To celebrate our 150th birthday, we have put together a list of 150 interesting facts you may not know about homeopathy!
1. Homeopathy has been used in the UK for over two hundred years.
2. Hippocrates, acclaimed as the father of modern medicine and honoured by doctors in the ‘Hippocratic Oath’, was the first to suggest that a person’s own healing ability was vital in choosing the right cure for an ailment.
3. The founder of modern homeopathy was the 18th century German physician, Dr Samuel Hahnemann.
4. Hahnemann was a child prodigy: he was teaching Greek by the age of 12, and had mastered eight languages by the time he started to study medicine at the age of 20.
5. Hahnemann was so appalled by the practices of his day that he set out to find a healing approach that was safe, gentle and effective.
6. Hahnemann believed that rather than trying to suppress symptoms, the body should be stimulated to encourage its natural healing process.
7. The word ‘Homeopathy’ is from the Greek homœo (meaning similar) and pathos (meaning suffering).
8. Homeopathy was originally spelt Homœopathy.
9. In the 1800’s practitioners and supporters of homeopathy were called ‘homœopathists’.
10. Homeopathy is based on three principles.
11. The first principle is ‘like cures like’. Something that in large doses creates the symptoms of a disease, will, in small doses, cure it. This is similar to the theory behind vaccines.
12. The second principle is extreme dilution which enhances the medicine’s healing properties and eliminates undesirable side-effects along the way.
13. The third principle is that the whole person must be taken into consideration when choosing a remedy.
14. Usually homeopathy can be used safely and effectively alongside conventional medicine.
15. It is non-addictive and is usually only taken for a short time.
16. Today, homeopathic remedies are regulated by the UK Government via the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
17. Over the counter remedies tend to come in 6c and 30c potencies.
18. 6c potency is typically used for long standing conditions, such as rheumatic pain.
19. 30c potency is typically used for first aid or acute situations, such as the onset of a cold or bruising after a knock or fall.
20. Remedies are commonly made by crushing a plant, animal, or mineral substance then putting it into a solvent such as grain alcohol.
21. The extract is then further diluted in a mixture of alcohol and water. The process is repeated many times to achieve a therapeutic dilution.
22. After each dilution the mixture is vigorously agitated in a machine or by hand that delivers a calibrated amount of shaking. This is called succussion.
23. The process of succussion is believed to leaves an energetic imprint of the medicinal substance throughout the body of water.
24. Insoluble solids, such as quartz and oyster shell, are diluted by grinding them with lactose.
25. Remedies can be administered in many forms, including tablets, ointments, liquid, or sprays.
26. Remedies should be taken half an hour before or after eating or drinking (e.g. tea or coffee).
27. Remedies should not be handled directly but popped on or under the tongue and allowed to dissolve.
28. Remedies should be stored in their original container and away from direct light.
29. It is thought storing homeopathy in glass containers helps to retain their homeopathic potency.
30. Most high street chemists and whole-food shops now stock a limited range of frequently used homeopathic remedies (in the 6C or 30C potencies).
31. A homeopathic pharmacy will make up a wide selection of homeopathic remedies available in different forms, including soft tablets, which are easier to give to children.
32. Nelsons Homeopathic Pharmacy in London was the first regulated homeopathic pharmacy in the UK.
33. There are now five regulated homeopathic pharmacies in the UK.
34. Celebrities such as Paul McCartney, David Beckham, Twiggy, Caprice, Susan Hampshire, Tina Turner, Louise Jameson, Gaby Roslin, Jude Law, Sadie Frost, Nadia Sawalha, Jennifer Aniston, Jade Jagger, Roger Daltry, Annabel Croft and Meera Syal reportedly use homeopathy.
35. The English Royal Family has been under homeopathic care since 1830 and there has always been a Royal Homeopathic Doctor.
36. The Royal Homeopathic doctor is currently Dr Peter Fisher.
37. The Queen carries her 'black box' of homeopathic remedies with her on all her travels.
38. Dr Edward Bach, the founder of the Bach flower remedies was also a noted homeopath.
39. Homeopathy Awareness Week is held each year from 14th -21st June.
40. Actress Nadia Sawalha is supporting the 2010 UK Homeopathy Awareness Week campaign.
41. This year, UK Homeopathy Awareness week is 10 years old.
42. There is also an EU Homeopathy Day on 23rd March 2010.
43. World Homeopathy Awareness Week runs from 10th – 16th April 2010.
Practitioners and consultations
44. Homeopathic Practitioners train for 4 years in Anatomy and Physiology, as well as Pathology and Disease, Materia Medica, Homeopathic Philosophy and study of the Homeopathic Repertory.
45. Initial homeopathic consultations last between one and two hours and your homeopath will ask questions about your physical, mental and emotional health, lifestyle, preferences and fears. Your responses will help classify your symptoms and determine the remedy for you.
46. It's not unusual to feel slightly worse before you feel better with homeopathy. This is known as 'the healing crisis' and is a sign the body is trying to rebalance.
47. Homeopaths use books called repertories to look up symptoms and select remedies. Kent’s repertory is the most commonly used in homeopathic practise.
48. Classically trained homeopaths recommend one remedy is taken at a time whilst modern homeopaths may prescribe several remedies at once.
49. You can find a private homeopath in your area by visiting the Society of Homeopath’s website www.homeopathy-soh.org where registered homeopaths are listed.
50. Homeopathy has been available on the NHS since 1948. There are 4 NHS funded homeopathic hospitals in the UK. The largest, the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital treats around 2,000 patients per week.
51. GPs are able to refer NHS patients to qualified and regulated homeopaths.
52. In the UK there are over 400 GPs practising homeopathy who are regulated by the GMC and are members of the Faculty of Homeopathy who are the registering body for healthcare practitioners who are also trained homeopaths.
53. GP’s treat around 200,000 NHS patients per year with homeopathy.
54. Most private health insurance companies and cash-plans consider homeopathic treatment a good investment.
55. In December 2009, Mintel published research on complementary medicines which showed that public interest in the UK was growing. Over-the-counter homeopathic treatments, such as arnica cream are expected to grow in sales by 29% by 2014 in addition to 23% growth 2004-2009.
56. Almost every pharmacy in Germany and France (20,000) stocks homeopathic remedies.
57. In India, alternative treatments, including homeopathy, are well established and integrated into the healthcare system, with 94 per cent of people saying that they have faith in alternative remedies.
58. Eczema is currently the most common referral to homeopathy by NHS doctors. Other commonly treated complaints are chronic fatigue, menopausal disorder and osteoarthritis.
59. Many MPs support homeopathy. In 2007, 206 MPs signed an Early Day Motion welcoming the contribution of homeopathy to NHS healthcare.
60. The Society of Homeopaths is the largest society with membership is growing year on year, 1,500 members are currently registered. The most frequent source of new patients is via “word of mouth” (Membership survey 2006).
Who can use homeopathy
61. It is suitable for children as well as adults.
62. Homeopathy can be used during pregnancy under the control of a healthcare practitioner.
63. Homeopathy can also be used on animals under the control of a vet.
64. There are around 80 veterinary surgeons practising homeopathy in the UK who are registered with the Faculty of Homeopathy.
65. Belladonna is made from the plant deadly nightshade. In the 16th century, Italian ladies used deadly nightshade to make their eyes sparkle, hence bella donna, which is Italian for "beautiful woman." It can help fever, burns and blushing.
66. The remedy Rhus Tox is derived from poison ivy and can help to relive joint pain.
67. The remedy Arnica is made from the mountain plant Arnica Montana and can help with bruising.
68. Aconite is made from the flowering plant belonging to the buttercup family and is the remedy to help with shock.
69. Coffea is a remedy made from coffee and can help with sleeplessness.
70. Sepia is made from cuttlefish ink and can be helpful for hot sweats during the menopause.
71. The remedy Apis Mel is made from the honey bee and can help calm insect stings and bites.
72. Bryonia is more commonly known as Bryony and is a yellow flowering climbing plant, and can help with the symptomatic relief of coughs.
73. The remedy Euphrasia is made from the herbaceous flowering plant commonly named Eyebright. The name refers to the plant's use in treating eye infections.
74. Sabadilla is made from lily pollen and can be helpful for sneezing.
75. The remedy Graphites is made from Graphite, commonly used in pencils, and gets it’s name from the Greek word graphein meaning “to write”.
76. Gelsemium is made from the Yellow Jasmine flower and relieves flu like symptoms including shivering, headaches and runny noses.
77. The remedy Kali Bich is made from potassium bichromate which can soothe and relieve the symptoms of sinusitis.
78. Kali phos is made from potassium phosphate can help relieve mental and physical tiredness.
79. Calc carb is made from calcium carbonate and can help with symptoms of period pains such a cramp and tiredness.
80. The remedy Ipecac gets its name from the Portuguese for "sick-making plant", since in large doses it causes nausea and vomiting.
81. Lycopodium is derived from the moss family and the spores are explosive if present in the air in high enough densities. They were used as flash powder in early photography.
82. Pulsatilla is made from the meadow anemone and can help if you are feeling sensitive and tearful.
83. The remedy Ricinus communis is made from the Caster Oil plant.
84. The remedy Carbo Veg is made from vegetable charcoal.
85. Thuja is made from the tree Arbor vitae, also known as the Tree of Life and can help if you suffer from warts.
86. The remedy Cantharis is made from Spanish fly, which is actually a beetle found in southern France and Spain. It produces an irritant so caustic that the skin will blister if exposed to it.
87. Ledum is a herb commonly called Wild Rosemary and can help with puncture wounds from sharp pointed objects.
88. The remedy Lachesis is made from the Bushmaster snake’s venom.
89. The remedy Nux Vom is made from the seeds of the strychnos nux vomica tree. This tree is an evergreen tree native to East India, Burma, Thailand, China, and Northern Australia.
90. Hepar Sulph is made from the calcium in the flaky inner layer of oyster shells and sulphur.
91. The remedy Causticum is a potassium compound that is unique to homeopathy. It was manufactured by Hahnemann in the early 19th century. It is prepared chemically by distilling freshly burned lime, potassium bisulfate, and water.
92. Vipera communis is made from the Common Viper.
93. Silver nitrate (a compound of silver) is used to make the remedy Argent Nit.
94. The remedy Bellis is made from European daises and is useful for bruised tendons.
95. Elaps corallinum is made from Coral snake venom.
96. The remedy Mygale lasiodora is made from the Black Cuban Spider.
97. The remedy Stannum metallicum is made from tin.
98. The remedy Bufo rana is made from toad posion.
99. St. Ignatius's bean seeds used to make Ignatia were traditionally worn by natives of the Philippine Islands as amulets to prevent and cure all manner of diseases.
100. Cocculus is made from the fruit of the Indian Cockle and can help with motion sickness.
101. The remedy Capsicum annuum is made from Chilli peppers.
102. The remedy Cuprum met is made from copper.
103. Silica is made from Rock Quartz and its medicinal use is limited to homeopathy. It can help conditions accompanied by excessive sweating, weakness, and extreme sensitivity to cold.
104. The long red stigmas of Crocus sativus, which are the source of saffron, were first used medicinally by Hippocrates as a purgative and emollient and for their aphrodisiac properties.
105. The remedy Arum Met is made from Gold.
106. Passiflora incarnate is made from the Passion Flower and can help with sleeplessness.
107. The remedy Naja naja is made from Cobra venom.
Some physical uses of homeopathy
108. Arnica can also be a helpful remedy after operations – always refer to your healthcare practitioner.
109. Tonsillitis can be helped with the remedies Hepur Sulph, Merc Sol and Lycopodium.
110. Phosphorous can help nosebleeds associated with a cold.
111. Nat mur and Sulphur can help with dandruff.
112. Itching can be helped with Arsen Alb.
113. Lycopodium can help hiccups due to apprehension and Ignatia can help if they are due to emotional upset.
114. Heatburn after meals can be helped by Argent Nit, Calc Phos or Nux Vom.
115. Nat Mur, Nux Vom and Pulsatilla can help with different types of headaches.
116. Baryta Carb is said to help premature greying hair.
117. If you have eyestrain from long periods of reading, Calc Carb may help.
118. Bellis can be useful for Lumbago.
119. Hecla Lava is often the remedy of choice for Bunions.
120. Gout can be helped by Calc Fluor, Colchicum and Ledum.
121. Alumina can be helpful for constipation.
122. Carbo Veg, Merc Sol and Nux Vom can help with bad breath.
123. Allergies to dust mites can be helped by Arsen alb and Sabadilla.
124. Calc carb and Pulsatilla can be helpful for prickly heat.
125. Merc Sol is made from Mercury can help mouth ulcers.
126. Hypericum and Merc Sol can help toothache.
127. Belladonna and Merc Sol can help with sunburn.
128. Merc Sol and Hepar Sulph can be helpful for sore throats.
129. PMT can be helped by a combination of Nat Mur, Pulsatilla and Sepia.
130. Nux Vomica can be helpful for hangover symptoms such as nausea.
131. Colic can be helped with homeopathy. Try Chamomilla which helps for sleeplessness and Colocynthis which soothes writhing pain when the baby is pulling its legs up to its abdomen. If your baby suffers from persistent colic, always go and see your doctor first.
132. Ruta grav and Symphytum are used to help bone fractures.
133. Cantharis can help burns and scalds if taken before blisters form.
134. Varicose vein and haemorrhoids can be helped with Hamamelis which is made from Witch Hazel..
135. Try Calendula and Hypericum to help with cuts and grazes.
136. The remedy Sulphur can help treat facial acne. Sulphur was known to ancient societies, and in the Bible it is called brimstone.
137. Try Mag Phos for spasmodic cramping period pain and Colocynthis for stronger pain. Persistent period pain can denote an underlying problem such as endometriosis, fibroids or cysts and should be investigated if its symptoms cannot be eased.
138. Graphites can be helpful for dermatitis.
139. Euphrasia can help if you have stinging, inflammed eyes, often a symptom of hayfever.
140. Another hayfever remedy, Allium cepa helps weeping eyes and a runny nose.
141. Ipecac can be helpful for any illness where there is nausea and sickness.
Some emotional uses for homeopathy
142. In homeopathy, Crocus is used to help with changeable moods.
143. Phosphorous can help with fainting due to nervous excitement.
144. Arnica can help with exhaustion after physical effort.
145. Phosphorous can be helpful for people who lack self confidence.
146. Anacardium is made from the Marking nut tree and can help if you are finding it hard to make decisions.
147. Argent Nit can help with excessive, irrational fears before events.
148. Chamomilla is a popular remedy to help calm babies during teething.
149. Lycopodium can help if you are feeling irritable.
150. Ignatia can help relieve sleeplessness and irritability that may have been caused by prolonged grief, bereavement or emotional upset.
This information is not a substitute to advice from a qualified homeopath or homeopathic doctor. If any symptoms persist you should always consult a qualified doctor. Homeopathy can be used in conjunction with conventional medicine but it's important that both your homeopathic practitioner and conventional doctor are aware of any drugs and remedies you are taking.
 Global TGI Barometer, January 2008; Issue 33.
 Thompson E, Mathie R, Baitson E, et al. Towards standard setting for patient-reported outcomes in the NHS homeopathic hospitals. Homeopathy, 2008; 97(3): 114-121.