Statistically some of you use homeopathic products such as the popular oscillococcinum that is often given by mothers to their children. Today I want to talk you about what in my opinion is the biggest misconception surrounding homeopathy no big secret, mind you, but the multinational companies making these products that are not less smart than others, do not go out of their way to tell this. Actually I was preparing a video on sugar refining when I heard the sad news of the death of a child caused by otitis which was not effectively treated with medicines because the doctor had prescribed some homeopathic remedies so I decided to make this video. In my experience many people and I am sure some among you too mistakes homeopathy with herbal therapy treating oneself with herbs. Homeopathy does NOT mean herbal therapy. This is what, moreover, many people automatically say to justify the supposed efficacy of homeopathic products, by telling themselves: well, whatever, it works for me, there’s nothing weird in that, we always treated ourselves with herbs, right? That is true, men treated themselves for a very long time with herbs because in vegetation there are many plants with active principles inside that can be quite powerful, for instance, to heal or prevent some pathologies Socrates committed suicide with hemlock and we know how many plants contain active principles that were then used, or are even today used as a basis for medicines that we take, think about aspirin nobody has anything to debate on the fact that plants may contain substances, molecules active principles that are helpful in some conditions. However that in the large majority of homeopathic products there are no herbs not a trace right! There are no plant-based products inside the majority of homeopathic products. This is the most widespread misconception of all. Homeopathy does not mean herbal therapy NO, NO, and more NO! Earlier I quoted the most famous product from Boiron, the company that makes Oscillococcinum that many mothers give, especially in autumn, to their kids thinking it contains who knows what that develops or reinforces the children’s natural defenses. Do you know what is really inside Oscillococcinum? Well, if we read the label of a box sold in Italy there is no composition list. If we take a box sold in the US, that are much more restrictive at least for this, we discover that one grain of Oscillococcinum contains precisely… drum roll… one gram of sugar! Exactly! One gram, it has one gram of sugar nothing else, zero! Nothing at all; more precisely it has, if you look at the technical tables, 85% of sucrose and 15% of lactose: both very pure. Oscillococcinum is pure sugar (or sugars) at 100% This is declared by the same company and no lab analysis has ever or will ever discover other substances inside Oscillococcinum. No secret, again, it’s just that it is not written on the Italian boxes, it is only found in the American ones. So there are no herbs just sugars: sucrose and lactose. That’s it. Surprised? Did you know that? Yes, some of you probably knew it, but in my experience many people do not, and they are convinced that Oscillococcinum pills, or other types, contain substances of herbal derivation. Oscillococcinum is a product often chosen by mums because it has no side effects and it is clear that it cannot have side effects it’s simply sugar. Much much more expensive. But look at how the company that makes it advertises it with this billboard outside pharmacies or health stores smartly they suggest that there is who knows what censorship because they are not allowed to name it, they are not allowed to advertise the brand, who knows what they are hiding from us! Sure, it is hidden but by themselves the fact that it only contains sugar. This, if you look at the legislation, is not odd at all since to be able to register and sell a homeopathic medicine it is required for them to lack known side effects even so that, unlike conventional medicines, no demonstration is required no proof before starting to sell it, that it is effective for some pathology. Precisely! If I want to start selling a new antibiotic tomorrow I need to do lab tests up until human tests I must prove that it is not toxic in common dosages I must prove it is effective. None of this is required for homeopathic medicines and this is the reason why … badum tss .. there is no leaflet inside: did you ever wonder, or notice this? Homeopathic medicine have no leaflet the one that normally says: useful to treat this and that, these are the side effects you should not use more than 50 milligrams per day etc. etc. etc. it’s not there because no proof is required that it is effective on any kind of disease and therefore it can be sold with the one simple request of having no side effects either. So if the company puts pure sugar inside it will be certain there are no effects. Genius, right? Indeed on the US box you find a sentence essentially saying: know that there is no proof that what you are buying has any effect at all. Buy it but don’t think that anybody did any tests. Which is what, by the way, also happens in the supplement world food supplements, all of them do not need to prove anything before being sold This does not mean they never have any side effect it just means that tomorrow I am able to start selling a new supplement, but I do not need to prove that it has effects of any kind, e.g. on my health. Here in Italy they should write: “without approved therapeutic indications” which is what I said. Since no proof of effectiveness is required then companies don’t do tests, nor clinical trials to prove this stuff works how could they? It’s sugar! On the box they should correctly add, maybe in small print: “look, no indication of approved treatments”. Now I might have angered some of you, you might have closed the tab changed your channel as they said for TVs if you like homeopathic pills, fine I am not here to change your mind, I have no interest what I am interested in is in making you aware that these pills are almost always 100% very pure sugars, ok? And clearly even when talking about the so-called “allopathic” medicines there are treatments that are often completely useless. Mark Twain used to say that the flu, if not treated, goes away in seven days if it is treated with medicines, it goes away in a week! It is true, we often use medicine when not needed it is useless to take antibiotics at the start of a viral infection, for example. The problem here, in the homeopathic case specifically, is that if people do not know this is sugar serious issues can arise exactly because they are given, prescribed by doctors too even when it is absolutely necessary to have specific treatment for situations or pathologies that can become dangerous or potentially lethal such as the case of the poor child who died of ear infection. To fuel the misunderstanding of the poor citizen, there is the fact that sometimes it is not true that in homeopathic products there is no trace of (for instance) herbs e.g. in this arnica-based ointment whose box you see if we look at the ingredients, we find 4% of arnica extract. So it is not correct to say that all homeopathic products contain nothing. Careful however, the real question to ask in these cases is always: “ok it has something, but is the dosage sufficient to have an effect?” Since, as I said: companies that sell homeopathic products are not required to prove anything: I find this a true scandal but this is the truth. Wandering about the homeopathic department of my supermarket I found this marvellous, beautiful example of “homeo-toothpaste” which is not homeopathic toothpaste but it is a very expensive toothpaste, it costs 6.50 euros but it is sold with this writing: “no interference with homeopathic treatments” so with the treatments I said before, based on sugars. Don’t get me wrong, I totally agree that after eating pure sugar, sugar candies you should brush your teeth: I always do that when I eat a ziguli [candy] but jokes aside, why is a specific toothpaste recommended during homeopathic treatments? Well, recall that homeopathy, if you are not aware of that, if not you will learn with me in the next videos, was born in the 18th century, doctors had no clue of what caused the diseases virus, bacteria and all that would come long after they pictured mechanisms that today make us smile they talk about miasma and that stuff. This is the time where they had no awareness that atoms and molecules existed so the explanations given for diseases and eventual healing were without any basis whatsoever and make us laugh in hindsight. Now, one of the things that the homeopathic theory, which was developed and presented in the 18th century by a physician, called Hahnemann, it says, and it is still that way, it is a faith, that during a homeopathic treatment you should not consume food or products with a strong flavour. So if you have just eaten spaghetti with garlic, oil and chili peppers and drunk some coffee, sorry, but your homeopathic treatments will not work. So coming back to toothpaste, mint is a common flavouring for toothpastes but somehow, for unclear reasons, it should influence, interfere with homeopathic medicines, and so they sell a special toothpaste, which could be quite good, no idea, I did not buy it, I have no intention of throwing away 6.50 euros to try it, but see, according to the content it is a normal toothpaste with a lot of chemicals contained in other toothpaste too. But why do different grains have different names? And sometimes these Latin names recall plants or flowers or minerals or chemical substances: nux vomica… belladonna… licopodium… Are they pure sugar too? Yes, actually these and most of them are just sugar so the composition is the same, however homeopaths suggest, prescribe them for different conditions How come? This we will discover in one of the following videos uncovering the less-known aspects of homeopathy. If you liked this video please subscribe, but more importantly share it on your social media. Before leaving I recommend two readings that talk of medicine and misinformation. The first, actually two of them, two books by Ben Goldacre: “Bad science” and “Bad pharma” you can find them in Italian with the titles “Cattiva scienza” and “Effetti collaterali”. The other two are by Salvo di Grazia, known as “MedBunker” he is a doctor that works to debunk a lot of silly medical ideas that get spread out on the Web he wrote two awesome books, one is “Health and lies” and the other “Medicine and lies” be careful, two different books with a similar name, both are worth a read. For today it is all, let me say: if you eat sugar brush your teeth with regular toothpaste it is fine, what counts is the mechanical process. Your friendly neighbourhood chemist says goodbye. Bye!