by P. Gough on March 11th, 2010 at 7:00 am
Whenever I had hiccups as a little girl, my mother would give me a spoonful of honey. She never understood why people were always looking for hiccup cures, as the spoonful of honey worked every time. I never thought much about my mom’s magic hiccup remedy until someone on twitter asked me for a cure. I gave her my mother’s advice, but I was nervous about the results. I hadn’t tried the remedy in years and I’ve never heard of it from anyone else. Well, luckily it worked for my fellow tweep!
The “Why” Behind the “How?”
I began to wonder why it worked, so I did a little research and found that this old folk remedy actually has some scientific credence to it. A hiccup is defined as the involuntary contraction of the diaphragm; basically you have a sharp intake of air and the vocal cords open and close quickly, causing the ‘hic’ sound. Most hiccups are caused by an irritation of either the vagus or phrenic nerves (located in the head, neck or chest).
In order to stop the hiccup, you need to relax the nerve or remove the irritant that is causing the spasm. The reason honey works is because it eases the vagus nerve and counteracts the irritant. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for everyone, so I’ve listed a few other common hiccup cures. Please feel free to add your own in the comment section!
Common Hiccup Cures
- A spoonful of honey
- A spoonful of sugar
- A bit of fresh ginger
- Sucking on a lemon
- Eating ice
- Drinking a glass of water
- Holding your breath for 10 seconds
- Breathing into a paper bag
- Having someone scare you