Spreading Idiocy via The Internet

This post is going to be closely related to the last one. That’s just a warning, in case you don’t need another rant on internet idiocy. This time, though, I’m going in to something a little more specific, particularly bad “medical” information that gets passed around, particularly on Facebook.

The first picture we’re going to look at was posted by the same hypochondriac (and sanctimommy) person that I mentioned last time, and came to her via a Facebook page called Raising Natural Kids. Unfortunately, this one has been seen on many a friends page, and that makes me sad.

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The first one on the list sent up a red flag immediately. In what world does regular Tylenol have hydrocodone in it? That’s right, in none of them. Tylenol is comprised of acetaminophen. When you mix is with hydrocodone, what do you get? That’s right, Vicoden. Hydrocodone is a strong narcotic, and while it does work for pain (very well), it is not something that should be confused with regular OTC pain medications. That kind of bad fact checking really makes me want to trust this list. No, seriously. It does.

Let’s look at their suggested natural counterparts for some of these listed medications, starting with ginger to relieve pain. I take ginger, and ginger based Gravol, to relieve nausea and indigestion. I have taken it when I’ve been both pukey and in pain from a migraine, and while my nausea has abated, it has done absolutely nothing for the pain. Not once have I noticed the ginger making my pain any better, and as a chronic pain sufferer, I’m sure I would have noticed something like that.

How about you stop taking your thyroid pills and start supplementing with seaweed instead? Or, even better, how about seaweed and bananas? Seaweed is very high in iodine and if you have a borked thyroid, you know that iodine can accumulate very quickly in your system and cause a lot of damage. The same thing with potassium. Excess (or excessively small) amounts of potassium in the system can be extremely hard on your heart, and shouldn’t be something you screw around with.

Okay, I’ve had GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease) for a very long time, and I know that if I stopped taking my antacid medication and started eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice instead, it wouldn’t be long before I was throwing up blood on a regular basis. I don’t understand how ingesting a highly acidic fruit would help me to reduce my stomach acid.

These are the three on the list that I have personal experience with, but if I needed an antibiotic, I wouldn’t stick myself in the sun, forgo the pills and hope for the best. That just doesn’t make sense. The biggest problem I have with lists like this is that they are so often presented to the public as actual fact, while rarely having any scientific facts to back them up. Where are the research references? Where are the studies proving that black tea is going to help with someone’s diabetes? Odds are they’re not listed because they don’t exist.

The next one was posted by my mother in law. It’s a little long, but you’ll get the idea even if you don’t read the whole thing:

Great information!! Cinnamon and Honey…! Drug companies won’t like this one getting around. Facts on Honey and Cinnamon:

It is found that a mix of honey and cinnamon cures most diseases. Honey is produced in most of the countries of the world. Scientists of today also note honey as very effective medicine for all kinds of diseases. Honey can be used without side effects which is also a plus. Today’s science says that even though honey is sweet, when it is taken in the right dosage as a medicine, it does not harm even diabetic patients. Researched by western scientists:

HEART DISEASES: Make a paste of honey and cinnamon powder, put it on toast instead of jelly and jam and eat it regularly for breakfast. It reduces the cholesterol and could potentially save one from heart attack. Also, even if you have already had an attack studies show you could be kept miles away from the next attack. Regular use of cinnamon honey strengthens the heart beat. In America and Canada, various nursing homes have treated patients successfully and have found that as one ages the arteries and veins lose their flexibility and get clogged; honey and cinnamon revitalize the arteries and the veins.

ARTHRITIS: Arthritis patients can benefit by taking one cup of hot water with two tablespoons of honey and one small teaspoon of cinnamon powder. When taken daily even chronic arthritis can be cured. In a recent research conducted at the Copenhagen University, it was found that when the doctors treated their patients with a mixture of one tablespoon Honey and half teaspoon Cinnamon powder before breakfast, they found that within a week (out of the 200 people so treated) practically 73 patients were totally relieved of pain — and within a month, most all the patients who could not walk or move around because of arthritis now started walking without pain.

BLADDER INFECTIONS: Take two tablespoons of cinnamon powder and one teaspoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water and drink it. It destroys the germs in the bladder….who knew?

CHOLESTEROL: Two tablespoons of honey and three teaspoons of Cinnamon Powder mixed in 16 ounces of tea water given to a cholesterol patient was found to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood by 10 percent within two hours. As mentioned for arthritic patients, when taken three times a day, any chronic cholesterol-could be cured. According to information received in the said Journal, pure honey taken with food daily relieves complaints of cholesterol.

COLDS: Those suffering from common or severe colds should take one tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 spoon cinnamon powder daily for three days. This process will cure most chronic cough, cold, and, clear the sinuses, and it’s delicious too!

UPSET STOMACH: Honey taken with cinnamon powder cures stomach ache and also is said to clear stomach ulcers from its root.

GAS: According to the studies done in India and Japan, it is revealed that when Honey is taken with cinnamon powder the stomach is relieved of gas.

IMMUNE SYSTEM: Daily use of honey and cinnamon powder strengthens the immune system and protects the body from bacterial and viral attacks. Scientists have found that honey has various vitamins and iron in large amounts. Constant use of Honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles (where DNA is contained) to fight bacterial and viral diseases.

INDIGESTION: Cinnamon powder sprinkled on two tablespoons of honey taken before food is eaten relieves acidity and digests the heaviest of meals

INFLUENZA: A scientist in Spain has proved that honey contains a natural ‘Ingredient’ which kills the influenza germs and saves the patient from flu.

LONGEVITY: Tea made with honey and cinnamon powder, when taken regularly, arrests the ravages of old age. Use four teaspoons of honey, one teaspoon of cinnamon powder, and three cups of boiling water to make a tea. Drink 1/4 cup, three to four times a day. It keeps the skin fresh and soft and arrests old age. Life spans increase and even a 100 year old will start performing the chores of a 20-year-old.

RASPY OR SORE THROAT: When throat has a tickle or is raspy, take one tablespoon of honey and sip until gone. Repeat every three hours until throat is without symptoms.

PIMPLES: Three tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon powder paste. Apply this paste on the pimples before sleeping and wash it off the next morning with warm water. When done daily for two weeks, it removes all pimples from the root.

SKIN INFECTIONS:Applying honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts on the affected parts cures eczema, ringworm and all types of skin Infections.

WEIGHT LOSS:Daily in the morning one half hour before breakfast and on an empty stomach, and at night before sleeping, drink honey and cinnamon powder boiled in one cup of water. When taken regularly, it reduces the weight of even the most obese person. Also, drinking this mixture regularly does not allow the fat to accumulate in the body even though the person may eat a high calorie diet.

FATIGUE: Recent studies have shown that the sugar content of honey is more helpful rather than being detrimental to the strength of the body. Senior citizens who take honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts are more alert and flexible. Dr. Milton, who has done research, says that a half tablespoon of honey taken in a glass of water and sprinkled with cinnamon powder, even when the vitality of the body starts to decrease, when taken daily after brushing and in the afternoon at about 3:00 P.M., the vitality of the body increases within a week.

BAD BREATH: People of South America, gargle with one teaspoon of honey and cinnamon powder mixed in hot water first thing in the morning so their breath stays fresh throughout the day.

HEARING LOSS: Daily morning and night honey and cinnamon powder, taken in equal parts restores hearing.

Let’s start off with the claim that cinnamon and honey, when mixed, will cure most diseases. Now, I would love for this to be true. Honey and cinnamon are both delicious things, and it would be great if they combined to form some kind of super medicine. The rest of the paragraph leaves me ready to not believe anything else that the “article” has to say. Apparently, all of the research was done by a random and unnamed group of “western scientists”. If the research was so awesome and accurate, why are we not being given the names of the researchers and studies so we can read for ourselves what an awesome job they’ve done?

In fact, the only one on the list that I have no issue with is honey being good for a sore throat. It’s very soothing and does have mild antiseptic properties, but will it cure hearing loss? I doubt it. Will it clear up the “germs” (yes, they used the word germs) that cause a bladder infection? Again, I highly doubt it.

So many people take articles like this as fact because they use words like “scientists”, “research” and “studies”, without giving any references to the specific research or studies that were done. People read these things and take them as truth, when in fact they are anything but. I know people, personally (who I won’t name in case they come across this blog), that decided to stop taking doctor prescribed medications in favor of remedies like the ones listed above and got extremely sick. One of the two even ended up in the hospital. Yes, there are a lot of people out there who, like me, see things like this posted and scoff, but many people will see it and see and inexpensive ad easy way to cure what ails them. Am I against giving things like this a try? Of course not, but consult a doctor before you do anything drastic, and don’t be crushed when something happens to not work the way a Facebook post claimed it would.

I know there is a very large group of people who think that doctors and pharma are out to get our money, and won’t tell us about all these secret remedies because that’s going against the whole money making process. It boggles me when people, especially those in Canada, jump on this bandwagon. Canadians don’t have to pay for health care. If you need to see a doctor, you don’t pay for that visit. Most people have health insurance that covers most, if not all, of their prescription costs. If you’re disabled or low income, there are programs available to cover your health care (I should know, I’m part of one of those programs). So how, exactly, are doctors trying to screw us out of our money?

Like I said, alternative medicine is fine and good. I’m an acupuncture enthusiast myself. However, don’t think you can just ditch your current treatment plan because eight people on your Facebook list happened to post something on how apples will cure cancer. Seriously, like the internet, Facebook posts are not medical professionals, and if someone can’t back up something they’re saying, you should probably leave it the hell alone (and for the sake of everyone, don’t repost it.)

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