I (Lore) saw a commercial today. It was a Walgreen's commercial. It epitomized everything I despise about Big Pharma's (a 21st century nickname for the pharmaceutical industry) vendetta to push synthetic drugs as a cure for everything.
The commercial downplayed the validity of Mother Nature's cures, suggesting that home remedies are futile. This message doesn’t surprise me; pharmaceutical sales are a billion dollar business, and most stakeholders wish to keep it that way, regardless of dollars wasted and side-effect repercussions.
The commercial showed a woman, most likely suffering from a cold, attempting to create a "home remedy" in a blender from a leafy green vegetable, ginger, a raw egg, hot sauce, and some kind of pasta leftovers. Her result was a chunky, gross looking, and presumably awful tasting concoction that according to Walgreens, wouldn’t work. I think the commercial message itself left me more physically ill than the thought of the lady's chunky, funky drink.
There are a few things wrong with this commercial. The first, suggesting that the food you put in your body doesn't really matter. Instead, the Walgreen's spokesman states that this woman should go to her local Walgreens pharmacy to visit the pharmaceutical "expert" for relief.
(Also, the Walgreens announcer has been John Corbett over the past year, and I was a total fan of the show Northern Exposure. So sad, to listen to his voice give bad advice (sigh).)
Anyway, some of the ingredients the blender lady started with weren't half bad.
If this woman had an upset stomach, her choice of ginger would actually be appropriate, as ginger does indeed, sooth an upset, nauseous stomach. And leafy greens are chock full of vitamins C, A, K, B6, and calcium so I get that part.
Raw egg yolks include fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K as well as the B vitamins which most people are sorely lacking these days courtesy of eating a standard American diet. The egg whites? Well, that is the part that most people have allergens to. (And to think, all these years, egg white omelets were the rage.)
Hot sauce (real cayenne, not necessarily the other ingredients in bottled hot sauce), improves circulation, though I don't think adding it to a morning smoothie would be my first choice. And for a real immunity booster, she should have added some raw garlic, nature's antibiotic, but doing so would defeat the message of the commercial.
I have no idea what pasta leftovers have to do with improving symptoms of a cold, but I guess this was just Walgreen's way of adding a “gross-out” effect factor. They probably could have just stopped at the raw egg because most people freak out about that in itself.
Second, since when are pharmacists "ailment experts"? Sure, they are professionals when it comes to pill counts, prescriptions, and the many risky drug side effects. But I can't say I ever thought to ask for a pharmacist's health advice other than which isle to find the band-aids.
Third, to suggest that an over the counter medication is superior to using foods and herbs to help your body’s immune system is downright ridiculous. Most OTC medications just mask the symptoms, they never resolve the real problem.
We are inundated with commercials advertising the next best pill. This makes sense for the pharmaceutical industry. The more they sell, the more they can get doctors on board, the more money in their pockets. And oddly, most people tune out the side-effects quietly stated while a woman is frolicking in a sunny field, loving life, and apparently allergy free. Have you ever noticed they almost all end in, “possible stroke and in some cases death”?
Don't get me wrong, there is definitely a real purpose for emergency medicine. I appreciate doctors who work relentlessly in emergency rooms and hospitals to save lives, and the chemists who indeed created life-saving medications. However, there is a difference between emergency medicine and useless, counterintuitive synthetic products sought out by many for a 'quick fix'.
Plus, most synthetic medications suppress the very body functions that are meant to fight infection. Oh please, Walgreens. Do you think smart, health-conscious people are really going to buy your misguided message?