Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Contains traces of nuts

The purveyors of snake oil have banded together to defeat the Government's plans to introduce regulations for the sale of alternative medicines. True to their normal standards of advertising, they have framed the issue as NZ Govt Moves to Outlaw Vitamins.

As you can see, one of their telling arguments is that, under the new regulations "doses will be reduced, meaning many supplements will simply become ineffective." After pausing to reflect that many supplements simply are not effective, unregulated or otherwise, we might continue to consider the implications for the manufacturers of homeopathic medicines. Since the principle of homeopathy is to reduce the active ingredient by dilution until nothing is left but a memory (water has a capacity for memory, I am sure you will understand), then these regulations are surely good news. By reducing the dosage still further, the regulators will make homeopathic cures even more effective; a first for New Zealand.

Presumably, the Extremely Expensive Approval Process would involve ensuring that homeopathic medicines contain nothing but water, that the water is not contaminated with any other substance. Perhaps the homeopathologists are worried that they might have to start listing the ingredients on their bottles, which would read something like "water: 100%."

Incidentally, some time ago, I proposed to a learned audience of friends in a pub that we drop a single molecule of cyanide into the middle of Lake Taupo and then bottle the water to sell as a homeopathic cure for cyanide poisoning. Unfortunately, my friends were not very entrepreneurial, so I offer the concept to anyone with some poison, a boat and a lot of bottles.


Anonymous said...

I'll help with your Taupo scheme. Bear in mind we'll have to wait 100 years before you can bottle it, in order for the lake's contents to be sufficiently succussed by the wind and rain to become an effective homeopathic remedy.

Anonymous said...

tis rarely that I would take issue with your excellent offerings however while you seem to have flicked it into a simple single issue jobbie itś a wee bit bigger than that.

Some of us have had a look with our wee scientific brains at some of the products marketed by the drug and pharmeceutical industry and figured we should be cautious about what we percieve as some of the downsides to our health that are not always made public. Caveat Emptor n all that stuff

¨Moving on¨ in the words of our leader, there are some very positive health improving products in whatś called ¨the health supplements¨ and some crap. Guess we should not throw it all away ćos the
drug industry (who are driving this legislation believe me boyo) wish to give them selves another birthday.

There is some really good science attached to Mineral Therapy and Orthomolecular Therapy and it continues to be added to.

There you go...enjoy your blog. Keep it up. Cheers


Lyndon said...

I imagine this isn't strongly relevent, but I remember at varsity my then-not-wife did some reseach on the researched properties of some stuff they put in herb teas.

Ingendients seemed to be chosen slightly randomly in terms of having the implied effect or the opposite, and the may have been a bit more need for warning for pregnant women.

David Winter said...

You need a bigger lake.

-There are 60km3 of water in Lake Taupo, which google tells me is 6x10^13 litres
-Since 1L of water weighs 1kg this is 6x10^16 grams of water
-The relative molecular mass of water is 18

The number of moles of water in the lake is equal to the mass of lake over the relative molecular mass of water
=3.33x10^15 moles

The number of individual molecules in lake taupo is equal to the the number of moles of water x Avogadro’s number
= 3.33x10^15 moles x 6.02x10^23
= 2x10^41 molecules

Most homeopathic ‘solutions’ are diluted by a factor of 1x10^60 so you’ll have to dilute your lake water from the tap (about 3:1 lake to tap should do it).

David Winter said...

Sorry, 3:1 won't get near to doing it.

You'll need to do a serial dilution. 10 1:100 dilutions or 7 1:1000 dilutions will end up at the normal homeopathic concentration. I think.