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Hey Doc. What in the hell is Head On "Apply Directly to the Forehead"? I know you've seen the commercial, all you watch is the Weather and History channels."Well, no, we watch a lot of the Food Channel too." -Doctor Leftover
Head On is touted as a headache relieving salve. Which is why the commercial is so annoying- They are causing the problem they seek to cure. The reason they can't tell you what it's for is that it is a homeopathic product that most likely does NOTHING to cure anything but may in fact make you sick.
OK, massaging your forehead with ANYTHING while you have a headache will probably make you feel better for awhile (rubbing your temples or the back of your neck might work better). However, there is NOTHING in the advertised product that can or will relieve the pain. For one, the chemicals in the rub cannot cross the blood/brain barrier through your forehead!
Let's break it down..... shall we?
The 'regular strength' product has two active ingredients listed. The second is White Bryony (Bryonia dioica) which is listed as a poisonous plant which causes severe gastrointestinal (including 'violent diarrhea') and respiratory disorders if eaten. The vine resembles Kudzu and has been used ornamentally. The berries are altogether poisonous although the root is still used in some herbalist tonics.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Irritative, hydragogue (diuretic), cathartic. Its chief use was as a hydragogue cathartic, but is now superseded by Jalap. Its use as a purgative has been discontinued as dangerous, on account of its powerful and highly irritant nature.
The first ingredient in the regular strength package is even more curious. It is Potassium Dichromate. Also called Potassium Bichromate it is used as an oxidizer. Usually in a chemistry lab to clean glassware or in a photographic darkroom in plate preparation. Nowhere in the discussion on the wikipedia.org page did it mention any medicinal properties whatsoever. But a chemical company warning sheet did have this somewhat interesting statement given that Head On is telling you to "Apply Directly to the Forehead"
POISON! DANGER! MAY BE FATAL IF SWALLOWED, INHALED OR ABSORBED THROUGH SKIN. STRONG OXIDIZER. CONTACT WITH OTHER MATERIAL MAY CAUSE A FIRE. CORROSIVE. CAUSES SEVERE BURNS TO EVERY AREA OF CONTACT. AFFECTS THE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM, LIVER, KIDNEYS, EYES, SKIN AND BLOOD. MAY CAUSE ALLERGIC REACTION. CANCER HAZARD. CAN CAUSE CANCER. Risk of cancer depends on duration and level of exposure.
In the 'Migraine relief' version they add one more active ingredient. Blue Flag (Iris Versicolor), a flower that grows along the shores of lakes and into shallow water.
Rhizome (underground stem) long used in herbal medicine-
said to act upon the liver and bowels; claimed useful for syphilis, dropsy (an infection that causes swelling), low-grade scrofula (TB of the skin) and skin afflictions, and as a diuretic.
And now the question.
"Who's buying this stuff and is applying it 'directly to the forehead'?"
The website listed for the product at other outlets "www.headrelief.com" failed to resolve. The Google cache of the site had some information, but not a lot.
The Desk did some serious looking for the manufacturer of this stuff "Miralus Healthcare" and got nowhere, there doesn't appear to be a company website on the Net. But they evidently also make a hemorrhoid remedy called "FREEdHEM" which claims to work by shrinking the blood vessels involved.
Its active ingredients consist of activated charcoal and Horse Chestnut.
Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) some homeopathic sites do claim the fruits can be used to treat hemorrhoids, although in higher doses the saponins in the plant can destroy red blood cells.
What activated charcoal will do for a 'pain in the butt' is anybody's guess. It does absorb both moisture and odor, but how will that help treat the actual problem since it cannot penetrate the skin?
The Desk wrote a note to them through the address listed on the FREEdHEM site asking for a general comment about the two medications safety and effectiveness. If it ever hears back it will post the answer.
The Answer Has Arrived!
Subject: Mail delivery failed: returning message to sender
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2006 09:43:57 -0400
This message was created automatically by mail delivery software.
A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed:
email@example.com mailbox is full: retry timeout exceeded
According to www.medichest.com Miralus Inc. only has two products. One for each end of the body.
For more info about the Power of Quacky Drugs see Why Bogus Therapies Often Seem to Work by Barry L. Beyerstein, Ph.D.
Back to Head On.
Package data from regular strength preparation follows.
Uses Temporarily relieves minor aches and pains due to headache. Apply directly to forehead. Safe and effective. Invisible and non-greasy. Safe to use with other medications. No unwanted side effects. Can be used as often as needed.
Directions Adults and children 12 years and older: Remove white outer cap. Remove clear inner cap by tilting it to the side. Apply directly to forehead at first sign of headache. Apply generously covering entire forehead surface area as often as necessary. Children under 12 years of age: ask a doctor. Keep carton. It contains important information.
Warnings For external use only. Do not use if you are allergic to any ingredient in this product. When using this product: avoid contact with eyes, wounds, mucous membranes, broken or irritated skin; do not share this product with anyone; do not apply a heating pad to forehead. Stop use and ask a doctor if: an allergic reaction occurs. Seek medical help right away; new symptoms occur; pain gets worse or lasts for more than 10 days; skin irritation develops; redness or swelling is present. If pregnant or breast-feeding, ask a health professional before use. Keep out of reach of children. If swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.
Active Ingredients Potassium Dichromate 6X H.P.U.S. 0.05%; White Bryony 12X H.P.U.S. 0.04%
Inactive Ingredients: Diazolidinyl Urea; Ethyl Alcohol; Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate; Menthol; Menthyl Lactate; Propylene Glycol; Sodium Stearate; Steareth-21; Tetrasodium EDTA; Triethanolamine; Water
Related Desk Articles:
But It's NATURAL
The Media Desk Urban Legend and Hoax Page
[NOTE: the Desk is not a medical doctor, but it can read. The Desk does not use any of the products discussed above. It is not otherwise affiliated with any of the organizations linked to. All products and identifying information is trademark of the producers of the product, including 'HeadOn'. This article is NOT an endorsement of any of the products or services mentioned or linked to. Thank you]
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