Effects of homeopathic treatments on strawberry plants in field
In conventional agriculture strawberry plants are generally treated with fungicides to control pathogens. However, consumer concerns about possible risks associated with the use of fungicides, along with development of pathogen resistance, have resulted in an intensive search for safer, more effective control options that pose minimal risk to human health and the environment. One of them could be the use of homeopathic treatments, that, thank to their extreme dilution level, do not lead to any toxicity or accumulation in the environment.
The present research aimed at verifying the efficacy of such treatments on strawberry plants by evaluating phytopathological (control of infection induced by the fungus Botrytis cinerea, one of the most common pathogen of this crop), agronomical (fruit production) and biochemical (antioxidant activity, poliphenols and flavonoids) parameters. We performed three subsequent field trials (in 2010, 2011 and 2012) at a biodynamic farm: in all trials, the field was divided in plots consisting of 18 plants/treatment, each treatment being replicated 4 times in a randomized complete block design. Homeopathic treatments were chosen on the basis of previous experimentation in growth chamber in which they gave significant results in the control of B. cinerea infection. They were Sulphur 6x, Horn-equisetum 6x and Sulphur 6x + Horn-equisetum 6x, being ultra pure water as a control. These treatments were sprayed weekly according to biodynamic calendar from about the end of March to the mid-June; assessments were performed weekly on fruit production and infection level. At the end of trials, strawberry samples were collected for biochemical analyses. Results showed that some homeopathic treatments induced a decrease of infection level and an increase of both strawberry production and biochemical coumponds.
Data obtained from this experimentation need further confirmations by performing field trials in other location and/or by using other crops, but can provide first indications for selecting homeopathic treatments to be proposed for practical use in agriculture, in the context of the so called “agro-homeopathy”.
The Authors thank Laboratoires Boiron for their financial support. The sponsors had no influence whatsoever upon design, conduct and evaluation of this investigation.
Keywords: homeopathic treatments, strawberry plants, Botrytis cinerea, antioxidant activity, poliphenols, flavonoids
Research papers concerning agrohomeopathy, homeopathy (if relevant), potentised BD remedies and so forth.