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.

It is important to tell your medical doctor if you decide to use homeopathic remedies. He or she should have full knowledge of your health to help you make wise decisions about where to purchase homeopathic dilutions and what homeopathic practitioner to see. Homeopathic remedies should not replace conventional treatments for serious health concerns.

Among the most common conditions that people seek homeopathic treatment for are:
(1) asthma
(2) ear infections
(3) hay fever
(4) mental health conditions, such as depression, stress and anxiety
(5) allergies, such as food allergies
(6) dermatitis (an allergic skin condition)
(7) arthritis
(8) high blood pressure

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

Although people sometimes assume that all homeopathic remedies are highly diluted and therefore unlikely to cause harm, some products labeled as homeopathic can contain substantial amounts of active ingredients and therefore could cause side effects and drug interactions.

It is important to tell your healthcare providers about any complementary health practices you use to help ensure coordinated and safe care....

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