The Aids Denialist And The Homeopath

Associated Press writes:

“South Africa’s former health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, who gained notoriety for her dogged promotion of lemons, garlic and olive oil to treat AIDS, has died. She was 69.” – Source: AP

This woman leaves a mixed legacy. Despite being applauded for driving reform to get basic healthcare out to rural townships and her involvement in global anti-tobacco actions, she also was derided for her attitudes toward HIV/AIDS.

She denied the link between HIV and AIDS also resisting the use of antiretrovirals, famously culminating in the following quote at a 2005 media conference

“All I am bombarded about is antiretrovirals, antiretrovirals. There are other things we can be assisted in doing to respond to HIV/AIDS in this country.”

So what did she have in mind when referring to “other things”? Well due to her support of Lemons, garlic and olive oil it is estimated by a Harvard University study that together with President Mbeki she contributed to 300,000 deaths.

She said:

“Raw garlic and a skin of the lemon — not only do they give you a beautiful face and skin but they also protect you from disease”

It is worthy of ridicule, is it not, that these superstitious and out dated beliefs persist? Even in a developing country. Perhaps even our friends who are supporters of homeopathy must shudder at these preposterous claims. I wonder if in reading of these claims they will shine a light on their own, equally ridiculous views?

When I think of homeopathy, I see it in exactly the terms above. I can’t see how anyone in a right mind would fall for such a cheap parlour trick. “There’s nothing in it” you hear me cry.

Consider the claims:

  • Shaking water imbues it with an unheard of energetic quality
  • Water forgets other substances that have been in it
  • It is perfectly alright for different homeopaths to prescribe differently
  • It is fine that the potentisation happens differently at each manufacturer,
  • 84 tiny lumps of sugar are worth £5.00 or so.

Perhaps in our society we should reflect on the similarities we have with the developing nations. The fact that a large number of our population believe in something superstitious. That superstition is ingrained in our children form a very early age, that the state sponsors superstition and actively encourages it, that detractors are branded as naysayers, that truth and accuracy are optional elements of society.

Perhaps those who believe in homeopathy can see that their position is the same as that of Tshabalala-Msimang above. The only reason why hers seems absurd to them is…well you decide. How could they rationlise on the one hand deriding her views yet on the other sustaining their own.

Maybe you could ask one and let us know.


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  1. #1 by Juju on January 8, 2010 - 10:17

    A country in which a small proportion of the population lack the cognitive tools to make reasoned decisions is troubled, but not so troubled as one which tolerates, even celebrates this sort of idiocy in its government.

    I always assumed that the RSA government was using this pretend ‘controversy’ in order to avoid paying the tab for ARV therapy, but it now seems that they were serious, which is much more frightening.

  2. #2 by Charise on February 1, 2010 - 14:07

    Your country is better than a country that pays for its people to be poisoned daily.
    Better than a country that allows them to be lied to in advertisements on TV and radio about the benefit of drugs made from chemical poisons that don’t heal but do have side effects worse than the ailments the drugs claim to treat.
    A nation that allows known and recognized carcinogens and heart, lung, kidney, liver, skin, eyes, hearing damaging medications to be sold without restraint to the public should be held accountable for the 100,000 plus deaths from these “approved medications”.
    The modern American system is killing 1000’s everyday and calls it acceptable.
    This is what you want? This is what you need?
    No one is ever healed, only allowed to be treated for the rest of their lives. Getting sicker and weaker until they die?
    No one can heal the body by poisoning the body.
    The goal of all the drugs is not healing but treating.
    Antiviral medications are the worst, they destroy the liver, kidneys and heart. The HIV doesn’t kill the patient, the medication kills the patient.
    At least the worst the garlic and lemon skin will do is nourish the patient. There is no virus or bacteria that can survive raw garlic, so the patient at best will get well.
    It may not be a modern and scientific therapy, but it works, has always worked and has been proven effective for centuries.
    Our antiviral therapy doesn’t cure HIV, it only treats it until the body can’t take any more and dies. The more taken the quicker death comes. The medication gradually destroys the kidney and liver, which then need further, more aggressive treatments such as kidney dialysis and liver transplants. Because it also damages the immune system the patient will get pneumonia or other infections that will kill.
    Here in America we treat the illness and kill the patient. Over and over again, day after day.
    Our cancer cure rates are still at 3% after 5 years.

  3. #3 by Charise on February 1, 2010 - 14:15

    There are no longer any diseases or conditions in the USA that are healed and no longer needing medication. The doctors invent new diseases to treat with more drugs.
    All diseases are to be treated with medication for life.
    And you want your country to copy the American
    medical system?
    You want to be modern and scientific like us?
    Homeopathic remedies don’t kill, overdose, or cause organ failures, but they do heal and no longer need to be taken by the patient.
    Today’s drugs are based on chemicals and not natural substances, and they damage the body.
    I’m a nurse and I have been healed several times from pneumonia by the use of only fresh raw garlic cloves.
    $3 vs $90 for antibiotics.
    Today, it’s all about the money to be made by keeping the people sick and needing more and more treatments.

    Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.

  4. #4 by Charise on February 1, 2010 - 14:20

    Homeopathy works, that is why people keep using it.
    It’s cheap, that is why the government uses it.
    It does all the things you ridicule, it’s just that the scientist can’t explain it, therefore it must be ridiculed to cover their own ignorance of how it works.

    Consider the claims: And all are true statements.

    * Shaking water imbues it with an unheard of energetic quality
    * Water forgets other substances that have been in it
    * It is perfectly alright for different homeopaths to prescribe differently
    * It is fine that the potentisation happens differently at each manufacturer,
    * 84 tiny lumps of sugar are worth £5.00 or so.”
    It’s very sad when people cannot trust what they see and know to be true and must have these things verified by those who don’t understand it but have college degrees.

  5. #5 by david on May 13, 2010 - 17:53

    i find it amazing that the comments, for an article showing the blatant stupidity of homeopathy, do not agree. Are they allergic to rationality? Charise the “nurse” shocked me most. I mean wtf are you doing in that profession when you think garlic cures pneumonia. And medicine does heal people. Cancer is cured with kimo or surgery and surprisingly most no longer have cancer. Though if your nurse was Charise then she wouldn’t put you through so much pain as lucozade is just as effective.

  6. #6 by Avol on October 3, 2015 - 13:29

    Firstly I should state that I am not a Homoeopath. Secondly I would like to say that I am an alield health practitioner that has studied a Bachelor of Applied Science at University of Western Sydney in Australia-for which I have attained a distinction degree and a dean’s medal. (not trying to talk myself up- just trying to give you my background..) I have studied Homoeopathy through the University as part of this degree and have some comments for you. (if ,indeed you are open to them- anonymous’ characters seem to be belitteling and offending anyone who does not write supporting comments for your cartoon piece .)I do not intend to offend you in any way, so please bear this in mind.1. There has actually been successful repeats of Jaques Benveniste’s research.Madeleine Ennis, professor of Immunopharmacology at Queen’s University in Belfast has encountered successful repeats (That prove homoeopathy to have the biological action that practitioners claim). She was asked to join a multi centre European study to look at the effects of highly dilute solutions (well into the Homoeopathic range) of histamine on human Basophils. Four independent research laboratories in France, Holland, Italy and Belgium were sent test tubes of either pure water or histamine at homoeopathic dilutions. They were not told which was which. The preparations were all prepared in three different laboratories that had nothing further to do with the trial. The entire experiment was also coordinated by an independent researcher who coded all the solutions and collated the data,In brief, full measures were taken to ensure that a robust non-bias experiment of high standard was carried out.ALL FOUR CENTRES FOUND THAT THE ULTRA DILUTE SOLUTIONS HAD BIOLOGIC EFFECTS THE SAME AS HISTAMINE ON BASOPHILS. The results were recorded to be statistically significant at three of the centres. Madeleine was a true sceptic of Homoeopathy prior to this research. (New Scientist, 2001 As if by magic.. 170.2292 May 26: p46.) (Australia Homoeopathic Association NSW Branch Newsletter, number 69, 2001 May/June/July)2. I have had many people directly tell me that homoeopathy has had a powerful and immediate effect on them. One case was of a nurse that was cured over-night of clinically diagnosed chronic fatigue by taking a Homoeopathic remedy. She was one of my lecturers at UWS and swears by Homoeopathy now. I am also in contact with Homoeopaths who have taught at a tertiary level and whom I see as very dedicated and diligent practitioners (practicing Homoeopathy for over 30 yrs) who are not anti-orthodox medicine at all and whom have seen with their own eyes the indisputable fast healing effects of Homoeopathic remedies and continue their work because of this evidence.3.If you study the work of Sammuel Hahnemann (The German physician who was the founder of Homoeopathy) you will find that the way he discovered the theories that make up the basis of Homoeopathy was through scientific methodology truly you should read up on it!…The paradigm does not rely on Faith as you state in your cartoon, but rather on results proven by science!! It is the mechanism of action that remains a mystery..4.It is known by Homoeopaths and skeptics alike that there is no scientifically plausible mechanism for Homoeopathy. Do we all really believe that the present knowledge base of science is static though? And that no new discoveries can test it?? Quantum Physics is breaking new fronters in science as we speak Furthermore the mechanisms of action of many commonly prescribed drugs are not understood, such as dexamphetamine in the treatment of ADHD. The failure to understand the mechanism of action of a therapeutic substance does not normally diminish the enthusiasm for its use. Why should this be the case for Homoeopathy?

(will not be published)