5 Home Remedy No-No's
From ear candling to colon cleansing, here are 5 home remedies that may do more harm than good.
Home Remedy No-No Number 4: Colloidal Silver
With hype and hope spread by word of mouth and the Internet, colloidal
silver is believed by some to help treat a range of infections and
"People believe that colloidal silver can treat fungal infections, TB,
HIV, herpes, and even cancer by boosting the immune
system," says Ted Epperly, MD, president-elect of the American Academy of
Unfortunately for colloidal sliver supporters, they're wrong, and the
consequences of their mistake could be costly.
"One of the most well-known side effects of colloidal silver is that it
turns a person's skin a greyish shade of blue," says Epperly.
The skin isn't the only organ affected by colloidal silver; so are the
kidneys, stomach, and brain, as well as the nervous system. Silver is actually
deposited into the cells of these organs, possibly causing cell damage and
death, leading to organ failure.
"The effects of colloidal silver are toxic and cumulative," says
Epperly. "Worse, they're irreversible."
Epperly urges people to ignore the hype and instead, talk to a health care
provider about the proper way to treat infections and diseases.
Home Remedy No-No Number 5: Home Colon Cleansing
"We hear a lot about the toxic effects of the contents of the colon on
the body," says Robert Siegel, MD, a fellow with the American College of
Gastroenterology. "But that's a fallacy."
And that's where home colon cleansing products come
into play. People hear the claims that their colons are filled with toxic waste
matter and that the solution is to flush them out with herbs, probiotics,
special diets, enemas, or laxatives.
The fact of the matter is that the colon is a waste receptacle, explains
Siegel. Its function is to let fecal material pass out of the body,
Trying to cleanse your colon from the comforts of your home can disrupt your
body's electrolyte balance, causing dehydration and salt depletion.
Over time, frequent colon cleansing can even lead to anemia, malnutrition, and heart failure.
Instead of cleaning your colon on your own, start by increasing your fiber
intake by eating more fruits and vegetables, or by
adding a supplement to your diet -- 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women 50
and younger -- every day.
If you're still feeling constipated and uncomfortable, Siegel recommends you
see your primary care doctor or a gastroenterologist.