Homeopathic pathogenetic trials produce specific symptoms different from placebo

Forsch Komplementmed. 2009 Apr;16(2):105-10. doi: 10.1159/000209386. Epub 2009 Apr 9.


Introduction: Homeopathy uses information gathered from healthy volunteers taking homeopathic substances (pathogenetic trials) for clinical treatment. It is controversial whether such studies produce symptoms different from those produced by placebo.

Objective: To test whether homeopathic preparations produce different symptoms than placebo in healthy volunteers.

Methods: Three armed, double-blind, placebo controlled randomised experimental pathogenetic study in 25 healthy volunteers who took either one of two homeopathic remedies, Natrum muriaticum and Arsenicum album in 30CH or identical placebo. Main outcome parameter was the number of remedy-specific symptoms per group.

Results: On average, 6 symptoms typical for Arsenicum album were experienced by participants taking arsenicum album, 5 symptoms typical for Natrum muriaticum by those taking natrum muriaticum, and 11 non-specific symptoms by those in the placebo group. Differences were significant overall (Kruskall Wallis test, p = 0.0002,) and significantly different from placebo (Mann-Whitney test, p = 0.001).

Conclusion: Homeopathic remedies produce different symptoms than placebo.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autoexperimentation
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Homeopathy / education
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Materia Medica / pharmacology*
  • Middle Aged


  • Materia Medica