Homeopathy is a 200-year-old system of medicine that uses pills or medicinal drops made from diluted extracts of herbs and other substances. Developed by German physician Samuel Hahnemann, homeopathy is based on two main principles. The first states that a substance that can cause certain symptoms when given to a healthy person can cure those same symptoms in someone who is sick. The second states that, contrary to teachings of modern chemistry and physics, the more a substance is diluted, the more potent it becomes. Proponents of homeopathy claim there remains a so-called molecular memory of the original substance. Critics say water molecules vibrate and change constantly, so that any impressions made by a substance previously dissolved in them are quickly lost (Complete Guide Homeopathy Practice Principle Treatment, Encyclopedia of Homeopathy).
Each year in the United States 2.5 million people use homeopathy and make 5 million visits to homeopathic practitioners. The number of homeopathic practitioners in the United States has increased from less than 200 in the 1970s to approximately 3,000 in 1996. The FDA allows homeopathic products to be sold as long as specific health claims are not made in advertising or on product labels (Complete Guide Homeopathy Practice Principle Treatment, Encyclopedia of Homeopathy).
A number of studies in reputable scientific journals have suggested that homeopathic remedies are useful for diarrhea, asthma, hay fever, influenza, and migraine headaches. However, critics claim that these studies were flawed and that more scientifically rigorous investigations would likely show no benefit (Complete Guide Homeopathy Practice Principle Treatment, Encyclopedia of Homeopathy).
Complete Guide Homeopathy Practice Principle Treatment | Encyclopedia of Homeopathy