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Homeopathy

Samuel Hahneman

SAMUEL HAHNEMANN 1755–1843, "Homeopathy." Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Welcome to the Homeopathy Research Guide

Overview and Principles

Homeopathy, founded by a German physician, Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), is based on the premise that a condition can be cured with a dilute amount of substance that in a larger amount, would cause the condition in a healthy person .The term, homeopathy is of Greek origin and means similar disease. In the practice of classical homeopathy, a single, minimum dose of one remedy is is prescribed.

Principles of Homeopathy

  • Law of Similars
  • Minimum Dose
  • Single Remedy

Researching homeopathy will usually fall into two areas: researching the practice of homeopathy, and looking at clinical evidence of efficacy.  Often information about the practice of homeopathy will be in books, whereas information about clinical evidence of efficacy will be found in research databases.  This guide aims to provide you with the starting points for both aspects, as well as some context for the research you'll find!

Be sure to check out our "How To" Guides to help you get started with search skills, writing and citation tips.

Research - Known Issues and On-going Debates

This introduction to some of the issues and on-going debates is intended to prompt further inquiry and critical evaluation of what you find – and don’t find – in the research. It is not a comprehensive overview of the field or the state of the research in the field. Librarians are available to help you explore the research, and help you answer questions about the context of that research. 

  • RCT's and systematic reviews show mixed results while empirical studies have shown positive outcomes. Homeopathy is an individualized medicine, and so does not lend itself to RCT's
  • It is a system of medicine poorly understood by the medical community and public at large; many criticisms stem from this lack of understanding.
  • The theory and laws of homeopathy are in opposition to those of fundamental scientific principles e.g. Because remedies are diluted to the point of no active ingredient being discernable, many in the medical field dismiss the possibility of it having any efficacy.
  • The mechanism of action is unknown and therefore is open to criticism.
  • When studies do show efficacy, critics often attribute this to the placebo effect.
  • Observational studies are lower on the evidence pyramid than RCT's and are therefore considered more at risk of bias, therefore more easily dismissed. 
  • Oftentimes even experienced homeopaths, will have tried more than one remedy before they see results, this leads to questions and confusion as to the efficacy.

Homeopathy: What You Need to Know. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health website. Updated April 2021. Accessed
May 27, 2021. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/homeopathy  

Notable Researchers

Latest Publications relating to Homeopathy in PubMed

Below are the most recent studies on the topic of homeopathy in PubMed. See this LibGuide to set up an account and receive email alerts when new studies meeting the parameters you've set are published.

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