I like to narrate two incidents related to placebo effect from my own experiences. During my visits to my native town, I used to spend most evenings in a nearby clinic managed by a know medical practitioner. Many friends and contemporaries of the health care practitioner meet him on their way back home. They casually ask him for medicine(s) to get rid of their headaches, sleeplessness, loss of appetites or anxieties. Many of them hope that their doctor will prescribe them something, anything, to make them feel better. The medical practitioner gives every friend two sodamint (Sodium bicarbonate) tablets with a direction to be taken at night and morning. The following day all of them would be happy to tell him about their drastic improvements in conditions. In the early 1980’s, when I was staying in a PG hostel in Kolkata, one day a hostel mate asked me if a tablet is there for sleep (as he was not having proper good sleep for a week). I gave him one-fourth of a paracetamol (calpol brand) tablet with the advice to take it just before going to bed as the tablet is very potent. The next day, to my surprise, he complimented both my judgement and the tablet which helped him sound sleep.
This is what is called the placebo effect. Patients take medication that they believe will help fight their “illness” , even though it has no proven therapeutic effect.