Monday, February 6, 2012

Healing rocks?

Bizarre post over at The Geology P.A.G.E. titled "The Healing Power of Rocks" by Bridget Sandorford.  Here's an example of her wisdom when discussing amethyst:

Many people use amethysts to help them recover from an addiction. It is also used to help people who are struggling with insomnia. It can give you an energy boost when you wear it and provide a soothing effect if you are overwrought about something. It has been used to help during pregnancy and to help fight chronic fatigue syndrome.

Amethyst is a relatively common purple variety of quartz (SiO2).  It's a mineral, by the way, not a rock.

Did you know that the word "amethyst" comes from the Greek roots ἀ ("not") and μέθυστος (methustos or "intoxicated")?  The ancient Greeks and Romans believed amethyst would protect them from getting drunk.  Next Friday, I'll grab some from the lab before heading down to the local tavern after work and see if it helps.

This kind of nonsense has been around for a long time.  It's called sympathetic magic.  Amethyst is purple, wine is made from purple grapes, so amethyst must have some effect with wine (there's my problem, I don't drink wine but rather beer - I need a brown mineral).

Similarly, rusty red hematite (Fe2O3) is thought to have some effect on blood ("Hematite is good for any blood disorders...").

Check out the piece of nephrite jade below.  It looks a little like a kidney, hence the name λίθος νεφρίτίκος (lithos nephriticos or "kidney stone" in Greek).

Must be good for kidney ailments!  And, yes, that's what New Age crystal healers still claim.  Any evidence to back up such claims?  Not one fucking iota of evidence.

Want to use stones for healing?  Powder up some limestone when you're having reflux (or pop a Tums, same difference).  I heard cheery yellow orpiment is good for depression...

Just kidding, folks.  If any of you dumbasses try to take orpiment, keep in mind that it's arsenic sulfide (As2S3) and not very good for you at all (even though it's all natural).  It will, however, cure your depression.  Permanently.


  1. It was about time for someone to say something. Thanks. I was surprised also to see such a nonsense in a geoblog. Unfortunately your message goes to people who already know and agree with you. Dumbasses never take a trouble to read your blog.

  2. Yea, that blog post was a result of not enough time to post anything myself and not really reading what I was posting. It was taken down within a couple of hours of being put up with my apologies. I won't make that mistake again for sure.