Read these 40 Home Remedies Helpers Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Alternative Health tips and hundreds of other topics.
As for herbal and natural remedies I have used for sleep-related problems, there are several available, either in solo form or in combined formulas. The supplement 5-HTP (300 mg per day) has been found to be very helpful in helping promote a better night's rest. This is because it helps increase brain levels of serotonin. Don't mix this with other serotonin modifying medications, anti-depressants, or weight control drugs. Helpful herbs include valerian, lemon balm, hops, chamomile, scullcap, passion flower, and California poppy.
Lemon juice is one of nature's natural bleaching agents, something that can help lighten skin discolorations. Dab some fresh lemon juice on the discolored spots twice daily. If you are going outdoors, wait for the juice to dry as it increases the skin's sensitivity to sunlight. It may take a few months, but the acidity in the juice will cause the spots to fade away.
Dr. Andrew Weil, one of my idols, is a strong believer in the powers of garlic, especially raw garlic cloves. He recommends ingesting 1 or 2 cloves of garlic a day to people who suffer from chronic or recurrent infections, including yeast infections or just low resistant to infection. Separate some cloves from a garlic bulb and then decide how you can best consume it, whether it be whole, minced, or cut into chunks. Chew some parsley afterwards to minimize residual odor. Raw garlic is a potent natural antibiotic worth trying. Especially great for colds & sore throats.
Many of us recall Mom bringing out the Vicks when we contacted childhood colds. The base ingredient, eucalyptus, really did help relieve symptoms because it has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and analgesic properties. Its antiviral properties also helps work against colds and coughs. To make your own soothing rub, use 1/2 teaspoon eucalyptus essential oil, 1/8 teaspoon each peppermint oil and thyme essential oils and 1/4 cup olive oil. Combine ingredients in a dark, glass bottle and shake to mix evenly. Massage into chest and throat as needed. Avoid using this oil on children under 5 because the peppermint oil may cause a burning sensation on their sensitive skin.
Hot water bottles feel great while they are hot but for me it always seems like they cool down too quickly. I try to avoid electric heating pads due to the electo-magnetic field emissions, and now when I need something for my aching muscles or cramps, I turn to my homemade salt pack. Just heat one pound of coarse salt in a heavy pan and then VERY carefully, funnel the salt into a clean heavy cotton sock or bag. Avoid adding too much salt, you don't want to have it be too rigid, but rather more the consistency of a bean bag chair. Close the end of the bag or sock with a heavy-duty safety pin and sit back and enjoy the warming effect of the salt pack where ever you need soothing heat. It will stay warm for almost 30 minutes and will help bring relief because it increases circulation to the aching area.
If you're planning a soak in a hot tub to help relief some of your stress level, you should know that a hot bath can actually over-stimulate your senses and add to your agitation.
According to the book "Hydrotherapy: Simple Treatments for Common Ailments," a neutral bath has a much more favorable balancing effect on anxious or irritable people. Water temperatures should range between 94 and 97 degrees and for maximum benefits, your soak time should be at least 20 minutes. Add warm water to maintain temperature.
It has long been believed that a glass of ginger ale or other carbonated beverages could help ease nausea. Although the ginger base in true ginger ale could help ease some symptoms, the carbonation can actually bloat an empty stomach and also induce more vomiting if vomiting is present. It is better to sip "flat" ginger ale that is room temperature. Cold beverages may add extra strain to an already troubled tummy.
Some of Mother Nature's best tasting bounty can also help ease a bout of diarrhea. These include bananas, blackberries, raspberries, rhubarb (which should be used in moderation) and tomatoes. A grated apple, allowed to turn brown, and then eaten also can offer some relief. Drinking 3 cups of rice water is also effective. Boil 3 cups of water with 1/2 cup of brown rice. Strain the rice out to eat and save the water to drink. The rice aids in stool formation and also helps replenish B vitamins.
If smelly feet are a problem, wash your feet daily with antibacterial soap and wear ONLY cotton socks. Dust feet with cornstarch and sprinkle some into your shoes. It's also advisable to soak you feet daily in either white vinegar or in a mixture of black tea. Brew 2 tea bags in a pint of boiling water for 15 minutes, then add tea to 2 quarts of cool water and soak for about 20 minutes. It may take a week or so but great improvement generally occurs by doing this.
Some effective herbs to help curb the misery of diarrhea include goldenseal, skullcap, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, chamomile and bayberry, These herbs can be ingested by adding them to foods or teas, or by ingesting them in capsule or tincture form. They all act to calm the intestinal tract.
It may sound too good to be true, but simple apple cider vinegar can be just as effective as the pricier over-the-counter remedies available. Soak a cotton ball in the vinegar and apply it to the foot twice a day, paying special attention to getting the vinegar between the toes. Let it dry thoroughly before putting on socks and shoes. This potent antibacterial solution also possesses antifungal properties, thanks to the acetic acid in the apple cider vinegar. Make sure to wash your hands THOROUGHLY to avoid spreading the infection.
If you feel there is no escaping the discomfort of canker sores,you may be surprised how effective a dab of myrrh can be. Myrrh is rich in tannins and has antiseptic and antimicrobial properties, all of which help ease irritated tissues. Open a capsule of powdered myrrh(available at most health food stores) and apply the powder directly onto the canker sore. Repeat several times a day. Your canker sore will improve dramatically.
If you suffer a dental injury that knocks out a tooth, locate the tooth - hold it only by the crown - and rinse it gently with water if possible. Wrap the tooth in a wet clean cloth or soak in a cup of milk or contact-lens wetting solution. These remedies maintain the life of the tooth until you can get to an emergency room or to your dentist's office.
Apple cider vinegar possesses astringent properties, making it highly effective in helping to shrink swollen blood vessels responsible for causing much of the pain associated with hemorrhoids. Gently dab the affected area as often as needed with a cotton ball soaked in vinegar. If you have a sensitivity to vinegar use caution and do NOT use the solution full strength. Instead, dilute the vinegar with equal amounts of water.
An old home remedy used in my family to clear up sinus or bronchial problems calls for a crushed clove mixed with a half-teaspoon of honey. Mix into a cup of hot water flavored by a squeeze of lemon juice. Drink this at least 3 times a day. Cloves are a powerful antiseptic, while lemons have long been used for treating infections of the respiratory tract.
Diaper rash cause by irritants (not yeast induced rashes) responds extremely well to liquid lecithin, which is readily available at health food stores. Just apply a heavy coating of the liquid lecithin over the affected area and the rash will generally subside within 2 or 3 days. The oily emollient base in lecithin provides a protective barrier for a baby's sensitive skin. Also, petroleum-based salves that contain comfrey or calendula work well to combat diaper rash.
Eating a few chili peppers can open up your airways if you are suffering from a cold, bronchitis or even emphysema - and here's why. The pungent component of capsiacin in the peppers causes a sudden secretion in your throat and bronchial passages, which actually thins the mucus in the lungs and pushes it along. This causes the secretions to be less sticky and thick and acts as an expectorant like Robitussin.
Its acidic smell may cause you to cringe, but vinegar is a longtime favorite of healers used over the years to treat everything from hemorrhoids to athlete's foot. It has been touted as being bacterial-inhibiting, antiseptic & astringent. Adding about 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to about 4 cups of fruit juice is one way to take advantage of its health-inducing properties. People with stomach ulcers should AVOID it, however, as the vinegar's acid can aggravate ulcers.
If your hair is dry and brittle, there's a good chance your body is crying out for a fatty acid called GLA (gamma-linolenic acid). Few of use get enough of it in our regular diet, but it is vital for healthy hair, skin and nails. It comes in the form of Evening primrose oil, borage oil and black currant oil, with black current oil usually being the least expensive. Start with 500 milligrams of black currant oil twice a day. Changes should be visible within 6 to 8 weeks. Once you see improvements, cut your dose in half and continue indefinitely on this supplement for healthy hair, nails and skin.
It is actually quite simple to make your own highly effective cough syrup just by placing three tablespoons of dried thyme leaves (not powdered thyme) into a quart glass jar. Add one pint of boiling water, close the lid and allow to steep until cool. Strain and add one cup of honey. Stir well and refrigerate.
This tasty syrup is incredibly effective due to the fragrant oil (thymol) present in the thyme leaves. Thymol is a powerful antiseptic and antispasmodic, both valuable components in treating a hacking, annoying cough. This mixture can retain its potency for several months but it must be refrigerated. Take one teaspoon every hour to relieve a cough and remember - infants under 1 year old should NEVER ingest honey due to the threat of botulism.
Fungus is the cause of athlete's foot - so to combat it you need a strong anti-fungal. Combine 4 oz. Aloe Vera juice (to soothe) and 1/2 tsp. tea tree oil (the anti-fungal) and mix into a small spray bottle. Shake well, spray your feet and let air dry before putting on socks. Do this twice a day and keep it up for a month to insure the fungus is totally eradicated.
There are a number of herbs helpful in calming anxiety and one of the best is Kava Kava. The Natural Health Bible recommends that the daily dosage should not exceed 300 mg of kavalactones (the name for the active principles of kava). Kava should NOT be mixed with alcohol, prescription anxiety drugs, sedatives or any other drugs that depress mental function. Other helpful herbs or supplements include skullcap, hops, lemon balm, chamomile, passionflower and 5-HTP. Extra selenium (200 mcg daily) and flaxseed oil (2 to 6 tablespoons daily) can also help relieve anxiety in some people. I usually take a calcium, magnesium and zinc tablet, plus a B-complex tablet, too. It's also important to phase caffeine out of your life
If you've got a scratchy, irritated sore throat, try mixing 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (you be the judge of what you can tolerate) and mix into a 6 ounce glass of tepid water. Gargle three or four times daily and your sore throat should improve rapidly from the vinegar's antibacterial power.
Warts can be an embarrassing ailment but one that can often times remedied by breaking out a garlic clove and vitamin E. Since warts are caused by a virus that usually enters through a crack in the skin, the virus has to be combatted by a powerful antifungal. Garlic is one of nature's most powerful antifungals and it can be unleashed by crushing a clove of raw garlic. Place a portion of the crushed clove on the wart and then cover with an adhesive bandage. This will cause a blister to form and the wart will usually fall off within a week. Once it does, rub vitamin E on the area to help the skin heal. Keep in mind that garlic is very powerful - so if you have sensitive skin it can burn you - so test a small area to make sure your skin is agreeable to this treatment.
The mention of castor oil may send chills up the spines of those who were forced to swallow it in their childhood days, but its high vitamin E content can work wonders on brittle nails and ragged cuticles. It isn't a quick fix but if you're willing to massage a small amount of castor oil daily into your cuticles and nails, within three months you'll be the proud owner of healthy, nourished cuticles and nails worthy of admiring glances.
A freely bleeding cut that does not require stitches should be disinfected by pouring 3% hydrogen peroxide into the wound. Let it foam up and then repeat and pat dry with a clean cloth or piece of gauze. One folk remedy that works quite well, especially for deep cuts, is to sprinkle goldenseal powder into the cut. Just open a goldenseal capsule to get the powder, which disinfects and encourages the formation of a crusty scab that protects the wound.
Aspirin can be helpful in relieving pain but when trying to combat sore throat pain avoid using aspirin-based chewing gum or aspirin gargles. Aspirin, when applied directly to mucous membranes can actually act as an irritant instead of a pain reliever. Instead, mix 1 tablespoon of slippery elm powder with one cup of boiling water and one half cup of honey. Take one teaspoon of this mixture (hot or cold) every three to four hours.
Common sense pretty much tells you oil can help get things moving if they are stuck - and that is a fact people who live in the Mediterranean region rely on when it comes to problems with constipation. Their usual home remedy choice is to take a tablespoon of olive oil every few hours until things get moving - but vegetable oil will also acts as a helpful lubricant. Both coats the stool and make expulsion much easier.
Although a hangover is technically caused by your body`s reaction to the invading alcohol toxin and a form of dehydration, you can prepare your body beforehand by drinking some extra water and taking some extra vitamin C.
It`s important to AVOID reaching for the aspirin and instead reach for White Willow, the herbal aspirin, along with a cup a chamomile tea. This is something your already stressed digestive system will thank you for almost immediately. Green tea may also help since it is thought to stabilize blood sugar, although be advised, it contains caffeine.
Other herbs that help ease the discomfort of a hangover include Skullcap and Ginseng, which cool your overheated gastric juices, energize the nervous system and detoxify. But if you really want to take care of business, Milk Thistle is the king of liver toxifying herbs. Nausea can be treated with the homeopathic remedy Nux Vomica, which comes in drops or tablets or if you are a fan of ginger, a cup of ginger tea works wonders for the stomach. This comes in tea bags or you can make your own by slicing gingerroot (2 or 3 nickel-size slices) and boiling them with a cup of water. Let the slices steep in the water about 10 minutes, then remove them before pouring tea into your cup.
Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DLG)tablets can be a powerful aid in helping to heal mouth ulcers since they help stimulate the regeneration of healthy mucous membranes. (That's why they are also extremely helpful in curing stomach ulcers.) Dissolve 1 or 2 tablets in your mouth 3 times a day until canker sores have healed. These tablets can be taken on a regular basis to help prevent future canker sore outbreaks, but keep in mind DGL can heighten blood pressure in some people.
An aching tooth indicates the need for a trip to the dentist, no matter how much you dread it. But, to keep your pain at a minimum until your appointment, put a couple of drops of essential oil of clove on a cotton swab and dab on the tooth crevice. Clove oil is antibacterial, antiseptic, and analgesic.
A few remedies thought to help laryngitis include taking the homeopathic remedy Belladonna (30C or 30X strength)for two days. (Follow dosage directions on bottle.) This remedy is available at most health food stores. Another home remedy is to put lemon juice and honey in a tablespoon with a pinch of cayenne pepper. This is said to help coat your larynx, thus relieving the laryngitis. You may do this as many times as you feel is necessary for relief. The final treatment is to try steam inhalation, breathing the mist from a bowl of boiling water (I usually add a few drops of Eucalyptus oil) and drape a towel over my head to get maximum benefit. I also gargle with apple cider vinegar and water for any throat problems.
Few things work as well as a bag of frozen peas when you need an ice pack that molds to the body. This is great for headaches, burns, or any place that needs relief quickly. To prevent any surprise drips, put the peas (leaving them in the store package) into a ziplock-type bag. This can be re-frozed, but make sure you don't end up preparing these defrosted/re-frozen peas by accident. This ready-to-use ice pack is especially great for kids' injuries.
Dandruff can be downright embarrassing and annoying and most over-the-counter dandruff shampoos can smell less than lovely. An effective herbal dandruff shampoo can be made by pouring 2 cups of boiling water over 2 tablespoons each of dried thyme and rosemary, and sage. Cool to room temperature and strain. Combine 1/4 cup of the herbal tea with 1/4 cup of mild natural shampoo (available at health food stores). Add 20 drops of eucalyptus essential oil and 15 drops lavender essential oil. Shake well before using.
You might think subjecting irritated canker sores to salt water is a bad idea, but a warm salt water rinse makes a simple and soothing antiseptic mouth rinse. Add 1/2 tsp. of sea salt to 1/2 cup of warm water. Mix to dissolve salt, then swish water in your mouth for about a minute and spit out. Repeat this rinse several times a day.
If smelly feet are a problem, wash your feet daily with anitbacterial soap and wear ONLY cotton socks. Dust feet with cornstarch and sprinkle some into your shoes. It's also advisable to soak you feet daily in either white vinegar or in a mixture of black tea. Brew 2 tea bags in a pint of boiling water for 15 minutes, then add tea to 2 quarts of cool water and soak for about 20 minutes. It may take a week or so but great improvement generally occurs by using these home remedies..
Chicken pox is one of the most difficult diseases parents have to help their kids cope with due to the overwhelming discomfort associated with the virus. Herbalist Rosemary Gladstar recommends an oatmeal bath to help ease the itching and pain of chicken pox. Grind dry rolled oats in a blender and then add one or two cups of the oats to a bathtub filled with lukewarm water. Let the child soak for at least 15 minutes and then just pat the skin dry but don't rinse off the oatmeal. Follow up with a cup of relaxing tea, such as lemon balm or chamomile.
Aloe's healing properties work wonders for burns, constipation & wounds. Stabilized aloe gel can be applied to minor burns or skin irritations 3 to 5 times a day. For constipation, a single 50 to 200 mg capsule of aloe latex can be taken daily for a maximum of 10 days. The latex form of aloe should NOT be used by anyone with Crohn's Disease or appendicitis or by children or pregnant women.