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Natural Remedies And Simple Tricks To Stop Hiccups

Hiccups are produced when the diaphragm muscles start to spasm involuntarily. The strange little hiccup sound can come and go anytime and at unexpected moments. Several factors cause hiccups such as eating too fast, eating spicy foods, drinking alcohol and stress.

The diaphragm is a flat muscle between the chest and stomach. It moves downward and allows the lungs to fill the air for breathing in and moves upwards to force out air from the lungs. When diaphragm gets irritated due to some factors, it forcefully moves backwards, allowing a lot of air to suck through the throat thus, hitting the vocal card that producing 'hic' sound.

There are many home remedies and a list of tricks to get rid of hiccups. Some home remedies are scientifically proven while others are just backed by theories and anecdotal evidence. Take a look at some popular home remedies which are effective for hiccups.

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1. Water

Drinking water is the first thing a person does to get rid of hiccups. It treats the irritation of the diaphragm and helps the muscles relax, eventually making it to return to its normal process. Though it is a convenient method, its effectiveness is uncertain in case of serious hiccups. [1]

What to do: Bend down through your waist and sip water from a glass or cup.

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2. Honey

The amazing benefits of honey are known to humankind for centuries. It is used in the management of many diseases like cancer, respiratory disorders and neurological problems. Even for simple ailments like hiccups, fatigue, throat infection and dizziness, honey plays the role of a therapeutic very effectively. [2]

What to use: Take a tsp of honey in the throat. Allow it to sit for 5-10 seconds and then swallow.

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3. Cocoa powder

It's usually the brain, not the diaphragm that causes hiccups as the signal for pulling itself more backwards is send by the prior. There are no proven facts that cocoa powder treats hiccups, but a theory says that eating cocoa powder or chocolate during the time, distracts the brain from hiccupping and shift to the overwhelmedness of chocolates.

What to do: Eat a spoonful of cocoa powder when you start hiccupping.

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4. Sweets

Sugar or sweet items help to stimulate the vagus nerve and help get rid of hiccups in a go. Vagus nerve is a longest of the 12 cranial nerves that run from the brain to the abdomen, including the face and thorax. [3]

What to do: Have a sweet item or take a spoonful of sugar and swallow.

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5. Vinegar

Vinegar helps stimulate the uvula or posterior nasopharynx. The uvula is a fleshy hanging organ located just above the throat. The sour taste of the vinegar stimulates it and stops hiccups. [3]

What to do: Pour a drop of the vinegar in your tongue and see the results.

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6. Peanut butter

Eating peanut butter is among the effective and less hazardous methods to treat hiccups. Its effectiveness is, however, uncertain in treating serious hiccups but some anecdotal evidence say that the thickness of peanut butter increases the movement of teeth and tongue, thus distracting the brain with its texture and sweet flavour. [2]

What to do: Have a spoonful of peanut butter and chew it slowly.

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7. Ice

Drinking Ice or cold water also helps stimulate the vagus nerve. It calms down the nerve and treats irritation of the diaphragm. Some theories say that ice helps the mind to distract itself to the coldness and in the way, stops hiccups.

What to do: Either keep a cube of ice in your mouth for a few minutes or make a bag filled with ice and keep it below your chest, where the diaphragm is present.

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8. Lemon

Treating hiccups with lemon is known as ‘bartender's hiccup cure'. Lemon stimulates the glottis, a part of the pharynx and blocks the nerves involved in hiccups. [4]

What to do: Chew a lemon slice for a few minutes. If unable to do so, add a pinch of salt or sugar to balance the sour taste.

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9. Cardamom Powder

Cardamom or ‘elaichi' powder has muscle-relaxing properties. It helps relieve the annoying hiccups by alleviating the involuntary muscle spasms of the diaphragm. The anti-spasmodic property of cardamom also helps in the same. [5]

What to do: Boil a cup of water and add cardamom powder to it. Allow it to cool a bit and drink.

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10. Ginger

The anti-inflammatory property of ginger help in treating hiccups in no time. It helps relax the diaphragm muscles, and also helps with digestion if overeating is the cause for the same.

What to do: Put a small piece of ginger on one side of your mouth. Suck its juice slowly.

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11. Ghee

Ghee is commonly available in almost every house. It's used in traditional medicines and Indian cuisines for centuries. The softness and buttery texture of ghee provides a soothing effect to the diaphragm and treats hiccups.

What to do: Put a tsp of ghee in the throat and leave it for some time. Swallow it after some time.

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12. Chamomile tea

Chamomile tea has anti-spasmodic compounds that help in relaxing muscles of the diaphragm and bringing it back to normal. It is a natural muscle relaxant therapy.

What to do: Brew a warm cup of chamomile tea and drink

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Other Tricks To Get Rid Of Hiccups

  • Eat slowly by chewing foods properly.
  • Try to cough out if hiccups are caused due to overeating or fast eating.
  • Sniff pungent, bitter or sour food items like wine.
  • Take a long deep breath and hold for 10 seconds. Then take a small one of 5 seconds. Repeat.
  • Run up in the stairs as it helps to bring the diaphragm back to normal.
  • Breathe in a paper bag as it increases the carbon dioxide level in the blood, making the diaphragm contact more to let more oxygen in.
Story first published: Saturday, May 30, 2020, 18:00 [IST]
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