How to cure hiccups

I just came across this ancient cookery book (anonymous ) full of delightful quirky and curious information. Here’s one:

434.–To Cure Hiccough or Hiccup

This spasm is caused by flatulency, indigestion, and acidity. It may generally be relieved by a sudden fright or surprise, or the application of cold, also by swallowing two or three mouthfuls of cold water or a teaspoonful of vinegar, or by eating a small piece of ice, taking a punch of snuff, or anything that excites coughing.

(Source: Thackers Indian Cookery Book 1900)

UPDATED: June 7th 2013 Thanks to  the delightful Lorna McInnes and Paul Tucker who commented on this post, I racked my little pea brain trying to figure out how to drink from the opposite side of the glass and guess what? Google and thou shalt find! It’s on YouTube!! I didn’t realize you have to bend over to do this (so no wet chin Paul Tucker) Check out this video and keep this in mind the next time you get hiccups! Cheers!

Of course I couldn’t  resist adding this video of a tiny baby with hiccups and the twin brother laughing. It cracked me up!

UPDATED June 10th 2013 thanks to a comment by Jo Wolf. Here’s some more time-wasting information.

Here are some known methods to cure bad hiccups :

  • Hold your ears and drink a pint of water.
  • Drink a glass of water extremely fast.
  • Scare yourself, somehow become frightened.
  • Smelly salts are known to get rid of hiccups
  • Grab your tongue and pull it hard.
  • Place one-half teaspoon of dry sugar on the back of your tongue. (You can repeat this process 3 times at 2-minute intervals. Use corn syrup, not sugar, in young children.)

Some other strange suggestions as a cure for hiccups:

  • Drop a cold key down your back. (Thanks Jo Wolfe!)
  • Lay on the floor and ask a friend to hold your legs in the air for 30 seconds.
  • Hold your breath and hop on one leg.
  • Hold your breath and dip your head in a sink full of cold water (surely hiccups aren’t that bad?)

You can read the full article here on Sports


UPDATED AGAIN! : 5 minutes later 06-10-2013. Alright I officially surrender! I am hopelessly sucked into this completely pointless and intriguing discussion. Here is more about the fascinating superstitions surrounding hiccups

“Did you know that when you hiccup, someone might be thinking ill of you? In some European cultures, it’s your body trying to expel that negative energy that attacks you when a bad thought is created in the mind of another. What is another way to stop the hiccups? Try to think of the person who is thinking ill of you, and say their name. This should stop the negative energy from flowing into you from their head. Let’s hope you can immediately think of that person, like Charles Osborne failed to do. Charles hiccupped for 68 years from the time he was 10 to his death in 1990. Someone must have really hated poor Charles.

In other cultures, such as Russian folklore, hiccups could simply mean someone is thinking about you—it isn’t specified whether the thoughts are good or bad.  Apparently, you could also be owned by the devil if you have the hiccups, according to common superstitions, and the hiccups are your body telling you that you have bad luck. In Japan, if you manage to hiccup 100 times, it means you’ll probably be pushing up daisies in a few days. Most of the superstitions surrounding hiccups are alike in many ways. 

(You can read the complete post on hiccups and sneezes by Morgan Nashwold by clicking here on 

12 thoughts on “How to cure hiccups

  1. Our equally ancient cure for the hiccups that we were told to use——-stand on your head and drink a cup of water at the same time. Got lots of laughs but don’t remember if it worked or not——try it!


    1. It’s surprising (or may be not) that the kilt-fitted Scottish would advise standing on the head to begin with. I am sure that would cure somebody else’s hiccups alright! Haha!


      1. I love your zany sense of humour, Shona—-I now imagine lots of kilted Scotsmen standing on their heads curing their hiccups , not to be tried on a cold winter night—-then you would all find out what’s worn under the kilt! Ha Ha


  2. What a wonderful sounding book. It reminds me of a time in my childhood when I had hiccups and my brother was trying to cure them. The solution that worked was jumping out from behind a wall, scaring me half to death. Also, drinking from the far side of a glass of water has worked for me on occasion.


    1. So far drinking from the far side of the glass seems to be the simplest solution. Difficult to do though. I just tried it. It means getting your chin inside the glass – right? Terribly messy. Now I have a wet chin. Maybe I am not getting what “far side of the glass” means. Or do you mean twisting the arm around? That seems too easy. Now I can’t wait to get “hiccoughs” to try this out.


  3. Your posting prompted me to search for hiccup cures on the internet. A spoonful of peanut butter seems to work if you are American, and much better than the cure attempted here:
    Oh – the word apparently derived from the French Hoquet (first mentioned in 1544), from the sound made. It most recently appears as hiccough, but only because someone has decided it should have “cough” in it, rather than being, from the French, ” a little Hoc”.
    And yes – you drink from the opposite side of the glass, which guarantees a wet chin and water running down your neck…


    1. Marvelous!I just added that nugget to my growing collection of useless trivia. I love learning stuff like that. From the sound of it, you are incurably curious-minded like me. Stay young, stay curious. My very best to you and yes, thanks again for sharing this. Makes for great cocktail party conversation. That drinking from the opposite side of the glass though is posing to be a challenge. I will search for a live YouTube demo.


      1. Just got back to reading the postings. Trivia is a lovely way to waste time 😉 and i can thoroughly recommend a book you may not know – Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. nothing on hiccups, but he does have:-
        Teapoy A small, three- or four-legged occasional table. Though largely used for standing a tea-tray upon, the teapoy has really nothing to do with tea, the name coming from Hindustani teen, three, and the Persian pae, a foot.


  4. I have also heard an old wives’ tale that says you should put a cold key (i.e. a door key) down someone’s back to stop hiccups. Not sure of the reasoning behind that one! 🙂


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