Who Knew?: Say, do you know any good old wives’ tales?
by By LUCIE R. WILLSIE Associate Editor
Jan 13, 2013 | 420 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
An old wives tale is basically a legend, a proverb, a “myth” almost, in many cases.

Supposedly true, according to my research, are these time-honored old wives tales:

- Drinking warm milk makes you sleepy, but not because of the tryptophan in it, as in the infamous turkey slumber on Thanksgiving Day. It appears to be more psychologically soothing.

- An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Apparently, apples can help in cancer protection.

- Long, hot baths reduce sperm counts. Sperm like to be cool.

- If you are having a long labor with complications, you’re probably going to deliver a boy. Enough said.

- Carrots don’t exactly improve your eyesight, but they do help reduce the risk of getting macular degeneration.

- I’ve never heard about this one. Have a child, lose a tooth. It has something to do with the fact that when a woman is pregnant, she is more likely to raise her chances of getting gum disease, and thereby having a greater chance of losing a tooth. Who knew?

- Drinking cranberry juice helps reduce or keep away a bladder infection. Cranberries, according to a Harvard Medical Study, have properties in them that kill bacteria that tends to cling to the wall of the bladder. But, if you’re not crazy about the taste of cranberries, you can also opt for blackberry juice, if that is more to your liking.

- And the most favorite and time-honored wives’ tale of all: Chicken soup fights a cold. But here’s the skinny. While chicken soup doesn’t actually “cure” a cold, it does help get rid of some of the congestion that usually accompanies one. You see, a byproduct of chicken soup is the amino acid cysteine which is a kissin’ cousin to the antibiotic acetylcysteine.

Here are a few whose efficacy haven’t been quite as confidently confirmed, as yet, at any rate:

- Ice cream leads to nightmares.

- High heart rates lead to female babies.

- Don't swallow gum or it will stay in your stomach for seven years.

- Chocolate leads to acne. Good to know this one isn’t true, but would anybody really care?

- Eating the crusts of the bread in a sandwich makes your hair go curly or, for the guys, grows hair on your chest.

Here are a few more that may be true, may not, but have staunchly survived the ages:

- Sailors have believed in both the good and the bad luck of the infamous bird, the albatross. Dramatized in the Samuel Coleridge poem, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” a sailor slays an albatross and is beset with a tremendous amount of bad luck.

- Lighting three cigarettes with one match actually makes sound sense. It apparently started during World War I when it was considered bad luck with the soldiers, especially those in the trenches, to light three with one match, because by the third cigarette, a sniper would have easily been able to get his sights on his target.

- Counting crows seems to have been big entertainment back before iPads, computers and TVs. Depending upon the county, folks could get a mini fortune-telling reading by counting the crows around them. One crow meant some sort of bad luck. Two crows, good luck. Three crows, good health. Four, wealth. Five, an illness. And, sorry to say this, but six meant, well, you won’t have to worry about it any longer. It meant, you know what. Let me just say, you won’t be counting crows, or anything, anymore.

OK. I am at the end of today’s first installment about old wives’ tales. But I’ll put together more for next Sunday. Just don’t step on any cracks in the meantime, and we should all be OK. Till next week.