The proliferation of herbicides, pesticides and other chemicals in agriculture is coming under criticism from environmentalists, farmers, nutritionists and members of the general public who question the use of artificial and potentially dangerous agents to grow our food.
Meet Giovanni Dinelli, a biologist at the University of Bologna in Italy who had a successful 15-year career developing herbicides for the chemical industry before having an epiphany following the birth of his first child and has since been conducting research on organic farming and the use of homeopathy in agriculture.
Studying the effects of homeopathic remedies on plants not only has value for agriculture, but also helps address a persistent criticism of the use of homeopathy in humans, which is that it is simply placebo. This is because plants (and very young children, some would also argue) are incapable of generating a placebo effect, or experiencing beneficial effects resulting only from “believing” that a treatment will heal them. Another reason this type of research is helpful is that the biological action of homeopathic remedies on plants can be directly studied since there are no concerns about ethical treatment, making in vivo research on humans impossible. (You can’t take people apart and study their tissues after they’ve received treatment).
One study conducted by Professor Dinelli involved wheat seeds that were poisoned with an arsenic compound or left unpoisoned, and then treated with a homeopathic remedy solution or water (the control group). The results showed that seedlings grown from poisoned seeds and treated with the homeopathic remedy had a “massive reduction of gene expression levels to values comparable to those of the control group” that had been treated only with water.
In this video, Professor Dinelli talks about the study and how he came to do agrohomeopathy research after a career in the chemical industry. He also describes the difficulties associated with conducting homeopathic research due to lack of funding and reluctance among editors of mainstream scientific journals to permit peer review of studies involving homeopathy.