Q. I was surprised to see in a recent column a suggestion for swallowing peanut butter as a cure for hiccups. Years ago I read that one should never eat peanut butter unless it is on a cracker, bread, celery, etc. Eaten alone, peanut butter can easily lodge in the throat and can be impossible to remove.
A. If someone has trouble swallowing, it would be prudent to avoid peanut butter. But for most folks, we can’t see how it would matter much if the peanut butter were on a piece of celery or just licked off a spoon.
The idea behind this hiccup cure is to stimulate the vagus nerve in the throat, which could be done just as easily with a spoonful of granulated sugar (a classic remedy) or by sucking on a lemon wedge with a drop of bitters (the bartenders’ standby).
One remedy that doesn’t involve any swallowing was described by doctors in the Journal of Emergency Medicine (Nov. 2004). They suggested taking a deep breath and holding it for 10 seconds. Then, without exhaling, take two additional breaths and hold each for 5 seconds.