When suffering from an annoying minor health issue, such as a cold or sunburn, we often overlook the simplest yet incredibly effective home remedies and completely natural solutions. Who could provide the most effective home remedies for all kinds of ailments? Our grandmothers, of course!
Swallow 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar. The dry granules stimulate and reset the irritated nerve that is causing the spasms of the diaphragm. Any coarse substance, such as salt, can work in a pinch.
A cold compress on the forehead can help bring a fever down. Just soak a face cloth in cold water and put it on the forehead or under your armpits.
For a high fever (above 102°F), take a tepid bath or a cold shower, which simply cools the body to match the water temperature. Bathe or shower until your temperature decreases to 101° to 102°F.
Sip linden flower tea. It which works in two ways: It stimulates the hypothalamus to better control your temperature, and it dilates blood vessels, inducing sweating. Steep 1 tablespoon of dried herb (available in health food stores) in a cup of hot water for 15 minutes, then sip. Drink three to four cups a day. If you still run hot after a day of sipping tea, seek medical attention.
Rub on olive oil two or three times a day to soothe, soften, and lubricate. Your lips will feel immediately better, but it will take a few days before they start to heal on their own. Some research suggests that applying extra virgin olive oil to skin after sunbathing may help prevent skin cancer.
A stiff neck results from slowed circulation and lymph flow to muscle tissues. Use contrast hydrotherapy—a quick blast of hot, then cold water—to get the blood pumping again. In the shower, first run hot water over your neck for 20 seconds to increase blood flow, then switch to cold for 10 seconds to constrict blood flow. Alternate three times, always ending with cold.
Before bedtime, eat a handful of cherries (or drink tart cherry juice), which scientists discovered are jam-packed with melatonin, the same hormone created by your body to regulate sleep patterns. Then steep yourself in a hot bath to relax your muscles and your mind. In bed, rest your head on a lavender-filled pillow – the fragrance induces sleepiness.
Crush a few fresh strawberries into a scrubbing pulp that you mix with a pinch of stain-removing baking soda and enough water to make a paste. Apply the mixture to a soft-bristled toothbrush and polish for a few minutes once every 3 or 4 months. (More often can erode tooth enamel.) The astringent malic acid in strawberries helps buff coffee and red-wine stains from teeth.
PUFFY, TIRED EYES
Black tea is chock-full of astringent compounds called tannins that can help deflate and tighten the bags under your eyes. Dip two tea bags in a cup of hot water for several minutes. Let them cool off, and then apply one bag to each (closed) eye as a compress for 10 minutes.
Soak feet nightly in 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water to eliminate odoriferous bacteria. Or take a daily foot bath in strong black tea (let it cool first) for 30 minutes. Tea’s tannins kill bacteria and close the pores in your feet, keeping feet dry longer; bacteria tend to thrive in moist environments. You’ll see results in a few days to a week. One caution: Do the soak only when your feet are free of cuts.
DRY, ITCHY SKIN
Oatmeal is a brilliant moisturizer and has amazing anti-inflammatory properties for itchy skin conditions. Put whole oats in a clean, dry sock. Seal the open end with a rubber band, and then drop the sock into a warm or hot bath. Soak yourself for 15 to 20 minutes.
Peppermint contains menthol that helps open up clogged blood vessels that cause headaches. It also has calming and soothing effects. Mix three drops of peppermint essential oil and 3 drops of Lavender essential oil in one tablespoon of olive oil. Massage your forehead and temples with it.
Douse a cotton makeup pad with isopropyl alcohol, hold it up to your nose, and take a few deep breaths (no more than three in a 10-minute period). According to a recent study, emergency room patients who inhaled the isopropyl alcohol–saturated pads saw a 50% reduction in nausea, compared with patients who sniffed pads doused in saline solution.
Fresh Ginger is an effective remedy if you suffer from nausea. Put a few slices of ginger in a mug and pour boiling water over them. Let the ginger steep in the mug for about 3-5 minutes. You may wish to add a little bit of honey or brown sugar to make the infusion even tastier.
Take ½ to 1 teaspoon of crampbark tincture every 2 hours on the days of your worst cramps. Test-tube studies show that this North American plant works as a muscle relaxant to quickly relieve painful spasms.