Homeopathy 101

WellnessHomeopathy 101

Homeopathy has been around for more than 200 years and yet, there are still many misconceptions and misunderstandings surrounding this system of medicine.

So what is homeopathy? Who uses homeopathy? How are homeopathic medicines made?

With their 85 years of experience in manufacturing homeopathic medicines, Boiron, a French pharmaceutical laboratory established by pharmacists Jean and Henri Boiron, aims to answer those questions and more in this latest blog post.

It all began with German physician Samuel Hahnemann, also known as the founder of homeopathy when he sought to help his patients in a more natural way. Up until the end of the 18th century, some of the most standard practices for treating patients included bleeding and purging methods.

Simply put, Hahnemann wanted to do better because he thought his patients could benefit from less invasive treatments. He is credited today with having established the fundamental principles of homeopathy.

Homeopathy is derived from the Greek words homoios, meaning “similar”, and pathos, meaning “suffering”. The practice thus operates on a cure like principle where a patient suffering from certain symptoms can be treated by micro-doses of a substance capable of producing similar symptoms in a healthy person.

A homeopathic medicine is then obtained from a precise and controlled process of successive homeopathic dilutions. It starts with an active ingredient derived from either a plant, animal, mineral or chemical substance and with each homeopathic dilution, the medicine is deconcentrated and then vigorously shaken – also called succussion. This dilution is used to manufacture the final homeopathic medicine.

There are more than 1,000 base substances used in the preparation of homeopathic medicines. Each substance is classified by its international scientific name, which is expressed in Latin (Arnica montana for example) so that healthcare practitioners around the world can identify it quickly and accurately.

You may be surprised to know that there are 400,000 healthcare practitioners around the globe who prescribe homeopathy.[1] For instance, as many as 70% of French physicians are receptive to homeopathy[2] and an astounding 94.5% of pharmacists in France advise pregnant women to use homeopathic medicines for their ailments.[3]

This could be due to the fact that homeopathic medicines generally do not cause drowsiness or sleeplessness and are unlikely to interact with other medications, which also makes them an ideal choice for complimentary use with other treatments.

For millions of patients worldwide – more than 300 million to be precise[4] – homeopathy has become a medicine of choice for common acute conditions (such as flu-like symptoms, teething, muscle pain, etc.) as well as chronic ones. Generally, it can be used by the whole family – from newborns to the elderly, and everyone in between. In fact, nearly 3 million Canadians use homeopathy regularly and more than 50% of the French population use it as well[5], making it the leading “alternative” therapy in France.[2]

In Canada, homeopathic medicines are regulated by Health Canada as Natural Health Products. All of Boiron’s homeopathic medicines for sale in Canada have obtained a DIN-HM (product license) that can be consulted online at any time via Health Canada’s database.


[1] https://www.homeocentre.ca/homeopathy-worldwide/

[2] https://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-ullman/homeopathic-medicine-euro_b_402490.html

[3] Damase-Michel, C., Vie, C., Lacroix, I., Lapeyre-Mestre, M., Montastruc, J.L. Drug Counselling in Pregnancy: An Opinion Survey of French Community Pharmacists, Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2004 March, 18;13(10):711

[4] http://www.homeocentre.ca/homeopathy-worldwide/

[5] Ipsos Study 2015 conducted from January 5 to 11 in 2012 among 1212 individuals

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