Gargling, as commonly practiced in Japan, can not only soothe a sore throat, but may even prevent one.
Gargling is one of the best things to do to treat a sore throat. As one of my medical mentors Dr. Klaper instructs, you " take a glass of warm water, add a pinch of salt, hold the glass of salt water in your hand, open your mouth, and take a deep breath. Tilt your head back, slide a generous mouthful to the back of your throat, and, with your mouth still open, gently breathe out through the water. Continue until the end of the breath, and then spit it into the sink. Repeat until the full glass of salt water is used." Works wonders to soothe a sore throat, when you have a cold. But I had never heard of gargling to prevent a cold. Though not popular in the Western world, gargling has been strongly recommended in Japan to prevent upper respiratory tract infections, such as the common cold. However, there have been no controlled trials, and it remained unresolved as to whether gargling was really effective, until this one was published in 2005. "They found a significant drop in the incidence of the common cold, but not the flu, suggesting that simple plain water gargling is effective to prevent respiratory infections among healthy people. This virtually cost-free modality would appreciably benefit people both physically and economically around the world. What do they mean economically? Well most Americans, for example, report about 2 and a half colds a year. Between medical costs and work absenteeism, we're talking nearly $40 billion dollars a year. So even if you take into account the 71 seconds it took on average to walk to and from the sink and gargle, and multiply that by the average wage to calculate the "cost of gargling" in wasted time, it's still considered a cost-effective strategy. Here's the latest, a new study on whether it works in kids. Gargling for Oral Hygiene and the Development of Fever in Childhood. a total of nearly 20,000 preschoolers were observed for 20 days, and just like the study in adults, gargling appears to lower the odds of illness by about a third, and gargling with green tea appeared to work better. Note they speculate that the fact that tap water is chlorinated may have played a role, so gargling with filtered water may be less effective, and I would stay away from iodine solutions such as betadine since one can run into the same kind of iodine overload thyroid dysfunction you can get by eating too much kelp.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Jonathan Hodgson.
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This is one of the landmark findings that I'm afraid no one will ever hear about because no one profits. No one, that is, except the millions of people spared from infection! I've been taking a break from my merciless travel schedule to work on my 2013 batch of videos, but as soon as I'm back on the road I'm hoping those 71 seconds will help protect me from all those airport germs.
If you liked this video you may also like The Risks and Benefits of Neti Pot Nasal Irrigation, (along with my brain-eating amoeba answer) Sleep & Immunity, Antioxidant Level Dynamics, and Zinc Gel for Colds?
What else might we learn from the Japanese? See Smoking Versus Kale Juice, Bowels of the Earth, Asian Paradox, Why Do Asian Women Have Less Breast Cancer?, and any of my 31 videos on green tea or 41 videos on soy.
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