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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 09/14/2010 :  11:40:14  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It looks like the government is finally going to take a look at quack medicine. Whether anything will come of it remains to be seen.
Herbal Supplements Face New Scrutiny By LAURA LANDRO..

Elderberry extract and acai to boost the immune system. Black cohosh to lessen the discomforts of menopause. Soy capsules to prevent bone loss and prostate cancer.

Many botanical supplements—made from the seeds, bark, leaves, flowers and stems of a wide range of plants—have been widely used as folk remedies for centuries. Americans have been consuming growing quantities of the supplements in hopes of warding off disease and easing symptoms of various conditions. But there is scant scientific evidence to support their health benefits.

Now, the federal government is stepping up research into the safety and effectiveness of a wide range of over-the-counter supplements, including plant oils, garlic, soy, elderberry, licorice, black cohosh, St. John's wort and the Asian herb dong quai. The aim is to better understand how compounds in the plants affect health and to help consumers make more informed choices about supplements, which can interact with prescription drugs, cause side effects or lead to new health risks. Sales of botanical supplements in the U.S. topped $5 billion last year, up 17% from five years earlier, according to the non-profit American Botanical Council.

Now, we all know that some of this stuff in proper dosage will actually work; the trick is in knowing what it will work upon and what a "proper dosage" is. I don't know and neither do the quacks, who, I suspect, manage to kill or sicken a fair number of people every year.

Will anything come of this tentative, underfunded step in the right direction? I don't know that, either. But I do know that the quacks will fight the findings tooth and nail, lest they get regulated.




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

The Rat
SFN Regular

Canada
1342 Posts

Posted - 09/14/2010 :  15:43:40   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit The Rat's Homepage Send The Rat a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hard to know how to approach this from a legislative standpoint. You don't dare make it illegal because people will, quite rightly, claim the right to use it if they wish (you can't outlaw stupid). If you regulate them, then you give them an air of undeserved legitimacy, people will think that it's some sort of government stamp of approval. Best thing in the end is to just continue educating people and hope that they will eventually figure it out.

Bailey's second law; There is no relationship between the three virtues of intelligence, education, and wisdom.

You fiend! Never have I encountered such corrupt and foul-minded perversity! Have you ever considered a career in the Church? - The Bishop of Bath and Wells, Blackadder II

Baculum's page: http://www.bebo.com/Profile.jsp?MemberId=3947338590
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 09/14/2010 :  17:57:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I would think some sort of testing panel could be set up to approve these nostrums. The worthless and even dangerous (most of it) can be disapproved while what actually gives some benefit gets a seal of approval and a license to sell. This would drive the out & out quacks underground, where they can be busted.

Of course, if someone wants to grind their own apricot pits or bend up a home-brewed version of a Q-Ray, they're welcome to have at it. As you say, "you can't outlaw stupid," but you can give stupid a fighting chance to keep a little money in his pocket.




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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sailingsoul
SFN Addict

2830 Posts

Posted - 09/16/2010 :  03:28:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send sailingsoul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by filthy

As you say, "you can't outlaw stupid," but you can give stupid a fighting chance to keep a little money in his pocket.

This will change nothing. A huge waste of government time and money, all for nothing. The industry will continue to grow, bet on it. SS

There are only two types of religious people, the deceivers and the deceived. SS
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 09/16/2010 :  08:28:20   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by sailingsoul

Originally posted by filthy

As you say, "you can't outlaw stupid," but you can give stupid a fighting chance to keep a little money in his pocket.

This will change nothing. A huge waste of government time and money, all for nothing. The industry will continue to grow, bet on it. SS

Why would it be a huge waste of money to put the efficacy of the claims to the test and inform the public of the result? At the very least, it will put a very potent arrow into the skeptics quiver giving us real studies to counter bogus claims. It would also serve to help the consumer make more informed choices. What is more, the purveyors of bogus products might steer their costumers to more evidence based alternatives. Health food stores come to mind.

I don't think your cynicism is very helpful, SS. This is a war, and the better informed we are, the better position we will be to counter claims of efficacy as well as giving us information on bad drug interactions. A part of our job is to educate, and this will give us more information we can use to further that goal.


Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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