Will individuals respond differently to homeopathic remedies prepared with unboiled vs. boiled water?

I recently watched a debate between Ben Goldacre and Peter Fischer on homeopathy. During the course of the debate, an audience member asked, “If water has a memory, how come you’re not sick every time you drink water out of the tap?.

A homeopathic practitioner answered (paraphrased) that boiling the water resets the memory and that homeopathic remedies are only effective when using boiled water. He makes another comment implying that if a remedy were prepared with tap water, it wouldn’t be effective.

I realize the above related question (“Does water have a memory…?”) is nearly identical. I’m trying to ask it another way as it’s possible to persist with the water memory concept despite the other question’s answer. One could simply say (my hypothetical response),

“Well, we don’t know how it works and perhaps it isn’t by the known mechanism of how water behaves… but trials indicate that it works, nonetheless and that’s all I need.”

Since the audience member in the video indicated tangible predictions, I’m interested if they’ve ever been put to the test. Thus, my question is:

Has a trial ever been conducted in which homeopathic remedies prepared from both unboiled and boiled water were compared against one another in terms of patient response?

If there is another way to answer this question please go for it.

Answer:

It really doesn’t make any difference if the water is boiled or not, homeopathy doesn’t work.

The Minimum Dose and Avagadro’s Number The second and most controversial tenet in homeopathy is that remedies retain biological activity if they are diluted in a series (usually in a 1:10 or 1:100 diluent–volume ratio) and agitated or shaken between each dilution. Hahnemann began this process to reduce toxicity, but later he claimed that this “potenization” process extracted the “vital” or “spirit-like” nature of these substances (2). The limit of molecular dilution (Avagadro’s number) was not discovered until the later part of Hahnemann’s life; by then homeopaths all over the world were reporting that even very high potencies (dilutions lower than Avagadro’s number) produced clinical effects. The implausibility of such claims has led many to dismiss any evidence of homeopathy’s effectiveness as artifact or delusion (3). http://www.annals.org/content/138/5/393.full

But lets pretend for a moment that water does have memory. The aspect of boiling has not been researched. A search of Google Scholar nets no results for boiling and homeopathy. When referring to “how-to” guides of preparations it becomes obvious that homeopaths are merely after clean or unpolluted water to make their preparations in.

Ingredients … 1/2 or 1 litre of boiled water (distilled water may be bought at pharmacies in some countries, if you want that, and bottled, rinsed water is commonly sold in groceries too)

Another example:

Preparing your own bottle: Boil the glass bottle and dropper in filtered water for 15 min. and let it cool completely. Fill it just to the neck with filtered or distilled water.

So clearly the idea that boiling is the only way to reset the water is not backed up by the practices employed by homeopaths themselves. This combined with the fraudulent claim that water retains memory shows that this is another misdirection to allow justification.

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I think you’re mythtaken

You hear a lot of stupid stuff everyday. Sometimes the stupid is funny, like a work colleague saying they believed what a politician said. Sometimes the stupid is cute, like a girl who believes she can change a guy. But sometimes the stupid is actually just annoying, like the list I’ve compiled below.

Dogs can look up, down, sideways and cute.
Whoever keeps forwarding around that email of “facts” that includes this little doozy has clearly forgotten that we humans are taller than dogs and that dogs prefer looking at our faces to our knees.

Hello human.
Hello human.

Ducks quacks echo, especially when it’s rabbit season.
If by some chance ducks were able to break the laws of sound reflection, they would be lining up ducks at every Nickelback and Justin Bieber concert in an effort to stop further brain damage to society. NB: if you don’t get the rabbit season reference, I pity you and the cartoons you watched as a child.

10%
I’d really hope that people don’t use only 10% of their brains, as you would really have to be comatose to do so. Then again, it would explain daytime television and our fascination with the zombie apocalypse.
the-zombie-apocalypse-is-here

Lefties vs. Righties
Whilst we are discussing brains, no-one is really left or right brained. If that were the case I’d be able to shoot the writers of Adam Sandler films in the right half of their brain – the imaginative and creative part – and they would still be able to function. How else would people look at a cucumber and remember its taste, feel, look, useful attributes and things that it could be used for, but probably shouldn’t, especially if they put it back in the fridge after?

Update: Another study has been done and again shows, this time with really cool MRI images, that there is no such thing as being left or right brained. See the pretty picture tells us so.

Total Recall
Remember back to your sixth birthday when you had just gotten a bike but weren’t allowed to ride it until you’d hugged grandma, but you didn’t want to hug grandma because she’d forgotten to put her false teeth in, so you gave her a noogie instead? No? Well, if I was to show you a picture and have your mum tell the same story, you’d make up your own ending to that story and swear it was real. Most of our memories are fake. I wasn’t the prom queen, I didn’t win best in show and my stint as President of El Salvador was not a raging success. Yet I choose to remember it this way because otherwise my fragile ego would not give me the courage to throw a brick at Steven Segal to stop him acting.

An Average Complex
It’s odd that being slightly above average height leads to people concluding that the reason you want to create an empire is because you are short. Poor Napoleon. Can’t wait to see history’s explanation of GW Bush’s invasion of Iraq: he confused it with Indiana?