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5 Crazy Cures that Actually Work

5 Crazy Cures that Actually Work

Urban legend-type remedies get proven with peer-reviewed research.

cure, food, medicine, traditional, seaweed, seawater, apple, silver, ginger, cure, sinus, metabolism, motion sickness


1 ~ Seawater (cures sinus congestion)

After seeing several commercials for the brand-spanking-new nasal congestion relief product known as Hydrasense, espousing the effectiveness of seawater on sinus afflictions, I decided to find out if actual peer-review concurs in any way to these claims. Turns out there is some agreement, in studies from Slapak et al. and Berjis et al.. It is perhaps important to note that seawater inhalation or intake is only, in any way, effective against nasal congestion.  Now, however, it’s not just sailors who are testifying to the effectiveness of living near the sea anymore.  This one is science-approved.

2 ~ Seaweed (for a healthy metabolism)

Heard this recently on the Alex Jones radio show.  Not specifically the seaweed, in and of itself, but the high level of elemental iodine it contains does the trick. Iodine is said to be an ‘elixir’ of sorts for a healthy thyroid, and by extension metabolism and other functions controlled by the thyroid. Peer-review also concurs with these claims – and the decades of real-life application of iodized salt effective in stopping goitre in its tracks. The dissertation of Stefan Peterson at Uppsala University, as well as Zava & Zava’s study and a very old study of Hans G. Schlumberger prove that atomic iodine, (NOT molecular iodine, I2, that’s poisonous!), may be one of the most important elements the body needs. This is because the thyroid, which regulates metabolism and immunity, uses copious amounts of it to synthesize the thyroid hormones that carry out that work of the thyroid gland.  Deficiency leads to mental retardation and poor metabolism, among other things.

If you’re not in handy supply of seaweed, fret not.  Healthaliciousness made a handy list of more attainable foods that have been shown to contain some iodine, like baked potato with peel, milk and fish sticks.

3 ~ An apple a day (keeps the doctor away)

Ever heard this before?  Turns out there’s some real truth to the legend. A study of Boyer and Liu in 2004 shows that regularly eating an apple apparently helps reduce the risk of cancer, regulates cholesterol, puts a damper on many diseases, and is a great source of antioxidants.  Though apples won’t keep you from your regular doctor’s check-ups, they’ll be sure to help keep away the common cold.

4 ~ Silver

Doesn’t just kill werewolves, but is also effective against harmful bacteria and fungi. Many studies, including that of Thirumurugan & Dhanaraju and Kim et al., suggest that silver’s antibiotic capabilities are best applied as silver nanoparticles onto bandages, dressings, etc.  It turns out that many hospitals in Western nations use this form of silver to line their bandages and respiration machines to prevent infection by bacteria and fungi of patients.  Research also points out that silver is not a cure-all, nor is it an essential element for the body, though one can ingest any amount of silver with very little consequence.

Silver’s effect on werewolves remains unknown, however…

5 ~ Ginger (a sailor’s best friend)

Mythbusters approved, peer-review also confirms ginger root’s amazing ability to settle the stomach and stave off the side-effects of motion sickness.  It’s what Phil Rasmussen and Nanthakomon & Pongrojpaw show in their published studies. On top of all the people who use ‘ginger pills’ to combat their symptoms, and sailors who’ve used ginger root for centuries, there are also brands like Canada Dry ginger ale now adding actual ginger to their products for that desired stomach-easing effect.

Maybe not an odd antidote, but likely not-well-known in popular culture.



Photo: Flickr,  Squirmelia

Slapak I, Skoupá J, Strnad P, & Horník P (2008). Efficacy of isotonic nasal wash (seawater) in the treatment and prevention of rhinitis in children. Archives of otolaryngology–head & neck surgery, 134 (1), 67-74 PMID: 18209140

Nezamoddin Berjis, Seyyed Mehdi Sonbolastan, Seyyed Hanif Okhovat, Ali Asghar Narimani, & Jaleh Razmjui (2011). Normal Saline Versus Hypertonic 3% Saline: It’s Efficacy in Non-Acute Rhinosinusitis Iranian Journal of Otorhinolaryngology

Zava TT, & Zava DT (2011). Assessment of Japanese iodine intake based on seaweed consumption in Japan: A literature-based analysis. Thyroid research, 4 PMID: 21975053

Boyer J, & Liu RH (2004). Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits. Nutrition journal, 3 PMID: 15140261

G. Thirumurugan and M. D. Dhanaraju (2011). Silver Nanoparticles:
Real Antibacterial Bullets Antimicrobial Agents DOI: 10.5772/32450

Jun Sung Kim, DVM, PhD,a Eunye Kuk, MS,b Kyeong Nam Yu, MS,a Jong-Ho Kim, MS,g, Sung Jin Park, BS,a Hu Jang Lee, DVM, PhD,c So Hyun Kim, DVM, PhD,d, Young Kyung Park, DVM, MS,d Yong Ho Park, DVM, PhD,d, Cheol-Yong Hwang, DVM, PhD,e Yong-Kwon Kim, PhD,f Yoon-Sik Lee, PhD,g, Dae Hong Jeong, PhD,b,, & Myung-Haing Cho, DVM, PhD (2007). Antimicrobial effects of silver nanoparticles Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine DOI: 10.1016/j.nano.2006.12.001

Nanthakomon T, & Pongrojpaw D (2006). The efficacy of ginger in prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting after major gynecologic surgery. Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand = Chotmaihet thangphaet, 89 Suppl 4 PMID: 17725149

Phil Rasmussen (2011). Ginger: Zingiber officinale Roscoe, Zingiberaceae JOURNAL OF PRIMARY HEALTH CARE

cure, food, medicine, traditional, seaweed, seawater, apple, silver, ginger, cure, sinus, metabolism, motion sickness

Jeffrey Daniels

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