March 10, 2009 / 4:14 PM / 10 years ago

Britain's Prince Charles accused of "quackery"

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Prince Charles has been accused of quackery and exploitation over his Duchy Originals food company’s promotion of a “detox” tincture made from artichoke and dandelion.

Britain's Prince Charles waves upon his arrival at the Pudahuel airport in Santiago in this file photo from March 8, 2009. REUTERS/Victor Ruiz Caballero

Edzard Ernst, professor of complementary medicine at Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, said Charles is exploiting a gullible public at a time of financial hardship.

A long-standing critic of alternative medicines such as homeopathy, Ernst said there is no evidence that detox products work.

“Prince Charles contributes to the ill health of the nation by pretending we can all overindulge, then take his tincture and be fine again,” he said in a statement.

“Under the banner of holistic and integrative healthcare, he thus promotes a ‘quick fix’ and outright quackery.”

The detox product went on sale earlier this year and is available at Boots and Waitrose, Ernst said.

The 60-year-old prince, a long-time advocate of alternative and sustainable agriculture, founded Duchy Originals in 1990 to promote organic food and farming, with profits going to charity.

Duchy Originals Chief Executive Andrew Baker said the tincture was sold as a food supplement in accordance with both UK and European food laws.

“Duchy Herbals Detox Tincture ... is a natural aid to digestion and supports the body’s natural elimination processes,” he added.

“It is not — and has never been described as — a medicine, remedy or cure for any disease.

“We find it unfortunate that Professor Ernst should chase sensationalist headlines in this way rather than concentrating on accuracy and objectivity.”

Reporting by Tim Castle, editing by Paul Casciato

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