Wednesday, July 31, 2013


I always hesitate when it comes to re-posting or sharing articles on health tips and miracle cures. The internet is replete with websites and YouTube videos that tout the perfect answer to our medical conditions, for example, the most effective way to remove kidney stones or the best way to detox. On average I get at least 4-5 such emails a day. I read them all, save the more credible ones, and delete the rest.

There is a valid reason for this hesitation. Most of these articles bear no mention of the original source. Even if a name is stated, and the writer is a medical professional, how do we know if he is not a fictitious person or using a pseudonym? Some of these health remedies claim to be backed by reputed and respectable institutions. Do we fall for these claims line, hook and sinker without doing some research on their authenticity?

An email about a cancer cure purportedly sent by Johns Hopkins Hospital has been making its rounds since 2004. I have lost count of the number of times it has been forwarded to me over the years. The article is in fact a hoax. Yet there are people who have circulated it among their friends or posted it on their Facebook page, thus garnering more believers and keeping the hoax alive. They should do some homework first before sharing the content with their friends. One of the more reliable websites to check whether a piece of information is a hoax or not is Snopes.

Would you believe a website post that claims a 100% scientifically-proven way to help you get rid of diabetes in three weeks? Or that wearing a scalar pendant made of volcanic ash will improve blood circulation, enhance memory and energy? Or that taking soursop can slow down the growth of cancer cells?

Snake grass is in high demand as a cancer cure. It is now available as a drink and as pills.

While certain natural foods may work for some people, they may not be as effective for others. Indeed, they may even have disastrous results or cause serious side-effects. We are all made differently with different DNA. Drinking a glass of prune juice every day may relieve constipation for some people, but may have little or no effect for others. Be wary too of claims that Sabah snake grass can cure cancer. Again, it may prove to be the magical cure for some, but for others the same snake grass offers only false hopes.

There are bad habits that are detrimental to our health yet some folks don't seem to be affected by these habits. Take smoking. No one can deny that smoking is hazardous to health, but having said that we all know of folks who have lived to a ripe old age puffing away on a pack or two of cigarettes a day. Cigar-chomping George Burns lived to a 100, and died of cardiac arrest in 1996, not lung cancer. On the other hand, Wayne McLaren, one of the Malboro men, died of lung cancer at the age of 51. So how does one explain this? No wonder die-hard smokers throw caution to the wind, and anti-smoking campaigns show little success.

There is also the confusion created by conflicting reports, including those issued by doctors and medical researchers. Coffee, tea, milk - is drinking these good or bad for health? What about egg yolk - eat it or avoid it at all costs? There are opposing views on these, and all claim to be backed by extensive research and years of study. What should we believe? Who should we listen to?

When you have dengue, you will try anything. It's easy to be
cynical about the efficacy of a cure when we are in good health.

Too good to be true? One glass is not enough.
Let's not forget businesses that stand to reap big profits from news of any study that shows health benefits of a particular food or juice. Reports about the benefits of drinking coffee gave Starbucks a huge boost in earnings. And if enough people claim that eating egg yolk strengthens the heart muscles, it's a sure bet the price of eggs will soar in response to a hike in demand, never mind the lack of creditable studies to prove the veracity of such claims.

Now you know why this blog does not carry many posts on health claims, like consuming green papaya to get rid of uric acid, or drinking celery juice to lower blood pressure. In the first place, I have no way of verifying the information unless the original source is mentioned. In the second place, I am not medically qualified to make any statement to support these claims. Neither have I tested any of them to vouch for its effectiveness. Have you?

And the final reason is, of course, to maintain the integrity of this blog.


Unknown said...

Rather than relying on miracle cures only when death from chronic illness come visiting at your door step I feel a better option to promote longevity and stave off the debilitating effects of chronic disease is to maintain a simple and healthy lifestyle eg consuming lots of fresh vegetables and fruits and less meat, dairy products, coffee, alcohol, tea, salt, sugar, greasy, fried and processed foods; drinking lots of water; pursuing vigorous physical exercises alternating with deep breathing and gentle relaxation exercises; getting adequate sleep; and thinking good and positive thoughts.

seniorsaloud said...

Allen, I would add a huge dose of self-discipline and will-power. We all know what we should eat and do for good health, but when it comes to putting the health tips into daily habits, how many of us actually follow through?