History of homeopathic overdose

The vast archives of homeopathic literature do describe — once, in an 1864 book (see below for detail) — the danger of homeopathic medicine overdose.

We mention this as background to today’s worldwide demonstrations — volunteers take massive amounts of homeopathic medicines (medicines from which all the medicine has been removed) to demonstrate that those medicine-less medicines have no medical effect.

The homeopathic community’s own warning about overdoses appears in John Ryan’s 1864 book HOMOEOPATHIC INFINITESIMAL DOSES. HOMOEOPATHIC INFINITESIMAL DOSES, AND THEIR ANALOGUES IN NATURE. Dr. Ryan says, on page 28:

Dr. Pereira gives an excellent illustration of the action of a specific, in the homoeopathic sense, in the following remarks on iodine: “… Iodine, indeed, has been supposed to possess some specific power of influencing the liver, not only from its efficacy in alleviating or curing certain diseases of this organ, but also from the effects of an overdose. In one case, pain and induration of the liver were brought on ; and, in another, which terminated fatally, this organ was found to be enlarged, and of a pale rose colour.”

However… That quotation comes from Jonathan Pereira’s 1854 book The Elements of Materia Medica, 4th edition, volume 1. The quoted text is on pages 407-408. Dr. Pereira is discussing the effects of actual — not vanished — iodine. Nowhere in the book does Dr. Pereira discuss homeopathic (or any other kind of medicine-less) medicine.