In an interview with GQ magazine, the brightest light in the comedy community today, Tiffany Haddish, shares some unusual claims about the medical benefits of turpentine, a substance typically best known for its use as paint thinner.
“A teaspoon of turpentine will not kill you,” says Haddish with the breezy confidence of an unlicensed doctor. “The government doesn’t want you to know that if you have a cold, just take some turpentine with some sugar or castor oil or honey and it’ll go away the next day.”
I didn’t think humans could consume turpentine.
“Honey,” begins Haddish, “back during slavery—let me teach you something, okay?”
Per Haddish, in the absence of 19th-century medical care, slaves drank turpentine—an oil distilled from pine resin, today commonly used as a paint thinner—as a cure-all for various ailments. When I note that slaves were not known for their excellent health, Haddish flips my argument into evidence: That’s because not all the slaves had access to turpentine.
“There’s worms inside your body,” says Haddish.
“There are worms inside your body.”
Haddish explains that she learned about the alleged medical benefits of turpentine on YouTube and purchased some on Amazon a few months ago.
After her first dose, she says, “everything just felt so much better, clarity-wise.”
I do look it up, because I’m genuinely worried America’s brightest new star may be inadvertently poisoning herself to death. I send Haddish information from the U.S. National Library of Medicine outlining the dangers of turpentine poisoning, but when we talk again a few days after our whale watch, she is unconcerned. “The government wrote it,” she says of the research. “Honey.”
I looked it up myself, and according to WebMD, turpentine may cure that cold, but it will come at a cost — side effects include headache, sleeplessness, coughing, bleeding in the lungs, vomiting, kidney damage, brain damage, coma, and death.
But before you start calling Tiffany Haddish nuts, consider the medical advice we’ve received from numerous other celebrities. Gwyneth Paltrow, for instance, encourages women to insert jade eggs into their vaginas and also steam those vaginas; Shailene Woodley talks up the benefits of eating clay to remove heavy metals from your body and only washes her hair once a month; Tom Cruise does not believe in psychiatry and that postpartum depression and ADD cannot be treated with medicine; Gisele Bundchen believes that sunscreen is poisonous; there are a lot of anti-vaxxers, including Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey, and Robert DeNiro; and Alicia Silverstone — who prechews her food for her baby — believes that tampons make you infertile. And that’s just a small sampling.
Basically, what I’m saying is: Don’t take medical advice from celebrities. I’m also saying that some of the same people who believe Haddish is nuts for drinking turpentine would also spend $1,000 to buy artisanal turpentine lozenges from Gwyneth Paltrow.
In the meantime, click over to that GQ article and enjoy the story about the time that Haddish almost beat someone’s ass at a party for biting Beyoncé in the face. It’s worth your time.