MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

When I first read about agrohomeopathy (i.e. the use of potentised preparations for the health of plants and soils) I thought that it must be a hoax. Then I realised that it was entirely serious (a Google search returns ~28 000 hits for ‘agrohomeopathy’) – serious but nevertheless too weird for words. Because it is so utterly unbelievable, I cite (in italics) the key parts of an article on the subject.

What’s better than ORGANIC or BIODYNAMIC farming? AGROHOMEOPATHY! What is Agrohomeopathy? It’s the specialized area of homeopathy used to treat your garden and crops. Agrohomeopathy is the most chemical free, non-toxic method of growing food and other crops that you can get. Agrohomeopathy makes your plants resistant to disease and pests by strengthening them from the inside out. In nature, it is the weakest of organisms that are attacked and destroyed. Agrohomeopathy helps build up the plant’s basic structure and gives it optimum health, thus reducing and sometimes even eliminating it’s susceptibility. And the skeptics can’t blame THESE effects on placebo, can they?!….

Homeopathic treatment for your crops is a win-win situation. It is backed by decades of research and practice. Try it for yourself and see. And if you have problems or need help, there are experts in the field who are eager to help, who want to get your feedback & experience…

If you think this is far-fetched, rest assured that other sources go even further. Look at this statement, for instance:

Agro-Homeopathy not only treats the disease symptoms of the plant and performs preventive actions, but can also treat traumas retained in the biological memory of the plant, which resulted from conditions such as forced hybridization, moving to places outside their natural habitats , or exaggerated fertilization that maximizes production to the extreme.

So, plants have a ‘biological memory’ that is able to retain information of a past trauma! Fascinating, this gets more fantastic by the minute.

And there is plenty of practical advice too; just consider this helpful hint, if you are a keen gardener: the effects and benefits of homeopathic Silicea are so numerous that an entire article has been devoted to them at: Homeopathic Silica – The Gardener’s Friend. Needless to say, Silicea is one remedy no gardener or farmer should be without…

According to this website, homeopathic silica is a miracle cure; it

  1. Aids germination of seeds
  2. Reduces transplant shock
  3. Strengthens weak and spindly plants
  4. Increases vigour and resistance of plants to pests, moulds, and mildew
  5. Aids water retention in plants growing on arid soils
  6. Stimulates flower growth, both in number and size
  7. Assists seed generation and development
  8. Improves fruit-setting when applied after flowering
  9. Stimulates premature flowering and prevents seed formation when applied in overdose to weeds
  10. Changes the ionisation of soil particles so that water-repellent soil readily absorbs moisture … and more!

The sceptics can indeed not blame ‘THESE effects’ on placebo. Nobody needs to do that because they do not exist! I could not find a single piece of reliable evidence to demonstrate that highly diluted homeopathic remedies can cure diseases of plants.

I hope that a few agrohomeopathic readers of these lines will correct me by showing me solid data – but somehow I doubt it.

68 Responses to Agrohomeopathy: one couldn’t make it up!

  • Here’s a link to a wonderful German website that will excite you: it’s Neudorff, the producers of gardening products like fertilizers and herbicides. They also do agrohomeopathy, and their products are everywhere in all gardening centers I’ve recently been to here in the greater Hamburg area, one of the biggest regions of plant nurseries in the world… that are not exactly famous of respecting EU directives about pesticides in groundwater.

  • At least no humans harmed this time

  • This is hilarious! If a mineral were missing from the soil that a plant needed…why would you add a homeopathic version of that mineral instead of the actual mineral?

  • Selectively eliminating weeds with a homeopathic overdose. I love it. Let’s see. This must be a potentiated dilution of something that originally had the opposite effect. Or has that doctrine been left by the wayside?
    I don’t want to look at the original articles lest I realize that they were only satire.

  • Is agrohomeopathy more effective or less effective than talking to the plants (the latter method is advocated by a royal authority on matters of both horticulture and homeopathy)?

  • Notice how every condition it is claimed to benefit is subjective and not measurable. A characteristic feature of pseudoscience.

  • So the plants have a memory – mmm, is that because they contain molecules of water that has a memory?

  • All products making health benefit claims for crops have to be approved in the UK under EU Regulation 1107/2009 (or its predecessors). The active component of the preparation MUST also be approved at the EU level, no matter how benign. The full list can be found here http://ec.europa.eu/sanco_pesticides/public/?event=activesubstance.selection

    Agrohomeopathy is almost certainly completely ilegal. Someone should report them to the Chemicals Regulation Directorate branch of HSE who regulate such things in the UK.

    • The only problem is, is that I think its legal to sell water to put on you plants. And that is exactly what they are doing. save money and get it straight from your local water authority. It’ll have memory of fertilizer that should kill your weeds, and weed killer that should make your desired plants grow nicely.

  • I’ll ask my ficus to discuss this with its therapist next week.

  • All the snide remarks aside – here is an experiment you can carry out at home.

    Buy a sundew plant.
    Buy a homeopahtic remedy called ammonium carb. liquid form.
    Put some drops of tap water on the leaves of the plant…. Nothing will happen.
    Put some drops of the remedy on the leaves…. the leaves will contract at once (reacting to the remedy).

  • Well I misread Darwins instructions and used a 6C potency, whereas it should have been only something like 7X. However, the plant reacted to 6C as well.

    • nobody disputes that solutions which contain molecules can have effects on biological systems. homeopathy is disputed because of the use of ultra-molecular remedies and the ‘like cures like’ principle. your experiment does not test either of them.

    • I agree with L.H. Olavius , 6 c is more effective and work well after adopting the Succussion .

  • Interesting, the plant reacted to a 6C (which is 1 to 1.000.000.000.000). I have tried with a higher potency (12C) on a different plant (the flytrap) with so-so results. Only when the plant was fresh the leaves reacted. But I am sure you are aware of the many on-going experiments with ultra-dilute potencies – not only on plants.

    I was not aware that my experiment should prove the likes-cures-like principle?, but again I am sure – if you have read the Organon by Hahnemann – you should know what is meant by this principle and how often you see this principle in nature.

    And are you saying you would be ok with homeopathy if only they sticked to low potencies and used a book like Clarkes Presriber as a guide?

    • I would not trust anything Clarke has written: “Clarke was a leading advocate of anti-Semitism and served as chairman of The Britons from its formation in 1919 until his death as an associate of Henry Hamilton Beamish. He wrote several articles on Christianity that have a militant bent. When Beamish became a fugitive and fled England, Clarke became the head of The Britons. In fact, he even formed and joined, with two others, its splinter organization, the Britons Publishing Society” [http://www.wikidoc.org/index.php/John_Henry_Clarke]

  • Do you know the book The Prescriber? What does your comment has to do with that book? It is a therapeutic guide and was meant as an example as such and I could have mentioned Tyler, Raue, Boericke, Jahr, Lillientahl, etc.

    I am much more interested in getting a reply to my question – are you saying homeopathy is ok in low potencies using a therapeutic guidebook as guidance?

  • So to understand you correctly, as long as homeopaths sticks to lower potencies (like in France) you are ok with it?

    • no!
      you still have to show that the treatment you give/promote is effective and safe.
      all I was saying was that remedies which contain something might actually work

    • I am a technical person , a farmer , a agriculture technocrat ( M.Sc Agriculture 1976 pass out ) ant 40 years experience in Agriculture , reading & using homeopathy since 1987 and working in Agrohomeopathy since 2000.Till today I have made a number of field trials and most of them were successfull.

    • this article seems to be about the development of a methodology to measure effects; what do you want to say by quoting it?

  • Well, with agrohomeopathy it is so easy – you just have to try it and that’s all. I have tomatoes which are growing outside in rainy and quite cold dutch climate. They still have no brown spots thanks to homeopathy (beginning of september).
    I had full garden with snails. Thanks to Helix tosta, I do not have any of them anymore. The same goes for aphids and ants. I haven’t used a lot of homeopathy in my small garden but every time I use I am surprised. But you need knowledge and it is quite complicated.

  • I remember our summer garden and struggle with pests and diseases. We tried to use as little industrial poisons as possible – e.g. covered strawberry beds with peat, gathered slugs by hand and used tobacco brew (home made) for larvae of a nasty beetle and, of course, weeding. This had some results, but nothing compared to the ones achieved by real factory-produced poisons, containing pure active substances, unlike tobacco brew. And, of course, I know that for example “premature flowering and prevention of seed formation” will not help against e.g. couchgrass with its rhizomes.
    So I cannot believe that these agrohomeopaths have had any close contact with land used for agriculture.

  • I have heard all these “comments” against Homeopathy and Agro-Homeopathy. It is disappointing. All one has to do is try it. We sell organic, pasture raised meat in the North Texas (Dallas) Area. In the last 10 years we have not used antibiotics, herbicides, or any non-organic chemical or process. People have ask us how we keep pests, disease and create such immunity. As a response, we are starting to share with others now. Study Homeopathy without bias, try it starting with Acute issues and then later learn to cure chronic issues. As for the “Science” issues. James Lind (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Lind) treated Scurvy in 1747. Vitamin C was not discovered (his cure) until the 1930’s when Albert Szent-Györgyi discovered the chemical ascorbic acid—also known as vitamin C—that enables the body to efficiently use carbohydrates, fats, and protein.

    So lets not get hung up on “science” that we can not YET explain (though I think Iris Bell, MD is on the correct path). Try it after serious study and lets save the world from poisons and GMO.

    • right let’s try it! but in a controlled scientific fashion that allows to establish cause and effect. this has been done many times for homeopathy, and the result is negative,

      • Hello Mr Edzard . Please do the trials at farmers fields in large number . Hope you will believe that it works .most important is that while using Agrohomeopathy – you mus use homeopathy drugs from seed treatment to maturity & in advance and should not wait the plant disease or insect to harm it , but spray the material as a routine before the occurence time of insects-pests or the disease. Homeopathy helps the plants to have a strong immunity and thus neutrilise the effect of enemy.

    • Here is Ted J. Maines;

      http://www.homeopathyworldcommunity.com/profile/TedJMaines

      Of which this is an excerpt;

      What are your interests besides homeopathy? Inquiring minds want to know.
      Living For God and Following Jesus Christ, Family, Sustainable, Organic Ranching/Farming

      He lives in a fantasy world so it is no surprise he embraces yet another fantasy. Typical mid-West loon.

  • Putting Science in quotes shows ones understanding of the scientific method is nil. And you have probably fooled yourself into believing nonsense. Famous quote:

    Science is what we have learned about how to keep from fooling ourselves. –Richard Feynman (1918-1988)

  • This year I used homeopatic dilution spray to rid my roses of aphids. One light spray done about 3 weeks ago and I have no aphids. Usually by this time all the roses would be full of them. I am satisfied that it works and safe for children and pets

  • https://www.highdilution.org/index.php/ijhdr/article/view/570 (click on PDF)

    https://www.highdilution.org/index.php/ijhdr/article/view/471 (click on PDF)

    https://www.highdilution.org/index.php/ijhdr/article/view/522 (click on PDF)
    There is more if you want to look, here – https://www.highdilution.org/index.php/ijhdr (you can search through the archives)
    I would have to say that there is not as much here in the US as there is in the EU, so perhaps you can do a search after you translate the word agrohomeopathy into German or French. Best of luck to you and keep seeking truth with humility.

  • Jacklyn,

    I have followed your links. They are all to abstracts published in the same journal, the International Journal of High Dilution Research. I am not familiar with this journal so I don’t know anything about their editorial policy, for instance whether they are peer-reviewed.

    I cannot find a way of getting to the actual papers from any of your links, so I am not able to read in detail about the methods used in the experiments, for instance what kind of statistical analysis they used, nor the actual results.

    This makes it rather difficult to know what this research actually shows. Do you have any more details?

    • Good questions. What I’ve done is searched using the title of the articles and tried to find the actual papers. I don’t have time to do them all but here is one that I’ve found – https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322505690_THE_HOMEOPATHIC_PRODUCTS_USED_IN_PLANT_PROTECTION_AN_ALTERNATIVE_CHOICE

      And not sure about their editorial policy but here is their submissions requirement FAQ:
      https://www.highdilution.org/index.php/ijhdr/about/submissions
      There is a way to contact them:https://www.highdilution.org/index.php/ijhdr/about/contact (The main contact appears to be Swiss.)

      Hope this helps!

      • Thanks.

        The first link is a review, not original research, and doesn’t even summarise the findings of the studies cited very well (why didn’t the authors at least state the size of any effects found and the degree of statistical significance?).

        The second link doesn’t really say anything about how the journal treats submissions once they have been received (in its preferred format).

        I am an oncologist, not a botanist, and this really isn’t my field, so I don’t have the background and context to read the literature critically, though of course the laws of chance, the way numbers behave and the use of statistics (none of which are understood terribly well by most people) are equally applicable to either area.

        • From practical experience, every year I have a lot of aphids on my roses and lavender. Last two years I have used a spray of a few drops of Homeopathic remedy Cochinella 30c mixed with a litre of water in early spring and my plants have been free of aphids. Right chosen remedies work wonders.

        • Here are a few more articles that I hope will help. Yes, it doesn’t help that many of them are behind pay walls, which is typical of journal articles. Maybe since a few of you are in the medical profession and have access to more journals than me.
          https://www.eajournals.org/wp-content/uploads/Fungicidal-Potential-of-Homeopathic-Pellets-in-the-Inhibition-of-Root-Rot-Fungi-and-For-Promotion-of-Crop-Plants-Productivity.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2ohNZiHdImEDYdmcgpXk0M2vucz8ORu_mabYfRkYVlPA7VfLe-pc0be3Y

          A compilation of various agrohomeopathy studies (again I have no subscription to Thiemes journals – maybe you’ll have better access): http://homeopathicvet.org/Veterinary_Research_into_Homeopathy/Agrohomeopathy_files/Agrohomeopathy%20Studies%20by%20Date%20of%20Publication.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0AlmYw-ZXqU5YEJ1WVj0C9VuiiMdPcd8DI7K9lffwGpvCD5yptQcvPPig

          A review but lots of articles in the references section: https://www.academia.edu/37642131/AGROHOMEOPATHY_AN_EMERGING_FIELD_OF_AGRICULTURE_FOR_HIGHER_CROP_PRODUCTIVITY_AND_PROTECTION_OF_PLANTS_AGAINST_VARIOUS_STRESS_CONDITIONS?fbclid=IwAR1NASdLs1_q0KNVXUveIdeAI3E9ykUjM3JCVfWYQKcjBRF2vU8pw9YzC0o

          I do have a question. If the empirical evidence is repeated seen with ones’ own senses but has not been studied yet, can it still be true? Sometimes, I fear we rely on scientific research too much, to be the end all and all be all of certain topics, but I feel there’s always a chance of a commonly accepted truth as being wrong, can it not? Example – geocentrism, our previous ways of thinking about elements, etc. My point is, I know you all keep asking for research articles before you feel agrohomeopathy is possible but could it possibly be that we just have not researched that area yet and the truth is yet to be known? I’ve always taught my children (I’m a homeschooling mom), that science is rarely settled and we must be humble enough to allow that one day, we might possibly be wrong. 🙂

          • @Jacklyn

            Thank you for the trouble you’ve taken to unearth these references.

            Your first link is to a paper of highly dubious quality. To test anything for inhibition of growth of fungi on an agar surface, the norm would be to place the putative inhibitor in the middle of the plate and measure the diameter of growth inhibition zones. The authors have chosen to place their test and control agents at one side of the plate: from fig. 1A I can see absolutely no inhibition of the growth of the fungi. The authors claim to be measuring fungicidal activity of their test agents, but the experimental set-up would provide only for measurement of fungistatic effects. This sort of thing does not inspire a critical reader’s confidence in the authors’ basic understanding of the science they’re undertaking.

            I’m not a botanist, so can’t comment authoritatively on the methodology of the in-vivo experiments, but a glance at Table 1 raises further questions about the authors’ training/knowledge. It quotes inhibition data to 3- and 4-digit precisions (always a yellow flag warning) and none of the asterisked p-value codes explained in the table legend appear anywhere in the table itself!

            Fig. 2 amounts to presentation of raw data. I wish the authors had included one or more positive controls — substances already well established as plant antifungal agents — so we could see how the homeopathic preparations compare. The authors never really explain why they chose to include 50% and 75% concentrations of their homeopathic preparations: I thought that homeopathic preparations were supposed to gain potency from dilution, whereas the authors of this paper clearly expect their 75% and 50% dilutions to be less active than the parent 30C (100%). Maybe they didn’t shake and bang the 75% and 50% dilutions in a manner appropriate to succuss them properly.

            Bottom line is that this paper would be rejected from any journal of quality at the stage of peer review. (Of course, this assumes it’s seen by competent reviewers.)

            Your second link is to an edition of the journal Homeopathy that prints the abstracts of presentations given or to be given at a meeting of scientists. These are totally worthless as evidence of anything, because one can write anything one chooses in such abstracts, in the same way as one can present anything one chooses when speaking at meetings.

            It’s true, of course, that most conference presentations are honest, but — whether the presentation is oral or merely a poster — attendees have plenty of opportunities to ask probing questions of the author. In my experience many remarkable findings presented at conferences never find their way into print in peer-reviewed publications. Certainly, one should not take this kind of abstract as robust evidence of anything at all.

            Your third link is indeed to a review article. Sadly, it’s not a critical or scholarly review: every claim made in its 31 references is taken at face value. The reader new to the subject doesn’t know whether the authors of the review have even cited studies whose findings are contrary to the “agrohomeopathy is wonderful” tone of the article. The first sentence of the discussion section: “Homeopathy is a path of medical sciences which can cure human ailments very efficiently.” does not inspire any confidence for the reader.

            So, Jacklyn, you’ve done a bit of homework and you’ve unearthed publications claiming to support the notion that homeopathic preparations can reduce the impact of plant pathogens. That’s fine, but you need to learn (and to teach your children) to discriminate between publications providing evidence of quality and those that are founded on weak science, at best. I agree that science is “rarely settled and we must be humble enough to allow that one day, we might possibly be wrong.” But the counter argument is, and always has been, that we mustn’t become so open-minded to fanciful “alternatives” that we allow our brains to fall out.

          • Leaving aside the question of these trials for a moment, consider the implications if this were true. Remember that the solutions / remedies used are so dilute that not a single molecule of the original active ingredient remains. If this were so, at a stroke it would disprove fundamental principles of physics and chemistry (e.g. the atomic theory of matter) which indeed form the basis of much of our technology. While I agree that science is always a work in progress, there are some things that are pretty much settled, and it would take extraordinary evidence to shake those.

    • The Guardian article is a good summary of the replication crisis, which has a lot of scientists worried. At least they are well aware of it.

      With regard to your second link, I have never regarded psychology as particularly rigorous, and this shows what happens when the results of an apparently ground-breaking study are widely accepted without anybody attempting to replicate them.

    • @Jacklyn

      Unreplicable results have been around as long as scientists have published results of their research. If one sets out to prove a particular point one can usually design experiments to do so. Fiddled data and other frauds are an inevitable corollary in a world that puts enormous pressure on scientists to publish, regardless of consequences.

      The best defence against all of this is to read papers critically. As ever on this blog, Julian Money-Kyrle provides a clear example of this approach, complaining (rightly) that he can’t even get to square one and read the papers whose summaries you linked to.

      However… in my experience it’s very rare for a journal to accept for publication a paper that amounts merely to a replication (or failure of replication) of something that’s already in print. Most good scientists will attempt to move a finding beyond the bounds of its original experimentation, and include replication of an existing publication in the course of doing so.

      For example, Watson & Crick’s seminal demonstration of the double-helical structure of DNA, with GC and AT base pairing (published in 1953) did not spawn studies confirming this structure directly. The double helical structure, if true, would explain a lot of well-known biological phenomena concerning how genes control processes within cells. It was by designing experiments to examine these phenomena, assuming a double-helical DNA molecule with bases on one strand paired strictly with bases on the other strand that allowed the field to advance, with the Watson-Crick findings duly replicated and confirmed in the process.

      No respectable journal would have given a brass farthing to publish a paper that merely replicated the Watson and Crick findings.

      • Hi Frank, I definitely agree that it is hard to be a scientist with scruples these days, with all that’s on the line, whether livelihood, reputation, etc. I think that’s terrible because we need more good researchers who are still looking for the truth. And scientific fraud you’re referring to makes me feel less inclined to even trust what I read (even if the experiment is designed well, is that data even real?!).
        I’ve still been trying to find articles that are not behind a paywall – I *think* I found one tonight, though I am just using many of the same search engines that you all probably use. 🙂
        I see what you’re saying about journals wanting new findings – that is a good goal. While journals might not want a paper that replicates another, I do find that this is something that people who are looking for truth, care about, regardless of what journal editors might want to publish. Even more than peer-review, I would love it if all seminal findings would be “checked” first, esp if they will go on to be the basis that many subsequent articles are expanded upon. It would be great if that was a factor in whether it gets published – in my perfect world. 🙂

        • @Jacklyn

          You wrote “I would love it if all seminal findings would be “checked” first, esp if they will go on to be the basis that many subsequent articles are expanded upon.” But that’s precisely the system I already described. It’s nominally supported by peer review to pick up the authors’ most egregious false assumptions and outright fraud, but “replication by expansion” is by far the best form of checking scientific claims in addition to moving the science forwards.

          If somebody publishes a study showing that immersion of hens’ eggs in boiling water for 5 minutes results in composition changes we call a hard-boiled egg, then someone else picks up on this to look what happens if you boil an egg for 2, 3, 4 and 6 or more minutes (something the original authors might have thought to do in the first place) then this area of discovery is advanced and the original finding is coincidentally replicated. Why should the second study limit itself to the boundaries of the first one?

  • Thanks for taking a look at the article and all my links. In my opinion, it is hard to debate what should be settled science and what is not and that it is also hard to determine what are “fanciful alternatives” to entertain and what are not. (I honestly think it really depends on one’s worldview.) There is so much we DON’T know and the more we delve into things, the more we realize that. It is always good to search for evidence before one takes a stance, like you were all trying to do. My best to you on your search for truth! Signing off! 🙂

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