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Issue No 94
Spring 2003 
page 43

Normal hiccups are not a medical emergency. But if your hiccups last for more than three hours, alter your sleep, hinder eating, or come with harsh abdominal pain or spitting up of blood, seek medical attention
i mmediately.

Mothers-to-be and their doctors have noted that even fetuses aren’t immune to bouts of the hiccups.

Herbalist Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa, CD-N, AHG, is a
contributing editor to The Herb Quarterly. His article “Herbs for Heart Health” appeared in our Spring 2002 issue.

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acupressure treatment. A 70-year-old patient suffered uncontrollable hiccups throughout the day for three months. He was treated with Korean hand acupuncture at points K-F3 (located on the palm side of the hand in the middle of the distal phalanx of the fifth finger) and K-A12 (on the palm above the third metacarpal bone). After two tries, the 30-second treatment quelled the hiccups completely thereafter. Here’s another: Pull the thumbs in towards the palm and massage the temples. Then, with a fingertip, lightly press the tip of the nose.

     Rochester, New York-acupuncturist Ric Warren applies pressure to the inside of the wrist (about two inches above the crease) or about four inches above the belly button. Warren claims that the pressure points adjust the “rebellious liver qi” or energy, that causes a swarm of symptoms, including nausea and hiccuping.

Sweet relief. “The best method,” opines Matthew Wood, an herbalist and author from Minneapolis, “is to take a tablespoonful of pure white sugar. I have used this method personally,” he says, “and have found that it works about nine out of ten times within the first three hiccups. In short, I consider white sugar to be a specific for one thing only: the hiccup.” A study in The New England Journal of Medicine verified the sugar treatment. Sugar was beneficial for 19 out of 20 patients, some of whom had been suffering for as long as six weeks. Ayurveda offers a similar suggestion: Swallow one teaspoon of honey with one teaspoon of castor oil.
So what’s the final ruling on hiccups? “Cures” abound, but only a few seem clearly beneficial. While not a catastrophic event, hiccups that won’t come to a halt sure present an annoyance. Gather a repertoire of several tactics that tend to work for you, and keep them on hand for the next time you find yourself besieged.

Hiccups: A Case Study

My “secret weapon” for this pesky problem is one that I learned from my mentor, and it’s worked countless times. When you have a spasm in your chasm, mix up four ounces of plain yogurt with two teaspoons of salt. Eat this delicious morsel like it was gourmet pudding and hiccups will take to their heels. I had a chance to observe the hiccup miracle cure in action at the Tucson, Arizona, holistic hospital where I headed the nutritional therapy department. Arriving with his wife, Eduardo announced that he’d been hiccuping every five minutes for two years. I suggested that he eat the salty yogurt and relax in the waiting room. Eduardo’s hiccuping stopped for the first time in two years, never to return. Not quite knowing what to make of the blessed relief, the patient moseyed out. But two days later he returned, entire family in tow, with a full enchilada dinner, complete with trimmings, for the staff. A follow-up call verified that Eduardo remained hiccup-free a month later.

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