For as long as we can remember, people have used home remedies to treat ailments. Whether it’s warm milk and honey to soothe nerves before bed or brewing willow bark tea for pain relief, most of these remedies are simple and effective.
Unfortunately, too many people want to sell snake oil to you. They’ll make outlandish claims about the efficiency of their products, claiming easy cures for everything from sexual impotence to heart attacks. Some of these claims are actually backed up by evidence… but an emergency, the last thing you want to do is find that your trusted remedy doesn’t work after all.
To help stop situations like that, this guide will teach you what a home remedy really is, show you what to look for when researching them, and provide a few examples to help you make decisions.
What Is A Home Remedy?
Home remedies are treatments that you can do at home to treat a variety of conditions. Most treatments are fairly straightforward, such as mixing one or two ingredients into a tea, but they can be more complex. The best home remedies are SAFE – Simple, Affordable, Friendly, and Effective. Here’s what this means.
You shouldn’t need to be a doctor to administer a home remedy. In fact, you shouldn’t need any medical training at all. A simple remedy is something that you can do in just a few minutes with no real training at all, usually following instructions you found in a book or online.
Similarly, a simple remedy focuses on natural ingredients. A packaged drink mix with lots of Vitamin C for fighting a cold isn’t bad as part of a set of cold remedies, but a product you buy for that purpose isn’t really a home remedy.
This is a key part of determining whether or not something should be treated by a home remedy. If it requires more treatment than a total amateur can provide, you’re better off calling your doctor and getting professional guidance.
Most home remedies are highly affordable – $10 or less for the full course of treatment. This doesn’t mean that expensive treatments are inherently bad, but it’s always a little concerning when someone recommends a costly treatment without professional advice or supervision. That’s where the scams tend to be.
Also, natural medicine should come from substances commonly available in markets and health stores in your area. Milk and honey, for example, are easy to find in any grocery store… and neither of them is hard to fit into a budget. If you have to drive 30 or 40 miles to find the ingredients you need, the remedy isn’t affordable.
A friendly remedy is safe and soothing for the body. To put it another way, the cure should never be worse than the problem. Now, friendly home remedies fall into two distinct categories: soothing and short-term discomfort.
Soothing remedies are exactly what they sound like – they calm your body down and don’t make you feel worse. Short-term discomfort covers things like natural laxatives or drinks that induce vomiting. They’re not necessarily enjoyable, but the brief sickened feeling triggers something you want and provides lasting relief.
Under no circumstances should a home remedy cause serious or long-term effects.
Finally, natural medicine needs to be effective, or there’s no point in doing it. Many products claim their ingredients provide health benefits, but that doesn’t mean the dosage they’re sold at is effective.
For example, pure pomegranate juice is believed to help with everything from digestion and arthritis to heart disease and overall endurance. However, some “pomegranate juice” products contain almost no actual juice. Instead, they’re mostly water and sugar, with a tiny amount of juice so they can say the product has it.
Products like these aren’t wrong about the health benefits of the juice they contain, but that’s not the same thing as being able to provide those benefits. This sort of thing is why you should never accept the listed benefits of a product until you know what a medically appropriate dose of the product is. Otherwise, you could spend a lot of time and money on something that’s little more than a placebo.
Employees at most health food stores are legally barred from making claims about the health benefits or correct dosage of their products. Also, most of them are just retail employees who haven’t actually studied these things, so you shouldn’t rely on them for advice or information.
Bringing It All Together
It’s not worth using a home remedy unless the remedy is SAFE. Simple, Affordable, Friendly, and Effective are the core principles of a good remedy, and anything lacking in any of these areas shouldn’t be trusted without a good reason to do so.
Examples Of SAFE Home Remedies
Here are some simple, effective home remedies – and why they work.
Remedy 1: Quelling Nausea
To quell nausea, infuse fresh ginger into hot water. Once you’ve done that, strain the mix, then freeze it in an ice cube tray. Crush the frozen cubes, and suck on the ice chips throughout the day.
This remedy works because ginger is naturally good at quelling nausea. It’s hard to eat ginger raw, though – and at any rate, most people find it hard to eat when they’re nauseous. Turning the ginger into ice chips allows you to drink it throughout the day, providing a steady dose of medicine.
This is particularly effective during pregnancy and after surgeries.
Remedy 2: Soothing A Sore Throat
Mix a glass of warm water (not hot – warm) with six pressed garlic cloves, and gargle it twice a day for three days
This works because most sore throats are caused by bacteria irritating the area, and garlic has natural antimicrobial properties. You may have seen this property at work if you’ve ever stores garlic in the fridge for a long time. Even if you’re years past the expiration date, chances are there won’t be any mold inside the container.
Meanwhile, the warm water has its own role to play here -it helps to soothe the inflamed tissue, allowing it to relax and go back to normal.
Remedy 3: Cooling Burns
If you burned yourself in the kitchen, snip off the leaf of an aloe vera plant and squeeze the gel over the burn area. This gel acts as a second layer of skin over the burned region, soothing it and protecting the nerves. It may still throb a little, but you should notice an instant reduction in pain.
Remedy 4: Eliminating Foot Odors
Create a foot bath of either strong black tea (cooled), or a mixture of 1 part distilled white vinegar to 2 parts water. Soak your feet for at least 30 minutes a day. In most cases, this will stop foot odor within a weak as the chemicals in these baths kill and remove the bacteria causing the smell. However, avoid this remedy if your feet have any open cuts – you don’t want the mixture splashing over those.
Remedy 5: Moistening Chapped Lips
Rub olive oil over your lips two or three times each day. It usually takes several days for your lips to start truly healing, but the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of olive oil help to remove the bad stuff and promote natural healing.
Remedy 6: Heal Dry Skin
Take an oatmeal bath. No, seriously. Take a clean, dry sock and fill it with whole oats, seal it with a rubber band, then drop it into a hot or warm bath. Soak for 15-20 minutes.
This works because oats are rich in avenanthramides, a type of alkaloid with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-itch, and anti-irritant properties. In fact, these chemicals are why oats are found in many skin-care products. Whole oats are best for this remedy because heavy processing could damage the chemicals you want to get.
Finding Your Own Remedies
Each of the remedies suggested above is SAFE – they’re straightforward, low-cost, easy on the body, and real medicine and tests support them. When looking for any other type of natural medicine, look for things this easy. I can’t over-emphasize how important it is to research each product and find the correct dose before you start using it.
As long as you keep these principles in mind, though, you’ll be ready to quickly and effectively treat a wide range of common ailments.