Homeopathy: What is it?

Homeopathy is a system of medicine which involves treating the individual with highly diluted substances, given mainly in tablet form, with the aim of triggering the body’s natural system of healing. Based on their experience of their symptoms, a homeopath will match the most appropriate medicine to the patient.

It is based on the principle of “like cures like” – that is, a substance that would cause symptoms in a healthy person is used to treat those same symptoms in illness. For example, one remedy that might be considered in a person suffering from insomnia is Coffea (coffee), known to cause sleeplessness.

During an in-depth case-taking process, a homeopath will build up a picture of the patient, taking into account all of their symptoms and how they experience them, before prescribing.

The manufacture of homeopathic medicines involves repeated dilution and ‘succussion’ (a specific form of vigorous shaking). The raw extracts (from plants or animals) or triturations (from minerals and salts) are made into a ‘tincture’ with alcohol. This is then diluted with water and succussed many times, often to the point where we would expect there to be no molecules of the original substance left.

Science cannot yet explain the precise mechanism of action of homeopathic medicines, but research “in vitro” (see research fact sheet) has demonstrated that ultrahigh dilutions such as ‘30c’ homeopathic medicines are able to cause biological effects. For example, the hormone thyroxine prepared as a homeopathic ‘30C’ dilution can slow down the process of metamorphosis of tadpoles into frogs.

Homeopathic medicines have no toxic side effects and can be used safely alongside conventional medicines.