Edzard Ernst: at war with prince
By SUSANNA RUSTIN - GUARDIAN
Added: Sat, 30 Jul 2011 17:41:47 UTC
Professor Edzard Ernst he caused uproar this week when he labelled Prince Charles a 'snake oil salesman' for his dandelion and artichoke detox remedy
Edzard Ernst keeps a stack of hate mail as a souvenir. Two months after the world's first professor of complementary medicine took early retirement from his post at Exeter university after 18 years, the letters are still coming. An email from a chiropractor denouncing him landed in his inbox a few days ago, while Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg tweeted earlier this week that for his latest attack on Prince Charles he should be locked up in the Tower of London.
"I've got used to it," Ernst says. "At first it was a bit depressing. At least the criticism is not racist – 'that bloody German', as it would be in France or Austria. I would find that hard to stomach but mostly I can find it amusing. It's strangely hilarious because the people who attack me are so bonkers."
This week Ernst showed how little his critics have dented his confidence. At a press conference to mark his retirement he joined in the name-calling, agreeing with a Daily Mail reporter's suggestion that the Prince of Wales is a "snake-oil salesman". In the living room of his house in Suffolk he unpacks the label with the precision on which he prides himself. "He's a man, he owns a firm that sells this stuff, and I have no qualms at all defending the notion that a tincture of dandelion and artichoke [Duchy Herbals detox remedy] doesn't do anything to detoxify your body and therefore it is a snake oil." Far from regretting the choice of words and the controversy it has generated, he appears to relish it.
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