Inspired by a comment on a blog post as Science Based Medicine.
Frank Zappa’s Cosmik Debris from his 1974 album Apostrophe
If you feel the need to bypass the incredible sax solo, the lyrics are here.
The Mystery Man got nervous
An’ he fidget around a bit
He reached in the pocket of his Mystery Robe
An’ he whipped out a shaving kit
Now, I thought it was a razor
An’ a can of foamin’ goo
But he told me right then when the top popped open
There was nothin’ his box won’t do
With the oil of Afro-dytee
An’ the dust of the Grand Wazoo
“You might not believe this, little fella, but it’ll cure your Asthma too!”
This song encapsulates snake oil salesmen who have been living off the gullibility of the
public since the first witch doctor shook his rattle at the door of his cave. The same snake oil salesmen who today peddle homoeopathy, reiki, acupuncture, diet pills, and all manner of ‘natural’ products that do nothing but lighten your wallet.
Here are four quick rules of thumb to recognize a quack medicine:
- It is ‘natural’ and has been used for thousands of years.
- It will cure almost everything
- It is endorsed by celebrities
- It is explained by ‘quantum effects’
If you see any of these in a promotion for a treatment, say something to the person beside you about snake oil, and walk away, quickly.