Most people have heard of “Alternative Medicine” and many of those have heard it referred to negatively, often as Snake Oil. If you haven’t heard the term Snake Oil before, it is a term referring to something which at best doesn’t work, and at worst, is quite harmful. Where did this term Snake Oil come from?
Snake Oil was invented by a Con-Man, William Avery Rockefeller, in the 1800’s. William Avery Rockefeller, more commonly known as “Devil Bill” conjured up the idea of “Snake Oil” as the miracle cure of all your ills. The only known use of Devil Bill’s Snake Oil, was to generate him income. It was produced from petroleum products mostly, but given the nature of his character, it was most likely crafted from whatever he could get his hands on at the time.
Why is this important you ask? Well Devil Bill had a very famous son, you may have heard of him, John Davison Rockefeller. John D. Rockefeller created a vast fortune in the Oil Boom of the late 1800’s in the United States. His company Standard Oil, well known for its illegal business operations securing a Monopoly on Crude Oil in the United States. Congress deemed it an illegal monopoly and John D. Rockefeller, who had learnt well from his father, was able to turn this setback into an enormous financial boon. By breaking Standard Oil into multiple smaller companies, John D. Rockefeller amassed wealth never before seen, approximately 3.5 Billion Dollars, which according to Forbes Magazine would be roughly 392 Billion Dollars Today!
With his exorbitant wealth Rockefeller continued to expand his influence, no longer content with controlling the Oil Supply, he moved into controlling Education, under the guise of Philanthropy. By donating money to Universities, as much as $180 Million to a single University, he was able to put his own people on the board, making sure that his money was spent properly, pushing scientific research and ultimately university curricula in the direction of his choosing. One of the areas he was interested in was Medical Research, notably Pharmaceuticals. Whilst John D. Rockefeller didn’t invent any pharmaceutical products, he was very instrumental in their introduction to Western Society and the phasing out of Traditional Medicines, like Herbal Remedies.
This explains why, scientists often claim that there is little evidence supporting the efficacy of herbal remedies and Essential Oils. The Universities were discouraged from researching their effectiveness, as it would not result in a profit for their benefactor, John D. Rockefeller.
Herbal Remedies have been used by every culture, civilization, empire, etc, in human history, with most of them incorporating Essential Oils into their Medicinal Repertoire. These Traditional Medicines have existed the test of time for millenia, yet are regarded as “Alternative Medicines”. Pharmaceuticals on the other hand, which are a newcomer to the scene, are constantly changed and updated as long term side effects are discovered, are these days considered the real and true Medicines.
With this perspective it is quite ironic that Herbal Remedies and Essential Oils are often referred to spitefully as Snake Oil, when Pharmaceutical Products are far more closely related to Snake Oil.
I believe that Pharmaceuticals have their place in healthcare, however it is my opinion that they should be considered and used as an alternative to the tried and true medicines, i.e. Herbal Remedies and Essential Oils, not as a first, last and only line of defense!
So which do you think is Alternative Medicine? Herbal Remedies and Essential Oils, used for millenia, or Pharmaceuticals which have been used for a century or so?