Homeopathic remedies have become a multi-billion dollar industry. This figure is not surprising since it’s estimated that ⅓ of Americans use these alleged “remedies”. The alternative medicine practice of homeopathy dates back to the 1700s based on the belief that your body can “cure itself”. This can be referred to as “like cures like”; the idea being that a substance that produces particular symptoms in a healthy person could be diluted and given to a sick person exhibiting those symptoms to somehow trigger the body’s natural defenses.
So What’s The Problem With Homeopathic Remedies?
Currently, homeopathic products are not reviewed for effectiveness or safety by the FDA. The FDA admits these products are made from a wide range of substances including “ingredients derived from plants, healthy or diseased animal or human sources, minerals, and chemicals, including known poisons.” What’s more, if these products are not manufactured safely they have the potential to cause significant and permanent harm.
What Is the FDA Doing?
So, the FDA is throwing out its compliance policy guide because even if a homeopathic drug meets the outlined criteria, it could still cause serious harm. They have also revised guidance documents to outline which ingredients and categories of homeopathic products pose a higher risk to public health than others.
How Can I Be An Informed Customer?
- Educate yourself on the terminology used in labeling. Just because something is natural or organic does not mean it is safe.
- Research every ingredient used in the product you’re considering to evaluate for safety and effectiveness.
- Speak to your doctor about treatment options, especially if you have a serious or chronic health condition.
- Stay vigilant! Be on the lookout for too-good-to-be-true promises or unproven results.
The FDA is also asking for public feedback before publishing the new guidelines. Overall, I believe this is good news! It allows the FDA greater ability to advocate for consumers by cracking down on fraudulent and potentially harmful products.