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Photographer: Maximilian Mann for Bloomberg Businessweek

Homeopathy Doesn’t Work. So Why Do So Many Germans Believe in It?

How Natalie Grams, who once abandoned her medical education to study alternative therapies, became Germany’s most prominent homeopathy skeptic.

Behind an arched stone facade in Heidelberg, Germany, Natalie Grams spent years welcoming patients into bright rooms with plastered white walls and hardwood floors. As a homeopathic physician, she listened to their concerns and prescribed tinctures, ointments, and little white pills for their ailments. People trusted her, and Grams was certain that these nontraditional treatments (echinacea for colds; arnica for muscle pain) made them better.

For her, homeopathy was more than a profession. It was something she accepted on faith and an essential part of her identity. She treated herself homeopathically and her young family, too. “I was convinced that homeopathy could heal everything, really everything,” Grams says.