How Does Homeopathic Medicine Work?

How does homeopathy work? Homeopathy encourages our own healing abilities, using special preparations of  natural substances and treating the whole person, not separate diseases.


History of Homeopathic Medicine
Homeopathy and the Law of Similars
Why Homeopathy Uses Latin Names

How Homeopathic Medicines are Made
No Animal Testing; Are Remedies Vegan.


What Happens During Homeopathic Treatment
No Side Effects

What to Expect after Treatment

Over-the-Counter Homeopathic Remedies
More Information about Homeopathy

History of Homeopathic Medicine

history of homeopathyHomeopathic medicine is a complete and scientific form of natural medicine.
Homeopathic medicine uses very small amounts of natural substances to provoke a healing reaction.

It was created, in its modern form, around 200 years ago by Samuel Hahnemann, a German doctor. The principles of homeopathy originate long before that, some 2000 years ago, at the time of the ancient Greek culture.

Hahnemann, pictured here, developed homeopathy because he disliked the side effects of the strong drugs used at that time - a concern as relevant today as it was in the 17-1800s.
Hahnemann was also concerned about the lack of good scientific observation in treatment, and in homeopathic medicine, he created a rigorous rational and scientific base of observation, comparison, note-taking, and testing of remedies on healthy willing humans - not animals. We still follow his principles today.

Homeopathy is sometimes spelled ‘homoeopathy’; this is the older spelling.

Homeopathy and the Law of Similars

similia similibus curentur

Homeopathy works on the principle of ‘let like be cured by like’, also called the Law of Similars. TIn Latin, the language of the doctors and scientists of old, thi is 'Similia Similibus Curantur'. It means that what a substance is capable of causing, it may also cure, by stimulating the body to recognise and react against the illness.

Homeopathy uses a small amount of an individually selected substance, to stimulate our bodies' own healing to protect us. A substance is chosen which, in crude amounts, could produce symptoms similar to those the patient suffers. Yet the amount is small enough so that even very dangerous substances can be used safely.

Hence, onions make your eyes run, and homeopathic onion can be used to help hay fever. Hayfever is not caused by onions, but the symptoms are similar! Foxglove can be harmful to the heart, and homeopathic foxglove can help the heart. Heart disease is not usually due to foxglove poisoning, but the symptoms are similar.

It is important to realise that the remedy itself does not heal, it is our own reaction to the remedy that produces healing.

Contrast homeopathy with ‘allopathy’, the principle of opposites, which is the basis of most modern drugs. Modern medicines are commonly 'anti' medicines, for example, anti-inflammatories, anti-biotics, anti-depressants. These act against the symptoms, rather than with the whole patient.

Homeopathy has similarities to immunisation. Immunisation also aims to stimulate a response which protects us. However, immunisation does not use individually selected medicines, or safe small amounts. It uses relatively large amounts of the same disease product for everyone.


Homeopathy Uses Latin Remedy Names

Homeopathy (homoeopathy) comes from Greek words meaning ‘like, similar’ and ‘suffering, illness’. However, at the time Hahnemann was formulating the system of modern homeopathy, Latin was the universal language of medicine and science.

Homeopaths use Latin for the names of homeopathic remedies. We don’t do this to confuse you! We find it helpful because it is a universal language that can be used by homeopaths in every country. Many of the names become abbreviated in common use, for example ‘Gelsemium Sempervivum’ (yellow jasmine, often used for flu-like aches, or exam nerves) becomes ‘Gels’. ‘Pulsatilla’ (an anemone, often used in children’s illnesses) becomes ‘Puls’. You will soon find it quite easy to recognise the names.


How Homeopathic Medicines are Made

Your homeopathic medicine is usually a small pill or tablet, based on lactose or sucrose. Liquid formulations are also used.

Any substance can be used in homeopathy, whether vegetable (eg. herbs), animal (eg. snake or wasp venom), or mineral (eg. metals, stones or salts).

For more info on the sources of medicines, see

Unlike conventional medicines or even herbs, all homeopathic medicines are gentle and without side-effects, when used according to instructions from a registered homeopath.

We use many thousands of different homeopathic medicines, and each is available in a range of potencies.
Potency is explained below.

Laboratory Conditions
how homeopathic remedies are madeOnly tiny amounts are used, and the remedies are prepared under strict conditions, in specialist laboratories. There are several homeopathic laboratories in the UK, and many more around the world.

The usual process is this:
  1. 1 part (unit) of the original substance is mixed with 99 parts (units) of a neutral substance. This makes a dilution of 1 part in 100.
  2. This mixture is not only diluted, it is also vigorously shaken, known as ‘succussion’. The kinetic energy imparted, changes the mixture from a simple dilution.
  3. At the end of this process, the mixture is termed the ‘first centesimal potency’. This is written as ‘1C’.
  4. One part (unit) of this mixture is again mixed with 99 parts of a neutral substance, and succussed. This is the second centesimal potency, written as ‘2C’.
  5. This serial dilution and succussion is repeated as many times as necessary to produce the desired potency. The most commonly used potencies in the UK are: 6C; 12C; 30C; 200C; IM (=1000C).
  6. If the process uses a dilution of 1 part in 10, it is termed a ‘decimal potency’. For example, the third decimal potency is written as ‘3X’ or ‘3D’. Decimal potencies are common in France and Germany.
  7. LM potencies are liquid homeopathic potencies using a dilution of 1 part in 50,000. They are particularly gentle and easy for the patient to control.

No Animal Testing Used in Homeopathy

homeopathy does not test on animalsNo animal testing is used in homeopathy, and most medicines are vegan in origin.  Vegetarians/vegans can opt not to use any of the animal-derived remedies.  Even most of the animal-derived remedies are made without hurting or killing any animal; they use animal fur or feathers, milks, or poisons. However, there are exceptions, so please ask if this concerns you.

For more info on the sources of remedies, see

If you are lactose-intolerant, or prefer not to use lactose (milk sugar), please request lactose-free formulations. Lactose may be used in the initial stages of preparing any remedy, as it is considered a neutral substance. However, the finished tablet or pill may be lactose or sucrose.

Remedies are also available as powders or liquids.


Modern Homeopathic Research

The following summary of current research is taken from the website of the Society of Homeopaths. You can view it in detail, including references and a full expalantion of all the scientific terms, at

By the end of 2009, 142 randomised control trials (RCTs - a type of trial often used in conventional medicine) comparing homeopathy with placebo or conventional treatment, had been published in peer-reviewed journals.

Of 74 trials which reached firm conclusions, 63 were positive for homeopathy and 11 were negative. Five major systematic reviews have also been carried out, to analyse the balance of evidence from RCTs of homeopathy – 4 were positive and 1 was negative. It's normal to get mixed results when reviewing a wide range of research on one subject.

If these results were from trials of conventional drugs, ratios of 63:11 and 4:1 in favour of a treatment working would be thought very positive.

You may have heard certain people saying there is ‘no evidence’ for homeopathy, and it’s ‘not scientific’. This is evidence. This is scientific. How strange it is not mentioned more often....

All the above trials involved whole humans. There is also research to show that homeopathic potencies (sometimes wrongly called ‘dilutions’) demonstrate effects at the molecular and cellular level in the laboratory. For example, homeopathic histamine can alter the activity of white blood cells.

Evidence for specific conditions
There is sufficient evidence (defined as 1 or more positive systematic reviews, 2 or more positive RCTs or 1 un-refuted positive RCT) to support the use of homeopathy for the following medical conditions:
Allergies and upper respiratory tract infections ; Ankle sprain; Bowel inactivity after surgery (post-operative ileus); Bronchitis; Childhood diarrhoea; Fibromyalgia; Chronic Fatigue; Ear infections (acute otitis media); Hay fever (seasonal allergic rhinitis); Influenza treatment; Osteoarthritis; Premenstrual syndrome; Rheumatic diseases; Sinusitis; Vertigo.
This evidence should in no way be taken to mean that homeopathy can replace conventional medical guidance and treatment for these conditions. All reputable homeopaths including myself will encourage anyone having a homeopathic consultation to maintain a good relationship with their doctor, and not to neglect medical advice or essential medical treatment.
As homeopaths treat the whole person rather than individual diseases, it can appear contradictory to have research trials testing homeopathic treatment of specific medical conditions, but there are good reasons why researchers work through this apparent clash of philosophies, to contribute to the evidence base for homeopathy. Read more at the link above.

What Happens During

Homeopathic Treatment?

Treating the Whole Person

Good quality constitutional homeopathic treatment treats you as a whole person. The word 'treatment' in no way promises or implies cure, but represents an analysis of your case by your homeopath, and their suggestions for indicated homeopathic medicines.
In homeopathy, we understand that each symptom on the surface originates in a deeper imbalance within. Your symptoms are a guide to the nature of that underlying imbalance.
Your remedy is individually chosen to mirror as many of your symptoms as possible. In this way, we aim to match the deeper state of imbalance. The aim of correctly chosen remedy is to activate and support your own healing, in body, mind and spirit.

Also read
How to Take Homeopathic Remedies
A guide to getting the best results, from over-the-counter remedies and treatment by your homeopath.

No Side Effects

As homeopathic remedies are not chemical in nature, they cannot cause toxic ‘side effects’. A ‘side effect’ is an unwanted action of a medicine, on a part of the body for which it was not intended. As homeopathic remedies are intended to treat the whole person, this cannot happen.

However, your body may produce a variety of natural reactions while you take homeopathic medicines. Please discuss this with your homeopath, who will be familiar with your individual symptoms.


What to Expect after Treatment

Short-term or acute symptoms can improve quickly. In treating a cough, for example, I look for significant improvement in 24 – 48 hours.

Long-term or chronic problems need more time. I look for some isgnificant improvement (but probably not 100%) in 2 months.

Symptoms may change, from more distressing to less distressing, become less frequent, or be less influenced by outside circumstances.

It is common to feel greater well-being, energy and relaxation.

The exact way that your symptoms change is a guide to the direction of healing, and may also be a guide to further remedies needed.

also read
How to Take Homeopathic Remedies

A guide to getting the best results, from over-the-counter remedies and treatment by your homeopath.


Over the Counter Remedies

homeopathic treatment at homeAll this is very different from the effect of over-the-counter remedies. Unlike a constitutional remedy from a homeopath, they are not individually tailored for the whole person. They work best on short-term or acute problems. They are unlikely to effect a long-term improvement.

Never take ANY homeopathic remedy for more than 1 month without supervision from a registered homeopath. Do not be disappointed if over-the-counter remedies do not give the results you want. They are not a substitute for qualified advice.

If you are receiving homeopathic treatment, please do not use other homeopathic remedies without discussing it with your homeopath: it may affect the treatment.

You can learn to use homeopathy yourself!


More Information

I will always give you clear instructions, and support you during your homeopathic treatment.

If you have more questions about homeopathic treatment, see:

Online Homeopathic Consultations

What Can Homeopathy Treat?


How to Take Homeopathic Remedies
A guide to getting the best results, from over-the-counter remedies and treatment by your homeopath.

The Society of Homeopaths publishes several excellent leaflets about homeopathic treatment. You can read them here:

Homeopathy Simply Explained

Homeopathy for Men

Homeopathy in Pregnancy and Childbirth

Homeopathy for Babies and Children

Homeopathy and the Menopause

You can also learn to use homeopathy yourself!


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