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Have we ever heard of the "Asparagus Cure"?

Written by Wellness Club on March 3, 2010 – 4:22 pm -

Have we ever heard of the “Asparagus Cure”?

By Nurse Mark

We receive helpful emails from folks daily, wanting to let us know about some “new development” or some “newly discovered” cure for this or that. Others just want to know what we think of the claims that arrive in their email inboxes.

Such was the case for an email touting the “Asparagus Cure” that is enjoying yet another trip ’round  the internet as it has done many times over the last several years. In case you haven’t received this particular email at least once (lucky you!) it extols the wonders and virtues of asparagus as a cure for almost everything and offers instructions for making a rather unappetizing paste of this otherwise delicious vegetable, to be administered to a “patient” four times daily. Yuk!

As you might have suspected, this is not a “cure” that we here would place much faith in.

Here are some of the ways that you can tell an article in your mailbox is suspect:

The “references” mentioned doesn’t exist or they refer to non-peer-reviewed studies or to “studies” performed by or for the company marketing the product or there are none mentioned at all. In the case of the “Asparagus for cancer” article, the “Cancer News Journal” cannot be found. A quick internet search of the term “Cancer News Journal, December 1979″ produces just over 5000 results – and it looks like all of them refer to this one Asparagus email. None that I could find referred to any “real” journal or to any other article attributed to this journal. My guess: this is an imaginary article in a made-up “journal” – but it sure sounds impressive, doesn’t it!

The original author or “researcher” mentioned in the article cannot be found. In this case the person mentioned in the “Asparagus” article cannot be found in any search except in relation to this emailed article. One might think that “Richard R. Vensal, D.D.S.” might have published something else or might be otherwise locatable – but there’s nothing – not not even an obituary or a claim to be in hiding from “those who are suppressing this miraculous cure”…

The purported “biochemist” in this email also is not identified – odd, since says this is such an important work.

“Proof” is offered in the form of testimonials or anecdotes. The “proof” of the effectiveness of asparagus in this email comes entirely from anecdotes – and those anecdotes are all of unidentified persons. That in itself might not be so alarming (in order to preserve patient confidentiality), but there is no way to contact any of the doctors mentioned for verification that they did indeed do the tests that are claimed to “prove” the miraculous curative effects of asparagus. The purported author – claiming to be a biochemist – offers his personal testimonial and claims to have lab results to back up his reports – but he fails to offer either his name or a look at his labs…

Finally, there is the urging that this email be forwarded to “please spread the news” – or alternately “email this to 10 (or 50, or 100) of your friends”… folks, this makes this not only junk mail, but in my opinion a form of internet virus – that is being spread willingly by humans who are duped into choking the internet by sending this sort of thing off to everyone in their address book!

Even a broken clock tells the right time twice a day…

And for every scheme or outlandish protocol or bizarre cure that is out there you can find at least one person who will swear on a stack of bibles that this, and this alone, is responsible for curing his or her (or aunt Effie’s or grandpa Grump’s) illness. Never mind that we have no proof that there ever was an illness, or that if there was an illness that there might have been something else (or several things) responsible for the cure, or even that there might have been a spontaneous remission or cure.

So:

Is it possible that asparagus cured these people? Yes, it is.

Is it possible that asparagus will cure whatever ails you? Yes, it is – and so might green apples or coral calcium or standing on your head.

Does asparagus contain some valuable nutrients? Yes, of course it does.

Is it likely that asparagus, and asparagus alone, is a miracle cure? Nope.

Is there any scientific, verifiable evidence that asparagus possesses magical curative properties? Nope, none.

Why am I so down on asparagus? I’m not! Asparagus is a wonderful, delightfully tasty treat that is high in several important nutrients. I enjoy asparagus every chance I get – lightly steamed with stems in boiling water, smothered in Hollandaise sauce or butter… Mmmm! But I don’t delude myself that it is a cure-all!

Now, having said all that, here is the note that started all this:

Hi Dr. Dana,
What’s your take on this ? 
be well,
Bill

Fwd: Fwd: Asparagus…..whether U believe it or not…

Just take a few minutes and its worth reading…..whether U believe it or not…..

Pls. read the contents below & pass to your friends

[The email can be found at Snopes.com along with their take on it's validity]

 

And here is Dr. Myatt’s reply:

Hi Bill:

Here is an article that sums up asparagus: Are You a Deer In The Headlights?

There must be 1,279 herbs and supplements that people tout as being a “cure for cancer.” The problem is that most of these “results” are not generally reproducible for most people. Asparagus doesn’t make my “top ten list” of well-proven substances for cancer.

My ten cents worth, for free!

In Health,
Dr. Dana

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