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Drinking Poison: Why Has Turpentine Become A Modern Health Craze?

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – When you think of turpentine, you probably think of a common paint thinner found in hardware stores.

CBS2's Mary Calvi reports that, in its pure form, pure gum spirit of turpentine was once used as a form of medicine centuries ago. Today, it's back as a controversial new wellness treatment.

Azmyth Kaminski is a healing consultant who takes it as an internal cleanse.

Pure gum spirit of turpentine is a controversial alternative treatment for stomach or intestinal issues like parasites or yeast infections.

The therapy is unusual and considered by many experts to be questionable, but there are believers who ingest it by saturating and chewing on sugar cubes. Actress Tiffany Haddish touted turpentine's benefits in a recent article, saying "everything felt so much better, clarity wise."

Kaminski documented his own turpentine experience on YouTube.

"It turned out really well for me… I went for 44 days on this turpentine cleanse," he claimed.

Pure gum spirit is the sap distilled from the resin of pine trees. It was used as a remedy hundreds of years ago when people had only natural elements for cures. Doctors today say it can be dangerous.

"The adverse effects and or fatalities are clearly going to outweigh any potential benefit," registered dietitian Nicolette Pace warned.

"At the one teaspoon dosage there are some serious reported adverse effects. It's kidney-toxic… as little as three teaspoons are fatal."

Dr. Fred Pescatore says he uses it on patients infrequently, but adds there are healing properties in turpentine for internal use and skin conditions like eczema.

"It's extraordinarily harsh and it has to be very, very, very diluted or you're going to burn your skin basically because the resin of the tree is that strong," Dr. Pescatore explains.

The doctor stresses it always must be used with caution.

"Your body has to get used to it and I think that's where most people are not going to take the time to allow their bodies to gradually go drop, by drop, by drop."

Pure gum spirits of turpentine is available online, but it is imperative that you do your research and absolutely contact your doctor before using it as any sort of medical treatment.

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