Homeopathy… what is it?
Choosing a different approach to Self-Care
Complementary and alternative medicine, integrative medicine, holistic medicine, natural medicine…so what is homeopathy? Homeopathy is a very specific system of medicine which falls into all of these general non-conventional medicine categories.
Homeopathy is an approach favored by those who want a more humane, natural and sustainable therapy. Supported by 200 years of clinical observations and studies, homeopathic medicines, also known as “homeopathic remedies”, are effective and considered amongst the safest natural health products.
Homeopathy is a complex therapy that examines and treats the individual as a whole, taking into account the cause behind his or her particular symptoms. When homeopathic medicines are recommended by a homeopathic practitioner, the medicines are selected based on an individualized approach. For example, a patient with a headache will be treated differently depending on his individual symptom presentation and whether the headache resulted from trauma, sunstroke or digestive issues.
Founded more than 200 years ago by German physician Samuel Hahnemann, today’s homeopathy is used by more than 200 million patients worldwide 3.
According to the most recent World Health Organization report on the progress of traditional and complementary medicines, homeopathy is used by the population of 100 of the 1334 member states.
Safe solutions for all
Homeopathic medicines are made from substances that may be of plant, mineral or animal origin. They are prepared according to a specific manufacturing process. The medicinal substance is diluted and succussed, coded, documented and standardized to ensure quality, reproducibility and the absence of toxicity in the final product.
When homeopathic medicines are properly prepared, they have little risk of interaction with conventional medicines and are unlikely to cause side effects. 5
They can generally be used by everyone and are often a safe choice, especially for people that may be at higher risk, such as young babies, pregnant women, or people taking multiple medications.
If in doubt, please consult your healthcare practitioner before using a homeopathic medicine.
For 200 years, health practitioners and their patients have observed and experienced the effectiveness of homeopathy.
Numerous research studies in homeopathy have shown interest and support in the therapy and in its effectiveness. There are more than 13,400 6 articles on homeopathy, including more than 9,500 clinical studies. In addition to patient studies, fundamental research (biological research) and pharmaco-epidemiology studies have also been published.
An effectiveness superior to placebo
One of the most common myths about homeopathic medicines is that their effectiveness is based solely on the placebo effect. As it is the case with all medications, conventional or non-conventional, a placebo effect is observed and homeopathic medicines are no exception. However, several placebo-controlled clinical trials have shown a superior effectiveness of homeopathic medicines.7,8 This leaves us with the understanding that the effects of homeopathic medicines are more than just the placebo effect.
For more information on homeopathic research, visit the Homeopathy Research Institute website, https://www.hri-research.org/
In an integrative approach to healthcare, where conventional and complementary medicines are used together, homeopathy also finds its place at the heart of patient welfare. Indeed, homeopathic medicines are used effectively for both the symptomatic treatment of acute conditions, such as colds or muscle aches, and for chronic diseases, such as allergies, anxiety or arthritis. In the case of chronic conditions, it is recommended that an individual consult with a professional homeopath to obtain the best possible treatment outcomes.
Homeopathic medicines can be used alone or in combination with other medicines. Today, many oncology centers use homeopathic medicines to relieve the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
In addition, many plastic surgeons recommend homeopathic medicines to their patients for the treatment of post-operative swelling and bruising.
The integration of homeopathy into healthcare makes it possible to reduce both the number of drug prescriptions and the consumption of these medicines and could contribute to a reduction in healthcare costs.9, 10, 11, 12, 13
Homeopathy in Canada
In 2018, 4.9 million Canadians used homeopathy to treat themselves differently, with a satisfaction rate of 77%. 14
In Canada, homeopathic medicines are regulated by Health Canada, under the Natural Health Products Regulations (NHPR). Homeopathic medicines approved by Health Canada are assigned a DIN-HM number.
Did you know?
In several countries, homeopathy is successfully used in areas other than human health.
Indeed, homeopathy is used in veterinary medicine to provide animal care.15 In addition, several scientists are now also interested in its use in agriculture and its impact on the health of various crops and soils.
- House of Lords (2000). Select Committee on Science and Technology. Sixth Report : Complementary and Alternative Medicine, London, HM Stationery Office, 198 p.
- Smallwood, C. (2005). The role of complementary and alternative medicine in the NHS : The Smallwood report commissioned by HRH The Prince of Whales, UK, Freshminds, www.freshminds.co.uk/.
- Homeopathy Research Institute, https://www.hri-research.org/resources/essentialevidence/use-of-homeopathy-across-the-world/
- WHO global report on traditional and complementary medicine 2019. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2019.
- L Spigelblatt. L’homéopathie dans la population pédiatrique. Société canadienne de pédiatrie, Comité de la pédiatrie communautaire. Paediatric Child Health 2005;10(3):178-82.
- A number of articles on homeopathy identified on the comprehensive general biomedical database (EMBASE) which includes Pubmed and Direct Science articles published from 1945 to the end of 2018.
- Jacobs J., Jonas WB, Jiménez-Pérez M, Crothers D., Homeopathy for childhood diarrhea: combined results and metaanalysis from three randomized, controlled clinical trials, Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2003 Mar;22(3):229-34.
- Jacobs J,Springer DA,Crothers D., Homeopathic treatment of acute otitis media in children: a preliminary randomized placebo-controlled trial., Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2001 Feb;20(2):177-83.
- Frenkel, M. et D. Hermoni (2002). « Effects of homeopathic intervention on medication consumption in atopic and allergic disorders », Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 8 (1) : 76-79.
- Taïeb C. et Myon E. (2003). « The economic impact of homeopathic management : the French example », Value Health, 6 : 373.
- Grimaldi-Bensouda L et al., Management of upper respiratory tract infections by different medical practices, including homeopathy, and consumption of antibiotics in primary care: the EPI3 cohort study in France 2007-2008. PLoS One. 2014 Mar 19;9(3):e89990
- Grimaldi-Bensouda L et al., Utilization of psychotropic drugs by patients consulting for sleeping disorders in homeopathic and conventional primary care settings: the EPI3 cohort study. Homeopathy. 2015 Jul;104(3):170-5.
- Rossignol M. et al. Impact of physician preferences for homeopathic or conventional medicines on patients with musculoskeletal disorders: results from the EPI3-MSD cohort. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2012 Oct;21(10):1093-101
- Behaviours and Attitudes Towards Homeopathic Medicines: A survey of Canadians – final report, April 2019.Association pharmaceutique homéopathique du Canada et Hill+Knowlton Stratégies
- Camerlink et al., Homeopathy as replacement to antibiotics in the case of Eschericia coli diarrhea in neonatal piglets. “https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20129177″Homeopathy. 2010 Jan;99(1):57-62. doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2009.10.003. In vitro