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Quantum Lung

Here at the _floss, we don't usually do product reviews or promote many items other than the goodies we sell in our store. It's just never been part of our brand. And that's a good thing. However, every now and then something comes along that inspires this blogger, at least, to break with our philosophy. Quantum Herbal Product's Lung Formula is just such a product. Ever have a cough you just can't get rid of no matter how many different formulas you try? One of those nagging, unremitting, half-a-year coughs? I tend to get one about every other year. I'd tried everything you can get your hands on over-the-counter, and nothing worked. I even tried alternative, gentle herbal stuff - nothing doing. Then someone suggested this really foul tasting Lung Formula by Quantum - I mean it couldn't taste any worse if they'd made it with asphalt.

But guess what? IT WORKS! (at least for me)

And not only does it work, it works pretty much the first time you use it. I'm not entirely sure how it works, since the only stuff in it is Mullein leaf, Chickweed, Lobelia herb and seed, Marshmallow root, Aloe Vera, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, and a big bowl of gag-me-with-a-spoon-flavoring, but holy smokes does the formula make your cough take a powder. On the bottle, they suggest putting some drops in a little glass of water or juice, but I've found that squirting it directly under the tongue works more effectively, if you can withstand the taste undiluted. If you're going to try this, be sure to have a piece of chocolate or something ready to chase it down. Also be prepared for the little buzz you get from the grain alcohol that keeps the formula together.

A couple other words of wisdom: It doesn't work for everyone. I've given bottles of this stuff as gifts over the last couple years and people have reported mix results. For some, it works wonders as it does for me. For others, not so much. Still, there's nothing worse than a cough you can't shake - so I thought it important to get the word out. Lastly, please know that I have no connection to Quantum, nor did they approach me to write this post.

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Food
A Pitless Avocado Wants to Keep You Safe From the Dreaded 'Avocado Hand'
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The humble avocado is a deceptively dangerous fruit. Some emergency room doctors have recently reported an uptick in a certain kind of injury—“avocado hand,” a knife injury caused by clumsily trying to get the pit out of an avocado with a knife. There are ways to safely pit an avocado (including the ones likely taught in your local knife skills class, or simply using a spoon), but there’s also another option. You could just buy one that doesn’t have a pit at all, as The Telegraph reports.

British retailer Marks & Spencer has started selling cocktail avocados, a skinny, almost zucchini-like type of avocado that doesn’t have a seed inside. Grown in Spain, they’re hard to find in stores (Marks & Spencer seems to be the only place in the UK to have them), and are only available during the month of December.

The avocados aren’t genetically modified, according to The Independent. They grow naturally from an unpollinated avocado blossom, and their growth is stunted by the lack of seed. Though you may not be able to find them in your local grocery, these “avocaditos” can grow wherever regular-sized Fuerte avocados grow, including Mexico and California, and some specialty producers already sell them in the U.S. Despite the elongated shape, they taste pretty much like any other avocado. But you don’t really need a knife to eat them, since the skin is edible, too.

If you insist on taking your life in your hand and pitting your own full-sized avocado, click here to let us guide you through the process. No one wants to go to the ER over a salad topping, no matter how delicious. Safety first!

[h/t The Telegraph]

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Live Smarter
Why You Should Think Twice About Drinking From Ceramics You Made by Hand
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Ceramic ware is much safer than it used to be (Fiesta ware hasn’t coated its plates in uranium since 1973), but according to NPR, not all new ceramics are free of dangerous chemicals. If you own a mug, bowl, plate, or other ceramic kitchen item baked in an older kiln, it may contain trace amounts of harmful lead.

Earthenware is often coated with a shiny, ceramic glaze. Historically, lead has been used in glazes to give pottery a glossy finish and brighten colors like orange, yellow, and red. The chemical is avoided by potters today, but it can still show up in handmade dishware baked in older kilns that contain lead residue. Antique products from the era when lead was a common crafting material may also be unsafe to eat or drink from. This is especially true when consuming something acidic, like coffee, which can cause any lead hiding in the glaze to leach out.

Sometimes the amount of lead in a product is minuscule, but even trace amounts can contaminate whatever you're eating or drinking. Over time, exposure to lead in small doses can lead to heightened blood pressure, lowered kidney function, and reproductive issues. Lead can cause even more serious problems in kids, including slowed physical and mental development.

As the dangers of even small amounts of lead have become more widely known, the ceramics industry has gradually eliminated the additive from its products. Most of the big-name commercial ceramic brands, like Crock-Pot and Fiesta ware, have cut it out all together. Independent artisans have also moved away from working with the ingredient, but there are still some manufacturers, especially abroad, that use it. Luckily, the FDA keeps a list of the ceramic ware it tests that has been shown to contain lead.

If you’re not ready to retire your hand-crafted ceramic plates, the FDA offers one possible solution: Purchase a home lead testing kit and analyze the items yourself. If the tests come back negative, your homemade dishware can keep its spot on your dinner table.

[h/t NPR]

This piece was updated to clarify that while lead may be present in antique ceramics and old kilns, it's no longer a common ingredient in ceramic glazes.

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