What Are Homeopathic Medicines?

Homeopathic medicines contain very small amounts of natural substances derived from plants, minerals, and biological substances, and have been used for more than 200 years to relieve different symptoms. Because of their history of safety, these medicines are often used in treating self-diagnosable conditions, such as the common cold, indigestion, muscle soreness, allergies, and insomnia. Over-the-counter (OTC) homeopathic products are available in many forms, including capsules, creams, eye drops, gels, granules, liquids, lozenges, nasal sprays, ointments, pills, tablets, suppositories, and syrups.

What Homeopathic Medicines Are Used For

Many common, minor ailments have been treated effectively with homeopathy medicines, including allergies, coughs, colds, flu-like symptoms, stress, muscle pain, and teething pain.

How Homeopathic Medicines Work

Homeopathic treatments are based on the “principle of similars,” which loosely means “let likes be cured by likes.” Essentially, if a substance causes a symptom in a healthy person, giving the person a very small amount of the same substance can be used as treatment for the symptom. For example, exposure to a high dose of red onion—Allium cepa—produces a runny nose and watery eyes. However, a small dose of Allium cepa can be used to relieve a runny nose and watery eyes often associated with a cold or hay fever.

How Homeopathic Medicines Are Regulated

Homeopathic medicines are regulated as drugs by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Standards for these medicines are set through the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia Convention of the United States (HPCUS), and the products must contain active ingredients listed in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS).

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