Effect of low doses and high homeopathic potencies in normal and cancerous human lymphocytes: an in vitro isopathic study

J Altern Complement Med. 2006 Jun;12(5):421-7. doi: 10.1089/acm.2006.12.421.


Objectives: Biologic effects of high homeopathic potencies can be studied in cell cultures using cell lines or primary cells. We hypothesized that primary cells would be more apt to respond to high potencies than cell lines, especially cancer cell lines. We set out to investigate the effects of low doses and high homeopathic potencies of cadmium chloride, respectively, in an intoxication model with human primary lymphocytes compared to a human leukemia cell line (Jurkat).

Design: Cells were pretreated with either low concentrations (nM-microM) or high potencies (pool 15-20c) of cadmium for 120 hours, following which they were exposed to a toxic treatment with a range of cadmium concentrations (8-80 microM) during 24 hours. Cell viability was eventually assessed by use of the MTS/PES assay. Controls included a vehicle (NaCl 0.9%) for the low concentrations of cadmium or water 15-20c for cadmium 15-20c. A total of 34 experiments were conducted, 23 with low concentrations and 11 with high potencies of cadmium. Data were analyzed by analysis of variance.

Results: Pretreatment with low concentrations or high potencies of cadmium significantly increased cell viability in primary lymphocytes after toxic challenge, compared to control cells (mean effect +/- standard error = 19% +/- 0.9% for low concentrations respectively 8% +/- 0.6% for high potencies of cadmium; p < 0.001 in both cases). The pretreatment effect of low doses was significant also in cancerous lymphocytes (4% +/- 0.5%; p < 0.001), albeit weaker than in normal lymphocytes. However, high homeopathic potencies had no effect on cancerous lymphocytes (1% +/- 1.9%; p = 0.45).

Conclusions: High homeopathic potencies exhibit a biologic effect on cell cultures of normal primary lymphocytes. Cancerous lymphocytes (Jurkat), having lost the ability to respond to regulatory signals, seem to be fairly unresponsive to high homeopathic potencies.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cadmium Chloride / administration & dosage
  • Cadmium Chloride / pharmacology*
  • Carcinogens / administration & dosage
  • Carcinogens / pharmacology*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Homeopathy*
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Jurkat Cells / drug effects
  • Leukemia, T-Cell / drug therapy
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects*


  • Carcinogens
  • Cadmium Chloride