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 ?
My advice is not to buy any more snake oil from these chancers.
The Ballad of Snake Oil Sam captivates an audience of young and old alike, transporting you into the Wild Wild West with the inspiring mystical story of a desert traveler, inventor, alchemist and magical elixir salesman in pursuit of redemption.
That of the father-daughter team of Lester and Carol Reed (Chapter 7)--third and fourth generation residents whose family was famous for snake oil production--is most illustrative, but that of Bill Galick, a Vermont native, relict of the past and modern pioneer (the title of Chapter 8) is even more fascinating.
Kids may learn to be a little less gullible when they read of the journalists, kings, famous Americans like Franklin and Lincoln, generals and snake oil salesmen who have deliberately tricked people into believing falsehoods for sometimes good, sometimes evil, and often financial ends.
One is the greedy, lying, cheating snake oil salesmen represented by Mark Twain's "The King and the Duke" The other is represented by the down-to-earth common-sensical Huck and Jim, and the decent entrepreneurial Tom.
It sounds like a snake oil pitch," admits chemist Ronald Jandacek, an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine who once worked for olestra developer Procter & Gamble.
The truth is that most of the pills and potions that line store shelves and Web sites are little more than snake oil, and behind their lofty references to scientific research, most of the marketers are little more than MBA-toting snake-oil sellers.
As "Pennsylvania snake oil," oil was the preferred term for quack patent medicines worse than the disease.
In La Bayadere, poor little rich Gamzatti finds that a lowly temple maiden has stolen her prince's heart: time for a little snake oil, with snake attached.
Proponents of 'it never fails' hangover cures are the modern equivalent of the old American snake oil merchants.
One guy in Boston actually looked at me and said, 'You keep saying fish oil, but I keep hearing snake oil.
A FINE letter by Paul Brighton (March 31),however he fails totally to address the cause of low turnouts -institutionalised politicians who are less trustworthy than snake oil salesmen and less credible than the infamous `Comical Ali' and who actually think they are important.