Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Organic Food Versus Homeopathy

One of the main arguments for buying and eating "organic" food is that it has less pesticide residue than non-organic food.

The main claim for homeopathy is, basically, "that which does not kill us makes us stronger." It looks like that might be true, in some cases (see this Scientific American article for examples, and see the Wikipedia article on homeopathy for why that doesn't actually apply to homeopathic remedies).

So I find it odd that so many people who take homeopathic remedies also religiously shop for organic food. If you believe that taking a teeny-tiny bit of something bad is good for you... then shouldn't you be eating non-organic foods?

Confession: I don't buy organic, but I do always wash my produce. Not because I'm worried about pesticides, but because I'm worried about E.coli.


Unknown said...

I also am utterly skeptical of homeopathy. It requires me to essential abandon by entire world view and scientific principles to boot--then maybe I'd be cured by the placebo effect. Ain't happening. But the SciAm article isn't about homeopathy. In the case it's describing there is measurable evidence of the substances that are dangerous in large doses. In the case of homeopathic remedies, there is absolutely NO measurable residue! I do try to buy local and buy organic, with preference for the former. And that's because who knows how much residue is remaining, and such substances have a cumulative effect over time, something that the SciAm article by no means suggests might actually make you stronger. They're talking more about single doses, not cumulative.

Gavin Andresen said...

I'm a sucker for locally grown stuff, too. I probably overestimate how much it harms the environment to ship lamb from New Zealand versus New York, though.

Anonymous said...

Homeopathy is theory seems reasonable but the problem is that the solutions are so diluted as to be worthless except as a placebo.

Anonymous said...

Homeopathy does NOT cure you by the placebo effect. Scientists have tested this medicine on animals and infants, and they are cured of their illnesses - they do not know they are being given a medicine, so how can their minds think they are being cured because of a pill?
I eat all organic food and use homeopathy - it is definitely the better way to go - I've done plenty of reading on all of this, so I would know.

Gavin Andresen said...

RC, can you point me to the study you're talking about? A quick google search (homeopathy animal trials) turned up many hits from sources I wouldn't trust. A literature review published in the "Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine" journal says:

"Despite a few encouraging observational studies, the effectiveness of the homeopathic prevention or therapy of infections in veterinary medicine is not sufficiently supported by randomized and controlled trials."

Or, in other words, the good studies that they looked at showed diddly-squat.

Reference: http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/3/2/171

BobL said...

Conventional medicines kept me going to the hospital and with horrible pains in my gut. Switched to homeopathy and other Natural remedies plus organic foods and I haven't been back to the hospital in 2 years. I was skeptical about homeopathy in the beginning but not now.