No evidence homeopathic nosodes can help side effects from vaccines

29 July 2021
What was claimed

Homeopathic nosodes could help with vaccine side effects.

Our verdict

There is no evidence to indicate that this is true. A 2010 House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report on homeopathy said that homeopathic remedies perform no better than placebos.

A video on Instagram appears to show the preparation of a “nosode”, which the post author claims “may help with the possible negative affects [sic]” of vaccines. 

These effects are not defined, nor is the specific vaccine to which the post author is referring, though the video does talk about “offset[ting] RNA vaccinations” which suggests it refers to the Covid-19 vaccines. 

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) confirmed to Full Fact that homeopathic nosodes have not been authorised for human use in the UK, and warned they could be a risk to health.

What are nosodes? 

Nosodes are a “treatment” promoted in homeopathic practice which is based on the idea that a substance that causes certain symptoms can also help to remove those symptoms and the use of highly diluted substances.

An article published in the Canadian journal Paediatrics & Child Health defines nosodes as “a specific category of homeopathic treatment derived from an element of a disease or from diseased tissue”. 

As the video shows, nosodes are usually prepared by diluting material—either biological material or an item purporting to contain it, such as a plaster—by factors of 100, and are often offered in pill form. 

Dr Siu Ping Lam, MHRA Licensing Director told Full Fact: “Homeopathic nosodes have not been authorised in the UK for use in humans and have not undergone regulatory approvals required for sale on the UK market. Therefore we cannot guarantee the safety, quality or effectiveness of any of these products and this poses a risk to the health of people who take them.

“Patient safety is our highest priority and we advise people not to use homeopathic medicines that are not authorised in the UK.”

The RSPCA has previously warned against their use as homeopathic alternatives to vaccines for pets, warning they could cause “horrific suffering”. 

Much of the media attention on nosodes for human use appears to originate in Canada, where experts have warned they should be removed from sale to prevent harm. 

A 2010 House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report on homeopathy said that homeopathic remedies perform no better than placebos, and found that “advocates of homeopathy... choose to rely on, and promulgate, selective approaches to the treatment of the evidence base as this risks confusing or misleading the public, the media and policy-makers.”

No evidence they can help with side effects of vaccines 

It’s hard to know how the nosodes promoted on Instagram could possibly help with vaccine side effects because we don’t know which “possible negative affects [sic]” they are meant to help with. 

Most of the available information on nosodes online promotes the “treatment” as an alternative to vaccines, not as a method for alleviating unspecified symptoms purportedly caused by the vaccine. 

The author of the post offers no evidence of their effectiveness, and Full Fact could find no credible information online about using nosodes in this specific way. 

There is very little scientific evidence to support the use of nosodes at all. 

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false because there is no evidence nosodes could help with vaccine side effects, and homeopathic treatments in general have been found to perform no better than placebos.

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