Recently on Facebook there have been two separate mentions of molasses as a traditional folk treatment for children who stutter. A lady mentioned in an Arabic source that her daughter's speech fully recovered after the child was given molasses for some time. And during a Facebook conversation someone from Bangladesh said that, in his country, children would be given molasses to eat if they stuttered.
These days there is more interest in traditional remedies, as modern science has repeatedly found that many such treatments have some scientific base. Is there merit in molasses as a treatment for stuttering? Particularly as molasses contains thiamine (vitamin B1) and magnesium which, for some people who stutter, seem to improve their speech? (See this FAQ on the thiamine-magnesium regimen for more details.)
"It is not the thiamine content of molasses which is extraordinary, it is the magnesium content," says Dr Martin Schwartz, research expert on stuttering and author of various books on the subject. "A serving of molasses contains 9% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of thiamine while over 200% of the RDA of magnesium. Keep in mind that 47% of stuttering children show a magnesium deficiency.
"Magnesium is required to convert thiamine into its active form. So I would imagine that the molasses is more likely effective because of its magnesium content than its thiamine content. I have never heard of molasses as a folk treatment for stuttering before and it is certainly an extremely useful and welcome piece of information.
"It might lead to the following recommendation for children just beginning to stutter: Lay off all simple carbohydrates (which consume thiamine) and take a teaspoon of blackstrap molasses each day.
"One of the virtues of this kind of information is that it rarely requires an OK from a physician - unless the individual has diabetes. The molasses remedy probably will work better with children than adults and, of course, it wouldn't hurt to supplement the suggestion with a bit of thiamine."
Proving that a child's speech improved through any means is always difficult, as about 3 out of 4 stuttering children anyway recover spontaneously before puberty. Even so it can't do harm to take a few steps to reduce the risk of not outgrowing it.
No doubt this very sweet treatment would be very popular among children! Even so it would be best to get the OK from your doctor before administering this tasty "medicine". Of course, there is no guarantee that it will work - though the child may insist that it does... ;-)
If you have any more information about molasses as a treatment for stuttering, or if it has helped against stuttering, please leave a comment in the comments section below.