This is from the Family Life Magazine [December 1978 Excerpt from the Dr. Amstutz column]
Placebos [pronounced pla-see'-boes] are substances without physiological effect. They may be pills made of milk sugar or of bread dough, harmless but not effective. They cannot be used in treatment. However, one can use them to test a patient. If a person complaining of alot of pain is relieved promptly by swallowing bread dough the size, shape, and color of a pill, we can say that the person has more of an emotional that a physical problem. Then one can start treating that by better understanding it's nature.
The most used placebos today are not milk sugar but vitamins which the people themselves buy and administer to themselves to treat a fantastic number of different illnesses. Ninty-nine percent of the people with similar genuine illnesses would not be benefitted by using the same materials. But their are people who insist that they are helped by placebos.