Canadian homeopath and naturopath Anke Zimmermann reportedly gave a small child diluted saliva from a rabid animal to treat his temper.
Jonah had been “restless and irritable,” misbehaving at bedtime, expressing fears of wolves and werewolves, and crawling under a table to growl at his classmates. Most parents would describe such a child as a handful or take them to a pediatric professional if the behavioral problems became a health issue. Unfortunately for Jonah, he was instead subjected by his mother to Zimmermann’s “help.”
According to Zimmermann, 4-year-old “Jonah” was given 2 pellets of “Lyssinum 200CH,” made from the diluted saliva of a rabid dog. “Within a minute or two of giving him the remedy Jonah smiled at me very broadly and beautifully, as if all the lights had just gone on,” Zimmermann exulted in a blog post. “We said our good-byes and I felt a warm feeling of hope for this boy.”
Of course, there is no evidence that this type of treatment actually has any effect. Even Zimmermann herself admitted that the pellets she fed Jonah contained such trace amounts of dog saliva that the rabies virus would not actually be present. But according to homeopathic doctrine, “like cures like,” and results from even the barest trace of some tangentially related substance are enough to treat or cure.
Unfortunately, homeopathic treatment can be dangerous for a much more important reason: People searching for quackery to solve their ills tend to evade actual treatment. And “prescribed” treatments can be outright harmful to the person receiving them. It is why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided to tighten its grip on the market.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry expressed her “grave concerns” about such “treatments” when speaking to the CBC. “I will be writing to Health Canada about this preparation again,” Henry said. “There’s no way I can understand why we would have anything that was meant to be saliva of a rabid dog approved for use in this country.”