"Useful" Home Remedies (That Can Potentially Kill You)
Some home remedies or do-it-yourself health practices are successful, but more often than not the remedy does next to nothing to cure or alleviate a problem. As we'll see in this list, some DIY practices are downright harmful, stupid, and potentially deadly.
Putting Butter on Burns
Butter is an old folk remedy that sort of appeared out of nowhere. Perhaps the cool texture of the slick butter feels good on freshly burnt skin. Who knows? What is a certain, though, is that if you put butter on a burn, you're asking for trouble.
There is no evidence of someone dying from putting butter on a burn, per se. However, slapping the greasy substance on a burn can trap heat and bacteria from the butter in the wound causing infection. Keep in mind that depending on the type of burn, it can already contain different bacteria or even fungi. Using butter or any greasy ointment will feel good at first, but it essentially keeps the burn going; it doesn't fix anything.
Treatment for the botched home remedy includes a trip to the doctor to scrub, scrape, or surgically remove the butter, treat the infected area, and close the wound. Should you leave any infection untreated, you could find yourself in serious trouble. Or dead. Why risk it?
Using Kerosene to Kill Head Lice
Head lice, tiny and wingless parasitic insects, like to hang out in hair follicles, which causes the host to itch and have an inflamed scalp. Having lice in your hair is like having roaches in your home: relatively harmless but totally disgusting. These tiny parasitic critters cannot jump or fly; they spend all their time crawling around your skull laying nits (eggs). Head lice cannot be combed or shaken loose from one's hair.
Head lice are highly contagious though they do not spread disease. They tend to be incorrectly associated with poor hygiene, so people are sometimes embarrassed about having lice. Special over-the-counter shampoos are able to take care of the pests, however. You know what else can kill head lice and their eggs? Kerosene. This home treatment is somewhat popular because it works, but it is also highly flammable. So is hair. Kerosene soaked hair is a recipe for disaster.
Overdosing on Calcium
Calcium is one of those natural and necessary minerals used to help strengthen bones, fight osteoporosis, and facilitate healthy communication between the body and the brain. We eat foods with calcium every day, but taking extra calcium supplements should make humans pretty much invincible, right?
Nope, it's totally possible to overdose on calcium. Take too much, and you might hit the heart attack lottery.
Adolescents between the ages of 9 and 18 years are recommended to have a daily calcium dose of 3000 mg. For adults age 19 to 50 years, the recommended daily dose of calcium is about 2500 mg, and for anyone older than 51 years, the dose drops down to 2000 mg. Recent research suggests that taking more than the recommended dose can increase chances of a heart attack.
The Man Who Turned Blue
Using Colloidal Silver
Contrary to popular belief, colloidal silver doesn't do anything. It is not an essential bodily mineral and it basically serves no purpose. People still take it, though, to treat yeast based infections, gonorrhea, HIV/AIDS, herpes, shingles, warts, Lyme disease, and pneumonia. It is more or less treated as a type of wonder-drug, but no studies have been able to prove its necessity or effectiveness. However, it does have interesting side effects if you take it for an extended period.
One of the non-lethal downfalls of taking colloidal silver for a long time is that you can end up looking like a Smurf; it can turn you blue. That's not all. If you take the mineral long enough you run the risk of serious health problems, such as kidney damage and seizures.
Using Colon Cleansers
Manufactures of DIY colon cleansers claim that their products can detoxify the body and promote better internal health. It's basically marketed as a two-for-one special in an enema or pill.
However, colon cleansers don't do anything but potentially mess up your body. These products have a long history and a great deal of popularity, but literature surrounding them do not support the purported benefits the manufacturers claim. Some of the adverse effects of colon cleansers are relatively mild and may include nausea, vomiting, irritation, cramping, and abdominal pain. Sometimes, however, the effects can turn severe and leave you with an electrolyte imbalance and renal failure. Perineal gangrene, coffee enema-associated septicemia, rectal perforations, and death from amebiasis--an infectious parasitic disease that can cause dysentery--are other severe reactions that can be caused by colon cleansers.
Drinking Industrial Bleach
Apparently, someone decided that mixing drops of sodium chlorite with equal parts citric acid and diluting it with water was a good idea. The idea was so good, in fact, that this person believed his concoction could to cure anything and everything from AIDS to malaria to cancer. Even autism.
The name of this medical "prodigy": Jim Humble. His miracle drug: industrial grade bleach.
When sodium chlorite is combined with citric acid it becomes chlorine dioxide, or industrial grade bleach. This is the substance Humble calls his Miracle Mineral Solution, or MMS.
When administered orally or as an enema several times a week, MMS is believed by Humble and his thousands of followers that it can cure anything. Why? Because bleach kills bacteria, viruses, and other nasty things we can't see. So, in a warped mind it makes sense that drinking the solution will rid human bodies of sickness-causing microbes. If chlorine dioxide is good enough to scrub dirty toilets clean, it must be good enough to make our insides super sterile, right?
Wrong. It's bleach. That cannot be stressed enough. Check out this warning from the FDA about MMS:
FDA Warns Consumers of Serious Harm from Drinking Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS)
Product contains industrial strength bleach
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to take Miracle Mineral Solution, an oral liquid also known as “Miracle Mineral Supplement” or “MMS.” The product, when used as directed, produces an industrial bleach that can cause serious harm to health.
The FDA has received several reports of health injuries from consumers using this product, including severe nausea, vomiting, and life-threatening low blood pressure from dehydration.
That is nasty stuff.
There are several reasons why MMS still has some popularity despite the fact that it has been shunned by the FDA. First, there are no clinical trials that support any of the claims made by Humble. No legitimate literature exists to show beneficial properties of ingesting industrial grade bleach. Details from Humble's book and anecdotal reports from users are the only things that report health benefits from taking MMS.
Second, the adverse effects of the solution's toxicity are not given serious consideration as being dangerous. People are told not to worry about any severe gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and diarrhea. According to MMS users, that's how you can tell the drug is working. For them, these are normal, expected reactions. For everyone else, it's a sign of poison and potential death.
Because it's bleach.