Monday, February 7, 2011

Zicam Scam

Amy Alkon, The Advice Goddess, comments on a video of James Randi criticizing homeopathic medicines. If you are not familiar with James Randi, be warned he has little use for homeopathy. Being a libertarian I am not in favor of government regulating medicine beyond punishing negligent or deliberate actions that cause harm to people. However, I do think it a is a good thing that Randi is trying to publicize the essential daftness of homeopathy in general.

Also, some "homeopathic" remedies are not what they claim to be. For instance, Zicam is not really a homeopathic preparation. It has the usual homeopathic crap listed as "inactive ingredients" which is appropriate for something that has been diluted to one less than one part in 1024. However, it also contains zinc acetate and zinc gluconate in detectable concentrations. Whether the combination really inhibits the binding of the rhinovirus to the ICAM-1 receptor is still unproven. There is some evidence that zinc acetate may have the effect of reducing severity of the common cold but not in homeopathic dilutions.

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