It’s All Gone Quiet Over There

Anybody who has read the works of homeopaths such as Dana Ullman or Sue Young will know they often bang on about “allopathy” and “iatrogenic illnesses”. Allopathy means “intending to cause symptoms different to those manifested by the patient” (homeopathy means “cause the same symptoms…”)  “iatrogenic” means “caused by doctors” although homeopaths use it to refer to the side effects of drugs. So if a patient had been killed by a medication sold by a big industry, you’d expect the homeopaths to be shouting about it from the roof-tops, wouldn’t you?

They are not, though. Ling “Carrie” Wang, a post graduate student used Jin Bui Huan (JBH), a traditional Chinese remedy (TCM) to treat a stomach upset and skin rash. Read about it here. She fell into a coma, her liver and other organs shut down and death followed.

JBH appears to have form in causing health problems. See here and here. In Colorado it has been linked to central nervous system depression, respiritory problems and life threatening heart problems. In Los Angeles it has been linked to acute hepatitis. In Belgium some contained Anstolochia fengchi instead of Stephania tetrandia. The Chinese names for these plants are very similar but unfortunately the former contains anstolochic acid which is highly toxic to the kidneys. In this case 80 users suffered kidney damage and 39 suffered end stage renal failure. 

I call TCM a big industry because they are everywhere. Go down any high street where the local poulation has enough money to indulge their hypochondria and you will find a Chinese herbalist.

Despite this death produced by allopathic medicine, the homeopaths are strangely silent? Why is this? Are they worried that if attention is drawn to one branch of CAM, they themselves may come under scrutiny?

And why are politicians silent? This young woman was poisoned by an illegal drug. (Anstolochia is banned throughout the European Union). Why are herbal remedies not being regulated? Why are they not being tested for safety and efficacy? What other toxins are masquerading as remedies on the shelves of your local herbalist? 

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10 Responses to “It’s All Gone Quiet Over There”

  1. Dana Ullman Says:

    Jeez…you’d think that a scientifically-minded person like yourself would not mix up apples and oranges. Chinese herbology and homeopathic medicine are totally different systems. Why would you expect homeopaths to comment upon a problem from Chinese medicine? Would you expect a neurologist to comment upon bad treatment from a proctologist? If so, what would the point be?

    To me, it is amazing that people who think of themselves as “defenders of science” become scientifically lame when they analyze and critique (weakly) homeopathic medicine.

  2. jaycueaitch Says:

    The point I was making, which obviously flew over your head, is that people such as yourself shout about “iatrogenic illnesses” when they result from conventional medicine but not when they result from other forms of “alternative medicine”. Why is that?

  3. Dana Ullman Says:

    The answer is quite simple: When there are problems from a natural medicine, it is a rare event and is somewhat “newsworthy” because it is so unusual. In contrast, the dangers of conventional medicine are inherent in the paradigm. Such are the problems when drugs are used to inhibit and/or suppress the wisdom of the body. Nature bats last…

  4. jaycueaitch Says:

    If you were to follow the links I posted you would see that problems with TCM are not rare.

    What does “inherent in the paradigm” actually mean in plain English? Don’t herbal remedies “inhibit and/or suppress the wisdom of the body”? Why are you so selective about the allopathic remedies you denigrate?

    Oh, and stop linking to your online shop, otherwise future posts will be treated as spam.

  5. gimpy Says:

    Such are the problems when drugs are used to inhibit and/or suppress the wisdom of the body. Nature bats last…

    Dana you poor misguided fool, could you explain to a dull mind like mine just how the wisdom of the body is expressing itself when cells turn cancerous, organs lose function, or brain cells acquire harmful plaques?

    PS Here is a Swedish report from 1990 showing the dangers of using alternative medicine.

  6. BadlyShavedMonkey Says:

    “When there are problems from a natural medicine, it is a rare event and is somewhat “newsworthy” because it is so unusual. In contrast, the dangers of conventional medicine are inherent in the paradigm. ”

    Dana, now I’m confused. Conventional medicine means using real chemicals in pharmaceutically meaningful amounts. TCM means using real chemicals in pharmaceutically meaningful amounts. That looks like the same paradigm to me.

    Conventional medicine means using well-identified properly identified chemicals prescribed under a regime of post-marketing surveillance.

    TCM means using an obscure mish-mash of potentially highly active chemicals under a regime where cases of harm will rarely be identified because there is exactly zero systematic post-marketing surveillance.

    Am I getting closer to what you mean by a difference in “paradigm”?

  7. zafroo Says:

    good

  8. Christonabike Says:

    “In contrast, the dangers of conventional medicine are inherent in the paradigm. Such are the problems when drugs are used to inhibit and/or suppress the wisdom of the body. Nature bats last…”

    Hang on there, making a distinction between “natural medicines” and “drugs” is just nonsense. Loads of drugs are (or were originally) derived from plants – what you get in “natural medicines” is just drugs in unknown doses and with variable levels of contaminants, which may or may not be dangerous. If ever something needed strict regulation this is it.

    Does Mr Ullman want to disagree with this?

  9. strummer Says:

    Perhaps you could give us your thoughts on these Dana?

  10. A Year of Steam « Letting Off Steam Says:

    [...] Ullman proved to be quicker off the mark, leaving his first comment on this blog on All Fool’s Day. In fact (occasionally) rapid response seems to have been a [...]

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