The British Homeopathic Association wants you to know about homeopathy. Of course they do; what else would be their mission? They want to be open and honest and give you all of the facts so that you can make an informed decision about using their marvellous medicines…don’t they? After an inquisitive visit to the BHA website (OK, so I can be a sneary skeptic sometimes but I am also genuinely curious about the views of the “other side” too) I was heartened to see that they were offering free information packs about homeopathy and the work of the BHA. What possible spin could they come up with to sell sugar pills or water solutions and exactly how honest are they about their methodologies?
The pack, when it arrived a few days later, was suitably impressive – two copies of their magazine, “Health and Homeopathy” and an assortment of leaflets including, “Homeopathy for Animals” and “Homeopathy on the NHS”.
The one that grabbed my attention, however, was the beautifully succinct, “What is homeopathy? Your questions answered”; perfect! The first paragraph opens with the usual, “…principal of using ‘like to cure like…” but as early as the very next sentence the voices in my head are screaming that this material may not be entirely truthful.
We’re not talking milligrams or micrograms here.
Why can’t they just tell us that the “small amounts” they refer to are actually infinitesimally small? Nonexistent even. It is more than a little disingenuous to imply that there is a “small amount” of active ingredient present and as such the only explanation I can see is that the BHA are setting out to deliberately mislead. Am I being cynical? Well since there is no further mention in the leaflet about just how dilute “remedies” actually are then I think I can say with some certainty that this is, at best, an economical use of the facts, but more likely a deliberate blurring of the truth. If this were the only source of information you had it would be easy to assume that homeopathy works in a similar way to vaccinations. Is this what the BHA are wanting to us to think? Surely not!
So what does the rest of the “What is homeopathy?” leaflet have to offer? In short, nothing. Included in the questions “answered” are, “What is homeopathy used for?” (everything from chronic fatigue syndrome to the side-effects of cancer treatment) and “Is homeopathy safe?” (yes; why wouldn’t it be?).
Even the key question “What is a homeopathic medicine?” is covered by:
No mention at all of dilution followed by dilution followed by dilution followed by dilution followed by dilution and so on until the solution is just right. Is this something that the BHA wants to play down, or even hide? And natural substances? Here is what we at The Thought Stash think about that.
Next there is the big sell, with a fair chunk of the leaflet focussing on accessing homeopathy, either through the NHS or privately. This may be useful information for those who have not managed to see through the smokescreen of previous answers, but do not answer the original question of, “What is homeopathy?” It doesn’t take a hardened skeptic to realise why this question is dodged, but for anyone who hasn’t read around the subject there may be just enough implied information to suggest that this is a legitimate medicine. This could be considered as being economical with the truth, at best, and not giving potential customers the information they need to make informed decisions.
My problem with this leaflet is that it asks the right questions but then fails to give full and frank information in answering them. This leaflet is an exercise in saying nothing and as such it has actually instilled in me a great admiration for British Homeopathic Association. It seems that they are so enamoured in the principle of dilution to the point of nothingness that they have also applied this standard to the “information” they supply.