The Snake Oil Bulletin: Turpentine Smoothies For Everybody!
It's time once again for your friendly neighborhood Snake Oil Bulletin. Let's see what bullshit we have in store! This week on the agenda, we present a story of mystery and intrigue, a tale of idiocy and sheer dumbfuckery the likes of which we haven't seen since last week's crapton of dumbfuckery.
Yr Volpe presents a Wonkette exclusive (MUST CREDIT WONKETTE) look into the world of turpentine guzzlers.
Wash your cares and stomach lining away with a refreshing turpentine smoothie
This week, yr Volpe, master of espionage that he is, infiltrated a super exclusive, super duper secret society. Not the Illuminati -- our paperwork is stalled pending successful capture of Sean Hannity for the FEMA buttsex camps, that greasy little bastard.
This is a society so secret, clandestine, and utterly impenetrable we had to undergo a horrendous initiation process just to bring you this report. What did it involve, you ask? Well, we can only reveal so much, but suffice to say it was as rigorous as clicking "Join group" on Facebook and waiting about an hour for an admin to let us in. You'll never understand the sacrifices we humble correspondents make in the name of Wonkvestigative Journamalism®.
The group we joined goes by the very simple name of "Turpentine," which sounds like a halfway decent Weezer cover band, but deep inside the bowels of this wretched hive of scum and paint thinner lurks a group of people so utterly baffling in their stupidity they make even the ass-bleachers look like Neil Degrasse Tyson by comparison. They drink and bathe in turpentine. For their "health."
First, a quick review: Turpentine is a substance obtained from distilling resin from certain pine trees. It's an industrial solvent, often used by your average Joe and Josephina the Plumbers to thin paint and varnish your Uncle Frankie's deck. While some claim it can be used to relieve joint aches and tooth aches, the jury is out on that front, what with it burning skin on contact. Yet even the loose cannons at Web MD are quick to point out that under NO circumstances should you ever knowingly ingest this crap, in case the whole INDUSTRIAL SOLVENT label didn't give that away right off the bat.
The turpers (seriously, they call themselves that) explain that they drink this volatile mixture to fight Candida, a common yeasty fungus quack doctors have been blaming for everything from ingrown toenails to the stock market crash. Remember when that armed Hooters mannequin teamed up with Roberto Benigni and argued cancer could be cured with baking soda? That's Candida woo. Remember the P-E-N-I-S lady who insane-gasmed all over that nice Nebraska town legislature? She believed Candida caused AIDS. Stellar company these turpers share
If you search around the Turpentine group, you'll find people touting the "Daniels" treatment for removing Candida, like this sad fellow here:
"Daniels" is a reference to "Dr." (you'll understand the scare quotes in a minute) Jennifer Daniels, a former medical doctor and board-certified quack who touts the benefits of drinking turpentine (but with a little sugar to help it go down, of course), and who sells absolutely trustworthy vitality capsules, an herbal supplement made up of all the ingredients in a pumpkin spice latte, which purports to reverse the effects of "premature aging" (for fuck's sake) by giving its users three bowel movements a day. And you know these capsules are super duper legit because there are no dosing instructions, only a vague direction that users should administer whatever amount feels right until they're popping a squat at least thrice a day.
Daniels' medical advice is probably pretty sound, too, seeing as she admits on her very own website that her medical license was revoked and she was placed on the "do not employ" list for physicians in the US, all because "Drug companies, hospitals, insurance companies, and the government were unhappy with Dr. Daniels." They tend to take a dim view of advising patients to drink varnish.
Daniels isn't the only one selling the paint thinner way of life. Take for instance this sound medical practitioner, Dr. Mazur's Medical Naturopathic center, a Russian organization that touts the benefits of Zalmanov's turpentine baths, offering this guarantee animatedly giffing itself across its homepage:
High - efficient, inexpensive and harmless treatment of 95% diseases!!!
Ooh, so close. We also think it's cute that the directions for the baths emphatically advise patients not to smoke, drink alcohol, or eat any meat before the procedure. Don't you know that shit's toxic? Now dive into your paint thinner tub.
Turpentine baths is a universal remedy. Their wide medical spectrum covers many acute and chronic diseases.
In order to consider this circle more conveniently I have divided it according to the orthodox medicine, having made thus the list (incomplete) of the diseases - indications for terpentine baths treatment.
We're gonna slap a great big [sic] all over that puppy and just move on, s'aright? What follows reads less like medical advice and more like the index for Grey's Anatomy. Not only can bathing in turpentine cure your deafness, glaucoma, and diabetes, but it's also a real whizz bang at clearing up "inflammatory diseases of female genitals" and offers benefits for "natural improvement of appearance (skin, eyes, hair); prolongation of a youth; prolongation of a life."
Naturally the good Doktorvich indicates no possible side effects of his turpentine spa treatment, which perhaps someone should tell this faker from the Turpers group who broke out in hives:
Get with the program, lady. Don't you know you're supposed to be healing?
So where the hell did these quacks get this idea?
Would you believe it came from an ACTUAL snake oil salesman?
Turpentine was first sold as a cure-all by a retired magician named John Austen Hamlin in the 1860s, marketed as Hamlin's Wizard Oil. It was one of the most famous examples of a patent medicine, boasting an impressive recipe of turpentine, chloroform, ammonia, and cloves (for that fresh kitchen scent), along with a whopping 70% alcohol by volume. Hamlin perfected the art of the traveling medicine show, not only offering lectures on his tonic's fictitious health benefits, but also inviting along street performers and singers to advertise it all over town. Of course they packed light enough that they could get the hell out of dodge any time the coppers pulled 'round.
Not only did Hamlin claim his potion could cure human aches, pains, rheumatism, corns, quinsy, cancer, cholera, and fucking rabies, but also that he could cure such ailments in animals, convincing many naive pioneer folks to buy his rubbing alcohol for their horses and cows. The precursor to the FDA eventually caught up with Hamlin in the 1910s, and fined his son a whopping $200 for claiming he could permanently kill cancer. By golly, $200 is enough to buy a thousand onions to tie 'round the belts of our soldiers what are off abroad fightin' THE KAISER.
But in Woo World, no scam ever truly dies. It rises from the ashes years later, stronger, more powerful, and more certifiably brain damaged than it was before.
We'll leave these turpers to their turping (seriously, their words) for now, though no doubt we'll be back. As we've seen with bleach enemas, this kind of nonsense is all fun and games until someone gets hurt, or in the words of the CDC:
overexposure to turpentine may cause irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, lungs, and skin. It may also cause headache, dizziness, and painful urination or dark-red urine. Greater exposure may cause unconsciousness and death.
Truly a picture of perfect health.
Hell yeah, that asshole bleach enema smuggler finally got sent to big boy jail
In goodly news on the "industrial solvents used as medicine" front, we have a returning guest stopping in to wish us all adieu as he gets carted off to the great bleach enema up the river. Louis Daniel Smith, that upstanding gentlemen caught smuggling sodium chlorite into the country by pretending it was an industrial-strength bleach -- oh, no wait. That's exactly what sodium chlorite is, or rather that's what it becomes when you mix it with water. Rather, Smith was smuggling the stuff into the country in order to sell it as MEDICINE to cure kids of autism.
Despite the serial bleachers' futile attempts to pay Smith's legal fees and get him the best darn lawyer a woman legally barred from doing business in the state of Illinois could afford, Smith lost his case back in May, finally being sentenced this week to 51 months in prison.
But wait. 51 months? The guy was looking at a possible 34 years for three counts of introducing misbranded drugs, one count of fraudulently smuggling merchandise into the country, and one count of conspiracy to commit multiple crimes. How the bonk do you get off charges like that with a measly four years and three months? Maybe that GoFundMe nonsense does pay off. Or maybe it's that fraudsters rarely seem to get their just desserts. A slap on the wrist or a ban from TV advertising, and these hucksters are right back out on the street plying their lucrative bullshit.
Hell, gold medalist in downhill conning Kevin Trudeau openly violated the FTC's rules selling his quack books to gullible rubes, but at least he got ten years. Smith was actually selling people poison to give their own children, because woo-sters fucking hate autistic kids.
Ah well, at least his criminal history won't be washed clean after this stint. You can't bleach these stains from your record, Louis. Somebody stop us, these puns are terminal.
Flotsam, Jetsam, and Hokum
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