We posted this story in leftovers yesterday but I found more and it’s important and it’s worth highlighting just for the weirdness.
A man in Switzerland was discovered to have suffered from lead poisoning after ingesting pills that he thought contained the hair of a dead Bhutanese priest. The man, originally from the country of Bhutan — whose state religion is Vajrayana Buddhism — thought the alternative medicine would treat his Bell’s palsy.
Yes. You read that right. He KNEW it supposedly had “dead priest hair” in it. Yuck. The patient thought this had magical therapeutic value. The pellets were coated with a red paint which was where the high concentration of lead was found. Lead poisoning is rare anymore since lead paint and leaded gas have been removed from use.
Here is the case report which was from Nov 2013.
A 42-year-old man from Bhutan was admitted to the emergency department with a 5-day history of abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Enhanced abdominal CT scan was found negative, however laboratory tests showed hemolytic anemia and basophilic stippling which are often seen in lead and heavy metal poisoning. Additional tests revealed a high level of lead in blood and urine. The patient was administered a chelator treatment with rapid improvement of the symptoms. A detailed interview revealed that the patient had been taking daily Bhutanese traditional medicines to treat a Bell’s palsy from which he had been suffering for a few months. The analysis of these medicines confirmed the presence of a high level of lead.
As this report notes: alternative and “complementary” “medicines” (Shall we call them detrimental compounds instead? That seems more suitable.) have increasingly been identified as the source of metal poisoning. CAM treatments themselves are increasing in use.
The important thing to note about CAM is that they are inadequately tested for safety and efficacy. You learn they are hazardous TOO LATE. We have too many stories to list regarding the UNsafe CAM treatments, here are just a few. There is no good excuse for their use.
- Arsenic is natural, natural is good! Health Canada issues recall for allergy treatment.
- Warning against “natural” morning sickness remedy – contains heavy metals
- Heavy metals found in Ayurvedic meds advertised to help with pregnancy
- Lead poisoning of child attributed to folk remedy
- Traditional Chinese insomnia product sparks warning from Health Canada over excessive mercury
Do something about this: Join the Society for Science Based Medicine.
Tip: Mark Crislip