snake oil

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A popular term for any substance claimed—without substantive evidence—to effectively treat one or more medical conditions

snake oil

A general informal term for a fraudulent PANACEA.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The Los Angeles Unified School District is run by an inept political machine and a dedicated snake-oil salesman, Roy Romer.
MICHAEL Howard increasingly resembles a snake-oil salesman.
The sight of supposedly Tory big hitters such as Oliver Letwin, David Cameron, George Osbourne and the snake-oil salesman himself squirming was strangely enjoyable.
We have a snake-oil salesman with a $432 million budget deficit who feels justified hiring hundreds of highly paid and unnecessary administrative cronies and lawyers.
That is the real nightmare of the computer revolution - not cloning, not that snake-oil pop-up-ad pitch that drove the Internet bubble of the 1990s.
Doctors and researchers consulted for this story agreed that medical research should be considered a ``work in progress'' and that anybody claiming to possess a guaranteed silver-bullet treatment might simultaneously be earning a paycheck in the snake-oil trade.
Unlike the old-fashioned snake-oil treatments, the comb has actually been approved under FDA guidelines for cosmetic use; a FDA medical approval as a hair-growth product is pending.
Tonight's episode takes an obvious and uninspired shot at Aryan groups, while a future episode looks at snake-oil salesmen, but neither convincingly puts the situations in the appropriate dire-seeming context.
In our age of instant media, error and sophistry can spread over the airwaves with the breathtaking speed of a prairie fire, snarling the gullible with an effectiveness that would be the envy of any snake-oil salesman.