Homeopathy: A State of the Science Review With Recommendations for Practical Therapies in Midwifery Practice

J Midwifery Womens Health. 2023 May-Jun:68 Suppl 1:S1-S19. doi: 10.1111/jmwh.13504.

Abstract

A substantial proportion of adults and children in the United States use complementary and alternative health practices, including homeopathy. Many homeopathic therapies are readily available over the counter, and many individuals access and self-administer these therapies with little or no guidance from health care practitioners. In addition, patients and health care providers are often confused by terminologies associated with complementary practices and may be unable to distinguish homeopathy from naturopathy, herbalism, holistic medicine, Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine, or other forms of health care. Compared with European and Asian countries, education in the United States about complementary and alternative health practices is not typically found within traditional nursing, midwifery, or medical education curricula. Given this lack of education and the broad acceptance and popularity of homeopathy, it is necessary for health care practitioners to improve their knowledge regarding similarities and differences among therapies so they can fully inform and make appropriate recommendations to patients. The intent of this article is therefore to examine the state of existing science of homeopathy, distinguish it from other complementary methods, and provide midwives and women's health care providers with an introduction to common homeopathic therapies that may be recommended and safely used by persons seeking midwifery care. This review also presents the evidence base, pharmacology, manufacturing, and regulation of homeopathic therapies. We also consider controversies and misunderstandings regarding safety and efficacy of homeopathic remedies relevant to women and birthing persons. Examples of practical applications of homeopathic therapies for use in midwifery practice are introduced. Implications for practice and sample guidelines are included.

Keywords: complementary and alternative health; herbal medicine; homeopathic remedies; homeopathy; plant extracts; traditional medicine; women's health.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical*
  • Female
  • Homeopathy*
  • Humans
  • Midwifery*
  • Parturition
  • Pregnancy