Whether you have a head cold, an upset stomach, or an itchy rash, fast and inexpensive relief may be sitting on your kitchen shelf. When you look at the science, it turns out your grandmother wasn't so far off on some of those home remedies she used to swear by. For example, it's really true that olives can help stave off motion sickness – but only if you eat them when the first symptoms appear. That's because olives contain tannin, which works to eliminate the saliva that triggers nausea.
It's also absolutely true that oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties, and that a finely ground paste of it can help soothe eczema. The neutralizing powers of yogurt and other probiotics also can help get rid of bad breath. From gargling saltwater for a sore throat, taking a spoonful of sugar for hiccups or chewing on a pencil for a headache – they all have a scientific reason why they work.
Every year, without fail, kids and parents get colds, stay home from school and generally feel miserable. And then, the next steps are predictable – go to the drugstore, pick up some medication and hope that it goes away.
However people should not discount old-fashioned cures and home remedies, of which many have been proven to work over the years. Maybe you should listen to Grandma when she tells you to drink chicken noodle soup broth the next time you have a cold.
For centuries, family members have prescribed some unusual home remedies to treat coughs and colds, scrapes and bruises. Whether it's grandma's chicken soup or dad's hot toddy, every family seems to have their own old-fashioned cures. There is usually some form of natural remedy or alternative to western medicine for everything from the common cold and chest congestion to warts and healthy toes – some proven and others mythical.
The following list includes some of the more prevalent treatments, cures and remedies for sicknesses and ailments:
Old Fashioned Flu and Cold Remedy – To treat a persistent, nagging nighttime cough, bring two cups of water to a boil and add two sliced lemons, 1/2 teaspoon of either mint or dried ginger, 2 tablespoons of honey and 2 tablespoons of sugar. After mixing these ingredients and having brought them to a boil, they soon turn into a syrup. Once this occurs, add an ounce of liqueur or brandy and take a spoonful of the mixture. Also, mix 1 tablespoon of horseradish and 1 cup of olive oil and let it to stand for 30 minutes; use as massage oil for instant relief for aching muscles. Good old fashioned chicken noodle soup is also used for quelling cold symptoms.
Soothe a Sore Throat – Soothe your sore throat by taking 3-4 dried sage leaves and put them into a cup of hot water and let stand for approximately 10 minutes and gargle while still warm. There is also always the saltwater gargle. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water, stir and gargle to relieve the pain.
Calm Nausea – This remedy works well to calm an upset stomach. Add 2 teaspoons each of dried chamomile and dried basil leaves to a cup of boiling water; leave to steep for 10 minutes. This mixture is sipped and will work well to relieve a child's tummy ache and just as well for us adults.
Cuts and Scrapes – Honey is a highly effective antimicrobial, which reduces the chances that cuts and scrapes will get infected. Cayenne pepper is actually a wonder with cuts and bleeders. Just sprinkle a layer of organic ground cayenne pepper on a bleeding, open wound and then wrap a bandage around it. The bleeding stops and the pain is dulled. Leave this bandage on for an hour or two. Discussion of cuts and scrapes and old time remedies would not be complete without speaking of the use of spider web. Spider web contains a substance that is very effective in stopping bleeding and preventing infection.
Bruises and Bumps – As soon as possible, beat an egg white with a fork until there are some bubbles (to keep it from sliding off) and apply liberally to the damaged area. Let it dry and repeat twice more. It will prevent swelling and discoloration.
Burns and Sunburns – Pour apple cider vinegar in a container, dip a white wash cloth in and cover the burned area. When the cloth gets warm, dip it in again and repeat. Continue until all the heat has dissipated from the area.
Insect Bites – A variety of insect bites can be treated with ammonia, as well as bee and jelly fish stings. It is a natural neutralizer, almost instantly deadening the pain of a bite or sting. A similar effect can also be achieved with baking soda, another neutralizer.
Sinus Congestion – Place a few menthol crystals in a cup of hot water and breathe in the hot vapors through the nose. A solution of salt water (1/4 teaspoon to a cup of water) sniffed from the palm of the hand can also unclog a stuffy nose.
Chapped Lips – Mix 100 percent pure sweet almond oil with sugar to create a paste. Dip toothbrush in mixture and scrub lips. The sweet almond oil helps to moisturize lips while the sugar gently exfoliates away dead tissue. Be careful not to scrub too hard to avoid doing harm to your lips.
Kill Bad Breath –Bring two cups of water to a boil, add three sprigs of parsley, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Strain and use as a mouthwash.
Remove Warts – Wart is not only an ugly word but is even uglier when you're the one having to look at several on your hands or knees. Pick the largest dandelion and rub the milky substance from the cut end of the weed onto the warts. Placing a piece of duct tape over the warts for a week, removing and repeating has also been known to rid warts.
Healthy Looking Toes – Soak your toes in Listerine mouthwash. The powerful antiseptic leaves toenails looking healthy.
Home Facials – Apply Pepto Bismol to face, leave on for 10 minutes and peel off. When applied to the skin, Pepto Bismol does the same thing it does to your stomach – soothes and coats it. While it is an off-label use of this product, the aspirin and bismuth sub-salicylate contained in this classic pink medicine transforms dull skin and cleans out pores, giving skin a healthy glow.
Natural Home Deodorizers – To rid the kitchen of unpleasant odors, place a small pot of water on the stove to boil, throwing in some cloves, a few sprigs of rosemary and several lemon rinds. The aroma of this spicy brew fills every room of the house, giving everyone a welcome feeling.
The older generations and their old-fashioned remedies may seem far-fetched at times but those folks were wise. How could we ever know if these tips and tricks really work unless they are tried and tested?
With so many different remedies brought forth throughout time, some folks swear by their healing properties while others are more skeptical and would rather stick to traditional Western medicine. Many of these household remedies and cures have proven medical value for minor medical situations. Try them out next time the flu creeps up or coughing persists throughout the day or night. Any relief is better than no relief, and home remedies tend to be far cheaper than a visit to the doctor’s office or drug store.