Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine that was developed over 200 years ago by a German physician, Samuel Hahnemann. Hahnemann was dissatisfied with the harsh and often ineffective medical practices of his time, which included bloodletting, purging, and the use of toxic substances like mercury and arsenic. Homeopathy is based on the principle that “like cures like,” meaning that a substance that causes symptoms in a healthy person can be used to treat similar symptoms in a sick person.1
Homeopathy is often criticized for being unscientific and lacking evidence to support its effectiveness. However, proponents of homeopathy believe that it is a holistic approach to healing that considers the individual as a whole, taking into account their physical, emotional, and mental state.
One of the many benefits of homeopathy is that it is considered safe and non-toxic, as the remedies are highly diluted and have minimal side effects. This makes it a suitable option for people who may not be able to tolerate conventional medicine. Homeopathy has been used to treat a wide range of conditions, including allergies, asthma, anxiety, depression, digestive disorders, and skin conditions. While the scientific evidence for the effectiveness of homeopathy is mixed, many people have reported positive experiences with it, especially in cases where conventional medicine has been ineffective. There are numerous studies showing that homeopathic agents, like OscillococcinumR, are effective in reducing the symptoms of certain illnesses like the cold or flu.2,3 There has also been a randomized control trial showing “homoeopathy provoked a clear, significant, and clinically relevant improvement in nasal inspiratory peak flow.”4 Clinical studies on arnica, which is used for pain and inflammation, and camilia, used mostly to help teething babies, most often show that they are more effective than placebo.5 In addition to its use as a standalone therapy, homeopathy can also be used in conjunction with other forms of treatment, such as acupuncture, massage, traditional medicine, and herbal medicine. This integrative approach to healing can be beneficial in promoting overall wellness and improving the body’s ability to heal itself.
In conclusion, homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine that has been used for centuries to treat a wide range of conditions. While available studies may oppose each other, many people have reported positive experiences with it, especially in cases where conventional medicine has been ineffective, and there are recent studies that have backed up some homeopathic claims. Homeopathy is considered safe and non-toxic, and can be used in conjunction with other forms of treatment to promote overall wellness. If you are interested in trying homeopathy, it is important to consult with a qualified practitioner who can guide you through the process and help you determine whether it is a suitable option for your specific needs.
If you’re interested in learning more about homeopathy, we have a podcast episode about it! We chatted with Laura Burr, pharmacist and certified homeopathic practitioner. You can listen to that episode here.
Written by, Patrick Goodpaster, PharmD Candidate
Edited by Lindsey Dalton, PharmD
- Loudon I. A brief history of homeopathy. J R Soc Med. 2006;99(12):607-610. doi:10.1177/014107680609901206
- Papp R, Schuback G, Beck E, et al. OscillococcinumR in patients with influenza-like syndromes: A placebo-controlled double-blind evaluation. Br Homeopath J. 1998;87(2):69-76. doi: 10.1054/homp.1999.0208.
- Mathie RT, Lloyd SM, Legg LA, et al. Randomised placebo-controlled trials of individualised homeopathic treatment: systematic review and meta-analysis. Syst Rev. 2014;3:142. Published 2014 Dec 6. doi:10.1186/2046-4053-3-142.
- Taylor MA, Reilly D, Llewellyn-Jones RH, McSharry C, Aitchison TC. Randomised controlled trial of homoeopathy versus placebo in perennial allergic rhinitis with overview of four trial series [published correction appears in BMJ 2000 Sep 23;321(7263):733]. BMJ. 2000;321(7259):471-476. doi:10.1136/bmj.321.7259.471
- Hahn RG. Homeopathy: meta-analyses of pooled clinical data. Forsch Komplementmed. 2013;20(5):376-381. doi: 10.1159/000355916.