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American Morning

Body Mint Uses Chlorophyll Derivative to Fight Odors

Aired February 27, 2002 - 08:50   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: The next story is more like a public service announcement, really. Especially for those in drought- stricken parts of the nation, who may have to cut down on their shower time. You may be able to stay shower to shower fresh, even if those showers get further and further apart. Imagine a deodorant that works from the inside out. A deodorant that claims to help eliminate every type of body odor. Well, you don't have to hold your breath.

CNN's Jeanne Moos reports.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What do you get when you cross a mouthwash with a deodorant with a breath mint? Introducing, body mint.

RONA WONG YIM, BODY MINT: It helps reduce your breath, underarm, even foot odor.

MOOS: Don't sweat it. Two tablets a day are supposed to keep odor away.

(on camera): One for you -- one at a time.

(voice-over): It was amazingly easy to coax folks into popping body mint.


(on camera): One in the morning, one at night. Takes two days to kick in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what should we look for?

MOOS: Well, I wouldn't look I'd sniff.

(voice-over): Body Mint is not supposed to make you smell like a mint. It's supposed to neutralize body odor.

KEITH FAGEN (ph), BODY MINT TESTER: Do I smell right now, though?

MOOS (voice-over): No, not at all.

FAGEN: Okay.

MOOS: You're very fresh.

(voice-over): Body mint consists of a chlorophyll derivative extracted from plants.

BISHOP: Ooh, it's pretty green. Whoa, it's not too pleasing.

MOOS: Smells sort of seaweedy. Doctors have used chlorophyll pills for years to reduce odor in patients after intestinal surgery. It even works on pigs.

Authorities in a Chicago suburb called on Dr. Alan Hirsch of the Smell & Taste Foundation to resolve complaints about a smelly pig farm.

DR. ALAN HIRSHCH, SMELL & TASTE FOUNDATION: What I suggested is feed chlorophyll to the pig chow, and it worked. The gases they produced smelled better, and everyone was happy.

MOOS: Dr. Hirsh is less certain about chlorophyll's affect on breath, underarms and feet, so we rounded up some human guinea pigs.

FAGEN: Done. So I should stop using deodorant right now?

MOOS (on camera): No more deodorants.

(voice-over): Body Mint was dreamed up by a couple lawyers and a businessman, who worked with biochemists, testing nine formulas over three years.

EDDIE ONOUYE, BODY MINT: We tried it on our friends and relatives. And everybody was dying to try it.

YIM: We have people who told us they didn't want to go out of their homes, or they didn't want to take their shoes off. And now they're able to just sort of live a care-free life.

MOOS: Body Mint was first marketed in hot and sometimes humid Hawaii. Now it's available through the web site. It's been selling out at Henry Bendel in New York.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People are coming back and they're buying like a six-month supply. They're asking for, you know, the economy size as well.

MOOS: A one to two month supply is 20 bucks. As for our guinea pigs...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Body Mint, fresh and clean. No more odor. Body Mint!

MOOS: One, whose husband is a dentist, reported improved morning breath.

FAGAN: Well, I'm really hot now. MOOS (on camera): Yes.

FAGAN: I'm going to start smelling.

MOOS (voice-over): Keith Fagan told us he didn't shower, didn't use deodorant, went running and described his smell as pretty good. While Sophia Bishop noted no odor on the treadmill.

Just remember, despite its name, it is not a mint.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do suck on it or...

MOOS (on camera): No, you swallow it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, you can't do that, can you?



PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: So, welcome, Jeanne. Did you use it?

MOOS: Well, here, I brought you some.

COOPER: Excellent.

MOOS: You can sniff it if you like.

ZAHN: Did you try it?

MOOS: I...

ZAHN: She passed the smell test, by the way.

MOOS: I'm a big believer in participatory journalism.


MOOS: But when I'm the one who has to participate, and it's about bodily functions, I draw the line.


ZAHN: You didn't do it?

MOOS: I didn't do it. I had all the people in the street do it.

ZAHN: Well, I'll try it.

COOPER: It smells disgusting.

MOOS: Well don't -- don't do it now.

ZAHN: Why?

MOOS: Well, I mean, you need water. You're supposed to take two a day. And we...

ZAHN: Then we could do a little test at the end of the week.

COOPER: So if you take it, you don't have to use deodorant, you don't have to do anything, is that what they allege?

MOOS: That is -- yes, that's what they say.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Well, those people you were talking to. Well, they said they thought they smelled all right. People tend not to be able to be aware of their own body odor, or they wouldn't have body odor.

MOOS: Yes, but they have their relatives -- you know, fiance checked in one case. A husband checked in another case. I have to tell you, everyone we gave it to -- you know, we did this last Friday and we gave it a few days, because it takes a few days to kick in.

And the people were supposed to report back to us, which they did, via the phone. And every single one said they thought it helped. Now, maybe it's some sort of placebo effect. You know, I have no idea. Maybe it's just their imaginations. But, I mean, every single one said it helps.

COOPER: That's what they said, but what about their friends and relatives?

MOOS: Well, the true test.

COOPER: Right.

MOOS: It's not -- it's not regulated at all by the FDA. It's not a drug, it's considered a dietary supplement.

CAFFERTY: What are the ingredients, like herbs and stuff?

MOOS: Well, no, it's all -- it's a derivative of chlorophyll.


MOOS: So, if you overdose on it, you'll probably turn into a plant.

COOPER: You know I used to work at the Smell & Taste Foundation before....

MOOS: I didn't know that about you.

ZAHN: I never knew that place existed. What does that guy do all along -- all day long?

MOOS: Honestly, I don't know. We've called him for a couple stories, and he's always helpful. I mean, he has this, you know, weird knowledge...

COOPER: He has a lot of time on his hand. MOOS: No, but he...

CAFFERTY: Is that like a government job?

MOOS: I don't know.

CAFFERTY: Probably.

MOOS: He's got a lot of weird knowledge, though, of smells and tastes.

ZAHN: So what does he -- does he test perfumes?

MOOS: No, no! It's a medical...

ZAHN: ...the pig pens...

MOOS: It's a research. You know, they do testing on your sense of smell.

CAFFERTY: This is turning into a...

MOOS: It's a real medical thing.

CAFFERTY: This is turning into an infomercial for this product.

MOOS: I have a feeling -- I know that one is probably coming up for this product. You know, it started in Hawaii, and in Hawaii, it's in drugstores, it's everywhere in Hawaii. And they're just kind of getting started here.

COOPER: It's huge in Bolivia!


COOPER: That doesn't really -- the fact that it's big in Hawaii doesn't...


MOOS: Well, they say it's because of the climate in Hawaii, you know, it's conducive to...

COOPER: It's number one in Rio!


ZAHN: What you didn't talk about is whether people need to alter their diets. How about those of us who love our hamburgers in the morning smothered with raw onions?

MOOS: I think this might help a little bit.

COOPER: Tell her that.

CAFFERTY: Garlic, wonder if it will counteract the effects of garlic.

ZAHN: I think it would, but...

CAFFERTY: Might be the acid test.

MOOS: Yes. Yes.

ZAHN: Someday, I want to sit in your office and just see how you find these stories.

MOOS: Maybe.

ZAHN: She's quite a network of sources, out there.

CAFFERTY: Oh, I know. Good stuff.

ZAHN: Thanks, Jeanne.

MOOS: Thank you.

ZAHN: And she smells just fine, even though she didn't use this stuff. To learn more about some of what you've seen here on "AMERICAN MORNING," log on to our home page at There is also an email link there. Send in your questions and comments. We are going to share some of your email with you, later today. Once again, that's