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Issue No 94
Spring 2003 
page 41

Help for Hiccups
Sure, they rank low among serious conditions. But that doesn't mean you need to put up with them. Why not give these little known herbal cures a try?

Karta Purkh
Singh Khalsa,
CD-N, AHG

Illustrations by:
Duane Bibby

 
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    L ooking for a sure-fire hiccup remedy? So were the famous Greek philosophers. Apparently, diaphragmatic spasms were among the weighty matters they debated more than 2,000 years ago. Plato describes a dialogue between the playwright Aristophanes and the physician Eryximachus dating back to about 400 BC. The playwright sought the physicianís help for his hiccups. "Let me recommend that you hold your breath," answered Eryximachus, "and if this fails, gargle with a little water; and if the hiccup still continues, tickle your nose with something and sneeze, and if you sneeze once or twice, even the most violent hiccup is sure to go."

     In my experience, most hiccup remedies donít stand up to their reputation. But over the years, I have collected several that do work, and work well. First, letís consider the anatomy behind the problem. Hiccups are abrupt involuntary spasms of the diaphragm. They occur when this muscle contracts repeatedly. The opening between your vocal cords (the glottis) then slams shut, generating the hic sound. This can irritate the vagus nerve, which passes from the brain to the stomach, causing hiccups.

 
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