Natural remedies, dietary supplements, and food-elimination diets have become very popular in the past decade. They have helped millions of people with chronic conditions find natural ways to heal.
Unfortunately, this trend has also given scam artists the opportunity to crawl out of the woodwork to hock their “latest natural cure for everything”, and it can have deadly consequences.
This is a list of the top 10 most deadly natural remedies. Are you using them?
1. Neti Pot
Neti pots look a bit like small genie lamps, but they come in a variety of shapes and styles. A combination of water and salt is placed in the pot and used to flush the sinuses of mucus and allergens and help the user breathe easier. This natural remedy sounds perfectly harmless, right?
According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, well-known osteopathic physician, using tap water to rinse your sinuses could result in a fatal infection caused by an amoeba.
From his website:
“Once the amoeba enters your nose, it travels to your brain where it causes primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), which destroys brain tissue.
Initial symptoms, which usually begin within two weeks of exposure, include headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, and stiff neck. As the infection progresses, confusion, loss of balance, seizures and hallucinations may occur, with death typically occurring within one to 12 days.”
He advises using a combination of sterilized water and sea salt instead.
2. Ear Candling
When you have a clogged ear, the first thing you want to do is stuff something in it and light it on fire, right? You may laugh, but this is a real thing. There is this weird practice called “ear candling” and it involves sticking a hollow candle in your ear, lighting it, and waiting patiently as earwax, toxins, and debris are sucked away.
Not only are you at risk for setting your hair and linens on fire (as if that’s not enough of a deterrent), this practice has been scientifically proven to be completely ineffective. As a matter of fact, one study revealed that after candling, participants had MORE wax in their ears from the candle!
People who have tried ear candling have also complained of pain from the heat being driven into the ear and loud bubbling noises created by the candle.
No matter how much you read about the amazing detoxification benefits of ear candling, charred skin and potential hearing loss simply aren’t worth the risk.
3. Libido Enhancers
Many men struggle with erectile dysfunction. This is why prescription drugs like Viagra are still so popular despite their side effects. However, there are some natural libido enhancers out there that are virtually guaranteed to make you stiff in bed—because you’ll be a corpse.
Natural male enhancement products that go by names like ‘Rock-It Man’, ‘Stiff Days’, and ‘Libido Sexual Enhancer’ have been flagged by the FDA as containing an undeclared ingredient called hydroxythiohomosildenafil, which is structurally similar to sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra.
Men taking nitrates are cautioned to avoid Viagra as the combination can cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure. Since men with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and high cholesterol often take nitrates, ingesting a libido-enhancing product containing hydroxythiohomosildenafil could prove fatal.
Even if the stuff you’re taking doesn’t contain any hidden pharmaceutical ingredients, it can still be deadly. For instance, an unsuspecting 35-year-old man who used a product called Toad-Venom Love Stone experienced severe heart complications within 12 hours of using the product and was dead less than two days later.
4. Diet and Fitness Supplements
Diet and fitness supplements are some of the most dangerous natural products on the market. This is because, like male enhancement products, these pills are often laced with deadly toxins.
For example, a pesticide called dinitrophenol (DNP).
In April of 2015, a 21-year-old British woman named Eloise Aimee Parry took a weight-loss supplement containing this ingredient and it revved up her metabolism so high and so fast, that she “burned up from within” and died.
A 22-year-old Army private named Michael Lee Sparling collapsed and died after only 10 minutes of running in formation. It was later discovered that before the exercise, Private Sparling had taken the recommended dose of a GNC supplement called ‘Jack3d’, which contains a powerful stimulant called dimethylamylamine (DMAA) that has an amphetamine-like effect on the body.
A preterm infant died from the complications of mucormycosis, a life-threatening infection caused by Rhizopus oryzae (black bread mold). An investigation traced the cause of death back to a contaminated probiotic supplement distributed by Solgar.
5. St. John’s Wort
Although St. John’s wort has shown some promise in treating mild to moderate depression, it can prove deadly when mixed with prescription drugs. St. John’s wort renders many drugs less effective than they should be. There have been cases of organ rejection after a transplant when combining St. John’s wort with anti-rejection drugs.
St. John’s wort has also been shown to be dangerous when used in combination with warfarin, statins, serotonin reuptake inhibitors, benzodiazepines, verapamil, digoxin, and oral contraceptives.
When St. John’s wort is mixed with certain antidepressants, a condition called ‘serotonin syndrome’, can develop, which may cause diarrhea, extreme mental confusion, muscle stiffness, drop in body temperature, and even death.
Homeopathy is a type of natural medicine that operates on the principle of ‘like treats like’. It gives the patient an extremely diluted form of a toxin, which is supposed to reverse whatever condition it’s being used for.
Although many have reported great success with it, its use has meant permanent disability for some. For example, in 2009, the homeopathic cold remedy Zicam was pulled from the market after users reported losing their sense of smell.
These diluted substances have been known to significantly worsen whatever condition is being treated before they help the patient recover. Sometimes, the strain on the mind and body becomes too much and results in the need for hospitalization and/or prescription drug intervention.
Regardless of whether you believe homeopathy works or not, it’s dangerous to prescribe it for yourself. Always consult a homeopathic physician who knows exactly how to prescribe it and can closely monitor your health throughout its use.
7. Radical “Diets”
Certain diets have been used as a natural way to treat autoimmune and digestive diseases for a while now, sometimes with great success. However, there are some “diets” out there that are so dangerous, their side effects are 10 times worse than the disease they’re supposed to cure!
Take the ‘fruitarian’ diet, for example. This all-fructose diet has been linked to diabetes, abdominal obesity, kidney damage, high blood pressure, and fatty liver disease. It has even been linked to the development of pancreatic cancer.
Extreme “cleansing” diets are also dangerous. A 52-year-old UK woman developed a condition called hyponatremia as a result of a diet that instructed her to drink four pints of water every day.
Drinking excessive amounts of water lowers salt levels in the blood, which causes water to move undiluted throughout the body. This causes cells in the brain to swell, which triggers seizures that may result in lasting brain damage, coma, or even death.
8. Bee-Venom Therapy
Bee-venom therapy became popular in the United States about a hundred years ago and is considered the oldest-known treatment for arthritis. Bee venom can be taken orally, topically, through acupuncture needles, or even by being stung by live bees.
Although it contains peptides, enzymes, histamine, dopamine, and epinephrine, all of which have been shown to successfully treat inflammatory conditions, experts still warn that this is a potentially deadly natural remedy.
An estimated two million people in the United States are allergic to bee stings, with an average of 100 Americans dying from bee stings each year. Allergies can develop over time. Something you didn’t react to years ago can cause you to drop dead from anaphylactic shock today.
Use this therapy at your own risk.
9. Essential Oils
The words ‘essential oils’ usually bring to mind a spa-like atmosphere of relaxation and health. When used correctly, essential oils can be quite beneficial. However, just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s safe.
Since lavender and tea tree oils appear to have hormone-like effects on the body, patients with tumors that need estrogen to grow (breast cancer and cancer of the reproductive organs) are advised to avoid these oils.
Using essential oils around young children can be very dangerous. During a two-week period, three emergency cases landed children in New York hospitals with camphor poisoning. Each child had seizures that had to be controlled by prescription drugs.
Also, pennyroyal is very poisonous to the liver, wintergreen is poison when ingested even in small quantities, and an overdose of nutmeg can cause hallucinations and coma.
Use essential oils like porcupines make love—very carefully!
Lobelia is an herb indicated for the treatment of inflammatory lung disease and tobacco addiction. If you’re looking for a natural way to quit smoking, you might want to avoid this one.
This toxic herb has been linked with GI tract irritation, nausea, vomiting, profuse sweating, convulsions, hypothermia, coma, and possibly even death.
Those with tobacco sensitivity, seizure disorders, liver disease, kidney disease, shortness of breath, high blood pressure, and paralysis should not take lobelia. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid this herb, as well.
This herb has also been shown to interact very badly with certain psychiatric medications and stimulants, as well as with nicotine products, Chantix, and even tobacco itself.
Stay safe in the world of natural remedies by following these simple rules:
- Always consult your healthcare provider.
- Research, research, research.
- Shop trust-worthy websites and stores.
- Never overdose or overdo.
- Steer clear of anything extreme.
Neti pot courtesy of Flickr/Dennis Yang
Woman with ear candle courtesy of Flickr/Tammy Camp