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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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June 03, 2015

7 Old Wives’ Tales That Aren’t Utter Nonsense

By Mark Sisson
88 Comments

“Oh, that’s just an old wives’ tale” is an easy way to disarm and disregard someone else’s claims about health. But it’s also lazy and, sometimes, just plain misleading. So what if a particular claim comes from folk wisdom? Is it all nonsense? Are all old wives’ tales necessarily incorrect? As you’ll see down below, folk wisdom is sometimes just plain old wisdom. Many of these “stories” have a basis in fact. And many of us would be better off heeding some of these old wives’ tales.

So, which ones are actually couched in real wisdom? Which tales are being borne out by modern research? Let’s find out:

1. Smile. You’ll feel better.

Grandmothers everywhere are fond of telling their extended spawn to “just smile,” no matter how bad they’re feeling. This, grandmothers posit, will help you convert your sadness to happiness. Ridiculous, right? We smile because we’re happy. We frown because we’re sad. The facial expressions are inadvertent responses to emotional states. Smiling is great and all, but it necessarily follows the emotion. Forcing a smile will not force the emotion. Or will it?

There’s actually evidence showing that forcing yourself to smile when you’re feeling particularly frowny can make you feel better despite yourself.

In one early study, researchers gave pencils to people watching cartoons and told some of them to hold the pencils between their teeth to force a “smile.” The other group were made to frown. The group that held the pencils between their teeth rated the cartoons as funnier than the group that frowned.

Another study that used chopsticks to force smiles instead of pencils found that smiling during stressful situations can reduce the stress response. Participants who gave genuine smiles had even better stress responses, but the chopstick smilers were far better with stress than those instructed to hold neutral faces.

2. Honey cures a cough.

A spoonful of honey seems to be the “cure” for lots of things, but with loads of powerful narcotics available in the pharmacy, usually over the counter, why bother with bee secretions? These are drugs designed with coughs in mind, whereas honey is meant to feed bees. Surely dextromethorphan (DXM), a powerful antitussive with sedative and dissociative effects, is far more effective than bee food at quelling coughs. Let’s see.

In 2007, buckwheat honey went up against honey-flavored DXM to see which treatment helped kids with terrible nighttime coughs sleep best and cough less. Across the board, honey beat DXM. And in perhaps the most sensitive population around — parents of kids with nighttime coughs who just won’t sleep no matter how many stories you read to them nor how many nonsensical lullabies you cobble together on the spot — honey rated as far more effective than the narcotics.

Honey also beat both DXM and diphenhydramine (DPH) — another popular anti-cough drug — in a 2010 trial, improving the sleep quality of coughing children and their parents.

Most recently, a Cochrane review begrudgingly admitted that honey works better than DPH and about as well as DXM for symptomatic relief of nighttime cough. That’s pretty decent.

3. Chicken soup to cure a cold.

It used to be that a grandma’s immediate response to the onset of a sniffle, cough, sore throat, or other common cold foreshadowing was to brew up a big pot of chicken soup. Sure, it tasted good and there was just something comforting about curling up on the couch with a hot mug of brothy goodness, but was it actually helping our immune systems fight off the cold?

Yes:

  • Chicken soup has been shown, in an in vitro study, to inhibit the neutrophil migration that triggers the onset of common cold symptoms.
  • Glycine, the primary amino acid present in gelatin, can promote better and more restorative sleep (which is important for maintaining immune health and recovering from illness) and it counters the inflammatory load from excessive amounts of methionine in muscle meat.
  • Common chicken soup ingredients like garlic can also improve a person’s recovery from the common cold. Just make sure to wait five to ten minutes after chopping or crushing the garlic, as this maximizes formation of anti-inflammatory compounds.

4. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Crazy. Apples are just bags of fructose whose sole purpose is to fatten your liver, spike your triglycerides, and give you diabetes. They’re also full of dangerous fiber that feeds the nasties in your gut and gives you gas (and maybe even colon cancer). Why would anyone think that an apple could actually make you healthier, let alone an apple every single day? Surely that’s suicide.

Except that actual research on people who eat actual apples seems to vindicate the old adage.

An apple a day might just keep the oncologist away:

  • In vitro evidence shows that apple antioxidants have chemopreventive potential.
  • In animal models, apple extracts have protected against skin, breast, and colon cancer.
  • Human epidemiology suggests that a daily apple (not MDA, necessarily) might help protect against lung and colon cancer.

An apple a day might just keep the cardiologist away:

  • Apple polyphenols can improve blood lipids.
  • Apple polyphenols reduce blood pressure.
  • Apples reduce oxidized LDL, a likely causative factor in atherosclerosis.

An apple a day might keep the bariatric surgeon away, too. In a mouse model, apple polyphenols prevented diet-induced obesity by reducing fat cell growth and intestinal uptake of glucose while increasing the breakdown of existing fat cells.

An apple a day might keep the doctor away from the prescription pad. In a recent study, adults who ate apples every day were less likely to be taking prescription medicines.

5. When trying to place a bun in your old lady’s oven, avoid hot baths.

While I’m not sure those exact words in that exact order were ever uttered by an old wife, mother, or grandma, the idea that hot baths are bad for male fertility is a common one. It can get really hot down there and your boys are sensitive to heat.  If abnormally constrictive underwear and hot laptops can both heat up the area and impair sperm function, maybe submerging one’s nether regions in hot water can, too. You don’t want to cook your boys, do you?

Sure enough: hot baths are acutely inhibitory of sperm production, motility, and utility. Take a really hot bath and ditch the condoms!

Kidding about that last bit, by the way. You’d need to drink a liter of Mountain Dew for the yellow dye number 5 in addition to taking a hot bath to get reliable male birth control, of course.

6. Don’t go outside without a coat. You’ll catch cold!

Annoying prattle from well-meaning parents or truism that we should all heed?

Well, low body temperature can certainly impair the immune system, opening us up to infections and common colds; a drop in body temperature has been shown to increase a person’s susceptibility to catching a cold. If we’re outside in the cold without adequate protection for long enough to reduce our body temperature, we may very well get sick. A few lines of evidence make me think there’s something to the low body temp/low immunity/cold weather connection.

Going outside in the cold without a coat isn’t a surefire way to catch cold (and cold exposure is good for you in general), but there’s definitely a physiologically-relevant mechanism.

7. I can feel bad weather in my bones.

That old lady with the limp who claims she can predict the weather might be telling the truth because human joints contain sensory nerves called baro-receptors, which are highly attuned to fluctuations in atmospheric pressure, particularly the drops that occur when a rainstorm is about to touch down. It may not be true for everyone, though, as one review concluded that “pain in some individuals is more affected by the weather than others.”

So while it may not be the bones acting as barometers, some folks can definitely feel the weather in their joints.

That’s it for today, folks. Now let’s hear from you.

What did I miss? I’m pretty sure those old wives were telling the truth in other areas, too, so let me hear about it down below!

Thanks for reading!

Prefer listening to reading? Get an audio recording of this blog post, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast on iTunes for instant access to all past, present and future episodes here.

TAGS:  immune health

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88 Comments on "7 Old Wives’ Tales That Aren’t Utter Nonsense"

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Erica
1 year 11 months ago

I need to pick up my apple-a-day habit again.

Also, honey cures everything. At least that’s what I tell myself when I do shots of it standing in my pantry.

Cate
Cate
1 year 11 months ago

Thanks, Mark – the first one is particularly relevant to me right now! I have an exam tomorrow morning so I’ve been feeling frowny and stressed; I’m currently smiling like mad in order to coerce my brain into thinking everything’s fine 😀
Cate

Beth
Beth
1 year 11 months ago

Haha. I hope “smiling like mad” also prepares you for the strange looks you get on campus from everyone else who’s going to wonder what’s up!?
????

Cate
Cate
1 year 11 months ago

I’m a ‘mature’ student (despite my immature behaviour!) so no campus – probably got some funny looks while grinning madly outside the exam hall though – but I survived! Very happy now – even though I have a full time job, I feel like a kid at the start of the summer holidays 😀

Allie
Allie
1 year 5 months ago

Nhttps://www.ted.com/talks/ron_gutman_the_hidden_power_of_smiling?language=en

Its only 8 minutes and its about smiling. It made me smile the entire time.

Angel Hix
5 months 8 days ago

loved it.. thanks for the smile video. 🙂

Cate
Cate
1 year 11 months ago

PS – after the exam’s over I’m planning on doing just what you’re doing in today’s banner. The nearest sunny, quiet patch of grass has my name on it!

wildgrok
wildgrok
1 year 11 months ago

It seems that the Dutch (I am sure some old wives are included in the link below) have more statin wisdom than us here in USA

Eight in 10 Primary-Prevention Patients Skip Statins, Dutch Study Finds

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/845331?src=wnl_edit_specol&uac=102697AX

Suzan
Suzan
1 year 11 months ago

Great article.

I recently starting adding organic green apples to my occasional smoothie. So good!

Avi
Avi
1 year 11 months ago

Starve a cold has always worked for me, haven’t been sick in over a decade???? pretty much when I started implimenting this, I stopped getting sick.

Keith
Keith
1 year 11 months ago

My question is, can I replace the apple with a pear? I really do not like apples unless they are baked in a pie or with a pork dish, but I really do enjoy eating pears. Not exactly sure why, perhaps because their flesh is a little softer?

wildgrok
wildgrok
1 year 11 months ago

No can do:
you would need to create a saying like this

“a pear a day keeps the doctor away”

and convince a lot of people to use it (create a new meme)

Also you might need to talk to Mark to change Mark’s daily apple to Mark’s Daily Pear

Easier to eat the apple! 🙂

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
1 year 11 months ago

Why stop there?

Grok gives Grokette a pear from the tree and they grok on…

Keith
Keith
1 year 11 months ago

I don’t know, Mark’s Daily Pear has a nice ring to it.

Plus, then we can engage Sir Mix Alot for a new motto like, “We like our women like we like our pears, with a nice round butt!”

Jenna Felicity
1 year 11 months ago

“Mark’s Daily Pear” – haha!

Groktimus Primal
1 year 11 months ago

I knew there was something to the weather/joints connection.

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
1 year 11 months ago

Typically, it’s osteoarthritics that can “feel the weather.”

Who Dat
Who Dat
1 year 11 months ago

If you’ve ever seen any x-rays or a dexa like scan of osteo-anything, it’s amazing that the afflicted don’t just fall apart.
An interesting documentary available in the streaming world about Ayurveda discusses some work they’re doing in the UK with frankincense and other natural tinctures. I believe the title is ‘The Art of Being’ if anyone is interested.

framistat
framistat
5 months 8 days ago

Dit da jow contains frankincense, among (many) other things.

Anna
Anna
1 year 11 months ago

That can’t be the only explanation. I used to get very bad aches in my bones when rain was coming, I’m assuming due to pressure changes – but this was when I was young, probably under 10.

KDC
KDC
1 year 11 months ago

I have asthma that’s affected by the weather….When I wake up in the morning, I can tell what the weather is like……

Harry Mossman
1 year 11 months ago

Even if you don’t believe in evolution and “cavemen” (which I DO), following the lifestyles of our healthiest grand (great grand, etc.) parents is a healthy thing to do.

Jenna Felicity
1 year 11 months ago

“Eat like your grandparents did” is a saying I love. Bacon and eggs for breakfast, meat and veg for lunch and dinner, broths and soups when sick, dessert as a treat once a week… it all makes so much sense!

2Rae
2Rae
1 year 11 months ago

Hey, I say that too, well your great, great, grandparents since I talk to young people who think the 80’s are “the olden days” ……

D.
D.
1 year 11 months ago
I have low body temperature, and am often too hot or too cold. In other words, my window of comfort temperature-wise is narrower than most people’s. Interestingly, I am never really sick, and rarely get even slight colds. But, the one thing that will cause me to get a cold is sitting in a cold space for a period of time – a theatre or restaurant, for example. Like clockwork after an event like that, I start coming down with a cold – throat is sore, and it may or may not become a cold. I immediately start the honey… Read more »
Shary
Shary
1 year 11 months ago

It’s an individual thing. I’ve been uncomfortably cold plenty of times, both indoors and outside, and have never gotten sick as a result. My dad, on the other hand, would invariably catch a cold if he’d been sitting in a draft. I don’t believe being cold directly causes one to catch a cold, but it can lower the resistance of some people to germs and bacteria that are already present.

2Rae
2Rae
1 year 11 months ago
That’s the key to “catching a cold”- the colder temps (especially from AC blowing directly over head) will lower your body temp to a point that you will just succomb to the virus/etc that are already present in your system that your body was fighting and winning against but now can’t. All the energy goes to keeping you alive and trying to stave off hypothermia. D, for me the difference between comfortable and FREEZING can be one degree. If I have to be in cold temps for too long I will feel like I’ve been literally hit by a truck… Read more »
Shary
Shary
1 year 11 months ago
The school kids in my area never seem to wear coats any more. Even when the temp dips below freezing, about the most they are ever seen in, walking to and from school, is a lightweight hoodie. This isn’t an underprivileged neighborhood so I’m sure it’s just another of those hare-brained fashion statements that come and go. In any case, I wonder if these kids get sick more often than what’s considered “normal.” I sort of doubt it. Sure, they are no doubt uncomfortable and they look silly in their short sleeves and cutoffs when it’s cold outside, but most… Read more »
deirdra
deirdra
1 year 11 months ago

And when it’s 90F out they wear the same shorts and hoodie – with the hood up!

Marisa
Marisa
1 year 11 months ago

Also, baby’s risk of developing asthma is lowered when mama eats a few apples per week while pregnant (and of course, fish).

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2117307/

Holly
Holly
1 year 11 months ago

Another great read! I have a question. In your paragraph about chicken soup, which we make tons of with bone broth, you say, “Just make sure to wait five to ten minutes after chopping or crushing the garlic, as this maximizes formation of anti-inflammatory compounds.”

This is a really dumb question, but do you mean wait before putting it in the soup?

Thanks! 🙂

Josh
1 year 11 months ago

As in, leave it out on the counter or chopping board before throwing it in the pot! I never have time to do this.. but there is definitely solid evidence behind it!

Granny Gibson
Granny Gibson
1 year 11 months ago

Oh, I’ve got those barometer joints! 🙁

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
1 year 11 months ago

About that cough: DPH = generic Benadryl.

Serena
1 year 11 months ago

It takes some gumption to get to be an old wife! They must be doing something right.

Nocona
Nocona
1 year 11 months ago

I like my wife’s tale, but I would never call her old.

Viktoria
Viktoria
1 year 11 months ago

Apple cider vinegar. I remember finding an old book in the cellar as a kid that was dedicated to it’s numerous remedies.

MCHammer
MCHammer
1 year 11 months ago

I wonder if forcing yourself to smile has a different result in instances where you are not being observed. I think I would find it humorous if I knew I was being observed with a forced grin on my face in spite of being grumpy and feel happier as a result. Not sure it has the same effect when I am by myself.

Are you saying Grandma understood quantum mechanics?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observer_effect_%28physics%29

Leaf
Leaf
1 year 11 months ago

Re: an apple a day, I read on another website that eating an apple before bedtime can help with heartburn and acid reflux, so I tried it and it works for me!

Goldwave
Goldwave
1 year 11 months ago
I remember reading an old remedy from Eastern Europe to supplement iron in the diet over the winter. One would daily consume an apple into which a real iron nail had been embedded and left to sit for about a week. The nail was removed of course before eating, and put into another apple for the next week. I assume that, when this practice originated, vitamin and mineral supplementation weren’t really understood, so it is interesting to ponder what they thought was happening to make this a life-sustaining practice. My guess would be that, in the course of trying to… Read more »
Liana
Liana
1 year 11 months ago

I am from Eastern Europe, Bulgaria. I have never heard of the nail in apple that you are mentioning. I will ask around (not that I plan to adopt the practice ;), just out of curiosity).

Susan
1 year 11 months ago

Reminds me of this: Charles, a Canadian epidemiologist, knew that iron-rich foods and supplements were too expensive for most rural Cambodians. Even cast-iron pots, which safely transmit iron to food as it cooks, were out of reach. But he wondered whether a small piece of iron placed in a standard aluminum pot would have a similar iron-releasing effect.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/01/an-iron-fish-in-every-pot/355742/

Sheri
Sheri
1 year 11 months ago

That’s right! An apple before bed is a very good remedy for acid reflux sufferers. I know it firsthand!! Please try it! It’s a miracle cure for those nasty episodes that wake you from a dead sleep.

paleo martin
paleo martin
1 year 11 months ago

I suffer from GERD and eating apple before retiring at night controls nightime reflux; I have used this for many years.
paleo

IsHARI
IsHARI
1 year 11 months ago

Here in Poland we often attribute headaches and sleepiness to bad weather (especially low atmospheric pressure). I haven’t heard of anything like that in other countries, but this may be because Poland lies on a ‘wind crossroad’, where different climate zones constantly fight for dominance, so the weather tends to change drastically.

Kelly
Kelly
1 year 11 months ago

I get migraines when storms are coming on, even if the sky is blue. I haven’t been wrong yet. So I don’t think it’s just Poland. (I’m in Colorado and live at about 7200 ft) I also had wrist surgery last year and now I can feel it in my wrist joint. I never get sick though, so meh.

Nocona
Nocona
1 year 11 months ago

Happens out in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska too. Some of the biggest pressure drops in the world. Most of the folks out there get nasty headaches and sinus infections. The old skulls of the Aleuts showed damaged nasal passages.

Goldwave
Goldwave
1 year 11 months ago
My grandmother swore by a shot of whiskey mixed with lemon juice and honey for the flu. After I grew up and was treating my own flus, I ignored this advice in favor of Nyquil etc. One time I didn’t have any, so gave Grandma’s recipe a try again. I’d say it’s definitely superior to Nyquil, without the side-effects. As to whether whiskey can be considered paleo, I’ll just note that fermented berries and other foodstuffs would have been occasionally and naturally available. It is common knowledge that a number of animals, such as bears and deer, make a point… Read more »
wildgrok
wildgrok
1 year 11 months ago

I am a fervent disciple of your grandmother

This works for me every time, when the flu just starts
just 1/2 shot of vodka (or whiskey)

Also works as a flu vaccine 🙂

Mitch
Mitch
1 year 11 months ago

Old wines tales…..such a bad phrase.

Old means it benefits from accumulated wisdom, not nonsense.

Wives should be treasured…..they hold families together and were doctors before there were any.

Nikki
Nikki
1 year 11 months ago

So true! I completely agree.

* it is funny that your typo came out to “Old wines tales” – hehe, those are some fun tales too! 😉

Gina
Gina
1 year 11 months ago

My mother-in-law used to swear by slicing up raw onions and putting them on the feet of a person with a bad cold. She said it helped heal the cold and prevented it from turning into pneumonia. That is probably the weirdest old wives’ tale I’ve heard yet. Wanna tackle that one??!

Viktoria
Viktoria
1 year 11 months ago

I don’t know about onions on the feet but I know of an old Polish remedy for a cold where you dice onions and put sugar on top to draw out the liquid, then drink the juice. In Homeopathy, Allium Cepa (onion) is supposed to clear nasal congestion and the common cold. So there seems to be at least a connection to the remedy source and the ailment.

john
john
1 year 11 months ago

There is some truth to the onions on the feet. I read of a study thst did put ground up fresh onion inthe socks of individuals. IIRC, within 3 hours, you could smell onion on the breathes of these people, meaning the onion compounds were in their bloodstream. No trying to get people to eat raw onion or dealing with the potential stomach upset or the stomach acids destroying the good compounds. This assumes of course that onions ae proven cold fighters.

Nocona
Nocona
1 year 11 months ago

I think you guys have been reading the Onion.

Mari
Mari
1 year 11 months ago

Onions were also used to make a poultice to place on the chest of a person who had pneumonia to assist the person to breath and draw out the infection. Eating raw onion also helps – you don’t need to eat a full onion to get the benefit though.

Doniphon
Doniphon
1 year 11 months ago
Here in Germany this is an extremely common remedy. It does not need to be on the feet of the person though. What I (and many people do) is to place a cut ognion by the side of the bed of those with the cold. The ognion helps in particular with the caughung associated with difficulties in breathing. There is ample evidence about the ability of ognion to open up the respiratory tract. Another old wives tale here, is to rub ognion on a wasp bite. The hospital we run once into with a case of wasp triggered anaphilaxia recommended… Read more »
Marta
Marta
1 year 11 months ago
The feet have some of the largest pores on the body. This is why essential oils are rubbed on the feet by EO practitioners. It gets the good compounds into the body faster. Onions contain lots of antiviral sulfur compounds so this would make a lot of sense. I can verify that certain essential oils helped me get over a serious respiratory infection while we were out camping in the snow and hail for a week a couple of winters ago. And my friend applied the oils to my feet. Might have to try the onions next time, DH willing!
Pauline
Pauline
1 year 11 months ago

Re your request for more old wives tales: I was always told that drinking a glass of water or two would make my headache better and, more often than not, it did. I’m sure that’s because many headaches are due to simple dehydration. It’s worth a go before reaching for the pills!

Nikki
Nikki
1 year 11 months ago

Most old wives tales have a lot of truth to them – so maybe the title of this article should be – Old Wives Tales – They’re Common Sense!

Zeik
Zeik
1 year 11 months ago

Mark’s Daily Apple keeps the doctor away!

john
john
1 year 11 months ago

Re apples and weight loss. A few years back, Washington state apples growers sponsered a study. Before every meal, the participants were asked to eat a small Washington state apple. They were not told what the test was about but had various parameters measured such as height weight, BP, HR, ETC.
at the end of the study all the participants had lost weight.
Apparently the apple fibre pectin filled them up so they ate less and the fibre slowed their blood sugar spike.
Note, this only works with Washington state apples and should not be attempted with any other kind.

Johnathan Cranford
1 year 11 months ago

Not sure if this qualifies as an old wives tale, but I keep experiencing testicular pain when I watch too much “Dancing with the Stars” on ABC. Particularly when that Peta chick is dancing. It goes away when the camera pans over for Len Goodman’s reaction.

Diane
Diane
1 year 11 months ago

As a little girl I HATED it when my grandmother told me to smile. It was like she was saying to me, “You are so ugly you need to change your face.”

Gina
Gina
1 year 11 months ago

Me too! Of course, it was usually preceded by “Don’t be so grouchy!” or “What a sourpuss!” So maybe it was the name calling that counteracted the good advice!

Mike L
Mike L
1 year 11 months ago

Great article. But I think you might need to update the #3 Chicken soup section, to mention that those benefits are with proper broth-based soups (e.g. bone broth). I doubt a can or freeze-dried package of “chicken soup” would incur the same benefits!

Beth
Beth
1 year 11 months ago

“What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”. Today we might refer to such a saying as hormetism. I’m not sure that it’s an old wives tale as much as words of wisdom but thought I’d throw it in the mix.

Pear
Pear
1 year 11 months ago

Bravo, I’m all for embracing folk wisdom, no matter how flaky it can sound. I think the weight of evidence is for cold exposure. I ski all winter in VT (cold!!), and I never get URIs. Right now I’m swimming in very cold rivers. A fever can certainly kill, and long-lived people commonly have low-ish body temperatures.

Becca
1 year 11 months ago

Well, that’s great to hear, because I’m always cold! But I’m rarely sick.

Brooke
1 year 11 months ago

My grandma and now my mom, have always sworn by apple cider vinegar … looks like they wee right because now it’s all the rave!

Becca
1 year 11 months ago

I started putting a TBS of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drinking it daily – it’s the only way I can digest spinach! I think my hydrochloric acid in my stomach is extra low or something. Lame because spinach is such a superfood!

Doniphon
Doniphon
1 year 11 months ago

In Spain, we would be fed sardines before school tests on account of them being good for the brain. Another old tale that has been revindicated.

b2curious
1 year 11 months ago

My step-mother used to make chicken gumbo (a soup like dish, hers also had smoked sausage, served over rice) whenever there was a cold making the rounds in the house. She insisted that those who were actively sick add extra filé. Filé, pronounced fee-lay, is made from ground sassafras leaves. Unlike sassafras root or bark, the leaves “do not contain a detectable amount of safrole.” Sassafras was used as a traditional remedy for colds, among other things. So maybe there is something to adding extra filé to the chicken gumbo.

2Rae
2Rae
1 year 11 months ago
When I had the blues as a child my dad would say try to sing a song, if I was too depressed to do that then hum a tune, if that was imposslble then smile. I believed everything that he said so I tried it and it always imporved my mood. When I feel a cold or sore throat (flu?) I will fill up the bathtub with VERY hot water and sit in it until sweat drips down my face, yes, very hot, turn your body bright red/pink hot. I figure I will try to give myself a fever if… Read more »
maidel
maidel
1 year 11 months ago

“Fish is brain food.”
“Carrots make sharp eyes.”
“Early to bed, early to rise,
Makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.”
“Keep your women friends, they’ll pull you through.”

Granny Gibson
Granny Gibson
1 year 11 months ago

When I was taking a data processing course with a friend, she would always insist on having a meal of fish on class day to help her understanding.

Shelley
Shelley
1 year 11 months ago

I accept that you shouldn’t let yourself get too cold, but do you know what it means when your mother tells you to put a sweater on?

It means she’s cold.

zencow
zencow
1 year 11 months ago

A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer. -Bruce Lee

paleo martin
paleo martin
1 year 11 months ago

An effective remedy for a sore throat or dry mouth is to sip a lemon and honey mixture.
paleo

Jan
Jan
1 year 11 months ago

What about “Milk [or dairy] causes mucus”? That was my gramma’s mantra.

Jack Lea Mason
Jack Lea Mason
1 year 11 months ago
I read this with a chopstick between my teeth and they were some of the funniest comments ever. My grandmother was adamant about covering one’s back and neck when gowing out in the cold. There was always a pot of chicken soup on the stove all winter as well. I found out later in life that her husband passed from a strep infection that went from his throat to his kidneys. It all makes sense that cold reduces blood flow and thus the mobility of white blood cells to fight infection. The wisdom of the elders is real even if… Read more »
Chris B
Chris B
1 year 11 months ago

I was under the impression that honey should not be given to a child under one year old because they can not digest it. It is called Infant botulism. Is this a wives tale?

Kit
Kit
1 year 11 months ago

You are what you eat.

bigmyc
bigmyc
1 year 11 months ago
Now see, I have long thought that the reason that winter is perceived to bring so many colds and flu is because so many people are inside together and not so much because of the temperature drop. Plus, if cold therapy is good in general, how is the temperature not part of that? It is confusing, no? If prolonged exposure is the issue, that might make considerably more sense. Also, in the case of the smiling pencil and chopstick holders, perhaps it’s just the conscious ridiculous notion of holding a pencil in one’s teeth while watching a cartoon that makes… Read more »
Dr. Dana Leigh Lyons
1 year 11 months ago

Some of these “wives’ tales” (especially the ones on honey, soup, catching cold, and feeling weather in your bones) very much line up with Chinese Medicine…love it when science confirms what CM has been saying for thousands of years. So cool.

Other areas of overlap abound, including more cutting-edge ones. My favorites are found in the fields of neuroplasticity and epigenetics.

Animanarchy
Animanarchy
1 year 11 months ago

I was surprised to see DXM mentioned in a post. Along with honey. “These are a few of my favourite things…”
I spent the last 11 weeks until Sunday living for free in an all-inclusive castle with room service (otherwise known as being imprisoned) so I haven’t had honey in a while, though a bit of DXM was in my property that I got back when I was let out so I got some more and had a blast the first day.

Janet
Janet
5 months 8 days ago
Kate
Kate
5 months 8 days ago

Due to fructose malabsorbtion issues I cannot eat a whole raw apple without getting terrible stomach cramps that can affect me for days. Would cooked apple pole give the same benefits?

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