What Is Homoeopathy?

“Like cures like”, you may have heard from the internet or homeopathy clinic. But what is homeopathy, exactly? And, is it good? Or harmful? Should we trust it or just stick with modern medicine? We have some answers for you.

Homeopathy, or homeopathic medicine, is a field of alternative medicine, or complementary medicine. It is based on two principles; 1) "like cures like", which means that any chemicals or substances that cause diseases or illness should be the thing that can cure those diseases too; and 2) "law of minimum dose", which means that the substance should be used in very small amounts.1 Therefore, it was believed that the use of highly diluted substances could cause the body to heal itself.

Do these principles sound trustworthy? What should we believe in order to be healthy? Let's find out.


Many people see homoeopathy as a new technology or science. In fact, the idea was originally developed in Germany in the 1790s by Dr Samuel Hahnemann.2 He was a German physician, dissatisfied with the medical practices at that time. Dr Hahnemann experimented with various herbs and natural substances and concluded that the substances given to a healthy person that cause mild symptoms would also be able to treat  similar symptoms.

Homoeopathy was popularised, especially in the United States and Europe, during the 19th century and also in the late 20th century as a new method of healing. It was thought to be a part of natural medicine, when people rejected synthesised chemicals. However, with a lack of scientific evidence, it was no longer widely accepted as conventional medicine and was considered pseudoscience. The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced in 2009 that homoeopathic treatment should not be used as a treatment for serious conditions such as HIV, tuberculosis, or malaria.3 In the UK, there was also a claim that homoeopathy performed no better than placebos, and there was no support from the National Health Service (NHS).

When homoeopathic treatment is considered an alternative medicine, it should be limited to non-serious conditions. There are still private practices in addition to conventional medicine.

Common uses and conditions treated with homoeopathy

Some specific physical symptoms or mental conditions that arise can warrant a person to seek homoeopathic remediesare:2,4

  • Common cold
  • Hay fever
  • Allergies, such as having runny nose from allergic rhinitis, or food allergies
  • Depression, stress and anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Watery eyes from conjunctivitis
  • High blood pressure

Some homoeopathic practitioners, or homoeopathic doctors, believe that homoeopathy can even prevent some diseases such as malaria, when scientific evidence is extremely lacking.

How homoeopathic remedies are prepared

Homoeopathic products are highly diluted substances, with the belief that diluting is “potentization”.5 Homoeopathic preparations start with the original substance from natural products, commonly the poisonous one, i.e. poison ivy, belladonna, animals (such as crushed whole bees). Then, the large doses of extraction called “mother tincture” will be diluted by a solvent such as pure alcohol. The more dilutions it goes through, the more it will be a potent homoeopathic pharmacy.

The final product will be in the form of tablets, or sugar pellets for placing under the tongue. Some other forms are gels, creams, drops, or ointments.

Side effects and other concerns

Generally, homoeopathic products are designed to be safe, in combination with  small doses of natural products. There is a belief about adverse effects called homoeopathic aggravations, the appearance of new symptoms or intensification of existing symptoms, following a dose of a homoeopathic remedy, but the evidence supporting this belief is weak.6

A major concern is patients abandoning the conventional treatment of diseases or health conditions, which leads to delayed medical treatment and loss of opportunistic cost. Some beliefs about disease prevention such as COVID-19, can aggravate vaccination rejection.

Before taking homoeopathic treatment, you should consult your GP or health practitioners, in order to compare risks and benefits.


There is no magic pill for any sickness or disease, even conventional medicine. It is okay to seek alternative methods for your health, however, you should be aware of their scientific risks and benefits. Having people or sources you can trust is the key.


  1. NCCIH [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jul 7]. Homeopathy. Available from: https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/homeopathy
  2. NHS UK [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2023 Jul 7]. Homeopathy. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/homeopathy/
  3. World Health Organization. Safety issues in the preparation of homeopathic medicines. 2009 [cited 2023 Jul 7]; Available from: https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/44238
  4. Homeopathy UK [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jul 7]. Home. Available from: https://homeopathy-uk.org/
  5. Center for Homeopathy [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jul 7]. Minimum dose. Available from: https://www.centerforhomeopathy.com/minimum-dose
  6. Stub T, Musial F, Kristoffersen AA, Alræk T, Liu J. Adverse effects of homeopathy, what do we know? A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Complementary Therapies in Medicine [Internet]. 2016 Jun [cited 2023 Jul 7];26:146–63. Available from: https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0965229916300383
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Pharanyoo Osotthanakorn

Doctor of Medicine (MD), Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Thailand

Peem is a Health policy and systems researcher with an interest in health policy and economics, as well as health education. Peem had a 6-month internship as a research assistant at the Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Thailand. Peem has also worked as a web content writer for FitSloth, a health tech startup in Thailand, about personalised nutrition for one year. He is currently a visiting researcher at the Value-Based Health and Care Academy, School of Management, Swansea University, working on research about Value-Based Health Care policy implementation.

  1. I am not sure where you're getting your info, but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for great info I was looking for this information for my mission.

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