What is homeopathy? 

Homeopathy is a complementary or alternative medicine (CAM). This means that homeopathy is different in important ways from treatments that are part of conventional Western medicine.

It is based on a series of ideas developed in the 1790s by a German doctor called Samuel Hahnemann.

A central principle of the "treatment" is that "like cures like" – that a substance that causes certain symptoms can also help to remove those symptoms. A second central principle is based around a process of dilution and shaking, called succussion.

Practitioners believe that the more a substance is diluted in this way, the greater its power to treat symptoms. Many homeopathic remedies consist of substances that have been diluted many times in water until there is none or almost none of the original substance left.

Homeopathy is used to "treat" an extremely wide range of conditions, including physical conditions such as asthma and psychological conditions such as depression.

 

What are the regulation issues? 

There is no legal regulation of homeopathic practitioners in the UK. This means that anyone can practise as a homeopath, even if they have no qualifications or experience.

A number of professional associations can help you to find a homeopath who will practise the treatment in a way that is acceptable to you. 

Homeopathic organisations in England include:

Alliance of Registered Homeopaths 
The Society of Homeopaths 
British Homeopathic Association 
Institute for Complementary and Natural Medicine
 

Voluntary regulation aims to protect patient safety, but it does not mean that there is scientific evidence that a treatment is effective.

Is it safe? 

Homeopathic remedies are generally safe and the risk of a serious adverse side effect arising from taking these remedies is thought to be small.

Some homeopathic remedies may contain substances that are not safe, or that interfere with the action of other medicines. You should talk to your GP before stopping any treatment prescribed by a doctor or avoiding procedures such as vaccination in favour of homeopathy.

 

When is it used? 

Homeopathy is used for an extremely wide range of health conditions. Many practitioners believe that homeopathy can help with any condition.

Among the most common conditions that people seek homeopathic treatment for are:

Obesity
ear infections
hay fever
mental health conditions, such as depression, stress and anxiety
allergies, such as food allergies
dermatitis (an allergic skin condition)
arthritis
high blood pressure

There is no good quality evidence that homeopathy is an effective treatment for these or any other health conditions.

Some practitioners also claim that homeopathy can prevent malaria or other diseases. There is no evidence to support this and no scientifically plausible way that homeopathy can prevent diseases.

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) advises the NHS on proper use of treatments. NICE currently does not recommend that homeopathy should be used in the treatment of any health condition.

 

Clinical trials for Homeopathy

Information provided by WHO International Clinical Trials Registry

The clinical trials below are relevant to Homeopathy. For some clinical trials, go to:

  • Evaluation of specific and non-specific effects in homoeopathy. Feasibility study for a randomised trial.
  • Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) for the management of low back and/or pelvic pain (LBPP) in pregnancy.
  • Diet and Exercise or Normal Care in Overweight or Obese Women Who Have Undergone Treatment for Stage I, Stage II, or Stage III Breast Cancer.
  • The efficacy of homoeopathic potassium phosphate for mental fatigue.
  • Pilot Study of Homeopathic Treatment of Fibromyalgia Syndrome (HOFS) - HOFS.
  • Pilot Study of a Homeopathic Therapy in Combination With Cyclosporin (Restasis) in the Treatment of Dry Eye Disease.
  • The Effect of Individualised Homeopathic Treatment of Insomnia Disorder in Females.