With the rising costs of healthcare and increasing pharmaceutical-obsession of allopathic medicine, many people are turning to self-treatment for a myriad of medical problems. The complementary and alternative health market is booming and over-the-counter homeopathic remedies are finding their place in the medicine cabinets of informed consumers.
Many naturopathic doctors encourage the use of OTC homeopathic medicines for simple, acute, self-limited complaints, such as coughs or colds, menstrual cramps, headaches, indigestion or bug bites. But what are consumers actually purchasing and using homeopathic medicines for?
A survey of OTC homeopathic medicines purchased in health stores in England found that the top 3 most frequently treated conditions were:
1. Respiratory conditions
2. Bruises and injuries
3. Mental and psychological issues
The survey respondents who were purchasing these over-the-counter homeopathic remedies reported that they felt OTC homeopathy to be effective in relieving these conditions.
A market analysis conducted in the United States showed similar findings. Some of the best selling OTC homeopathic products included cold and allergy medicines, children’s products, and pain relievers.
The most strongly endorsed reasons for using over-the-counter homeopathic remedies were that it was a natural treatment and was perceived as harmless. Most individuals are also aware that there are no drug interactions associated with homeopathic remedies. In fact, almost a quarter of the survey respondents combined their use of natural homeopathic remedies with prescription drugs.
As the individual’s desire to play a greater role in one’s own health increases, so does the variety of homeopathic medicines available. For instance, King Bio, one of the leading producers of homeopathic medicines in the U.S., has doubled the number of homeopathic remedies they offer in the last 2 years alone. Their all natural, combination homeopathic products can now address over 200 different health concerns.
The holistic approach of homeopathy holds appeal for individuals seeking a safe, easy, and effective self-treatment option. Many individuals are looking for better alternatives to harmful over-the-counter drugs; out with the old ulcer-causing NSAIDs and aluminum-containing antacids, and in with the homeopathic pain relief and heartburn relief.
Reid S. A survey of the use of over-the-counter homeopathic medicines purchased in health stores in central Manchester. Homeopathy. 2002 Oct; 91 (4): 225-9.