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Overview: Homeopathy or Homeopathic Medicine

By HERWriter
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According to the latest statistics by the National Health Interview Survey, "an estimated 3.9 million U.S. adults and approximately 900,000 children used homeopathic medicine."

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) website revealed ʺmore than one in three adults use some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). For women and older Americans, those numbers are even higher—two out of five report using CAM.ʺ

Homeopathic medicine, also known as homeopathy, was first developed in Germany in the 1800s. Homeopathic medicine was introducted to the United States in the late 1800s or early 1900s.

According to the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine, ʺhomeopathy is based on the idea of treating ‘like with like’. Medicines which can produce an illness matching the one from which the patient is suffering are prescribed, aiming to stimulate the body’s own healing.ʺ

The Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine website stated ʺthere are several key features of homeopathic medicine.ʺ

• Minimum dose. Homeopathic medicines range from concentrated tinctures to extremely dilute medicines, some so dilute that the original substance may not hold a trace of the original substance. It is thought that the water and alcohol mixture in which the dilutions are made retain a ‘memory’ of the substance.

• Idiosyncrasy. What is unusual or atypical about you or the health problem from which you are suffering?

• Constitution. The type of person, including build, personality, general physical features, for instance, a tendency to feel the heat or the cold.

• Holism. Described as treating the person, not the disease. Questions about your lifestyle, eating habits and preferences, sleep patterns and state of mind all help build up a complete picture.

Homeopathy treatment can be used alone or to complement traditional medical treatments. For example, one friend of mine who is a cancer survivor uses traditional chemotherapy treatments but also applies homeopathic treatment to curb his nausea. His medical team works together to make sure there are no complications or side effects from the combination of medicine.

The FDA regulates homeopathic treatments. Midwives, veterinarians, naturopaths and traditional medical doctors may practice homeopathic medicine.

If you are considering using homeopathy, it is very important to inform your physician and homeopathic physician about the types of medications and supplements you are currently taking. This is important because some homeopathic treatments ʺmay have an effect on conventional medicineʺ treatments.

Finally, the NCCAM recommends the following tips if you are interested in discussing or incorporating homeopathic options with your traditional health care practitioner. These tips include:

• Be proactive. Ask your provider about homeopathic options and use.

• Ask your health care providers about its safety, effectiveness, and possible interactions with medications (both prescription and nonprescription).

• Make a list of all over-the-counter and prescription medicines in advance.

• When completing patient history forms, be sure to include all therapies and treatments you use.

• Tell your health care providers about all therapies or treatments—including dietary and herbal supplements.


For Patients. Tell your health care provider about your use of CAM[NCCAM]. (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine [NCCAM] - nccam.nih.gov Home Page. Retrieved January 18, 2012, from http://nccam.nih.gov/timetotalk/forpatients.htm

Homeopathic Definition | LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM - Lose Weight & Get Fit with Diet, Nutrition & Fitness Tools | LIVESTRONG.COM. Retrieved January 18, 2012, from

Homeopathy. UCLH Internet - University College London Hospitals. Retrieved January 18, 2012, from

Homeopathy: An Introduction [NCCAM Backgrounder]. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine [NCCAM] - nccam.nih.gov Home Page. Retrieved January 18, 2012, from http://nccam.nih.gov/health/homeopathy

What Is Homeopathic Healing? | LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM - Lose Weight & Get Fit with Diet, Nutrition & Fitness Tools | LIVESTRONG.COM. Retrieved January 18, 2012, from

Reviewed January 18, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment20 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

In case you don't know who Peter Fisher is

January 20, 2012 - 11:37am
EmpowHER Guest

The Swiss report didn't even comment it's efficacy. Read it first, then comment. Of course it's cost effective, it's cheap to make and the patients don't need expensive real medicine.

No matter how dangerous real medicine is it doesn't impact on the effectiveness on the "alternatives"

If you'd like to debunk shang, I'd like to hear it! Rather than claim it, provide your citation. and please try to put together a more coherent arguement.

January 20, 2012 - 10:16am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

The HTA report you're talking about is over 5 years old, and Shang has been debunked at extraordinarymedicine.org and elsewhere so go read it for yourself.
Homeopathy is real, evidence-based medicine despite what a miniscule but mouthy bunch of armchair critics have to say.
Reading someone else's "science blog" and coming up with pseudo-philosophical notions about Homeopathy isn't going to impress anyone but your cronies.
Please attempt to think for yourself and spend more than 5 minutes "studying" Homeopathy.

January 20, 2012 - 11:19am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

A quiet typical homeopathic reponse. Assuming I haven't studied it & tried it and criticising on that basis.
extraordinarymedicine.org certainly tried to debunk it, but remember those same writers were fine with the admission criteria before publication because it seems they truly belived it would come down on the side of homepathy. Then when it didn't they were outraged by the studies ommited. Studies ommited by the very criteria they thought would back them up. Same goes for D.Ullman.

None of these people (with the possible exception of Dr Peter Fisher) will enter into a debate of the flaws of shang. Fisher (although I don't agree with him) at least has a try at constructive debate, even if his hasn't performed well.

January 20, 2012 - 11:30am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Since Shang violated basic principles by refusing to cite which studies he chose the entire meta-analysis wouldn't even make it acceptable as a first year student's homework assignment.
When you state "but remember those same writers were fine with the admission criteria before publication..." oh, please. Are you trying to say that Shang discussed his admission criteria with Dana Ullman and Peter Fisher?! You've gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. Now you're really fabricating.
You response is typical of pseudoskeptical groupie. And you're by far nowhere near in the same league as Mssrs. Ullman and Fisher.
The latest Swiss HTA debunks Shang and exposes his bias and misappropriation of funding in any event.

January 20, 2012 - 1:15pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Every one of the 110 studies is acknowledged, would you like the list?
I don't know who was consulted, Dana Ulman wouldn't be as he is no scientist, I have no information as to whether Dr Fisher was or not.
I was commenting on who welcomed the report based on it's criteria.

HTAs only comment on Shang is this quotation
“Although we cannot conclude from the previous remarks [about the Shang et al 2005 study] the opposite conclusion - that homeopathy is effective - we can say with certainty that the Shang et al 2005 study does not prove that homeopathy has no effect.”

That' a long way from debunking, but then you seem to have blinkers on so I expect that.

Shang doesn't claim to prove it has no effect. That's impossible. It claims that it's efficacy is unproven.

January 20, 2012 - 1:51pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

200 years of clinical success is hardly "unproven".
The use of Homeopathy by hundreds of millions of people worldwide and growing at a rate of 20-30% a year is hardly "unproven".
Health Technology looks at far more than just randomized trials, otherwise vaccination just wouldn't be happening from any standpoint. There have yet to be any random controlled trials for that. Health Technology Assessments on both sides of the ocean have consistently shown that conventional medicine peddles treatments that are over 50% ineffective or of unknown effectiveness. Bottom line is that people who want to philosophically challenge Homeopathy attempt to hold it to a higher standard of "proof" than what passes for conventional treatment.
If Homeopathy didn't work it would hardly have lasted as a complete system of medicine for over 200 years.
It's clinical results that matter. Putting the patient first matters far more than preserving the status quo which primarly serves the interests of shareholders in drug and medical testing corporations.
Most patients currently gravitate to Homeopathy because conventional medical treatments have failed them. The results are frequently spectacular, even among those who are initially sceptical and were raised with the notion that there are no cures, only symptom suppression.

January 20, 2012 - 3:00pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Well I think this thread has come full circle, and I'll go back to pointing out that efficacy is not a popularity contest.

And then we decend into to the old conspiracy theories and that's too desperate to even entertain.

January 21, 2012 - 9:57am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

You obviously have no clue regarding the history of medicine in the West either. Read Harris Coulter. Otherwise stick to something you know about.
Dana Ullman's "The Homeopathic Revolution" is a fascinating read.

January 21, 2012 - 4:26pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Again making assumptions about any knowledge without my eductaion and experience, typical homeopathic angle.
I've read Dana's awful book. I have no love for western medicine, and know of the dangers market forces place on companies to compete, fake results, overstate their effect and underplay their side effects.

However, these things have zero effect on the efficacy of alternative options.

Read Ben Goldacres Bad Science (which slams both mainstream and alternative research) and his new book is an expose of the claims made by big pharmaceuticals. It sound right up your street. (I haven't read that one yet, can't seem to find it in my local stores)

But to criticise vaccines shows your ignorance and to think that vaccines have no RCTs shows you don't do you own research, just copy & paste quack site like extraordinarymedicine.

January 22, 2012 - 2:04am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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