Over 60s share which ‘old wives tales’ they believe to be true

Mar 25, 2023
Old wives tales, while unfounded, still have a lot of people believing them. Source: Getty

We all know an old wives tale or two, usually passed down to us from generation to generation and despite the lack of scientific evidence, many people still hold on to these beliefs as truths, swearing they actually work.

From sipping on chicken soup to rubbing lavender oil on your temples, we’ve all heard of them. But, do these remedies actually work?

Taking to the online community of Redditone curious user asked seniors: “What ‘Old Wives Tales’ do you believe are actually true?”


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A post shared by Aben Denstuyu (@aben.denstuyu)

While many shared their old wives’ tales on remedies for cuts and scrapes, one particular theory was popular amongst the over 60s.

“Salt water is a cure all. Whether you have blood poisoning from a cut or a sore throat it is the best. Also a spoonful of whiskey for a sore throat. It probably kills germs and gives you a happy glow,” one user wrote.

This belief that applying salt to a wound can help promote healing and prevent infection has been a popular old wives tale for centuries, likely due to its antimicrobial properties.

Another popular tale for curing illness was soup, but not just any soup!

“Chicken soup with lots of garlic cures what ails you,” someone commented.

Another user explained why chicken soup tends to work well for people trying to get over an illness: “There is a lot to this one. The Alacin and Sulforaphane in garlic are pretty potent antibiotics. And piperine from fresh black pepper is also as well as promoting absorption of other substances. (key here, fresh black pepper and fresh garlic. Powder ain’t gonna cut it).”

“I use my grandmother’s recipe for “Jewish Penicillin”. It’s essentially a chicken soup with heavy garlic and pepper. Not to mention good, easily digestible nutrients which are good in an illness, it will cure a lot. I make gallons of it for friends who are sick,” they said.

“Honestly when I got Covid I ate nothing but. I would love to see a side by side double blind test of my grandmother’s soup against Paxlovid. I know where I would put my money.

“Oh, by the way, it’s REALLY good.”

However, other people’s old wives tales were a little more nonsensical.

“If you can’t tell a woman is pregnant from the back, she’s having a boy.”

“Taping a carrot to your head keeps away bears. I have had a carrot taped to my head for the last 50 years and bears have never been an issue,” someone joked.

Do you have an old wives tale that you swear by?

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