What’s the difference between Homeopathic Remedies & Herbal Dietary Supplements?

By Lyn T. Hardway, International Quality Control Manager

What is homeopathy? It is from the Greek word meaning “suffering”. Homeopathy has been called an alternative form of medicine where the treatment of a disease is by minute doses of natural substances that in a healthy person would produce symptoms of that disease. The remedies are prepared by using a process of homeopathic dilution with alcohol or distilled water. In controlled studies homeopathy’s effectiveness is unsubstantiated. In fact, in the 2010 Journal of Medical Ethics, an article by D.M. Shaw criticized homeopathic remedies as unethical because they discourage the use of effective treatments.

Herbalism is the use of plants for medicinal purposes. Modern medicine also recognizes herbalism as a form of alternative medicine. Along with plants, the scope of herbal medicine is sometimes extended to include minerals, shells, certain animal parts and fungal and bee products. Market America’s herbal-based supplements are safe and effective when used as directed; such as white kidney bean extract as a starch blocker and milk thistle for liver support. The manufacturers follow the FDA guidelines for Good Manufacturer Practices to ensure that supplements are processed consistently and meet quality standards. Labels always list a complete record of ingredients — including the amount of each active ingredient.

Homeopathic remedies and herbal dietary supplements sit together on pharmacy shelves and can be confusing if the customer doesn’t know the difference between the two. Many of the homeopathic drugs are labeled as “natural, safe, and effective”. Homeopathic remedies are allowed to list disease claims on the labels but government regulated herbal dietary supplements are not. Before starting either the homeopathic remedies or herbal dietary supplement, consult with your health care provider.