Homeopathy: Good medicine or junk science?

content provided by mayoclinic.com

Homeopathy: Good medicine or junk science?

Question

What is homeopathy? Does it work?

No name
No state given

Answer

Homeopathy is a controversial alternative medicine system for treating diseases. The basic principle is treating "like with like." In homeopathy, individuals are given very small amounts of substances called "remedies" that purportedly would produce the same or similar symptoms of illness in a healthy person if given in larger doses. Many homeopathic remedies are diluted to the point where not even a single molecule of the substance remains. According to homeopathy, these remedies supposedly stimulate your body's defenses to prevent or treat the illness.

Whether homeopathy is effective in treating illness is still a subject of considerable debate. Most conventional doctors are skeptical of its premise. Also, the majority of well-organized clinical trials on homeopathic preparations have found no evidence that they work.

The risks associated with most homeopathic preparations are considered low, so trying such a treatment for a mild illness, such as an upper respiratory infection, isn't likely to be harmful. But relying on homeopathy to treat a more serious illness for which conventional medicine is effective would be ill-advised.

Last Updated: 02/06/2006
© 1998-2014 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.com," "Mayo Clinic Health Information," "Reliable information for a healthier life" and the triple-shield Mayo logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

Terms and conditions of use

 

Bookmark and Share   E-Mail Page   Printer Friendly Version