Since its inception 200 years ago, homeopathy has attracted support from European royalty, the educated elite, and leading artists. It was thus no surprise that the most expensive painting ever sold was that of a portrait of a homeopathic physician, Dr. Gachet, drawn by her personal friend and patient, Vincent Van Gogh. Although homeopaths use exceedingly small doses of medicines, it seems that people greatly value portraits of them. In this case, the portrait of Dr. Gachet sold for $82.5 million.1
Homeopathy is considerably more popular abroad than it is in the United States. Homeopathy's popularity in Europe and Asia is particularly impressive.
The Explosion of Homeopathy in Europe
According to recent surveys in France, an astounding 40% of the French public have used homeopathic medicines, and 39% of French physicians have prescribed them.2 At least six French medical schools offer courses leading to a degree in homeopathy, and homeopathy is taught in all pharmacy schools and in four veterinary schools.3
In a prominent French news magazine President Francois Mitterand and six medical school deans called for more research on homeopathy, and the author of this article editorialized, "It is a fact that homeopathy obtains results, sometimes spectacular results."4
One further bit of evidence for the growing acceptance of homeopathic medicines as a household items in France is that the most popular cold and flu medicine is not Contact or any other conventional drug; it is a homeopathic remedy.5
Homeopathy is not as popular in England as it is in France, but according to an article in the British Medical Journal, 42% of British physicians surveyed refer patients to homeopathic physicians.6 Another survey of British physicians discovered that 80% of recent graduates wanted training in either homeopathy, acupuncture, or hypnosis.7
The Scots hate to be overshadowed by the English, and this is true in homeopathy too. According to The Times of London, homeopathy is now the fastest growing alternative therapy in Scotland. The number of Scots who have used homeopathic medicines have more than doubled from 1985 to 1990, increasing from 5% to 11%. Similarly, in 1985 23% of those Scots interviewed in 1985 said they would "seriously consider" going to a homeopath, and in 1990 this figure grew to 40%.8
Homeopathic medicine is very popular in Germany as well. One respected author estimated that 20% of German physicians use homeopathic medicines occasionally.9 At present, the most popular hay fever remedy in Germany is a homeopathic medicine, and other homeopathic medicines for the common cold, sore throats, and circulatory problems are in the top ten of their respective categories.10
To further aid the growth of homeopathy, the late President of Germany, Karl Karstens, and his wife, Dr. Veronica Carstens, who is a medical doctor and a homeopathic physician, recently started a homeopathic research foundation.11 Numerous new research efforts in Germany and throughout Europe have begun in the past couple of years.
It is also interesting to note that homeopathy is gaining such respect in medical and business circles that one of the leading German homeopathic manufacturers is owned by the same company that owns the BMW car company.