August 30, 2011 § Leave a comment
(If I were applying for a job that requested I write an op-ed about bananas curing the common cold, here’s what I would write. Would you hire me? There’s a questionnaire at the end.)
Your last cold, ever?
Remember back to the last time you had a really bad cold. You know, the one where your head was foggier than a San Francisco sun rise, your boss sent you home because you were annoying your co-workers with the constant drone of nose blowing and you were up all night tossing and turning because the congestion would migrate to a different side of your head every five minutes.
We’ve all been there, and the only way out seems to be packing as many over-the-counter medications into your system as possible until you can sleep for five days straight or muster up just enough energy to slog through the work day.
Despite an over-abundance of retroactive, half-way decent solutions to this all too common ailment, nothing ever seems to alleviate symptoms as effectively as we’d like. On top of their lackluster performance, these medications can get expensive after a week-long bout, and most of us would prefer not to pack our bodies full of chemicals that mask symptoms without really solving the problem. Even still, we’ve been told for years that there really is no cure for the common cold, though it has always been unclear who was really looking for one.
On Wednesday, it was announced that ACHOO Research, based in Princeton, New Jersey, had discovered a cure in the most unlikely of places. Bananas, they say, is the cold cure we have been dreaming of, longingly. Their research suggests that eating one banana every three hours at the first sign of a cold will completely eliminate the virus in 10 hours.
Medical research rarely comes with such a definitive timeline, but ACHOO researchers have been quietly testing their theory on monkeys in the Hawaiian Islands for the past 12 years. Ten years ago, they began holding clinical studies on humans which allowed them to pinpoint the exact time it takes for the healing effects of bananas to kick in.
Though there will be skeptics, the risks of testing this finding are non-existent. If you feel a cold setting in, head to your local supermarket for a bunch of bananas and try out the theory for yourself. Unlike any other scientific study, this one comes with no risks, no long list of potential harm and no lawyers lining up to take on malpractice cases. The worst that could happen? You will have just eaten a delicious banana for no reason.
This scientific breakthrough restores hope in the medical community’s ability to find natural cures to the most nagging ailments. In the best case, this is a huge step toward decreasing our dependence on the pharmaceutical industry and their synthetic substances to keep us well. The more societal emphasis and funding dollars we put into research projects such as ACHOO’s, funded by the National Science Foundation for all 12 years of its life, the more we will find answers to tough puzzles in the simplest places.