Safety issues in the preparation of homeopathic medicines – WHO Guidelines

In preparing this document, WHO has consulted with more than 400 reviewers from 105 countries, including experts in the fields of homeopathic medicines, herbal medicines, biologicals and pharmaceuticals, members of the WHO Expert Advisory Panel on Traditional Medicine, members of the WHO Expert Advisory Panel on international pharmacopoeia and pharmaceutical preparations and WHO Collaborating Centres for Traditional Medicine, as well as relevant nongovernmental organizations. 

National regulatory authorities in more than 100 countries have received the drafts of the document for their review and provided additional information, comments and advice. 

The use of homeopathic medicines has spread more and more, and nowadays it is widespread not only in the European region but also in south Asian countries and North and South American countries. With the worldwide increase in the use of homeopathic medicines and the rapid expansion of the global market, the safety and the quality of homeopathic medicines has become a major concern for health authorities, pharmaceutical industries and consumers. The safety of the homeopathic medicines largely depends on their quality 

Since homeopathic medicines are typically administered at a very high dilution, and ingredients may not even be detectable or quantifiable in the final products, homeopathic medicines are often thought to present no major safety concerns. Still, there are a few aspects of the production of homeopathic medicines that could constitute potential safety hazards. 

Firstly, not all homeopathic medicines are administered at a high dilution. Sometimes, a homeopathic medicine made from source material, such as a mother tincture, is administered in the most concentrated form. Secondly, homeopathic medicines are made from a wide range of natural or synthetic sources: minerals and chemicals, but also plant materials, including roots, stems, leaves, flowers, bark, pollen, lichen, moss, ferns and algae; microorganisms, including fungi, bacteria, viruses and plant parasites; animal organs, tissues, secretions and cell lines 

Download the WHO document on preparation of homeopathic medicines