It seems this word is used synonymously with home cures, whereas the definition is much more specific, and also more detracting.
The definition from Merriam-Webster:
a system for treating illnesses that uses very small amounts of substances that would in larger amounts produce symptoms of the illnesses in healthy people
I see a lot of "home remedies" that are billed as homeopathic (will cite if there's disagreement), but
none not many that I've encountered would be considered a source that would "produce symptoms of the illness". Treatments that some might clearly question, like acupuncture or herbs, etc., are often billed as homeopathic. But even naysayers to acupuncture or most herbal remedies wouldn't say their applications would actually cause symptoms, much less the exact symptoms of the condition being treated.
in larger amounts
So, some herbs are clearly poisonous. However, given the vast array of applications, even if one would say a homeopathic herb is poisonous, how often does it cause the very condition the purveyor is trying to cure? I'd say rarely (see below for "Rhus Toxicodendron").
The definition is so specific about causing illness and (I guess implied) that it causes the same illness, that this word seems rather abundantly misused.
Is this a case of the dictionary being behind the times? Have I missed something between the definition and its application?
So, based on discussions, I want to just clarify that I'm generally asking, is this word, in practice, used more generally to refer to a wider scope of remedies that are more accurately described as holistic, non-western medical remedies like herbal, acupuncture, or "home remedies", etc. Is its formal definition too constrained given its usage, or is this a case of widespread misuse?
Homeopathic remedies for acne:
Two points on the types of cures: 1) the "remedies" certainly don't cause acne (i.e. does not "produce symptoms of the illness") and 2) there's really no emphasis either on using "small amounts" of the remedy.
Homeopathic remedies for poison ivy:
This page prescribes "Rhus Toxicodendron" which is poison ivy. So, in this sense it meets the definition provided by MW.
"Homeopaths prescribe Rhus tox. for a number of complaints including poison ivy, chicken pox, back pain , colds, herpes, hives , flu, mumps, measles, sore throat , nerve pain, muscle strains and sprains, dermatitis , arthritis, bursitis , carpal tunnel, rheumatism, and fevers." (http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/rhus-toxicodendron)
So, "homeopaths" are using poison ivy to cure/treat a wide array of "complaints" beyond what is a typical list of "symptoms of the illnesses [poison ivy] in healthy people".