The claims seem remarkable. “If a person eats 6-12 apricots kernels per day, they will never have to worry about cancer,” one site says. “Silymarin also seems to have anticancer properties. It can stop cancer cells from multiplying, kill cancer cells, and block their blood supply,” says another.
They’re also false, the Food and Drug Administration says. It’s warned 14 companies to stop making claims about herbal products and other treatments marketed to treat or prevent cancer.
They cannot and some may be dangerous, the FDA says.
“These companies used slick ads, videos, and other sophisticated marketing techniques, including testimonials about miraculous outcomes,” the FDA’s Donald Ashley and Douglas Stearn wrote in a blog post.
“Often a single product was promoted as a treatment or cure for multiple diseases in humans and animals.”
The FDA has listed the 14 companies on its website and detailed the false claims they have made about their products, which include herbs, tinctures, supplements, teas and salves.
The claims range from curing cancer to “detoxifying” the liver.
It’s illegal to make such claims without proving they are true and going through the FDA’s process for verifying them. Just putting a little disclaimer at the bottom of an ad saying the FDA has not verified the claims doesn’t cut it, the agency said.
“There can be a great temptation to jump at anything that appears to offer a chance for a cure.”
“Hoping to skirt the law on a technicality, some sellers made false claims and then in small print provided a disclaimer that their products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease,” Ashley and Stearn wrote.
“Making such obvious claims and then saying later that you are not doing so might seem clever, but the technique does not comply with federal laws intended to protect public health.”