Homeopathy is a philosophy that applies to medicine. It is sometimes called homeopathic medicine. Homeopathy, which began in the late 18th century in Germany, is based on the concept that living organisms have the capacity to heal themselves. It is used widely in Europe and India. In the United States, 3.9 million adults and 910,000 children reported using this method of alternative medicine in 2007. Instead of focusing on suppressing symptoms, homeopathic medicine recognizes symptoms of diseases and illnesses as the body’s typical response to regaining wellness. In addition, homeopathy is tailored to the individual. Patients may be asked to discuss their emotional, physical, and spiritual health. It is not uncommon for two people who have the same symptoms or illness to receive different forms of treatment.

Elements of Therapy

Homeopathic medicine is rooted in the philosophy that “like cures like.” This means that something that causes a symptom in an otherwise healthy person may also be used in a very small dose to reverse and cure the disease. Homeopathic doses work to enhance the body’s capacity to self-regulate and heal. Homeopathic doctors, known as homeopaths, use tinctures or pills which contain a small amount of some active ingredient to treat diseases. Most of the time, the active ingredient is derived from a natural substance, such as a plants, animals, or minerals. These substances are usually diluted. There is some scientific evidence to show that these medicinal substances may have a positive effect on the body; however, critics of homeopathy believe that this positive effect can be attributed to the placebo effect, which occurs when the patient believes that the treatment is effective.

Homeopathist and Patients


In the past, homeopathy has been applied to a number of illnesses and symptoms. Some of the most common illnesses that are treated with homeopathic medicine include arthritis, allergies, atopic dermatitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. Homeopathy may also be used to enhance the body’s ability to fight infection or injury, in the case of minor wounds and muscle strains or sprains. It is generally not considered appropriate or beneficial treatment for life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer, stroke, heart disease, or major emergencies.


Homeopathic medicine is regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, the FDA does not provide an indication of how safe or effective these remedies are. While they are generally considered safe, the National Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NIH) indicates that homeopathic products may contain significant amounts of active ingredients and therefore can interact with medication or cause harm in the form of side effects. Moreover, remedies purchased at an alternative health store may vary in potency. It is important to inform your doctor if you are taking any homeopathic remedies.

Labeling Homeopathic Remedies


Homeopathy has been used for over 200 years and is still widely used today. It is a great supplement to traditional medicine as it promotes the body’s capacity to heal itself. While there are conflicting views regarding its effectiveness, it is generally considered safe and unlikely to cause additional harm. It should not be used as a replacement for regular medical treatment. Be sure to inform your doctor if you are thinking about using homeopathy or are taking any alternative remedies.