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Challenging the safety and efficiency of homeopathy: investigating a step further for “placebo-like” effect on ants as model organisms

MOJ Biology and Medicine
David Cammaerts,1 Marie-Claire Cammaerts2


Working on ants as biological models, we previously showed that Ignatia amara 5CH could decrease the adverse effect of onion odor (used as a stressing factor) on these insects’ locomotion, tactile perception, social relationships, stress, cognition, learning and memory. We here examined if this beneficial effect may be due to a “placebo-like” effect, caused by the sugared compound used in homeopathic drugs. To do so, we studied, again on ants as model organisms, the effect of Ignatia amara Mk, the drug-free preparation of Ignatia amara homeopathic drug, on ants maintained in the presence of onion and thus impacted by its odor. The Ignatia amara Mk homeopathic product did not improve any of the physiological and ethological traits of ants affected by the stressing factor. As a control, we assessed all the examined traits in ants maintained under normal conditions and found that none of the considered traits was affected (i.e. was different from their usual valor, the ants being thus initially in good, usual health). Consequently, Ignatia amara Mkappears as being without any effects, while Ignatia amara 5CH appeared to be efficient as a drug. Therefore, it seems that the effect we observed in our previous study using Ignatia amara 5CH cannot be explained by the sugared compound used as a support for the 5 CH dilution of the drug. As ants are not affected by the placebo effect, this later being a psychological bias, our results suggest that our previous work indeed revealed some effects of Ignatia amara homeopathic drug.


Cognition, locomotion, memory, Myrmica sabuleti, sensory perception, social relationships, stress