The Science Behind Old Wives Tales

Old Wives Tales are not just stories conjured by nagging grandmothers, but rather small bites of knowledge you would do well to heed – a spoonful of honey is an effective remedy for that incessant cough, fish is a great brain food, a nice delicious bowl of chicken soup can cure that pestering cold while boosting immunity and stimulating digestion.

These conclusions are not just the result of a wild mind but rather the product of focussed scientific experiments. Here is the evidence:

old wives tales honey
Honey has been known to have some surprising health benefits.


Honey contains natural anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial substances.

In fact, in one study, more than 100 children with upper respiratory tract infections were given either a honey flavoured cough suppressant, nothing, or up to two teaspoons of pure honey before bed.

Pure honey not only reduced night-time coughing and improved sleep, but was just as effective as the over the counter medication. So next time your throat hurts, ease the discomfort by mixing a little honey with warm water and lemon, or simply swallow honey straight from the spoon.

old wives tales salmon
Salmon a great protein source and it serves as an alternative to other protein sources like beef and chicken.


Fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which restore and strengthen our brain cells. These healthful acids also help fortify your brain cells from diseases. 

old wives tales soup
Chicken noodle soup started as early as the 1200s and ever since then, it has become a staple food whenever someone is sick

Chicken Soup

The benefits of bone-broth chicken soup include reducing inflammation as chicken contains cysteine.

Cysteine is an amino acid which thins mucus and gets it moving out of your system. It is thought that chicken soup slows down the activity of white blood cells that can cause the inflammation.

A properly prepared pot of chicken stock will also contain gelatin extracted from the collagen in the chicken. The gelatin exudes a velvety texture and adds a rich flavour to the stock base. It’s also a source of hydrophilic colloids – compounds that attract gastric juices and stimulate digestion.

old wives tales apple
Apples are very low in fat, sodium or cholesterol and are also good source of fibre.


But as always, prevention is better than cure and here is a common saying that will be extremely beneficial – ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away.’

Apples contain soluble fibres that promote blood health, boron which leads the way for strong bones, a cancer-inhibiting flavonoid called quercetin, vitamin C, and phytonutrients which fight heart disease and diabetes.

Weather Hacks

As for predicting the weather, ‘Red sky at night, sailors take flight. Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.’ You may not have heard this saying before but it is also a very helpful, albeit unlikely, Old Wives Tale.

A red sky at night is caused by sun rays being filtered by a high amount of dust. This indicates high pressure and stable conditions, leading to good weather.

A red morning sky however, indicates that this good weather has passed and that low pressure systems and rain could be on the way. No need for the wayward forecasts of the nightly news, tune into the sky to see if you need to pack your umbrella for the coming day.

So all in all, don’t disregard what grandma says for you never know just when that knowledge might come in handy and save the day.

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