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Amazon slammed for selling unproven homeopathy remedies

Amazon has been accused of behaving irresponsibly for selling dozens of dubious homeopathy remedies. 

Customers in the UK and US are able to buy pills said to contain saliva from a dog infected with rabies, MailOnline can reveal.

They can also purchase other tablets that are said to be derived from the urethral discharge from men infected with gonorrhoea.

Homeopathy critics today slammed the unusual listings, attacking Amazon for not bothering to check what remedies it sells. 

Amazon said it had removed a number of the bizarre products flagged by MailOnline – but did not clarify which ones or how many.

Amazon in the US was also found to list lac caninum – prepared from the milk of dogs. Advocates say it can treat gonorrhoea and varicose veins, among other ailments

No lyssin products were available for UK customers to purchase when MailOnline checked Amazon's UK website earlier this month. However, MailOnline was given the option to purchase the remedy while on the US site, with the seller offering shipping to the UK

No lyssin products were available for UK customers to purchase when MailOnline checked Amazon’s UK website earlier this month. However, MailOnline was given the option to purchase the remedy while on the US site, with the seller offering shipping to the UK

MailOnline found the retail giant’s UK page listed four different products claiming to be medorrhinum.  

Medorrhinum is prepared from the heavily diluted urethral discharge of a male patient suffering from gonorrhoea. 

The US-based National Center for Homeopathy says it can treat asthma, epilepsy, warts, period pain and even psoriasis.  

One seller said its pills were ‘prepared according to the original procedure of Dr Hahnemann’ – considered the founder of homeopathy. 

The firm, Urenus, even offered its pills in different strengths, suggesting customers could get more potent doses of gonorrhoea if they wished.

The other three products were all listed by Boiron, a manufacturer of homeopathic remedies that claims it sold £600million of products in 2018.

Both firms were offering pyrogenium – a solution made of decomposed lean beef allowed to stand in the sun for two weeks said to combat headaches.

And they also listed lac caninum – prepared from the milk of dogs. Advocates say it can treat gonorrhoea and varicose veins, among other ailments.

MailOnline found the retail giant's UK page listed four different products claiming to be medorrhinum

MailOnline found the retail giant’s UK page listed four different products claiming to be medorrhinum

Medorrhinum is prepared from the heavily diluted urethral discharge of a male patient suffering from gonorrhoea

Medorrhinum is prepared from the heavily diluted urethral discharge of a male patient suffering from gonorrhoea

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST UNUSUAL HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES? 

Medorrhinum is prepared from the urethral discharge of a male patient suffering from gonorrhoea. It is said to treat asthma, epilepsy, warts, period pain and even psoriasis. 

Pyrogenium is a solution made of decomposed lean beef allowed to stand in the sun for two weeks. Advocates say it can combat headaches. 

Lac caninum is a remedy prepared from the milk of dogs. Supporters of the solution say it can treat gonorrhoea and varicose veins, among other ailments. 

Hecla lava is made from ash from the volcano Mount Hekla in Iceland. It last erupted in 2000 – but ash can still be dug up from grounds around the volcano. Supporters say it can treat rickets, toothache, syphilis and tumours. 

Bryonia is a toxic plant that works as a laxative and used as a homeopathic remedy. Health experts warn online it is likely unsafe for anyone to consume. It is said to treat stomach and intestinal diseases, arthritis and liver disease.

Lyssin – the saliva of dogs with rabies -is a homeopathic solution. It is also known as lyssinum or hydrophobinum. Critics warn there is no evidence exists to prove it works. A Canadian naturopath controversially claimed in April 2018 she treated a four-year-old boy with behavioural problems using the product.

Urenus claimed its products were again based on Dr Hahnemann’s recipe.  

Both Urenus and Boiron listed their products with the same pictures under each category. 

The former firm also listed two products claiming to be Hecla lava – ash from the volcano Mount Hekla in Iceland. 

It last erupted in 2000 – but geologists say the ash can still be dug up from grounds around the volcano.

Supporters of the remedy – also completely unproven – say it can treat rickets, toothache, syphilis and tumours. 

Several different sellers listed products claiming to be bryonia, a toxic plant that works as a laxative.

Health experts warn online – but not on any product listings – that it is likely unsafe for anyone to consume.

But advocates say it can treat stomach and intestinal diseases, lung diseases, arthritis and even liver disease.

Helios Homeopathy’s pills attracted an array of good reviews, with many customers praising the product with five stars. 

The firm said its remedy is completely non-toxic and pointed out that bryonia has been used in homeopathy for over 200 years.

Urenus also sold a version of bryonia, which it once again said was based on the original procedure of Dr Hahnemann. 

Amazon customers in the US are also able to buy medorrhinum, pyrogenium, lac caninum, Hecla lava and bryonia.

They were also able to get their hands on homeopathic remedies said to contain the saliva of dogs with rabies – lyssin. 

The substance is also known as lyssinum or hydrophobinum. Critics warn there is no scientific evidence exists to prove it works. 

Two firms also listed lac caninum - prepared from the milk of dogs. Advocates say it can treat gonorrhoea and varicose veins, among other ailments

Two firms also listed lac caninum – prepared from the milk of dogs. Advocates say it can treat gonorrhoea and varicose veins, among other ailments

And the same firms were offering pyrogenium - a solution made of decomposed lean beef allowed to stand in the sun for two weeks said to combat headaches

And the same firms were offering pyrogenium – a solution made of decomposed lean beef allowed to stand in the sun for two weeks said to combat headaches

WHAT ARE THE ORIGINS OF HOMEOPATHY? 

Homeopathy was first coined in 1807 by German doctor Samuel Hahnemann, and focuses on three principles: like cures like, dilution, and ‘water remembers.’

Dr Hahnemann believed that medicine in his time was doing more harm than good, so he began to conduct experiments on volunteers and himself.

One such experiment included eating the bark of a cinchona tree, which was then used as a treatment for malaria. Scientists have since found that this bark contains quinine, an antimalarial drug.

After eating some of the bark, Hahnemann experienced symptoms which he likened to those of malaria, spawning the first principle ‘like cures like.’

The doctor thought that if a substance in large doses causes certain symptoms, it can be used in small doses to cure them.

According to the British Homeopathy Association, the remedies are used by over 200 million people worldwide to treat both acute and chronic conditions. 

A Canadian naturopath controversially claimed in April 2018 she treated a four-year-old boy with behavioural problems using the product, prompting fury among the medical community.

No lyssin products were available for UK customers to purchase when MailOnline checked Amazon’s UK website on July 5.  

However, MailOnline was given the option to purchase the remedy while on the US site, with the seller offering shipping to the UK.  

This is not the first time Amazon has been slammed for selling unproven medical treatments. 

In June it was criticised for showing documentaries promoting cancer quackery and unproven cures on its Prime Video service.

And in March it was revealed to be selling books encouraging parents to feed their children toxic chemicals to cure their autism. 

Professor Edzard Ernst, a leading researcher in complementary medicine at the University of Exeter, slammed the listings.

He told MailOnline: ‘Consumers are systematically mislead to believe that these remedies are established, well-regulated medicines.

‘There is no good evidence to show that these remedies are anything else but placebos.

‘Whoever sells bogus remedies masquerading as real medicines behaves less than responsible, in my view.’ 

Several different sellers listed products claiming to be bryonia, a toxic plant that works as a laxative. Health experts warn online - but not on any product listings - that it is likely unsafe for anyone to consume

Several different sellers listed products claiming to be bryonia, a toxic plant that works as a laxative. Health experts warn online – but not on any product listings – that it is likely unsafe for anyone to consume

Helios Homeopathy's pills attracted an array of good reviews, with many customers praising the product with five stars

Helios Homeopathy’s pills attracted an array of good reviews, with many customers praising the product with five stars

Dr Ernst said: ‘These remedies are highly diluted; so much so they contain nothing of what it says on the container.

‘Therefore, they cannot do any direct harm; they have no effects and no side-effects.

‘However, they can do much indirect harm. If, for instance, someone has a disease and treats it with such remedies, she is likely to miss out on any effective therapy.

‘If we are talking about a serious condition – cancer, for example – this can even cost her life.’

Professor David Colquhoun, emeritus professor of pharmacology at University College London, called the remedies ‘fraudulent’.

He said they are so diluted that one molecule of the original substance can found in a space the equivalent of the distance ‘of the sun to the Earth’.

Professor Colquhoun claimed there has been cases recently where the dilutions of other homeopathic solutions ‘haven’t been done right’.

He also said that Amazon are ‘utterly ruthless’ and ‘irresponsible’, adding: ‘They’ll send you anything, from machetes to quack cancer cures.’

An Amazon spokesperson said: ‘All sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who do not will be subject to action including potential removal of their account.’

However, they did not clarify what rules had been broken. 

One firm also listed two products claiming to be Hecla lava - ash from the volcano Mount Hekla in Iceland. It last erupted in 2000 - but geologists say the ash can still be dug up from grounds around the volcano

One firm also listed two products claiming to be Hecla lava – ash from the volcano Mount Hekla in Iceland. It last erupted in 2000 – but geologists say the ash can still be dug up from grounds around the volcano

PRINCE CHARLES IS ACCUSED OF BEING ANTI-SCIENCE AFTER TAKING UP ROLE AS PATRON OF THE FACULTY OF HOMEOPATHY 

Prince Charles was in June accused of promoting disproven and dangerous medical treatments in his new position as patron of the Faculty of Homeopathy.

The Prince of Wales is a long-time supporter of homeopathy and has used his royal position to try to get it widely accepted.

This is despite some homeopaths operating in the UK claiming to cure autism and offering alternatives to traditional vaccinations.

Homeopathy is a branch of medicine that treats ailments using extremely diluted doses of natural substances. It is known as a complementary or alternative approach because it is different from traditional Western medicine.

The style of treatment originates from ideas developed in the 1790s, which claim that the more a substance is diluted, the more powerful it is as a treatment.

Supporters claim, for example, that traditional inhalers used to treat asthma can be replaced with diluted plant extracts. The Faculty of Homeopathy is the professional body for homeopaths.

The prince has faced a backlash for associating with these practitioners and peddling alternative treatments. He has had treatment himself from herbalists and chiropractors for ailments including severe back pain.

He also founded the Foundation for Integrated Health in 1993 but the charity closed in 2010 after a criminal investigation into allegations of fraud and money laundering.

The Prince of Wales is also Patron to traditional medical establishments. Pictured: In his role as Patron during a visit to  City Hospice, Whitchurch, Cardiff

The Prince of Wales is also Patron to traditional medical establishments. Pictured: In his role as Patron during a visit to  City Hospice, Whitchurch, Cardiff

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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