9:28 AM

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Interesting Snippet in Scientific American concerning homeopathic cold Cure

Caveat Emptor and Read the #@$*!% label..

The current issue January 2007 talks about AIRBORNE cold relief medicine in an article called "AIRBORNE BALONEY". The reporter did an investigation into the effectiveness of the claims that AIRBORNE prevents colds. He got tipped off by the wording on the package ("take at the first symptom of a cold..")Turns out that the company that makes Airborne is called Knight-McDowell Labs. Knight is a schoolteacher and McDowell is a scriptwriter (a fact that they reveal on their website in an effort to turn a negative into a positive, marketing wise). It also turns out that the group that conducted a pharmaceutical 'study" on the product in 2003 was GNG Pharmaceutical services, a two-man team which it appears was set up just to conduct the study,and didn't contain anyone who appeared to be certified, much less competent, to conduct said trials. The author then consulted a board-certified US Air Force flight surgeon and famiily physician with a strong backgrouond in homeopathy. The physician checked the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database; There was very little in the ingredients of AIRBORNE, beyond Vitamin C, that could be considered effective in fighting colds. Furthermore, each tablet of AIRBORNE contains 5000 units of Vitamin A, which is said to be harmful in doses over 10000 units. All well and good until you realize the folks at AIRBORNE are asking you to take five pills a day!

I've got no objections to homeopathy. I think there's sufficient evidence that homeopathic meds have beneficial effects. And I applaud the efforts of groups like the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database to classify the effects of homeopathic meds and their benefits and risks.

What's important, no critical, is for the industry to be responsible about dosage levels and combination effects with more traditional meds. I was a bit hacked off to read that "Knight-McDowell Labs" were prescribing 25000 units of Vitamin A (which is a toxic at large dosage levels that can really f*ck up your liver).

This little snippet caught my interest because it illustrates how it's so easy to pick up something that could be potentially harmful with the correct sexy packaging.

Feynman's first Principle: "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool."