Piles and piles of reme­dies


I’d like to be­lieve I en­thu­si­as­ti­cally ac­cept the ad­vice of those who know bet­ter than I. So, if some­one of­fers me a rem­edy for an ail­ment, who am I to spurn it? I may be re­ject­ing the very thing that will put me, and even my dog, Madisyn, back on the road to re­cov­ery.

A friend re­cently gave me a lengthy list of reme­dies that are guar­an­teed to work. First, my dog’s com­plaints. How to elim­i­nat e mites in Madisyn’s ears? All it takes are a few drops of corn oil. Mas­sage it in, and then clean the ear with a cot­ton ball. Re­peat daily for three days. The oil soothes her skin, smoth­ers the mites, and ac­cel­er­ates heal­ing.

How to kill fleas? Dish­wash­ing liq­uid does the trick. Add a few drops to Madisyn’s bath, and sham­poo her thor­oughly. Rinse well to avoid skin ir­ri­ta­tions. Au revoir, fleas.

How to cure her odour af­ter she comes in out of the rain? Sim­ply wipe her down with Bounce or any other clothes dryer sheet. Madisyn will smell spring­time fresh. Now, my per­sonal com­plaints. How to cure headaches? Drink­ing two glasses of Ga­torade can re­lieve it al­most im­me­di­ately, with­out the un­pleas­ant side ef­fects caused by tra- di­tional pain re­liev­ers.

How to quell the pain caused by burns? Tooth­paste makes an ex­cel­lent salve.

How to clear my stuffed nose? Be­fore head­ing to a drug­store to buy a high-priced in­haler, filled with mys­te­ri­ous chem­i­cals, I can chew on two pep­per­mints.

How to re­lieve achy mus­cle pain from a bout of the flu? Mix one ta­ble­spoon of horse­rad­ish in one cup of olive oil. Let the mix­ture sit for 30 min­utes, then ap­ply it as a mas­sage oil. Voila!

Sore throat? Mix a quar­ter cup each of vine­gar and honey, then take one ta­ble­spoon six times daily. The vine­gar kills the bac­te­ria. How­ever, this cure doesn’t take care of the screwed-up face caused by the vine­gar.

Uri­nary tract in­fec­tions? Dis­solve two tablets of Alka-Seltzer in a glass of wa­ter and drink it. In­stant re­lief.

Un­sightly toe­nail fun­gus? Haven’t had this ail­ment in a while. The rem­edy is mouthwash ther­apy. Soak my toes in a pow­er­ful an­ti­sep­tic. Healthy­look­ing toe­nails will re­sult.

Un­doubt­edly all good reme­dies, but none of them take care of piles and piles of other com­plaints.

Speak­ing of piles, I’m re­minded of a mag­a­zine my par­ents used to re­ceive when I was a child, Fam­ily Her­ald. I have in my pos­ses­sion a copy from 1968, when I was 11. I feel like singing Pre­cious Mem­o­ries as I pe­ruse it, es­pe­cially the pages and pages of clas­si­fied ads at the back.

One of the first ads that leaps out at me makes this prom­ise: Piles eased in min­utes.

“ Don’t let sore, itch­ing, burn­ing piles make you mis­er­able an­other day or night.”

How do you spell “re­lief ”? Read­ers are en­cour­aged to try the Chi­naroid test: “Feel it help heal and shrink sore, swollen tis­sues. Feel wel­come com­fort while you sleep, walk, ride or work... Feel re­lief in min­utes. See how much bet­ter you feel to­mor­row.”

How can I curb bowel cramp­ing and gas pains? Hmmm, let me think for a mo­ment. Sherry and I used to tell our kids to use the word “ fluff,” but they picked up “ fart” all on their own.

Any­way, no one wants to “suf­fer from dull cramp­ing aches or burn­ing pains in the side, gas, acid­ity, heart­burn, bil­ious­ness, bad breath.” Not to men­tion sleep de­pri­va­tion caused by gas.

A spe­cial med­i­ca­tion like Ko­lade Powders which, the ad em­pha­sizes, “is not a lax­a­tive,” does all the fol­low­ing, and then some: re­lieves cramp­ing in­tes­tine mus­cles, soothes sore mu­cus mem­branes, and checks acid­ity. It swiftly deals with colon and stom­ach dis­com­fort. You gotta like it.

As I said at the be­gin­ning of this col­umn, I’d like to be­lieve I en­thu­si­as­ti­cally ac­cept the ad­vice of those who know bet­ter than I. My ap­proach is strictly util­i­tar­ian, though: if it works, I’m will­ing to try it.

How­ever, it’s easy to be taken in by quacks, those who know­ingly sell worth­less, un­proved, even dan­ger­ous reme­dies.

Thank­fully, a few sim­ple steps can pro­tect us from get­ting ripped off by the quacks among us.

First, if it sounds too good to be true, it prob­a­bly is. Refuse to be­lieve ev­ery­thing you see and hear in ads.

Watch out for such com­mon ploys as prom­ises of a quick or pain­less cure, claims of a “spe­cial” or “se­cret” for­mula only avail­able by mail from one source, and tes­ti­mo­ni­als from sat­is­fied pa­tients.

Fi­nally, ques­tion ads stat­ing that a prod­uct works for a wide va­ri­ety of ail­ments or cures a disease that isn’t even un­der­stood by med­i­cal science.

Caveat emp­tor. Let the buyer beware.

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