23 February, 2009

Folk Medicine We Can Believe In

You know me. You know how I feel about woo. You know that I feel like a fool every time I take goldenseal and echinacea, because while my doctor swears they help colds, scientific studies are, shall we say, inconsistent at this time. And who the fuck knows what's actually in the capsules they sell at Target - other than the placebo effect, which is what I rely on when I start feeling sniffly.

I hear the words "folk medicine," and my first reaction is disgust. Not because there haven't been folk remedies that work - there's been a few, like chicken soup, with proven benefits - but usually the people burbling about them are serving up nothing but a heaping helping of woo. And when they start talking like this:
One of my friends had some trouble today - a small thing for someone employed, but like me last year health issues have stripped him of his business and they could have killed him today. More below the fold, including a folk medicine cure you can help me make ...
...I start shouting "Oh, come on!" at my computer. It's one thing to rely on folk remedies to ease the misery of a cold. It's quite another to rely on them to save a life. And this diary sounded like it was headed into "Hey, if you've lost your health insurance, it's okay - you can cure your deadly diseases using common kitchen herbs!" territory.

So of course I read the diary to find out what the folk remedy was, just so I could have a good scream.

I learned about the friend with the serious heart condition, practially homeless in Florida, suffering this bit of outrage:
Some genius decided that cutting coverage for isosorbide would be a good way to conserve Broward County's funds after a federal block grant ran out. I guess I'm not there so I don't know, but nitro and heart troubles seem to me like something the county would want to keep in place - it's probably cheaper to give it free to all homeless there than it is to patch up just one or two that show up at hospitals having heart attacks because they went without.
No fucking shit, huh? At least the diarist isn't yapping about how groovy everything is still, cuz hey, guess what, you can mix up something just like isosorbide by boiling some herbs in a saucepan! But that threatened folk remedy looms... wait for it... wait for it...
We played a little phone tag with Walgreens, found a pharmacy tech who knew how to make it work when we're 1,300 miles apart, and that's that. So now I'm sitting here at work banging this out and he is on a city bus going to pick up his medication.
The hell? Bought his friend the meds... Since when does the folk-remedy woo-woo crowd promise us folk remedies and buy actual prescription drugs instead? Odd, that.

And we're coming up on the cure...

My friend is in Broward County, and that means his Congresscritter is ... Lincoln Diaz-Balart. I've got a folk medicine cure for what ails America, but the recipe calls for the head of a wingnut and the hide of a blue dog.
... Harf?

*reads again to ensure proper understanding*

I've got a folk medicine cure for what ails America, but the recipe calls for the head of a wingnut and the hide of a blue dog. If you guys can come across with some $$$ via this ActBlue link we'll be taking a step towards bumping off Diaz-Balart in 2010.

That's the folk remedy?


Holy fucking shit, Batman! Folk medicine I can believe in! I'd so whip that shit up in my kitchen!

OK, I feel like I've done my part here. We've only got six hundred twenty more shopping days until we get to stomp the Republican again in 2010 and our candidates are going to need every dime, so dig out those debit cards and make it happen. We have to change the system ... before it kills us all.
"Six hundred twenty more shopping days." Priceless! Someone make me a countdown widget!

And Stranded Wind's right. This is the recipe. This is the folk medicine we can believe in. The folk are going to the polls, and we're going to give the Cons a dose of bitter medicine indeed.

They deserve it after all the bullshit they've made us swallow...


last hussar said...

On one of those 'parallel comments' I do on various sites...

SOME folk remedies work, because they managed to apply the scientific method without realising (it works more often than it doesn't). Mouldy bread poltices for instance. We all know it was Flemming who discovered penicillin, yet the principle (if not the reason) had been know for centuries. Also asperin. That is just a chemical version of willow bark. It all depends on how you are doing your research.

Cujo359 said...

True, over the years folks discovered that some plant extracts, etc., work on some ailments. Sadly, there seems to be far more misinformation about home remedies than actual effective treatments.

One thing that might be worth looking at is having the FDA examine some of the more well-known and accepted ones the way they do new drugs.