Prince Charles says give homeopathy a chance

In a letter between the Prince of Wales and the health minister at the time, Charles says complementary medicine can ease suffering and that the health system fails to treat people, focusing on ailments instead.

It’s one of a new batch of letters from what’s become known as the “black spider memos”, written between 2006 and 2009, in which the heir to the throne expresses his opinions on matters of the state.

This is not the done thing: when Charles becomes king, he will be expected to keep his opinions to himself.

The decision by the Cabinet Office to release this new batch of letters avoids another legal battle. The first series of letters was revealed last month after a freedom of information tribunal agreed they were in the public interest.

This time round, Prince Charles takes shots at ragwort, hospital food and homeopathy, a complementary medicine popular in France, but which has recently come under scrutiny here in Australia.

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In the letter to the health minister Alan Johnson in 2007, Prince Charles writes:

“I cannot bear people suffering unnecessarily when a complementary approach could make a real difference. I have been convinced for many years that we in the United Kingdom need to do more to encourage and facilitate good health, as well as to treat illness, and that there should be more of a “whole person” approach to the treatment of illness rather than a “reductionist” focus on the particular ailment.

In addition, I am sure that more can be done to take advantage of complementary medicine, not as an alternative or competitor to conventional medicine, but as part of an integrated approach with the same doctor being able to provide or suggest conventional and/or complementary remedies and treatments as he and the patient see fit.”

According to the prince, homeopathy, in which patients are treated with minuscule amounts of herbal remedy administered on a tiny sugar pill, can hep with chronic pain, eczema, irritable bowel syndrome and depression.

In recent days, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has formally recommended GPs stop prescribing homeopathic remedies, and says pharmacists must also stop stocking such products because there’s no evidence they are effective in any way.

When we reported on the first batch of letters to be released, many of you thought Prince Charles was entitled to his opinion. What do you think about his views on homeopathy?