10 “Backwoods” Folk Remedies That Have Survived The Test Of Time

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10 “Backwoods” Folk Remedies That Have Survived The Test Of Time

In the world of home remedies, there are dozens of natural cures for just about everything that ails you. However, many of these deceptively ordinary remedies have been around for hundreds (if not thousands) of years and for good reason! Here are 10 of the oldest time-tested home remedies for common health concerns with scientific backing for exactly why and how they work.

1. Eat Chicken Soup To Cure The Common Cold

While homemade is certain better for your health, even commercial canned chicken soup can go a long way toward helping you fight off the common cold. Fats and proteins naturally present in chicken broth nourish your body, providing much needed calories to counter the loss of appetite that frequently afflicts us when we’re sick. The broth is also intensely hydrating, which thins out mucus to relieve congestion, helps the body to regulate temperature and facilitates the removal of toxins which would otherwise impede the healing process if left to circulate through the bloodstream.

Further Reading: 13 Foods to Help You Beat the Flu & Feel Better Faster

2. Use A Damp Tea Bag To ‘Pull Out’ A Bee Sting

The tannins in tea leaves are a powerful anti-inflammatory remedy which can help to reduce swelling around a bee sting, thus making the stinger easier to remove. Simply apply a damp black tea bag over the bee sting and leave it there until the swelling goes down. Once it does, the stinger will slide out easily.

Further Reading: 18 Genius Things To Do With Your Used Tea Bags

3. Take Castor Oil To Relieve Constipation

Castor oil is one of the oldest household staples in the world of home remedies because it’s good for so many things. Probably the most famous of these uses is the oil’s ability to relieve constipation. Castor oil works by stimulating contractions throughout the small and large intestines which helps to move impacted stool. The oil also prevents the intestinal walls from absorbing moisture from and dehydrating fecal matter – one of the primary causes of constipation.

For adults, the dosage is 1 – 2 tablespoons taken orally. For children, 1 – 2 teaspoons is recommended. These dosages may need to be adjusted as each individual’s response to castor oil will be different. Relief should come within five hours of ingesting the oil.

Further Reading: 14 Reasons Why Every Home Needs A Bottle Of Castor Oil

4. Soak Skin In Cold Milk To Heal Burns

For instant relief of a burn, try soaking the affected skin in cold milk. The temperature of the liquid will help to stop skin from continuing to burn while simultaneously cooling away the pain. The fats and proteins in milk will also nourish your skin and help speed the healing process.

If the burned body part is small enough to fit into a container of cold milk, you can completely submerge it for 15 minutes. Otherwise, try making a poultice by soaking a clean cloth in milk then apply it to the burn. You can also use cold yogurt for a similar effect if you find milk to be too messy or if you don’t have any on hand.

Further Reading: 9 Most Effective Home Remedies To Heal A Sunburn Fast

5. Relax In An Oatmeal Bath To Soothe Itchy Rashes

Oatmeal contains a long list of nutrients which are great for skin, promote healing and reduce inflammation. Whether it be from eczema or chicken pox, poison ivy or ant bites, sunburn, heat rash or you-name-it, soaking in a warm or lukewarm bath infused with colloidal oatmeal is one of the best cures for itchy skin caused by just about anything. Just remember not to run the water too hot as this can dry out your skin and make the itch worse in the long run.

The recommended soaking time for any itchy skin ailment is between 15 – 25 minutes.

6. Drink Willow Bark Tea For Aches & Pains

The drinking of willow bark tea for pain is one natural remedy that dates back thousands of years – to the time of Hippocates (aka the “Father of Western Medicine”.) Willow bark tea works due to its high concentration of salicin which is very similar in chemical composition to the active ingredient in aspirin. As such, willow bark tea may be consumed in place of aspirin or any other over-the-counter pain killers to treat everything from headaches and menstrual cramps to tendonitis and arthritis.

Unlike most popular commercial pain killers, willow bark tea also contains antioxidants, polyphenols and flavonoids which provide additional health benefits. You can read more about it here.

Experience the magic of willow bark tea for yourself with this 100% organic shaved white willow bark. You won’t believe how well it works until you’ve tried it! Just remember, if your doctor has instructed you to avoid aspirin (such as for those on blood thinners) you will want to stay away from willow bark as well.

Further Reading: 14 Effective Natural Remedies To Relieve Joint Pain

7. Have A Hot Toddy To Soothe Your Sore Throat

While we now know that drinking alcoholic beverages isn’t the best thing for your health, this is still one of those time-tested remedies that really works.

The traditional remedy consists of 4 ounces of hot water or tea with a shot of bourbon or whiskey, a dollop of honey and a sqeeze of fresh lemon mixed in. The hot toddy’s sore throat-soothing power is mainly due to the healing properties of the lemon and honey (so yes, it still works if you leave out the whiskey, but if you tell your grandmother I said that, I will deny it!)

However, the liquor in a hot toddy does have a couple of arguable benefits as well. Some will tell you that the alcohol makes you drowsy and takes just enough of the edge off of your sore throat or other cold symptoms to help you fall asleep. Others will tell you that alcohol deteriorates the quality of your sleep, thus is self-defeating. The alcohol also works as an anti-bacterial agent in your throat, but honey does the same thing. Ultimately, adding the liquor or leaving it out is a matter of personal preference.

8. Apply Milkweed Sap To Dissolve Warts

Milkweed – the common name which refers to any of over 140 species of plants in the genus Asclepias – produces a white “milky” sap when wounded. When applied to warts, this sap effectively dries up and dissolves the wart, eventually causing it to fall off.

Just keep in mind that milkweed sap is a powerful astringent which also contains latex. As with most botanicals, you will want to perform an allergy test prior to using it and discontinue use immediately if any adverse effects occur.

9. Use Spider Webs To Close Up And Heal Wounds

Spider webs may very well have been the first ever ‘Band-Aid” used by humankind. Obviously spider silk is sticky which explains why it’s perfect for closing up a wound. However, less obvious is the fact that spider webs contain proteins and vitamins which actually speed both blood-clotting and wound-healing.

Remembering to pack your first aid kit is always preferable to stealing a spider’s web in order to mend a wound. But this little piece of natural remedy advice can be a real life-saver on long camping, hiking or other outdoor trips. Simply find a clean spider web (make sure there are no dead bugs on it), carefully relocate the spider residing on the web, collect the web and bundle it into a ball that will fit into the wound you want to close. Make sure the web fills the entire wound in order to stop bleeding and prevent any contaminants from sneaking in around the edges.

10. Drink Ginger Ale To Cure A Sick Stomach

Ginger root and ginger root extracts contain several natural chemicals which are known to relieve nausea by inhibiting the nervous signals which induce vomiting and by stimulating the muscles responsible for moving materials down through the gastrointestinal tract, thus preventing them from coming back up the esophagus.

That said, most commercial varieties of ginger ale no longer include real ginger root extract among their lists of ingredients. However, premium ginger ales like this one from Fever Tree still use real ginger and can be used to cure even the worst cases of nausea.

In a pinch, chewing on a slice of fresh ginger root works great, too! Read all about it plus 10 more reasons to have a daily slice of Zingiber in this excellent article.


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