Now is the high season in Sweden for the wonderfuly named “Vinterkräksjuka” or winter vomiting disease.
And I have noticed that as soon as a person on Facebook (or, indeed, in real life) mentions that they have a family member with the WVD, somebody will suggest that they immediately swallow 10 whole peppercorns, and continue doing this every day as a means of “protection”.
Now, as a sceptic, I am sceptical. It seems unlikey to me that this works, because if it did then somebody would isolate the active ingredient and market it as a medicine.
And all “evidence” I have seen on the web in favour of this is purely anecdotal, which is to say, worse than useless.
Also, a search for “winter vomiting peppercorn” gives NO mention of this being used as a preventative in the English-speaking world.
Stories such as, “I have done this every day for twenty years and have never been sick” abound, but since a percentage of the population is anyway immune to the calicivirus that causes the WVD, this means nothing.
So my question is: does anybody have any actual evidence one way or the other? And actual EVIDENCE, not just “my mum used to swear by it” or “they always do this in my kid’s school” or “I always do it and never get sick”?
And question 2: is this believed only in Sweden or in other countries too? And if so, then why?
Or is it, as I suspect, just a rumour started by pepper importers..?