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Monday, August 23, 2010

The Case Of The Ambulance Chaser Vs Jillian Michaels

Frivolous lawsuits are why insurance costs are atrocious and why herbal remedies will never get FDA approval. They affect everything from your dentist bill to the price of a loaf of bread.

  People sue if the close a door on their foot because they aren't paying attention, if they get a paper cut in the library, or their sissified nose is exposed to a funky smell. People are trigger-happy jacks when it comes to trying to get something for nothing and ambulance-chasing is one of the easiest jobs out there.
So check this out: A person is suing Jillian Michaels because her lawyer claims that the herbs in her liver detox crap (okay Triple Process Total Body Cleanse) are a potentially lethal combination of toxic substances.

The lawyer claims that Jillian Michaels and her team are fraudulently representing a dangerous product and that it can kill you. From what I've noticed by the fact that she is still alive, the product certainly did not end the plaintiff's life or disable her. Otherwise she wouldn't be around to hire a lawyer and file suit against Ms. Michaels. But I'd really like to find out if any of these herbs and spices are actually dangerous. I'm a nerd like that. Let me take you for a ride around the wild world of homeopathy and see where it leads. I offer to you an analysis of the "potentially lethal" components and will let the chips fall where they may.
Without further ado, let's boogie.

Irish Moss (Chondrus crispus)

The Claim: Causes gastrointestinal ulcers and is highly toxic

What It Is: Irish Moss is a sea algae that is found all over the place. It is used as a vegan gelatin and is used as a thickening agent in everything from ice cream to luncheon meats. You will probably know it as carrageenan and may notice it used as a clarifying agent for beers and wines. In addition it is often drank in the belief that it has a curative effect on impotence. It was consumed widely during the Irish Potato Famine as a source of cheap nourishment.

What It Does: Irish moss has anticoagulant properties and may reduce cholesterol which may indeed help the aforementioned impotence. It is used to treat coughs and infections and has anti-inflammatory qualities. It is commonly used to treat a slew of different gastrointestinal symptoms, including ulcers and chronic diarrhea. Because it can interfere with the absorption of food, it is found in all kinds of dietary products. There have been cases of stomach bleeding when taking high doses of Irish Moss in conjunction with anticoagulants in those prone to bleeding.
The Verdict: I'm going to side with the defendant here. Irish Moss does the exact opposite of what the plaintiff claims and is even indicated for it. The rare instances of bleeding have occurred in those who already have it and are taking far more harmful drugs like Warfarin. The amount that would cause bleeding in the most susceptible person is astronomical compared to the amount in this product.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

The Claim: Causes dermatitis and is highly toxic because it grows on your lawn
What It Is: Yarrow is a flowering plant that has been cultivated and used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. It has been used all over the world for a litany of purposes. It has been used for millenia to treat wounds and health problems and varieties of it grow over the entire Northern hemisphere.

What It Does: First off, Yarrow is an astringent and can be used to stop bleeding and treat skin conditions. It is used as a weapon against allergies and asthma. It can act as a diuretic and purge toxins from the body. Yarrow has historically been used for backaches, headache, and fever sufferers and for good reason- it contains salicylic acid, which you may know as one of the two components of Aspirin. The idea of putting Aspirin on a toothache comes from Navajo chewing on this plant.
In very rare cases allergic skin reactions have happened in the wild in people with severe grass allergies. Basically you have to roll in wet Yarrow to induce a reaction if you are prone.
The Verdict: The case against Yarrow is absolute crap. Again, this plant is used to treat the very condition that the plaintiff's lawyer claims it causes. This plant will not kill you. The slight diuretic action would be most welcomed by someone on a detoxification plan. Lady, you need to find a new weed to blame.

Chinese Rhubarb (Rheum palamatum)
The Claim: It is a harsh laxative and dangerous diuretic that causes irreversible liver damage

What It Is: It's rhubarb silly, except this one grows in Tibet and is somewhat more powerful. It has been used not only for medicine but in liqueurs for around 5000 years.

What It Does: Like Senna, Chinese Rhubarb is used as a laxative in larger doses and an anti-diarheal in smaller ones. This is a known blood detoxifier that also calms stomach bleeding and may even lower cholesterol. It may even possibly fight cancer. Chinese Rhubarb is used medically to treat Hepatitis B and has been proven to slow renal failure in those with kidney disease.People who take high doses of Chinese Rhubarb for long periods of time may develop a form of laxative dependence.

The Verdict: This may be one of the least harmful proven treatments for any medical condition out there. While the leaves of the plant are indeed highly toxic, the part that is used is very safe. Those on short-term detoxification programmes would most welcome the diuretic effect. As for liver damage, that claim is absolute bunk. Hepatitis B is a liver disease which is slowed in progression by Chinese Rhubarb. While some anorexics will damage their livers, this will not cause it. Next.

Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
The Claim: Causes nausea and vomiting

What It Is: This berry grows on a rubber-like bush and even grows where I live. I actually thought this to be purely ornamental, but it is so much more. Bearberry has been used for a very long time to treat dozens of medical conditions and even contains flavonoids.

Tell Me More: Bearberry leaves are a urinary antiseptic that was used as an early diabetes treatment. It is uses as a tonic for all sorts of urinary problems including kidney stones and bladder infections. Bearberry tea was the first line of defense against venereal diseases brought by European settlers. As an antibiotic, it has been proven effective against e. coli and Staph infections. It is medically approved as a drug for urinary conditions in Germany. The side effect of too much Bearberry is in the belly and if you consume high amounts of it you will probably be nauseated.

The Verdict: Taken for a week or so at a time, Bearberry is absolutely safe. The amount one would have to consume in order to produce any side effects is simply not available in this product. It's almost a shame that there is such a miniscule amount in this supplement because it is pretty decent stuff. And even if it were to give you a sore tummy, you certainly will not need to make funeral arrangements.

Fenugreek Seed

The Claim: Interferes with digestion and causes diarrhea and gas

What It Is: Fenugreek is a yummy bitter spice that's found in curry and eaten on Rosh Hashanah. It is found in mixtures like Ras El Hanout and Chinese 5-Spice Powder and is used all over Africa, India, the Middle East, and Asia. In Afghanistan, it is made into a pudding that promotes strength. It is the basis for many sweet and savoury dishes, teas, and even hair conditioner. Fenugreek is used on our side of the pond to flavour fake maple syrup and is even used in candy. This stuff is everywhere, and it is awesome.

But Is It Healthy?: Absolutely! Fenugreek is found in all kinds of training supplements and lowers your cholesterol. Fenugreek has been proven to increase milk production several times over in nursing mothers and helps to reinvigorate the tired post-partum mama. Fenugreek seeds also are effective in treating diabetes and lowers triglycerides.
As for the dreaded diarrhea, routine consumption of more than a quarter-pound on a daily basis may incite the curry squirts or interfere with iron absorption. In the question of the unspeakable gas, have you tried to figure out what spice in the tagine made you fart?

The Verdict: My grandmother ate fenugreek all of the time and lived to be 86. I eat it and so do billions of people around the planet and we are all very much alive and well. The idea of fenugreek being a dangerous substance is one of the most absurd arguments I've ever heard. Even if through sheer masochism one wanted to consume enough fenugreek to give yourself the trots, you'd have to inhale 223 days worth of these Jillian Michaels pills in a single sitting to do it. If fenugreek is a drug, then every black, brown, and yellow person on the planet should be arrested for criminal possession of curry powder.

I have read each and every ingredient of Jillian Michaels' detox product and while I can't say you will lose any weight, it will not harm you unless you have a severe allergy to one of the ingredients. And if like me, you have a food allergy, you will read a label and contact the company if you have doubts. I am so confident that this will not harm you that I'd sprinkle it on my salad if it was vegan.

In order to consume any of these herbs in such a quantity as to cause you any distress, you would have to eat several bottles of it in a single sitting and if you fail to use a product as directed the company is not responsible. I would not be betting on paying the plaintiff ten dollars, let alone ten million. The only side effect I can come up with amongst all of the tasty things that make up these capsules is the possibility of an extra fart. While The 10 Million Dollar Fart might make for a black comedy video title, it doesn't make for a lawsuit.

Case dismissed.

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