In addition to the ethical problems of promising benefits that can not reasonably be expected to occur, quackery also includes the risk that patients may choose to forego treatments that are more likely to help them, in favor of ineffective treatments given by the "quack".

Some ingredients did have medicinal effects: mercury, silver and arsenic compounds may have helped some infections and infestations; willow bark contained salicylic acid, chemically closely related to aspirin; and the quinine contained in Jesuit's bark was an effective treatment for malaria and other fevers.

However, knowledge of appropriate uses and dosages was limited.

Even where no fraud was intended, quack remedies often contained no effective ingredients whatsoever.

Some remedies contained substances such as opium, alcohol and honey, which would have given symptomatic relief but had no curative properties.

Some would have addictive qualities to entice the buyer to return.

The few effective remedies sold by quacks included emetics, laxatives and diuretics.Berman, founder of the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine, for writing that "There [is] evidence that both real acupuncture and sham acupuncture [are] more effective than no treatment and that acupuncture can be a useful supplement to other forms of conventional therapy for low back pain." He also castigated editors and peer reviewers at the New England Journal of Medicine for allowing it to be published, since it effectively recommended deliberately misleading patients in order to achieve a known placebo effect.With little understanding of the causes and mechanisms of illnesses, widely marketed "cures" (as opposed to locally produced and locally used remedies), often referred to as patent medicines, first came to prominence during the 17th and 18th centuries in Britain and the British colonies, including those in North America.Using other people’s research or ideas without giving them due credit is plagiarism.Since Bib Me™ makes it easy to create citations, build bibliographies and acknowledge other people’s work, there is no excuse to plagiarize.The science-based medicine community has criticized the infiltration of alternative medicine into mainstream academic medicine, education, and publications, accusing institutions of "diverting research time, money, and other resources from more fruitful lines of investigation in order to pursue a theory that has no basis in biology." R. Donnell coined the phrase "quackademic medicine" to describe this attention given to alternative medicine by academia.