Sunday, January 26, 2014

Photographic Evidence that Homeopathy Works

he started out with numerous growths 
that were multiplying over time

One of the things I often hear about homeopathy is that it can't possibly work.  People say that because the remedies are so diluted, there is no way they could actually have an effect.  Often, people will say that any positive changes must just be the placebo effect (whereby the mere act of thinking that a treatment will work makes the person get better even when they are just given a sugar pill). I'm excited to share with you some evidence that homeopathy works.

These photos are of a 1-year-old, who I will call Daniel*.  Because he is so young, it is not possible that the placebo effect caused the changes shown in the pictures. I first evaluated Daniel homeopathically when he was 17 months old.  At that time, one of the symptoms his mother noted was that Daniel had numerous small growths in his right underarm.  These growths started to appear at 6 months of age and had continued to multiply over time.

In classical homeopathy, the totality of a person's symptoms are used to select a remedy that best matches ALL of the symptoms.  For Daniel, his complete symptom picture included:
  • frequent colds
  • a demanding yet playful nature
  • being very attached to his mother and afraid to be alone
  • poor appetite for foods along with voracious nursing
  • desire to be carried
  • underarm growths
  • right-sided complaints
  • physical appearance including a thin physique with a head that seemed a bit large for his frame
I selected the remedy Lycopodium clavatum for Daniel because it matched the totality of his symptom picture. Within a couple weeks of starting to take the remedy, Daniel's mother noticed that the growths under his arms seemed to become inflamed (at which point she decided to take a picture of the growths), and then the growths started to shrink.

She continued to administer the remedy to him (given from a wet solution), and over the next two months the growths continued to shrink smaller and smaller until they disappeared entirely.  (Previous to the homeopathic treatment, the growths had just continued to multiply over a period of 11 months.) As is typical when the correct homeopathic remedy is chosen, Daniel's other symptoms were also affected by the remedy: he became more easy going, less demanding, less afraid to be alone, with a better appetite and deeper sleep. Nonetheless, with emotional or mental improvements people may rationalize that the improvement was just a coincidence. In Daniel’s case the obvious physical improvement of a long-standing issue left no question that homeopathic treatment was the source of the cure.

These photos show very well how homeopathy can work wonderfully and gently.  With conventional approaches to skin problems (such as eczema), each symptom is treated individually.  When the skin problems disappear through the use of cortisone and other topical applications, it is thought that a "cure" has taken place, when in reality the underlying disturbance is still in place.  The skin no longer manifests the symptom, but often a more serious, deeper-rooted problem takes it's place.  For instance, when eczema is suppressed, respiratory problems such as asthma often follow.

Through homeopathy, the true underlying cause of the symptoms is addressed, and all of the symptoms are taken into account to find the one remedy that matches ALL of the symptoms.  In the end, the skin symptoms are healed, but also the mental, emotional, and physical  symptoms are all improved. With homeopathy, not just one symptom is eradicated; rather the overall level of health is increased, and the person is left more balanced.

the growths were completely healed in two months

*This is a true story, but I have changed the names to protect privacy.
**I am not a physician or licensed healthcare practitioner (as there is no licensure available for homeopaths in the state of New Mexico). The information I provide is intended to educate, and should not be construed as a prescription.  Please do not try to self-treat chronic conditions through homeopathy; while homeopathic self-treatment of acute conditions can work well,  the treatment of chronic conditions requires the skills of a classically-trained homeopath.

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Stephanie said...

That is wonderful. Thank you for sharing

Baden said...

Awesome!! The photos are indeed helpful. How wonderful that you are in the world for people! :)

Anonymous said...

Were the growths like skin tags? Impressive. My naturopath used Cinchona to treat a chronic Gall Bladder condition for me about 20 years ago and I've had no return. The entire time he kept telling me it was not a typical remedy but his instinct was directing him so we tried it. Worked. Amazing.

Sarah Smith said...

The growths were similar to skin tags, but larger and with a bit of pink color to them. Sometimes they would have a white tip (but when squeezed by his mother, nothing ever came out of them).

Laurie Paul said...

What a blessing to every family who gets this kind of help. And their health is left in a much better state. Thanks for the pictures and article.

Tetenterre said...

It's miliria, not "growths". Look it up.

Tetenterre said...


Sarah Smith said...

No, it was not miliaria (also known as prickly heat rash). These were actually growths, some as long as 1/4 inch. It is hard to see that in the photos since they look more flat in the photos.

Regardless, homeopaths don't get too caught up in the medical terminology as the specific details of how each individual experiences the condition are more important for selecting the correct remedy than knowing the correct medical term. For instance, knowing that someone has eczema is not particularly useful homeopathically, but knowing that someone has a red rash that itches after bathing and has a painful burning sensation in the evening would be much more useful in finding the correct remedy.

Sandra Hermann-Courtney said...

Thank you for sharing that case history Sarah. Wonderful to have the photos to document as well! I have been a patient and student of homeopathy for the past 25 years. It works, period.

One of the most dramatic accounts of the effectiveness of a homeopathic remedy concerns a friend of mine who had a colicky baby, 6 months without relief on conventional medicines. I recommended she consult our family homeopath who lived 400 miles from my friend’s home. The child screamed in pain the entire way and the trip was more difficult because of a flat tire along the way. Upon arrival at the homeopath’s home, my friend was told to place the boy on a small table. As he was still crying loudly, it was easy to drop a few pellets of Dioscorea villosa in his mouth. Within seconds the child stopped crying and a huge smile appeared instead. The return trip home was a delight and the little boy had no further episodes!

This type of response to a homeopathic remedy (and there are so many more) is why homeopathy has survived the attacks by its skeptics for over 200 years.

Sarah Smith said...

Hi Sandra,
Thank you for sharing this Sandra! I am treating a 4-month-old right now (via phone) who has colic and is responding amazingly to the same remedy (Dioscorea), which was indicated by the fact that he bends backwards whenever he is having a colic episode.

Homeopathy truly works amazingly, and I am excited that if I ever have any more children I can treat so many of the problems that we thought we just had to live through when my kids were babies.

Anne said...

My son's rash seems to be itchy all the time. Especially at night. Daytime activities are a good distraction. Its progressively gotten worse since birth almost a year ago.

Sarah Smith said...

Sounds like he could probably benefit from constitutional homeopathic treatment.

Dr. Nancy Malik said...

A. Statistically Significant human studies on homeopathy upto the end of year 2010
1. 309 studies published in 120 journals including 11 meta-analysis and 82 DBRPCT.
2. 8 out of approx. 20 systematic reviews are in favour of homeopathy i.e. 40%
3. 89 (80 DBRPCT + 7 DBRCT + 2 RCT) out of approx 225 RCT are in evidence of homeopathy i.e. 39.56%

B. Out of 164 high quality papers published between 1950-2011 (inclusive) on RCT in 89 medical conditions
1. 137 are placebo-controlled & 27 other-than-placebo controlled studies
2. 71 (43%) papers reported +ve findings, 9 (6%) were negative; 80 (49%) were non-conclusive; 4 (2%) contained non-extractable data.
3. Out of 137 placebo-controlled studies, 41 are on individualised homeopathy and 96 on non-individualised homeopathy
4. In 32 out of 89 disease conditions, there has been replicated research (2 or more RCT).
5. In 22 out of 32 disease conditions, the results of replicated research were statistically significant.

Check for 168 full text papers at

Jack said...

Sarah, I saw your "Here's one for the skeptics" post on the "National Center for Homeopathy" facebook page and it caught my attention.

I've just read through the above article, "Photographic proof that homeopathy works" and I found it really interesting. In particular the following sentence really grabbed my attention: "In Daniel’s case the obvious physical improvement of a long-standing issue left no question that homeopathic treatment was the source of the cure".

It seems to me that this sentence betrays the use of a common logical fallacy, namely the "post hoc" fallacy. In simple terms, your claim runs something like this: given that the administration of the remedy was followed by an amelioration in the patient's condition, the amelioration itself must have been caused by the administration of the remedy.

I agree with you that there is a correlation between the two events but it seems to me that you have not effectively demonstrated a causal relationship between the administration of the remedy and the improvement of the patient's condition. It would be necessary for you to demonstrate this relationship in order for your title, "Photographic proof that homeopathy works", to have any veracity.

With the above in mind, I request that you either remove the article all together or at the very least, change the title so that it might be a more accurate representation of the article's content. To do otherwise would be misleading to your readers at the very least.

I note that you, "love comments!", so I hope that you enjoyed reading mine. Thank you.

Sarah Smith said...

Hi Jack,
Thanks for your comment. I appreciate you taking the time to elucidate your thoughts in such a logical fashion. I've changed the word "proof" to "evidence" in the title. Does that seem more technically accurate to you?

Jack said...

You'll note that I removed a comment; I accidentally entered my response as a new post rather than as a reply. Here's the post that I removed:

Thanks for your response.

It's good to see that you've amended the title. To answer your question: it does seem more "technically accurate" to me, but it would probably be better described as being "less inaccurate".

As I see it, there is a collection of photographs that seem to suggest an improvement in some sort of cutaneous condition which the patient was exhibiting. Accompanying these photographs is your article in which you detail the condition of the patient, name the remedy which you felt was suitable and describe an apparent improvement in the patient's condition. This is immediately followed by a mere assertion that the remedy administered must have been the cause of the improvement: "In Daniel’s case the obvious physical improvement of a long-standing issue left no question that homeopathic treatment was the source of the cure."

It seems obvious to me that there is a host of possible causes for the improvement in the patient's condition, I could name a few if you wanted but I imagine you can think of many yourself. Why should we be inclined to think that the apparent improvement was as a direct result of the administration of the remedy and not that the improvement was due to some other factor? Also, can you explain the mechanism of action of "Lycopodium clavatum"? If I knew how the remedy worked, I might find it easier to understand how it could have caused the improvement.

Sarah Smith said...

Hi Jack,
At the time of the homeopathic treatment, no other medical treatments, medicines, or topical treatments were being used. When we started the treatment, the skin condition had been ongoing for 11 months, getting worse over time. Once the homeopathic remedy was started, the skin condition quickly started to change. It was very obvious to both Daniel's mother and myself that the homeopathic remedy was the cause of the change in his skin condition.

One way to tell that the remedy is causing a change is that, as a general rule, the homeopathic remedy is only repeated when progress has stalled or started to regress. For instance, my 3-year-old son's homeopathic remedy helps with his temper tantrums. When he has recently taken his remedy, he has no temper tantrums whatsoever. One of the ways I know it is time to give him another dose of his remedy is that his temper tantrums will start to happen again, with increasing regularity; once I give him another dose of the remedy, his temper tantrums will once again disappear for several weeks, then slowly start to increase in frequency until I give another dose.

As to the question of how specific homeopathic remedies work: all homeopathic remedies work in the same way if they are being used properly. The process of selecting the correct remedy takes into account a person's full symptom-picture, including physical symptoms as well as emotional and mental symptoms. The reason Lycopodium worked for Daniel is that it matched the totality of his symptom picture, not just because it matched his skin condition. In other children I've treated, skin eruptions have cleared up through other homeopathic remedies. It is not that one specific remedy always works for a specific condition, but rather that a remedy works because it matches the overall case and all of the symptoms that a person presents.

The remedies work through like-cures-like. Each homeopathic remedy has gone through extensive testing on healthy people to determine what symptoms that remedy will produce. (These tests are called provings.) Once a remedy has been fully "proven", there is then a large list of symptoms that are associated with that remedy. The homeopath's mission is to find a remedy whose proving has demonstrated the same symptoms as the patient is exhibiting. When a medicine is truly homepathic to the case (i.e., when it truly matches the totality of the patient's symptom-picture), then administering the homeopathic remedy will lead to improvement of all of the symptoms (physical, mental, emotional). For Daniel, not only did his skin condition disappear, but he also became much more balanced overall: less demanding, less fearful of being away from his mother, sleeping better, and having a better appetite. For a mother using a homeopathic remedy for her child, it becomes very obvious that the remedy is having an affect, because the mother observes that indeed all of those behaviors get better whenever a dose is given. If you want to learn more, I suggest that you read, "The Science of Homeopathy" by George Vithoulkas.

Jack said...

I can understand how initially one might erroneously see a causal link between the administration of the remedy and the improvement in a patient's condition. However, in the case of this "Daniel", it seems to me that you still maintain that there is an obvious causal relationship, I don't understand this. The claim that causality is "obvious" in this case is explicitly fallacious.

I believe the following is a fair representation of the anecdote about your son: his behaviour was bad, a remedy was administered, you perceived a positive change in behaviour, subsequently you perceived a deterioration in behaviour, the same remedy was given again and you perceived a positive change in behaviour. What remedy was used in this instance?

I'm interested in the mechanism of action of the remedies themselves. In the case of the patient "Daniel" you said you gave him "Lycopodium clavatum", as I understand it, this is a fern-like plant. I read that homeopathic remedies typically have the active ingredient diluted in water and the strength of the solution is calculated on the "centesimal scale". I'm curious: what strength of dilution was the "Lycopodium clavatum" remedy on the centesimal scale?

Sarah Smith said...

Hi Jack,
Once again, the specific remedy that is used in each instance is not as important as why the remedy works. The remedy works when it matches the totality of the patient's symptoms. For my son, that total picture includes much more than just temper tantrums, but also his sleeping problems, eczema, and cooperativeness. All of those areas improve with the correct remedy.

If you really want to understand more about how the remedies actually work, I urge you to read some books on the topic. A good place to start is "The Science of Homeopathy" by George Vithoulkas.

Jack said...

You will be happy to hear that I have started browsing through "The Science of Homeopathy" by George Vithoulkas. I'm currently reading Chapter 6, "The Fundamental Law of Cure". A lot of the ideas in the book are quite difficult for me to grasp, which is why I am more interested in discussing the subject with you. I feel that, as a practitioner of homeopathy, you will be able to give simpler explanations than those contained in the book. Also, I am particularly interested in the case of "Daniel" that you presented in your article so I think it is reasonable for me to consult you for information, rather than consulting a book that was published 35 years before Daniel was born.

From what you have told me, homeopathic remedies are intended to address a number of symptoms comprehensively. You said that Daniel exhibited frequent colds, lack of appetite, cutaneous blemishes, an overly strong attachment to his mother and a seemingly disproportionate physique. You have said that you believe that it is obvious that the "Lycopodium clavatum" is responsible for diminishing Daniel's symptoms. I am still struggling to understand how this remedy works so I would like you to give me a simple explanation.

As far as I am aware, the production of homeopathic remedies involves the process of "dynamisation", where a substance such as "Lycopodium clavatum" is diluted in water to make a solution.
I have two questions: What strength on the centesimal scale was the solution of "Lycopodium clavatum" that you used with Daniel?; How exactly did the solution of "Lycopodium clavatum" work to improve Daniel's condition?

Sarah Smith said...

Hi Jack,
I am glad you are reading the book, as it goes into much more detail than I can through the blog. It is just too big and broad of a topic for me to explain everything through this venue.

Yes, homeopathic remedies do work on the whole picture at once. The actual mechanism of how the remedies work is not fully understood at this time. Some homeopaths liken the action of the remedy to stimulating the body to respond to the remedy (which can produce the same symptoms as the person is exhibiting) and in responding to the remedy the body corrects itself as well. The explanation that has made the most sense to me is an analogy to music: the body's vital force is out of tune, and the remedy helps the body get back in tune. Regardless, the fact that the mechanism leading to health is poorly understood doesn't keep the remedies from working nonetheless. I have experienced their improvements myself, seen them work wonders in my family, as well as numerous patients who have been able to recover their health through using homeopathic remedies.

As for potency, the selection of potency depends on many different factors, such as the overall sensitivity of the person, their age, and the depth of their ill-health. For Daniel, I started with a 30c potency, which is a potency that is diluted enough that people would argue there is no Lycopodium left in the remedy. While that is true from a molecular standpoint, the remedy does still act (and in fact homeopathic remedies actually act stronger the more diluted they are). Daniel responded favorably to the 30c potency, and then we eventually switched to a 200c potency (which is even more diluted, but also a stronger potency). Homeopathic remedies work on the quantum level (which means through energy), and of course science is just starting to catch up on understanding the way things work at the quantum level.

I hope this helps give you more of an understanding.

Jack said...

Sarah, it's nice to see that you're trying to help me get a better understanding but I find myself only more confused than I was before. I have detailed all of the issues that I have identified and they're split over the following to posts (my comments were too long to put in a single post). I hope that you can address all of my further concerns.


The following sentence in your response really struck me: "The actual mechanism of how the remedies work is not fully understood at this time." Correct me if I'm wrong, what you seem to be telling me is that the homeopathic community has a poor understanding of how homeopathic remedies might actually work. Despite this, you maintain (along with the rest of the community) that there is a demonstrable causal link between the administration of homeopathic remedies and elimination of particular ailments.

I want to focus on this idea for a minute. Above, you state the following: "I have experienced [the remedies'] improvements myself, seen them work wonders in my family, as well as numerous patients...". To put it very simply, we have two occurrences or events. Event A is the occurrence of you administering a remedy to a patient. Event B is the occurrence of you and/or the patient noticing an apparent improvement in the patient's condition. Event A and event B are two separate events but event B happened shortly after event A. It is obvious that the two events are "temporally proximate" to each other, in other words, the two events are "correlated". However, it is not obvious that the two events are "causally related". Event A and event B occurred at roughly the same time, but this does not necessarily mean that A caused B, it simply means that they occurred at roughly the same time. It is necessary for the person who claims that A caused B to demonstrate as much. In other words, if one wishes to show that the administration of a homeopathic remedy caused an improvement in a patient's condition, one must give a detailed and convincing explanation of how exactly the remedy acted to produce the perceived improvement. Now, you have already said that the mechanism of action of the remedies is "not fully understood at this time". Given that the mechanism of action is not fully understood, how can one possibly demonstrate that there is a causal relationship between the two events? I'll give you the answer: one can't! It is not possible to demonstrate that causality exists between two events if one cannot give an account of how the alleged cause caused the second event.

As I have said, in an effort to demonstrate a causal relationship between the administration of the remedy and a reduction in observable symptoms we need to look at the MOA. As you have said, some homeopaths claim that the "law of similars" or the principle of "like-cures-like" explains the mechanism of action of the remedies. This explanation isn't really detailed enough to be very convincing. I understand that the principle of "like-cures-like" is similar to the principles behind mithridatization or vaccination but the "like-cures-like" principal doesn't apply in all cases. For example if we observe that hitting someone in the head produces a headache in a healthy individual, it does not follow that hitting someone in the head when they have a headache will make their headache go away.

Jack said...

And to continue the above...


I was pleased to see your acknowledgment that a 30C remedy of "Lycopodium clavatum" doesn't actually contain a single molecule of "Lycopodium clavatum". However, you then say that the remedy "does still act". We began with a mixture of "Lycopodium clavatum" and water, then we diluted the remedy to such an extent that there is no longer any "Lycopodium clavatum" in the water, it follows that the "remedy" is now actually just water. This is the point where I start to get very confused. The remedies are alleged to work according to the principle of "like-cures-like" (which we have already established as being a questionable principle) but their active ingredient which was selected according to the principle of "like-cures-like" is not actually present in the water.

At this point I hope you can see that I am really struggling to get my head around this. We already know that in order to show causation, one must give a detailed and convincing explanation of how event A caused event B. We have also established that the remedy administered at event A was nothing more than water. I have no idea how one might go about explaining that the administration of water (presumably in a relatively small dose) was the cause of a reduction in symptoms such as frequent colds, poor appetite, desire to be carried, underarm growths and an abnormal physique shape. It seems more likely that the apparent improvement in the patient's condition was caused by something else, placebo perhaps

I don't understand how, "homeopathic remedies actually act stronger the more diluted they are". Can you please explain this?

I have never heard any physicist describing the "quantum level" in the same way that you have done. The phrase "on the quantum level" would be better described as meaning "on a very small scale" or "on a nanoscopic scale". Your sentence about the quantum level confused me. Can you explain how homeopathic remedies work "through energy"? What exactly does "Homeopathic remedies work on the quantum level (which means through energy)" mean?

Sarah Smith said...

Hi Jack,
I, too, was rather perplexed when I first learned that there is currently no thorough understanding of how homeopathic remedies work in the body. My inner scientist wanted to understand what was actually happening and how the remedies could lead to health. But, I decided to take a leap of faith and try using homeopathy anyway because I trusted the people that originally recommended homeopathy to me. I was doubtful and skeptical that anything would happen, but I was blown away by how well and how gently the remedies actually do work.

When I first started using remedies, I did initially think there must be some coincidence happening, that the remedies couldn't possibly be the cause of the changes. But over time, and using the remedies more and more, there were just too many of these "coincidences" for the effects I was seeing to not be related to the remedies.

You have argued that if we don't know how the remedies work, then we can't possibly use them and see results, but that is a fallacy. When people thought the earth was flat, that didn't change the fact that the earth was actually round. Similarly, not knowing or even misunderstanding the way the remedies work does not change the fact that they do in fact work.

With adults, sure you can argue that the placebo effect must be a factor. But I've seen too many cases in babies that have very remarkable health improvements from taking the remedies (and they can't possibly have a placebo effect because of their age). Homeopathic medicines work on animals too, and there can be no placebo effect there either. Additionally, with placebo effect there is no negative effect, whereas with homeopathic remedies there are sometimes negative effects (known as aggravations). I'll continue in another comment.

Sarah Smith said...

As to potencies, it is clear that besides the dilutions, something else is happening when the remedies are being made. Through succussions (violent shaking) of the liquid, the energy of the bade material is imparted into the liquid. So over time, while the actual molecules of the original substance are reduced, the energy in the liquid is actually increased. As I said before, this mechanism is not fully understood, but that is what makes the most sense to me as to what is actually happening when the remedy is being made.

And while we don't fully understand how or why the remedies work, what we do know well is how to use the remedies in an effective way. So even though we don't know how the remedies work, we do know what to do with the remedies to make them work.

And yes, the remedies do work through like-cures-like. That is actually how they were discovered in the first place. Samuel Hahnemann (the founder of homeopathy) was a medical doctor who had given up practicing medicine after seeing the ill effects it had on his daughter (this was at the time when blood-letting and toxic substances such as mercury were being administered). Samuel became a translator of medical texts (since he knew many languages), and he came upon a description of the symptoms that Peruvian bark would produce when someone was poisoned with it. He was struck by the fact that they were the very same symptoms as malaria, which Peruvian bark was successfully used to treat. He started experimenting and found that, indeed, a substance could cure people of the very same symptoms that it would produce if ingested by a healthy person. Samuel then went on to refine the method of administration to reduce the number of negative effects the medicines would produce (since of course poisonous substances can have lots of negative effects), and hence he developed the system for diluting and succussion of the remedies.

My understanding of why the more diluted remedies act stronger is that they have more energy of the original substance in them. Once again, since our understanding of energy is very limited, we cannot quite wrap our heads around this yet. But that doesn't stop the remedies from working nonetheless.

Sarah Smith said...

You may also find it helpful to read an account of one of the numerous medical doctors who have switched over to using homeopathy instead of conventional medicine. Dr. Dorothy Shepherd gives a striking account of her experiences and why she changed to using homeopathy in "Homeopathy for the First Aider". She was a doctor treating all manner of wounds in the World War II era, and tells about how she found homeopathic remedies to work much better than her original training in medicine. She also tells many striking true stories of healing that underscore how well homeopathy works.

Jack said...

Sarah, it seems that you have misrepresented one of my arguments: "You have argued that if we don't know how the remedies work, then we can't possibly use them and see results, but that is a fallacy". You have merely fabricated a straw man argument, thus making my position look less strong than it actually is. My argument was that you cannot demonstrate causation without understanding the mechanism of action of the alleged cause.


Again, you gave Daniel a remedy and shortly afterwards his apparent condition improved. What we need to ask ourselves now is: why did Daniel's condition improve? Below, I give a list of possible causes for the apparent regression of the patient's symptoms.

Daniel's documented improvement in condition...

...may have been caused by regression towards the mean.
...may have been caused by a change in his diet.
...may have been caused by a change in his sleeping patterns.
...may have been caused by a change in his physical activity level.
...may have been caused by his mother subconsciously giving him more attention than she had been.
...may have been caused by his belief that the treatment would work. (Placebo Effect.)
...may have been caused by your belief that the treatment would work. (You may have mistakenly perceived an improvement that did not exist, in one or more symptoms. This may be due to the fact that it is in your interested that your patients get better.)

...may have been caused by administering a remedy (probably water) that allegedly has some poorly understood form of "energy" that has been transferred into the liquid remedy by means of "succussion", which is a poorly understood process itself and is not supported by a significant body (if any) of peer-reviewed scientific research.

Honestly, which one of the above scenarios do you think is the most plausible?

David Hume, the Scottish philosopher, is often quoted as saying: "Which is more likely; that all the laws of nature have been suspended, in a manner of your favour, or that you quite simply have made a mistake?" This quote may be of use to you.


I have only three questions:

Do you understand what I mean when I say correlation does not imply causation?

Can you provide any evidence in support of the claim that animals and infants cannot experience the Placebo Effect or a similar effect?

Why are you inclined to accept the least plausible explanation for what caused an improvement Daniel's health?

Sarah Smith said...

Yes, I understand that correlation does not imply causation. At the same time, though, I do believe that there is value to experience, and experience has shown with all of my patients that after remedies are administered they do get better.

How would an infant or an animal possibly exhibit the placebo effect? In both cases, they do not know what they are being administered, nor would they have any reason to think they should get better from it (and with animals, one could argue that they can't even reason in that way).

The remedy is not "probably water". It is not plain water.

I am not inclined to believe the least plausible explanation. There were no changes to his sleeping pattern, diet, or physical activity level. And how would a mother subconsciously giving more attention cause the underarm growths to disappear?

This argument is getting tiresome for me, as it seems to me that you came into it already having decided that homeopathy cannot work and then trying to prove that is the case. I know homeopathy works, after having seen it numerous times improve a wide range of complaints from morning sickness and heart palpitations in pregnancy to common acute ailments (colds, sore throats, stomach flu, etc) to chronic conditions such as skin eruptions, behavior problems, and sleep problems. At some point, experience does show causation to me, when the remedies produce positive, lasting improvement in a wide range of people with a wide range of complaints. At that point, it is more implausible to continue to argue that some other factor must have been the cause of the improvement. I do not intend to continue going back-and-forth with you any further on this topic since you seem to have already made up your mind regardless.

Laurie Paul said...

I just have to say that I gained considerable knowledge and understanding from reading your responses here Sarah. I think it will help me in explaining a bit of the mystery of this very effective treatment to my loved ones. Thanks for hanging in there for that very long dialogue, and I think you earned the right to end it the way you did.

Laurie Paul said...

I was wondering something. Do you think it is possible to end milk allergies with homeopathy? I would so love to be able to drink milk.
I loved reading this article. It is so rewarding to read about another person being helped and healed in such a positive way.

Sarah Smith said...

Laurie, I'm glad you benefited from reading through all of these comments! Thanks for letting me know.

Sarah Smith said...

Hi Laurie,
Yes, remedies can definitely help with food sensitivities. Improvement in food issues does take some time (on the time frame of months rather than days or weeks). Since that is a chronic issue, it would be addressed through constitutional homeopathic treatment.

Vip said...

Sarah, your patience and willingness to explain in-depth are quite commendable. It can be very difficult for some people to go beyond their paradigms of correctness, especially ones that are seemingly supported by mainstream assumptions about reality. As a practitioner of some 32 years, I have become equally dubious about the usefulness of so-called "medical science," which is almost completely biochemically-oriented (and thus, in today's economy, money-driven by Pharma.)
Your comment about adherence to flat-earth thinking was most apropos. There are so many other examples throughout human history, apart from Ptolemy-->Copernicus-->Kepler, that show this tendency to cling to "what everybody knows must be true." Thomas Kuhn took this topic on nicely in the 1950s with his "Structure of Scientific Revolutions," to which we owe the notion of "paradigm." It's agonizing for some to bust out of their paradigm box.
Thank you for your clarity and perseverance; and for the nice photo documentation on this case!

ANonymous said...

I too know homeopathy works, and have photographic evidence of such. My son suffers from severe eczema (his allergist wanted him to be on Prednisone for 4 days two times over just a few months because of how severe it was). After being completely fed up with that line of treatment that also included damaging steroid creams and avoiding foods we knew he was allergic to I started researching, researching, researching. I tried coconut oil, supplements, etc. I stumbled upon homeopathy (in Vanity Fair no less) and gave it a try. I took pictures before, during and after great strides have been made. I know it works as I saw it with my own eyes. I also saw his progress accelerate greatly after we upped the potency of his Rhus Tox from 12c to 30c. I know it was the Rhus Tox because the dramatic improvement corresponded with that move in potency. Without a doubt that had caused the improvement. We also saw decreasing in his itching after using Belladonna and Chamomile. These things are evident to everyone that knows him and knows his situation. We are still trying to eliminate the itching 100% but it has gone down in severity a great deal. I love homeopathy and don't need studies to tell me it works-I have seen it with my own eyes on a large scale such as this and also on smaller scales with acute illness (colds, flu, etc.).

Anonymous said...

This is a great example of molluscum contagiosum - a common viral infection in young children - which responds readily to the correctly chosen homeopathic constitutional remedy! Good work!

You can see more examples of such cases at websites such as: and

Anonymous said...

Homeopathy helped me get rid of Lyme Disease. My head is very thankful! (If you have Lyme you know how it can effect your head).

Jack said...

Sorry, Sarah, for not having responded sooner.

In the interest of avoiding confusion, I would like to point out that I did not claim that an infant or animal can exhibit the placebo effect, I asked if you could provide any evidence to the contrary. It seems that you have abstained from doing so. Again, I'm not claiming that infants or animals can exhibit the placebo effect but I would be open to the idea that they might be able to. An infant might be influenced by the observer-expetancy effect and an animal might be influenced by the Clever-Hans effect, these could produce similar results to the placebo effect. Some clinical research has suggested that children might be more susceptible to the placebo effect than adults (1) so, as I said, I'm keeping an open mind.

Regarding the remedy, it is "probably water". Given your background in engineering, I imagine that you are already know about Avogadro's Constant, which accounts for the high probability of the remedy being nothing more than water (2) (i.e. two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen and the various other minerals that are usually present in water).

I was taken aback when you said, "There were no changes to his sleeping pattern, diet, or physical activity level". In order for you to know this you would have to have been monitoring your patient on a 24/7 basis. I would be surprised if this was the case.

A mother's extra attention would not necessarily cause underarm growths to go away (nor did I say that it would) but it may explain the disappearance of behavioural issues.

You are wrong to assume that I have already decided that homeopathy cannot work. I am keeping an open mind on the matter and am willing to accept any evidence that can demonstrate that and explain how homeopathy can effectively treat a patient beyond inducing a placebo effect.

You accompanied the link to this "Photographic Proof that Homeopathy Works" article with the words, "Here's one for the sceptics". What exactly did you expect, that sceptics from around the internet would flock to your blog and have a Pauline conversion? 

I did not set out to prove that homeopathy doesn't work, I set out to see what kind of arguments could be made for homeopathy and I thought I was going to get some good ones from you, especially given that you were even willing to engage in discourse with me in the first place.

It was my intention to eject myself from this thread but now I notice the involvement of others and I feel compelled to stay a little longer. I feel like I've been quite generous up until now but the more I remember how damaging the abundant lack of critical thinking on this page is, the more I am irritated.

With the above in mind, I'll divulge that I believe that you do not understand the term "correlation does not imply causation". This misunderstanding is made evident in the following quote, "experience does show causation to me". You also said, "I did initially think there must be some coincidence happening, that the remedies couldn't possibly be the cause of the changes. But over time, and using the remedies more and more, there were just too many of these 'coincidences' for the effects I was seeing to not be related to the remedies." This quote further strengthens my claim that you don't understand that correlation does not equal causation. It doesn't matter how many times you witness the correlation, it still doesn't imply causation (3)(4)! There are no exceptions to this rule!

Finally, I would like to point out that you have yet to apologise to me for your misrepresentation of one of my arguments.


Anonymous said...

@ Jack:

Would you please accurately detail the function of Aspirin for each of us?

Jack said...

Hi Anonymous,

As I understand, the function of Aspirin is to act as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory and/or antipyretic. Why did you ask me this?

Anonymous said...

Dear Sarah, Thank you for this great article.
I have seen way too much personal evidence to ever be skeptical of homeopathy. My family has been using it for 15 years- My son was diagnosed with autism, ADHD at 3 yrs old. He was kicked out of nursery school for being physically aggressive with other children. Within 2 years of homeopathic treatment there was no signs of autism, ADHD or aggressive behavior. We have used homeopathy to successfully address the following ailments over the last 15 yrs (this is the short list- there has been much more- Myself- asthma, allergies, menstrual cramps, headaches, acne, cold sores, (I don't have any of these problems anymore that I previously had before having constitutional homeopathic treatment). My husband- asthma, allergies, cold sores. My children- no more asthma, helped with teething, colds, chronic nosebleeds, heartburn, behavior issues, irritability, GI viruses, flu, mumps, rashes, warts . It works. Find a practitioner, get a good book, let the healing begin!

Jack said...

Anonymous, why did you ask me that question about Aspirin?

Shannon said...

What would you suggest for chronic eczema in children?

Sarah Smith said...

For chronic eczema (or any other chronic issues), constitutional homeopathic treatment can work wonders. In constitutional treatment, the person's total symptom picture (on the mental/emotional/physical levels) is taken into account and a remedy is selected which best matches the totality of symptoms. Constitutional treatment needs to be undertaken with a well-trained classical homeopath, as it is much too intricate and nuanced of a process for people to manage on their own.

Let me know if you need any guidelines to help in finding a good homeopath. I myself also treat people constitutionally via phone. If you are interested in learning more about my services, e-mail me at nourishedandnurtured[at]gmail[dot]com.

Anonymous said...

My daughter had the same case. Our MD had no clue, yet prescribed an RX that we did not take. So, I took her to my homeopathic practitioner. She said that my daughters lymphatic system was blocked up. Since the liver wasn't doing it's job either, whatever needed to come out of my daughter system was coming through the skin. So, we used a product called I tires (homeopathic), along with the cream, took oregano oil three times a day for any possible infection of the bumps, Combined dry brushing and a homeopathic remedy for lymphatic drainage. Cleared up within 3 days and has never had another problem.

Anonymous said...

Jack, he/ she was messing with you. No one cares. Although you seem very intelligent, You don't need to prove how smart you are on another persons blog. Get your own. If you don't have anything productive or positive to add to the discussion, save it. Conventional medicine is great in its own right, but people are looking for an alternative for when it fails and a doctor writes someone a one size fits all script. You may have to much time on your hands.

Jack said...

This whole "anonymous" thing gets a bit confusing when so many people use it to identify themselves.

I would generally leave it to the commenter to inform me about the nature of their comment, I wouldn't be surprised if they weren't "messing" with me, because aspirin might actually have some genuine relevance to the above discussion.

Thanks for calling me intelligent, from your brief comment you come across as being fairly reasonable yourself. However, I have no agenda to "prove how smart [I am]" so please don't imply that I do. I came to this blog because Sarah advertised on Facebook that the above article would be of interest to sceptics. She subsequently gave arguments that were, in my opinion, patently weak and I was irritated by this, hence, I stuck around.

I agree with you that conventional medicine does not have all the answers but that does not imply that one should waste their time testing out alternatives that either have no evidence in support of their efficacy or actually have evidence that supports their inefficacy.

Regarding your comment about having too much time on my hands: for me this is a pretty serious issue. The belief that homeopathic remedies are actually effective can have detrimental effects on public health. For example: someone who is diagnosed with cancer may have been misled to believe (by articles such as the above) that homeopathy actually has some sort of clinically demonstrable efficacy. As a result, this cancer patient might choose to use a homeopathic remedy instead of a real one and therefore, their prognosis would likely become pretty grim.

There are plenty of documented cases where people have actually died because they decided to use alternative medicine instead of actual medicine. I'll cite three such cases below.

Thanks for reading my comment.

Anonymous said...

This is funny. The causation fallacy in particular. This is a clear case of molluscum. The CDC website for this skin condition states: " Usually no treatment is needed because the bumps disappear by themselves within 6-12 months, although this may take up to 4 years."

So, the kid's molluscum went away naturally on its own, and the homeopathy treatment gets to take credit.

Jack said...

It's such a relief to see someone talking sense in the comments section of this article.

Megan said...

Love these posts! Learning so much!

My little guy has a cold (21 mo.) and I just gave him some Pulsatilla. I remember reading about how you dissolved remedies for little ones, but I can't find it anywhere! :( I've been dissolving 4 tabs in 2 oz of water and then giving one plastic spoonful, but I just got to thinking - do I need to succuss? Thank you! :)

Sarah Smith said...

Hi Megan,
I find that, unless a person is very hypersensitive, most people (and infants too) do fine just using dry doses for acute illnesses. If you want to do a wet dose instead, that is fine too, but just a bit more complicated.

When I do wet doses for acutes, I do the following:
-1 tablet into 4 ounces of water
-1/2 to 1 teaspoon as a dose (for a hypersensitive, I would stir that amount into 4 ounces of water and then only give 1/2 to 1 tsp from that cup as the dose)
-succuss 5 times before each dose (or only 3 times for a hypersensitive)

I hope this helps!

Megan said...

Thank you!!