Friends, I’ve just about lost all patience when it comes to the ludicrous pseudo-health trends making headlines left and right. First, there was raw water, and listen, if I was stranded in the middle of a forest, parched, and came across a brook, I’d probably sip unfiltered water for survival. Luckily, civilization has brought us clean, bottled (even boxed) H2O, so let’s stay upgraded, shall we? But now, the million dollar question appears to be this: Is turpentine safe to drink? Actress and comedienne Tiffany Haddish reportedly told GQ that there are actual health benefits to drinking turpentine in super small doses, but TBH, I genuinely can't tell whether or not she was joking. Elite Daily has reached out to Haddish's people for comment, but did not hear back before publication.
OK, first of all, what even is turpentine, guys? According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), it's an oil substance derived from pine trees and, if someone swallows it, or breathes in its fumes, turpentine oil poisoning may occur. Generally speaking, people usually use turpentine as a paint thinner, and not so much as a health remedy.
Digging a little deeper into my research, though, things get a bit complicated: For instance, the online wellness resource Gaia suggests that turpentine is possibly safe when used on your skin for joint or muscle pain, and inhaling a bit to ease sinuses and coughs is also apparently a thing, per the holistic health site Earth Clinic.
However, plenty of other, more credible sources warn against consuming turpentine, as it can lead to a variety of health issues, like difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, sore throat, a dip in blood pressure, and even loss of vision.
Haddish told GQ's Caity Weaver that she learned all about the alleged health benefits of turpentine from a YouTube video a few months back, and that the substance is apparently good for treating colds.
According to Weaver, Haddish can be “unnervingly persuasive,” even when it comes to her views on drinking poisonous substances to yield alleged health benefits. During their conversation, the Girls Trip actress casually mentioned “a teaspoon of turpentine won’t kill you,” leading to an interesting discussion, to say the least.
From there, Haddish went on to explain that 19th-century slaves apparently drank turpentine as a kind of cure-all for medicinal purposes. I don’t have to remind you that there are a lot of things your ancestors did way back when that you really shouldn’t mess around with these days (remember what I said about raw milk?), but I digress.
On top of this miniature history lesson, the 38-year-old actress told GQ that her newfound knowledge actually came from a YouTube video she stumbled upon a while back, though it's not clear what video she claimed to have watched on the subject. According to the publication, the clip apparently inspired Haddish to hop on Amazon and purchase some turpentine, and ever since she reportedly began taking the substance, Haddish said, “everything just felt so much better, clarity-wise." In terms of how her body feels, well, Haddish told GQ that she's convinced she owes “the best doo doo of [her] f*cking life” to the stuff.
Despite what Haddish or the internet may say, most sources insist that turpentine is highly toxic, and can be dangerous to your health if ingested.
Despite GQ writer Caity Weaver’s many attempts to prove to Haddish in their interview that consuming turpentine could yield more health issues than health benefits (Weaver even wrote that she went as far as to send the comedienne information straight from the NLM), Haddish is reportedly convinced “there are worms inside your body,” and that “the government doesn’t want you to know” about the benefits of the natural substance, per the GQ profile.
If nothing else, you have to give it to Haddish for doing her research (no matter how misled her sources may be) and standing up for what she believes (assuming this part of the conversation was 100 percent serious). However, no one can afford to be misinformed when it comes to their health, which is why Dr. Alfred Aleguas, of the Florida Poison Center, is encouraging people not to take Haddish's word as fact. He told Huffington Post,
[Drinking turpentine is] ridiculous for many reasons, but potentially hazardous if aspirated. And the castor oil/sugar/honey relationship? Never mind that if there was such a simple cure for the common cold someone, would have been all over it.
Hear me out, friends: If something is sold at Home Depot, for example, and can be used to stain wood or thin paint, it's probably not the best option for your health. I don't know where, exactly, Haddish is getting her information from, but judging by my own research, turpentine is extremely toxic, and drinking the stuff likely only leads to problems, not solutions. Eat your vegetables, exercise, and if you're having trouble "doo-dooing," as Haddish puts it, buy yourself some Metamucil. You'll be fine.