Parlimentary : Science and Technology Commitee Report on Homeopathy



Homeopathy is based on the principle that 'like cures like' - in other words, a substance taken in small amounts can be used to treat the same symptoms it would causeif it was taken in large amounts.
Over-the-counter homeopathic medicines that you can buy in high street shops tend to be in either the 6c or 30c potency. 6c means that the substance has undergone 6 steps in a series of dilutions, where each step involves diluting 1 part medicine to 99 parts alcohol/water. Between each stage of dilution the preparation is succussed (shaken vigorously) which is believed to be crucial in creating therapeutically active medicines, rather than just highly diluted substances.
Homeopaths believe that the more stages of dilution and succussion the preparation has gone through, the stronger the medicine is - so a 30c medicine is stronger than a 6c medicine.


This idea of individualised holistic medicine dates back to Hippocrates (460-377BC), who thought that symptoms specific to an individual should be taken into account before making a diagnosis. This is an important principle of homeopathy, where an individual's unique symptoms are important in selection of the correct medicine.
The idea of like curing like was not to re-emerge in any great way until a German physician and chemist, Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) came to devise the system of medicine that we know as homeopathy.
Hahnemann, working as a doctor in the late 18th century, was dissatisfied with the conventional medical practices of his day. Blood-letting, purging and giving patients large doses of toxic materials such as arsenic and lead were commonplace. Hahnemann disagreed with these harsh methods.
He was investigating the effects of various medicinal substances on himself and other healthy volunteers when he deduced that an illness could be treated with a very small amount of a substance that, in larger quantities, could cause that illness.
To avoid harmful effects from normal doses of the substances he diluted each medicine until he reached the greatest dilution that would still produce a response. These experiments, in which he discovered what symptoms each homeopathic medicine can be used to treat, were called ‘provings’ and led him to observe and describe the basic principles of homeopathic medicine.
For further information on the history of homeopathy, please visit the British Homeopathic Association’s website:

What homeopathic treatment involves

The homeopathic consultation

When you see a homeopath it’s their job to get a thorough understanding of you health and the exact symptoms you are experiencing so that they can find a homeopathic remedy which matches you and your symptoms as precisely as possible. During this confidential, in-depth consultation process your homeopath with consider all aspects of your health including your past medical history, diet, lifestyle and personality type, as well as current health problems.
As a guide your first appointment could take anything up to an hour, with follow-up appointments typically lasting 30 minutes. This does vary depending on the practitioner and the setting in which they work (NHS appointments may be shorter for example).

Preparing for your appointment

To get the most out of a consultation, it is helpful to make some notes beforehand and to think through all the issues that are affecting your health. Some homeopathic practitioners ask new patients to complete a questionnaire before their first appointment to save time during the consultation..

The medicine

At the end of the consultation your homeopath will give you a prescription and advise you how often to take the medicine. Homeopathy is usually taken in tablet or pill form, but is also available asliquids and powders. You may be prescribed a homeopathic gel or cream for topical use as well.

Further information on homeopathy

For further information on homeopathy you can speak to your local professional homeopath or healthcare professionals trained in homeopathy (such as conventional doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists, vets, pharmacists, podiatrists and osteopaths).

To find a local homeopath, please visit