Met my Primary Care Provider for the 1st time; she recommends homeopathy. Should I trust her?

After being sick a week and a half, getting better, and then suddenly feeling ill again, I finally dragged my butt to the local family clinic (attached to a hospital) to see what was up. I haven’t had to visit a clinic since I moved here, so I had to find a new provider.

Long story short, the doctor told me I might’ve gotten a cold last week, might be getting the flu now, and to try homeopathy. I asked her, “Isn’t the scientific evidence for that rather thin?”, to which she answered, “Yes, there’s scientific evidence for it! I’m an evidence-based practitioner, and I wouldn’t recommend anything that didn’t have evidence.”

Everything I’ve ever read about homeopathy suggests it’s total bunk, but now I’ve gotten official advice from a doctor (or rather, I think she was a FNP) insisting it’s worthwhile… I’m conflicted :frowning:

I would like to go by the science, but I don’t have the medical background to really examine the primary lit in this regard. Any advice?

Find another doctor. Homeopathy is mostly bunk, and a scheme to sell you vitamins.

It’s bunk, but it still might make you feel better, due to the placebo effect.

Can you find another clinic, too?

My take is that there is no evidence that it works effectively. See this article.

if your PCP says there is evidence, ask for references, in other words, cite?

Ask if she’s OK with being paid in homeopathic money.

That’s a blatant lie. It’s all bunk.

I’d definitely look for a new PCP, most likely look for a whole new clinic, and maybe consider complaining to her superiors at the hospital.

A homeopathic medical “MD” doctor? Hard to believe you’d think she would have stopped at some point. What exactly did she tell you to do that to you constitutes homeopathic therapy? Did she say “this is homeopathic” or words to that effect or is that your take?

If she’s actually telling patients to go homeopathic she needs to be removed from practice ASAP.

Yeah, the doc should have given you a handful of antibiotics and a jar of Nyquil. And sent you on your way. Like a real doc!

How long was the office visit? Any tests performed? Patient history was discussed?

On the other hand, maybe the doc was saying go to the homeopath for a recipe for chicken soup.

I’m curious as to what exactly “try homeopathy” entails. Was there something she was encouraging you to go buy or do? Go to another office that offers homeopathic therapy? Sell you something she was offering?

The person you were speaking to is a quack. Run, don’t walk, to a different provider.

Of course, now that you know that, even that won’t work.

Actually, it still seems to work even if you know. Placebo effect is weird.

The evidence regarding homeopathy is not thin, but overwhelming. It doesn’t and can’t work. The basic physical mechanism that is claimed to work doesn’t even exist. Falsely advising a patient that a homeopathic remedy is evidence-based is malpractice.

Are you certain she said homeopathy and not naturopathy? The latter is usually bunk too, but at least there’s something there, that sometimes can have an effect. Whereas homeopathic remedies don’t even exist as an actual physical substance.

Indeed, some laypeople misuse the term “homeopathy” when they really mean naturopathy or herbalism or something along those lines, which might be valid. But actual homeopathy is never valid, and no person working in an actual medical clinic in any capacity should be making that mistake.


Next question.

They were her words, not mine. I was surprised, too. She’s not a MD but a FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner?) She struck me as intelligent and otherwise very reasonable, which is why I was surprised when she mentioned homeopathy completely out of the blue. She didn’t try to sell me anything.

Her: “…probably just a stomach flu. I believe in homeopathy, and I recommend you take some echinacea with goldenseal”.

Me, trying to be polite… stopped and thought about it for a few seconds, blank look on my face: “Homeopathy? I thought the scientific evidence for that was rather thin?”

“Yes, there’s scientific evidence for it! I’m an evidence based practitioner and I would not recommend anything that has no proof.”

Me: Uncomfortable silence…

Her, sensing my skepticism: “You don’t have to do ANYTHING, you know? I’m sure you can just wait it out and you’ll be fine. (paraphrased) But it’s worked for me.”

Me: “Ok… what was that achina-ce-what? I’ll look into it…”

I spent a little time researching this, and it just seems like both homeopathy in general and that particular plant (echinacea) are bunk. sigh

I want to email her the studies and talk to her about this situation, but would that just come off as rude – with me as a layman challenging her medical training? Is there even any point in trying to rationally discuss this with her, or would she likely just have her mind made up already?

I struggle with this because it seems like this at least deserves the benefit of the doubt, but well, it’s received plenty of doubt and the scientific consensus seems to be that it’s just useless in test after statistical test.

So she recommended some sort of herbal medicine, which may or not be bunk but probably is. I’d be concerned that she doesn’t even know the meaning of homeopathy. Are you sure she didn’t say ‘holistic’?

I don’t think there’d have been that much discussion about scientific proof of “holistic” medicine… so it’s unlikely that I misheard, but not impossible, I suppose? I don’t have a recording.

I could verify it with her the next time I see her, if I see her at all. I’d like to just sort it out over email, if possible, before I spend more time and money on her practice if that really is her preferred form of treatment.

Edit: I asked the clinic for her email, or I’ll give her a call just to make sure she is indeed talking about homeopathy and not some similar-sounding thing. But I’d bet money that’s what she said.