What is Homeopathic Medicine?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Also known as homeopathy, homeopathic medicine is an alternative form of healthcare that involves making use of the body’s natural defenses along with utilizing plants and other naturally occurring elements to prevent and sometimes heal a health condition. In general, this use of natural remedies while under the care of a trained homeopathic physician is considered a natural way to deal with many different ailments and restore general wellness, without making use of medicine that is composed all or in part of artificially created elements.

Homeopathic medicine is an alternative organic health movement.
Homeopathic medicine is an alternative organic health movement.

One of the underlying concepts of homeopathic medicine is that making use of carefully measured doses of various natural elements will provide relief from a number of ailments by helping to stimulate natural defenses. The body’s immune system generates antibodies in response to the medicine that attacks the bacteria or virus which causes the health issue, curing the condition without the need for medications that could cause a range of undesirable side effects. Interestingly enough, these same homeopathic medicine options are likely to cause the same ailment to develop in a healthy person if administered in larger doses.

While many people rely upon homeopathic medicine along with the use of herbal remedies, this alternative school of healthcare is usually not considered valid by proponents of Western nuclear medicine. The lack of testing conducted in controlled settings is cited as one reason. At other times, even if the homeopathic medication is somewhat effective, critics point to the fact that the use of nuclear medicine often produces results in a shorter period of time.

There is a great deal of anecdotal evidence for the efficacy of homeopathic medicine. In some cases, these anecdotes focus on people who were unable to receive relief by using nuclear medicine and turned to homeopathic remedies as a last ditch effort to restore good health. They often point to the fact that because homeopathic medicine uses natural elements that contain a range of vitamins and minerals, there is less chance of side effects and that the body can receive nutrition it needs to function properly even as the health ailment is undergoing treatment.

Since the middle of the 20th century, training programs for homeopathic physicians have become more common. Today, many metropolitan areas will include at least one physician who makes use of homeopathic medicine. However, practitioners of this alternative healthcare option are rarely welcomed into the wider medical community even in metropolitan areas.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


Homeopathy and herbal remedies are different! Homeopathy is not quackery. My husband uses it to control his high cholesterol and it worked so well that our GP wanted to know which remedy it is.

I have used homeopathy very successfully numerous times in cases of food poisoning/vomiting/diarrhea. It works within hours and offers sure relief. Similarly, I use it for my spondylosis and have up until now remained medication-free because of homeopathy.


Two years ago, both of my kids had an awful stomach virus. They were having stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhea for over a week. I took them to the doctor and the doctor said they have a stomach virus. Like, no duh. That I knew. The doctor prescribed a general medication, but I did not even fill the prescription since, as most of us know, antibiotics do nothing for viruses.

I looked up some herbal remedies and found an herbal mixture for "thieves," which I administered to my kids and rubbed all over their chests and necks. They were better within an hour.


This article is confusing homeopathy with herbal remedies. The two are very different. Homeopathy is just quackery. Virtually all properly conducted double blind placebo adjusted studies have shown that homeopathy has absolutely no value at all beyond the placebo effect.

What else could you expect when you dilute an active ingredient down to the point where not one molecule will exist in the medication?

Check into the meta-analysis by HMRAG, Homeopathic Medicines Research Advisory Group. The meta-analysis doesn't out and out claim that homeopathy is bunk. It does say that there is very little actual evidence that it works at all, and that evidence comes from badly done studies.

If you want the real scoop on homeopathy, look up "homeopathy debunked" and sample some actual information.


@SailorJerry - Homeopathy is a special branch of alternative medicine. Herbal remedies and other natural cures may have varying effectiveness, but homeopathic remedies are formulated differently. The idea is to take a substance that causes your problem (stomach ache, for instance) and then dilute it to a tiny, tiny portion.

When you buy homeopathic medicine, the actual remedy may be at such low levels that it is not detectable. What you're actually getting is mostly sugar or other inactive ingredients. Western medicine may have a lot of things wrong with it--it definitely tends to treat the disease, not the patient--but I don't see why the answer should necessarily be homeopathy.


I'm still not sure I understand. Is homeopathic medicine just alternative medicine in general? Just natural care, like herbal supplements? My mom used to give me homeopathic medicine when I was a kid and she felt like it worked, but a friend of mine was telling me recently that it's completely bogus. What's the story?

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