Home remedies for unusual problems

Recently Nurse Barbara Dehn visited with Lauren Gelman of Prevention Magazine. She compiled a list of some unexpected home remedies that actually work. Some Barbara had heard about and others were shocking. Barbara used her list as a springboard and mixed in a few of her own.

Bizarre and crazy home remedies that really work:

  • Vodka cures foot odor? Shaken? Stirred? Neither! Splash a little vodka on a washcloth and wipe away even the most pungent food odor. If you're wondering how it works, the alcohol dries the skin and acts as an antiseptic for an odor causing bacteria and fungus. Here's a bonus tip from Nurse Barb: Try shaking a little baking soda in your kids athletic shoes. It really works to soak up the sweaty and the odors.

  • Ginger for motion +/or morning sickness: This is an old scuba diving trick I learned when I was getting certified. It also came in handy with my morning sickness. Anything with ginger will help people who have motion sickness. You can suck on ginger candy or raw ginger. It really takes the edge off the queasy tummies.

  • A simple pencil can help erase a headache: Bizarre, but true. Put the pencil between your teeth, but don't bit down. Just hold it there. It seems that when we're stressed, we unconsciously clench our jaws shut, leading to tension headaches. By holding the pencil gently between your teeth, you can help relax those TMJ muscles and alleviate the headache.

  • A cold wet teabag for a cold sore: Don't drink the tea, take a teabag and soak it in cold water, then apply it to the sore. The natural acids in tea will help soothe the pain of a cold sore, when you don't have any other remedies at home.

  • Blisters from running the Bay to Breakers? Try Listerine mouth wash. Moisten a cotton ball and dab on the blister 3-5 times a day until it feels better to help dry it out.

  • Ice packs for sore muscles? What about sore bottoms? - I hope that no one reading this has hemorrhoids, but if you do, then get a covered ice pack and sit on it. This will help shrink and numb that tender area. It works wonders after giving birth too.

  • Licorice works for corns and calluses on the feet: Not Red Vines, but the licorice sticks. Grate some and mix with Vaseline or other petrolatum jelly and apply to the corns. There's a natural phytoestrogen (plant based estrogen) that helps soften the skin.

  • Tennis balls make perfect foot massagers: When your feet ache from a day in high heels or just from too much walking roll your foot over a tennis ball to stretch out the muscles. If they're especially sore, roll your foot over a frozen water bottle.

  • Olive oil for cradle cap: As a descendant of Italian immigrants, we use olive oil for everything! When my son was a newborn he had a bad case of cradle cap that I treated with olive oil. Within 2 weeks, it was gone and his head was nice and soft. Use a soft cloth to rub it in and then a soft brush to gently lift off the crusty cradle cap.

  • Parsley for Bad Breath: Chewing on Italian flat leaf parsley is a natural way to freshen your breathe and takes away even the most garlicky odors. Warning! this doesn't work if you eat parsley and garlic at the same time. You can also try brushing with baking soda.

  • Papaya for gassy emissions: Papaya contains a natural enzyme that helps with gas bubbles in the digestive tract. It can help with burping and with those unwelcome toots that may occur after eating beans!

  • Does duct tape really work to eliminate warts? Probably not. Your own body's immune system needs time to get rid of the warts and the while the duct tape doesn't hurt, it probably doesn't help either.
About Nurse Barbara Dehn:

Nurse Barbara Dehn is a practicing women's health nurse practitioner in Silicon Valley and cares for women from 11 to 99. She's also a popular and in demand national speaker on all things related to women's health and lectures at Stanford.

In addition to her daily health blog at barbsdailydose.typepad.com, she is the award winning author of the Personal Guides to Health used by over three million women in the US, with titles ranging from fertility and pregnancy to menopause and breastfeeding.

Barb holds amasters degree at UCSF and a BS from Boston College. She has worked as a Pediatric Intensive Care and as a nurse practitioner in free clinics, high-risk hospitals and private practice.

She is passionate about providing health education in ways that people can easily understand and connect to. Barb lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, son and dog, Cookie.

For more crazy remedies, see Prevention.com

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