Bizarre Home Remedies That Actually Work

Science has made incredible leaps and bounds in the last 100 years. The introduction of antibiotics and vaccines have made it so we can all live happier, healthier lives. Still, it seems like nowadays it’s all too easy to reach for a pill bottle to fix the smallest scrape.

If you want to try and treat some more common problems like bug bites, dandruff, and even the common cold, look no further than the items you already have at home. These are the same home remedies that your grandparents swore by, and surprisingly, they actually work.

Toothpaste Is The Go-To For Fighting Pimples

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Any teenager with bad acne has probably tried this home remedy at some point and found yes, it actually works. Just place a dab of toothpaste on the zit, leave it for a few hours, then rinse with cold water.

The texture dries out the oils in the pimple, and the triclosan and hydrogen peroxide helps kill bacteria.

Duct Tape Will Remove Warts And Skin Tags

duct-tape-hack
Wikipedia
Wikipedia

No, this isn’t about using tape to rip off the wart or skin tag. There is some strange property about duct tape that will help naturally remove the wart. Take a tiny piece of duct tape, put it on the wart, and leave it on (yes, even showering) until it naturally falls off.

By the third or fourth application of duct tape, the wart or skin tag will fall off too.

Baking Soda And Lemon Juice Was The Original White Strips

BSIP/UIG via Getty Images
BSIP/UIG via Getty Images

Before Crest brought out a bunch of teeth-whitening products, the way to get a picture-perfect smile was mixing baking soda and lemon juice to make a thick paste.

Apply the homemade paste onto your teeth and make sure you only leave it on for a few minutes, or else it will affect the enamel. After a few applications, you’ll see a major difference.

Baking Soda Instantly Relieves Heartburn

Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for ARM & HAMMER
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for ARM & HAMMER

Unless you’ve felt the sensation of heartburn, you have no idea the amount of pain it can leave in your body. There are hundreds of “relief” pills, but one of the simplest ways is to mix a teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of water.

It won’t taste good, but it will literally feel like you’re pouring cold water on a fire.

Onions On Your Feet Overnight Can Cure A Cold Or Flu

ac_bzh

Placing sliced, raw onions on your feet and covering them up with socks overnight is an old Chinese wives tale that actually might work.

The onion will absorb toxins from the body that could be causing your sickness. People say that it can also be preventative if you feel a sickness coming on.

Superglue And Chapstick To Help Fix A Cut

@dailytonic/Twitter
@dailytonic/Twitter

I know it sounds crazy, but if you get a nasty cut that you need to patch up, then use superglue! Wash and dry the cut completely, then use the superglue to press the skin back together.

Rub some clean chapstick on top to keep it from drying out, then wrap it up with a Band-Aid and go on with your day.

Chicken Soup For Colds Have A Scientific Background

Deb Lindsey For The Washington Post via Getty Images
Deb Lindsey For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Everyone knows that chicken soup is the best feel-good remedy for when you have a nasty cold, but it also works on the inside.

Chicken broth contains an amino acid called cysteine that has been proven to help at thinning mucus buildup in your lungs and throat. A yummy and effective home remedy!

Aspirin Can Fix Dandruff Too

Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Every household has some aspirin tablets on hand for headaches or aches and pains, but you can also use it to get a dandruff-free scalp. Crush up two aspirin tablets into powder and mix it with one capful of shampoo.

Wash your hair with it and leave it on for five minutes. Within a few weeks, you’ll see a noticeable difference.

A Pencil Can Relieve Tension Headaches

@PreventionMag/Twitter
@PreventionMag/Twitter

Tension headaches are most often caused because of clenched jaw muscles when you’re stressed or overwhelmed. Placing a pencil between your teeth without biting down will force your jaw to relax.

Take several deep breaths while you do this for about a minute and your headache should let up in no time.

Chocolate Can Help You Get Softer Skin

chocolate
Kaffee Meister/Unsplash
Kaffee Meister/Unsplash

For anyone prone to breakouts, the idea of putting chocolate on your face is terrifying, but it seriously works! Just melt 50 grams of pure chocolate (nothing else added to it) and one tablespoon of olive oil.

Apply it to your face like a mask for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water and be the proud owner of soft, glowing skin.

Cure Foot Calluses With Black Licorice

@YNHallak/Twitter
@YNHallak/Twitter

No one likes black licorice anyways, so why not put it to good use? Soak some of that gross black licorice with oil and apply it to the foot callus. Tightly wrap it up with saran wrap and let it sit for upwards of eight hours. It’s best to just do it while you sleep.

In the morning, the callus will be soft and easy to buff away.

A Spoonful Of Sugar Helps The Hiccups Go Down

Luis Ascui/Getty Images
Luis Ascui/Getty Images

This is the home remedy that actually works but healthy moms never wanted to use. Swollowing a spoonful of sugar can neutralize hiccups immediately. Hiccups are caused by diaphragm spasms.

If you have a spoonful of dry sugar, it throws off your stomach and nerve muscles, and stops the agitation.

Have A Jar Of Olives On Hand For Motion Sickness

Kevin Schafer/Contributor/Getty Images
Kevin Schafer/Contributor/Getty Images

Sure, Gravol might work for motion sickness, but a more natural remedy is eating a few olives. The tannin inside olives can help calm and cure nausea and will keep your stomach from having that sinking, empty feeling.

Next time add a jar of olives to the packing list for a road trip.

Fight Bad Breath With Yogurt

BSIP/UIG via Getty Images
BSIP/UIG via Getty Images

Television commercials keep saying yogurt is a superfood, and they might be right. Plain, organic yogurt contains enough culture that it helps your body make good bacteria to fight off bad bacteria.

Eating yogurt each morning will help that good bacteria get rid of the odor-causing bacteria in your mouth.

Massage An Onion On Your Scalp For Hair Growth

JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/Getty Images
JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/Getty Images

Onions aren’t just a superfood. Their juices can also help stimulate growth in your hair follicles. Cut a nice, fresh onion in half and rub it on your scalp for 15 minutes, letting it release the juices as you go.

Wash the juices and the smell out with mild shampoo and you’re good to go.

Ginger In Any Form Will Help Digestion

Fairfax Media/Fairfax Media via Getty Images
Fairfax Media/Fairfax Media via Getty Images

The old wive’s tale that ginger can settle a stomach is actually true. Ginger, raw or ground, produces rhizome which is basically your first line of defense against nausea.

The best way to do this is grating fresh ginger into a tea or warm drink, but even a ginger-product like Ginger Ale can work too.

Gin-Soaked Raisins Can Help Symptoms Of Arthritis

@65fitnhealthy/Twitter
@65fitnhealthy/Twitter

This home remedy was perfected by your grandparents AKA the people who suffer from arthritis the most. Take some golden raisins, soak them overnight in gin (that’s made from or includes juniper berries) until they’re absorbed, and then eat about ten raisins a day.

It won’t cure the arthritis, but it will help ease the symptoms. Or it might just give you a buzz so you don’t feel anything at all.

Black Tea Works Just As Good As Aloe On Sunburns

Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/picture alliance via Getty Images
Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/picture alliance via Getty Images

Aloe vera gel is usually the go-to for relieving sunburns, but if you’re all out of the gel, then open up your tea cupboard and grab a bag of black tea. Soak the tea bag and then let it cool in the fridge.

The tannins in the tea will help sooth the pain and prevent your skin from peeling.

Potatoes Can Relieve Spider Bite Pain

potato-hack
Instagram/hookedzierikzee
Instagram/hookedzierikzee

If you’re unlucky enough to have a spider sink its pincers into you, then you know regular bug bite remedies don’t work. Shred or slice a potato, wrap it in cheesecloth, and place it over the bite to help relieve the itch.

Of course, this is only for regular spiders. If you get bit by something more deadly then skip the potatoes and get medical help ASAP.

Rub Banana Peels On A Poison Ivy Rash

@michaelonmusic1/Twitter
@michaelonmusic1/Twitter

Banana peels won’t do anything to prevent you from getting a poison ivy rash, but it will help relieve the pain and itch. Open a fresh banana and use the inside of the peel.

Rub the peel against the rash and you’ll find the itch goes away in no time.

Clear Your Colon With Beets

Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

It’s time to get personal and talk about the ‘C’ word: constipation. It can happen for a variety of reasons, but one surefire way to fix it is with beets. Steam a few of the veggies and drink the beet water left over.

It should clear up your colon like magic, but beware of the leftover bright red color you’ll be seeing for the 24 hours after.

Onions Can Relieve Itchy Insect Bites

RODGER BOSCH/AFP/Getty Images
RODGER BOSCH/AFP/Getty Images

Once again, onions to the rescue. When I have a really bad insect bite, I come close to trading my soul for an effective itch relief. The sulfur compounds found in the juice of an onion is an effective way to neutralize the itch.

Cut a fresh onion in half and rub it on the bite instead of scratching it.

A Spice Mix To Cure Diarrhea

@crumbykitchen/Twitter
@crumbykitchen/Twitter

There’s nothing worse than a bad case of the runs that keep you up all night. Rather than taking medication that will just constipate you, use a natural method that will help clear you out.

Combine a teaspoon each of cumin, honey, cinnamon, and ginger into a liquid paste. Drink it up and hope for the best. Note: spices affect everyone differently. Some people find yogurt to be a more effective treatment for diarrhea.

Combat The Side Effect Of Menopause With Yams

@JoshedXDx/Twitter
@JoshedXDx/Twitter

Calling all women aged 40-60, if you’re experiencing all the terrible side effects of menopause then start eating yams by the spoonful. Make sure they’re actual yams though, not sweet potatoes.

They give you a dose of vitamin C, help with lowering your cholesterol, and are high in antioxidants. It’s like a three-in-one punch to mother nature.

Treat Nasal Allergies With Garlic

Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

If you’ve got bad allergies but hate being drugged up with pills for the entire allergy season, then try garlic instead. Garlic contains a natural antihistamine and antioxidant called quercetin.

It’s up to you how you eat the garlic though. Slicing it thin or crushing it up on top of crackers is the most surefire way to treat allergies. Be sure to brush your teeth afterward!

Make Your Own DIY Cough Syrup

@RealWorldSurviv/Twitter
@RealWorldSurviv/Twitter

If you want an effective and natural cough syrup that’s not full of drugs and chemicals, look no further than your pantry.

Mix 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon of honey, and some water to thin it out. This should be enough to relieve your throat pain in no time.

Wet Socks Really Do Help Treat A Cold

@workttech/Twitter
@workttech/Twitter

Yes, one way to fight a common cold is to make your feet even colder. Start by soaking your feet in hot water for a few minutes. Then remove your feet and put on wet socks that you just soaked in ice water, and go to bed.

These cold feet will make your blood vessels constrict and push nutrients up onto your body to fight the infection.

An Oatmeal Bath Will Sooth Eczema

@LesliePrindle/Twitter
@LesliePrindle/Twitter

The horrible, dry, red itchiness that comes with eczema can be unbearable. Thankfully, your grandmother’s old method of taking an oatmeal bath can actually help. Run a warm bath, fill it with colloidal oatmeal, then soak for a while.

For long-term relief on really bad eczema, you might want to see a dermatologist too.

Sprinkle Cloves In Cuts To Stop Infections

Tim Graham/Getty Images
Tim Graham/Getty Images

Sprinkling powdered cloves on a clean, open wound can keep it from becoming infected. A study at Duke University showed that cloves and clove oil is high in eugenol, which is a natural chemical that is both an antiseptic and a pain-killer.

Maybe that’s why gingerbread cookies make us feel so good.

Use Vodka To Stop Foot Odor

Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

If you’re like me, then opening the shoe closet is a dangerous game. If someone in the family has unbearable foot odor, then soak a washcloth with vodka and use it to wipe down the foot.

The science behind it makes sense. The high alcohol content will kill all the bacteria making those toes smell.

Listerine Can Eliminate Blisters

General view at the Listerine 21 Day Challenge Kick-off with actress Ginnifer Goodwin at Gabarron Museum NYC on February 5, 2013 in New York City.
Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Listerine
Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Listerine

We’ve all experienced blisters that start to feel worse with each passing day. To ease the pain and make the blister go away sooner, try attacking it with Listerine! Listerine mouthwash is a powerful antiseptic.

Just moisten a cotton ball with Listerine and apply it to your blister around three times a day. Eventually it will dry out and the pain will disappear!

Lemon Balm Can Cure Cold Sores

a cup of lemon balm tea
XAMAX/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
XAMAX/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Cold sores are caused by a type of herpes virus (but not the STD kind). Still, cold sores are unpleasant all around and seem like they take forever to go away. Lemon balm has antiviral properties that are effective at taming herpes outbreaks.

One way to use lemon balm to your advantage is to brew two to four tablespoons of it with a cup of boiling water. When it cools, use a cotton ball to dab it on the affected area multiple times a day.

Use A Tennis Ball To Massage Your Feet

a foot on top of a tennis ball
@instep360/Twitter
@instep360/Twitter

There are days when your feet just feel incredibly achy but you don’t have anyone around to give you a killer foot massage. Instead, you could use a tennis ball to ease your pain by simply rolling your feet over one! You could also use a golf ball or a soup can to do the job.

If your feet are screaming, try rolling your feet on a frozen water bottle.

Olive Oil Will Ease Eczema

bottles of olive oil
MediaForMedical/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
MediaForMedical/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Olive oil alone can soothe some of the worst eczema flareups. Pure olive oil is packed with antioxidants that help reduce eczema-related inflammation. Olive oil is already used as a base for many moisturizers but if it’s used on its own, it doesn’t have any of the extra chemicals you don’t need.

Rub one teaspoon of olive oil per square inch of skin which will seal in the moisture your skin needs.

Vegetable Oil Makes Brittle Nails Moist

Shelves of sunflower oil for sale in a supermarket in San Telmo.
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

If your nails are feeling more brittle than usual, try repairing the damage with some vegetable oil. Before going to bed, apply some vegetable oil to your hands and cover them up with some vinyl gloves or plastic wrap.

By morning, your nails will have absorbed the oil to replace the moisture that they lack. You should also use hand cream regularly.

Eat Ice Cream For Pizza Burn

Studio portrait of a young boy crying as he holds a melting ice cream cone, circa 1962.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

We’ve all had those moments when we were too excited to eat a slice of pizza only to discover it was still piping hot. There’s no worse feeling than hot cheese scorching the roof of your mouth, especially knowing you’ll have to deal with it the pain for the next few days.

You can find temporary relief from eating ice cream or frozen yogurt. The tissue on the roof of your mouth is only a few millimeters thick, which is why it’s so easy to burn and cool the area.

Peppermint Gum Will Soothe Stress

two sticks of gum
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

When you’re suddenly overwhelmed with stress (like in a traffic jam, for example), chewing peppermint or cinnamon gum can ease your worries. A NASA-funded study at Wheeling Jesuit University found that peppermint gum lowered a person’s feelings of fatigue or anxiety by 20 percent.

Both peppermint and cinnamon also decreased frustration, increased alertness, and even made the drive seem shorter.

Eat Apples For A Clean Smile

Close-up of boy eating apple.
Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Universal Images Group via Getty Images

It might seem counterproductive to eat something to clean your teeth but that’s precisely what apples can do! Apples and other crunchy fruits and vegetables can help scrub your teeth when you chew on them.

New York City dentist Jennifer Jabow, DDS, says that “apples have a gentle malic acid that also helps dissolve stains.”

Baking Soda Will Shorten An Infection

A general view of atmosphere at a special beauty tips and tricks sharing event hosted by Lo Bosworth and ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda at Paintbox Salon on February 26, 2015 in New York City.
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for ARM & HAMMER
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for ARM & HAMMER

No one wants to go to the bathroom only to realize that they suddenly have a urinary tract infection. At the first sign of a UTI, you’ll want to take immediate action to make it go away faster. Drink a solution of 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda with eight ounces of water.

You’ll want to drink this every day until you can get a proper diagnosis and medication for it. In the meantime, the baking soda will make the bladder more alkaline to reduce bacteria.

Papaya Masks Will Give You Smooth Skin

Papaya or Papaw (Carica papaya), cut in cross-section, Caricaceae.
De Agostini Picture Library/Getty Images
De Agostini Picture Library/Getty Images

Papaya has an enzyme called papain, which eat proteins in a way that dissolves the dead skin cells on the surface of your skin. Twice a month, grind two tablespoons of washed and peeled papaya in a food processor with one tablespoon of dry oatmeal. Smooth it over clean skin and wipe it off with a wet washcloth after ten minutes.

This will leave your skin feeling soft and smooth, while minimizing your chance of breaking out.