Debunking Folks’ Medical Advice: Part 3

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We Filipinos have traditional medical beliefs that our elders have passed on the us, and we in turn passed on to our children. However, not all of these folks’ advices are scientifically or medically sound.

This is part 3 of the series that I have written here. It is not my intention to disrespect our elders but just trying to bring light to the truth, and nothing but the truth.

1. Huwag bunutin ang puting buhok, dahil lalo itong dadami. Sa isang buhok na binunot, sampung puting buhok ang magiging kapalit nito.

Don’t pull out white hair, as they will multiply more. One white hair pulled will cause 10 more to grow.

There is no medical truth to this. Melanin is the pigment that gives color to our hair. Hydrogen peroxide which our body naturally produces interferes with melanin. Our body also produces catalase, an enzyme that breaks down the hydrogen peroxide. As we age, catalase production tails off, and thus there’s more unbroken hydrogen peroxide that makes our hair gray or white. It was also found that gray-haired people have less hair-repair enzymes in their follicles.

The observation that the more you pull out the white hair the more white hair appears, is simply because of the natural progression of hair turning gray or white. It has nothing to do whether you pull it or not.

There’s one thing for sure though: the more hair you pull, the less hair you’ll  have. So it is better to dye them black, when there are too many white hair to pull. Or better yet, wear your gray or white hair with pride, as a badge of honor and wisdom.

2. Huwag hawakan ang palaka, at baka ka magkakulugo.

Don’t touch a frog, as it can cause warts.

Warts are caused by a viral infection. More specifically, the human papilloma virus. The virus enters through a break in the skin and causes cells to grow quickly on the external layer of our skin, causing the warty bump.

Frogs and toads sometimes have “wart-like” bumps in their skin, but these will not cause warts if you touch them. Though the bumps behind the head of some toads contains poison and can irritate the skin if you touch them. So it may be better not to touch them anyway. Don’t kiss the frog as well. It will not turn into a prince.


3. Magsuot ng itim na damit kung may mga pantal, upang mawala ang pamamantal.

Wear black or dark-colored dress to get rid of skin rash or welts.

Skin rashes and welts are mostly caused by an allergic reaction. We can get allergic reaction from almost anything – foods, medications, soaps, lotions, perfumes, and other chemicals you can think of that we get in contact with. The rashes and welts are caused by the release of histamines and other bioenzymes our body produces that causes inflammation. Some of these allergic reactions can be serious and life threatening, while some causes minor discomfort only.

Wearing black or dark-colored clothes will not stop the allergic reaction, nor will it hasten the disappearance of the rashes and welts. If the allergic reaction is severe, that is besides the skin welts, you also experience swelling of the face and difficulty breathing, you better seek medical help quickly. Or your family will be wearing black for funeral.

4. Huwag maglakad ng naka-paa, at baka magkaroon ka ng varicose veins.

Don’t walk barefoot, as you may develop varicose veins.

Varicose veins are abnormally thick, twisting, and enlarged veins. They can form anywhere but are particularly frequent in the legs. Veins have valves within them that prevent back flow of the circulation. If these vein valves are defective or damaged, these will lead to varicose veins.

Experts believe that varicose veins can be an inherited condition, though there are a lot of factors that can aggravate them. Pregnancy, obesity, prolonged standing, constant straining (like in constipation) or anything that causes increased pressure that prevents venous blood return from the legs. Prior surgery or trauma, and aging are also factors. Walking barefoot though is not one of them.

In fact, recent studies have shown benefits of walking barefoot, like better biomechanics and muscle development. Though I’m not recommending you ditch your shoes yet, especially if you’re walking in city streets.


5. Huwag maglakad ng naka-paa, at baka magkaroon ka ng bulate sa tiyan.

Don’t walk barefoot, as you may get intestinal worms.

This advice has truth to it. Though there are different ways that parasitic worms get into our body, there is one type – the hookworms – that can enter through our feet. People usually become infected with hookworms by walking barefoot on soil that contains the larval form of the worm, although infection may also occur from any other soil-skin contact or by ingestion.

Hookworm larvae move from the skin to the lungs and then the trachea, where they are swallowed. Larvae mature into adult worms in the intestines, where they attach to the intestinal walls and lay eggs. The eggs exit the host body with feces and once in the soil hatch into larvae, continuing the life cycle. I am sorry if I gross you out.

I know I have said that there are benefits of walking barefoot, but there are also disadvantages. This is one of them. So the next time your mother orders you to wear your slippers when you play in the streets (especially in Manila), you should listen.


(*photos from the net)

Related Posts:

Debunking Folks’ Medical Advice

Debunking Folks’ Medical Advice: Part 2


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