Exploring the science behind time-honored traditional remedies

By Umurungi Gisele
On 13 December 2023 at 02:07

Has your mom ever advised you to lie prone (facing downward) when your stomach was hurting? Or if you’re blessed enough to have a grandmother, has she ever put a paper on your forehead with the intention of chasing away hiccups?

In a world where technology is transforming various aspects of our lives, from education to healthcare, it is not that easy to turn a blind eye to the simple traditional remedies passed down through generations.

This is why every time you experience a nosebleed, pouring cold water over your head comes as the first aid.

Though these simple actions gave an effective remedy, their healing mechanism stays a wonder of wonders! On this note, we’ll be unmasking the link between traditional remedies and the scientific healing mechanism.

The use of salt to heal wounds

You might have seen people applying table salt on the wound and wondered if that silly-like act really works. Interestingly, yes, it does. The scientific reason for this is that salt forces the water in cells to move out of the body. In case any bacteria contaminates the wound, it is forced out too. This helps to cleanse the wounds which in the end, promotes quick recovery.

Putting urine in the ear

While urine, as soon as peed, has been used in the ancient times to chase away insects from the ear, it has been claimed to be an effective therapy for ear infections. This is because urine contains urea which is known to have an effective antibacterial property.

Putting a wet paper on the forehead to treat hiccups

Does this sound so absurd? Well, I also thought so. But the funny yet real thing is that this really works. If you’ve ever heard how distraction is used to relieve the pain, it’s just the same. The only use of these papers is to divert the brain’s attention towards finding the new thing that is placed on the head. In that sense, the brain stops or reduces the number of hiccups.

Curing a headache with drinking water

There are numerous types and causes of headaches. However, the most common cause is dehydration (shortage of water). This happens in cases of crying, excessive workout, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. Drinking water will naturally cure your headache by rehydrating your body.

Curing a burn with sugar

You might have discerned that people tend to sprinkle sugar over a burn wound. And in the end, the wound definitely healed. This is because the granules of sugar can soak up any moisture (the main issue in burns) that allows bacteria to grow. Without bacterial infection, any wound tends to heal a lot quicker.

I am sure you can even create your own list of traditional remedies because they are numerous and vary with regions. However, though these ways of treatment have always given an effective feedback, it is always necessary to be cautious while doing things that concern your health. Because in the worst scenarios, your life might be endangered.

Drinking water is considered one of the remedies believed to relieve headaches. Photo Lyphe