Odd Home Remedies

3 Feb

It seems like it’s been a longer-than-normal and drier-than-average winter. My hands and lips are cracked, and every morning I wake up with a dry and crusty nose. (Apologies in advance – this post will get worse before it gets better.)

In fact, it’s been so dry I’ve woken with a bloody nose more than once, and more often than not these days, my Kleenex looks like it’s filled with Fruity Pebbles when I blow my nose. (Ewwww… there, I said it so you don’t have to.)

Anyway – all this nasal nonsense has bred a true appreciation for my Neti Pot. Not only does it help open up my sinuses, it provides me with a science experiment (featuring visible before-and-after results) that I can conduct ANY TIME I feel like grossing myself out. Which – not surprisingly – is fairly often.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with a Neti Pot, let me back up. A NetiPot looks like a small genie’s lamp and works by pouring salt water into one nostril, up through your sinuses and out your other nostril into a sink, if all goes well. It often *doesn’t* go well, and it’s easy to end up with a stream of water running down your neck. And did I mention the gobs of mucus and random chunks that dislodge in the process?

If it sounds revolting, well, it kind of IS. But let’s face it: a majority of the population reflexively checks the Kleenex after blowing their noses, so there’s also an element of fascination at play.

I’ve seen people develop the same dedicated obsession with ear candling, and I think it’s for the same reason. Yes, it might make you hear better, but the part they seem drawn to is the cutting open of the candle and examining all the crap that has been coaxed from their ears.

As a side note about ear candling: my friend Holly and I decided to try it a couple years ago. We’d each had a friend get professionally “candled” and both people swore by it. We were curious, so Holly somehow found ear candles, we Googled the instructions and commenced with our experiment.

Clearly there was wine involved if she let me stick this in her ear and light it.

The experiment itself was slightly terrifying. There’s just something unsettling about sticking something that’s on fire in another person’s ear. Holly was a good sport about it and lay there patiently while the flame crept increasingly closer to her ear; I kept trimming the ash off  as it burned down and silently prayed that nothing hot would fall down into her ear canal.

When we were done, I took the scissors and split the remainder of the candle up the middle so we could see what the heat had actually pulled out of her ear. The residue on the candle was *disgusting* – but much like a train wreck – was something we couldn’t stop examining.

At some point, I became curious. “How do we know that’s not just the bi-product of the candle wax reacting to the flame?” (See, I *am* a scientist’s daughter at heart.)

We burned a “control” candle without sticking it in anyone’s ear, then cut it open. The results: equally as disgusting as the candle Holly had used. Our conclusion: ear candling is bunk, save your money and don’t risk burning your ear drums.

As for the Neti Pot… I’m a believer. It may or may not lead to better breathing, but it definitely gets the junk out. And that’s all I really need it to do, because Fruity Pebbles belong in a bowl, not in my tissue.

2 Responses to “Odd Home Remedies”

  1. Holly February 3, 2010 at 12:16 pm #

    Apparently everything we do involves wine – but wine was definitely justifiable for this! Scariest process I’ve ever encountered to debunk a theory – but just as equally fun!

  2. EBR February 5, 2010 at 10:18 am #

    I cleaned Jackson’s ears out with a Q-tip yesterday. Was careful not to insert the Q-tip too far into his ear. Even just touching on the outer ear, the amount of wax build up after only 12 weeks of life was amazing.

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