Thursday, June 22, 2006
  A Remedy for Homeopathy

Once upon a time, I used a homeopathic remedy.

My oldest child was cutting her first teeth, and there in the baby aisle was something called teething tablets. I read the ingredients and it seemed like an herbal remedy. Cool. (That's a post for another time.)

They were little white tablets that I was to rub on baby's gums when she cried because of teething. I forget exactly how often, but I think I could use 1 or 2 every two hours.

And they worked!

When I learned what homeopathy really was, I wondered for a bit why those little tablets had worked. After all, babies don't have a concept of 'take a pill, heal an ill' so the placebo connection probably wouldn't be the answer.

The answer: the lack of herbs are in a lactose base. And sugars have been proven to cut down pain.

I imagine the effect doesn't last long, but long enough to distract a child while you draw their attention somewhere else - also a proven pain reducer.

The striking thing about the whole homeopathy problem is that these useless remedies are sold right next to ones that actually do what they say. In drug stores, even. This is authority enough for the very great majority of people. It was authority enough for me at the time, and I'm not a stupid cookie. I'm granola.

So how do we combat this kind of quackary?

Before people are ever consumers.

I strongly believe that critical thinking and scientific method should be taught in our schools from kindergarten on up. And I believe that the already standard health classes everyone has to take should include a chapter on how to detect quackary.

Teaching our kids to think for themselves and giving them the tools they need to detect scams is going to be one of the themes for this blog.
 
Comments:
Don't forget that although the placebo effect won't work on an infant, it will on a parent. Just the act of doing something, anything, in an effort to treat something subjective such as how fussy is my infant will often result in the interpretation of said fussiness as improved.
 
I think the parental placebo makes a lot of sense. Now that I think about it, I recall wondering how much of the effect had been real and how much had been our projection onto her. I find it sadly amusing that one of the things the teething tablets is supposed to cure is "peevish whining".

And now I think I have the moderation set so that all comments don't come to me for approval. I'll get this thing figured out.
 
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A Mormon housewife who loves truth, science, rational thought, and reasonable action.

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Location: Utah

Granola is a mix of things: grains, nuts, bits of dried fruit, maybe some coconut. There's some fat in it, and it's a good source of fiber to keep those arteries and colons clean.

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