There are many home remedies for all types of ailments that have been passed down over the years. While some are bunk, many actually work and are often better than their traditional medical counterparts (without the unpleasant side effects). Check out this list of simple, sometimes wacky, home remedies that use products found right in your pantry:
- Cure cuticle infections with vinegar: Whether you have had a recent visit to an overzealous manicurist or have a bad habit of chewing your fingers, you can treat your torn up and infected cuticles naturally. Simply submerge your fingers in a glass of equal parts white vinegar and warm water for 15 minutes. Repeat once a day until the infection heals. White vinegar has anti-bacterial properties and will help to reduce the infection in the nails.
- Get rid of hiccups with a spoonful of sugar: Ingesting a teaspoon or two of sugar is enough to help stimulate the vagus nerve, which resets it and stops the spasms that cause hiccups.
- Remove warts with duct tape: Instead of getting your undesirable warts frozen off, simply apply a strip of duct tape to the affected area. Keep the tape on for three days, remove, rub the wart area with a pumice stone, and then reapply with new tape. Repeat until they are completely gone. Duct tape is an inexpensive way to suffocate the skin virus and remove those unsightly warts. It’s been a Farmers’ Almanac tip for years!
- “Beet” constipation: The natural soluble fiber in beetroot is your colon’s best friend. Eat some fresh-steamed beets, then drink the water they were steamed in. Be warned, the natural dye of the beets may cause your stools and urine to be bright red, but it’s perfectly harmless.
- Potatoes for bug bites: Raw potatoes are claimed to have anti-itch and anti-inflammatory properties, perfect for relief from a bug bite. Create a potato poultice by grating a peeled potato and putting the shreds into a thin piece of cloth. Secure the contents with a rubber band and apply the poultice to your cleaned bite until the potato is dry. Clean the area with warm water and reapply with fresh poultice until the symptoms have subsided. See all the things potatoes can do!
- “Drunken” raisins for joint pain relief: Your grandparents may have sworn by this trick to relieve joint pain. The vitamins from golden raisins mixed with the anti-inflammatory effects of the juniper berries used to make gin has been shown to help reduce swelling and ease arthritis pain. Soak golden raisins in gin overnight and eat ten daily.
- Banana peels for poison ivy relief: Rubbing the inside of a banana peel against the poison ivy rash may provide some itch relief. They can also shine your shoes!
- Celery for bad breath: Chewing on a celery stick or apple can help to dissipate bad breath. The rich fiber content helps to increase saliva production which helps to wash away bacteria-causing food particles and plaque that cause bad breath.
- Yams for hot flashes: Yams are not only yummy, but they are a great source of antioxidants and nutrients that can decrease hot flashes. Yams are thought to be a source of natural progesterone, relieving some menopausal symptoms. Note: yams and sweet potatoes are often confused, so be sure you’re eating true yams. Here’s how to tell the difference.
- Nettles for hair loss: Serving up a cup of stinging nettle tea is a long-standing remedy for hair loss. Capsule form also works well. The vitamins and minerals found in nettle leaves and roots are great for hair growth and hair maintenance. Simply pour boiling water over 4-6 nettle leaves in a mug and enjoy!
- Remove splinters with baking soda: Rather than digging around with tweezers to remove pesky splinters, apply a baking soda paste to help swell the skin and draw the splinter to the surface. Mix a small amount of baking soda and water to form a paste, apply to the area, and cover with a bandage. After about 24 hours, the splinter should protrude enough to be able to pull it out easily with tweezers. If no luck, repeat.
- Alleviate headaches with hot water: Soaking your feet in hot water is an age-old trick for helping your head feel better. A hot-water foot bath helps to draw blood to your feet, easing the pressure on the blood vessels in your head.
- Aspirin for dandruff relief: Skip the dandruff shampoo and keep your flaking in check with aspirin. Aspirin contains the same active ingredients (salicylic acid) as many medicated dandruff shampoos. To make your own dandruff shampoo: Add 1 tablespoon of crushed aspirin to your regular shampoo, suds up, and leave in for up to 5-10 minutes before rinsing.
- Vodka for smelly feet: Vodka is effective at “taking the edge off” of those pungent foot odors. Its high alcohol content helps to kill bacteria while also drying up moisture. Add some vodka to a spray bottle and spritz your shoes between uses. If you would rather mix up a drink with your vodka, rubbing alcohol can be used instead.
- Strawberries for whiter teeth: Strawberries contain malic acid, a tooth-whitening agent. Crush a fresh strawberry to a pulp, then mix with 1 teaspoon baking soda until blended. Spread the mixture onto your teeth, leave on for 5 minutes, then rinse. Strawberries also contain natural sugar, so be sure to brush afterward.
- Ease tinnitus with nature sounds: Digitally produced sounds mimicking nature and water have been shown to provide some relief from tinnitus. Numerous white-noise machines offer nature sound settings or nature sounds apps can be downloaded on your phone that will do the trick.
- Apricots for indigestion: Dried apricots are high in dietary fiber, essential for proper digestion and preventing bloating. Try popping a few of these tasty treats following dinner to keep things moving in the right direction.
- Listerine® for blisters: Listerine was originally developed in 1879 as a surgical antiseptic, designed to kill germs. More commonly used to treat bad breath, Listerine is also great for battling blisters. To treat, simply moisten a cotton ball with Listerine and dab it onto the blister three times a day until it dries up.
- Garlic for athlete’s foot fungus: The health benefits of garlic are nothing new, but did you know it can even be used to treat the fungus of athlete’s foot? Mince some garlic cloves, mix with some olive oil, and dab the mixture onto the affected areas, being sure to get in between your toes. Rinse.
- Treat acne with coconut oil: Coconut oil’s versatile health benefits are certainly nothing new, being around since the 1800s, but it might also be helpful for those with acne. Coconut oil contains lauric acid which has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties. Apply it to your skin, rub it in with your fingertips, rinse with warm water, and wipe your face with a hot steamy cloth.
by Natalie LaVolpe
For Farmers Almanac