Stuff uncritically publishes more medical nonsense
September 18, 2016
Stuff have reprinted another article (opens new window) from Juice Daily, which claims that garlic, pineapple, a salt water gargle and chicken soup can help with allergies. Of course, this is all unproven tosh and certainly not good medical advice. Thomas Lumley at Stats Chat does a good job of deconstructing the article (opens new window), going through all the links in the article and checking out the evidence for the claims. Unsurprisingly, the given evidence is very thin:
The garlic claims are mostly based on in vitro studies, that is studies on bacteria done in a lab in petri dishes. One includes the damning quote:
"claims of effectiveness of garlic on common cold appear to rely largely on poor quality evidence".
The vitamin C claims are based on papers that have small sample sizes, mixed results and don't test against allergies.
The salt water gargle study didn't test salt water! It tested an iodine solution, and said "The data available at present indicate the need for trials to establish… efficacy" - basically that there's no good quality evidence that it works.
The chicken soup evidence points to mercola.com, and Jo Mercola is much worse than even Dr Oz when it comes to medical nonsense. As a rule, if someone sends you a link to an article on mercola.com - tagline "a reliable source of health articles, optimal wellness products" - be skeptical!
Lumley says of the evidence:
"you'd expect the links to be to the strongest evidence available. And the disappointing thing is, they might well be"