Effects of Homeopathic Preparations of Mercurius corrosivus on the Growth Rate of Severely Mercury-Stressed Duckweed Lemna gibba L.
10 July 2018
23 October 2018
30 January 2019 (online)
Background We developed a bioassay with mercury-stressed duckweed (Lemna gibba L.) to study potential effects of homeopathically potentised mercury(II) chloride (Mercurius corrosivus [Merc-c.]). The response of this bioassay to homeopathic treatments as a function of stress intensity was also of interest.
Methods Duckweed was severely stressed with mercury(II) chloride for 48 hours. Afterwards plants grew in either Merc-c. (seven different potency levels, 24x to 30x) or water controls (unsuccussed and succussed water) for 7 days. Growth rates of the frond (leaf) area were determined using a computerised image analysis system for different time intervals between the measurements on days 0, 3 and 7. Three independent experiments with potentised Merc-c. each were evaluated. Additionally, three water control experiments were analysed to investigate the stability of the experimental set-up (systematic negative control [SNC] experiments). All experiments were randomised and blinded.
Results Unsuccussed and succussed water did not significantly differ in terms of duckweed growth rate. The SNC experiments did not yield any significant effects, providing evidence for the stability of the experimental system. Data from the two control groups and the seven treatment groups (Merc-c. 24x–30x) were each pooled to increase the statistical power. Duckweed growth rates for day 0 to 3 were reduced (p < 0.05) after application of Merc-c. compared with the controls. Growth rates for day 3 to 7 were not influenced by the homeopathic preparations.
Conclusions The present test system with Lemna gibba L. that was severely stressed by mercury yielded evidence for specific effects of Merc-c. 24x to 30x, namely a growth reduction in the first time period (day 0–3). This is in contrast to former experiments with slightly arsenic-stressed duckweed, where a growth increase was observed in the second time period (day 2–6). We hypothesise that the differing results are associated with the level of stress intensity (severe versus slight).
• A test system with Lemna gibba L. that was severely stressed by mercury yielded effects of Merc-c. 24x–30x: namely a growth reduction in the first time period (day 0–3).
• This is in contrast to former experiments with slightly arsenic-stressed duckweed, where a growth increase was observed in the second time period (day 2–6).
• We hypothesise that the finding is due to the difference in stress intensity (severe versus slight).
† Dr. Tim Jäger died on March 1, 2019.
- 1 Relton C, Cooper K, Viksveen P, Fibert P, Thomas K. Prevalence of homeopathy use by the general population worldwide: a systematic review. Homeopathy 2017; 106: 69-78
- 2 World Health Organization. Legal Status of Traditional Medicine and Complementary/Alternative Medicine: A Worldwide Review. 2001. Available at: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/pdf/h2943e/h2943e.pdf . Accessed June 2018
- 3 Dinges M. Die Homöopathie erobert die Welt, in: Europäische Geschichte Online (EGO), hg. vom Institut für Europäische Geschichte (IEG), Mainz; December 3, 2010. Available at: http://www.ieg-ego.eu/dingesm-2010-de . Accessed June 2018
- 4 Turner A. Evaluating the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee's position on the implausible effectiveness of homeopathic treatments. Theor Med Bioeth 2017; 38: 335-352
- 5 Faculty of Homeopathy. Research. Available at: https://facultyofhomeopathy.org/research/ . Accessed June 2018
- 6 Macdonald C, Gavura S. Alternative medicine and the ethics of commerce. Bioethics 2016; 30: 77-84
- 7 Fisher P, Ernst E. Should doctors recommend homeopathy?. BMJ 2015; 351: h3735
- 8 Weber S, Endler PC, Welles SU. , et al. The effect of homeopathically prepared thyroxine on highland frogs: influence of electromagnetic fields. Homeopathy 2008; 97: 3-9
- 9 Chaplin MF. The memory of water: an overview. Homeopathy 2007; 96: 143-150
- 10 Weingärtner O. The nature of the active ingredient in ultramolecular dilutions. Homeopathy 2007; 96: 220-226
- 11 Baumgartner S. The state of the basic research in homeopathy – Advice from an interdisciplinary conference. In: Witt C, Albrecht H. , eds. New Directions in Homeopathy Research. Essen: KVC Verlag; 2009: 107-130
- 12 Water quality—determination of toxic effect of water constituents and waste water to duckweed (Lemna minor)—duckweed growth inhibition test. International Standard ISO 20079. Geneva: Switzerland; 2005
- 13 United States Environmental Protection Agency: OCSPP 850.4400 Aquatic Plant Toxicity Test Using Lemna spp., EPA 712-C-008, January 2012:8
- 14 OECD 221: Verordnung (EG) Nr. 440/2008, C.26, ISO 20079, DIN EN ISO 20079. Available at: http://www.oecd.org/chemicalsafety/testing/1948054.pdf
- 15 Swedish Standard Institute: Water quality—determination of growth inhibition (7-d) Lemna minor, duckweed. SS 02 82 13; 1995:15
- 16 Environment Canada 1998 Biological test method: Test for measuring the inhibition of growth using the freshwater macrophyte Lemna minor Report EPS 1/RM/37, 2nd ed; 2007:137
- 17 Scherr C, Simon M, Spranger J, Baumgartner S. Effects of potentised substances on growth rate of the water plant Lemna gibba L. Complement Ther Med 2009; 17: 63-70
- 18 Majewsky V, Scherr C, Schneider C, Arlt SP, Baumgartner S. Reproducibility of the effects of homeopathically potentised Argentum nitricum on the growth of Lemna gibba L. in a randomised and blinded bioassay. Homeopathy 2017; 106: 145-154
- 19 Baumgartner S, Shah D, Schaller J, Kämpfer U, Thurneysen A, Heusser P. Reproducibility of dwarf pea shoot growth stimulation by homeopathic potencies of gibberellic acid. Complement Ther Med 2008; 16: 183-191
- 20 Hamman B, Koning G, Lok KH. Homeopathically prepared gibberellic acid and barley seed germination. Homeopathy 2003; 92: 140-144
- 21 Jäger T, Scherr C, Simon M, Heusser P, Baumgartner S. Effects of homeopathic arsenicum album, nosode, and gibberellic acid preparations on the growth rate of arsenic-impaired duckweed (Lemna gibba L.). Scientific World Journal 2010; 10: 2112-2129
- 22 United Nations Environment Programme. Text of the Minamata Convention on Mercury for adoption by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries. unep.org. July 31. Available at: https://treaties.un.org/doc/Treaties/2013/10/20131010%2011-16%20AM/CTC-XXVII-17.pdf . Accessed June 2018
- 23 World Health Organization. Elemental mercury and inorganic mercury compounds: human health aspects. Available at: http://www.who.int/ipcs/publications/cicad/en/cicad50.pdf . Accessed June 2018
- 24 Jäger T, Scherr C, Simon M, Heusser P, Baumgartner S. Development of a test system for homeopathic preparations using impaired duckweed (Lemna gibba L.). J Altern Complement Med 2011; 17: 315-323
- 25 Baumgartner S, Heusser P, Thurneysen S. Methodological standards and problems in preclinical homeopathic potency research. Forsch Komplementarmed 1998; 5: 27-32
- 26 Carmer SG, Swanson MR. An evaluation of ten pairwise multiple comparison procedures by Monte Carlo methods. J Am Stat Assoc 1973; 68: 66-74
- 27 Nani D, Brizzi M, Lazzarato L, Betti L. The role of variability in evaluating ultra high dilution effects: considerations based on plant model experiments. Forsch Komplement Med 2007; 14: 301-305
- 28 Binder M, Baumgartner S, Thurneysen A. The effects of a 45x potency of arsenicum album on wheat seedling growth – a reproduction trial. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd 2005; 12: 284-291
- 29 Lahnstein L, Binder M, Thurneysen A. , et al. Isopathic treatment effects of Arsenicum album 45x on wheat seedling growth–further reproduction trials. Homeopathy 2009; 98: 198-207
- 30 Jäger T, Scherr C, Shah D. , et al. Use of homeopathic preparations in experimental studies with abiotically stressed plants. Homeopathy 2011; 100: 275-287
- 31 Ücker A, Baumgartner S, Sokol A, Huber R, Doesburg P, Jäger T. Systematic review of plant-based homeopathic basic research: an update. Homeopathy 2018; 107: 115-129
- 32 Endler PC, Bellavite P, Bonamin L, Jäger T, Mazon S. Replications of fundamental research models in ultra high dilutions 1994 and 2015–update on a bibliometric study. Homeopathy 2015; 104: 234-245
- 33 Endler PC, Matzer W, Reich C. , et al. Seasonal variation of the effect of extremely diluted agitated gibberellic acid (10e-30) on wheat stalk growth: a multiresearcher study. Scientific World Journal 2011; 11: 1667-1678
- 34 Scherer-Pongratz W, Endler PC, Lothaller H, Stephen S. Wheat and ultra high diluted silver nitrate – further experiments and re-analysis of data. Homeopathy 2015; 104: 246-249
- 35 Betti L, Lazzarato L, Trebbi G. , et al. Effects of homeopathic arsenic on tobacco plant resistance to tobacco mosaic virus. Theoretical suggestions about system variability, based on a large experimental data set. Homeopathy 2003; 92: 195-202
- 36 Brizzi M, Elia V, Trebbi G, Nani D, Peruzzi M, Betti L. The efficacy of ultramolecular aqueous dilutions on a wheat germination model as a function of heat and aging-time. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2011; 2011: 696298
- 37 Brizzi M, Nani D, Peruzzi M, Betti L. Statistical analysis of the effect of high dilutions of arsenic in a large dataset from a wheat germination model. Br Homeopath J 2000; 89: 63-67
- 38 Endler PC, Lüdtke R, Heckmann C. , et al. Pretreatment with thyroxine (10-(8) parts by weight) enhances a ‘curative’ effect of homeopathically prepared thyroxine (10-(13)) on lowland frogs. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd 2003; 10: 137-142
- 39 Zausner C, Lassnig H, Endler PC. , et al. Die Wirkung von »homöopathisch« zubereitetem Thyroxin auf die Metamorphose von Hochlandamphibien—Ergebnisse einer multizentrischen Kontrollstudie. Perfusion (Nürnberg) 2002; 15: 268-276
- 40 Betti L, Zurla M, Trebbi G, Brizzi M, Borghini G, Borghini F. Extremely low doses of arsenic affect in vitro pollen germination. Forsch Komplement Med 2013; 20: 254-260
- 41 Bell IR, Muralidharan S, Schwartz GE. Nanoparticle characterization of traditional homeopathically-manufactured silver (Argentum Metallicum) medicines and placebo controls. J Nanomed Nanotechnol 2015; 6: 311
- 42 Chikramane PS, Suresh AK, Kane SG, Bellare JR. Metal nanoparticle induced hormetic activation: a novel mechanism of homeopathic medicines. Homeopathy 2017; 106: 135-144
- 43 Van Wassenhoven M, Goyens M, Capieaux E, Devos P, Dorfman P. Nanoparticle characterisation of traditional homeopathically manufactured Cuprum metallicum and Gelsemium sempervirens medicines and controls. Homeopathy 2018; 107: 244-263
- 44 Ives JA, Moffett JR, Arun P. , et al. Enzyme stabilization by glass-derived silicates in glass-exposed aqueous solutions. Homeopathy 2010; 99: 15-24
- 45 Witt CM, Lüdtke R, Weisshuhn TE, Quint P, Willich SN. The role of trace elements in homeopathic preparations and the influence of container material, storage duration, and potentisation. Forsch Komplement Med 2006; 13: 15-21
- 46 Baumgartner S, Thurneysen A, Heusser P. Growth stimulation of dwarf peas (Pisum sativum L.) through homeopathic potencies of plant growth substances. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd 2004; 11: 281-292
- 47 Scherr C, Baumgartner S, Spranger J, Simon M. Effects of potentised substances on growth kinetics of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe . Forsch Komplement Med 2006; 13: 298-306
- 48 Brizzi M, Lazzarato L, Nani D, Borghini F, Peruzzi M, Betti L. A biostatistical insight into the As2O3 high dilution effects on the rate and variability of wheat seedling growth. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd 2005; 12: 277-283