From old wives’ tales dating back generations to your parents’ sworn upon family cures, everyone has their ‘go to’ household health remedies for tackling common ailments.
So, at the start of this year, Pharmacy Outlet decided to delve into this topic a little further – we commissioned an independent survey of more than 2,000 UK adults, asking them which common health remedies they have used and, moreover, whether or not they believe these actually work.
The results were fascinating. So much so, in fact, that the research was published in the Daily Mail, The Sun, The Scotsman and The I newspapers. But for those of you who missed it, you’re probably wondering what we found out.
Well, we uncovered that the most common household health remedy people across the UK rely on is gargling salty water to get rid of a sore throat – 56% of people have tried and, of those, 68% believe it works.
Some of the other most common tricks people have tried include sweating out a cold (47%); having a nightcap to help them sleep (44%); and “hair of the dog” to combat a hangover (36%). Meanwhile, a third of Britons (32%) even admit to eating carrots to improve their eyesight, but just 25% of those actually think it helps.
Turning to the more bizarre health remedies people have given a go, our research showed that 19% of the UK public have applied butter to burnt skin to ease the pain; 8% have slept in socks filled with onions to shake off a cold; and 7% of men said they have tried rubbing turmeric on their scalp to combat baldness.
When it comes to improving our health or ridding ourselves of common aches and pains, it’s clear that Britons are willing to put their faith in some quite strange practices. But it’s important they do not risk damaging their health further by doing so.
Hitesh Dodhia, Pharmacy Outlet’s Superintendent Pharmacist, had these words of advice: “While some of the common health remedies uncovered in our research have no scientific evidence to prove they work, many of them are relatively harmless. What’s more, it’s quite normal that the placebo effect associated with these methods can make people feel as though they’re improving their health.
“However, there are more serious consequences of relying on fictional cures. Firstly, using unproven household remedies should never supersede advice given by a medical professional, nor should it deter people from seeking the help of a pharmacist, GP or doctor.
“Moreover, some of these health remedies can actually do more harm than good – for example, a nightcap may help you fall asleep but can worsen the quality of your sleep, while ‘hair of the dog’ may ease the struggles of a hangover in the short-term, it will worsen the effects later on. Of course, both also will place extra strain on your liver. Additionally, it’s important to be very careful when putting olive oil in your ear or washing cuts in seawater; both remedies carry risk of infection, which is why we would advise against such methods.”
If you need any further advice about whether your ‘go to’ cures actually work, or to find out what medically approved methods could help combat your health problems, get in touch with Pharmacy Outlet today.