I recently wrote about the only 9 natural remedies and supplements that have been approved by the National Institutes of Health. These are the only ones out of hundreds that have been proven safe and effective. Some supplements are not only ineffective, but can also be harmful. Each year Americans spend about 26 billion on these supplements and most of them have little effect if any.
There used to be a national museum of quackery here in St. Louis. Now there is a modified version of it at the science center. I also remember reading the old patent medicine ads on the tables at Wendy’s restaurants. I don’t know why they got rid of them. They were informative and gave you something to do while you were eating.
I remember one ad was for “cigars of joy.” These were used to treat asthma. There was another contraption called the “orgone box.” The orgone box was an ordinary wooden box that was big enough for a person to sit in. It was supposed to generate electromagnetic waves that stimulated the life force, or chi. They were expensive and, of course, they didn’t work.
These kinds of devices and patent medicines were enormously popular in their time. Now it seems that a lot of the so-called “natural remedies” of today have replaced the patent remedies and devices of old. If people want to spent their hard earned money on these remedies that don’t work, that’s perfectly fine with me. But they should be aware that some of them can be dangerous to their health.
According to Stltoday, Consumer Reports Magazine has compiled a list of the 12 most dangerous supplements. They are “aconite, bitter orange, chaparral, colloidal silver, coltsfoot, comfrey, country mallow, germanium, greater celandine, kava, lobelia and yohimbe.”
According to the report, the FDA has warned people about at least six of these products that may be harmful. They can cause nausea, depression, skin rashes, and even liver failure. One of them, Kava, has been used for centuries in the Pacific Islands as a sedative and to reduce anxiety and nausea.
But according to Wikipedia some of its side effects include: “hypertension, blood cell abnormalities, liver damage or failure, muscle weakness, shortness of breath, visual impairment, dizziness and dry and scaly skin.”
The other supplements on the list have side effects and drug interactions that are similar to Kava. The point is that some of them are serious. If you feel that you do have to use them, then they should be used sparingly and short term.