Development of a test system for homeopathic preparations using impaired duckweed (Lemna gibba L.)

J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Apr;17(4):315-23. doi: 10.1089/acm.2010.0246. Epub 2011 Apr 8.


Objectives: A bioassay with arsenic-stressed duckweed (Lemna gibba L.) was developed to study potentially regulative effects of homeopathic preparations. We compared potentized substances (nine different potency levels between 17 x and 33 x ) with two controls (unsuccussed and succussed water) regarding their influence on number- and area-related growth rate and color of fronds (leaves). Screening included 11 potentized substances: Arsenicum album, gibberellic acid, nosode, arsenic(V), phosphorus, Conchae, Acidum picrinicum, Argentum nitricum, Crotalus horridus, Hepar sulfuris, and Mercurius vivus naturalis.

Design: Duckweed was stressed with arsenic(V) for 48 hours. Afterwards, plants grew in either potentized substances or water controls for 6 days. Growth rate and color of fronds were determined with a computerized image analysis system for different time intervals (days 0-2, 2-6, 0-6). A systematic negative control experiment with unsuccussed water was used to investigate the stability of the bioassay. All experiments were randomized and blinded.

Results: Arsenicum album and nosode potencies increased frond number-related growth rate compared to controls (succussed water controls or pooled water controls [succussed and unsuccussed], p < 0.05, t test). Regarding color classification, no effects were observed.

Conclusions: The experimental setup with L. gibba stressed by arsenic(V) provides a valuable tool to investigate regulative effects of potentized substances. In order to verify the effects of Arsenicum album and nosode potencies, further independent replication experiments are necessary.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Araceae / drug effects*
  • Araceae / growth & development
  • Arsenic / pharmacology
  • Biological Assay / methods*
  • Color
  • Homeopathy / methods*
  • Materia Medica / pharmacology*
  • Plant Leaves / drug effects*
  • Stress, Physiological / drug effects*


  • Materia Medica
  • Arsenic