Ask Tom… Naturally!!

A review of the "Ask Tom… Naturally!!" psoriasis information.

Grade F

“Ask Tom… Naturally!!” is a site that offers the opportunity to send a health question to Tom O’Brien. He calls himself a “Nutritional Consultant” but I was unable to find a listing of his credentials.

The first page of the site offers a very brief overview of psoriasis and makes certain recommendations for things that “HELP alleviate serious symptoms.”

The recommendations are basically dietary, and no explanations or warnings are given (naturally!!). For example, “Ask Tom” advises adding psoralens (celery, parsley, lettuce, etc.) to the diet, but does not bring up the possibility of the skin becoming more sensitive to sun exposure and the increased risk of sunburn. He advises adding drops of German Chamomile oil to the bath, but makes no mention of the fact that those who are allergic to ragweed may have a similar reaction to German Chamomile.

While some people have found their diet can sometimes either lessen or exacerbate the severity of psoriasis, Tom presents these recommendations as being definitely helpful (naturally!!), not as something that may or may not help.

On a second page, a man wrote in asking about treating psoriasis with daily supplements of 100-200 mg of zinc. Tom cheerily remarked that this sounded high, and, to his credit, does think that 14 mg is a more reasonable amount. But Tom did not mention (naturally!!) the risks that excess intake of zinc might pose (daily doses of zinc over 100 mg can reduce iron and copper absorption, and possibly cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea — see also Deluxlife’s Zinc Regimen).

He cites “Natural Healing guides” as his source for herbal information, but doesn’t make it clear whether this is an actual book (or series of books) or is used simply as a generic term (naturally!!). The end result is that the person who reads this has no idea where Tom got his information.

Tom recommends “Burdock Root, Dandelion, Goldenseal, Echinacea and red clover,“ but does not discuss the possibility of side-effects (the links provided here offer some warnings). He mentions cleansing the liver, but (naturally!!) gives no explanation as to what this procedure entails.

On a third page, Tom discusses the use of oregano oil in the treatment of psoriasis. He brings up liver cleansing again and offers these words of wisdom: “Blood should be slightly alkaline.” Tom (naturally!!) does not tell us what this actually means, or, if you happen to understand blood pH levels, how to achieve it or how to measure it without blood tests.

On his final page dealing with psoriasis, a woman wrote in mentioning “a liver cleanse” as being helpful for psoriasis. Tom agrees wholeheartedly (naturally!!), but again, never really explains what this calls for. The person also recommends sarsaparilla and “A juice fast once a week.” Tom does not mention that discussing fasting with a physician might be a good idea.

At the close of the page, Tom states: “There are no ‘experts’ in Natural Healing and we will investigate all claims to verify the potential healing benefits.” This does not fit well with the advice Tom hands out about psoriasis. His use of the term “Nutritional Consultant” implies that he carries a certain amount of expertise.

He also declares: “No single MLM nutritional company will ever have ALL the right products or remedies for ALL health conditions.” Naturally!! Since Multi-Level Marketing schemes are more interested in moving product and expanding one’s downline, why should anyone expect them to carry the correct (or even harmless) products or advice? MLMs are probably one of the worst sources of good medical advice.


See also Herbal Warnings

Linda M. contributed this review on September 9, 1999.