Homeopathic Mosquito Repellant-Concentrated Bunk

mosquito repellantIn the view of the vast majority of scientists, and certainly mine, any claim that homeopathic preparations have an effect beyond placebo is pure bunk. Homeopathic solutions are diluted to an extent that they essentially contain nothing and then are sprayed onto sugar pills from which they evaporate leaving behind, according to homeopathic dogma, some sort of ghostly image that has therapeutic value. This is scientifically insulting. Homeopathic products contain no active ingredients, there is no plausible way in which they can work and there is no evidence that they do work. But somehow this doesn’t bother Health Canada’s Natural Health Products Directorate which has given a free ride to homeopathic preparations, even issuing specific homeopathic drug identification numbers. It is hard to understand how this has happened given that the Directorate’s stated goal is that “all Canadians have ready access to natural health products that are safe, effective and high quality, while respecting freedom of choice and philosophical and cultural diversity.” Safety is not an issue with homeopathic products because they conatin nothing. I’m not sure what “high quality” means in this context, supposedly that the pills are produced in an environment free of contaminants. But what about efficacy? There is actually no requirement that homeopathic producers demonstrate this, which is lucky for them, because there is no way to demonstrate the efficacy of homeopathic sea water, homeopathic insulin, homeopathic chloroform or homeopathic table salt.
It seems that Health Canada has taken the view that freedom of choice is paramount as long as there is no safety issue and regulators look the other way when it comes to a question of efficacy. In most cases there is no big problem here because in general consumers who use homeopathic preparations do so for mild conditions such as colds or minor aches and pains. But using homeopathic pills to deter insects from biting is potentially dangerous. Yet that is exactly what Mozi-Q marketed as a natural homeopathic deterrent claims to do. Imagine that. Swallow a sugar pill and keep mosquitoes away. Not only that, it is also supposed to reduce the itching if you do get bitten. What evidence do they provide on their website? There’s talk of how mosquitoes avoid delphinium flowers, which may or may not be true. But what does that have to do with swallowing pills sprayed with an extremely dilute extract of the plant? Are the nonexistent delphinium molecules exuding through the skin? And itching is supposedly relieved by a pill that contains a trace of stinging nettle extract? According to the perverse theory of homeopathy, a substance that causes symptoms in a healthy person will relieve those symptoms in an afflicted person upon extreme dilution. Since stinging nettle causes a stinging sensation on contact with skin, it is supposed to relieve the same sensation when diluted. Nonsense. Mozi-Q also cites a reference to some homeopath who carried out a study in the 1960s, a study that cannot be found. What else? Supposedly Mozi-Q was tested over four seasons on people. How? Was there a control group? How were the results monitored? Why weren’t they published? Pity the poor person who goes into a mosquito infected area thinking they are protected from bites by having swallowed a sugar pill. And remember that mosquito bites can be more than minor annoyances; they can transfer disease, such as that caused by the West Nile virus. And Health Canada thinks this is ok. It isn’t.
Joe Schwarcz

5 responses to “Homeopathic Mosquito Repellant-Concentrated Bunk”

  1. Brian Patrick says:

    Mozi-Q is a joke.
    I wrote them asking where I can see the study they reference.
    The woman sent me a link to a med site….but yup, there’s nothing there.
    I wrote back and said it’s not there and no one else can find it.
    I asked to see the study.
    She said they couldn’t show it to me…..haha.
    First, it’s not there study, and the results were published. There is absolutely nothing preventing them from giving me or putting it on their website, if they had the study. Notice to how they only mention a ‘reference’ to the result of study in a homeopathic journal. There’s no analyzing the study.
    They also say that Mozi-Q is government approved, yes, but it’s not approved for any efficacy, it’s only approved because it’s a homeopathic product and a reference to a study.
    All I can say is, what a joke.
    They won’t or can’t back up their claim.

  2. Festus I says:

    I like the idea behind MOZI-Q.
    I dont care about what people say about it…….
    If you have ever been sick of malaria, which is commonly an effect of mosquito bites, you would appreciate this
    This is a product of hope!
    from here greater one will come up.

  3. Joe Schwarcz says:

    You can always count on Dana to come up with silly blather. The fact that hormones can be active in tiny amounts has nothing to do with this ridiculous product for which there is no evidence of efficacy. I wish Dana had been at TAM this year to listen to all the comments by distinguished scientists poking holes in his activities concerning homeopathy, the most absurd of all “alternative” treatments. Any belief in the efficacy of homeopathy is a clear demonstration of unfamiliarity with the principles of chemistry, biology and physics to say nothing of the placebo effect. If Dana is actually promoting Mozi-Q as an insect repellant, he is engaged in the promotion of a dangerous practice. You can read further at

  4. Steve Park says:

    You need to read the cited articles in Dana Ullman,ans’s response. Your articles is ridiculously naive, and lacking in any intelligent research.

  5. Dana Ullman says:

    In due respect, your assertion that there are “no active ingredients” in this products is embarrassingly wrong. Have you even looked at the label on this product. Do you not see that several of the ingredients are diluted only 1:10 three or four times. Do you not realize that many hormones in our body are known to have significant physiological effects at doses that are similar to 1:10 six to nine times? (reference: Eskinazi, D., Homeopathy Re-revisited: Is Homeopathy Compatible with Biomedical Observations? Archives in Internal Medicine, 159, Sept 27, 1999:1981-7.)

    Why do you choose to purposefully spread misinformation?

    And why have there been so many randomized, double-blind and placebo controlled trials showing the biological activity and clinical efficacy of homeopathy, including in publications such as the BMJ, Lancet, Pediatrics, Chest, Rheumatology, Journal of Clinical Oncology, and so many more? Hmmmm…just saying…

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