Hocus Pocus Healthcare: 5 Tips from a Physician

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Dr Momma shares 5 personal non-scientific, hocus pocus healthcare tips that she uses for her family with varying doses and regimens!

Hocus pocus healthcare  describes my approach to treating illnesses in my family using non –scientific methods.  The reason I use this term is because “hocus pocus” are words that magicians use when something magically happens. The treatment options discussed seem to help symptoms, but I am not exactly sure why.

Yes, each treatment option has theories about why it works, but those theories do not pass muster when it comes to being a proven remedy.  Perhaps they cause magic which induces the immune system to fight!


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I am a scientist and love facts. I love to know a medication, surgery or other recommended treatment has been tested and been proven to show reproducible effectiveness. My hocus pocus healthcare treatments do NOT fit this criteria.  They are things that seem to improve illnesses which are not severe enough to warrant a physician visit or standard medications. At home with my family, I am not Dr. Burton but am simply a mom who treats illnesses similar to other moms.

I was always reluctant to share my hocus pocus healthcare with my patients because  they see me as “Dr. Burton” and not as a mom. Dr. Burton recommends a specific dose, a specific medication strength and a dosing schedule based on scientific studies and clinical experience.

So, when my patients ask about my hocus pocus healthcare, I don’t feel it is appropriate to share my methods since I have no specific regimens.  I typically give standard recommendations which include taking vitamins, getting plenty of rest, drinking water, eating nutritious meals, and taking Tylenol or Motrin for high fevers. Now, I share how Dr. Momma treats her family.

Dr. Momma’s Top 5 Hocus Pocus Healthcare Treatment options:

1. Vicks VapoRub

Why? Because I grew up bathed it in, and I survived. The proper technique is vital. Slather on the chest and neck at night for that deep cough, put on an old Tshirt and let Vicks VapoRub work its magic!

Rubbing the last bit of Vicks under the nose to allow the menthol to open the nostrils and help with sleep gives added points. Sleeping at night is important. So yeah, Vicks for every chest cold.

2. Hot Water with lemon and Honey

My kids were too young to have tea, so I just used the hot water. Lemon has many benefits, but I like it for additional vitamin C to help boost the immune system.

Honey dissolves in hot water to form little particles that stick on the sore areas on the back of an irritated throat. Tastes good and feels good.

My family uses regular old grocery store honey because it is simple to get. But when I feel there is a REAL illness, raw local honey is used…because why not? It is controversial whether local or raw forms make a difference, but since this is hocus pocus healthcare, I step it up.

3. Rinse nose with salt water / Gargle with salt water.

This actually does have a some science behind it.  Salt water (saline) thins out the mucus which is produced during respiratory infections. The lining of our respiratory tract has hair cells called CILIA (SILLY-Uh).

These hairs beat back and forth to help our respiratory tissues to clear away bacteria, viruses and pollen that attach.  When mucous weighs down the cilia, we do not clear our airways as well. So, rinse and gargle away!

4. Essential oils

There are 8 million oils, and many people overwhelmed me with their hocus pocus methods. I believe it works but not sure which method or mixture.

Some people use only when sick while others use daily. I know about using a diffuser, ingesting them and rubbing on the body. Some people almost have a chemistry lab as they have figured out a recipe adding a few drops of this and some of that. The drops are added to a gelatin capsule and swallowed.

Me? I use lemon essential oil in tea because a few drops provides a powerful amount of lemon instead of squeezing the whole bottle of grocery store lemon juice.

Lavender oil is also used at night to help me sleep. I rub some on the soles of my feet, my temples and my wrists. Does it help? I don’t know, but it smells DIVINE as I drift off to sleep.

5. Sovereign Silver

Sovereign Silver is my grade A  hocus pocus go-to treatment!  A patient told me about this years ago, and it sounded intriguing. I bought a bottle and just looked at it for a long time.

And then my child had a prolonged illness when she was in middle school. Like awful in the chest and couldn’t breathe. I was thinking about an ER visit. For a doctor to have a middle of the night ER visit…that’s huge.

I pulled out this bottle and put 5 drops under her tongue. She held each drop for 30 seconds before I added the next one. Then I resumed the Vicks, saline washes, hot water with lemon and honey. I repeated again a few hours later. Because, why not?

I will NEVER forget what happened next. My daughter woke me and asked…what was in that stuff? She felt so much better.  Boom! I was sold. Since then, I always  keep a bottle at home.

Full disclosure: I did research before using it. Colloid silver has a terrible reputation for allowing particles to collect in tissues and turning the skin blue! My scientific brain continued the research and found it was based on the particle size. Cheaper versions have cheaper manufacturing with larger particle size. Sovereign Silver is the only colloid silver I use because it has the smallest particle size and people don’t turn blue. This is where brand name is important to me.

These tips are from my personal experience and in no way suggest that you will achieve any similar results. But also stay tuned for my next post which shares hocus pocus healthcare tips used in the homes of other healthcare providers!

Dr Momma shares 5 personal non-scientific, hocus pocus healthcare tips that she uses for her family with varying doses and regimens!




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I can remember when I was young , my Mama used to apply vicks vapoRub to my chest and nose when I was having bad colds to let me sleep. It worked and until now, I also apply it to my son . Thank you for sharing. It makes me miss my childhood days. ?

    Momma Addict

    Yes. My adult daughters also have those memories and they each have a jar in their apartments. Childhood memories are for life. I am an empty nester and still have vivid memories. And we create them for our kids.

Dilraz Kunnummal

Vivks Vaporub. The saviour of many many many. The saline and hot water gargle have been popular in my house too!

Kayla O'Neill

I love Vicks Vapor rub! I remember using it as a child and still use it as an adult! Great tips!

    Momma Addict

    My adult daughters also have Vicks in their apartments. And of course a bottle of silver! We tend to pass down our treatments to our kids. If it works for us, they need to know what to do when we are not there.

    Momma Addict

    Thanks. Vicks should be as standard as tylenol for home care options!

Jamie @ madrediem

I love vaporub and hot and water with lemon when I have a cold. I’ve also recently gotten into essential oils and they really seem to help with my anxiety. I haven’t heard of the silver before – I’ll have to look into it!

    Momma Addict

    I cannot imagine life without Vicks! I am just starting to look into essential oils. That is a whole field of knowledge all by itself. My Sovereign silver is like a generic instead of the specialized way oils work!


You really can’t go wrong with hot water and lemon! But this mama (and my husband) loves our vicks vapour rub for everything and anything!

Sarah Frank

It’s so great to hear a doctor’s perspective on this products! My husband literally swears by all of these– Vick’s VapoRub, the hot honey water, the gargling salt water– he does it all and makes me do it all whenever I’m under the weather. And they really do work! I loved reading more about why and how to do them. Thanks for the great post 🙂

    Momma Addict

    Thanks so much. I am glad to hear that some of my explanations about the magic works! Not as scientific as I would like, but as long as they work, I’m okay with that!

Meghna Dixit

Omg!! I know and practice all the hocus-pocus you mentioned except silver thingy. Will check it out. Thank you

    Momma Addict

    Hocus pocus is my first line for all problems. Most things get cured. Its the ones that linger that traditional medicines may be needed. Everyone should have the collection of magic!


Love these tips! Vics is the best! I haven’t tried any of these other ones, but am really curious to try the hot water and lemon when the next round of sickness comes on. Thank you.

    Momma Addict

    I have used lemon for as long as I can remember. But I always bought those cute yellow plastic squeeze bottles of lemon from grocery store. I had to use ALOT to get a good amount of lemon. My greatest achievement has been buying Lemon essential oil…one drop fills my mug of tea with alot of lemon!

Heather Johnson

The placebo effect can be quite an effective phenomenon.

    Momma Addict

    Absolutely! Many things help you feel better while you wait for the body to heal. The key is to do no harm. Many people do things that can actually cause harm or interfere with the body in healing itself.

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