Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Natural selection.

A few days ago while waiting for a prescription to be filled at the local CVS, Jess and I wandered around the aisles for entertainment. It's a little reminiscent of the entertainment Mark and I had for years through just walking in Meijers. It was our attempt at Whose Line is It Anyway mixed with what we figured were biting social critiques of consumption and aesthetic errors. Basically it two kids who weren't going to be out drinking or partying hanging out in the only establishment open past 10pm in Westerville. But I digress. The aisle with the greatest entertainment value in a CVS is, without question, the herbal remedy section. The names are amazing. Wang root, Musk Drops, Birch bark and licorice suppositories, you know things like that. And it requires a incredible patience and eyesight to determine from the packaging what on earth it is that they promise to do. Then after hiding what it is they might be able to help you with, they clearly explain that there is no evidence that they can muster to support the claim that they improve this problem. In the end it's a mystery. I should buy this product but you won't really tell me why, and then after scouring the packaging like I was looking for a Wonka Golden Ticket, you figure out it helps with memory only to be informed, that there's no reason to believe it does that. Sweet. Sign me up.

Whatever annoyances I may have with this aisle, Neil tops me and then some. I just got around recently to reading his really amazing blog post on organics, homeopathy and the like. It's witty, and smart and bitingly funny. I'm going to post some of it here, but really, read the whole thing.

Herbal medicine - I can't stand to hear people who are completely distrustful and skeptical of the pharmaceutical industry (as they rightly should be) talking about echinacea like it's god's gift. Just because the hippy-nutraceutical industry isn't quite as big, and doesn't have intellectual property lawyers up the wazoo, doesn't make them any less crooked. If someone tries to sell you anything to cure something, *be skeptical*, whether they're wearing a suit or hemp. At least the pharmaceutical industry has the FDA to hold them to some basic standards of safety and efficacy.

But no, we like to follow the latest trends, because it's 'natural' and 'chemical-free'. Maybe I can popularize hemlock as a cure for headaches? Or chewing poison ivy as a cure for palpitations? Hell, I don't have to prove jack, because it's a plant. You can't sue me the way you could sue pharma, and I can say whatever the fuck i want on the label as long as I put the 'FDA has not evaluated these statements' warning on it.

Read it all

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