Homeopathy is a complementary or alternative medicine (CAM). This means that homeopathy is different from treatments that are part of conventional Western medicine in important ways. It is based on a series of ideas developed in the 1790s by a German doctor called Samuel Hahnemann.
A central principle of the “treatment” is that “like cures like” – that a substance that causes certain symptoms can also help to remove those symptoms.
A second central principle is based around a process of dilution and shaking called succussion.
Practitioners believe that the more a substance is diluted in this way, the greater its power to treat symptoms. Many homeopathic remedies consist of substances that have been diluted many times in water until there’s none, or almost none, of the original substance left.
Homeopathy is used to “treat” an extremely wide range of conditions, including physical conditions such as asthma and psychological conditions such as depression.
Homeopathy isn’t widely available on the NHS. In 2017, NHS England recommended that GPs and other prescribers should stop providing it. This is because they found “no clear or robust evidence to support the use of homeopathy on the NHS (PDF, 607kb)”.
Homeopathy is usually practised privately, and homeopathic remedies are available from pharmacies.
There is still the Centre for Integrative Care in Glasgow (based in Gartnavel – formerly known as the Homeopathic hospital) and when a patient receives a consultation there, an integrative care assessment takes place and following this they may or may not receive a recommendation for homeopathic treatment.
The GPs at this practice have taken the decision in line with NHS England and many practices in Scotland that they will no longer be issuing prescriptions for any homeopathic medications, even if they are recommended by the Centre for Integrative Care (CIC). These prescriptions can be purchased privately or obtained from the Gartnavel pharmacy on site at the CIC.