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The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Could These Remedies Really Stop the Hiccups?

Could These Remedies Really Stop the Hiccups?

People have had hiccups since the beginning of time. Here are some sure-fire cures passed down through the generations:

Pull your ring finger.
An early English remedy calls for pulling the ring finger of the hiccup-stricken person, the minute the hiccups seize the party.

Who is talking about you?
It was once believed that hiccups are caused by someone talking about you. If you guess who it is, the hiccups will stop.

There is a story about Aristophanes who had to make an after dinner speech at the home of another Athenian playwright some 500 years before Christ. As the moment approached, the nervous playwright got the hiccups.

He turned to another guest, a well-known physician and said. “Either you have to (hiccup) make my speech or cure (hiccup) my hiccups.”

The medic told him to hold his breath and drink some water. That failing, he next told him to tickle his nose with a feather adding, “If you sneeze once or twice even the most violent hiccup is sure to go.” Whether the doctor gave the speech is not known – but both cures are still stock remedies.

Another remedy was to terrify the person inflicted. Perhaps this one grew out of the fact that many primitive people believed that hiccups were caused by demons entering the person and that the only way to get rid of them was to scare them to death. Sometimes this method actually works.

In the Ozarks, the popular cure is to stand on. one leg and recite:
Hick-up. stick-up. lick-up. hick-up.” five times on the same breath. Other people simplify the prescription by merely holding the breathand count¬ing to ten, or holding the breath and swallowing seven times, or visualizing seven bald-headed men.

Sucking an egg is said to be a sure-fire cure for hiccups, as is drinking water from the far edge of the glass, or- saying the Lord’s Prayer backwards. These cures evidently are based on the old ruse of getting the person to concentrate on some¬thing so completely and whole¬heartedly different that he forgets the hiccups and they automatically disappear.

What works for you? Tell us at our forums.

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