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Homeopathic remedies for jet lag

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ArgumentumAdHominem
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« on: March 18, 2008, 07:40:28 AM »

I am sometimes floored by the relatives in my own family.  If they're not into some or other spiritual woo-woo, it's alternative medicine.  My aunt has always been one for alternative methods.  She has gone on for days about how calcium+zinc is a miracle supplement and tea tree is the cure for everything from listlessness to cancer while I just smile and nod.

But yesterday, before boarding the plane back home she proudly showed my a package for No JetLag which she bought at Dischem.  It is a homeopathic treatment for the symptoms of jet lag containing plant extracts.  "Look, it contains Bellis Perenis - that's common garden daisy."

I looked at the box and said "At 30C? No it doesn't contain any."

"What does 30C mean?" Now this is one of those times in life when you bite your toungue.  I honestly wanted her to have a hassle-free journey and if she needed a placebo to do that then I would let her.  I didn't go into my synopsis of the homeopathic method or how much 30C actually represents, I just said that it is an extremely small amount.  On her next trip, before she returns I will suggest that she doesn't buy any more.

These ones come with a ritual, so at least if they are not so effective then adherance to the strict ritual could be blamed for the ineffectiveness.  The pills must be taken "once at take-off and one every two hours after that" - so much for getting any sleep on the plane.

Wondering what sugar pills cost these days I enquired about the price.  The pack cost R68.  Next time she comes out she wants to apply for a Dischem club card so that she can save more on future purchases.  I will have a few more suggestions on how she can save 100% on her next purchase.

At that moment I was seriously considering a James Randi demonstration where I dramatically read the leaflet on the safe maximum dosage and then proceed to consume the entire package, but that would have left her with no placeboes and she could have blamed me for "cursing" her to have a bad return journey.

"I just hope it doesn't zonk me out for a few days."

"I can guarantee you it won't."  Roll Eyes
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bluegray
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« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2008, 08:36:21 AM »

Yeah, I wanted to take a whole bottle of homeopathic medicine on a few occasions Grin
But you can never be sure what really is in those pills. As I understand it, there is little control over what manufacturers really put in those homeopathic pills.
Oh yeah, and remember to take a bottle every two hours and once on takeoff, otherwise it's sure to do nothing Wink
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2008, 14:34:56 PM »

Maybe you can find an opportunity to substitute the jetlag pills for other homoeopathic ones that look the same or very similar but which, uhm … er, “cure” an entirely different condition, say something like ringworm or pinkeye.  You can let the placebo cat out of the bag after getting a firm avowal of the remedy’s efficaciousness against jetlag from your aunt.

On second thoughts, it probably won’t have the desired effect.  Instead, it will likely be taken as strong evidence for the astonishing power of homoeopathy:  “Wow, it’s even effective against afflictions it wasn’t actually formulated for!  How do you explain that?”

'Luthon64
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ArgumentumAdHominem
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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2008, 15:28:13 PM »

Maybe you can find an opportunity to substitute the jetlag pills for other homoeopathic ones ...
I like that idea.  When she returns and if she argues against my point that it is nothing more than the placebo effect, I will put the wheels in motion.  This may be the one and only time in my life I start shopping around to find pharmacists who sell homoeopathic pills.  Smiley

Of course she may accuse me of recklessly putting her health at risk (seeing as I have no homoeopathic training) to which my reply will be the stone-faced chewing of as many of the pills as I can fit in my mouth.  I know, I'm so childish. Cheesy

Yeah, I wanted to take a whole bottle of homeopathic medicine on a few occasions Grin
But you can never be sure what really is in those pills.
Well, Randi did complain of having a sore stomach for a couple of hours because of eating too much sorbitol.  If there is anything else unexpected in there I may have a few gastric challenges but I don't think there will be a risk to my life.
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ArgumentumAdHominem
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« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2008, 15:38:11 PM »

... a firm avowal of the remedy’s efficaciousness ...
You're kidding ... it is a real word  Huh? I thought that it migh be an americanism ("pontificatiousnessization" type thing - that one isn't real, I hope) but "efficaciousness" is a real word!

I'll still continue to use "efficacy" though but thanks for mentioning the word, I found it interesting looking it up.  Lesson: I should never doubt the 'Luthon.
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Mefiante
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« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2008, 16:12:26 PM »

Well, you certainly do have a point: “efficacy” is the better (read: “less stilted”) word to use because “efficaciousness” is an anachronism thereof.  I sometimes lapse unwittingly into such, usually as a result of being at the mercy of the particular books I’m reading at the time.  In this case, Edgar Allan Poe is, I think, to blame.

A more fruitful lesson might be: You should always question the 'Luthon… Wink

'Luthon64
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bluegray
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« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2008, 08:28:06 AM »

Spoken like a true skeptic Grin
BTW, if my calculations are correct 30C is one part daisy in 1060 parts water or 1:1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000  Huh?
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Mefiante
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« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2008, 10:51:07 AM »

BTW, if my calculations are correct 30C is one part daisy in 1060 parts water or 1:1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000 Huh?
Yup, your calculations are impeccable, as is the number of zeroes.  This dilution is below Avogadro’s Limit by a factor of 1036, which in turn means (and I won’t bore you with the details of the calculation) that the statistical probability of finding just one or more particles of the Bellis Perenis extract in one litre of homoeopathic dilution is roughly 1 in 30,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, or about the same as throwing 45 consecutive sixes with a fair die.

It is also interesting to note that current estimates for the number of protons in the universe are around 1080 and a molecule of H2O has ten protons, which affords a different view of the quoted dilution.  If all the matter in the universe was water, there would be about 1079 H2O molecules into which 1019 particles of Bellis Perenis extract are mixed.  But 1019 molecules of water corresponds to about 0.3 microlitres of water, or about 1/17,000th of a teaspoon.  So in effect we have about 1/17,000th of a teaspoon of ingredient diluted in a universe of water.

All of which illustrations will likely not do a single thing to disabuse proponents of homoeopathy of their silliness.

'Luthon64
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« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2008, 11:06:26 AM »

Good review on CAM therapy book here: Snake Oil Science: The Truth About Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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