What does this rating mean?
Homeopathy is a system of alternative medicine which involves treatment with very diluted substances. People who practice this type of medicine are called 'homeopaths'.
Homeopathy tries to help the body restore itself to health. Rather than seeing a person's symptoms as something to be removed, homeopaths see these symptoms as a sign of how the body is trying to help itself. Homeopaths treat their patients with substances that produce the same symptoms in an attempt to further stimulate the body's healing. These substances are diluted in water or alcohol many times over, until there is little or none of the substance left. The resulting tincture is taken as a medicine. Homeopathic treatments are selected to fit each individual, so that different people with depression may not receive the same treatment.
While some people believe that homeopathy can be effective for many different types of disorders, homeopathy is not supported by medical evidence.
There is very little scientific evidence on homeopathy for the treatment of depression. One study treated menopausal women who were depressed with either a placebo (dummy pill), a standard antidepressant or homeopathic remedy. Women who received the homeopathic remedy had a reduction in symptoms similar to those who received the antidepressant medication, and both treatments were more effective than the placebo. In general however, the majority of studies which have looked at the effectiveness of homeopathy are of poor quality.
While homeopathy might produce placebo effects, it is unlikely to have any other positive effects on depression.
There is a cost associated with homeopathic remedies that is not covered by Medicare. No other disadvantages are known. While homeopathic medicines are unlikely to be harmful by themselves, they could indirectly cause harm if people seek homeopathic treatment instead of treatments which have been proven to be effective.
Homeopaths are listed in the Yellow Pages.
Given the lack of evidence on homeopathy, it cannot be recommended as a treatment for depression.
Last reviewed and updated: 1 November 2019