We’ve all heard of home remedies. Some of them sound legit, while others sound like something your great Aunt Eleanor came up with while hitting the bottle a little too hard.
The problem is, it can be very hard to tell just by looking which ones might work and which are just plain B.S.? Well, one sure-fire way to figure that out is to use a holistic approach. Look beyond the symptoms you are experiencing and focus on understanding the physiological and biological reactions that are happening in your body and what is causing these symptoms to occur. Then you can properly analyze the “remedy” and see if it all makes sense. When all else fails – science is always your friend.
Here are 14 common everyday problems and their time-tested natural remedies. Read on to the end for a bonus list of cures to common ailments that are used in different cultures from around the world.
Problem # 1 – Stinky Feet
There is one in every group; the one guy who can clear a room simply by taking off his shoes. Perhaps that person is you! Well, you no longer need to be afraid to proudly let your tootsies get some air.
What causes foot stink? The bacteria on your feet eat dead skin cells and oils. In the right conditions (lots of sweat and darkness), these bacteria will grow and begin to produce organic acids as waste. Those acids are what give foot odor its unforgettable stench.
Vodka to the rescue!! No, I am not suggesting that you just drink so much that you stop caring about your own odor (although, I suppose that would work too). The truth is, giving your feet a 10-minute soak in a bath of water and vodka can help. The high alcohol content has an antiseptic effect, destroying the odor-causing bacteria and acidic waste. To pass the time during your soak, you can treat yourself to a low-carb cocktail… After all, you already have the bottle open 😉
- Bad Breath
We’ve all had a close encounter with someone with stinky breath. Usually, those happen to be the same people that like to get real close when they talk to you (or so it would seem). Aside from offering them a stick of gum, there is little else you can politely do. If you or someone you love is suffering from this problems, don’t worry, there are a few things that can help.
Bad breath is caused by a buildup of bacteria in your mouth that causes inflammation and gives off noxious gases. It’s typically the result of an oral source, such as cavities, or on occasion an internal source, such as diabetes. Research has shown that eating yogurt can suppress bad breath-causing bacteria up to a point. Eating parsley can also do the job, as it contains chlorophyll, which can fight the bacteria that causes bad breath. So, skip the gum, since that will just give you gas (and the last thing you need while riding the elevator to work is another source of odor), instead, opt for a sprig of parsley. Chewing on a sprig for a minute or two is highly advised and your co-workers will be grateful.
These fluid-filled bumps that look like bubbles can be caused from a variety of sources, such as new shoes rubbing against your skin, running on new terrain or working in the garden without gloves. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV), which is a powerful antiseptic, can help dry out those horrible blisters. Moisten a cotton ball with Apple Cider Vinegar and dab on your blisters three times a day until it no longer hurts.
- Achy Feet
Achy feet can be caused by a number of sources. The foot is a very complex structure composed of 26 bones and 33 joints. Include all of the tendons, muscles and ligaments, and you have countless combinations of tissue that can lead to foot pain. The most common type of foot injury is the result of trauma; sometimes achy feet can be caused by standing for long periods of time or walking with improper support. Or it can be caused by athletic endeavors where the foot is put under tremendous stress. Wearing high heels can also put your tootsies in a tizzy.
Rolling your foot over a tennis ball (can substitute golf ball or soup can) can provide a mini-massage that stretches and soothes your arches. In order to cool throbbing feet, roll them over a bottle of frozen water.
We have all suffered from the hiccups at one time or another. These annoying episodes occur when a spasm contracts the diaphragm and causes an intake of breath that is suddenly stopped by the closure of the vocal chords, which causes the “hiccup” sound. They always seem to occur in quite places – like movies or board meetings.
For some sweet relief, grab a spoonful of sugar. A teaspoon of organic coconut sugar or raw honey (because I still want you to be healthy) is believed to modify the nerve muscles that would otherwise tell the muscles in the diaphragm to contract spasmodically, thus contributing to hiccups.
- Seasickness/Motion Sickness
Driving in a car or bus on a hilly windy road or riding on a boat can cause motion sickness. Motion sickness is caused when the inner ears, eyes, and other areas of the body that detect motion send conflicting messages to the brain. When one part of your body thinks it’s moving and another does not sense motion, this conflict of the senses can cause motion sickness, which is typically displayed as dizziness, fatigue and nausea. Motion sickness can cause you to produce excess saliva, which can cause nausea.
On your next trip, bring and try some olives and sliced lemons. Tannins, a compound in olives, dry out your mouth and sooth queasiness. Sucking on a lemon also works.
- Brittle Nails
Cracked or chipped nails can be caused by a number of things, including aging, nutrient deficiencies, long-term use of nail polish or exposure to moist conditions, such as swimming or washing dishes. Putting avocado oil on your nails before you go to bed and covering them with gloves forces the oil to penetrate the skin, preventing hands and nails from getting dry. Your hands will be silky soft as well.
- Chapped Lips
Whether you are in a cold windy climate or living near a tropical beach, chapped lips can become an issue. The thin surface layers of skin on your lips often falls prey to sun, wind, cold and dry air. Licking lips may provide short-lived relief, but can also exacerbate the problem.
Honey, which has been shown to have both antibacterial and wound-healing properties, works well when combined with the moisturizing effect of shea butter, treating and curing chapped lips.
- Cold/Respiratory Infection
I have to admit my mom was right on this one. For years, I thought that she was simply insane! Caused by more than 200 different viruses, the common cold makes its presence known when a person comes in contact with someone who has a cold or touches something that an infected person has also touched. The cold virus attaches to the lining of the nose or throat, which causes inflammation and produces mucus. Believe it or not, my mom’s old Italian remedy of salt water has been proven to provide relief. Salt water can actually ease the pain and duration of a cold or respiratory infection by helping to soothe inflamed tissues in the throat and loosening mucus, which in turn flushes out allergens and bacteria. One study found that gargling salt water three times a day reduced respiratory infection up to 40%. Just make sure you use good sea salt, not aluminum-caked table salt.
Migraines are a result of blood vessel enlargement and a release of chemicals from nerve fibers that coil around those blood vessels. During a headache, an artery located outside of the skull, just under the skin of the temple, causes a release of chemicals that cause inflammation, pain, and further enlargement of the artery.
Peppermint oil’s anti-inflammatory properties can help ease the pain and sooth nerves when rubbed onto your temples and left on for 15-30 minutes. No peppermint oil on hand? No problem! Holding a pencil between your teeth (don’t bite down) can also help ease headaches by preventing you from clenching your jaw and teeth, which strains the muscle that connects the jaw to the temples. The pencil allows you to relax your jaw muscle, which can prevent the pain.
Often, our meals are eaten too fast and we tend to consume more food than our bodies can handle at one time. This leaves us feeling full, uncomfortable, and bloated. Bloating is often caused by gas, which is produced when the digestive system breaks down food. Since humans cannot digest certain carbohydrates in the small intestine because they don’t have enough enzymes that aid in their digestion (such as lactose), the food then moves – in the undigested state – from the small intestine to the large intestine, producing hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane. These gases give us that bloated, full feeling.
Dandelion tea, a mild diuretic, will help get rid of excess water in the body. It also stimulates bile to help break down fatty meals that also cause bloating, but is still far gentler to your body than store-bought water pills or diuretic supplements. Turmeric, the yellow spice found in mustard also does a great job of decreasing the gas build up. Try a spoonful of mustard followed by a glass of warm water for gas relief.
If bloating is due to water retention, you’ll want to work up a sweat and flush the system with lots of water. I know it sounds counter-intuitive to add more water to a body that is holding on to extra water – but it is the only way to let your body know that it is safe to let go of the extra fluids.
Coughing is the body’s way of removing foreign material or mucus from the lungs and upper airway passages or reacting to an irritated airway. A mixture of ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons of water, and 1 tablespoon of raw honey makes a quick syrup for a sore throat or persistent cough.
- Brain Freeze
Also known as the “ice cream headache”, brain freeze occurs when something cold touches the roof of your mouth. This is because of a dilation of blood vessels in the head, often caused by the activation of a nerve center located above the roof of your mouth. Pushing your tongue to the roof of your mouth as soon as you feel a brain freeze coming will help reduce pain faster as the heat from your tongue will help calm the nerves.
- Damaged Hair
Heat from blow dryers, curling irons, and flat irons can cause temporary changes to the hydrogen bonds that hold hair together and can lead to permanent damage if done too often. The monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil and coconut oil help protect hair and make it softer and more manageable. Leaving it on for 10 minutes and rinsing will add shine.
So, there you have it, 14 problems that you’ll never have to suffer through again.
Read on for a few more time-tested remedies from around the world:
Mexico – minor burns are treated with tomato and honey.
Italy – rubbing a mixture of water and baking soda on your armpits is used to keep body odor at bay.
Hungary – sipping chamomile and peppermint tea is used as a remedy for upset stomachs.
Middle East – a mixture of lemon juice and honey is rubbed on chapped lips to provide relief.
Africa – a mask of avocado, honey and egg yolks is applied to the face to combat acne.
Russia – Nasal congestion is cleared up by a potent mixture of garlic, honey and aloe vera.
Do you have additionally holistic remedies that have been passed down in your family? To learn how to heal more chronic and serious conditions naturally and truly optimize your health and wellbeing, check out my free course Natural Healing Made Simple.