You are here

Homeopathy: Not backed by modern science

Share this page

On your pharmacy’s shelves, mixed in with conventional over-the-counter medicines, you might find products labeled “homeopathic.” Marketers of traditional homeopathic products claim they effectively treat symptoms, but lack reliable scientific evidence to support their claims.

The 18th century theory of homeopathy claims that the process of dilution increases potency. So, according to this theory from the 1700s, a substance that causes symptoms of an illness in healthy people will cure similar symptoms in sick people, when the substance is diluted to a level that’s nearly undetectable. 

In response to the rapid growth in the homeopathic industry over the past few decades, the FTC held a public workshop that explored the current state of the homeopathic market, consumer understanding of homeopathy, and advertising for these products. The FTC issued a report and an enforcement policy statement with respect to marketing claims.

The bottom line for you? The next time you are on the hunt for over-the-counter medication, keep this in mind:

  • Homeopathic medications are not evaluated for safety or effectiveness by the FDA.
  • Traditional homeopathic products lack reliable scientific evidence for their claims of effectiveness.
  • Homeopathy is based on a theory from the 1700’s that is not generally accepted within today’s scientific community.
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) advises that homeopathy should not be used as a replacement for proven conventional care or to postpone seeing a health care provider about a medical problem.

For more, check out the FTC’s Homeopathic Medicine & Advertising Report and our articles on health treatments and cures.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness


Well then what is the point ?

The point is "Caveat Emptor" so as to help people from wasting their money on snake oil nostrums that don't work but do make lots of money for the purveyers who are able to con the uninformed.

Homeopathy is a demonstrably effective form of healthcare to be used in conjunction with other effective treatments. Not being evaluated and approved by the FDA does not mean this medication has not been evaluated or proven effective, it simply means it is not sanctioned by the FDA. Keep in mind that the FDA does not sanction the herbal supplements or vitamin C you take either. Homeopathy is a valuable resource, especially for those of us who suffer wide ranging systemic reactions to conventional drugs. All medication carries an inherant risk, and there should be oversight, but no one form of treatment should be favored above another when both carry risks of use. Homeopath is safe, has low instances of adverse reactions, and effective. How many pharmaceuticals come with a potential risk of heart attack, seizures, or death?

Homeopathy is used in many countries such as Switzerland, Germany, and India, with success. Just because something doesn't have modern scientific backing, doesn't mean it does not work. So many drugs have "scientific" backing and yet cause all sorts of harm

Homeopathy may be used by many but it does not work except st the placebo level and cannot work because the very theory it is based on is flawed. Over 1000 clinical trials have proved this and yet people like you continue to claim it is effective! This is perverse! Either you profit from selling homeopathic products or you have a religious like faith in it despite all the proof that it cannot work. It is either sugar pills or plain water.

Homeopathy is used in Germany but not with any sort of success. In fact, it is being ridiculed over here.

Causing harm has nothing to do with scientific backing. The backing comes from the fact, that the actual effects, positive and negative, can be tested, verified and reproduced.

This is not the case with Homeopathy.

I am 75. I was born in Providence, at the RI Homeopathic Hospital. My pediatrician was an MD Homeopath. Obviously I have a bias, but over the years I have found many homeopathic remedies that worked better than prescription drugs, which cost a lot more, even with a co-pay, and often have negative side effects.

Have scientists done a lot of research on them. I don't think so, because there's no big financial incentive to do the research. Why would they want to prove that something works that would not contribute to their fat bottom lines?

I take prescription drugs for some health issues I have, but for many other things I prefer homeopathic remedies. Just as people react differently to RX medications, some people will not get a response from a homeopathic, but they don't get a bad response or serious life threatening conditions as a result of taking them.

As a result of the recent marketing efforts, people are buying them, but have no knowledge of how to select the right ones. Also, people want quick fixes because they can't take time off work to be sick. For some conditions it takes a while for the body to respond, just like improving your diet doesn't work overnight.

I also find that the newer packaging does not give enough information to diagnose whether a particular remedy is best for your situation. There's a lot of impulse buying and getting advice from a store clerk who has a little knowledge, but really has no experience with maybe one or two items. I would not put homeopathics in the snake oil category. Prior to the common use (and now abuse) of antibiotics in the 1940's many MDs also successfully used homeopathic remedies.

I have also had great success with acupuncture and chiropractic care for years and mainstream medicine poo-poohed them until recently. Now most insurance policies cover them.

If you live long enough you'll see treatments/drugs ignored or deemed worthless and then all of a sudden the right people endorse them and they become accepted by the medical community. People who believe in self-care first will grow more sophisticated in the use of the homeopathics, but I doubt the medical community will use them. No pharmaceutical reps will be giving out free samples. Health to you, in whichever path you take.

Research has been done and the results are, that homeopathy does nothing. That's the reason, why this hypothesis is not backed by the scientific community. Studies that claim to find effects, do not agree to have their tests supervised or repeated by outsiders. That is why their results are not accepted by the scientific community. Science is not about making money but about acquiring knowledge for the sake of acquiring knowledge.

Your experience is common to many, however, I feel self-prescribing and over-the-counter Homeopathy is unwise and often ineffective simply because Homeopathy treats the individual and not the condition, and OTC is an Allopathic version of Homeopathy where the condition or symptoms are the focus.

True and effective Homeopathy requires a professional and beyond minor, acute situations, although even there the individual should do some comprehensive studies, is best neither self-prescribed nor bought over-the-counter.

While Allopathic medicine, as iatrogenic, is now one of the top killers, number three and rising, most of it from prescribed medication, it is ironic that non-harmful medical modalities like Homeopathy should be targeted.

Toxic Allopathic drugs are injuring and killing millions every year while non-toxic Homeopathic medication simply heals and cures.

Allopathic medicine is great for saving your life when you lose a limb but if you have a chronic disease you're out of luck. Homeopathy has helped me so much more than allopathic medicine has. And this threat against homeopathy is BECAUSE it is working and pharma is threatened. I have given them thousands of dollars a year for decades and I was still sick. Now I'm off medications and doing so well thanks to a doctor who is also a professionally trained homeopath. (This is key.. Just like an MD is needed to use drugs correctly, a professional is needed for effective homeopathic treatment. Just because homeopathy won't kill you like pharma drugs doesn't mean the will work if you use them incorrectly!) We need to be allowed to choose. If it didn't work, it would have fully disappeared once the AMA tried to destroy it to stop competition.

Well said. No-one disputes the skills of Allopathic medicine in crisis/trauma situations although even here more healing and less harm would be the result if non-toxic modalities like Homeopathy and Aupuncture where utilised more often.

What conventional Allopathic medication fails to do so often is cure. Medication for life and having body parts regularly removed is not cure. Robust health with no trace of the disease ongoing is cure.

Homoeopathy has been and still is being successfully used by millions of people around the world for more than two centuries. Surely they can't be all wrong!!

Why not? It's easy to fool people about health-related things. Most health problems resolve by themselves. The key question is whether people who take a homeopathic product for a particular illness do better than those who do not. That required controlled clinical testing. No homeopathic product has ever been proven beneficial by well designed controlled tests. The vast majority have not been tested, which means that belief in them is a matter of faith.

Homeopathic remidies have been studied for centuries. The University Medical school of Vienna, Austria and The Medical School of Hiedelburg, Germany have done extensive research on these substances. The Apothicary museum in Hiedelburg Castle, is one of the best in Europe. Apothicary dates back to the 1100's. I would highly recomend to FTC and the public in particular, to spend more time doing quality research in this area. Anecdotes are not reliable nor are they based on obvective facts. Every type of medication has different effects for each person, what works in one person, is not a guarentee that it works the same way in others. However, scientific scrutiny, research and testing is the best way to determine a drugs viability. Homeopathic remedies and substances often fall short in their claims. Historical research and well documented cases are abudent concerning how such remedies actually worked. There are several Medical & Apothecary Museums in the U.S. that one can visit. Many books have also been published concerning the topic. Buyer Beware is not acceptable concerning one's health. My last comment is that Pharmists are highly trained in all aspects of drug manufactoring, effects and dangers, many hold masters or Ph.D in Pharmacology. I highly recomend talking to such professionals when taking any medication, prescription or homeopathic.

If FDA hasn't started testing homeopathic drugs it isn't homeopathy's fault. The FTC says that the scientific community does not accept the homeopathic premise but fails to explain what their major arguments are against homeopathy. It is difficujt to believe thst the entire scientific community trashed a theory. I have cone across several people who swear by it and have experienced real cures. Comparing homeopathy to snake oil just shows hollow understanding.

I would appreciate seeing the comments I submitted and the comments of others who know and use homeopathy published here. Allowing both sides of the issue to be presented is the American way.

Agreed - biased editing enforced.

Leave a Comment