I’ve always believed in the efficacy of placebo, even when I’m knowingly trying to remedy myself with something that I’m certain doesn’t have any basis in physiology. I think part of this is a learned comfort response – when you’re young and sick, and your mom gives you soup and hugs, you “feel better” even though she hasn’t cured your cold. We carry this response with us into adulthood, trying to use our own personal remedies and comfort routines to cure aches and pains and such, in a sort of medicinal cargo cult way.
When I’m sick in wintertime, I’ll take cold medicine and whatnot. But I will also sip lemoncello, because it reminds me of Sorrento and Capri and warm sun on my skin. And though I know that alcohol and lemon rinds do absolutely nothing to relieve a fever or clear sinuses plugged with unspeakable goo, I’m happy to take the placebo effect that it gives me.