Homeopathy/What is Homeopathy?

Homeopathy is a pseudoscience and so-called "alternative medicine", whose practitioners are called homeopaths.

Some common ailments for which patients seek homeopathic care include eczema, asthma, migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, allergic disorders, arthritis, hypertension, Crohn's disease, premenstrual syndrome, rhinitis, and more. Homeopaths also see patients with serious diseases, including multiple sclerosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer, and AIDS.

Basic beliefs


Homeopathy, as proposed by its founder Samuel Hahnemann, relies on two basic principles—those of similars and of potentization.[1]

Principle of Similars


The principle of similars, often simply referred to by the saying "like cures like", argues that homeopathic treatments for a disease should derive from substances that cause symptoms similar to the initial disease.[1][2]



Potentization states that the substance(s) used in homeopathic treatment should be serially diluted, shaking well during each dilution, in order to transmit a supposed curative essence.[1][2] High dilutions are referred to as "high potency", though this is a misleading term due to the extremely low concentration of the original "mother tincture" in the final product.[1]



Much of the appeal of homeopathy comes from the limitations of modern medicine. Patients often come to homeopaths with long-term problems for which evidence-based medicine has not yet found successful, widely effective treatments. For example, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, anxiety and depression, some autoimmune and neurological disorders, and some cancers, do not have universally effective treatments and/or cures—as such, those suffering from these disorders may turn to homeopathy in search of relief.

Homeopathy may also appeal to those who cannot afford medical treatment or those who simply do not trust medical doctors for a variety of reasons, including religion or prior negative experiences with the medical system.

Lack of evidence


No generally accepted scientific study has shown homeopathy works at all. Critics also object that the number of high-quality studies that support homeopathy is small, the conclusions are not definitive, and duplication of the results, a key test of scientific validity, has proven problematic at best.[3] The lack of convincing scientific evidence supporting its efficacy[4] and its use of remedies without active ingredients have caused homeopathy to be regarded as pseudoscience;[5] quackery;[6][7][8] or, in the words of a 1998 medical review, "placebo therapy at best and quackery at worst."[9]

Chemistry and pharmacology


Common homeopathic preparations are diluted to the point where it is statistically unlikely that any molecules from the original solution are present in the final product; the claim that these treatments still have any pharmacological effect is thus scientifically implausible[10] and violates fundamental principles of science,[11] including the law of mass action.[11]


  1. a b c d Mukerji, Nikil; Ernst, Edzard (2022-09-14). "Why homoeopathy is pseudoscience". Synthese. 200 (5): 394. doi:10.1007/s11229-022-03882-w. ISSN 1573-0964.
  2. a b Loudon, Irvine (2006-12). "A brief history of homeopathy". Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 99 (12): 607–610. ISSN 0141-0768. PMC 1676328. PMID 17139061. {{cite journal}}: Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. Toufexis, Anastasia Is Homeopathy Good Medicine?, Time, Sep. 25, 1995, page 2 (page numbering given from online version, accessed 20 April 2008)
  4. Jerry Adler. "No Way to Treat the Dying" - Newsweek, Feb 4, 2008
  5. National Science Board (April 2002) Science and Engineering Indicators, Chapter 7, "Science and Technology: Public Attitudes and Public Understanding" - "Science Fiction and Pseudoscience" (Arlington, Virginia: National Science Foundation Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences)
  6. Wahlberg, A. (2007) "A quackery with a difference—New medical pluralism and the problem of 'dangerous practitioners' in the United Kingdom," Social Science & Medicine 65(11) pp. 2307-2316: PMID 18080586
  7. Atwood, K.C. (2003) "Neurocranial Restructuring' and Homeopathy, Neither Complementary nor Alternative," Archives of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery 129(12) pp. 1356-1357: PMID 14676179
  8. Ndububa, V.I. (2007) "Medical quackery in Nigeria; why the silence?" Nigerian Journal of Medicine 16(4) pp. 312-317: PMID 18080586
  9. Ernst E, Pittler MH (1998). "Efficacy of homeopathic arnica: a systematic review of placebo-controlled clinical trials". Archives of surgery (Chicago, Ill. : 1960). 133 (11): 1187–90. doi:10.1001/archsurg.133.11.1187. PMID 9820349.
  10. Shang A, Huwiler-Müntener K, Nartey L; et al. (2005). "Are the clinical effects of homoeopathy placebo effects? Comparative study of placebo-controlled trials of homoeopathy and allopathy". Lancet. 366 (9487): 726–732. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)67177-2. PMID 16125589. {{cite journal}}: Explicit use of et al. in: |author= (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. a b "When to believe the unbelievable". Nature. 333 (30): 787. 1988. doi:10.1038/333787a0.