On your pharmacy’s shelves, mixed in with conventional over-the-counter medicines, you might find products labeled “homeopathic.” Marketers of traditional homeopathic products claim they effectively treat symptoms, but lack reliable scientific evidence to support their claims.
The 18th century theory of homeopathy claims that the process of dilution increases potency. So, according to this theory from the 1700s, a substance that causes symptoms of an illness in healthy people will cure similar symptoms in sick people, when the substance is diluted to a level that’s nearly undetectable.
In response to the rapid growth in the homeopathic industry over the past few decades, the FTC held a public workshop that explored the current state of the homeopathic market, consumer understanding of homeopathy, and advertising for these products. The FTC issued a report and an enforcement policy statement with respect to marketing claims.
The bottom line for you? The next time you are on the hunt for over-the-counter medication, keep this in mind:
- Homeopathic medications are not evaluated for safety or effectiveness by the FDA.
- Traditional homeopathic products lack reliable scientific evidence for their claims of effectiveness.
- Homeopathy is based on a theory from the 1700’s that is not generally accepted within today’s scientific community.
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) advises that homeopathy should not be used as a replacement for proven conventional care or to postpone seeing a health care provider about a medical problem.
For more, check out the FTC’s Homeopathic Medicine & Advertising Report and our articles on health treatments and cures.