Background: Efficacy of higher homeopathic potencies is controversial. Universally accepted specific detection assays for homeopathic dilutions do not exist. Basic research has to develop a spectrum of standardized tools to investigate the mode of action and nature of homeopathic potencies.
Objective: Can the shoot growth reaction of dwarf peas (gibberellin- deficient mutants) be regarded as evidence of treatment with homeopathic potencies of plant growth substances?
Materials and methods: Pea seed (Pisum sativum L. cv. Fruher Zwerg) is immersed for 24 hours in homeopathic potency or control solutions for soaking. Plants germinate and grow in a standard cultivation substrate under controlled environmental conditions. Shoot length is measured 14 days after planting.
Results: A screening of homeopathic potencies (12x-30x) of four different plant growth substances revealed biological activity of certain potency levels of gibberellin and kinetin (p < 0.05). Growth stimulation through gibberellin 17x (5 x 10(-18 M)) was assessed in six independent replications; results confirmed those of the screening (p < 0.05). The effect of gibberellin 17x seemed to weaken during the course of the experiments.
Conclusion: The results back the hypothesis that homeopathic potencies of plant growth substances affect pea shoot growth. Dwarf peas might thus be an interesting system model for studying the action of homeopathic potencies. Further work is required to identify all boundary conditions modulating the reactivity of this system.