Recently, during a strenuous long hike, I caused a stress fracture in my left foot. It wasn’t severe enough that I couldn’t finish my hike but by the next day, it swollen and very painful. After x-rays and the doctor’s confirmation that it was a small fracture on the outside of my foot, I was told to just try to say off of it, keep it elevated and take ibuprofen to address the pain and inflammation.
This was a real inconvenience and the pain was no fun but I knew I need to do everything I could to try and speed along the recovery process.
The ibuprofen was especially helpful when I went to bed as the pain was intense enough that it would keep me awake. Then one night, I was in trouble. I had run out of ibuprofen! I tried Tylenol but it just didn’t do the trick. I could hardly wait for my wife to go to the store the next day and pick up some more ibuprofen.
But what if the circumstances were such that there wasn’t a store to go to? What if we didn’t have access to the typical over-the-counter medications we’ve all become so accustomed to?
Luckily, there are several alternatives to such medications that we most likely have in our kitchens or bathrooms right now. In fact, more and more people are turning to home remedies rather than using pharmaceutical medications that may contain harmful ingredients and synthetic chemicals.
Some of these remedies might seem very strange to you, especially if you’re used to popping a pill for every ailment, but people have been using them for decades–in some cases, centuries–to great effect.
Before you laugh at these home remedies and consider those who use them crazy, try them out for yourself. You’ll quickly discover that they really work! Here’s a list of unusual remedies and how to use them.
Hydrogen Peroxide for Ear Infections
Ear infections are painful and disruptive, but hydrogen peroxide can help clear up the infection. Lie on your side and pour a cap full of hydrogen peroxide into your ear. Let it sit and bubble in your ear for 5 to 10 minutes. It feels strange, and you’ll hear popping sounds.
The popping you hear is the peroxide softening the wax and killing bacteria in your ear. Place a tissue on your ear and let the hydrogen peroxide drain out. Earwax will easily come out with a Q-tip. You can use this remedy just to clear out your extra earwax, but the hydrogen peroxide works quickly to remove any bacteria or stop a virus from growing.
Lemon Balm Tea for Cold Sores
Lemon balm contains antiviral properties that can help cure cold sores that are caused by the herpes virus. You can make lemon balm at home with some dried lemon balm.
All you need to do is add 2 to 4 TBSP of dried lemon balm herb to a cup of boiling water. Let it cool a bit, and then dab the cotton ball into the tea. Apply it to your cold sore several times per day.
Sugar for Hiccups
Hiccups aren’t bad for you, but they’re really annoying! They’re caused by a spasm in your diaphragm. A simple, but unusual, home remedy is to swallow a teaspoon of sugar.
Scientists don’t know exactly why this works so well, but it’s speculated that sugar affects the vagus nerve which connects your brain and stomach, stopping the diaphragm from spasming. Now every time you get the hiccups, you’ll have an excuse to eat pure sugar!
Yogurt for Bad Breath
Halitosis is the official name for bad breath, and no one enjoys it. Believe it or not, the cure isn’t chewing on a pack of gum – it’s yogurt. You need at least two servings per day of yogurt because it contains probiotics, but make sure you purchase yogurt that doesn’t contain sugar.
Eating yogurt will change the environment on your tongue so that bad bacteria doesn’t continue to grow and stink.
Baking Soda for UTIs
Urinary tract infections (UTI) are painful, and it’s best to cure them sooner rather than later. A UTI can turn into a bladder infection. Baking soda is a home remedy because it makes the bladder environment more alkaline, which prevents bacteria from multiplying.
Simply mix 1/4 TSP of baking soda into an 8-ounce glass of water. Drink this solution as soon as you notice the starting symptoms of a UTI.
Olives or Lemons for Motion Sickness
Motion sickness, or any nausea, leads to the extra production of saliva, which makes you feel even more nauseous. If you notice motion sickness, eat a few olives.
It works because the tannins in the olives stop nausea by drying out your mouth. Lemons are a quick fix for motion sickness as well.
Olive Oil for Eczema
Eczema can cause you to itch and feel uncomfortable, and it can flare up anywhere on your body, even your hands! Olive oil is an ingredient in many skin creams and products, and it’s full of antioxidants.
All you have to do is rub the olive oil on the area of your body with the eczema flare up. Olive oil is wonderful for many ailments.
Chocolate for a Cough
Finally, a reason to eat more chocolate! Dark chocolate can help you stop coughing if you’re having a coughing spell.
2 ounces of dark chocolate contains theobromine, the same ingredient found in OTC cough medicines. Theobromine relaxes the nerves that are responsible for the cough reflex.
Garlic for Allergies
Garlic is one of those things every home remedist knows is a godsend. Instead of using OTC antihistamine medication, you can use garlic to eat and cure up allergy problems.
It works because garlic contains a lot of the antioxidant quercetin, which is said to reduce allergy symptoms. Onions work as well.
Cloves for Cuts
Cloves are a fantastic home remedy for tooth pain, but did you know that cloves can help heal cuts and skin wounds? Sprinkling clove powder over the cut can stop the spread of bacteria.
Another option is to apply clove oil to the wound. This remedy works because clove oil has high levels of eugenol, which is pain-relieving and has antiseptic properties.
Honey for Chapped Lips
Raw honey belongs in every home remedy kit because it contains dozens of healing properties. If your lips are chapped, don’t turn to Chapstick! Instead, dab a bit of raw honey on the chapped area.
Make sure you rub it on just like you would Chapstick. It will nourish and hydrate your lips, plus everyone loves the taste of honey. Make sure the honey you select is raw and organic.
Duct Tape for Warts
Wrapping warts in duct tape is one of the best ways to get rid of them. Make sure you clean the area well and put a slightly bigger piece of duct tape over the wart.
Remove the tape every three days. Remove any dead skin with a nail file or pumice stone. Keep repeating this procedure until the warts are gone.
Vinegar for Swimmer’s Ear
Ear problems can ruin your day because the pain radiates into your jaw and throughout your entire head. You will want to get rid of swimmer’s ear quickly. An old home remedy for swimmer’s ear is to put a drop or two of vinegar into your ear.
Grandma will swear to you that this remedy works because the acidic properties inside of vinegar can kill off the bacteria inside your ear. To use this remedy, you need to dilute white vinegar in distilled water. Then, add three drops into the ear giving you problems three times per day.
Pine Syrup for Sore Throats
Making pine syrup is easy, and it works wonders for sore throats. All you need to do is gather up a cup of freshly-washed pine needles and blend them. While you’re doing that, boil some water, corn syrup, and a bit of salt. Mix in the needles and let them steep for a few hours.
Make sure to keep it in the fridge for at least a month. Then, you will have it when you need it.
Beets for Constipation
You’re probably thinking this remedy seems a bit far out there, but give it a try. Take some fresh beets and steam them. Then, eat them when you feel constipated. Don’t drain the water you used to steam the beets. Instead, drink the water because it contains vitamins that help your body process out the waste.
Just be aware that it’s possible your urine or stools may turn bright red. That can be scary if you aren’t expecting it! It’s nothing to worry about; it’s just the natural dyes in beets.
Toothpaste for Bug Bites
Bug bites are itchy and annoying. One simple home remedy is to put a small amount of toothpaste onto the bug bite. Toothpaste has a cooling effect because of the peppermint oil that lessens the pain and inflammation. You can also try applying peppermint oil to the bug bite if you don’t want to use toothpaste.
Unusual home remedies are worth a try, especially because you’re used to pharmaceutical medications. These remedies might seem strange, but they work really well!