Myth busting strange health remedies

Myth busting strange health remedies
Salt water

We’re all familiar with the bizarre health remedies our parents and grandparents were adamant would cure us if we were feeling ill when growing up – now we’re using them on our own children and grandchildren, but do they actually work?

From sweating out a cold, to using seawater to clean out a cut, a survey from has revealed what weird and wonderful health cures us Brits do to make us feel better, with expert advice on which actually work and which are a myth.  


If you have ever cut yourself at the seaside as a child, you were probably sent back in the sea to clean the cut out but in fact, despite what 80 per cent of us think, this doesn’t work. There’s a lot of bacteria in sea water which won’t help a cut at all. You’re better off waiting until you get home and using pure salt water to clean out a cut.

Saltwater has another great use if you’re suffering from a sore throat. Gargling some fresh saltwater can provide some pain relief for your throat, and can also prevent a sore throat from worsening as salt water can draw fluids out of tissues.

Another cure for a cold that 60 per cent of us Brits believe works is sweating out a cold. Whether it’s a spicy curry, hot bath or wrapping up warm, there is unfortunately very little evidence this myth can cure a cold. And if your cold comes with earache, try using olive oil to cure the pain. This is not a myth and two or three drops in your ear can help to remove earwax.


Most of us enjoy a little drink from time to time, however, we all know how harmful alcohol can be for our health. It’s often thought if you’re struggling to get to sleep, a nightcap will help you drift off into a good night’s sleep. But, whilst you’ll probably fall asleep quicker, the alcohol can disrupt the quality of your sleep. And if you’ve ever tried the ‘hair of the dog’ trick to cure your hangover, it may perk you up, but you’re actually making yourself feel worse in the long run.

We’ve all been bitten by insects on holiday, and there’s nothing more annoying than the constant itchiness of a bite. If you’ve ever been told to rub lemon juice onto a bite, it will work to relieve the itching, but reliving the pain of sunburn however is more difficult. Whilst we’re all aware creams such as after sun and aloe vera, there are some strange burn remedies that are a myth, such as butter.


Despite what 48 per cent of us think, rubbing butter on a burn to sooth the pain will actually make it worse, as it slows down the release of heat from the skin. A slightly rarer occurrence on holiday is getting stung by a jellyfish and we’re all aware of the well-known, yet slightly disgusting cure of urinating on the sting to relieve the pain, with 57 per cent believing it actually works. Luckily, this isn’t the case, as there is no evidence to suggest urine helps the pain in anyway. Vinegar however is thought to be a much better option.