In this article you will learn:
What homeopathy is and what its main principles are
What the research has said for and against homeopathy
What my own experience has been with homeopathy
Perhaps one of the first places people’s minds go to when they hear the term, “alternative medicine,” is homeopathy. With a history of over 200 years, widely practiced in Europe and throughout the United States, homeopathy offers a unique (albeit controversial) approach to healing using principles that seem pretty counterintuitive at first. Yet there is a considerable historical context to the use of homeopathy and some promising research, not to mention that it is considerably safer than using medications.
Could it be a powerful tool in your toolbelt, or is it sham science that exploits the placebo effect?
As always, I’ll let you be the judge. In this article we are going to examine homeopathy’s 3 main principles of water memory, similars and potentization because they are at the very least intriguing premises about how the body can heal in subtle ways. We will also look at some of the supporting research as well as the opposing points. I’m going to give you my own experience using several homeopathic remedies and from there you can take it away.
Remember that within every idea there are some parts you will reject and others you will easily connect to. Find what works, know why you choose what you choose and what your specific goals are. Know how to measure your progress, whether it is objective or subjective, and never stop learning, investigating or growing.
Homeopathy Principle #1: Water Memory
Although the history of homeopathy far predates experiments and theories about the memory of water, or water structuring, certain influential works have added support to the idea that water has memory. This principle is important to get at first because it is used to justify the other two principles we’ll discuss next. Both the principle of similars (or “like cures like”) and the principle of potentization (that the more diluted a substance is the more potent it is) are strengthened by the idea that water acts as a memory bank and can convey information at a nano scale.
One prominent figure in this topic is Masaru Emamoto. Emamoto was a Japanese author who wrote a New York Times bestseller in 2004 titled, The Hidden Messages in Water. In the book, he claimed to have taken several photographs of water crystals exposed to different stimuli which altered the crystals’ shape to either beautiful and
harmonious or disfigured and chaotic. Different words like “love” or “hate”, along with toxins and other compounds all yielded a vast catalog of images and a tantalizing idea.
The visuals were impressive, and Emamoto’s claims rapidly spread the idea that water’s “memory” can be influenced easily by even the very words or emotions we have in a given moment.
As you can imagine, this idea would be groundbreaking science if it were something we could control, replicate and understand. Most of our bodies are water and most of the planet is water, calling into question everything about how we interact and go about our lives. Naturally, conclusions that were this broad drew the ire of many in the scientific community — especially since several people sought to capitalize on these findings for their own gain with a variety of magical water products that supposedly contained just the information your body needed to cure all of your ailments.
While intriguing, Emamoto’s claims were largely discredited upon further scrutinizing by the greater scientific community. Many argue that the cooling rate of water influences crystal formation, and the pictures themselves were handpicked according to preference which leaves room for bias.(1)
Emamoto did not share his study methods with others and also refused a 1 million
dollar challenge by magician and skeptic James Randi, who wanted to reproduce the experiment publicly under mutually agreed upon terms.(2) It’s important to note that, to date, Emamoto’s studies have not been replicated in a controlled environment by any independent organization or lab.
Yet as is the case with everything in health, there is no black and white answer. There is a lot of compelling data regarding water’s strange behavior at microscopic levels. Even if the bottle of structured water being sold to you at Whole Foods might be BS, something is definitely going on with water that doesn’t quite add up yet. Recent research from the Aerospace Institute of the University of Stuttgart in Germany using images of water droplets argues that water does have memory based on what it comes into contact with. Their findings are also visually striking, and the argument is at the very least an intriguing one that demands further research.(3)
To the view the video presentation of some of these findings, use the link below:
These research endeavors, along with many of the others we’ve already discussed in the
previous chapter dedicated to structured water, cannot be ignored. There is something intriguing at play, and if we take the assumption that Nature is highly intelligent, our perception of water as some simple, stupid substance shifts into something that is much more complex than what initially meets the eye. To arrive at simplicity takes great wisdom, and indeed water appears to be very simple - yet this is far from the case.
With almost two dozen states and all kinds of interesting behavior, water is that sly, quiet one in the back that you don’t suspect of anything, but nevertheless have to watch out for. But here’s the burning question yet again: what do we do with all of this information? Certainly not all of the work on this can be ignored, meaning that there’s something going on with water — but to what extent?
If you put a flower in a container of water, and then take pictures of the drops from that container to see that they emulate the form of the flower you put in (like the Stuttgart experiments above), does that mean that water is remembering everything?
If that’s the case, we should have hardcore water distillation in every home and public place. Also, to what extent are these “memories” held in the water? Does it matter if there’s anything else in the water like minerals or previous information? What factors can influence the memory, and even more importantly, is all of this information inert or can it actually affect biological processes?
These kinds of questions do not have solid, clinical trials behind them, and until the research does catch up and can be more suggestive one way or another, water’s mysterious behavior will just be an interesting playground for the nerdy and curious alike. Nevertheless, in homeopathy the memory of water is a fundamental aspect of the treatment. When a preparation is “succussed,” it is shaken vigorously to imprint the information of the toxin into the water. This is a key part of preparing homeopathic remedies, and even “activating” them prior to use. The idea that water can hold the memory of a substance (or substances) is also what allows the principle of potentization to work according to homeopaths.
When something is diluted and succussed, the information carried by the water in the next batch is even more compounded because water is able to store it in a fractal pattern, which in theory, could go on forever and produce increasingly concentrated formulations.
Homeopathy Principle #2: Similars
The principle of similars has roots in ancient Greek times and has been used throughout the centuries. It is the idea that “like cures like,” or that a small amount of poison can illicit healing effects. This is not too out there though, since many modern interventions actually employ this principle in a variety of clinical settings. Vaccines are an easy example, and there are many others.
Digitalis for the treatment of cardiac issues, radiation for cancer and Ritalin for ADHD are all examples of substances that cause the very problems or symptoms they purport to heal. In this umbrella of ideas are also the principles of hormesis and biphasic response. Let’s break both of these down.
Hormesis is the idea that a small concentration of something can stimulate
biological activity, that a medium concentration can slow it down and that a high concentration can stop it altogether. Biphasic response just means “two phases,” in that at some level of concentration it can have an Opposite effect than it does at another level. Aspirin, metformin, atropine and many other drugs and substances follow these principles.
So how do all of these things come together in homeopathy? There is one more idea that factors in that we have already discussed: resonance. Remember that everything in the Universe has its own vibration and this means that the vibration of one thing can influence the vibration of another. Even though there are a multitude of frequencies, when you turn your dial to search for a specific station — you get that station. If there are three notes being played on the piano, and you decide to harmonize with one of them, the chord will be “colored” and amplified by the note you chose to sing.
Another part to this comes from quantum physics and the idea that particles can become entangled with one another, allowing changes in one to immediately affect the other regardless of space or time. Together, the principle of resonance along with quantum entanglement mean that a specially prepared homeopathic remedy will “resonate” with the poison in your body and stimulate healing toward it in a gentle and indirect way.
Because homeopathy works on similars and not by providing a supplement for what’s missing, this is a very different approach to healing. If you have a toxin in your body, then taking a homeopathic preparation with the memory of that toxin will resonate and “wake up” your immune system to go handle it by providing the information. In this way, homeopathy provides instructions to your body like a tap on the shoulder to point something out, rather than a direct substance with pharmacological effects.
Homeopathy Principle #3: Potentization
Now that you roughly understand that according to homeopathy water holds memory and the body can be stimulated into doing its own clean-up work with information put into the water, it’s time to look at the principle of potentization and how preparation strengths are considered.
If you have a solution that is 9 parts distilled water and 1-part toxin, this is a 1X solution. “X” in this case refers to the Roman numeral for 10. If you have 99 parts distilled water and 1-part toxin, this is a 1C solution, where “C” is equivalent to 100. To prepare a solution, homeopaths will take these starting points of concentration and succuss them at each stage, distributing the information of the toxin(s) throughout the water and imprinting it into the water’s memory.
The solution is then further diluted, shaken, diluted and so on until the desired “potency” is achieved. In this case, the more diluted a substance is, the more potent it is because of the information imprinting properties we mentioned previously.
If you have a hard time believing the memory of water, this principle starts to fire off your red flags. How can something so diluted be more potent? It is a contentious realm of debate, although it is notable that scientific evidence does exist for incredibly small concentrations of substances to exude measurable biological effects. Some examples are: pheromones, beta endorphins and interleukin 1. All of these substances can have effects at concentrations of as low as 1 in 10^-18, which is basically a ridiculously small number, and yet it still happens.(4)
Don’t forget that sharks can detect blood at a concentration level of 1 part per million among all of the other components in the ocean and the poison, ricin, can kill you with just a measly 2 milligrams. Finally, research has shown that histamine which was diluted to 10^-15 still had an inhibitory effect on basophils, a type of immune cell, when they came into contact with the solution.(5)
These findings are surprising, but we must ask ourselves why they are surprising in the
first place. For most of us, the world revolves around our individual human lives. Everything else in Nature is inanimate and relatively primitive, with humanity sitting at the throne of creation as the supremely intelligent being. You may not think of yourself this way, but this egocentric idea is as old as time. It is not something we articulate, but rather a background lizard brain program that is designed to prioritize our own survival over everything else, meaning that our lives are by default the most important matter in the Universe.
There’s nothing wrong with that necessarily, but on a species level this has led to a separation from the wisdom and innate intelligence of the Earth, and an ignorance of the subtleties of its masterful machinery. Every day we are discovering something new and changing the beliefs we once held as absolute Truth, the question is how long will it take until what seems totally sci-fi today will have a legitimate explanation tomorrow?
If you operate by the fundamental belief that you are not above Nature and that It, instead of you, is much more intelligent, then it leads to several other conclusions. Everything around us is a masterwork of engineering, and somehow it all operates of itself in an intricate, interdependent dance. In a system with such high precision, high efficiency and structure, it is then no surprise that there are things we just don’t understand.
Perhaps the same is true with nanodoses and compounds that are highly diluted. Perhaps the information carried in water can stimulate activity in an indirect way, and as of yet this activity is so subtle that we have no way of measuring it because it’s the sum of all your body’s parts rather than a single effect caused by a chemical compound.
These are all intriguing ideas, and the research on homeopathy certainly has some promising results, as well as the expected controversies. Now that you are familiar with how homeopathy works, let’s take a look at what the research says, both for
and against, the principles we’ve just discussed.
Some Research for Homeopathy
1. Research examining the memory of water using light refraction after diluting
substances at ultra-high levels showed an interesting phenomenon. Even when the
substances were diluted beyond Avogadro’s number (the concentration at which
you’d expect to have no more molecules of the substance), like at concentrations of
10^-30, the water showed light patterns associated with the substances that were
diluted, indicating some information-retaining capacity.(6)
2. NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) imaging revealed that water structured around
solutes, like toxins, up to a high homeopathic concentration of 24C.(7)
3. Lots of research has looked at homeopathy as potential treatment for several
respiratory issues (including influenza) and even mitigating pain from conditions like
4. A meta-analysis of 89 studies published in The Lancet concluded that homeopathy is
not due to placebo, but further research is needed as the mechanisms of action were
not clear enough to warrant it as a treatment against specific conditions.(10)
5. In a study looking at survival rates of those with sepsis, a homeopathic remedy of
200C was given and patients were monitored at 30 days and 180 days. Although the
30-day survival difference between control and treatment was not too significant
(about 15%), at the 180 day mark the difference in survival was about 25%.(11)
6. A 30C potentized solution of potassium dichromate (a poison) reduced tracheal
secretions, allowed earlier extubation and reduced hospital time by 3 days in COPD
patients compared to placebo.(12)
7. Children with diarrhea were able to resolve their symptoms by almost a full day
difference compared to placebo, to the great joy of their parents.(13)
8. In a 4-month follow-up study on 53 fibromyalgia patients, those receiving the
homeopathic remedy had statistically significant reduced pain and improved quality
of life compared to placebo.(14)
Some Research against Homeopathy
1. In 2002, a review of 17 articles found little evidence that homeopathy can be reliably
used for specific clinical effects compared to placebo.(15)
2. In 2015, the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council concluded no
reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective for any specific conditions. It evaluated
1800 studies, finding 225 out of the group that were rigorous enough to analyze for
3. In 2018, an Italian study looking at the effects of diluting a toxin on pain in rats was
heralded for its support of homeopathic efficacy, but it was quickly discredited by the
scientific community for its lack of blinding, small scale and poor design.(17)
4. Some research that showed promising results of homeopathy on allergic rhinitis
compared to placebo18 was also discredited for not having quality designs, blinding
and a small scale.(19)
5. The founder of homeopathy, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, imposed extremely strict
lifestyle and dietary factors on his patients. Those arguing against homeopathy posit
that these changes alone, along with placebo, were enough to help people recover
compared to the barbaric medical practices of the time like bloodletting.(20)
While what I’ve presented you here is just a small sample of both sides, it is enough to see that there is great uncertainty (in either direction) when it comes to homeopathy. There are many who swear by it, but the premises are difficult to extrapolate and measure with current science. Consider that, if something is diluted to the point where there are no more molecules but just “information” in the water, this makes it challenging to independently validate and replicate results in studies.
Treatments are also very individualized with homeopathy, and there are hundreds of potential remedies for the same symptom or concern. This lack of standardization also makes studying homeopathy and extrapolating its findings very difficult. But perhaps even more challenging than trying to create rigorous studies for homeopathy are
the many unanswered questions its premises give way to.
If the memory of water, potentization and similars are all true, it leaves many gaps in our logic and current understanding of reality. For example, if water does hold information, does that mean that my feces and toxins somehow imprint in the water that someone else eventually drinks? It’s nasty to think about, but here’s another
example that isn’t as nasty: if information is enough to create a healing response in the body, does that mean that we could put protein, fat and carbs in dilutions and nourish our bodies with information infused water alone?
And if Emamoto’s claims are true, do your emotions while you touch your homeopathic
container affect the potency or structure of the treatment? If you are using a homeopathic remedy for anxiety, but you are anxious as you are succussing it - are you ruining your expensive bottle of information water? Why or why not?
It gets kind of silly the more you extrapolate these findings, and unfortunately the science just isn’t there yet to really be able to draw a line between what’s legitimate and what’s not. Some sources argue that homeopathic remedies are not regulated like drugs, and especially when dealing with toxic compounds this could be potentially dangerous if processed incorrectly.
One such example was in the 2017 case of some teething tablets with excessive belladonna, a poisonous plant.(21) Also, because these treatments aren’t standardized, there is as of yet no clear relationship between a remedy and a specific outcome. This means that you are relying greatly on the skill and intuition of the homeopath to pair you with an appropriate remedy rather than a standard protocol proven across multiple models.
Proponents of homeopathy would argue in this case, that since remedies only work if the person is sensitive to them (principle of similars), then it is more of an art and dialog between the practitioner and the body. Homeopathy is not like medication that forces an outcome, but rather invites an outcome indirectly by communicating with the body. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. The mechanism is indirect instead of direct, as in the case of a supplement or medication, and so there’s always an element of intuition, Faith and uncertainty involved.
To some degree this is the case with all health interventions, even with medications, because there is so much variety from lifestyle, genetic factors, toxicity and nutritional status. You just don’t know if something will work 100% of the time, although it’s fair to say that the benefit of the doubt you need to employ is much higher in homeopathy.
Depending on your own tolerance and skepticism, this may be a real challenge for you.
For me personally, homeopathy is a fringe intervention that would be a last-ditch effort or addon to anything else more substantial like nutrition, diet, exercise, meditation and so on. I have tried homeopathy for various digestive issues, and I have tried magical waters with “healing information” in them promising to rid my body of all sorts of problems. Although the science and principles are interesting, and there is a documented history of homeopathy, it is not my first place to go for help.
Your body requires building blocks, and regardless of the things you do, if you don’t take care of those blocks then no amount of healing frequencies or information-laden water will fix you. Once you take care of them though, there may be several valuable “enhancements” to your routine like light therapy, sound healing and even a few homeopathic remedies. This one is a great environmental detox one as an example.
In my opinion, toxicity may be worth exploring with homeopathics because it is the area of health that makes the most sense to use them in. For example, if your body is sensitive to a toxin, then stimulating your system lightly with a low concentration solution will “ping” your immune cells to go to work and may add to the detoxification efforts you’re already trying. This is not to say that you should rely on homeopathics,
which is often where the controversy around them exists. Until the science is clearer, they are, to me, adjunctive therapies at best — meaning that you should explore the primary, obvious places first like diet, nutrition imbalances, mindset, lifestyle and so on.
Fix all of those things first and most likely you won’t need any homeopathics.
In the end the choice is yours. It is a growing world and research is ongoing. There is certainly promise to a therapy that is gentle, indirect and with little to no side effects. There’s also great danger of fraud and misuse when things can’t be tested, regulated or independently verified or replicated. Even with well-meaning practitioners, you can often waste your money and time because everything is so customized. Keep all of this in mind as you explore the wide world of homeopathy and find the specific interventions that are right for you.