Monday, November 19, 2007

Phil's Hiccup Cure

I had the hiccups tonight, and I resorted to a hiccup cure I have been using ever since Philip Kendall taught it to me in 1973.

You put a standard issue table-knife in a glass of water and drink all the water leaving the knife in place. The knife somehow forces you to hold your throat in the right way to cure the hiccups. Since Phil taught me the cure, I have learned over the last 30 years or so, that you don't actually need the knife, but you have to drink the water as if the knife were there. . .you do a sort of chugging action on the water, and drink it in one fell swoop.

I don't know if this was a Kendall Home Remedy, or if he learned it in college, but it works (for me at least) 100% of the time.

As it turns out, the internet tells me that the knife cure is not unknown, or just a Kendall family home remedy. It actually appears in many lists of cures, including this comprehensive list of hiccup home remedies....
Digital rectal massage (see also).
Have a conversation with someone about something unrelated to the hiccups.
The rest of these cures are listed on a separate page, since they don't work if the person with hiccups knows about them.

Cures that involve a tool, prop, or chemical (not ingested)
Hic-cup *
(X) Chew gum.
Take a hot bath.
VNS Pulse Duo *
Jump out of a plane.
Breathe slowly into your shirt.
(X) Read about hiccups online. :)
Immerse your face in ice water.
Balance something on your nose.
Breathe through a wet washcloth.
Smell the fumes from a lighted candle.
Put ice bags on both sides of your throat.
Breathe into (and out of) a paper bag for a while.
Massage the back of the roof of your mouth with a cotton swab.
Spray ethyl chloride along the sternomastoid muscles on both sides.
Hang up side down on your bed and let the blood rush to your head.
Briefly stimulate of the posterior pharyngeal wall with a Yankaeur sucker.
Stand on a chair in a crowded room and say, “I have the hiccups!” loudly.
Touch your uvula gently with the handle of a spoon (breathe steadily to keep from gagging).
(For a baby with hiccups) Press a quarter coin lightly in the diaphragm area for a few seconds.
Lie down on your back with your mouth wide open; let your head hang over the edge of a couch or bed; breathe deeply and slowly.
Light a match, blow it out, then put the tip in a little bit of water (sulfur in the match calms the throat). Variants: put the match out by touching it to the water, use a whole book of matches, drink the water after dousing the match(es).
Slide a well-greased length of thin, flexible rubber tubing through one nostril to the point where it just barely touches the back of the throat (be careful not to hurt the sensitive lining of the nose). (This is known as "nasopharyngeal airway insertion," and is believed to work by stimulating the vagus nerve.)
Sit in a chair where you can lean far back, such as a recliner; close your eyes; tilt your head back as far as possible; open your mouth wide; inhale as much air as possible, and visualize a hook in the lower part of your throat and a ring farther up (that the hook could catch onto), then inhale even farther and visualize bringing the hook up and hooking it into the ring (see diagram courtesy Tom Pennington).
Cures that involve drinking some water
(X) Drink three big gulps of cold water.
(X) Pinch your nose shut while you drink water.
Gargle (this can also be done with mouthwash).
Take a big sip of water, bend over and swallow it.
Drink 9 to 11 small sips of water in rapid succession.
Drink a glass of water while someone presses your ears closed.
Drink two glasses of water slowly, at about half your normal rate.
Inhale deeply, swallow water, then exhale; repeat this three times.
(X) Drink water from the far side of a glass (so you're drinking upside-down).
Breathe in as deeply as possible, drink a glass of water while exhaling, then burp.
Drink water slowly from a glass covered with a napkin, hanky or other fine cloth.
Drink as much water as you can out of a glass glass of water with a metal spoon in it.
Hold your hands over your head, and have someone feed you a (10 oz.) glass of water.
Take a big gulp of water, lie down, and swallow the water while holding your nose shut.
Take 26 small sips of water, breathing between each one, and not focusing on the hiccups.
Take 15 - 20 swallows of the water while holding your breath with your nose pinched closed.
Drink some water while focusing your attention on a dot or other feature on the bottom of the glass.
Quickly drink eight ounces of water through a straw while sealing both ears by pushing on the tragus.
While applying pressure to the inside of the ear with your little finger, slowly take eight gulps of water.
Put a spoon in a glass of water; drink the water with the handle of the spoon resting on your forehead.
Put a knife in a glass (one made of glass) half full of water; drink all the water leaving the knife in place.
Hold your breath for ten seconds; then, without taking another breath, drink water for ten more seconds.
With your neck bent backward, hold your breath for a count of ten. Exhale immediately and drink a glass of water.
While holding a thin object (such as a pencil, chopstick, or straw) between your lips, drink a tall cold glass of water.
Sing along to your favorite CD while standing on your head and drinking a glass of water and wait for the hiccups to stop.
Plug your ears with your thumbs, squeeze your nostrils closed with your pinkies, and take several small sips of water from a glass.
SLURP a small amount of water from a full glass. (The SLURPING is the secret as it is the mix of air and water that stops the hiccup.)
Turn your left wrist clockwise until your palm is facing outward; from that position, pick up a glass of water and take three sips (over your wrist).
Take a big gulp of any beverage; while holding it in your mouth, massage your temples with your middle and index fingers; while massaging, swallow.
(X) Hold your breath, pinch your nose closed, swallow repeatedly from a glass of water until you have a drowning sensation, then take a deep breath and relax.
Take three slow, deep breaths; hold the third breath while drinking a big glass of water through a paper towel for as long as you can or until the glass is empty.
Take eight sips of cool water without breathing; on the ninth sip take a deep breath (from the diaphragm); let it out slowly; wait a few seconds; repeat if necessary.
Put a knife in a glass of water (blade end into the glass); drink the water without breathing, while keeping the handle of the knife constantly pressing against your face.
Hold your left ear with your right hand and your right ear with your left hand and pinch the lobes slightly, have a friend hold a glass of water to your mouth and drink it.
Cover a glass of water with a coaster leaving a crack just large enough to drink the water through; take a deep breath then exhale completely; drink all the water without taking another breath.
Standing but relaxed (leaning against a counter helps you relax), drink a full glass of warm water while concentrating; breathe slowly if necessary, but do not stop drinking to breathe; repeat if necessary.
Take a mouthful of water from a glass, tilt your head back, hold your nose, and swallow; repeat this, without stopping, as quickly as possible, until you've done it at five times in a row without hiccuping.
Put a spoon in an 8 ounce glass of water such that 1.5 inches of the spoon extends; place your tongue between the glass and the spoon so that the spoon presses on the top of your tongue; drink the water.
Fasten the spoon end of a teaspoon between the tines of a fork; place the handle end of the fork into a glass of water and rest the handle end of the spoon against your temple; drink (sip) from the glass of water.
With your mouth close to a stream of water flowing from a tap, use a narrow object (e.g., a pencil) to flick the water towards your mouth as fast as possible while drinking (in small gulps) as much of the water as possible.
Fill a plastic cup with water and place it on a table at around waist level; put your thumbs on your earlobes, bend down and pick up the cup by the rim with your pinkies; stand up straight, drink the entire glass, and put it back down.
Put a glass of water (half to three quarters full) on the floor of your kitchen or bathroom; get on your knees and bend down to the glass; place your top lip on the far side of the glass and tip the glass to start drinking; drink until your hiccups go away or you run out of water.
Take a deep breath; exhale as much as you can; slowly drink water from a glass until you cannot hold your breath anymore; stop drinking and start breathing again. (One reader suggests that the water be at room temperature, and that you drink the whole glass rather than drinking slowly.)
Intersperse drinking with breathing so that each inhalation and exhalation is interrupted by three or more swallows (that is, inhale a little, drink a little, inhale a little more, drink a little, etc., then exhale a little, drink a little, exhale some more, drink a little, etc.). The hiccups will stop immediately, but keep going for one minute or for a period greater that the period of your hiccup, whichever is longer.

Cures that involve eating or drinking something besides (or including) water (but not including drugs or alcohol)

Eat kim-chee.
Drink vinegar.
Eat a popsicle.
Eat a dill pickle.
Eat a marshmallow.
Swallow dry bread.
Swallow crushed ice.
Chew on mint leaves.
Drink dill pickle juice.
Drink bitters and soda.
Eat a spoonful of mustard.
Eat pickled habanero peppers.
Eat two tablespoonsful of honey.
Drink milk and eat peanut butter.
(X) Swallow a teaspoon of sugar.
Eat honey (but do not feed to infants).
(X) Eat a tablespoon of peanut butter.
Drink a shot of lemon (or lime) juice.
Suck on a hard candy (may take two).
Eat a Slim Jim and drink a Dr. Pepper.
Eat a really sour candy (e.g. Warhead).
Eat a teaspoonful of Damson Preserves.
Drink ginger tea with honey for 10 minutes.
Put sugar under your tongue and hold it there.
Drink any beverage until you can't drink any more.
Drink a shot of lime juice with Tabasco sauce added.
Eat a lemon or lemon wedge (as if it were an orange).
Quickly drink a cup of room temperature Coca-Cola.
Drink half a glass of pop and then make yourself burp.
Put bitters on a lemon wedge and then eat the lemon wedge.
Slowly eat a mandarin orange, sucking it against the soft palate.
Swallow a teaspoon full of sugar and strong vinegar in one gulp.
Take small, quick bites of something dense that is cold or frozen.
Drink a couple of swigs of white vinegar straight out of the bottle.
Swallow a spoonful of chocolate pudding (as if it were medicine).
Drink some soda (drink a second swallow if it doesn't work on the first one).
Squeeze a lime into a shot (not just a couple of drops) of bitters; down it quickly.
Drink tomato juice (especially if the hiccups were caused by eating things with a high pH)
Let a tablespoon of sugar held between your tongue and the roof of your mouth dissolve.
Take five fast, deep breaths; after the last inhale, take three sips of 7-up without exhaling.
Sprinkle a lemon wedge with sugar, top it with 1/3 teaspoon of bitters, bite into it and suck it dry.
Put a spoonful of sugar in front of your lips, inhale and suck in the sugar so that it hits the back of your throat.
Swallow three or more tablespoonsful of sugar (or Splenda), letting as little as possible dissolve in your mouth.
Drink one drop of peppermint essential oil mixed in a small glass of water (e.g. a shot glass); repeat if necessary.
Put sugar under your tongue and hold it there; if that doesn't work, breathe in, hold five seconds, breathe out, hold five seconds, repeat.
Put a heaping tablespoonful of JIF creamy peanut butter in your mouth; swallow all of it (or as much as you can without gagging) at once.
Immediately after placing a heaping teaspoon of sugar in your mouth, sip water slowly without inhaling for as long as you can; then stand relaxed.
(This from a bartender) Two drops of bitters; 2 oz. (2 shots) of sweetened lime juice; and fill glass (8 oz.) with soda water; drink in one continuous motion; wait 30-60 seconds.
Pour a packet of Sweet & Low into the palm of your hand and lick it, bite into a freshly cut lemon wedge, and swallow a teaspoonful of Angostura bitters. (The contributor, a bartender, asked that the name "T's Lick, Toss & Bite but Hick No More" be included with this cure.)
Eat a dill pickle while you lie on your back with your mouth wide open; let your head hang over the edge of a couch or bed; breathe deeply and slowly.

Drugs, herbs, and drinks that are reputed to cure hiccups

Smelling salts.
Ignatia amara.
Shot of red cordial.
Magnesia phosphoricum.
Drink Alka Selzer in water.
Alcohol-free extract of catnip and fennel.
Take anything that would make you sneeze.
A shot of bourbon followed by several forced burps.
Pepto-Bismol Chewables (take two, cherry-flavored).
Semen Arecae (seed of Areca catechu L., family Palmae)
Fructus Aurantii (fruit of Citrus aurantium L., family Rutaceae)
Put an Alka Selzer, salt, and lemon juice in a glass of water; drink.
Semen Allii Tuberosi (seed of Allium tuberosum Rottler, family Liliaceae)
Radix Aucklandiae (root of Aucklandia lappa Decne., family Compositae)
Lidocaine drops in the ears combined with sleep-inducing cough medicine.
Take repeated small sips of a full beer with a short pause between sips (a second or less).
Rhizoma Polygonati Odorati (rhizome of Polygonatum odoratum [Mill.] Druce, family Liliaceae)
Radix Ophiopogonis (root tuber of Ophiopogon japonicus [Thunb.] Ker-Gawl., family Liliaceae)
Quercus e glandibus (homeopathic remedy derived from acorns, manufactured by Schwabe, Germany).
Fructus Crataegi (fruit of Crataegus pinnatifida Bunge, and C. cuneata Sieb. et Zucc., family Rosaceae)
Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae (rhizome of Atractylodis Macrocephala Koidz, family Compositae)
Various prescription drugs, including Amphetamine, Amyl nitrite, Baclofen (lioresal), Haldol (haloperidol), Reglan (metaclopromide), Dilantin (Phenytoin, diphenylhydantoin), Orphenadrine, Ketamine, Carbamezapine, Reglan (metoclopramide), Quinidine, Atropine, Reversol (Tensilon, Enlon, Edrophonium).

Cures that are known to be hazardous

(X) Smoke a cigarette.
Thorazine (chlorpromazine)
Threateningly point a gun at the subject
Have someone deliver a swift punch to your abdomen.


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