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P01.32. Can homeopathic verum and placebo globules be distinguished by UV spectroscopy?


Homeopathic preparations are used in homeopathy and anthroposophically extended medicine. Previous studies described differences in UV transmission between homeopathic preparations of CuSO4 and controls. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether statistically significant differences can be found between homeopathic verum and placebo globules by UV spectroscopy.


Verum (aconitum 30c, calcium carbonate/quercus e cortice) and placebo globules used in two previous clinical trials were dissolved in distilled water at 10mg/ml 20-23 hours prior to the measurements. Absorbance was measured at 190 – 340nm with a Shimadzu UV-1800 double beam spectrophotometer. Duplicates of each sample were measured in a randomized order 4 times on each of the 5 measurement days. To correct for differences between measurement days, average absorbance of all samples on one day was deduced from absorbance of the individual samples. The Kruskal-Wallis test was used to determine group differences between the samples, and finally the coding of the samples was revealed.


First analysis showed significant differences (p≤0.05) in average UV absorbance at 200 – 290nm between the samples and a tendency of a correlation (p≤0.1) between absorbance and globule weight. More results will be presented at the conference.


Since the absorbance of the samples at the wavelengths between 200 and 290nm was small, a number of aspects had to be considered and should be corrected for if they are present when performing UV spectroscopy on homeopathic globules: (1) Exact weighing of the globules; (2) Measurement error of the spectrophotometer at small absorbances; (3) Drift of the spectrophotometer during a measurement day; (4) Differences between measurement days.

The question remains what caused the differences in absorbance found in these experiments; the use of the original material for the production of the verum globules, differences in the production of verum and placebo globules, or other context factors.

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Correspondence to U Wolf.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Wolf, U., Klein, S. P01.32. Can homeopathic verum and placebo globules be distinguished by UV spectroscopy?. BMC Complement Altern Med 12, P32 (2012).

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  • Context Factor
  • Individual Sample
  • Alternative Medicine
  • Original Material
  • Double Beam