A doctor has debunked a bizarre cold and flu hack using a potato slice that dates back to the Bubonic Plague.
The hack, which involves slicing a raw potato and putting it under your feet, rests on the claim the root vegetable changes colour when it has drawn out illness from the body.
Dr Deborah Lee from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy spoke to The Mirror about the trend, explaining that it offers "zero therapeutic benefit" and issued a particular warning against using it on poorly children.
The doctor told the publication that the remedy is an ancient folklore custom thought to have originated in the Middle Ages around the time of the Bubonic Plague.
She added: "At this time, no one understood anything about bacteria and viruses."
There is no scientific evidence that this would help cure a viral respiratory infection, according to Dr Lee, who instead recommends using more successful ways of treating cold and flu symptoms.
This might include steam inhalations, inhaling Vicks, drinking hot honey and lemon, and taking paracetamol or ibuprofen.
Dr Lee added: "In my view, you are far more likely to improve cold and flu symptoms with these tried and trusted measures than 'cooking' a slice of potato inside your sock overnight.
"I suspect the fact that one potato changed colour and the other didn't was that the two slices naturally contained different levels of natural, bioactive substances and that the mother was not as hot overnight as the child."
She also adds a word of warning to those trying out the potato hack, especially if they have small children who suffer from sensitive skin.
The doctor explains: "Doing this could result in a flare-up of eczema on the sole of the foot or even anaphylaxis. If you are tempted to do this, do a test patch with a small piece of potato applied to your wrist overnight first and see if there is a skin reaction in the morning.
"It is not a suitable treatment for babies and small children who have extra sensitive skin so I would not advise this for small children."
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