11 Really Bizarre Home Remedies That Actually Work

Susan Patterson
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11 Really Bizarre Home Remedies That Actually Work

No matter what ails you, there is probably a home remedy that can offer a cure, or at least some relief.

Multiple remedies for all types of conditions have been handed down over the years, and while many sound like they’re simply old wives’ tales, often science has been able to back them up. You’d be surprised at how many minor ailments that you can actually treat with some rather unexpected foods and household objects, like these.

A pencil can relieve a headache

Often times, stress or anxiety is behind that headache. That’s because during times like this people tend to subconsciously clench their jaw and teeth which strain the muscle connecting the jaw to the temples which trigger a tension headache. One odd but effective solution for this is a simple writing tool: a pencil. Just hold a pencil between your teeth without biting down. As you’ll automatically relax your jaw muscle to hold it this way, it can prevent the pain.

Yogurt for halitosis

Some preliminary studies have found that the live bacteria found in yogurt can help suppress the bacteria that causes bad breath. That’s because the “good” bacteria in yogurt is believed to crowd out the “bad” that causes the stink, or it creates an unhealthy environment that it’s unable to thrive in.

A study conducted by Japanese microbiologists, as reported by the American Dental Association, discovered that a diet which includes two 3-ounce servings of plain yogurt (no sugar or additives) on a daily basis may help prevent bad bacteria from breeding on the tongue. Those types of bacteria release unpleasant odors that are ultimately exhaled through the mouth when processing food particles.

Vodka for stinky feet

Some people are unfortunately plagued with stinky feet, which is caused by bacteria that grows on them throughout the day. After a while, those stinky feet turn into stinky shoes, and who wants to step into those just after getting into the shower? That’s where vodka can help, and it’s even been proven to remove odors by Myth Busters.

While there are admittedly lots of products on the market available for addressing that stinky foot smell, just about all of them contain all sorts of chemical ingredients that are potentially harmful to health, not to mention being rather pricey too.  Vodka is effective thanks to its extremely high alcohol content which allows it to kill odor causing bacteria on contact. It also has a drying effect that helps to eliminate moisture, which is what causes those organisms to grow. Simply add some vodka to a spray bottle and mist your shoes with it to prevent and eliminate odors. Of course, if you’d rather drink that expensive bottle of Grey Goose that you’ve been saving for a special occasion, you can always use rubbing alcohol instead, which serves the same purpose.

Duct tape for warts

The duct tape method, or tape occlusion, as it’s sometimes referred to, is a time-honored and cheap technique for removing those unsightly warts. While the thought of warts is a bit disgusting, what’s even worse is thinking about having it burned off your body with liquid nitrogen, or the other chemicals that are sometimes used to get rid of them. Duct tape is good for almost anything, as you probably know, but wart removal is definitely a surprising benefit. It works because it blocks oxygen from getting to the wart, stunting its growth.

According to WebMD, you can remove your wart by using the following method:

  • Cut off a strip of duct tape that’s as close in size to the wart as possible.
  • Allow the tape to remain for six days – if it falls off, simply apply a new piece.
  • After six days, remove the tape and soak the affected area in water. Gently rub the surface of the wart down using a pumice stone or emery board.
  • Don’t reapply the tape just yet, leave it off overnight and then repeat the process again the following day, and weekly until the wart has disappeared, but for no longer than two months.

Tennis ball for aching feet

If you have to stand on your feet for long hours or do a lot of walking, it can result in sore, aching feet. Getting a foot massage is not always an available, or affordable option for relieving those sore feet, however. While there are various types of rollers you can use at home, if you’re traveling, they’re often too bulky to take along, but bringing a tennis ball takes little space and can provide instant relief wherever you happen to be. The basic idea is that you can work the ball into a trigger point with just a little bit of pressure.

A tennis ball underneath the arch of the feet can relieve those sore, tired muscles. Simply sit down in a chair and place the ball under one of your feet. Put some pressure on the ball and then roll it back and forth as long as you can, paying special attention to the aching areas. Allow it to move up and down the muscles of the foot and before you know it, you’ll discover sweet relief.

Listerine for blisters

In 1879, Listerine was developed as a surgical antiseptic, which means that it was designed to kill germs in living tissue to prevent rot or gangrene. It was later found to be effective for treating toe fungus and even gonorrhea. Those same properties make this powerful, classic breath freshener great for battling blisters. It can also prevent infection, speed healing and even soothe pain, although not initially as you’re basically adding alcohol to a wound, which means while it’s stings initially, soon afterward the mint that gives it its flavor offers a cooling sensation to calm irritated tissue and relieve pain. To use this surprisingly effective treatment, moisten a cotton ball with Listerine and dab it onto the blister three times a day until it dries and the pain has dissipated.

Lemons for morning sickness

While pregnancy is often a joyful time, it also comes with a number of unwanted side effects, like morning sickness, particularly during the first trimester. Most pregnant women suffer from it to at least some degree, from that slightly nauseous feeling to all out throwing up, over and over again to the point that it’s so severe it interferes with the ability to handle regular responsibilities. After all, you’re heading to the toilet constantly, how can you get anything done at all?

While there are anti-nausea medications available, many over the counter products like Dramamine, come with potent sedative effects that can make it just as difficult to get those tasks done, not to mention being potentially harmful to the fetus. And, for some women, that time-honored home remedy of sipping peppermint tea offers only limited effects, or, in some cases, even worsens nausea.

If you’d rather avoid the risk while tackling the problem, lemons offer a great alternative with their wonderful citrus scent helping to relieve nausea associated with morning sickness in no time. Keep some lemon slices handy at all times to help calm that sick-feeling stomach – you can eat them, lick them or just sniff them, the fresh smell and taste of lemons are sure to help.

Onions for an earache

Moms have been writing about it for years on their blogs, ever since blogging became a thing – they say, if your child has an earache, there is no better thing you can do than to grab an onion. Earaches can be extremely painful, and it’s very frustrating for parents to see their kids in such misery, not knowing what they can do to stop the hurt. While it definitely seems odd, and there haven’t been any actual studies that show it’s a proven treatment, many moms have been swearing by this homemade remedy for decades, in fact, it goes back to the 19th century. Those who’ve used it insist that it’s the juice of the onion that makes it so effective at relieving earache pain.

Some experts believe that it’s the onion’s high level of quercetin, a flavonoid, that could be responsible. Scientific studies have shown that this compound offers certain anti-inflammatory properties, and if that’s correct, it makes sense as earaches tend to come with swelling and pressure, which is known to be relieved by anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen. To use this homemade remedy, heat up the onion in a pan with a small amount of water, just until warm. Extract out some of the juice, and using a dropper, place several drops into the affected ear.

One particular blogger wrote not long ago on The Eco-Friendly Family that after administer onion juice drops to her toddler who had been fidgeting a lot due to the pain, that within minutes her body relaxed and she was able to enjoy peacefully resting again.

Chocolate for a cough

As if you needed another reason to indulge in chocolate, research published in 2004 in FASEB Journal actually showed that chocolate may be effective for suppressing a cough. The study showed that a compound found in cocoa known as theobromine was even more effective in halting a persistent cough than codeine, the ingredient in the most commonly prescribed cough medications. The researchers compared the effectiveness of one dose of theobromine to codeine as well as a placebo for stopping a cough and concluded that theobromine was able to calm a cough by suppressing vagal nerve activity, which is what’s responsible for causing a person to cough.

Unlike a prescribed or over the counter cough medicine, the compound in chocolate had no negative side effects like drowsiness, which means it can be taken at work, while using heavy machinery or driving and other situations where one needs to focus and doesn’t want a cough to keep getting in the way. Just two ounces of dark chocolate (look for a content of at least 70% cocoa), contains the comparative amount of theobromine as the effective ingredients in over the counter cough meds.

Lemon balm tea for cold sores

Lemon balm is one of the top home treatments for cold sores, which are caused by a type of herpes virus, though it’s not the kind that is sexually transmitted. Cold sores, fever blisters and herpes labialis are all names for those fluid-filled blisters that can occur on or around the lips, either as a single blister, or a number of them sometimes appear all clustered together. The blisters eventually open, leaving an open sore that can takes weeks to heal, leaving you to suffer in the meantime. Not only is it embarrassing, but it can be painful too.

You may have noticed that some topical ointments designed to treat cold sores actually contain lemon balm. That’s because it offers antiviral properties that can tame an outbreak. In 1999, German researchers found that patients who applied a lemon balm cream to their cold sores, experienced a reduction in swelling and redness after just two days.

The best way to use lemon balm at home to battle cold sores is to prepare a lemon balm tea. Boil a cup of water and add two to four tablespoons of the dried herb (available here). Allow it to steep for at least 15 minutes, and when the tea is cool enough to be comfortable, dip a cotton ball into it and then dab the cotton ball onto your cold sores at least a few times every day until they’ve completely healed.

Licorice root for calluses

This remedy is said to be effective because licorice contains estrogen-like compounds that help to soften the layer of hard skin, breaking it down so that it comes off more easily. According to Prevention.com, Georgianna Donadio, PhD, director of the National Institute of Whole Health, recommends making a licorice paste by actually grinding up a few licorice roots (alternatively just buy licorice root powder), mixing them with a half teaspoon of mustard oil, and rubbing the mixture onto the rough areas of your feet. Then, wrap a bandage over it and allow it to soak in overnight.

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