Taxonomy of mountebank healing artists

Health quackery has had a long-history. The mountebank is that health practitioner who uses discredited or disproved methods, techniques, or theories in the diagnosis and/or treatment of an illness or disease, and where the treatment is given in bad faith or is consistently and considerably below the standards for health care in the community. Few attempts have been made to classify the health mountebank, and to the author‘s knowledge no previous attempt has been made to develop a taxonomy of mountebank healing artists. Sources of information for the taxonomy have included: both current and past literature, publications of voluntary and tax supported health agencies, persons of expertise in health quackery, and mountebank healers themselves. The three categories of the taxonomy were placed in a hierarchy according to the availability of raw data; a.1.00 medical mountebank, b.2.00 nutritional mountebank, and c. 3.00 Faith healing mountebank. These categories were further broken into classes and groups. A decision chart of the taxonomy of mountebank healing artists was developed to facilitate speedy identification of different mountebanks classified in in the taxonomy.