your website yesterday and it totally validates my own conclusions on the matter. Yet it leaves me angry that the practice continues in the UK unchallenged. It belongs with Santa and the tooth fairy.
From someone concerned about a sick cat:
If I could afford donations, I would do so. In this case, your site ended the several-months-long suffering of a cat I was pet sitting for. The owners used (note the past tense) a homeopathic vet. I decided the cat was in too much pain and called a real vet (while I was pet sitting) who diagnosed him as having a severe urinary tract infection. He would have died if it had gone on much longer. I convinced the owners to read some posts on your site, and they have switched to a real vet now. Any time I hear someone mention homeopathy, I steer them to you. Thanks thanks thanks!
From an Israeli woman with asthma:
I’m having asthma troubles and asked for the name of a local asthma specialist. A few people recommended homeopathy to me. I remember having heard a lecture about it in high school, regarding the issue of the hyper-dilution taking the substance down to less than one molecule per dose. It was good to be able to find a clear, well-written article that explained that.
I’m quite upset that several times recently, pharmacists have tried to sell me homeopathy when I asked for medicine. (I’m pregnant, so a lot of medicines aren’t available to me.) I have no problem when they recommend saline spray for my nose. Saline has valid ingredients and reasonably measurable results in terms of cutting mucus. Selling overpriced alcohol to a pregnant lady and calling it “safe and effective” for curing disease seems like serious malpractice. I’d rather leave with nothing than spend a lot of money on something that won’t work. ARGH!!!!
From the mother of two small boys:
Just because you do not believe in the use of homeopathic drugs does not mean that other people do not. My two boys (7 and 2) have never been sick in their life. I have taken my oldest to the “doctor” for his school mandated checkup but other than that my family uses natural herbs. In fact when I was in labor with both of my children I was given Aconite. It eased my labor pains and made my labor speed up. It also gave me back energy that I had lost while giving birth to my chiildren. I guess it really does irk you that homeopathy could cause you to lose your job. If everybody would try it then the medicle field would cease to exist.
From an anonymous homeopathy advocate:
Grow up and smell the rotting carcass….at the feet of the medical system.!!!! Have you never been ill?… Have you never lost a loved one?….. How fortunate for you to swallow whole hog the onesided belief system of the AMA….. I wonder if you have done your research on them… or is it just so comfortable in your body that drugs don’t scare you?…. Your absence of direct experience is obvious…. medicine has failed in every situation where it mattered in my family’s health…. and homeopathy has worked in every situation where desperation forced alternative choices……. you are blind and stupid and damaging in your public rejection.. which will close the options for people who read this page and have no recourse…… how can you be so stupid… so arrogantly sure that the only answer is in your pocket… and the global evidence of use and practice and health is meaningless by that notion… you are pitifully backwards….. I hope you never get so sick you have to eat your words…. they won’t taste palitable……….I wonder what you will do when the radiation doesn’t work and the hair is gone from your head and they have cut off your testicles and still the tumors are growing in your spine and brain… what then.. will you be so god awful cocky then?… what about when the ones you love are dying before your eyes and have no options…since medical science gives up on them….will you continue to denie the choice of an alternative?….. Medicine is a weak option…… you are pitiful….. it makes me sick……..
From another anonymous advocate:
your statements about homoeopathyare totally baseless and pathetic.before blaming other sciences just look at ur own.just hav alook at ur previous records(if u have any) of patients and see what they are suffering with now. u are only sending them to death. you are only suppressing diseases and not curing them they are definately suffering from more grevious diseases but u think they have come from heavens.get yourself fucked from somewhere because i cant do that to u.
From another anonymous advocate:
Natural remedies have been around for thousands of years – western quackery “medicine” only 75 years – which would an intelligent patient choose? Not a chemistry lab arsenal of drugs. They kill more people every year than all the wars put together.
From another advocate:
You are clueless. You must work for some drug company, they are just mad because homeopathy works, and they can’t patent it. Why don’t you to do some expose on insurance companies, or drug companies that are stealing from sick people.
From another advocate:
You poor stupid materialistic dullards, you really have no idea how homeopathy works, do you? Do you really think that it’s a matter of a certain physical amount of a substance being present in the remedy that makes it work? If that were the case, the remedies would be just like your drugs. Get a clue: “There’s more in heaven and earth, Horatio, than is dreamt of in your philosophy!” Don’t go witch hunting something you don’t understand. You need to read up on your quantum physics.
From another advocate:
Every time I have taken a homeopathic remedy I was relieved of the suffering it was intended for. Unless you have a hidden agenda I don’t see a point on your part to malign a well tested school of medical cure. We all know Avogadro’s hypothesis and the issue of no active ingredient being present in a highly potentized homeopathic medicine – but the fact of the matter is it works and it works repeatedly ! Why don’t you spend your precious time to find out why and how it works rather than remain stunted by current scientific perception. It will help you to keep an open mind … who knows what the future holds for us – may be an entire frontier of science is yet unknown which will finally explain why homeopathy works! Till then at least do not try to deny the established fact that homeopahy works and try to spread false ruse through internet that it is a placebo. Hope you will appreciate and try to be more open to all observations which are yet unexplained.
From another advocate:
You have to be the dumbest person I have seen in a long time. You really have no idea what you’re talking about. Todays medical circus is so out of control I just cannot believe that You are trying to sue for something that is harmless and actually cures people of all kinds of diseases. If the people in this country would wake up and really see that the AMA,FDA and the Pharmaceutical companies are nothing but whores selling out to the highest bidder. There is so many people who die from your non quakery medicine that I can’t wait until you and your so called medical institute starts getting sued and sent to jail for MURDER. Through family illnesses I have learned that the medical institutes can do more harm than good, and a doctor who you would say is a quack cured my wife in one treatment. So all I have to say is I’m going to the quacks!!
From an advocate who asserts that homeopathy makes her immune system “rock solid”:
Dear quacks: Just the fact that you would call homeopathy quackery indicates that you have absolutely no knowledge of its workings! You are ignorant and your silly web-page does a great disservice to all. You are probably filled with envy that something so affordable and non-invasive can produce dramatic results, unlike expensive, harmful drugs which wreck nothing but havoc. I am one of the millions of people who have successfully used homeopathy for everything, from headaches to yeast-infections. I wouldn’t dream of taking any medications ever again! Aside from going through a medication-taking period in my early 20s—which has produced no positive results, and which for a long time has left my immune-system weak – i haven’t even taken as much as an aspirin since, and I am now 36, totally free of any ailments, with my immune-system rock-solid, I never get sick, I never get a cold, I don’t have any allergies, and I stay away from pharmaceuticals and hospitals and ignorant M.D’s, and I encourage everyone to try homeopathy, for which people are grateful! You should do unbiased research before putting out irresponsible crap, subsequently jeopardizing your own credibility! who are the quacks here? And as far as the FDA is concerned—they are not the cutting-edge, they are as biased as you are, and certainly NOT an authority on the subject on health. So who cares what they have to say! I sure don’t! Some of the stuff they release as being safe, is downright harmful. they work in the interest of pharmaceuticals, not in the interest of the people. Get with it!
From a student in an “effective speaking” class at Clark State Community College, Yellow Springs, Ohio:
I am writing to let you know there is a problem with the practice of homeopathic medicine. Many people, including yourself, disagree with the use of homeopathic medicine. I want to convince you that the use of this medicine is good and that it is not bogus. Next, the problem is that many people are trying to stop the practice of homeopathic medicine. This is important that it not be stopped because many people believe in it and rely on it. Some professionals put it down and discourage it to patients, saying that it really doesn’t work. Next, what I want you to do is to at least stop putting it down. I’m not saying that you need to start practicing homeopathy, but to at least suggest it. Now, other people are accepting the use of homeopathic medicine. There are many benefits of using homeopathic medicine. In many cases i is cheaper, and there aren’t as many risks or overdose and other complications lime with conventional drugs. Finally, I would like to thank you for reading and considering my proposal. (Letter signed by eight other classmates.)
From a British advocate who offers to treat me:
Dear Dr. Barret: I can appreciate your cynisism about Homeopathy. I was once in your position. However, you must be an intelligent man, or you couldn’t have obtained the qualifications you have. Therefore, I’m sure you’ll appreciate the phrase “the proof is in the pudding”. I would love the opportuntiy to prove to you Homeopathy works. I live in the UK, and I am a second year student of Homeopathy. I also have a full time job as a Flight Attendant, and fly to the USA at least once per month. I would be honored if you would allow me to prove (or as you think disprove) Homeopathy to you once and for all. I would like the opportunity to treat you. I mean, I am not even half way through my training, so how good can I be? I would appreciate it if you would open your mind, and give it a try.
From another satisfied user:
I must simply state that I have received excellent results from homoeopathic treatment. I understand allopathy has it’s place, but after many doctors told me nothing could be done for my serious health condition, homeopathy got results my doctors could not. The main word here is results. Sick people don’t really care about scientific testing. They want relief. If you have a bit of patience, nothing on earth can restore health like your own body. because it has been created to heal its self in ways science hasn’t even discovered yet. I think that you are really off base with refering to homeopathy as quackery. Europeans use it often as do many other countries, and I beleive it’s resugence is a direct result of the side effects of allopathic medicines which “force” your body to react to them while damaging organs, requiring even more drugs to counter act. People are simply tired of being on medicines permantly and never being truly healed of their conditions. I have witnessed the effectiveness of homeopathy in too many people for it to be quakery. I’m sorry different forms of medicine can’t compliment each other, and I’m sorry that people expect “silver bullet” results from medicine these days. I think if you really want to help your subscribers and readers, you would find out why so many people are getting results from these remedies instead of attacking them.
From a compounding pharmacist in Kentucky:
I see you did a little research on homeopathy and came to your “all knowing” conclusion that it is a fake. Shame on you. Samuel Hahnemann did research testing “provings” for 50 years of his life. How dare you make conclusions on something you have no experience in. . . . . I have used homeopathy for years with as good or better results than medications, and sometimes astounding results that no drug could ever do. The medical profession has closed its eyes and attacked the science it does not understand just for arrogance sake and to the shame of costing millions of lives. Physicians like yourself go to extremes to “poopoo” something instead of truly researching it. That is why physicians and hospitals are the 3rd (and I suspect higher) leading cause of death in this country. I don’t see you printing that on your website. Who is the real “quack” here? Quackery originated when 2 dentists were trying to push mercury as dental fillings known as quicksilver. Everyone knew that was crazy, even back then a couple hundred years ago, but eventually they got the ADA to approve it as “normal”. The AMA and ADA, 2 peas in a pod. How many people have these poison amalgams in their mouth right now? I think you have your website labeled correctly, YOU ARE the Guide to Quackery, a true QUACK. Don’t you have a conscience? You are leading countless people astray. Stop before you hurt someone else.
This page was revised on April 14, 2015.