Please upgrade your browser for the best Refinery29 experience. Read more.

Saved! Access Favorites in your account profile. Removed from my favorites

Yep, This Popular Alternative Treatment Probably Doesn't Work

You can put that overpriced bottle back on the shelf: New research confirms — yet again — that homeopathy is more hype than actual health.

Homeopathy, based on the idea that "like cures like," claims to treat illnesses with sickness-causing compounds that have been repeatedly diluted. People say they've used homeopathic remedies to cure everything from minor muscle soreness to Ebola to cancer. And, it's estimated that Americans spend nearly $3 billion on homeopathic treatments every year, making the pseudoscience both dangerous and expensive. 

This new meta-study, just published by the Australian government's National Health and Medical Research Council, looks through a gigantic amount of data. The researchers went through 57 systematic reviews encompassing 176 individual studies comparing homeopathy to placebo or other available treatments, concluding "there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective."

Studies that did conclude homeopathy was effective tended to have some major methodological problems. For instance, they used too few participants, didn't fully report their study design, or were only performed on animals. Therefore, many of these studies were left out of the overall analyses.

Of course, homeopathy may work for some — but, only as well as placebo. As Ben Goldacre wrote at The Guardian, this is often about more than the pills. For many, the benefit to the individual likely derives from the fact that someone is taking their health issues seriously. Homeopathy may fill this void because it often comes with a consultation, and it's hard to find a condition it doesn't claim to cure. So, because we feel like we're finally getting the medical(ish) attention we deserve, homeopathy may deliver a placebo effect. But, this research suggests it won't do much more, and it certainly won't live up to the price.


Trending Right Now


The Best Time To Shop On Black Friday

So, you've decided to brave the frenzied masses of deal-seekers to shop it out the old-fashioned way this Black Friday. How to avoid peak chaos on the selling floor? You might want to go in the early morning or evening hours, according to Google. The tech giant used Google Maps data from last...


What To Wear Over Your Food Baby

On Thanksgiving, we eat, we drink, and we're ever so merry. And then, after all the turkey (or Tofurky) and fixings are ingested, we go to wipe a crumb of pumpkin pie off our lap to find we're suddenly pregnant. Yes, throughout the meal, our food baby has germinated and our once solid-10 outfit now...


8 Ways To Streamline Your Travel Makeup Bag

For a beauty enthusiast, "packing light" might sound like a near-impossible task. Sure, that may seem a little dramatic (okay, very dramatic), but how can we be expected to edit down our eyeshadow arsenal to a single shade? Or reduce the (copious) number of lipsticks we carry on our person at all...