After a years-long review of hundreds of studies, Australia’s top medical research agency has concluded that homeopathy is essentially useless for treating any medical condition.

Researchers with the National Health and Medical Research Council conducted a review of published studies on homeopathy and report that they could not find any good quality evidence to support the claim that homeopathy works any better than a placebo or sugar pill.

Homeopathy is a centuries-old form of alternative medicine that has been dismissed as pseudoscience by many skeptics. It's based on a premise that "like cures like." Practitioners believe that herbs and extracts that cause symptoms such as headaches in healthy people will also cure headaches if they are given in highly diluted forms.

Although several studies have shown that homeopathic "remedies" have no detectable amounts of the original substance left, homeopaths believe the tinctures retain a "memory" of the original substance and are thus effective.

The Australian researchers involved in this review sifted through 1,800 research papers from around the world on homeopathy, finding only 225 that were large enough to be worthy of more thorough inspection.

They say they found no reliable evidence that any homeopathic treatment led to health improvements that were any better than a placebo.

And the researchers say the studies that did find homeopathic remedies effective were either so poorly designed, or so poorly conducted, that they were too flawed to be considered reliable.

The reviewers sum up their report by saying that homeopathy should not be used to treat any health conditions that are chronic or that have the potential to become serious.

While some might argue that even if ineffective, homeopathic remedies are essentially harmless, NHMRC CEO Prof. Warwick Anderson disagrees, on the basis of patients who rely on homeopathic remedies do not typically seek treatments that have proven results.

"People who choose homeopathy may put their health at risk if they reject or delay treatments for which there is good evidence for safety and effectiveness," he said in a statement.

“From this review, the main recommendation for Australians is that they should not rely on homeopathy as a substitute for proven, effective treatments.”

Homeopathy was also the subject of scrutiny in the United Kingdom. A House of Commons science committee there produced a report on the alternative medicine in 2010 that also found the practice wholly ineffective and called on the U.K. National Health Service to stop funding homeopathic treatments.