Monday, May 7, 2012
Is taking a liquid homeopathic anxiety remedy more like drinking lemonade or playing an accordion?
In previous posts on this blog I have discussed both homeopathic and herbal remedies for anxiety. Recently I found the web site for a homeopathic remedy called Anxietin that added what to me was an entirely new claim in the area of complex homeopathy.
What’s in there?
First the familiar stuff. This liquid remedy has a combination of 21 distinct ingredients, so it can be a commercial brand. As is usual for homeopathy, most ingredients are made more mysterious by only giving their Latin names. They include the following (with English translation):
Aurum Metallicum (gold metal)
Argentum Nitricum (Silver Nitrate)
Arsenicum Album (Arsenic Trioxide)
Baryta Carbonica (Barium Carbonate),
Calcarea Phosphorica (Calcium Phosphate)
Kali Arsenicosum (Potassium Arsenite)
Kali Phosphoricum (Potassium Phosphate)
Muriaticum Acidum (Hydrochloric Acid)
Natrum Phosphoricum (Sodium Phosphate)
Aconitum Napellus (Wolfsbane or Monkshood)
Avena Sativa (Common Oat)
Chamomilla (German Chamomile)
Gelsemium Sempervirens (Yellow Jessamine)
Ignatia Amara (Strychnos Ignatia; contains both Strychnine and Brucine)
Lupulus Humulus (Humulus Lupulus; Common Hop)
Passiflora Incarnata (True Passionflower)
Stramonium (Datura Stramonium; Jimson Weed or Locoweed)
How much is in there?
Here’s where things get either interesting or silly. Their web site says that:
“Anxietin’s unique multi-potency formula contains three dilutions (10X, 30X, and LM1) of each active homeopathic ingredient, in equal amounts, in one bottle. These active ingredients are stabilized in our oligotherapeutic water base to help maximize absorption. Unlike most homeopathic medicines, Anxitetin does not contain irritating alcohol or sugar and is gluten free.”
That formula isn’t really unique since it’s also sold as the less expensive Anxietrex Pet Anxiety Formula.
These three dilutions (or potencies) supposedly are like a musical chord (potency chord, or accord, or homaccord), and somehow act together but distinctly from each other. That peculiar concept is about a century old. (There are other products like Aconite Plus that even contain four dilutions). This notion of potency chords throws out the idea of a chemical concentration, and I don’t buy it.
An LM1 dilution means that a substance is mixed with 50,000 parts of water and then shaken (succussed). Therefore its concentration would be 20 parts per million (ppm).
In homeopathy dilutions followed by an X mean that a substance is mixed with ten parts of water, shaken, and then diluted repeatedly. A 10X dilution thus contains 1 part in 10 to the tenth power, or 0.0001 ppm. A 30X dilution supposedly contains just 0.000000000000000000000001 ppm, but actually is completely immaterial (magic) since at 24X there wouldn’t even be one molecule left. So, the concentration of each substance would theoretically be the average of the first two, 20.0001 ppm. I doubt that the volume of the LM1 dilution could be measured so precisely that adding the 10X dilution would make any practical difference.
By the way, the label says that Anxietin also contains two preservatives - 0.1% potassium sorbate 0.1% (1000 ppm), and 0.0075% citric acid (75ppm). They are present at higher concentrations than those active ingredients.
Will it help?
Who knows! I’ve previously blogged about how there wasn’t conclusive evidence that Argentum Nitricum, Gelsemium, or Passionflower would reduce anxiety in humans.
The image of a boy playing the accordion came from Wikimedia Commons.