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Old 3rd November 2011, 07:46 AM   #1
thatGuy
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A disclaimer is needed for the homeopathic OD demo

Hi


I watched James in some or other TedX video drinking a whole box of homeopathic sleeping pills. It has come to my attention that some homeopaths rebrand conventional medicine and sell it as homeopathic. The demonstration should be made with a warning or disclaimer against something like this.
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Old 3rd November 2011, 07:48 AM   #2
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which homeopaths rebrand conventional medicine? This isn't one I've heard of before.
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Old 3rd November 2011, 08:13 AM   #3
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I know of one in South Africa. I doubt it is isolated. One of the ones they rebrand is a very strong blood pressure medicine. It could easily kill someone that tries the overdose demo.
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Old 3rd November 2011, 08:17 AM   #4
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so is the scam that they rebrand blood pressure medicine and then say it's a homeopathic remedy that will help your blood pressure?
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Old 3rd November 2011, 08:21 AM   #5
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I've never heard any any homeopathic preparations being simply re-branded medicine. But, I have heard of some homeopathic preparations having actual medicine in them. All you have to do is read the label. Only a fool would take anything claiming to be medicine without reading the label and knowing what the contents were.

In fact, all of the demonstrations I've seen, including the one I saw with Randi said just that. Something along the lines of "don't do this at home without knowing that your homeopathic preparation is, in fact, homeopathic".
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Old 3rd November 2011, 08:31 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by thatGuy View Post
I know of one in South Africa. I doubt it is isolated. One of the ones they rebrand is a very strong blood pressure medicine.

Are you sure it was being described as homoeopathic and not herbal? I've seen cases of herbal medicines being adulterated, but not homoeopathic ones.
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Old 3rd November 2011, 08:52 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
Are you sure it was being described as homoeopathic and not herbal? I've seen cases of herbal medicines being adulterated, but not homoeopathic ones.
Zicam Nasal Gel/Swaps weren't adulturated, per se, but the "homeopathic" concentration of zinc was high enough that it caused anosmia (loss of smell, potentially permanent) in >100 people (Science Based Medicine article on the FDA's warning). Technically it was a homeopathic dilution (2X, or 1:100 I think), which got them around all of the FDA's requirements for "real" drugs (until the reports of anosmia started rolling in). Presumably the same thing could be done with other "homeopathic" preparations?
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Old 3rd November 2011, 09:12 AM   #8
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Some "homeopathic" preparations may include herbs and other active ingredients in sufficient concentration to actually impact someone's health. Labels must be read and demonstrations should be done with "reputable" homeopathic brands.
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Old 3rd November 2011, 09:17 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by volcano View Post
Zicam Nasal Gel/Swaps weren't adulturated, per se, but the "homeopathic" concentration of zinc was high enough that it caused anosmia (loss of smell, potentially permanent) in >100 people (Science Based Medicine article on the FDA's warning). Technically it was a homeopathic dilution (2X, or 1:100 I think), which got them around all of the FDA's requirements for "real" drugs (until the reports of anosmia started rolling in). Presumably the same thing could be done with other "homeopathic" preparations?

That's a different issue, though - I think it was accuartely labelled as "2X" or whatever.
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Old 3rd November 2011, 09:50 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
That's a different issue, though - I think it was accuartely labelled as "2X" or whatever.
True, I should have been more clear on my point-- I meant to suggest that overdosing on "homeopathic" preparations can occasionally be hazardous even if it hasn't been adulterated with something.
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Old 3rd November 2011, 01:34 PM   #11
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As well, many "alternative medicines" use the term Homeopathic even when it doesn't apply simply beause it sounds science-ish.
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Old 6th November 2011, 11:37 PM   #12
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A bit of a late reply but here goes..

I'm talking about rebranded, repackaged blood pressure tablets, etc. There is absolutely no indication as to what ingredients are contained as the packaging is plain with a sticker on the side. These medicines are trusted because all the counting and packaging is done at the homeopath and is assumed to be above board.

And, no. Homeopathic, not herbal.
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Old 7th November 2011, 06:35 AM   #13
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So, do you have a link or some sort of evidence showing this behavior is indeed going on?
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Old 8th November 2011, 12:07 AM   #14
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Nothing concrete. My wife worked at the homeopath in question. She has a list of their substitutions somewhere. I'll have a look if we can find it tonight.
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Old 8th November 2011, 12:21 AM   #15
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I believe that the word 'homeopathic' is completely unregulated in the US. THe FDA does not recognize it.

That means anyone can slap it on anything. The Zicam fiasco is a good example.

This ramps up the danger of homeopathic items im my mind. people can by them over the counter & take them at will. This may breed a casual attitude towards them that will end badly when they get a hold of a remedy that has a bonified active ingredient.
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Old 8th November 2011, 02:18 AM   #16
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In the US is it a requirement that the ingredients be listed? Or when you buy drugs or food are you buying an unknown quantity?

Edit. The reason I am asking is because looking at the list of ingredients would make it obvious if the contents were herbs, medicines or homoeopathic.

Last edited by rjh01; 8th November 2011 at 02:25 AM.
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Old 8th November 2011, 02:33 AM   #17
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What is the OD demo supposed to demonstrate?
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Old 8th November 2011, 02:42 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by JihadJane View Post
What is the OD demo supposed to demonstrate?
That homoeopathic drugs have no effect, obviously.

Not very scientific, and homoeopathic doctrine does not work with dose dependency, so overdosing is really irrelevant, but it is a good publicity stunt.

- And seriously, homoeopaths should have a hard time explaining why there are no proving symptoms.


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Old 8th November 2011, 03:30 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
And seriously, homoeopaths should have a hard time explaining why there are no proving symptoms.

Their explanation will be that in these overdoses all the pills are taken at about the same time. In "provings" the remedy is taken at intervals over days or weeks.
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Old 8th November 2011, 04:25 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
In the US is it a requirement that the ingredients be listed? Or when you buy drugs or food are you buying an unknown quantity?

Edit. The reason I am asking is because looking at the list of ingredients would make it obvious if the contents were herbs, medicines or homoeopathic.
yes, but they are also allowed to put 'homeopathic' on anything.

Zicam is a good example. It had a real, active ingredient that was capable of doing harm, yet it said 'homeopathic' on the label, confusing the issue.
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Old 8th November 2011, 04:50 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by volcano View Post
True, I should have been more clear on my point-- I meant to suggest that overdosing on "homeopathic" preparations can occasionally be hazardous even if it hasn't been adulterated with something.
That is because frankly, this is *not* homeopathic. Anything in that range of dilution labelled as homeopathic is a fraud used to work around medicine regulations.
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Old 8th November 2011, 09:57 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
In the US is it a requirement that the ingredients be listed? Or when you buy drugs or food are you buying an unknown quantity?

Edit. The reason I am asking is because looking at the list of ingredients would make it obvious if the contents were herbs, medicines or homoeopathic.
Yes, the FDA regulates homeopathic medicines and they must follow standard ingredient labeling regulations. They are, however, exempt from most of the FDA testing for efficacy, testing for stated strength, etc...
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Old 8th November 2011, 02:15 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
That homoeopathic drugs have no effect, obviously.

Not very scientific, and homoeopathic doctrine does not work with dose dependency, so overdosing is really irrelevant, but it is a good publicity stunt.

- And seriously, homoeopaths should have a hard time explaining why there are no proving symptoms.


Hans
Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
Their explanation will be that in these overdoses all the pills are taken at about the same time. In "provings" the remedy is taken at intervals over days or weeks.
Yes, I saw a video of Randi introducing this publicity stunt and was shocked by how crude and irrelevant it was.
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Old 9th November 2011, 01:32 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by JihadJane View Post
Yes, I saw a video of Randi introducing this publicity stunt and was shocked by how crude and irrelevant it was.
OTOH, not half as crude and irrelevant as homoeopathy itself, so .....

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Old 9th November 2011, 01:50 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
OTOH, not half as crude and irrelevant as homoeopathy itself, so .....

Hans
Tu quoque fallacy, so also irrelevant.
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Old 9th November 2011, 02:15 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by JihadJane View Post
Tu quoque fallacy, so also irrelevant.
Perhaps. OTOH, that works both ways.

Why do you slam Randi, but not homoeopaths?

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Old 9th November 2011, 12:58 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by JihadJane View Post
Tu quoque fallacy, so also irrelevant.
Regardless, homeopathy still doesn't work and I've got a lot more to back this assertion up than a tacky "OD demo", which to me looks to be more of a venting of frustration (about people continuing to believe this thoroughly disproven crap) than anything else.
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Old 9th November 2011, 01:09 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by JihadJane View Post
Tu quoque fallacy, so also irrelevant.
It's more like satire.

You look at their claim, (that homeopathy works, and that the overdose warning label is meaningful) pretend it's true, and use it to make a common sense conclusion about what that claim would mean. If homeopathy worked, and if the overdose warning label made sense, eating 64 homeopathic sleeping pills would either make you pass out or kill you.

If A then B. If not B then not A.

Eating 64 pills does nothing. The pills don't work and the warning is a lie. So they have false advertising and misleading claims.
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Old 10th November 2011, 06:18 PM   #29
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I think the demo is effective because many people, myself included until a few years ago, thought that homeopathy was some sort of herbal therapy. I assumed that homeopathy contained something active. I suppose that someone could have said, "It contains nothing." I'd think "Really?" And someone could say, "Yeah, look. I'm gonna swallow this whole bottle of homeopathic sleeping pills. I won't get drowsy. I won't get sick. I won't pass out. I won't die. Nothing will happen. Because there's nothing in them."

That would be fairly convincing. Yes, it might be that I am stupid to not know what they are in the first place. I might be lazy for not doing research on it, myself. But the demo might do something to convince the stupid and lazy.

I think it does. I have no more evidence for that belief than most advertisers have to believe in their advertisements. I fear that convincing people is an inexact science.

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Old 5th January 2012, 07:42 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by wardenclyffe View Post
I think the demo is effective because many people, myself included until a few years ago, thought that homeopathy was some sort of herbal therapy. I assumed that homeopathy contained something active. I suppose that someone could have said, "It contains nothing." I'd think "Really?" And someone could say, "Yeah, look. I'm gonna swallow this whole bottle of homeopathic sleeping pills. I won't get drowsy. I won't get sick. I won't pass out. I won't die. Nothing will happen. Because there's nothing in them."
Yep. Same for myself, as well as everyone I've talked to. People who haven't done any research generally just assume that "homeopathic" is another word for "naturopathic" and/or contains herbs, etc.

Homeopathic "overdose" demonstrations should be something like diluting a grain of sugar to 80000C for instant diabetes, or something, but that would only get a chuckle out of people who've already looked into it. Hmm... or maybe giving a homeopath an "underdose" of an undiluted homeopathic "ingredient" like datura. Would be fairly amusing when they start seeing spiders seep out of the walls.

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Old 17th June 2012, 11:13 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by JihadJane View Post
Yes, I saw a video of Randi introducing this publicity stunt and was shocked by how crude and irrelevant it was.
When ultimately we are talking about changing the minds of credulous people who are swayed by simple claims and assertions, then publicity stunts become valuable weapons.

Fact is, skeptics have had logic, rationality and facts on their side the whole time. Yet still people believe in nonsense. Using psychology to the advantage of skeptics is never irrelevant.
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Old 18th June 2012, 04:44 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by thatGuy View Post
Hi


I watched James in some or other TedX video drinking a whole box of homeopathic sleeping pills. It has come to my attention that some homeopaths rebrand conventional medicine and sell it as homeopathic. The demonstration should be made with a warning or disclaimer against something like this.
This must rank as one of the most bizarre and pointless demonstrations ever conceived, because no homeopath would expect a whole box of pills to have any different an effect than taking just one pill.


Originally Posted by ehcks View Post
It's more like satire.

You look at their claim, (that homeopathy works, and that the overdose warning label is meaningful) pretend it's true, and use it to make a common sense conclusion about what that claim would mean. If homeopathy worked, and if the overdose warning label made sense, eating 64 homeopathic sleeping pills would either make you pass out or kill you.
No, it wouldn't.

I've never seen an overdose warning label on homeopathic products. If they are there, it is because outside regulators stipulate it, just as they stipulate, irrelevantly to homeopaths' minds, that there must be a children's and an adult dose.



Quote:
If A then B. If not B then not A.

Eating 64 pills does nothing. The pills don't work and the warning is a lie. So they have false advertising and misleading claims.
That's only logical if you ignore the actual claims that homeopaths make for their pills.

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Old 18th June 2012, 08:33 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by JihadJane View Post
This must rank as one of the most bizarre and pointless demonstrations ever conceived, because no homeopath would expect a whole box of pills to have any different an effect than taking just one pill.
But homeopaths expect one pill to have an effect beyond placebo, so homeopath expectations are pretty irrelevant really.

What matters are the expectations of the audience. It is a STUNT. I don't think Randi would deny that. He is, afterall, a magician - doing stunts and getting reactions is what he knows. And this stunt plays on the fact that most people would expect that if one pill does X, then ten pills should do, roughly speaking, 10X.

The expectation comes from reality - repeated experience with every other type of drug conditions us to expect it. So why is homeopathy suddenly the exception to this rule?

The fact that the peddlers of woo have a non-sense magical get out of jail free explanation doesn't matter when the audience suddenly has a moment of realisation that this stunt has just demonstrated that clearly homeopathy breaks away from all other normal experiences.
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Old 18th June 2012, 08:48 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Aegist View Post
But homeopaths expect one pill to have an effect beyond placebo, so homeopath expectations are pretty irrelevant really.

What matters are the expectations of the audience. It is a STUNT. I don't think Randi would deny that. He is, afterall, a magician - doing stunts and getting reactions is what he knows. And this stunt plays on the fact that most people would expect that if one pill does X, then ten pills should do, roughly speaking, 10X.
Not if they know anything about how homeopathy claims to work they won't. Randi is just demonstrating is own apparent ignorance about what he is trying to expose.

Quote:
The expectation comes from reality - repeated experience with every other type of drug conditions us to expect it. So why is homeopathy suddenly the exception to this rule?
People invariably turn to homeopathy because they distrust "every other type of drug". They know that homeopathy claims to work in a radically different way.

Quote:
The fact that the peddlers of woo have a non-sense magical get out of jail free explanation doesn't matter when the audience suddenly has a moment of realisation that this stunt has just demonstrated that clearly homeopathy breaks away from all other normal experiences.
If the audience have any knowledge of how homeopathy claims to work (unlike Randi, apparently!) they will be distinctly unimpressed by this magician's stunt! They will say "So what?"

Personally I am unimpressed when people claiming to be rational employ demeaning baby language to bolster their arguments.

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Old 19th June 2012, 12:29 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by JihadJane View Post
Not if they know anything about how homeopathy claims to work they won't. Randi is just demonstrating is own apparent ignorance about what he is trying to expose.
I think you are right. But the target is people who think there's something in homeopathic treatments. I have no evidence, but I'm guessing most people (at least in the US) think that homeopathic treatments are some sort of herbal treatment that contains some sort of ingredient that's designed to help them. The OD demonstration informs them that there is no active ingredient in homeopathic treatments whatsoever. It does so in a more memorable way than simply telling them that it is so.

That, I believe, is the purpose of the demonstration.

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Old 20th June 2012, 08:30 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by wardenclyffe View Post
I think you are right. But the target is people who think there's something in homeopathic treatments. I have no evidence, but I'm guessing most people (at least in the US) think that homeopathic treatments are some sort of herbal treatment that contains some sort of ingredient that's designed to help them. The OD demonstration informs them that there is no active ingredient in homeopathic treatments whatsoever. It does so in a more memorable way than simply telling them that it is so.

That, I believe, is the purpose of the demonstration.

Ward
I guess it would make a useful promotional tool for homeopaths who want to communicate that their pills have no harmful side-effects.
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Old 20th June 2012, 10:39 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by JihadJane View Post
I guess it would make a useful promotional tool for homeopaths who want to communicate that their pills have no harmful side-effects.
It's also a useful promotional tool for skeptics to communicate that the pills have no effects---side, up, down or any other kind of effects whatsoever.

Ward
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Old 21st June 2012, 03:22 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by wardenclyffe View Post
It's also a useful promotional tool for skeptics to communicate that the pills have no effects---side, up, down or any other kind of effects whatsoever.

Ward
It doesn't even demonstrate that. It's just one dose. You could take one dose of antibiotics rather than a full course but the lack of effects wouldn't demonstrate the inefficacy of antibiotics.
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Old 21st June 2012, 06:47 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by JihadJane View Post
It doesn't even demonstrate that. It's just one dose. You could take one dose of antibiotics rather than a full course but the lack of effects wouldn't demonstrate the inefficacy of antibiotics.
A whole bottle of pills is far more than one dose, and would definitely have some effect if it were a typical "real" medicine. The whole point is to mimic the dangerous action of swallowing a whole bottle of real medicine, then showing that nothing happens.

A more subtle stunt, which fewer people would get but which would more accurate mock homoepathic theory, would be to properly dilute a dose far beyond the recommended number of times, and then take that without effect.
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Old 21st June 2012, 12:14 PM   #40
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The point isn't to reach the woos who already believe in homeopathy. No demonstration will ever change their minds.
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