Warning: this is a long post.
I have been meaning to write a comprehensive post on home remedies for some time but when I sat down to do it, I struggled with what to include or what not to include. I worry about people getting bad information. I trust we all know better than to lick a finger and stick it in an electrical socket, and yet, thousands of people go to the emergency room each year for that very reason. We is geniuses.
And speaking of emergency rooms…
Early Sunday morning I was washing dishes and I cut my thumb on a knife. Bad. Bad enough that I couldn’t get the bleeding to stop after 30 minutes of applying ice and restrictive pressure. It wasn’t a big cut but there was enough blood to make me worry. Normally I would have gone to an urgent care center but the one by me didn’t open for another three hours (remember this is early Sunday morning). Plan B was a hospital emergency room, but with my insurance, an ER visit costs $700 the second I cross the threshold. Don’t even ask me what a band-aid costs. Now, $700 is a price I’d pay it for a broken bone, but a tiny thumb cut? I decided to give it another hour; if I couldn’t get the bleeding to stop in an hour I would have to suck it up an go to the ER.
So what did I do? I googled “stop bleeding home remedy”.
Let me tell you, I read all kinds of crazy stuff. And I tried most of them. Vinegar, diluted bleach, sugar… Nothing helped. Then I read about fresh ground black pepper. I thought this was crazy but I tried it.
Keep in mind, the photos below would be far more effective if I had taken a BEFORE shot, but 1. I don’t think y’all would want to see that and 2. I didn’t want to get blood all over my camera. So you will just have to imagine and big bloody thumb. Go on now….
I cleaned the wound thoroughly, then packed a teaspoon of fresh-ground black pepper over the cut as best I could, then wrapped the whole thing it a clean paper towel and secured with a big piece of masking tape. After ten minutes I removed the paper towel and expected to see more bloody mess. To my shock and amazement, this is what I found…
Look, I’m not suggesting anyone tries to use this method to heal a gunshot wound, but if you are in a bind, give it a try.
So while I am singing the praises of one home remedy, I thought I would take the opportunity to share some more. I emailed a bunch of friends and asked you guys on facebook for some tried-and-true home remedies. If you have one that is not listed below, take a second to chime in the comments below.
Colds / Nasal
Take a super hot bath. Mix in a couple of bottles of hydrogen peroxide, a hunk of fresh ginger (shredded), and five crushed IBprofen capsules. Soak for half an hour. This will detox your whole body by pulling the crud out through your skin (remember your skin is an organ too!). Drink tons of water to replace the stuff that comes out in the bath. Warning, you might grossed out an want a cold shower afterwards. If you have any cuts or hangnails cover them with vaseline before getting in the tub. Sandra
Remember that Ibuprofen is the only pain reliever made to work on mucus membrane (mouth, ear, sinuses). Christina
Eucalyptus oil. Eucalyptus oil. Eucalyptus oil. Sprinkle some in a hot bath. When you are dry, rub it on your feet, wrists, neck and scalp then over the ears with hats, scarves and put socks on top. I also mix it with a bit of chapstick and rub it on my temples and beneath my nose. The vapor helps loosen mucus, coughs, and opens up your lungs. It’s also an anti-inflammatory and just sinks into your skin and takes the edge off of the achyness of being ill. Susan (Note, I, Aunt Peaches, second this method wholeheartedly. I am rarely without Vicks Vapo rub for this very reason. Love my menthol/eucalyptus combo!)
My family swears by ouzo. If you think you are getting sick, drinking a shot and/or gargling with it before you go to bed to fight off the cold. Cynthia
Homemade chicken soup. I make sure to put fresh ginger in mine (calms upset stomachs and is very soothing). Kelly
For a nasal infection, a cup of warm water with a tablespoon of table salt shoot a cc or so up your nose, then wait until you’ve caught your breath and do it again a couple of times, it dries all the gunk. You can also gargle the salt water for a sore throat. Rhonda
If you have to sneeze pinch your nose and rub the roof of your mouth with your tongue. Cat
An almost surefire cure for nausea, even extreme nausea (where things have already started to happen, ahem)….try saltines and coke. Not ginger ale or sprite–there is something about the coke syrup that works. Eat a tiny corner nibble of the saltine (has to be the salted kind), take the tiniest sip of coke. Wait ten minutes, do it again. Repeat as often as needed. Works almost every single time. Myra
Chewing on fennel and caraway seeds is a great way to calm an upset stomach. My mother is Persian — they have used for thousands of years. Salma
I learned this trick from a bar tender who said it works on everyone, even drunk people. Take a glass of water and drink 3 or 4 sips from the opposite rim. Meaning the rim that is not closest to you. This will mean bending over and probably spilling some water so do it outside or in the shower. Something in your diaphragm stretches in order to reach like that. It smooths the hiccups in two seconds. Amanda
A spoonful of peanut butter for hiccups. Works every time! Melissa
Especially for children: hold your kid’s nostrils closed with your thumbs (one for each nostril) while using your fingers to close their ears. (Push in the flappy guys that partially cover the ear opening; don’t try to plug the ear canal like a cork.) Have them take 10 sips of water. If they insist on breathing, let them do so only after the 5th and 10th sips. Voila! Works almost every time. John
Our sure fire hiccup trick: a glass of tap water, hold a paper towel over the top of the glass, sip the water *through* the towel. A few gulps ought to do it. Tracy
Mix equal parts vinegar and rubbing alcohol and put 4 drops in effected ear. Works great to prevent my kiddos’ swimmer’s ear. Jayme
To help babies and toddlers with ear pressure problems on airplanes (especially small planes)…during take-off ask the flight attendant for two paper cups and two of those piping hot towels (or ask for hot water and soak some towels yourself). As the plane is taking off, put the towels in the cups and cup them over your child’s ears — no gaps. The steam will escape from the cups into their ears and alleviate the pressure. This works great on my son who has chronic sinus problems. Stopped him from screaming bloody murder and now he thinks it’s a game. Learned this trick from a flight attendant and I never got a chance to thank her properly! Rebecca
Soar Throat / Coughing
Warmed lemonade with a teaspoon of honey swirled in cures a kid’s nighttime coughing fits. Amy
Gargling with salt water – works wonders. Sore throats, cough, even earaches. Becky
Eat a couple of marshmallows for a sore throat. Dawn
A spoonful of honey makes a sore throat feel better and stops cough better than OTC stuff. Our crew team (rowing) goes through a lot of “honeybears” at regattas when the weather is cooler- the coach is a doctor and he originally recommended to rowers, etc. Dawn
My favorite is eating a big thick shake (like a Blizzard) when you have a headache. Numbs it away. Lisa
I have to travel for work and I’m always getting headaches from smells on buses, trains, planes and conference rooms (imagine — perfumes, BO, cleaning products, etc). I keep a plastic bag with a tissue loaded with lemon oil. When I need it I waft the tissue under my nose to block or balance the offending smells. Justin
Make a paste of baking soda and water. Pack it on the splinter and put a band-aid over it. 10 minutes later the splinter will pop out. Jennifer
Apply hydrogen peroxide. It draws the stuff out. Heather
Soak the area in olive oil before trying to pluck it out with tweezers or a hot needle. It makes it easier to grab onto the splinter. Natalie
Clove oil for toothaches. A couple drops from a Qtip helps immensely. Don’t swallow it! It will make your mouth water and it tastes horrible, but it works. Christina
Hold an ice cube between your thumb and your forefinger (same side as the toothache). The nerves hook up in a weird way. It will calm the pain long enough to get to the dentist and have the real problem taken care of. Grant
For a canker sore, gargle with warm water and salt for 30 seconds every few hours. If it is a particularly bad sore, soak a black tea bag in very hot very salty water for a couple of minutes, then press the bag directly on the sore for 10 minutes. The salt will draw out the crud and the tannins in the tea will relieve pain. Dee
My roommate taught me a after a night of heavy drinking to take a multivitamin before you go to bed and one when you wake up. Mary Elena
A hangover is just a symptom of dehydration. You can prevent the worst of it by drinking 2 liters of water before going to bed (hopefully you can remember). I also take a small dose of an anti-inflammatory like aspirin. Coleman
Urinary Tract Infections
Alka Seltzer has never been advertised for such, but it will treat UTI’s. Cassandra
I get UTIs all the time since having mt second baby. I get no warning at all. Unsweetened cranberry juice will get rid of it in a day or two, but if you are worried about, ahem *making a mess* , and you can’t spend all day sitting on the toilet, you can fold a couple of clean cotton socks and stick them in your underwear like a pantyliner. It’s not glamorous but it gets the job done. You can tend to your kids and go to the store for medicine without worrying you will pee your pants. Anonymous
Pure cornstarch cures diaper rash better than any OTC remedy I’ve ever tried. Amy
Listerine is wonderful for a great foot soak. It’s a very powerful disinfectant and will keep your feet smelling yummy. I like the vanilla mint. Cassandra
Soak socks in vinegar and put on clean feet (stick a towel underneath). Wear until they dry out. Maybe an hour or two. Take temperature, it should have come down a bit. June
Natural Remedy for Lice: 3 tblspoon baby shampoo 3 tblspoon olive oil 1 tsp tea tree oil 1 tsp eucalyptus oil. Leave on hair for 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. Jen
If your kid has to take yucky pills or medicine, have them suck on a popsicle first. It will numb their tongue and sense of taste long enough to make swallowing easier. Jennifer
OKay. That’s it for today. Feel free to chime in the comments with your favorite home remedy. Also, this is the part when I am supposed to encourage you to seek professional medical help in cases of serious illness, but I am going to assume we all have enough common sense to know that much already. Right? Right. Stay safe and healthy everyone!