Homeopathy FAQs

Q:  What is Classical Homeopathy?

A:  Homeopathy is a distinct and complete system of medicine based on a simple principle of healing called the Law of Similars.  References to the basic principles of homeopathy go back to ancient teachings.  Over 200 years ago, German physician Samuel Hahnemann re-discovered these principles and developed them into the science he called Homeopathy.  Hahnemann proposed that disease is a process that affects the person as a whole, and that medicines can be applied in small, non-toxic doses to treat the person directly, rather than just treating disease symptoms. Classical homeopathy follows the principles set down by Hahnemann and focuses on addressing the underlying disturbance that causes the symptoms. 

Q:  What is a homeopathic remedy?

A:  Homeopathic remedies are prepared in laboratories, according to homeopathic pharmacy guidelines, from diluted substances such as plants, minerals, or animal products.  The raw material undergoes a series of repeated dilutions and succussions, which preserve the medicinal properties of the material, while making the remedy non-toxic and safe for everyone of all ages.  However, the preparation alone does not make the remedy 'homeopathic'!

Q:  How is a homeopathic remedy chosen?

A: The use of homeopathic remedies is based on the principle that natural substances are capable of curing the same symptoms that they can cause. Homeopathic remedies are chosen based on the Law of Similars or  "Let likes be cured by likes".  The symptoms of illness in a person are matched to the symptoms that develop when a healthy person tests or "proves" a remedy.

Q:  Is homeopathy covered by insurance plans?

A:  Homeopathic care is not paid for by provincial health plans in Canada (although it is in other countries).  Currently CSH Registered members are recognized by the following insurance companies for supplemental health coverage:
  • Claim Secure
  • Green Shield
  • Medavie BlueCross
  • Manulife
  • Pacific Blue Cross
  • SunLife
The Canadian Society of Homeopaths is working to expand this list.  For tips on working with your health insurance provider to expand your coverage to include homeopathy, please visit www.csoh.ca/Insurance

Q:  Is homeopathy safe?

A:  Yes!
  • "Properly prepared homeopathic medicines are generally considered to have few side effects because they are so dilute. For the same reason, they are unlikely to interact with conventional medicines."  Canadian Paediatric Society Position Statement

  • "Homeopathic remedies are regulated by the Natural Health Products Directorate (NPHD) of the Health Products and Food Branch of Health Canada and are considered to be safe."  Government of Alberta www.MyHealth.Alberta.ca

  • "Homeopathic medicines are manufactured through a specific pharmaceutical process called "potentization" in which the sub­stance is serially diluted, that is, it is diluted in a 1:10 or 1:100 solution of distilled water, vigorously shaken, diluted again, shaken again, and this process is continued many times.  Homeopathic medicines are commonly diluted so many times that there are very few, if any, of the molecules of the original substance.  As a result of the small doses used, there is general consensus that homeopathic medicines that are presently avail­able for OTC use are basically safe."  Safety Issues and Homeopathic Medicines by Dana Ullman

  • Health Canada assesses natural health products for their safety, efficacy and quality before they are authorized for sale in Canada.  Homeopathic remedies are assigned a DIN-HM number indicating that the product has been authorized for sale in Canada and is safe and effective when used in accordance with the instructions on the label.  Health Canada classifies homeopathic medicines as over the counter drugs suitable for self care.  Informing You About Natural Health Products Info Sheet by Health Canada

Q:  Is homeopathy effective?

A:  Yes!  Research on the effectiveness of homeopathy has been carried out in independent clinical trials around the world and published in numerous peer-reviewed medical journals.  See the links below for more information:
  • "Research in Homeopathy: I’m constantly amazed at the ease with which critics of homeopathy confidently declare that there’s no evidence for homeopathy, and even more amazed at the lack of scrutiny that’s given to this statement by the media. Whether this declaration is made through simple ignorance, stupidity or with the deliberate intent to deceive, would make an excellent topic for investigation. Either way, the assertion that there’s no evidence for homeopathy is plainly and clearly wrong. Shown below are abstracts from human, animal, plant and in-vitro scientific studies that attest the reality that there is indeed evidence for homeopathy, and lots of it."  http://nationalcenterforhomeopathy.org/files/Research-in-Homoeopathy.pdf

  • National Centre for Homeopathy offers an extensive list of research articles http://nationalcenterforhomeopathy.org/articles-research 

  • Research Supporting Homeopathy - Canadian Society of Homeopaths

  • "The Swiss government's 2011 report on homeopathic medicine represents the most comprehensive evaluation of homeopathic medicine ever written by a government  This breakthrough report affirmed that homeopathic treatment is both effective and cost-effective and that homeopathic treatment should be reimbursed by Switzerland's national health insurance program."  Dana Ullman's article in the Huffington Post
  • "Homeopathy is a 200-year-old system of medicine used successfully by hundreds of millions worldwide. It is part of the public health care systems of nations in Europe, South America and Asia. It has an excellent two-century clinical record. There are hundreds of high-quality basic science, pre-clinical and clinical studies showing it works. It is one of the fastest-growing forms of health care in Canada and around the world. It is vastly safer than conventional medicine, and more cost-effective. No form of health care can accomplish so much without being effective."  Extraordinary Medicine: The Truth About Homeopathy

  • Homeopathy:  Mere Placebo or Great Medicine?  Debate on November 27, 2012 at McGill University.  This question has been harshly argued for more than 200 years. And for more than 200 years, the two positions in this conflicts have remained in a complete deadlock. It is astonishing to note that arguments on either have essentially not changed much over this long period of time. On one side, skeptics are claiming from a purely theoretical point of the view, “homeopathy is implausible. Therefore it can't work,” and any evidence in its favor must logically be flawed. On the other hand, we have generations after generations of homeopaths claiming from a purely factual point of view and with loads of evidence, “And yet, it works!”

    Dr. André Saine, Dean of the Canadian Academy of Homeopathy, and Dr. Joe Schwarcz, Director of McGill Office for Science and Society, face each other to debate this important question.  Homeopathy.ca