Step right up, folks!
Don’t be shy! I’ve got some amazing news for you!
Crowd in closer so you all can hear!
How many of you suffer from aches and pains? Does your granny have gout? Are your children sickly and pale?
Well, don’t you worry anymore! This miracle cure will fix all of you right up!
Take a spoonful of this magic medicine every day and you’ll be cured of all your ailments in no time!
Now, you might read that and picture an old-timey wagon show, with the top-hatted medicine peddler charming the crowd and twisting his moustache as he takes the hard-earned coin from the folk desperate for relief. Loud salesmen travelled from town to town, vending their wares from fancy-painted wagons. Also known as “patent medicines,” their fake, weak, or sometimes dangerous “cures” emptied the pockets of many hard-working folks.
Now, as an herbalist, I am occasionally called a quack or snake oil salesman by those who don’t trust that plants have the ability to help us heal or nourish us. That hurts my feelings, but I honestly understand where it comes from. Centuries of overblown claims of what herbal medicines can do have caused a lot of people to be distrustful of anything that didn’t come from a certified doctor.
There is definitely an issue with misinformation about herbs and herbal remedies, and that’s only been made worse in our times with the prevalence of social media. These platforms make it easy to read a headline, click, and share an article without ever having to actually read the content. For example, my article debunking the cinnamon and honey cure is one of my most-shared blogs, but it is shared by those thinking I’m promoting the remedy!
There IS no easy way to lose weight, or to cure cancer, or to meet the impossible ideal of health built on romanticized history. Life is work, y’all. We don’t get anything easy.
Here is the headline that got my dander up today:
Dandelion Cures Cancer, Hepatitis, Liver, Kidneys, Stomach…
Here’s How To Use It!
I’m not going to link to the article because I refuse to send them traffic. They give a few recipes for dandelion infusion and the like, and absolutely no sources to back up their extreme claims. Just “researchers say…” and “science proves…” with no way to prove them wrong.
So, let’s be real.
Dandelion is amazing, y’all. I’m not trying to give this powerhouse a bad reputation! This innocuous little weed that crops up around the globe is delicious, nutritious, and useful from root to flower. It supports the liver and kidneys and is a great source of iron and other minerals when added to your diet as food, drink, wine and more.
But people lie. People make insane claims with no sources. And desperate people pay out of their noses for “miracle cures” to no avail – therefore debunking herbalism as an ally in the path towards holistic health.
Even some folks with the magical letters PhD behind their names get loads of cash from their lies:
Ugh, again. The Dr. Oz company once offered me money and product to do a sponsored post, and the clerk was haughty and annoyed when I turned them down. I just can’t perpetuate their system of fear = CASH! no matter how good they claim their products are.
So, how do you know if you are being lied to?
Is the person purporting a claim that seems too good to be true?
Are they using fear tactics to get you to purchase their products?
Do they offer a miracle?
Unless you’re talking to Miracle Max, you’re probably being fleeced for all you have.
- Snopes page on the Dandelion Cancer Cure
- My facebook page where this rant began.
- University of Maryland Medical Center (with great sources at the end) http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/dandelion
- Metabolic Modulation of Glioblastoma with Dichloroacetate – one of the research papers leading to the “cure” myth