In India, chances are, for every health issue you face, there’s a home remedy that will supposedly cure you. Whether it’s a fever or a pimple, there are multiple treatments professed by various zealous people. But are they all old wives’ tales or are they backed by science? We ran some common, popular beliefs by experts and this is what they had to say.
1) Salt water gargles can ease a sore throat
“This is proven to actually work. If done as a preventive measure, it can also reduce risk of upper respiratory tract infection by 40%. It creates a high salt barrier in your throat and pulls out fluid from tissues. Salt washes away viruses or bacteria and has anti-septic properties. So, it can provide respite from inflamed mucus,” says Dr Abhishek Subhash, General Physician, Bhatia Hospital, Mumbai.
2) You can sweat out a cold
“If you have a cold or a fever, you are going to end up losing a lot of water and fluids anyway. And if you aren’t going to replenish it, you can make matters worse. In fact, if you have a cold, you should hydrate well, and also consume electrolytes,” says Dr Abhishek.
3) Eat carrots to improve your eyesight
“Carrots contain Vitamin E in the form of carotene. For good eyesight, it’s a good idea to drink carrot juice, especially during winter. This is beneficial for all age groups,” says Ushakiran Sisodia, dietician at Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital, Mumbai.
4) Drink aerated drinks to get relief from acidity
“If you have acidity, it’s important to treat the root cause. For instant relief, forget the soda and have a glass of half portion milk and half water, with ice in it. Also, avoid spicy food for the next two to three days. You can also eat a banana or apple for immediate cure,” says Sisodia.
5) Walking barefoot on grass is good for your eyes
“There is no correlation between the two,” clarifies Dr Abhishek.
“Basil leaves have anti-inflammatory properties and are good for digestion. Gas is usually caused by indigestion. Eating basil leaves is not a standalone cure but it helps in the long run. They feature prominently in the Mediterranean diet, which is one of the healthiest in the world,” says Dr Abhishek.
7) Avoid curd if you have asthma
“Doctors advise asthma patients to avoid cold food so they do not consume curd as well. But they can very well consume half-set curd. Just set the curd to culture for around 4-5 hours and you can have it,” shares Sisodia.
8) To bring down fever, apply damp washcloths on your forehead
“We do this as practicing physicians. It brings down the body temperature and is safe for children as well as adults, so this one is right,” says Dr Abhishek.
9) Apply olive oil on nails if they keep breaking
“If your nails keep breaking, it’s essential to correct deficiencies. If your nails are dry, you can apply olive oil to lubricate them, so this is not totally wrong,” says Sisodia.
10) Clamp down a pencil between your jaws to cure a headache
“There’s no science behind this. Migraines can often be psychological or stress-induced, so it may be better to give yoga or meditation a shot instead,” says Dr Abhishek.