Theodore Dalrymple writes:
As Napoleon once said, repetition is the only rhetorical technique that really works—besides which hope and fear render people susceptible to effrontery. In Thomas Holloway’s time, the fear of illness was often, and the hope of cure rarely, justified; at least Holloway’s preparations were unlikely to do much harm (they contained aloe, myrrh, and saffron), unlike the prescriptions of the orthodox doctors of the time. They allowed for the possibility of natural recovery, whereas orthodox medicine often hurried its consumers into their graves. Nevertheless, the claims Holloway made for his ointment and pills were preposterous, and something is not curative just because it fails to kill.