I don’t know how I missed them, but somehow homeopathic first aid kits had not registered on my radar. They’re readily available. Even Amazon.com sells them, for $54.99. They contain 18 vials of tiny sugar pills, all with potencies of 200C, guaranteed by Avogadro not to contain a single molecule of the active ingredient. (For those of you who may not know, Avogadro was the Italian scientist who discovered the Avogadro constant, the number of atoms needed such that the number of grams of a substance equals the atomic mass of the substance.
If that paralyzes your brain, never mind. Just take my word for it that Avogadro’s discovery allows us to calculate that a 13C dilution (a 1 in 100 to the 13th power dilution), is the equivalent of diluting 1/3 of a drop of the original substance in all the water on earth, and to reach a 200C potency you would have to continue to dilute it by 1 to 100 a total of 187 more times.)
What’s in the kits?
On homeopathy websites you can buy special first aid kits for the car, for hiking and camping, for horses, for pets, for pregnancy, for childbirth, and for travel. One website sells a first aid kit that “contains all the major homeopathic first aid remedies which work so amazingly well particularly when given immediately after an accident or injury.” Only $99.95, but you’re also advised to buy a book to explain its use, for an additional $18.95. It contains 15 remedies in a 30C potency:
- Aconite (the “queen of poisons): for colds, flu, sore throats, effects of fear, fright, chicken pox and croup
- Apis mellifera (honey bee): for burning and stinging pains, insect stings, swelling of the lower eyelids, edema, swollen joints
- Arnica: after injury, mental and physical shock, before and after operations or visits to the dentist. Stops bleeding, aids in the healing of wounds and reduces bruising and swelling. Good for general healing and shock, exhaustion, muscular pain, sprains from overexertion.
- Arsen alb (arsenic): stomach upsets from food poisoning, diarrhea, vomiting and acute hayfever. Good for some dry skin conditions.
- Belladonna (deadly nightshade): hot flushed face, sore throat, facial neuralgia, throbbing headache, earache, boils, chickenpox, measles and mumps
- Bryonia (a toxic weed): dry chesty coughs, muscular pains, which is better for resting [sic]
- Cantharis (a beetle, Spanish fly): burns and scalds before the blisters form, sunburn, constant urge to pass urine, urine passed drop by drop (cystitis)
I’ll spare you the rest, except to note that the list includes poison ivy to use for shingles, mumps, sciatica, herpes, etc.
It doesn’t matter what kind of poison is in them, because it’s all gone at that dilution. Which makes it really silly to choose one, because they’re all the same.
I was reassuring myself that people would mostly use these remedies while awaiting medical care, and then I found a website that horrified me.
For certain illnesses, it said “Depending on severity, seek medical care.” These included anaphylaxis, animal bites, bone injuries, third degree burns, carbon monoxide poisoning, cuts, drug overdose, electrocution, eye injuries, food poisoning, paint poisoning, pesticide poisoning, puncture wounds, and shock. It’s appalling to think that patients are left to their own assessment and might think these conditions were not severe enough to merit medical care.
For dislocated joints and heat exhaustion, there was no advice to seek medical care even if the condition was judged to be severe. What, you just leave your shoulder out of joint and non-functional?
In small print at the bottom you can find this disclaimer: “solely intended to provide a format in assisting the student in learning the principals of Homeopathy. It is in no way to be considered a substitute for a consultation with a health professional.”
No way to stop this dangerous nonsense, so you might as well laugh
The Quackometer was alarmed by the blurb accompanying these kits that said “to be used in even the most severe emergency and accident situations.” He describes the response (or rather non-response) of manufacturers and homeopaths to his concerns about them.
Myles Power has done a hilarious YouTube video about these kits
He says “It makes me so angry that it even exists.” But it gives him a fantastic idea. He goes out to save the world by dropping a pill from each bottle into a local stream that runs to the ocean and will eventually reach everyone on earth in an even more dilute form. He will eliminate all the diseases the kit instructions cover, from heart attacks and strokes to throttling and drowning.
Conclusion: What is there to say?
What can I say? “Aarrrgh!” is not very coherent, and “Good grief” doesn’t quite cover it. Treating an emergency with sugar pills that have once been in contact with water that was once in contact with poison is just offensive to all reason and logic.
This article was originally published in the Science-Based Medicine blog.