The focus of this EditoReal is the universal need for FDA- and USDA-compliance among foods, and health & beauty products. There is a poisonous, quick-moving yet age-old and stealthy divide between the medications and methods respectively akin to the conventional and complementary medical worlds.
Both sides use terms like “drugs”, “remedies”, “supplement” and “treatment” against the other as the mud embodying their curiosities, initial speculation, support when understood and handmade vandalism when not. It’s important to note that both have stood on some false claims throughout history and are now increasingly subject to regulations that facilitate all our playing well in the ring, maybe even together, and coming clean.
What we euphemize as juice in the average household despite its sometimes reading as drink, blend, cocktail may or may not list relatable chemicals or exact percentages of any fruit &/or vegetables. Content should always be presented in order of concentration, however. Water is often followed by some form of sweetener, color and preservative; maybe harsh, maybe healing.
Topicals–the cleansers, fragrances, moisturizers, etc. used to care for the skin–can also be #complex. Even if leading or popular consumer brands of body wash boast arguably exotic ingredients like argan oil, diamond dust (?!) or a lovely rose scent via your local drugstore counter, will your skin first have to contend with 95% filler of water, alcohol and hard-to-systemically degrade-or-eliminate mineral oil, polymers and stabilizers?
Finally, it behooves us not to place such a condescendingly high value on “tap water” over some natural remedies. Remedies are relative to one’s unique needs and stages in Life, as even water gives some the illusion of sobriety while intoxicating others. Beyoncé’s financial wherewithal notwithstanding, ade based on Flint, Michigan’s controversial municipal stream might be the hardest sell ever; a lemon, if you will. Regularly drinking said fluid into the body via a shower of our largest organ might not be the best bargain. As such, neither our beverages nor our human interest/patient-centered journalism should have to contend with muck or too much of the acerbic.
Think for a moment about how unlikely the convenience you trust for approximately $2.99 + tax is to contain even the 1/60th oz. equivalent of 1,000 exquisitely steam-distilled rose petals’ fragrance. Caveat: The bottle might not fly at the jewelry exchange, either.
Say the 1x 7%-strength arnica gel cited in a recent article of strong anti-homeopathy views did contain 0.7% of that active ingredient. Even more humble numbers appear in effective dandruff control shampoo (common a.i.: zinc, coal or pine tar, salicylic acid) or retinol preparations. Mind you, S.A. is an aspirin-contributing, acne-fighting favorite often sourced from white willow (Salix alba) bark and, moreso in the latter sense, fruit like blueberries and cantaloupe. Natural doesn’t necessarily mean harmless just as “Big Pharma”ceutical grade and/or synthetic isn’t always synonymous with being overpriced and deadly.
“Snake oil”, then, is a rather subjective, nondescript term to employ if the task is competent social responsibility in consumer education and empowerment. That and improving (access to) wellness outcomes, less the many limiting disparities, is my primary purpose for researching and doing this Work. Thank you for the balance of healthy discourse. Valid checks are welcome here, too.