Hamlin's Wizard Oil, a patent medicine popular in the 1860s, claimed to ease everything from headaches to diphtheria when applied topically or taken internally.
Not a smart move, since it was 80 percent alcohol laced with turpentine, ammonia and chloroform. Today, that might seem like the kind of foolish folk medicine we're far too sophisticated to fall for. Think again.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued 15 warning letters to companies pushing illegal and fake diabetes remedies - some of which contain ingredients as potentially harmful as Wizard Oil. Purchased online and in retail stores by tens of thousands of people with diabetes, the bogus remedies include:
Dietary supplements claiming to treat, cure and/or prevent diabetes.
"Natural" products containing undeclared active pharmaceutical ingredients in unknown doses that could harm folks with certain medical conditions.
Prescription drugs sold online without a prescription.
Over-the-counter drugs (OTCs) making wild claims. We're not condemning all OTCs, but there are a bunch of products that don't deliver what they promise. Don't be fooled. Check the ingredients, or write in and ask us.
Interested in what will really help you control type 2 diabetes? Here are four smart moves: Take 10,000 steps day, walking with a pedometer; do strength training for 30 minutes two to three days a week; upgrade your diet and show the Five Food Felons the door (no added sugar or sugar syrups, no trans and saturated fat, and no grains that aren't 100 percent whole); follow your doc's prescription for meds (if you have one), and you'll be a Diabetes Wizard.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate.