Just to be clear, it’s possible the medicine I took yesterday that my boss swears by for staving off the flu is purely sugar packets. The “inactive” ingredients are lactose and sucrose. The “active” ingredient is “anas barbariae 200CK HPUS.” If that’s not code for, “something we’re going to charge you $2 per packet for–while claiming you’re getting 50% FREE–because you are gullible enough to think ‘homeopathic’ medicine somehow works better than the ones you’ve heard of before,” then I would be surprised.
But I tried it. And it tasted like sugar. And if my stomach hurt a tiny bit right after, that’s just in my head, right?
Because the box claims Oscillococcinum is “non-drowsy,” with “no side effects, no drug interactions,” and it “works naturally with your body.” So essentially it’s admitting it’s just sugar.
Of course, it’s not going to work if I think it’s just sugar, is it? Maybe. I was recently reading an article about the placebo effect. Most of the information was old news to me, except one study that was apparently done without deception–the patients were told they were getting a sugar pill, and yet their symptoms still improved more than the ones who received nothing.
So who knows? The power of thought has long been known to be capable of many things. Putting a “homeopathic medicine” label on a bunch of sugar and charging almost $20 for it because it can–either physically or just mentally–help some people isn’t the most unethical thing I’ve heard of.