7 Home Health Remedies Your Mom Taught You That Don’t Actually Work
Gargling with salt water. Not drinking milk when you're sick. Downing a bowl of chicken noodle. At-home health remedies are often passed down in families from generation to generation, but how many actually do the trick when it comes to being sick? Just because many of these proposed cures make you feel childhood nostalgia, that doesn’t mean the science is there to back these claims up. In fact, many common home health remedies your mom taught you don’t actually work — and, in some cases, could actually make you feel worse.
However, not all DIY remedies you can recall from your childhood are complete bogus. In fact, many common family health recipes have turned out to be effective. As Parents reported, physicians agree that salt-water gargles actually do help soothe a sore throat, and using a baking soda and water paste on mosquito bites can quell the itchiness. What’s more, according to research, using duct tape on warts, drinking honey water for a sore throat, and rubbing peppermint oil on your temples to alleviate a headache are all legit, too.
While Mom was probably right about most things, it may be time to retire some of the at-home treatments she used when you were feeling sick. From drinking Coke for a stomach ache to buttering up burns, here are seven mom health remedies that don’t actually work.
1. Eating Chicken Noodle Soup When You Have A Cold
Chicken noodle soup may good for the soul, but it won’t help you cure a cold or the flu. Instead, you’ll have to wait until the virus passes through your system. However, as CNN reported, eating a bowl of hearty chicken noodle soup has been shown to ease some of the respiratory symptoms of a cold, and may have anti-inflammatory effects. So, while it may not be an antidote for sickness like Mom suggested, it definitely won’t hurt to eat it.
2. Drinking Coca Cola For A Stomach Ache
Drinking flat Coca Cola or ginger ale are often touted as home remedies for dealing with a bad stomach ache or nausea. However, according to The New York Times, researchers have found there’s no scientific evidence to support this claim, and scientists have actually found that soda overall has “very low amounts of potassium, sodium and other electrolytes.” Meaning, Coke probably isn’t the best beverage choice if you are trying to rehydrate after a stomach flu. Overall, sticking to plain old water is your best bet.
3. Drinking Cranberry Juice For A UTI
Despite being a popular myth, a tall cup of cranberry juice will not make a urinary tract infection (UTI) go away, or prevent them from occurring in the first place. Urologist Dr. Courtenay Moore told the Cleveland Clinic in 2015 that, “There is an active ingredient in cranberries that can prevent adherence of bacteria to the bladder wall, particularly E. coli. But, most of the studies have shown that juice and supplements don’t have enough of this active ingredient, A-type proanthocyanidins (PACs), to prevent bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract.”
Drinking cranberry juice is worth it if you like the taste, but don’t expect it to cure your UTI. Instead, go to your doctor and get antibiotics.
4. Putting Butter On Burns
Cooking accident in the kitchen? Whatever you do, don’t follow the age-old advice of rubbing butter on your burns. According to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, lathering a burn in butter can actually hurt you, because the greasiness will slow down the release of heat. One of the first things you should do, however, is run the burn under cool water before treating and dressing the wound.
5. Basically, All Cures For Hiccups
Hiccups are annoying as heck, but unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that holding your breath, drinking water upside down, or having someone scare you will cure it. The Guardian reported in 2014 that, for the most part, these common hiccup remedies aren’t actually based in science. While these cures may work for some people on occasion (and scientists have theories as to why), the jury is still out on the actual efficacy for most hiccup remedies.
6. Ginger For Stomach Aches
Chewing on a piece of crystallized ginger, or sipping on ginger tea, is believed to be a cure-all for stomach aches and nausea. But, this isn’t entirely true: While a six-study review found patients with nausea did typically prefer ginger to a placebo, too much ginger can have adverse side effects. In fact, Healthline reports ginger can actually lead to an upset stomach or heartburn. Being aware of how you feel after consuming ginger can help you determine whether it settles your tum, or upsets it further.
7. Potato Juice For Warts
Some people swear by the old belief that rubbing warts with raw potatoes can make these pesky products of HPV go away. Yet, The Old Farmer’s Almanac reported that folks remedies that involve pressing a potato — or, any food for that matter — to a wart won’t make it disappear. Your best bet is probably to go with an over-the-counter medicine, or consulting your physician if the wart is painful.
Before resorting to one of your mom’s favorite remedies, just be sure to separate myth from fact. Keep the tradition alive with the ones that actually work, or make you feel better by conjuring up happy childhood memories, but know that some others are best left in the past.