Leader comment: The wisdom of '˜old wives'

Most of us have heard of '˜home remedies' for a variety of ailments, dismissing some as nonsense while insisting others are true.

Onions in bedsocks is not an effective cold remedy (Picture: SWNS)
Onions in bedsocks is not an effective cold remedy (Picture: SWNS)

Why anyone would come up with the idea of putting onions in bedsocks to deal with a cold is hard to fathom.

But if someone you trusts swears by it, such a bizarre treatment may be hard to resist, and then the placebo effect comes into play.

So it is good that experts periodically warn against those that could be harmful or simply a waste of time.

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We should all put our faith in science, rather than handed-down stories based on little more than fairy tales.

However, it is also interesting that some home remedies – like using lemon juice on an insect bite – actually do have a beneficial effect. There can be wisdom in the words of the much-disparaged ‘old wives’ after all, it seems.

Historians once ignored the oral histories of many cultures, insisting that unless something was written down, it couldn’t be true. Latterly there has been an acceptance that such traditional stories can contain useful elements of truth.

But before you pee on a friend stung by a jellyfish, perhaps check with an expert.