• Rebecca Watson wrote a new post, The Racist Reasons why Tiffany Haddish Drinks Turpentine, on the site Skepchick 2 years, 4 months ago

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    Tiffany Haddish is a successful comedian and actor who was recently profiled in GQ. In the interview, she suggests that everyone should take […]

    • Of course, before 1900 or so, NOT getting medical care wasn’t such a terrible thing.

      When Tuskegee started, the only treatment for syphilis was Salvarsan, or other arsenic compounds. They were so toxic that only about 15% of patients were able to complete the treatment, which often had ghastly side-effects. The real crime starts when sulfa drugs, and especially penicillin, became available and the pox could be treated fairly safely and easily.

      (Hmm. realizing that I’m quoting that 15% figure from memory, which adds a few grains of salt. I suspect that the use of arsenicals did improve over the decades that treatment was used.)

      • Another common treatment was mercury, which actually dates back to the 11th century. (So, yeah, no one blame us for syphilis. Actually, Galen describes a disease very similar to syphilis, so, yeah, LONG history before Columbus.) Again, highly toxic, not something I would recommend.

        Actually, medicine was very much tied to alchemy back then, so they used mercury for practically everything. And yes, that is as toxic as it sounds. (Then again, I’m sure people in the year 3000 will call us barbarians.)

        • You neglected to mention how the mercury was administered for syphilis. You fill a thin glass tube, and slid it up the urethra. Then you tap it with a hammer to shatter the glass. And this would only give temporary relief, so would have to be given periodically.

          In any case, the Tuskegee experiment (crime) took place after modern treatments were available.

      • That cutoff time depends on the disease. I would argue that medical science remains in an extremely primitive state in some areas even today

        . Look at treatment of back pain, or any chronic pain for that matter – overuse of opioids is a big problem and we need to fast track development of the many promising alternatives on the horizon.

      • Sulfonamides have never been effective against Treponema pallidum.

        Penicillin is not a ‘sulfa.’ After more than 70 years of use, penicillin remains effective against syphilis at all stages.

    • Rebecca Watson,

      Also slaves weren’t healthy not because they didn’t have access to turpentine, but because they had to work ridiculously long hours, usually for ever single day of their lives, and it was legal to beat them for simply not working fast enough, which often happened, even if they couldn’t work fast enough.

    • Europeans used to use tansy as the traditional cure for intestinal worms.

      6 Benefits of Tansy and the Dangers

      It was used during Lent to knock off parasites from all the fish they ate in that season.

      Again, same problem, the active principle thujone is toxic to liver and brain, but they usually got away with it because levels were low in the plant during that season.

      I would not blame anybody poor and uneducated in an unequal society resorting to traditional methods in desperation.