Six Unusual Health Tips of Italian Nonnas


As was reported recently, Italy is the second healthiest country in the world. Italy is awash with traditional remedies, many of which are truly believed to be effective. Here are a few “Old World” remedies and health tips from those who profess to know best – Italian Grandmothers.

1. Whiten your teeth with sage leaves
A simple one that will certainly leave you with fresh breath and a pearly-white smile. Take a bunch of sage leaves and rub them on your teeth. The science behind this appears to be sound. Sage has astringent, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties and smells and tastes great – sage advice indeed!

2. Soothe a burn with olive oil
It would be impossible to have a list of Italian health tips that didn’t include olive oil. Olive oil is an essential part of the healthy Mediterranean diet. Olive oil can be used to treat a wide array of ailments, from chapped lips to burns. Any Italian grandmother will tell you that applying olive oil to a light burn can soothe pain and reduce scarring.

3. White bread helps to alleviate heartburn
Although white bread is sometimes cited on lists of foods that cause heartburn, the Italians believe that the remedy has something to do with the bread soaking up any excessive gastric juices. Perhaps it’s the Italian bread rather than Wonder bread that does the trick.

4. Onions will cure an ear ache
Onions are a year-round fixture in every Italian pantry and have some medicinal value as well; and while this may seem strange, it has a solid scientific basis. Simply take an onion and chop it in half, warm it slightly in hot water then place the warmed onion over your ear. The onion vapors contain a natural antibiotic called allicin and should soon soothe your earache.

5. Cure toothache with Brandy
A throbbing tooth can be a maddening experience. One of the most effective home remedies in Italy involves rinsing your mouth out with brandy. This works, as the alcohol not only sterilizes the mouth, it also soaks into the gum providing efficient pain relief. You might want to try soaking a piece of cotton wool in brandy and placing it over the sore tooth.

6. Eat white rice and lemon for an upset stomach
A sworn favorite of Italian Nonnas – if you have an upset stomach you need to stay away from anything moderately spicy. White rice is easy to digest and fairly nutritious, while the lemon will help cleanse your stomach and provide immune boosting Vitamin C.

The moral of these home remedies – always listen to Nonna. She really does know best!

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