Miracle Cures: Health Information for Older People

I saw an ad that said, “CURE YOUR ARTHRITIS WITHOUT DRUGS USING THIS ALL-NATURAL, GOVERNMENT-APPROVED REMEDY.” A natural remedy appeals to me, but poison ivy is natural, too. Seems like some products promise more than they can deliver. How can I tell if this one really works?

Miracle products claim to cure serious conditions — often conditions that science has no cure for, like arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and HIV-AIDS. Some products even claim to be a “cure-all” for several diseases and a host of symptoms. Often, the ads claim the products come with money-back guarantees. Unfortunately, these products, devices, and treatments often are unproven and useless, making promises they can’t fulfill.

The reality is that phony miracle products can have dangerous interactions with medicines you’re already taking. They also might cause you to delay or stop medical treatment for your condition, even when proven treatments are available from your physician. And a money-back guarantee may be meaningless.

It can indicate that a scammer is planning to take your money and close up shop.

Products that claim to do it all often do none of it. So even though you want to believe them, be skeptical, and avoid products that:

  • claim to cure incurable conditions
  • make extraordinary promises like “shrinks tumors”
  • promise a long list of benefits, including “treats rheumatism, arthritis, infections, prostate problems, ulcers, cancer, baldness, and more!”
  • are promoted with phrases like “scientific breakthrough,” “ancient remedy,” or “miraculous cure,” or scientific-sounding terms like “thermogenesis”

Always talk to your doctor, pharmacist, other healthcare professional, or public health organizations before you try any new treatment.

To find reliable sources of information about diseases and their treatments, visit MedlinePlus.gov and Healthfinder.gov. To learn more about alternative and complementary medicine, visit nccam.nih.gov.

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