- 1 of 1 Photos | View More Photos
(StatePoint) For short-term conditions that come on quickly like the common cold, to chronic conditions such as arthritis or allergies, homeopathic medicines are among the safest types of drugs, say experts.
"Homeopathic treatments offer another choice for those looking for low-risk over-the-counter options with natural active ingredients," says Mark Land, president of the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists (AAHP), which represents the majority of the manufacturers, distributors and marketers of homeopathic products.
While many may be unfamiliar with homeopathy, Land and the experts at AAHP offer some useful facts that could help you approach illness differently in the future.
What is Homeopathy?
Contrary to common belief, "homeopathy" is not a synonym for "natural" or "herbal supplement." It's a specific system of medicine that uses high dilutions of plants, animals or minerals to relieve the same symptoms that they can cause at full strength. For example, a micro-dose of a coffee bean can help alleviate nervousness.
The medicines' health claims are based on traditional uses of these 200-year-old active ingredients.
Given their long history, the products are not evaluated through the Food and Drug Administration's new drug approval process. However, the agency oversees their manufacturing and marketing.
Amassing a long record of safety, these traditional homeopathic remedies demonstrate very little possibility of adverse events.
In 2015, the America Association of Poison Controls Center prepared a report for AAHP. It showed less than one percent of all pharmaceutical reports to the nationwide network involved homeopathic medicine. For the $1.2 billion homeopathic industry, this is proportionally below the rate of its market share of non-prescription drugs in general.
Generally, homeopathic preparations have very low risk of side effects, overdose, or interaction with conventional medications or herbal remedies, according to the AAHP. They also don't mask or suppress symptoms, which is helpful in the case of misdiagnoses.
Where Can You Find It?
Local health food stores provide an abundance of homeopathic choices for a wide variety of conditions, while national retailers, including drugstores, offer popular top sellers. Prices are competitive with their conventional counterparts.
What to Look For?
Product labels provide familiar drug information, including what the item treats and instructions for use. The active ingredients are Latin for their source and are followed by a dilution level. For more information about homeopathy, visit aahp.info/consumer-information.