Bringing herbal medicine into disrepute

I’ve just learned via a University College London Hospitals (UCLH) press release that the world’s leading professional body for herbal medicine practitioners recently teamed up with the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital (RLHH) to organise a one-day conference to “…share experience of an integrative approach to healthcare…”.

What has herbal medicine got to do with homeopathy, and why is the College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy risking damage to its reputation by associating with homeopaths? Herbalism is allopathic medicine, and many conventional pharmaceuticals are based on age-old herbal knowledge. Homeopathy, on the other hand, is pure quackery.

I wrote last month about the tribulations of the RLHH, and what appeared to be a wise move on the part of UCLH to distance itself from homeopathy. But now we have the UCLH press office spinning again for crank science.

And as if this were not bad enough, it has just been reported that UCLH is to spend £80k on testing whether ‘spiritual healers’ can have an effect on cancer. This, we are told, is the idea of a departmental manager who developed an interest in ‘spiritual healing’ after tragically losing her seven year-old son to leukaemia.