British Columbia

Retailer stops selling unlicensed remedy made from rabid dog saliva after federal investigation

The online retailer of an unlicensed homeopathic remedy made from rabid dog saliva has agreed to stop selling the product in Canada, according to the federal government.

Health Canada opened probe into homeopathic nosode in response to Victoria naturopath's blog post

Naturopath Anke Zimmermann says she purchased the remedy lyssinum from Helios Homeopathy in the U.K. (CHEK News)

The online retailer of an unlicensed homeopathic remedy made from rabid dog saliva has agreed to stop selling the product in Canada, according to the federal government.

The lyssinum made by U.K. manufacturer Helios Homeopathy made headlines this month when a Victoria naturopath claimed she'd used it to treat a small boy's behaviour problems.

Health Canada opened an investigation into the matter, and spokesperson Renelle Briand confirmed Monday that the product was not licensed for sale in this country.

"At Health Canada's request, the individual involved agreed to stop selling the product," Briand wrote in an email.

"Health Canada will take further action, if necessary, should any additional non-compliance or risk to health be identified. Health Canada has also informed the College of Naturopathic Physicians of British Columbia of the actions that it has taken."

Anke Zimmermann wrote about the treatment in a February post to her website that has now been deleted. (DrZimmermann.org)

Lyssinum — also known as lyssin or hydrophobinum — is a homeopathic nosode made by repeatedly diluting the saliva of a rabid dog. The treatment is approved in general for use in Canada, but Helios is not among the companies licensed to sell it.

Naturopath Anke Zimmermann drew interest from around the world after she wrote a blog post claiming she'd used lyssinum to bring a four-year-old with behaviour problems "back into a more human state from a slightly rabid dog state."

She has defended the treatment, and says the saliva is diluted so many times, there is no trace of the rabies virus.

About the Author

Bethany Lindsay

Journalist

Bethany Lindsay has more than a decade of experience in B.C. journalism, with a focus on the courts, health and social justice issues. She has also reported on human rights and crimes against humanity in Cambodia. Questions or news tips? Get in touch at bethany.lindsay@cbc.ca or on Twitter through @bethanylindsay.

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