What is… Homeopathy

Vintage stylized photo of healing herbs bunches, black mortar and oil bottles, herbal medicine.

How this alternative medicine could help you.

By Lisa Doran, ND and Tania Ibrahim, RHN

Homeopathy — from the Greek word “Homoios” meaning similar and “pathos” meaning disease — was developed during the eighteenth century by physician Samuel Hahnemann. Widely used by medical practitioners in Europe, homeopathy has recently become mainstream in North America.

This system of alternative medicine delves into the thought of “Simila Similibus Curantur” or “let likes be cured by likes.” In simple terms, homeopathy heals the condition by stimulating the body’s immune system to react and develop antibodies against a disease or illness.

Homeopathic medicine uses very diluted botanical, mineral or other extracts to safely treat specific ailments by stimulating the self-healing abilities of the body. It can be used to treat a wide range of conditions including menstrual irregularities, PMS and menopausal symptoms, allergies, chronic illnesses such arthritis and eczema, anxiety, mild depression and chronic fatigue syndrome.

If a naturopathic doctor sees that a homeopathic remedy is necessary, he or she will look at a patient’s individual symptoms to determine the right treatment. When considering homeopathy, a doctor will pay careful attention to the patient’s background: how does she present herself in the clinic? Does she like to be out in the sun or does she prefer the shade? What makes her symptoms better or worse? Does she sleep on her back or on her side? What are her fears? All of these pieces of information, along with extensive medical training, complete screening physical and lab work and knowledge of evidence-based medicine help naturopathic doctors prescribe the correct remedy.

Homeopathic medicine is a gentle tool that naturopathic doctors have and can feel confident enough to give to children and pregnant or breastfeeding women with little or no side effects. Understanding the root cause of illness and choosing the right therapeutic approach are what makes homeopathy a safe, natural form of treatment. Talk to your health care practitioner if you are interested
in homeopathy.


Homeopathic College of Canada (2008-2009).

Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors, 2009.