Home remedies are sometimes the best remedies

May 29, 2014


Home remediesPLEASE NOTE: I  am not a doctor. These home remedies are not medical advice. Please consult your physician before embarking on any new course of treatment or use of any natural remedy.

What’s old is new again, it seems, and some of the natural remedies that date back hundreds of years — if not more — seem to be in favor again. That’s because many times they work. And they are natural, not a pharmaceutical.

So I thought I’d ask around and collect some of the favorite home remedies of people I know on line. There’s something for everyone and maybe you’ll even find a blog or two you’d like to follow.

This idea began when my doctor told me to ice a small swelling I had beneath my eye. She said it was a “sty.” Nothing happened, so she suggested a hot compress. Nope, it stayed the same. But then, she said this:

hardboilThis is not what I expected my Stanford internist to suggest. But guess what?  It worked. It was hot enough. It STAYED hot enough. And its size was perfect. No medication needed.

So, I wondered, what other home remedies might I want in my arsenal?  I put out a call to women I know.

garlic natural remedyGarlic

These tiny cloves of garlic have long had healing properties.

Varda Steinhardt says that garlic kills plantars warts. Here’s her story — a great testimonial:

Garlic kills plantar warts fast and painlessly, unlike freezing them off at the doctors which was painful. This has worked for me many times in my life, and for my kids who both had a horrific bout of plantars warts after one vacation where they must have picked it up in the pool changing room. What you do is take a fresh clove of garlic, cut it in half and then rub the oil from the fresh cut on the wart. Do this twice a day for a week and the warts will be gone. A few days for the tiny ones, maybe two weeks for big bruisers. I learned this when I was in college (a zillion years ago). I had some nasty warts on my feet and went to the health center to have them frozen off. It took months, was painful and then after a month they grew back and I was frustrated. A friend told me about the garlic and it worked like a charm.

I told my roommate about it who had a horrible deep plantars wart she’d been trying to get rid of for years. She was going to have to have surgery on it over the summer, and it was possible that was going to leave nerve damage. But one month of garlic and it was gone.

Want to know more about Varda? Visit “The Squashed Bologna: a slice of life in the family generation.”

I’m always impressed by what garlic can do for us. Especially since the meals in my Sicilian family always included plenty of it.

Eczema lotion

eczema lotion recipeMindy Klapper Trotta swears by her homemade body lotion that she concocted herself to fight a bad case of eczema. None of the cortisone creams worked, but this home remedy did. She’s a little-of-this and a-little-of-that kind of chemist, but she was nice enough to figure it out for the rest of us.

  • 1 cup coconut oil at room temperature
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • ¼ cup JR Watkins Coconut Milk & Honey Body Lotion.

Whip it all up in an electric mixer bowl. It is pretty greasy,  she says, but absorbs into the skin really quickly. She writes Relocation: The Blog.

In her case, necessity really was the mother of invention. I think that’s how a lot of home remedies came to be, back in the day, too. In remote areas without modern medicines, people were left to fend for themselves.

Mustard plasters

Lori Holden from LavenderLuz.com made me laugh, when she wrote:  “My grandmother’s remedy for EVERY ailment was a mustard plaster. Though I can’t remember her ever treating with one, it was always a threat if we didn’t just GET BETTER ALREADY.”  Check out the previous link for how to make a mustard plaster, which I’ve read of as a remedy for backaches and chest/lung infections since I was a child. Period literature was full of references to mustard plasters.

mustard plasters recipeI’ve never seen one except in movies, so the link’s interesting. Apparently, the dosage for kids or adults depends on the ratio of mustard to flour. And just like prescription meds today, there are a number of warnings for safe use. Common sense warnings, really. These remedies were the work of moms, who were clearly very busy back in the day. We think we’re busy today, with all our modern conveniences. But when I think about not having them?  I think of making my mustard plaster instead of going to the drug store to buy Vicks Vapo-Rub. Which, by the way, apparently clears up toenail fungus, according to something I just read. But I’m digressing.

Lori Holden blogs at Lavender Luz.

Mustard’s good for something else, too — a soothing foot soak for tired feet. Stir 2 tbsp of mustard powder into 2 or 3 quarts of hot tap water and soak for up to 10 minutes. Mustard reduces inflammation in your tootises and stimulates blood flow.

Mama Pam’s Chicken Soup! A Secret Soup to Get you Over Illness

Fashion maven Pam Luttrell has a special chicken soup that is good for flu and colds and whatever ails you. It’s a twist on the usual recipe, and here it is, in her own words:

mama pam's chicken soup recipePlace a whole chicken in a crock pot. Salt it well. Also throw in one onion (I use the sweet yellow ones) cut up; two cloves of garlic; and a couple of stalks of celery. Cover with water. Allow it to cook on LOW either all night or all day.

After it is cooked, take out all of the chicken and veggies. Make sure you use a spoon with holes and get any chicken bones which fall into the broth.

Take all of the meat off of the bones. Shred it into small pieces. You will use a couple of handfuls of the meat in the soup. A whole chicken will give you enough meat for the soup and for a chicken salad for another meal. You can even freeze the extra meat and use it for chicken salad or tacos later in the week.

Cut into small pieces one onion; a half a cup of carrot and celery. Place the onion in a skillet with some olive oil and mince a garlic clove on top. Cook until onion is clear. Add one can of chopped tomatoes (I like the HEB Tomato blend with tomatoes and chilies but DelMonte has a similar blend); the carrots; and the celery to the skillet. Cook this mixture for about 15 minutes and then add it to the chicken broth, along with your meat.

Finally, stir in ¼ packet of Taco Seasoning for the Mexican Flavor. Serve your soup over Corn Tortilla Chips and if you like some shredded cheese on top. This is an excellent Chicken Tortilla Soup and will help keep you healthy!  It is also very inexpensive and you will get at least 3-4 meals out of it!!

I don’t know about you, but I’m trying this! I read lots of blogs each day but Pam’s blog, Over 50, Feeling 40 is my first stop of the day. Every day. Click that link to find out why.

Burn relief

Lois Alter Mark has a home remedy that’s a total shocker. Here’s her note to me:

flour as burn remedyWhen my daughter burned her hand, my mother told her to stick it in a bowl of flour. We laughed but it was amazing! It got better so fast without blistering or anything. We weren’t sure if it was a fluke but I recommended it to a friend when he posted that he spilled hot coffee on his arm. He thanked me and was so shocked that it actually worked!”That’s a remedy you simply wouldn’t think of on your own. I did a little research and Snopes says this is FALSE. But if we have real life testimony here, as we do, I wonder where Snopes is coming from. In any case, this is not a recommendation, just a description of what worked for some people. Try it only at your own risk. Same with potato peels, honey, baking soda, vinegar+water and other burn home remedies.

Lois blogs at Midlife at the Oasis. Drop by!

Heartburn remedy

apple cider vinegar for heartburnShelley Zurek has GERD — acid reflux or heartburn. It’s a common ailment for which there are many over-the-counter proton pump inhibitors. She swears by a daily dose of apple cider vinegar to ease her heartburn and described her experience on her blog, Still Blonde After All These Years. And warns that you MUST consult your doctor before trying this to be sure it doesn’t conflict with any other meds you are taken.

If you’ve got some home remedies of your own, share in the comments below so everyone has a chance to benefit. Thanks!

Remember: check with your medical provider before you try anything. You never know what might react with a home remedy.  And if you’ve got a home remedy you swear by, please share in “Comments” below!

45 comments on “Home remedies are sometimes the best remedies
  1. What terrific home remedies! I can’t wait to try the garlic-wart one on my husband as soon as he gets home. He has been doing the painful freezing for about a month with no changes. I will be very interested in its results. I’ll keep you posted! Thanks for the tips Carol!

  2. I love the one about an egg and a sty, thanks!! These are great!

  3. Jennifer says:

    I am a HUGE advocate of home remedies. We haven’t been to the doctor in a couple of years. My little guy had a sty about a month ago. We did tea compresses. Less than 36 hours later it was gone. I have a frozen shoulder after shoulder surgery. Recommendations of magnesium (our bodies are in short supply…who knew?) have been very helpful. It is a natural anti-inflammatory. I use an oil spray and/or epsom salt baths. When my allergy prone littles start to get stuffy we use a neti pot to clear the airways. I have a whole slew of home remedies we use and will continue to use. Thank you for sharing this post Carol. I just learned some new tricks now 🙂

  4. kim tackett says:

    Love these. All I have for you is the bag of frozen peas as a cold compress…these are great, and also proof that we often have what we need right at our fingertips.

    • Robin Herman says:

      Like Kim says, frozen peas are great. The bag conforms to any area of the body. Chicken soup aids in cure of a lot of colds/viruses. Tea with honey and lemon is the best sore throat relief around except for gargling with hot salt water!

  5. Roz Warren says:

    I don’t cook or bake at all so I haven’t even got a bowl of flour! I’d better buy some to have on hand, just in case. Thanks for the useful info.

  6. Love reading everyone’s home remedies and am bookmarking this for future needs! Thanks for including me — and, yes, the flour really does work!

  7. Thanks for featuring my tip! It truly is helpful to avoid taking one more med! I loved your egg tip. I eat an egg most mornings and I can attest that eggs really do stay hot!

  8. I love your list of home remedies Carol. Chicken soup has always been my favorite. It works!!!

  9. Love these and had not heard of most of them. Nothing soothes a sore throat for me like honey and lemon in hot tea.

  10. Ruth Curran says:

    Wow, a learned a thing or two today! Best tips since Hints by Helouise!

  11. Lana says:

    Great tips! I will be keeping these for future reference. I’ve hard that apple cider vinegar is also good to take when you’re starting to get a cold – stops it in its tracks.

  12. Lisa Froman says:

    What a fun post! I loved reading about these remedies. Now, do you have anything for memory loss? I don’t want to forget any of these! LOL.

  13. My daughters swear by Robituson cough syrup for fertility problems. I have 13 grandchildren so I’m pretty convinced it works.:)
    My mother in law’s cure for everything was go in the ocean. I do believe the salt water does have healing powers.

  14. Ellen Dolgen says:

    Some of these home remedies I have heard of- but others are new for me! Thanks for the tips!

  15. Valerie Rind says:

    Don’t forget the power of positive thinking. If you believe something will work …

  16. Laurel Regan says:

    My go-to upset stomach remedies are organic crystallized ginger and peppermint herbal tea. And lavender essential oil really DOES relax and make me sleepy, so I think it’s worth trying as a cure for mild insomnia.

  17. Ryder Ziebarth says:

    My great grandmother cured poison Ivy by pouring white gasoline over the bumps. Worked every time for both my brother and I, who “lived” outside. Not sure white gas is still on the market.

  18. Diane says:

    My Mom always gave us black tea or ginger for nausea.

  19. Janie Emaus says:

    For cold – whiskey and honey. Works every time!

  20. Kathy says:

    I am going to try the eczema treatment. I have a spot on my hand that cortisone cream just doesn’t seem to the trick.

    Warm tea bags are also great for an eye sty.

  21. Jackie says:

    Wow! I learned a lot! My grandmother, who was an ER nurse (and a damn good one!) used mustard plasters on us all the time when we had URIs. They worked wonders!

  22. Tammy says:

    SUPER helpful stuff here! I had the occasion a couple of weeks ago to try the flour remedy on a burn. It took a minute but worked like a charm. I’d so much rather use these tried and true methods. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Joanna says:

    If you cut your finger when you’re slicing something when cooking, ground black coffee stops the bleeding, and dulls the pain. It’s amazing – you don’t need a plaster! It’s much more hygienic too. I always have a jar to hand in the kitchen. The cut heals quickly, and doesn’t seem to leave a scar.

  24. Love this post! And my grandma would, too 🙂

  25. StanBell says:

    Great post. Thanks for sharing these ideas and I just bookmarked your blog. I will share this with my mom as I’m sure she will definitely going to love it. And yes Vicks works wonder for nail fungus as well as mouthwash. Thanks again and I look forward to reading your other posts!

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