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

A we have heard from our homeopathic friend, Dana Ullaman, homeopathy works well for plants. Unfortunatley, he was unable to provide any good evidence for his claim. To show what a nice guy I am, I herewith help him out and present a recent study on the subject:

Given the seasonal climatic characteristics, forest fires in “cerrado” areas in Central Brazil are not infrequently, with permanent damage. Due to its physicochemical qualities acting in biological regulation processes, water has been considered the primary vehicle for propagating signals from homeopathic ingredients, as suggested by previous studies carried out with solvatochromic dyes. Therefore, such inputs could, in theory, be inserted into watercourses to stimulate the regeneration of the biome destroyed by fire. This hypothesis motivated this case study.

A slow dispersion device was developed aiming at promoting continuous environmental regeneration, containing hydrocolloid and calcium carbonate as a solid base soaked in a homeopathic complex specifically designed for this purpose, composed of Arsenicum albumArnica montanaStaphysagriaIgnatia amara, and Phosphorus, all at 30cH. The case occurred in Nascentes do Rio Taquari Park, between Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul state, Brazil. It is a “cerrado” area, with multiple springs that feed the Paraguay River, occupying an area of 26,849 hectares over the Guarani and Bauru aquifers.

After the fire in early September 2020, the devices were fixed at 9 strategic points in the park (P1 to P9) over 10 days, between September 29, and October 11, 2020, in water courses close to the main springs. To assess the restoration signs of the post-fire environment, the technicians responsible for monitoring the park made observations of flora and fauna recomposition in different locations close to four device-insertion points (P3, P5, P7, P8).

Signs of recovery were observed 40 days after the fire was over. A rapid pioneer plant restructuring was noted, with a significant regrowth of grass, herbaceous and shrub species, such as Mutamba (Guazuma ulmifolia), Murici (Byrsonima spp.), Inga (Inga sp.), Brachiaria (Brachiaria sp.), Jaraguá grass (Hyparrhenia rufa), Colonião grass (Panicum maximum), Gabiroba (Campomanesia sp.), and Pixirica (Miconia sp.). Some species, such as Mimosa (Mimosa sp.), Colonião grass (Panicum maximum), and Jaraguá grass (Hyparrhenia rufa), were not detected in the area before the fire, probably by the seed bank stimulation caused by the heat. There was rapid forest regeneration (4 months after the fire) and restoration of most of the burned trees, both for resisting the fire and for being free of invasive species highly aggressive to native plants, which were controlled by the action of fire. Concerning the fauna, a vast animal population was detected, especially birds, highlighting the “Tuiuiú” (Jabiru mycteria) and “Socó” (Tigrisoma lineatum) close to a water body with a waterfall area (P3). Both species belong to the “Pantanal” biome close to the park. Such species began to frequent the park’s lakes, being observed until February 2023 (the last survey date). The park’s inventory of lichens and fungi showed an unusual tolerance to fire in species that adhered to burned trees and remained active.

In this way, it is suggested that installing slow dispersion devices in watercourses can contribute to the regeneration of other “cerrado” biome areas subjected to fire, protecting the local biodiversity. More studies of this nature are needed to know the real impact of this method on the recovery of different biomes.

Convinced?

I suspect Dana might be (he seems to be particularly prone to confirmation bias) – but rational thinkers do probably have questions; let me just mention two:

  • Was there a control area with which the findings were compared?
  • Was the outcome measure objective?

As the answers are NO and NO, I fear that we need to disappoint Dana yet again:

homeopathy is a placebo treatment no matter whether we apply it to humans, animals or plants.

30 Responses to Recovery of fire-damaged “cerrado” treated with homeopathic preparations

  • The 1970s book “Homeopathy” by Dr. Ruthven Mitchell had in it a photo with two glass beakers with seedlings growing in them, one of which, using homeopathic water of some kind, was doing much better than the other. Of course there was no control, no replication and no explanation.

    (Actually, thinking back decades, I am only “pretty sure” it was Dr Mtchell’s book – it might also conceivably have been Dr Marjory Blackie’s “The Patient Not the Cure”. But I think it was the Mitchell book).

    I remember thinking at the time “Well that looks impressive, but it’s not a robust piece of evidence”.

  • on the market you will find some homeopathic plant fertiliser

    https://www.gruenteam-versand.de/pflanzenstaerkung/homoeopathische-mittel

    and also here

    https://biplantol.de/

    This is used in the garden for more than 20 yrs. But I am convinced, that bullshit as fertiliser is superior

  • Almost 5 years ago, we moved into our newly built home, which at the time was surrounded by a patch of barren soil, with a few dispersed clumps of grass and weeds such as stinging nettle.

    In order to turn it into a more attractive garden, we took great care NOT to use any homeopathic or otherwise man-made interventions, apart of course from planting, and some extra watering in dry, hot summers.

    And lo and behold, we now have a lush, quite natural garden, with a variety of flowers, shrubs and even small trees, with a small lawn that is dotted with flowers from early spring till late autumn – without ever having sown these ourselves. Roe deer, hares and a wealth of insect life are often spotted, foraging or taking shelter.

    So that proves it: if you want a wonderful garden, do NOT use homeopathy.

  • the [slow dispersion] devices were fixed at 9 strategic points in the park (P1 to P9)

    the technicians responsible for monitoring the park made observations of flora and fauna recomposition in different locations close to four device-insertion points (P3, P5, P7, P8)

    So, the technicians responsible for monitoring the park did not make observations of flora and fauna recomposition close to 5 of the 9 strategic points (P1, P2, P4, P6, P9) 🙄

    “Post hoc subgroup analysis is a pseudoscientific tactic to manufacture positive results. Often deployed in conjunction with convenience sampling.”
    — Pete Attkins
    https://edzardernst.com/2022/03/meditation-for-chronic-low-back-pain-management/#comment-137935

  • This is one of the most inane studies I have ever read.

    It has been scientifically proven for many decades that savannah and steppe landscapes recover quickly after a seasonal bushfire. Many of these landscapes even need fire to rejuvenate or to disperse and germinate their seeds. This also applies to the Cerrado.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerrado

    It is no wonder that such a study was published in a pseudo-sccientific journal which only publishes homeopathic studies, so that its impact factor is negligible.

    https://academic-accelerator.com/Impact-of-Journal/International-Journal-of-High-Dilution-Research

  • First, what is “cerrado”? It is a word in Portuguese. It means “closed”.

    Here is a German description of the area:

    https://www.regenwald.org/regenwaldreport/2009/288/brasilien-der-cerrado-braucht-schutz

    The cerrado is a savannah. To be more precise: a dry savannah.

    Originally the cerrado was one huge area with 1,5 to 2 million square kilometers. Destruction for use as farm land ruined the land and led to less and less land, which vanished to islands, the “cerrado areas”.

    For the “study” they used this area:

    https://highdilution.org/index.php/ijhdr/article/view/1351
    [*QUOTE*]
    ——————————–
    The case occurred in Nascentes do Rio Taquari Park, between Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul state, Brazil. It is a “cerrado” area, with multiple springs that feed the Paraguay River, occupying an area of 26,849 hectares over the Guarani and Bauru aquifers.
    ——————————–
    [*/QUOTE*]

    26.849 hectares. A bit large for a lab. Petri dishes are nice. And they are small. But THIS is a real monster.

    So much for the background. Now, what did the impostors do? They put out some homeopathic mumbo jumbo.

    Question: HOW could they EVER observe such a large area? Ordinary biological observation needs to make a grid and to observe each square of the grid over a long time, recording ALL things, from weather to humidity and temperature to the plants and animals in each square.

    Next, how was the homeopathic stuff brought out in the test area?

    [*QUOTE*]
    ——————————–
    After the fire in early September 2020, the devices were fixed at 9 strategic points in the park (P1 to P9) over 10 days, between September 29, and October 11, 2020, in water courses close to the main springs. To assess the restoration signs of the post-fire environment, the technicians responsible for monitoring the park made observations of flora and fauna recomposition in different locations close to four device-insertion points (P3, P5, P7, P8). Signs of recovery were observed 40 days after the fire was over. A rapid pioneer plant restructuring was noted, with a significant regrowth of grass, herbaceous and shrub species, such as Mutamba (Guazuma ulmifolia),
    ——————————–
    [*/QUOTE*]

    So there are NINE test areas. How were they divided into grid squares?

    The wonderful magic substances of homeopathy were brought out on TEN DAYS.

    An area with 26,849 hectares, and only 9 spots were used, and used only on 10 days. That is an area much too small. And the test situation AFTER A FIRE is NOT the normal continuous situation for that soil, but a dramatic change. ANYTHING can happen after a fire.

    Total failure! Test area too small, number of test sites too low, test phase in a dramatic change, where anything can happen.

    Total failure 1, total failure 2, total failure 3.

    Now let us look at the core of the fun:

    [*QUOTE*]
    ——————————–
    A slow dispersion device was developed aiming at promoting continuous environmental regeneration, containing hydrocolloid and calcium carbonate as a solid base soaked in a homeopathic complex specifically designed for this purpose, composed of Arsenicum album, Arnica montana, Staphysagria, Ignatia amara, and Phosphorus, all at 30cH.
    ——————————–
    [*/QUOTE*]

    “composed of

    Arsenicum album,
    Arnica montana,
    Staphysagria,
    Ignatia amara, and
    Phosphorus,

    all at 30cH.”

    That is a mixture of FIVE chemicals. Not 1, but 5. This is a breach of Hahnemann’s homeopathy.

    Now the simple question, the most simple of all:

    WHO is the patient to treat?
    ======================

    a) Is it ONE plant out there?

    b) Is it 1 square meter of soil out there?

    c) Is it the whole of the cerrado island?

    In the case of a: Which plant in special was to be cured?

    In the case of b: How is that defined?

    In the case of c: Show us the repertorium for a cerrado island!

    According to the simplest and most fundamental laws of homeopathy: What was done there is no homeopathy.

    A mixture, used on an undefined patient, without any repertorium, is idiocy.

    But that is not all. There is something more, something which Baumgartner, the acclaimed “scientist”, messed up so badly: all those plants and animals, a HUGE number of beings, was treated with ONE remedy. Where is the basic law of homeopathy, about INDIVIDUAL cure of EACH INDIVIDUAL!?

    “Der Wissenschaftsfälscher Stephan Baumgartner”
    https://www.allaxys.com/~kanzlerzwo/index.php?topic=11915.0

    All patients in that Brazilian “study”, whoever they may be, got the same stuff. That is school medicine! That is NOT homeopathy!

    Looks like the homeopaths in Brazil are brain-dead.

    How will the rest of the homeopathic scene on earth handle this? Will they reject this fraud? Or are they (as we can already assume) too brain-dead to realize all these facts?

    • @ama

      If you want to quote a previous text, you can use the following html-command:

      (blockquote) … (/blockquote)
      Substitute the brackets with the greater-than sign or smaller-than sign.

      Then your listings are so much easier to read.

      • There are many reasons, legal ones among them, why it is a must to use the quote marks the way I do.

        • “There are many reasons, legal ones among them, why it is a must to use the quote marks the way I do.”

          Which is at odds with your comment on Saturday 20 January 2024 at 14:42 [1] in which you quoted from a “translated with deepl.com” webpage thusly:

          I can’t reply to Old Bob, so I have to add it here:

          https://naturwissenschaften.ch/covid19-vaccination-explained/mrna_vaccines/ist_die_mrna_technologie_neu_
          (translated with deepl.com)
          [*QUOTE*]
          ————————————-
          mRNA technology has been known for around 30 years. The first clinical trials for cancer therapy in humans were carried out over 10 years ago. The technology has therefore been in use for a long time. The fact that mRNA vaccines have become established in the fight against the coronavirus is also due to the current exceptional situation. The technical principles and applications have been studied and described for a long time, but there has been a lack of investment in the further development and application of the technology. The Covid-19 pandemic has now made these investments possible.
          ————————————-
          [*/QUOTE*]

          Which is quite different from the website’s own English version of the article:

          Is the technology behind the mRNA vaccines new?

          The therapeutic use of mRNA has been a subject of inquiry for around 30 years. Carried out more than 10 years ago, the first clinical studies of mRNA as a therapeutic tool centred on the treatment of cancer patients. The technology itself has therefore been around for a long time. That said, the fact that mRNA vaccines have gained such prominence in the battle against the coronavirus is also owing to the current public-health crisis. While the basic technology and specific applications have long been the subject of research, significant investment in further development was lacking. This situation changed suddenly with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.

          https://naturalsciences.ch/covid19-vaccination-explained/mrna_vaccines/ist_die_mrna_technologie_neu_

          Reference 1.
          https://edzardernst.com/2024/01/covid-vaccinations-reduced-death-rates-in-europe-by-57/#comment-149739

      • Literally (particularly note the forward slash / ):

        <blockquote>One or
        multiple lines of quoted text…</blockquote>

        Will result in this:

        One or
        multiple lines of quoted text…

        To make deployment easy & reliable via Apple devices, I created two Keyboard Text Replacements:
        bq <blockquote&gt
        /bq </blockquote&gt

        Just in case anyone is interested (particularly note the semicolon ; terminator):
        < is produced by typing &lt;
        > is produced by typing &gt;
        & is produced by typing &amp;

        • Please do note:
          There are many reasons, legal ones among them, why it is a must to use the quote marks the way I do.

          Repeat: LEGAL REASONS!

          • 🤣

          • @ama

            Whatever your reasons might be, that way you quote text makes it hard to read your comments.

            I for one don’t have the patience to figure out where the quote starts/ends and where your comments begin, therefore I usually skip reading your comments.

            Of course, it is totally up to you how you want to quote text in your posts. Just don’t expect folks to engage with you when you make it difficult for them to read your comments.

          • @Talker

            Please, complain with the courts.

          • Please, complain with the courts.

            🤣 😂 No thanks. I will take the easy route. Goodbye!

          • Perhaps rather than endlessly saying “legal reasons” with increasing degrees of emphasis, you could give some reference to a court ruling or legal opinion that supports your quotation style as the only one that will provide legal protection?
            I don’t think anyone here is unsympathetic to a desire to avoid legal entanglements, but a little more detail might be helpful.

          • @Zebra

            I did that in the past. I explained the reasons in detail. But the very same people showed up again and again. They are fact-resistant. So it is useless to explain it to them.

            And their patterns of behaviour are the same, ever and ever again: “If you don’t do what I want, I will not listen to you.” That is infantile. But these people are adults, perhaps older than even 70 or 80 years. Incurable.

            It is better to go hunting and digging out facts, and to do this with people who really use the material in an effective way.This is why I occasionally drop by in this or that forum and pass on the new harvested material.

          • Perhaps commentator ‘ama’ thinks that they are exempt from the red banner at the top of the page:

            Please remember: if you make a claim in a comment, support it with evidence.

             Copyright ⅯⅮⅭⅭⅬⅤ‑Ⅳ‑Ⅰ
            Lᴇɢᴀʟ Rᴇᴀꜱᴏɴꜱ ᴙ Uꜱ ™

          • @Pete Attkins

            Nope. Your trick does not work.

          • The red banner serves as a helpful reminder of Hitchens’s epistemological razor:

            What can be asserted without evidence, can also be dismissed without evidence.
            
— Christopher Hitchens

            If you wish to instruct, correct, criticize, and call people infantile, using the English language, then you would need to actually learn the language. Writing things such as “@Talker, Please, complain with [sic] the courts.” is comical because it is so pitifully wrong, on more than one level 😂

            1. There is no such thing as “the courts”.
            2. If there was, you would be instructing Talker to complain at you along with the courts that are complaining at you.

            https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/complain

            Thank you for providing entertainment. You are starting to make me hope that there is an afterlife: one of us will think they’ve gone to heaven, the other will think they’ve gone to hell — despite each of us being in exactly the same place 🤣

        • @ama

          As English ist not your mothertongue why do you not use a translation program for support? I recommend DeepL.

      • Correction to my comment on Monday 22 January 2024 at 16:48

        I created two Keyboard Text Replacements:
        bq   <blockquote>
        /bq   </blockquote>

  • n a surfeit of eclecticism, this discussion has put me in mine of the Brazilian folk song “Azulao”, set beautifully to music by Jaime Ovalle.

    The song is set in the “sertao” a vast area of Brazil hinterland, not perhaps entirely different from cerrado. In the song, the forsaken boy asks the bluebird to fly to his unfaithful girl and tell her that the wilderness isn’t the wilderness any more without her.

    Jaime Ovalle’s musical setting mimics the rhythm of the bluebird’s song, of which there are examples on YouTube.
    Here is a nice rendition.
    https://youtu.be/eCnYX3qT854?si=filULKYWLnlz608g

    The definitive male version (and it’s really a boy’s song, not a girl’s) is by French baritone Gérard Souzay, also on YouTube.

    All of life, all of culture, is here…..

  • Edzard Ernst 2024: “homeopathy is a placebo treatment no matter whether we apply it to humans, animals or plants”

    Edzard Ernst 1990: “In summary, the above data imply that homoeopathy works for certain conditions and is ineffective in others
    Edzard Ernst 1997:
    “In conclusion, our analyses suggest that homeopathic treatment administered immediately after abdominal surgery may reduce the time to first flatus when compared with placebo administration.”
    Edzard Ernst et al 2000: “Viewed in this way, the re-analysis of Linde et al. [1] can be seen as the ultimate epidemiological proof that homeopathic remedies are, in fact, placebos.
    Edzard Ernst 2002: “In conclusion, the hypothesis that any given homeopathic remedy leads to clinical effects that are relevantly different from placebo or superior to other control interventions for any medical condition, is not supported by evidence from systematic reviews. Until more compelling results are available, homeopathy cannot be viewed as an evidence-based form of therapy.
    Edzard Ersnt 2016: Several well-conducted clinical studies of homeopathy with positive results have been published. It is therefore not true to claim that there is no good trial evidence at all.
    Edzard Ernst et al 2007: “The evidence for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and acute childhood diarrhea is mixed, showing both positive and negative results for their respective main outcome measures.

    The evolution of Ernst’s conclusions is very interesting, in some he concludes that there is mixed evidence in favor of homeopathy, in others that “it is not convincing until better trials are developed”, in others he states that “there are good quality trials but they are few”, in others that “it does not work better than placebos”, and in still others that “yes, but it only works in trials with low potencies and not in high potencies”. Comically, this verify the conclusions by Robert Hahn:

    In his 2002 paperiv, Ernst oscillates, for example, between rejection of articles which show specific
    effects on diseases, whilst in other instances he rejects articles if they do not show specific effects. I’ve
    never seen a science writer so blatantly biased
    as Edzard Ernst.

    I am not surprised by the fact that Ernst in his 2024 conclusion extrapolates this not only to humans, but to non-human animals (veterinary) and plants. I, however, could not find a single credible review by Ernst on the plant or veterinary literature, except a ridiculous pamphlet of “analyzing 50 modalities”, in chapter 8 he mentions homeopathy applied to plants:

    “There is no evidence that any of these assumptions are correct. Plant models are sometimes used by homeopaths for investigating basic research questions relating to homeopathic preparations, but there are no reliable trials of homeopathy as a treatment of diseases of plants. The many books on agrohomeopathy are largely devoid of scientific evidence.”

    Our #1 critic in the world of homeopathy only based on one study, on one, contradicting his own teachings and moralisms in his books and blogs! It wouldn’t be so sad, except that on his own blog Ernst mockingly mentioned a later review in which he contradicts his contradictions, a review published in Homeopathy but which at least contains a few examples that there is indeed good research in homeopathy for plants. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29621812/

    The quality of publications did increase compared to the last reviews that analysed publications from the years 1920 to 2010. All studies used at least basic statistical analysis compared to 50% of studies in 1920 to 2010. The percentage of publications reaching at least 5 points in the MIS increased from about 60% in 1920 to about 75% in2010… Replication trials of four different plant-based test systems were found in studies using adequate controls. A reanalysis of 30 experiments for one of those test systems showed comparable effects of homeopathic preparations in
    experiments between two time intervals
    . For three test systems, the replication of effects identified in original
    studies failed, but possible external influencing factors (seasonal influence and physiological state of plants) were
    identified”

    The conclusions of more rigorous reviews and meta-analyses, ironically including Ernst’s data (not his ideological biases) confirm that homeopathy can have a placebo effect and compared to “traditional” research contains fewer reporting biases.

    Weiermayer et al 2019:
    “Evidence for the effectiveness of human and veterinary homeopathy in general, and in particular in the treatment of infections, has been sufficiently proven to justify further research in this area. Five of the six meta-analyses on various indications up to 2014 (table 2) came to the conclusion that the effectiveness of homeopathic therapy differs from that of placebo.”

    Sigurdson et al, 2023:
    We found that studies in homeopathy have an average effect size of 0.36 standard deviations, which is quite substantial. Since homeopathy is known to be a null field, this estimate does not indicate that there is a true effect; instead, it is the average impact of the bias present in the field.” Note that Sgurdison et al reject their own data in favor of an “implausibility” interpretation.

    Hamre et al, 2023:
    “According to this SR, homoeopathy can have positive effects beyond placebo on disease in humans. This is in accordance with laboratory experiments showing partially replicable effects of homoeopathically potentised prepa-
    rations in physico-chemical [46], in vitro [47], plant-based [48, 49] and animal-based [50–52] test systems.”

  • This and other “scientific” works fill Brazilian researchers, including myself, with shame. As the philosopher of science Mario Bunge said, “irrational contraband circulates easily in and out of universities, even with the help of academics.”

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