Growing up, my immigrant family – particularly my mother and grandmother subscribed to certain beliefs and superstitions regarding maintaining one’s health, increasing brain power, and warding off sickness. Here’s my shortlist of their prescriptions, remedies, and warnings that I have rarely subscribed to and often defied.
1. Don’t leave your hair wet or else you’ll get a headache. I’ve often defied this rule as I prefer the au natural air-dried look and lack the patience and talent to craft a perfect blow dried and hair sprayed homage to Flock of Seagulls ala new wave offender Anderson.
2. Black sesame seed darkens your hair. I’d like to see Jim Jarmusch try that one.
3. Walnuts make you smarter. It’s because those nuts look like brains. But it doesn’t apply if your brain is in fact the size of a walnut. So what happens when you eat geoduck? Fellow offender, Roger - are you willing to put that one to the test?
4. Those herbal Cantonese soups with all sorts of ancient flora and fauna will add on ten years to your life, lower your blood pressure (which will be increased by your family anyways), and deter any ailments or toxins. I love those soups as they taste like they’ve been brewing for hundreds of years and have that total ‘umami’ briny aroma. But whether these soups should be recommended as the dietary WD-40 that should fix up any health dilemma, I have yet to find out.
5. Swallow’s nest (which is really the coagulated saliva of swallows mixed with tiny feathers used to bind together birds nests) is supposed to give you nice porcelain skin. Yeah, and it’s high in protein too right? I think I’ve heard that one before.
6. For the ladies, I’ve also heard that sleeping with your bra on will give you cancer. So for those who endure a hard night of partying and pass out in their clothes – just remember to undo that bra!
What old wives tales or remedies been rejected, tested, and/or worked for you?