Homeopathic medicine doesn't work, according to a major Australian study.
The country's National Health and Medical Research Council considered 1,800 studies, narrowing them down to 225 that met certain criteria, and concluded that homeopathy didn't work better than a placebo. Even if a study claimed it was effective, the council found that that study was of poor quality.
"From this review, the main recommendation for Australians is that they should not rely on homeopathy as a substitute for proven, effective treatments," said the council's CEO, professor Warwick Anderson.
"This statement was the result of a rigorous examination of the evidence and used internationally accepted methods for assessing the quality and reliability of evidence for determining whether or not a therapy is effective for treating health conditions," Anderson added.
In 2007, Americans spent $2.9 billion on over-the-counter homeopathic medicines and $170 million on visits to homeopathic practitioners, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The new Australian study doesn't bode well for "treatments" such as dilute pellets, gels, creams and other substances derived from things like crushed whole bees and poison ivy.
"Do not use homeopathy as a replacement for proven conventional care or to postpone seeing a health care provider about a medical problem," the CDC says on its website.