Tomato effect

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The tomato effect occurs when effective therapies for a condition are rejected, usually because they do not make sense in the context of the current understanding of the disease in question.[1] The name refers to the fact that tomatoes were rejected as a food source by most North Americans until the end of the 19th century, because the prevailing belief at the time was that they were poisonous.[2][3]


Tomatoes were becoming a staple food in Europe by 1560s, they were shunned in North America since they were considered poisonous until the 1820s.[2] Similarly, willow tree bark extract was ignored to provide relief of pain and fever, and it was not until the late 1800s with the commercial production of salicylate (also known as Aspirin) that this treatment was prescribed to patients.[2]

In 1753, it was established that scurvy can be treated with lemon juice.[4] Despite this knowledge, it was considered an imbalance of the humors until the mid 1800s.[5]

In the mid 1800s, industrialization polished brown rice to white rice, stripping the rice from vitamin B. This led to the sudden heart attacks of millions in Asia due to beriberi (vitamin B deficiency). Orthodox medical practice at the time recognized the prevalence of germs in all diseases, and refused to prescribe rice bran.[6][unreliable medical source?]


  1. ^ Hausenblas, Heather (18 August 2014). "Does Physical Activity Show Signs of a Tomato Effect?". US News & World Report. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Goodwin, James S. (11 May 1984). "The Tomato Effect". JAMA. 251 (18): 2387. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340420053025.
  3. ^ Trowbridge, John Parks (2011). The Yeast Syndrome. Random House. p. 87.
  4. ^ Bartholomew, M (2002-11-01). "James Lind's Treatise of the Scurvy (1753)". Postgraduate Medical Journal. 78 (925): 695–696. doi:10.1136/pmj.78.925.695. ISSN 0032-5473. PMC 1742547. PMID 12496338.
  5. ^ Jason, Mayberry, (2004-01-01). "Scurvy and Vitamin C". Retrieved 2015-10-16.
  6. ^ Martin, W. (1983-02-01). "The beriberi analogy to myocardial infarction". Medical Hypotheses. 10 (2): 185–198. doi:10.1016/0306-9877(83)90022-1. ISSN 0306-9877. PMID 6341793.