Cardella: The Homeopathic Blues

I was distressed as I read a recent report in the New York Times about generic drugs. According to the Times’ investigative piece, many generic drugs are made in India under appalling conditions. If you require prescription drugs in America, you can pay through the nose for the brand-name drug or you can settle for a lower-cost generic version manufactured under conditions that make a gas station restroom look sparkling clean by comparison. Some of you believe there is a third way — homeopathic remedies.

Homeopathy was founded by Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician, on the belief that the body can heal itself. Note to Dr. Sam: My body has proven not only that it can’t heal itself, it needs three teams of physicians from Jefferson Hospital — working overtime — to heal it. Homeopathic remedies depend largely on the use of substances such as plants and minerals. And most reputable medical sources consider these “natural” alternative medicines of no use at all. In some instances, in fact, they can interact harmfully with Rx medicines you may be taking. Despite these facts, many folks believe in alternative medicines because they’re “natural.” Some people, such as my Uncle Nunzi, invent their own cures. Uncle is a firm believer that a glass of his homemade wine with a chunk of soppressata can cure everything from lumbago to dengue fever. Homeopathic cures are largely the snake oil of our time.

Belief in homeopathic medicine requires a dogged and almost supernatural faith that defies logic. Like belief in Trump. There’s as much chance that a supporter of Donald Trump will abandon him as there is your next-door neighbor with the ailing prostate giving up on saw palmetto. Be that as it may, use of homeopathic remedies has reportedly increased by 15% in recent years.

Many subjects have been treated in popular songs, but for some reason, Rodgers and Hart overlooked homeopathic remedies. This column is your columnist’s attempt to remedy (if you’ll pardon the pun) that fact. The following lyrics should be sung to the tune of THESE FOOLISH THINGS, with all due respect to the original lyricist, Holt Marvell.


An e-cigarette that bears your fish oil’s traces
The herbal tea we shared in romantic places
And still my heart has wings
These foolish things remind me of you
The aloe vera in your medicine cabinet
The St. John’s Wort that told you what my heart meant
The joys that pomegranate brings
These foolish things remind me of you
You came you saw you conquered me
With that dose of Ester-C
I knew somehow this had to be
Your quart of kefir made my heart a dancer
The Vitamin D-3 made me want to answer
Oh how your patchouli clings
These foolish things remind me of you
The park at evening when the bell has sounded
The crumbs from protein bars with all the gulls around it
The beauty quinoa brings
These foolish things remind me of you
The sight of kale in military rations
The saw palmetto in prostate patients
The thrill your chamomile brings
These foolish things remind me of you

OK, OK, some of the stuff I mentioned in my song are not homeopathic medications. If you want to get picky, I’ve included popular super foods and the like. And, apparently, medical science has found that some of these foods work to some degree. And I’m certain that wonderful and talented performers such as Billie Holiday and Teddy Wilson would not have been thrilled with my version of the song they made famous. Also, there’s no chance that Frank Sinatra would’ve recorded my version of the song. Neither would Axel Stordahl and his Orchestra have agreed to accompany him. It’s also likely given today’s climate, Trump supporters were offended by my comparing their loyalty to that of a health foods patron. Those who wear patchouli oil might also be registering their protests. But seriously, patchouli fans, if you ever really got a sniff of what the rest of us are subjected to when you’re in the same room, you’d give up on it the way you finally outgrew outdoor rock festivals (with apologies to the promoters of the Coachella Festival).

I did consider other songs that might lend themselves to alternative lyrics. Like YOU’RE GETTING TO BE HOMEOPATHIC WITH ME. “Every kiss, every hug seems to act just like a drug…” You have to admit the possibilities are infinite. Maybe next column, if I’m still employed after this one is published.

Why am I so sour on homeopathic alternatives, you might ask? I think my animus should probably be directed at all of the overpriced health food stores that have proliferated around the country. Did Dr. Sam have any idea of the plague (all-natural) that he’s brought upon us?

Perhaps my hostility began when I found out that the only healthy peanut butter is made without hydrogenated oil. You ever try to digest peanut butter without hydrogenated oil? There’s a good reason why CRAZY RICHARD went crazy. I’ve tried to stir the natural oil that settles at the top of the peanut butter and broke four spoons.

Somewhere there’s a balance that can be struck between eating greasy fries for lunch or having an Acai bowl. Is the bowl made from Acai or is that the stuff inside the bowl?

Pass the chia seeds, please.