Sensitivity of plant leaf fungi to homeopathic medicine

Homoeopathica November 1999

by B Geetha Singh

ABSTRACT

Four homœopathic medicines (Bacillinum, Fagopyrum, Petroleum and Sepia) were evaluated in vitro for their inhibitory effect on four keratinophilic fungi in relation to radial growth and mycelial weight. Fagopyrum 1000c caused 95% inhibition in the radial growth of Nannizia incurvata strain (+) Stockdale, while 85% & 80% growth inhibition was recorded by Bacillinum 1000 & Sepia 1000 respectively. These drugs in 1000 potency were further tested against the test fungi in relation to mycelial weight. Fagopyrum could cause 98% growth inhibition against N. incurvata strain (+) whereas Bacillinum and Sepia caused 95% & 90% inhibition respectively on this fungus. Other fungi in the order of their susceptibility to these drugs were Botryotrichum keratinophilum Kushwaha & Agrawal, Malbranchea aurantiaca Sigler & Carmichael, and Nannizia incurvata strain (-) Stockdale.

Introduction

It is a well known fact that homoeopathy is one of the most natural and nearly perfected systems for treatment of ailments of various physiologic and pathogenic origins. S M Paul Khurana tried homœopathic medicines for the first time to explore their efficacy against plant viruses as a PhD thesis at Gorakhpur University in 1968. Since then, several workers used these medicines to inhibit the growth of viral and fungal pathogens of plants. The present study was undertaken to try four homœopathic medicines (Bacillinum, Fagopyrum, Petroleum and Sepia) which were effective in checking the growth of certain leaf spot pathogens of ornamental plants against four different keratinophilic fungi in relation to radial growth and mycelial weight.

Materials and methods

(1) Effect of drugs on radial growth: The above-mentioned homœ­opathic medicines were taken in three different potencies, prepared in sterile double distilled water in decimal and centesimal scales and screened for their effect on the radial growth of fungi by the poisoned food technique. Five ml of each potency was mixed in 30 ml of autoclaved Sabouraud’s dextrose medium. Just before its gelling, the medium was poured into petri plates and then inoculated in the centre with an inoculum disc of 6mm diameter obtained from 8 days’ old colonies of the test fungi. The plates were incubated at 28 C for 12 days and controls were also run separately without any treatment for each organism. The diameter of fungal colony under each treatment was measured and percent inhibition in each case was calculated with the help of controls (Table I). (2) Effect of medicines on dry mycelial weight: The potencies of medicines which showed inhibitory effect on the radial growth of test fungi were further tried for their efficacy in relation to mycelial weight. For this purpose 5ml of the test medicine was taken in sterilised l50ml Erlenmeyer flasks containing 25ml of Sabouraud’s dextrose broth. The flasks were then inoculated with inoculum discs of 6mm diameter obtained from 8 days’ old test fungus and incubated for 12 days at 28 C. After the said period, the mycelial mats of the flasks were harvested through pre-weighed filter papers and were dried at 80 C for 24 hrs. The dry mycelial weights of these fungi were compared to the control in order to calculate the percentage inhibition of fungal growth in relation to mycelial weight (Table II).

Results and discussion

A perusal of data (Table I) reveals that Fagopyrum 1000 could cause 95% inhibition in case of N. incurvata strain (+), whereas Bacillinum and Sepia caused 85% and 80% inhibition respectively. Other fungi in the order of their susceptibility were B. keratinophilum,

TABLE I
EFFECT OF HOMOEOPATHIC MEDICINES ON THE RADIAL GROWTH OF KERATINOPHILIC FUNGI

Medicines Potency Percentage of inhibition in radial growth*
A B C D
Bacillinum 30 40 10 50 40
200 45 15 65 45
1000 85 65 70 75
Fagopyrum 6 50 15 12 45
200 65 25 20 55
1000 95 60 65 88
Petroleum 6 25 15 10
200 45 20 25 15
1000 50 25 50 20
Sepia 30 25 10 50 40
200 35 15 55 45
1000 80 50 60 65

* Each datum shown in the table is an average of two independent determinations. A-Nannizia incurvata strain (+) B-Nannizia incurvata strain (-)
C-Malbranchea aurantiaca D-Botryotrichum keratinophilum

TABLE II
EFFECT OF HOMOEOPATHIC MEDICINES ON DRY MYCELIAL WEIGHT

Medicines Potency Percentage of inhibition in mycelial weight*
A B C D
Bacillinum 1000 95 80 85 90
Fagopyrum 1000 98 90 92 95
Sepia 1000 90 80 85 85

* Each datum shown in the table is an average of two independent determinations.

M. aurantiaca and N. incurvata strain (-). The medicine Petroleum was found to be insignificant in its effect on these test organisms even in higher potency.

Bacillinum, Fagopyrum and Sepia were further tested against the test fungi in 1000 potency in relation to mycelial weight (Table II), and it was found that Fagopyrum 1000 could cause 98% inhibition in case of N. incurvata strain (+), whereas in the same potency Bacillinum and Sepia caused 95% and 90% inhibition of this fungus respectively. The order of susceptibility of other test fungi was in the same pattern as above.

Homœopathic medicines are in use for curing skin infections which in many instances, proved to be very effective. However, a thorough and systematic study of the mechanism involved is very necessary as these medicines are more promising and safe as compared to antibiotics and other drugs.

The present observation also reveals that the efficacy of these medicines increased with the increase in their potency. Hence, the correct usage of these medicines in appropriate potencies, for the well-diagnosed diseases of the superficial parts of man, caused particularly by dermatophytes, will be very much effective.

Years ago at the request of the Woman’s Weekly magazine I, perhaps foolishly, wrote an article on using homœopathy in the home: Pulsatilla for measles, Rhus tox for the first stage of chicken pox- that sort of thing.

About the only original suggestion I made was Fagopyrum for vaginal thrush. Subsequent letters to the editor and reports to the pharmacy that sold the medicine were full of praise for the use of Fagopyrum. Dr Geetha Singh’s experiments demonstrate that potentised remedies, especially Fagopyrum, kill fungi, in this case ones that affect plants. On page 6 reference is made to decimal and centesimal scales; I therefore presume the 6 potency in Table I is 6x, but cannot be sure; 1000 means 1000c, also designated 1M.

Dr Geetha Singh’s paper was published in The Hahnemannian Gleanings, April 1983.- Editor

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