0

The full content of Annals is available to subscribers

Subscribe/Learn More  >
Academia and the Profession |

A Critical Overview of Homeopathy

Wayne B. Jonas, MD; Ted J. Kaptchuk, OMD; and Klaus Linde, MD
[+] Article and Author Information

From Samueli Institute for Information Biology and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland; Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; and Centre for Complementary Medicine Research, Technische Universität, München, Germany.


Disclaimer: The views, opinions, and assertions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect official policy of the Department of Defense, the Department of Health and Human Services, or the U.S. Government.

Acknowledgments: The authors thank Cindy Crawford for her assistance in preparation of this manuscript and Ronald A. Chez, MD, for his editorial review.

Grant Support: In part by the Samueli Institute for Information Biology and National Institutes of Health grants (AT00178-01 and AT00270-01).

Requests for Single Reprints: Wayne B. Jonas, MD, Samueli Institute, 121 South Saint Asaph Street, Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314; e-mail, wjonas@siib.org.

Current Author Addresses: Dr. Jonas: Samueli Institute, 121 South Saint Asaph Street, Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314.

Dr. Kaptchuk: Osher Institute, Harvard Medical School, 401 Park Drive, Boston, MA 02215.

Dr. Linde: Projekt Münchener Modell, University of Münich, Zentrum f. naturheilkundliche, Kaiserstrasse. 9, D-80801 München, Germany.


Ann Intern Med. 2003;138(5):393-399. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-138-5-200303040-00009
Text Size: A A A

Homeopathy is a 200-year-old therapeutic system that uses small doses of various substances to stimulate autoregulatory and self-healing processes. Homeopathy selects substances by matching a patient's symptoms with symptoms produced by these substances in healthy individuals. Medicines are prepared by serial dilution and shaking, which proponents claim imprints information into water. Although many conventional physicians find such notions implausible, homeopathy had a prominent place in 19th-century health care and has recently undergone a worldwide revival. In the United States, patients who seek homeopathic care are more affluent and younger and more often seek treatment for subjective symptoms than those who seek conventional care. Homeopathic remedies were allowed by the 1939 Pure Food and Drug Act and are available over the counter. Some databoth from randomized, controlled trials and laboratory researchshow effects from homeopathic remedies that contradict the contemporary rational basis of medicine. Three independent systematic reviews of placebo-controlled trials on homeopathy reported that its effects seem to be more than placebo, and one review found its effects consistent with placebo. There is also evidence from randomized, controlled trials that homeopathy may be effective for the treatment of influenza, allergies, postoperative ileus, and childhood diarrhea. Evidence suggests that homeopathy is ineffective for migraine, delayed-onset muscle soreness, and influenza prevention. There is a lack of conclusive evidence on the effectiveness of homeopathy for most conditions. Homeopathy deserves an open-minded opportunity to demonstrate its value by using evidence-based principles, but it should not be substituted for proven therapies.

Topics

homeopathy

Figures

Tables

References

Letters

NOTE:
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).

Comments

Submit a Comment
Submit a Comment

Summary for Patients

Clinical Slide Sets

Terms of Use

The In the Clinic® slide sets are owned and copyrighted by the American College of Physicians (ACP). All text, graphics, trademarks, and other intellectual property incorporated into the slide sets remain the sole and exclusive property of the ACP. The slide sets may be used only by the person who downloads or purchases them and only for the purpose of presenting them during not-for-profit educational activities. Users may incorporate the entire slide set or selected individual slides into their own teaching presentations but may not alter the content of the slides in any way or remove the ACP copyright notice. Users may make print copies for use as hand-outs for the audience the user is personally addressing but may not otherwise reproduce or distribute the slides by any means or media, including but not limited to sending them as e-mail attachments, posting them on Internet or Intranet sites, publishing them in meeting proceedings, or making them available for sale or distribution in any unauthorized form, without the express written permission of the ACP. Unauthorized use of the In the Clinic slide sets will constitute copyright infringement.

Toolkit

Buy Now

to gain full access to the content and tools.

Want to Subscribe?

Learn more about subscription options

Advertisement
Related Articles
Related Point of Care
Topic Collections
PubMed Articles
Forgot your password?
Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a reminder to the email address on record.
(Required)
(Required)