A costly and luxurious tincture

The future king is playing games with his subjects.

Prince Charles has been accused of exploiting the public in times of hardship by launching what a leading scientist calls a “dodgy” detox mix. Edzard Ernst, the UK’s first professor of complementary medicine, said the Duchy Originals detox tincture was based on “outright quackery”. There was no scientific evidence to show that detox products work, he said. Duchy Originals says the product is a “natural aid to digestion and supports the body’s elimination processes”.

Notice how conveniently meaningless those claims are, yet at the same time how attractive to the gullible. A ‘natural aid to digestion’ could just mean – something you eat so therefore it ‘aids’ digestion by, you know, forcing you to digest it. ‘Supports the body’s elimination processes’ could mean the same thing – if I drink a root beer or a bottle of gin or a basin of dirty bath water that supports my body’s elimination processes in the sense that I will eventually have to pee because of the added fluids. Yet to people browsing the shelves at Waitrose in hopes of something to ‘support’ the body’s natural health-giving whatnots, that might sound like just the ticket, to the tune of £10 for a 50ml bottle.

Professor Ernst of Peninsula Medical School said Prince Charles and his advisers appeared to be deliberately ignoring science, preferring “to rely on ‘make-believe’ and superstition”.
He added: “Prince Charles thus financially exploits a gullible public in a time of financial hardship.” Marketed as Duchy Herbals’ Detox Tincture, the artichoke and dandelion mix is described as “a food supplement to help eliminate toxins and aid digestion”…Andrew Baker, the head of Duchy Originals, said the tincture “is not – and has never been described as – a medicine, remedy or cure for any disease.

No, because they were careful; they kept deniability; which is very unattractive of them. It seems to hint that they know it’s worthless, and word their claims carefully so as not to get the future monarch charged with false advertising, yet still persuade the persuadable to buy the expensive ‘tincture.’

Professor Ernst said the suggestion that such products remove toxins from the body was “implausible, unproven and dangerous”. “Nothing would, of course, be easier than to demonstrate that detox products work. All one needed to do is to take a few blood samples from volunteers and test whether this or that toxin is eliminated from the body faster than normal,” he said. “But where are the studies that demonstrate efficacy? They do not exist, and the reason is simple: these products have no real detoxification effects.”

Wellllllll – they don’t actually prevent detoxification, as far as the Duchy knows, so that makes it fair enough to say they aid it. Surely? Be a sport! Say yes!

I was at Whole Foods a few days ago, and found that they are in the business too – they had bottles of something called ‘Urban Detox’ on sale for something like $4.95 for four not-large bottles. Cheaper than the Prince’s stuff though, plus Whole Foods isn’t the heir to the throne.

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