Getting THMPD But Good

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It is time to seriously consider the THMPD–the Traditional Herbal Medicine Product Directive.  THMPD will become law as of May 1st of this year (it was passed back in 2004, but only now will be enforced) unless planned challenges block the directive.  Should it become law, it will remove literally thousands of herbal supplements from the shelves of stores throughout the European Union.

As this blog is based in the United States, and as a large chunk of my readership shares my geography (if not my opinion when it comes to homeopathy and herbal medicines), I can feel your interest in my topic of choice fading with the realization that the new law affects “them” and not “us.” But whether a reader is based in Ohio or in France, in London or in Phoenix, the overwhelming importance of what is now playing out should be enough to hold everyone’s interest.

This is all about choice, all about your choice and mine to decide what does and does not constitute appropriate medical treatment. THMPD has, to put it mildly, been controversial for the better part of a decade.  Some insist that it is a means by which all medical treatments can be simplified and made safer.  Others, myself included, insist that, far from making medicine safer, THMPD will make it all the more dangerous because when safe and effective treatments are no longer an option, more of us will have to turn our lives over to the allopaths, whose medicines have been shown again and again to be toxic and unsafe.

More important–and it is perhaps hard to conceive of something being more important than life and death through medical treatment–THMPD makes infants of us all.  It places the government in loco parentis and sends the message that lay persons are just too plan stupid to be allowed to decide the when, why and how of medical treatmenf FOR THEIR OWN BODIES.  This is a matter of the most basic human right, the right to choose the quality of one’s life, and it is not to be taken lightly.

An easy parallel to the situation at hand that illustrates why all Americans should be paying close attention and be preparing to take action is the onset of America’s involvement in World War II.  We were idiotic isolationists for way too long during the WW II era–president FDR begged Congress to agree that we should join the battle again the Axis powers.  But our government would not be moved until we were attacked directly.  And that attack so crippled us that we were ill prepared at the onset for what was to come, especially in the Asian theater.

If we don’t take action now.  If we as individuals don’t raise our voices now, both here and abroad, then we will most certainly see the day when we face the same attacks here at home.  I, for one, don’t want to give up my right to buy herbal tinctures, homeopathic remedies and Bach Flower remedies.  I don’t want to live to see the day that I have to go to some allopath’s office and pay for an office visit in order to get a prescription for Vitamin C.  Nor do I want to pay the inflated price for that Vitamin–a price that will most surely continue to rise and rise once it is put into the hands of a pharmaceutical company.  And I especially do not want homeopathic remedies to be put into the hands of allopathic doctors–those who understand their use or even their basic philosophy least are the last people who should have the keys to the medicine cabinet.

In short, if we don’t start screaming right now, we are likely, in very few years from now, to find ourselves good and THMPD.

What to do?  Start with your representatives, your Senators.  Especially your Tea Party folks who have vowed to “take back our government.”  These are the guys who made a big noise against changes in our medical care.  Let’s all make sure that one thing that is guaranteed to not change is our legal right to herbal medicine, to vitamin supplements and to homeopathic remedies.  Let’s nail those rights down right now, so that we don’t have to fight for them later on.

Here are some links for today.  The first one here is for a good article on the NGO and it’s legal attempts to block the THMPD.  And to drive things home a bit more, here is a great article from Whole Foods that will tell you about all the products that will not be available in the USA any longer is they are outlawed in the European Union.  Thought that only the French would suffer if the THMPD becomes law?  Guess again.

 

 

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From Educator to Activist

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I feel that I am undergoing a change.  Something that maybe has been happening in the background while I have been busy doing other things.

I think that the way I view myself in terms of homeopathy and the global homeopathic community is changing.  Not because I had intended it to, or even wanted it to, but because it has to.

Those who have been reading this blog are aware that I have been studying homeopathy for thirty years now, teaching the principles that guide its practice for twenty-five and authoring books, educational materials, articles, blogs and tweets for years as well.

Until now I have done all this for a very simple reason:  for the love of homeopathy.  As anyone else who does this sort of work will tell you, you don’t do it for the money.  With eight books in print and the next one coming out this spring, I can honestly tell you that being an author on the subject of homeopathy is one step up from being a Match girl on New Year’s Eve.

Now, however, at the moment in my life in which I thought I would lie back and rest a bit, at the moment at which many of my fellows retire or semi-retire, I have instead decided that there is simply too much work to do for me to rest on my laurels.  Although all the books I have written are still in print, and while there is a great deal that I have written on the subject of homeopathy that can speak for me when I am not around, the new truth of the situation is that new forces have arisen and that, in answer to those forces, I feel the need to not only NOT be quiet and turn to my iPad for comfort as I wile away the afternoon playing Angry Birds, but instead to get a great deal louder in sharing with the world or what little part of it I am capable of reaching, the reasons why I love homeopathy and the reasons why I believe with my whole heart that it must remain a legal alternative therapy to standardized allopathic medicine.

I keep telling others in the global homeopathic community that it is time to make some noise.  Indeed, high time that we shouted down those who seem to feel that it is their right to control the conversation concerning health care, just as they seem to feel the need to control control control in general…

It has occurred to me over these past weeks that if I am unwilling to stand up and be heard myself, I have no right to ask the same of others.  So, change is in the air.  A cranky old man who was once a homeopathic author and educator now wishes that his legacy be that he became a homeopathic activist.  The who what when where and how of that remains to be seen.  But you may expect from me more blogs, more books (two more in the pipeline, with more to come after that), more organizations, more media work and, in general, more noise.

And I’m just a tiny part of a big effort.  The era of holistic activism has begun.

 

Ill Wind

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News from Great Britain, as usual, sucks.

 

Now anyone with any knowledge of the kinds of stunts and dirty tricks that are ongoing in GB was most certainly aware that after Prince Charles walked out on that limb to see to it that the citizens of that great nation remained able to choose their method of medical treatment as part of the national health service, those who have rather petulantly made it their business (and one has to wonder why) to see homeopathy not only removed as a medical option, but also ridiculed to the point that it has become rather like an elementary school shunning, would most certainly not simply accept their defeat and go on their way.  They have, of course, most certainly not.  Because theirs is not an idea of a free nation, one in which people have the right to choose all sorts of things like who they marry, what work they undertake and what kind of medical treatment they prefer.  No, theirs is a notion that they know better and that you had damned well listen to them when they tell you how to go about your day and live your life.

 

Well, here they come again, and if they can’t win in the open, they will accept winning by trickery, deceit and secret means.  Take today’s issue, one in which  just a little bit of the legal code can be rewritten in order to say that, while homeopaths can talk about homeopathy all they want to, they can no longer touch or sell homeopathic remedies.  For that, for the actual remedy, you will now have to see an M.D., who will have to write you a prescription.  Now, this dance has been attempted here in these United States in the past and has failed.  Because, thanks to the overly complicated laws of these United States, the states themselves to a large part govern and control medical treatments.  Indeed, the states themselves reserve the right to define just what constitutes medical treatment and what does not, which makes such skullduggery as is being attempted in England a far more difficult thing to do in my beloved land of the free and home of the brave.

 

If you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, then just click here.  The linked article explains it very well.  It is, simply put, a political version of the shell game.

 

So, today’s post is something of a plea.  For those of you reading to take up pen (well, keyboard) and write a letter.  You may have seen one like it on the internet.  It is being daisy chained all over the place.  This letter needs to get off in a hurry to poor besieged Andrea Farmer, who needs to be told in no uncertain terms that you really really really think it is wrong to deprive millions of people of the right to be treated with the medicine of their choice just because they happen to be British.  Now, that may be a good reason to deprive them of a great many other things, but not medicine.  Surely not medicine.

 

So, here’s the information you need.  A letter to be used as a pattern by which you can create one of your own and Andrea Farmer’s contact information.  It’s a snooze or lose time and those come up infrequently, so make sure to not just sit there–do something.  Let your voice be heard.  Even if you are not British, speak to Andrea as the distant cousin you are and let her know what you think of this infringement of basic human rights.

 

Here’s the info:

 

 

Copy and paste into your email server. Personalize your message.

 

Dear Andrea Farmer,

I am writing to you about the MHRA consultation document entitled; Review of

Medicines Act 1968: informal consultation on issues relating to the PLR

regime and homeopathy. As a member of the public who chooses to use

homeopathy and benefits from its application/practicing homeopath (delete as

applicable), I am deeply concerned by the current orchestrated campaign

against homeopathy, which is led by a self appointed pressure group, Sense

About Science, and a number of bloggers.

 

I consider it to be a fundamental right of any citizen living in a country

which purports to be a democracy, to have ready access to the healthcare

option of their choice. This includes homeopathy, which as you know is

included in the original NHS charter.

 

I find your statement below acceptable for the new registration labels, and

can see no reason to change this statement:

 

“A homeopathic medicinal product licensed only on the basis of safety,

quality and use within the homeopathic tradition”

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Your signature here

 

Send to

andrea.farmer@mhra.gsi.gov.uk

 

Andrea Farmer

MHRA, Area 5M

151 Buckingham Palace Road

Victoria, London SW1W 9SZ

 

 

 

Time to put up or shut up.  There are some powerful (and power-hungry) people in England who have targeted homeopathy, as well as some rather loopy and fun folk who have sadly gotten caught up in the cause.  It’s important that politicians all around the world start to hear from other persons with other opinions and that those of you who count on homeopathy stop thinking that it will always be there for you and start doing something to make sure that that’s the case.

 

More later.  Get busy.

 

All Meat

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Like everyone else, I was somewhat taken aback recently over the news of the legal case filed against Taco Bell claiming that only 65% of the substance in TB’s foodstuffs that were identified as being meat were actually comprised of meat.  The other 35% was made up of a vegetable mush that was mixed with the meat to extend the amount of what might jokingly be called food before it was tucked neatly into its happy yellow taco.

 

Now, my first response in reading this was the somewhat ironic feeling that perhaps Taco Bell isn’t as bad for you as I thought it was and that perhaps some cruel vegan, who had infiltrated the hierarchy of the Taco Bell empire had managed to work some actual vegetable matter (other than the lettuce and tomato) into TB’s meals.

 

But then I read another article somewhere.  And how I hate that–the somewhere of it all.  I usually reserve my tirades for things that I can at least link to from here at Psora, Psora, Psora, if not present for you right here.  But this time it is the vague “I read it somewhere” that will have to do.  And, at least I have the Taco Bell case itself to fall back on if I have to.  (For those of you who are not up to date on the Taco Bell case, try looking at this link here for an article posted this month from the Los Angeles Times,  or this link here for a statement from Taco Bell headquarters (while watching the video statement, please note just how healthy Taco Bell’s president looks–he’s obviously been eating the tacos himself), or, finally, this link, which I thought addressed the issue rather well.

 

Back to my original point, which had more to do with the bastardization of language and our resultant distrust of nearly everyone and everything, than with Taco Bell and its bastardization of its taco “meat.”  (Although, as someone who attempts to avoid wheat, I find it outrageous that taco bell can legally be allowed to use wheat as an “extender” in what is traditionally thought of as a gluten-free product, a taco.)

 

And my original point had to do specifically with the term “All Meat.”  In the mystery article I read and then misplaced, it was stated that, when the term “all meat” is used in any restaurant’s advertising, such as McDonald’s famous “two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun,”  that only 70% of the meat-containing substance needs to be actual meat.  Which certainly wrinkles up my aged forehead as I ponder the nu-speak meaning of “all.”

 

As I learned it, the word “all” meant:  “used to refer to the whole quantity or extent of a particular group or thing,” as the word is defined in the dictionary that is embedded in my Mac’s Snow-Leopard-addled brain.  In other words, all used to mean “every bit of,” that no part or subset of something was put aside, but the entirety of an object or group was included.

 

But in this new world of austerity and downsizing, “all” now seems to mean “around 70%.”  In other words, when considering what we mean with we refer to “all” of something, about three quarters is good enough for government work.  And in using the term “government work,” I am indeed pointing fingers.  Because it is our government that those wise men and women who make it up, who are allowing for these strange and subtle changes in our language that is shifting our day-to-day speech from English to nu-speak whether we like it or not.

 

And the biggest trouble with this switch is that nu-speak does not come with a dictionary built in, as my computer did.  No, we are left to discover for ourselves what the restaurant world means when it says, “all meat.”  And in the same way, we are left to wonder over the meaning of our credit card statements (Want to leave that in the dust?  Publish a few books and then try to figure out the royalty statements that your publisher sends you.), our tax forms, and every single advertisement on television, in print, on radio or on the internet that has small print or quickly spoken words incorporated.  In other words, when they are using simple words spoken in English to tell you something, or, especially, to sell you something, it is up to you to figure out why and how they are lying…

 

How did we get this way?  How did we let the “all” fall out of all, the way air slips out of a tire?  Don’t even try to tell me that it was Bill Clinton’s fault for asking what the meaning of “is” is.  It goes so much deeper than that…

 

Let’s look to the lobbyists, those fine folk whose job it is to represent the viewpoint of one paying customer to your representatives in government, whether that customer represents your point of view or not (and, in cases such as the misrepresentation of the contents of a simple meal, it is highly likely that they are not), and I think we will find the creators of nu-speak.  The water carriers for these lobbyists are, of course, our representatives themselves, who all too often sell your human rights and mine to the highest bidder.  In this case, they have literally sold our language out from under us so that a term as simple as “all” has taken on a new legal meaning.

 

It Taco Bell wins its case, something more than all beef tacos at low, low prices will be lost.  Our language will be lost.  And with it will be our ability to communicate, to understand and be understood.  Language only works is can all agree on the meaning of the words.  If your version of the meaning of the word “left” is what I consider to be “right” then we are going to have trouble driving on the same road.  And if businesses are continued to be allowed to change the meaning of a word as simple as “all” in order to make a few cents more profit on each of their products, then how far away are we from the day when we have all been so manipulated so often by the misuse and bastardization of our language that we can no longer believe anything that anyone is saying.  There’s more at stake than meat here, boys, there’s a deep and profound course correction that is needed for the sake of us all.  And, by “all” I mean more than 70%.

 

Where Is Carlos Castaneda When You Need Him?

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Is it all right to admit to a certain sense of ennui when I hear that the old Flying Monkeys themselves, this time all dressed up as dragons, are back and stamping their assembled feet (some 400 strong, apparently, and so a total of 800 feet all told), all for the sake of maligning homeopathy?  Is it all right to feel a little irritated as well, as the Monkeys are apparently no better read, no more intelligent or honest or truthful in their work than they were a few months ago when the flew in the window here, kicked the furniture around a bit then then flew back out again with very little ventured and most assuredly nothing gained?  And is it just plain wrong of me to wish that the group would at least attempt to design better logos, posters and such, or is the homemade look all part and parcel with their “just plain folks attitude?”

 

I mean, as logos go, come on:

 

 

Flying Monkey in Dragon Drag

 

 

 

Ah, well, we must go back a bit in order to move forward.

 

Seems a while back a small group of irate folks in Great Britain decided that, because they themselves do not particularly like homeopathy–not that any of them have ever actually used it, studied it, gone to see a homeopathy or even read a book on the subject–that it should not be a legal alternative medicine in the UK.  They demanded that it be removed from the national health care.  When this project failed, the groups spend a little while meeting in its various cells–most of whom meet in pubs, apparently, and one met a while back in a member’s home, where he prepared a nice dinner for them of margaritas and fajitas (for which he kindly posted his recipe online).

 

You almost can’t help but like these guys.  I picture them as a gaggle of guys with the cliched pocket protectors and horn-rimmed glasses.  They seem overtly polite (except for the few who email threats of death to those who write kindly of homeopathy), and infinitely dedicated to homeopathy, unless, one assumes, the meeting is called for the same night as the next Dr. Who special is set to air.

 

So when I heard of their new and thrilling adventure, one in which all four hundred of them, scattered around the globe, would purposely overdose on homeopathic drugs in order to prove that, as far as drugs go, homeopathic drugs are nothing, nada and should, I guess, therefore be thrown in the sea, stomped into the ground, etc, etc.  Click here in order to get a look at the blog posting put up by the irrepressible Rhys Morgan advertising the event a few weeks back.

 

So the event came and went this week.  I had forgotten about it, until a friend on Facebook posted an article from NPR.  (Good to know that NPR is putting all its McDonald’s money to good use.)  To get a look at that, click here.

 

Note:  It’s fun to see the Amazing Randi again (or at least the Amazing Randi muppet that they seem to be using in place of the real thing these days).  Life would be a little sadder and duller a place without the Amazing Quackbuster Randi in it.  And don’t we all feel a bit safer knowing that he is out there busting quacks for our sake?

 

What the Monkeys have proven is that they have the ability, in the age of the internet, to manipulate the media and put their cause before the public.  For that they are to be congratulated.  But not for their experiment itself.  That was a faulty and as wrapped up in Bad Science as the Skeptics themselves usually denounce.  As the Skeptics are all about Good Science and insist that they are as upset about Bad Medicine (of the sort that I have been writing about recently) as I am, then it seems to me that, if they are going to test the perimeters of homeopathic medicine and its efficacy by setting out to willfully overdose, then the should actually set out to overdose and not to just pretend.  If we are all about Good Science, guys, then it seems to me that you should not substitute stunts for science.  If you respect science as much as you say you do, then your scientific experiments should be structured like actual scientific experiments.  At least if you want anyone to actually take you seriously.  Besides the Amusing Randi, of course…

 

Click here for a video from the NPR site that was put online as part of the 10:23 Campaign’s Day of Overdose.  Take a minute to watch the video.  It’s important.

 

Now first thing that you will see is that the Skeptic is most jovial.  A really nice guy, the kind of guy you’d like to have margaritas and fajitas with.  But, when it comes to testing homeopathy by creating an overdose, he has proven nothing except that he has not a clue as to what homeopathy is or how you overdose on it.  Here’s why:

 

First, he has selected a mixed remedy. As anyone who has attended the most basic homeopathic class or read the simplest book on homeopathy can tell you, Samuel Hahnemann, the Father of Homeopathy, railed against one practice more than any other:  polypharmacy.

 

 

"S. Hahnemann"

Samuel Hahnemann, The father of Homeopathy, author of the Organon

 

 

And in his Organon of the Medical Art, Hahnemann says again and again that polypharmacy is wrong, it is ineffective and it is dangerous–both in homeopathic and allopathic medicine.  Second of Hahnemann’s Three Laws of Cure is the principle that says One Remedy at a Time.  So when Mr. Skeptic in the dragon hat selected a substance that had more than one homeopathic remedy it in, he selected something that was NOT a homeopathic remedy at all.  I don’t care where he bought it or how much he paid for it, or what the label says, if it has more than one homeopathically prepared remedy in it, it is NOT homeopathic.  Not now, not ever.  So, before he even sprayed the spray in his mouth, he voided his own experiment because of his complete ignorance of the very thing that he was testing.

 

Now, you can’t blame him.  The concept of homeopathy has been so bastardized these days that some people confuse the word homeopathy for “herbal.”  Others use it interchangeably for “holistic” or even “natural.”  And yet, I assure you that the word homeopathy means something specific.  And that the practice of homeopathy is something quite specific, working from a well thought out philosophy and more than two hundred years of clinical practice.  Indeed, the principles of homeopathy date back far more than two hundred years.  Hippocrates, for instance, wrote about the homeopathic method of working more than two thousand years ago.  So you can’t blame the poor Skeptic for being confused.  What you can blame him for, however, is the fact that he was so ill prepared for his “experiment” that he set it up in such as way as to negate the findings.

 

Now, second, there is another glaring issue with this Skeptic’s “experiment.”  It has to do again with his ignorance of homeopathy.  He bought a bottle of some sleep potion.  I will not judge it one way or another, except to the degree that I already have (if it has more than one homeopathic remedy in it then it is bastardized homeopathy and not homeopathic in any real sense–therefore, I cannot speak for its efficacy).  What I will speak to is the method in which he “overdosed.”  If the bottle of a given homeopathic remedy says to take one pellet or one spray and you double it, you are not doubling the dosage.  The dosage stays the same.  You can drink the whole of the bottle in one sitting and it is still one dose.  What creates an overdose is a repetition of the dose.  Say he took it every half hour.  One spray.  Each new dose would work with the old and the remedy would begin to assert itself.  It is in the repetition and not in increasing the amount of the single dose that you create a “proving” or an overdose of a homeopathic remedy.  (And, let me restate that, as this was not a homeopathic remedy, but some combination of remedies put out by some company, I can’t be sure, not knowing what’s in it, what potency or remedies, whether you could EVER overdose on it or not, however much or however often it is taken.)

 

But what I can say is that, should the Skeptics ever really want to explore the nature of homeopathy and see for themselves whether or not it really works, then they need to go about it another way.  They need to take it as seriously as they would any other experiment.  They need to set it up correctly and to have it overseen and recorded correctly.  If, at that point, they want someone to tell them how they can really overdose on a remedy, they can ask me.  I will tell them, just as soon as they sign the “hold harmless” documents that will protect me if they are harmed in any way while conducting the experiment.

 

Now, for the real skeptics out there or for people who might actually be interested in learning more about homeopathy, I want to give you a link to my newest book.  It is available only as a Kindle download right now, but it will be available throughout the free world–including, however slightly, the UK at present–sometime this spring.  I’ll have to let you know the publishing date.  But here’s a link to the book, called What Is Homeopathy? Those wanting to really know the answer to that question (hint, it’s not “herbal”, “holistic”, “natural” or “quackery”) might want to take a look.