Despite these impressive statistics, homeopathy is
particularly popular in India where there are over 120 four-
year homeopathic medical schools.
Homeopathy is also growing very rapidly in the United
States. Market research shows that sales of homeopathic
medicines have grown at a rate of 25-50% per year during the
past ten years.
IS HOMEOPATHY LEGAL IN THE U.S.?
Certainly! Most of its practitioners are conventionally
trained medical doctors who have furthered their training
with the study of homeopathy. Some of its practitioners are
other types of health professionals, including dentists,
podiatrists, psychologists, physicians assistants, nurses,
naturopaths, chiropractors, and even veterinarians.
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
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
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)