Homeopathic remedies are just water – so how did this sex-enhancing ‘treatment’ get peer reviewed and published?

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Credit: Shutterstock

Chu et al. studied the effectiveness of a compound called Impaza, which they hoped would enhance erectile function in male rats. They reported that it did.

So far, so usual.

But then, on May 21, 2020, Chu et al.’s paper got slapped with an Expression of Concern by the journal. On June 23, the paper was retracted.

This is where things get interesting. When the editor states that “the reagent is diluted beyond the point to which any active molecules are expected to be present”; this sounds very much like they are saying the reagent (meaning the Impaza compound) was a homeopathic treatment.

Homeopathy is a branch of alternative medicine based on the belief that the more dilute a remedy is, the more powerful it becomes. Notoriously, most homeopathic remedies are so dilute that they no longer contain even one molecule of the original ingredients. They are just water.

Related article:  Were Neanderthals doomed by their inbreeding?

This raises the question of how the Chu et al. paper passed peer-review in the first place. I suspect the reviewers just didn’t spot the single reference to homeopathy and rubber-stamped the (otherwise quite unremarkable) paper… I’m not sure, but I’d bet that someone tipped the journal off about the homeopathy that had slipped into their pages. And I further suspect that this person was Alexander Panchin, author of a number of recent articles criticizing Impaza and other similar homeopathy-in-disguise products.

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