The key belief behind homeopathy is that you can treat ‘like with like’. So, a substance that in large doses can cause symptoms, can in theory be used in much smaller doses to address symptoms. The concept is occasionally used in conventional medicine. For example, those with pollen allergies may be treated with small doses of the allergens to desensitise them.
Homeopathic medicines (or remedies) are created through a process of dilution and vigorous shaking, called succussion.
Clinical trials have yet to provide evidence as to how or if this therapy works and it has been reported as performing no better than placebos. Experiments have however demonstrated that remedies can cause biological effects. This makes them distinct from ‘pure water’, something some skeptics have suggested.
Research is ongoing to establish how homeopathy affects the body.