It’s not difficult to grasp the allure of “chlorophyll water,” the internet’s newest wellness obsession. On top of the Instagram-worthy swirl of green that chlorophyll drops — which can retail for up to $40 per 2-ounce bottle — create, they’ve been touted as a cure for everything from acne and obesity to cancer and body odor. Intended to be mixed into water and consumed once a day, the drops are primarily made up of chlorophyllin, a synthetic version of chlorophyll, which is the green pigment that gives vegetables their rich color.
The spike in fandom is far from the first time chlorophyll has been propped up as a silver bullet. In the 1950s, It gained popularity from a noncontrolled study that suggested it reduced both body odor and infection in an Army hospital, according to the New York Times. Other studies, which have not been replicated since, suggested that it may cure cancer. The “lore of chlorophyll” quickly grew and companies began inserting it into a variety of products, including “toothpaste, mouthwash, dog food and … cigarettes.”