Mediaplanet Where did your interest in homeopathy begin?

Dr. Peter Fisher: I first got interested in homeopathy while I was a medical student at Cambridge University. I went to China and I remember being in the operating theatre of a small Chinese provincial town. They were practicing traditional medicine and I remember thinking: “They didn’t tell us about that at Cambridge!”

Soon after that, I was ill myself and I sent to see a distinguished professor at Cambridge who said: “Tough, nothing can be done.” A friend suggested I try homeopathy, so I did. I treated myself initially and it worked.

MP You’re also a physician to Queen Elizabeth II?

PF: The Royal Family has a long-standing interest in homeopathy starting with Queen Victoria in 1845. And since 1935, the royal physician has traditionally been a homeopath. I was appointed in 2001.

MP What is homeopathy?

PF: Homeopathy is a system of medicine that’s based on the idea the body has powerful self-healing powers, but those powers don’t always react appropriately. Homeopathic remedies inform the body’s self-healing processes by giving the body information. About 60 percent of homeopathic medicine uses plants, but also uses other things, such as minerals and animal products.

MP How can patients benefit from integrating homeopathic medicines into traditional healthcare?

PF: It’s not uncommon to see patients who are on seven or eight drugs, and it’s well-established that when you’re on that many drugs, your chances of getting an adverse reaction are close to 100 percent, especially if you’re older. So one thing is safety — homeopathy offers safer treatments.

MP What are your thoughts on freedom of choice in medicine?

PF: As I wrote recently in a letter to the Canadian Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Philpott, there’s plenty of evidence that homeopathy works, and it’s safer and less expensive than conventional medicine. The fact is that people should be able to make their own decisions. Why assume the state knows best?

MP How is homeopathy used in other countries?

PF: It’s fantastically popular in India, and it’s very widely used in many parts of Western Europe. In the United States, 50 percent of plastic surgeons use homeopathic Arnica in nose jobs because it improves the rate of healing. It has no side-effects and no drug interactions.