While interest in homeopathy has increased in recent years, a new report published in the American Journal of Public Health finds that only a small segment of the U.S. population is using homeopathic medicine. However, compared to supplement users, users of homeopathy were more likely to perceive the therapy as useful, and were more likely to use multiple complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) therapies (especially those who also visit a homeopathic practitioner).

The report is the first of its kind to investigate the level of homeopathy use in the U.S., something both the FDA and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have inquired about in the past. In the U.S., homeopathic medicines may be purchased over-the-counter, however the FDA regulates them differently than dietary supplements.  Homeopathic medicines must go through formal approval by the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia Convention of the United States as well as conform to FDA guidelines for good manufacturing practices.

RELATED: Integrative Medicine: Not Just “Alternative” Therapies

Reports from other countries have suggested that homeopathy may play a role in improving public health such as reducing unnecessary antibiotic use and the cost of treating certain respiratory diseases. Homeopathy has also been linked to improvements in perimenopausal depression as well as overall health outcomes in patients who are chronically ill.