A biostatistical insight into the As(2)O(3) high dilution effects on the rate and variability of wheat seedling growth

Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 2005 Oct;12(5):277-83. doi: 10.1159/000087968. Epub 2005 Oct 13.


Background: Most criticism of homeopathy concerns the lack of scientific bases and theoretical models. Fundamental research could make important contributions to our understanding of the mechanisms of action of homeopathic treatments. Plant-based bioassays are suitable for basic research -- lacking the placebo effect and ensuring large data samples for structured statistical analyses.

Objective: The aim of this study was to reproduce a previous experiment on the effects of arsenic trioxide (As(2)O(3)) high dilutions on wheat seedling growth in order to verify whether the same significant results could be obtained working in a different place and with a different experimental team. A further goal was to investigate high dilution effects on variability.

Material and methods: A structured experiment was performed blind over 9 weeks, using wheat seeds previously stressed with a sublethal dose of As(2)O(3). The seeds were then treated with either potentized As(2)O(3) (5x, 15x, 25x, 35x, 45x), potentized water (equivalent potencies) or diluted As(2)O(3) (10(-5), 10(-15), 10(-25), 10(-35), 10(-45)). The working variable was the stem length, measured after 4, 5, 6 and 7 days.

Results: Some potencies (As(2)O(3) 45x and H(2)O 45x) induced a relevant increase in seedling growth and/or a variability decrease. Diluted As(2)O(3) did not induce any significant results.

Conclusions: Confirmation of a significant stimulating effect on seedling growth and a significant decrease of variability was obtained with ultra-high dilutions at the 45x potency. The model of wheat germination and growth has been confirmed to be a good tool for basic research in homeopathy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arsenic Trioxide
  • Arsenicals / pharmacology*
  • Germination / drug effects
  • Growth Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Homeopathy*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Oxides / pharmacology*
  • Phytotherapy
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Triticum / drug effects*
  • Triticum / growth & development


  • Arsenicals
  • Growth Inhibitors
  • Oxides
  • Arsenic Trioxide