4 "Common Sense" Cures That Are Total Snake Oil

The common cold is so common that we put "common" in its name. If it was like consumption, then we might call it the uncommon cold, or even the rare one. But no, that shit is common. Basic bitch disease is what it is, and that's how we treat it. We don't respect the cold. We start getting a cough and a runny nose, and what do we do? Pull some straight bullshit like stocking up on vitamin C and zinc. Well, good luck with that, because all those common-sense cures for common illnesses are as basic bitch bullshit as the illnesses themselves. By which we mean lies. Ineffective lies.

#4. Vitamin C

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According to the internet, you can cure cancer with vitamin C, but only if you read the headline and not the body of any scientifically sound article on the subject. Because the body will then explain how they've used vitamin C in trials for about 40 years now, and have never cured cancer with it a single time. Though it did seem to maybe have luck slowing the rate of cell growth once ... with a super high dose of intravenous vitamin C. But your Flintstones chewables will probably do the trick if you double up.

Why does everyone and their uncle still think Vitamin C can cure cancer, leprosy, and gout? One man: Linus Pauling. The guy was a veritable genius for a portion of his career, and he won two different Nobel Prizes all on his own. It's just that one day, another doctor who had gotten his PhD from an unaccredited correspondence school told him that 3,000 mg of Vitamin C a day would make him live another 25 years, and he bought it. He bought it so hard that he wrote books about it telling everyone else to do it while he was up to 18,000 mg a day. That is some "sell the cow to a maniac in exchange for some magic beans" shit.

Library of Congress
The face of a man doing 300 times the "required" dose.

The daily requirement of vitamin C needed to ward off scurvy is 60 mg. Fortunately, water soluble as vitamin C is, if you take an excess, you'll piss it away and no harm done. Generally speaking. But that "no harm done" upper threshold maxes out at around 2,000 mg a day. Mega doses can and will cause side effects like diarrhea, kidney stones, heart burn, cramping, and vomiting. Pauling must have thought those were just his body's way of celebrating its newfound health.

Library of Congress
The face of a man who literally won't stop pooping.

This guy was on the verge of shitting lemonade on a regular basis, and thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. Unfortunately for him, it was about as useless as sliced bread is for fighting any disease aside from sandwichitis. He'd go on to claim that vitamin C was a cure for cancer and had saved him from prostate cancer, right until the day he died of prostate cancer. It's been shown since that mega doses of Vitamin C actually may contribute to cancer in mice. Pauling was known to take up to 40,000 mg if he felt a cold coming on, which is about 1/6 of a cup of pure vitamin C. You should never be able to use grandma's measuring cups to see how much of a certain nutrient you've had in a day, when normally it would be in the virtually microscopic range.

How influential could this one man be? Well, they still call vitamin C therapy Pauling Therapy, and there are millions of websites spouting off about how beneficial it is. He's probably more influential now in death thanks to the internet than he ever was in life -- a man with real scientific credentials spouting nonsense which has since been proven to be nonsense.

#3. Echinacea

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There are two facts you need to know about Echinacea before you use it to treat any illness. The first is that it is not a main character from the Mesopotamian epic of Gilgamesh. That's Enkidu. The second is that it does nothing, so throw it away. It can't even cure Gilgamesh of his arrogance. Pile of crap.

Back in the 1960s, when your grandma was looking super hot, a Swiss fellow was on a trip across America. In South Dakota, he discovered Echinacea, and the noble Native Americans explained to him how they had used this sacred herb for generations to prevent and cure illnesses such as the common cold. Except maybe they pointed to a different plant. Or maybe Swiss Miss didn't speak English so good. In any event, the Natives didn't tell him they'd been using Echinacea to cure jack and that it was just a mistake, and he took the stuff back home. Now, 50 years later, you can bet your ass someone is making millions of dollars off of Echinacea sales thanks to people who don't know any better.

Pixabay Public Domain
Making Money Off Of Dummies is never not profitable.

So a Swiss man who made health supplements for a living started the Echinacea industry, and let's just assume he took the Natives at their word (or since maybe they never told him anyway, that he pretended to take them at their word), and started selling Echinacea as a miracle herb. The New England Journal of Medicine, using things like peer review and double blind tests and science and whatnot, concluded that there's really no evidence at all that Echinacea has any effect on a cold.

Now, if you Google something like "Echinacea cold" or even the herb itself, you'll probably find a million and one pages which state that the herb will shorten the amount of time you have a cold, ease the symptoms, or outright prevent it, as though it were fact. They'll also preach that it contains a host of other benefits for your digestive system and headaches and whatever else. So how did that come to pass? That, my friends, is the curious world of "alternative medicine," which is founded not on the desire to cure illness or help the sick and infirm, but to say the exact opposite of whatever science says pretty much all the time. The validity of alternative medicine is totally reliant on the idea that you might be a cave troll who is skeptical of Nikola Tesla and his lightning machine and wants to stick with invisible magic to make the world work, because science hurts your brain.

Pixabay Public Domain
"Me no trust facts, so me eat these leaves instead. Why does me still so sick?"

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