by Kevin Lomangino, managing editor of HealthNewsReview.org.
He tweets as @KLomangino.
Talk of the widespread and dangerous flu circulating this year has the public on edge and hungry for quality information about how to protect themselves.
ABC’s “Good Morning America” isn’t helping with this segment featuring Chief Medical Correspondent Jennifer Ashton, MD, titled “3 complementary natural remedies for the flu.”
It’s a mess of conflicting messages about herbal approaches to managing flu symptoms. And it positions Ashton — an ABC physician-journalist who’s brought in to report the story — as the only expert perspective about the effectiveness of these products.
Where were the independent sources?
Is Ashton — an ob/gyn — uniquely qualified to assess the anti-viral activity of oregano oil, olive leaf, and elderberry?
If not, then why is she the only one offering an opinion about whether or not these products are effective?
A sampling of Ashton’s head-spinning statements about these products make it clear why another voice was necessary.
The segment starts out with Ashton issuing some common sense-sounding disclaimers:
- “There’s not yet peer-review, evidence-based medicine that supports the use of alternative or complementary therapies in the battle against the flu.”
- “…especially with children and pregnant women and children, this is not recommended without the consult and advice of your health care provider.”
But then she quickly pivots to discussing oregano oil’s “antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties” and instructing viewers how to take it.