The first detailed report on homeopathy use in the United States shows that although homeopathy is used by a small segment of the population, those that use it are happy with the results, especially those who also visit a homeopathic practitioner. Furthermore, the study also found that persons who use homeopathy as their primary form of alternative medicine tend to use a wider array of alternative medicine (such as herbals, acupuncture, chiropractic care, etc.) than people who do not use homeopathy. The study revealed that the bulk of homeopathic medicines were purchased over-the-counter without guidance from a health professional. In the majority of cases, homeopathics were used for non-serious conditions.
The study also found that users of homeopathy tend to be Caucasian women, they are usually between the ages of 30 and 44, they are most often married, and most reside in the western United States. Homeopathic users also tend to be more highly educated.
This survey was conducted in part to provide information on the use of homeopathic medicines to officials at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Both of these government entities have an interest in homeopathic medicines, especially because of the significant increase in their use. You may have noticed that homeopathic medicines are now quite common in many drug and chain stores shelved next to other non-homeopathic supplements. They are, however, regulated differently in that they are required to be produced according to the standards set out in the HPUS (Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States) as well as follow rigorous FDA guidelines for good current manufacturing practices (GCMP).
Homeopathy originated more than 200 years ago when Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician, made the first discovery of the scientific principles that govern this remarkable form of medicine. It is based on the premise that certain natural substances are able to stimulate the body’s own healing mechanisms, allowing the body to heal itself. After symptoms of a condition have been alleviated, homeopathic remedies can work to reestablish internal balance at the deepest levels. Because very small doses are used, healing is accomplished without negative side effects. It should be noted that homeopathy takes a different approach to healing than mainstream (allopathic) medicine, which is why many classify it as “alternative medicine”. Homeopathy works with the body to simulate the body’s own defense and restore natural equilibrium, rather than mask or suppress symptoms.
Jana Taylor is a staff writer for Peaceful Mountain.