Did you know that in the 1830’s, ketchup was sold as a medicine?? That’s right…the delicious condiment that we all know and love was once believed to cure a variety of ailments! But why don’t we use ketchup for its medicinal uses today??…because it was a scam. In an effort to boost sales, one enterprising manufacturer bottled ketchup as “Dr. Miles’ Compound Extract of Tomato”, claiming that it had the capability to cure anything from baldness to athlete’s foot, and all points in between. In a counter-attack, the H.J. Heinz Company rooted out scientific studies which claimed that tomatoes had antioxidants which were beneficial in preventing cancers. While this is true, the carotenoid known as lycopene, which actually is present in ketchup, occurs in such small quantities that it does not provide any significant medical benefits to the consumer.
Could you imagine eating ketchup straight from a spoon? I know that I couldn’t. The crazy thing is that this is just one of many insanely irrational medical beliefs that have existed throughout the history of the world. One of the truly shocking “cures” that I discovered is referred to as “Hole in the Head”. This medieval headache cure involved cutting a hole into patients’ heads that extended the entire way down to their brain tissue! This process was believed to release evil spirits and the pressure that was supposedly causing the patients’ pain. Seriously. Just imagine someone cutting into your head during a time when anesthetics did not exist…and you actually LET them do it! The most remarkable thing about this is that people would survive. I, for one, am grateful that our medical field has advanced and evolved into what it is today!