Six of the Strangest Cancer "Cures"

Six of the Strangest Cancer "Cures"
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At least 14 million people in United States are currently diagnosed with cancer, and around half of them, at one time or another, have pursued alternative therapies for their disease. While some of these therapies can help alleviate the debilitating side effects associated with cancer, none are effective at treating the disease  or curing it outright.

But facts and evidence haven't stopped snake oil salesmen from pushing their ineffective panaceas. Here are six of the strangest "cancer cures" ever sold:

1. Emu Oil. Some products that FDA regulators examine present a genuine challenge to classify as legitimate or bogus. "Pure emu oil" was not one of them. Its claim to "eliminate skin cancer in days" was particularly specious.

Harvested from the adipose tissue of the emu, a large flightless bird, emu oil may impart some medicinal benefits, but they are thus far unconfirmed.

2. Electrohomeopathy. In the 19th century, Count Cesare Mattei found a way to capitalize on the burgeoning practice of homeopathy. First, add "electro" to its name. Second, sell custom electric devices to bolster traditional homeopathic treatments. The scheme worked brilliantly. The practice, itself, did not. Despite its ineffectiveness, it is still practiced today, particularly in bastions of naturopathic medicine like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

Homeopathy is bunk. Providing a spark of electricity doesn't change that.

3. The Grape Cure. Grapes make for a delicious, nutritious snack and even produce a remarkable burst of plasma when microwaved! But while the multifaceted fruit is good for a great many situations, it isn't effective at curing cancer.

Tell that to Johanna Brandt, who pioneered a grape-only diet for curing cancer. Dr. Stephen Barrett dispels her quackery.

"There is no scientific evidence that the Johanna Brandt's "Grape Cure" has any value. Even worse, her recommended diet is deficient in most essential nutrients and can cause constipation, diarrhea, cramps, and weight loss that is undesirable for cancer patients."

4. Germanic New Medicine. According to Ryke Geerd Hamer, the founder of Germanic New Medicine, severe diseases like cancer result from shocking events that trigger psychological conflict. This conflict manifests physically as disease. To cure the disease, you simply need to resolve the conflict.

Doubling down on crazy, Hamer claims that evidence-based medicine is a Jewish conspiracy designed to kill non-Jews. The German Cancer Society and the German Medical Association strongly disagree.

5. Zap Away the Parasites. For decades, Hulda Regehr Clark claimed to have "The Cure for All Cancers.” The "cure" of which she spoke and wrote so glowingly, was a "zapper" device that supposedly removed disease-causing parasites from the body and resulted in a 95 percent cure rate. Sales of her books and unfounded treatments earned her millions of dollars.

Of course, her cure has never been substantiated by any sort of evidence, nor could it save her. Clark died of cancer in 2009.

6. Venus Flytrap Extract. Due to their carnivorous nature and quirky looks, the venus flytrap is one of the few plants that is actively poached, so much, in fact, that it is at risk of extinction. No doubt contributing to the plant's desirability are dubious claims that it can "eat cancer." Venus flytrap extract is sold in the form of an herbal remedy called Carnivora. Despite its fantastic name, no clinical studies have shown the supplement to be effective in the treatment of cancer.

(Images: AP Photo/Wilmington Star-News, Matt Born, File, djpmapleferryman, Public Domain, Stefano Zucchinali)

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