This article from Science Daily has a few funny and head-scratchy things in it. It’s about tests of homeopathic nasal sprays that claim to shorten or prevent a cold. The “huh?” thing is that these sprays (and swabs) contain zinc in high quantities, which is not “homeopathic”. I don’t have a bottle of Zicam on me so I’m not certain what the homeopathic “ingredient” (and I use that term loosely) is claimed to be in it. I guess it can be both homeopathic and have an active ingredient but I guarantee the terms confuse people who equate homeopathic with “natural” and “safe”. Neither of those is necessarily true in this case.
Second, it uses the REALLY funny word “anosmic” (a-nose-mik) It sounds like you’ve lost your nose. Actually, it kind of does mean that. The research paper notes that there is a link between zinc nose sprays and permanent loss of smell. The FDA previously told consumers to stop using the zinc gluconate product. But they can’t MAKE the manufacturer take it off the shelf.
The bottom line is this product has failed tests to show that it even works for what it is claimed to do AND it can cause harm.
At The Amazing Meeting 8 earlier this month, there was a call to rally skeptic voices behind a movement to remove homeopathic medicine from the shelves of Wal Mart. It’s a worthy cause we should support. How would the average person know that what they are buying off the shelf is useless and potentially harmful – it’s right next to conventional medicines. What’s worse is that real medicines are locked behind the pharmacy counter. People want quick fixes and waste money by grabbing OTC stuff like this. Buyer beware.