There are also some laypeople who have seriously studied homeopathy and are very good practitioners, though the legal issues surrounding their practice remains unclear. Because homeopathic medicines are legally considered "drugs," some authorities assume that anyone who prescribes or recommends them needs to be a physician or have the license to prescribe drugs. However, because the vast majority of homeopathic medicines are consider "over-the-counter drugs" which means that consumers do not need a prescription to purchase them, some authorities assume that one does not need a license to use them. While homeopathic practice by unlicensed individuals may be legal if they practiced under the supervision of a physician, this physician would subsume all legal responsibilities for patient care.
Are Homeopathic Medicines Safe?
The small doses used in homeopathic medicines make them extremely safe. Of course, it is important to know how to prescribe the medicines. The book I co-authored with Dr. Stephen Cummings, Everybody's Guide to Homeopathic Medcines (J.P. Tarcher, new edition-1991) provides the step-by-step information on how to use the medicines and when it is necessary to seek medical care.
The homeopathic medicines are officially recognized by the F.D.A. as "over-the-counter drugs" and thus any person can order them without a prescription. Because they are recognized as drugs, their manufacture is regulated by the F.D.A. to assure consumers that they are getting what they ordered.
If a Person is Using Homeopathic Medicines, is it Possible for Them to Use Conventional Drugs at the Same Time?
It is possible to take them together, though the homeopathic medicines often work fast and well enough that the person does not need to take conventional drugs. Some conventional medicines, however, are so strong that they inhibit any action of the homeopathic medicine. In such situations the individual must decide if he or she wishes to use the conventional or homeopathic medicine.
There are Homeopathic Medicines Sold in Health Food Stores that are Supposedly for Specific Diseases. If Homeopathy is Based on Finding a Medicine Individually Suited to the Person, are These Medicines Really Homeopathic?
These homeopathic medicines found in most health food stores are called "combination medicines" or "formulas," since they have between three to eight different homeopathic medicines mixed together in them. The various manufacturers choose the medicines most commonly prescribed for specific symptoms and assume that one of them will help cure the ailment that the consumer has. These combination medicines are popular in the U.S. and in Europe because they are so easy to prescribe and because they work. Because of this, the homeopathic combination medicines are "user friendly." Also, since these medicines are much safer than conventional drugs, they are generally preferrable to a growing number of consumers.
Combination medicines are invaluable, but most professional homeopaths have found that the medicine individually chosen for the person tends to work more often and more deeply. Still, if a person does not know how to choose the individual homeopathic medicine or if it isn't readily available, the various homeopathic combination medicines are invaluable. It is, however, generally believed that combination medicines should not be prescribed for chronic or serious acute health problems. Such conditions require the supervision of homeopathic or medical experts.
How do I Learn More About Homeopathy?
The best source of homeopathic books, tapes, home medicine kits, and software is:
Homeopathic Educational Services
2124B Kittredge St.
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 649-1955 (fax)