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30 Old-School Home Remedies That Still Work

Buttermilk for Age Spots

Lightening creams at the store can be expensive and not very effective. Buttermilk contains lactic acid and ascorbic acid, whereas most lightening products only contain lactic acid. Ascorbic acid helps speed up the lightening process.

Use a cotton ball to apply buttermilk to any spots and then rinse the area with water after 20 minutes.

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Vodka for Stinky Feet

Vodka is alcohol which also makes it an antiseptic. This is helpful in eliminating the fungus that causes foot odor and in drying out your feet. Soak a cloth in vodka and wipe your foot for instant relief from the odor.

You can also put vodka in a spray bottle to use on your stinky shoes to dry them out and help keep the smell from coming back.

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Salt Water for Sore Throats

If you’re having a sore throat you can gargle a salt water mixture for relief. Put one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water and stir until the salt is dissolved.

Gargling salt water can help relieve some of the pain, irritation, and swelling of a sore throat. Just don’t swallow it!

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Ginger for Nausea

Ginger is a helpful digestive aid that helps relieve nausea. Drinking ginger tea or real ginger ale is an easy way to calm an upset stomach.

Ginger can relieve nausea from morning sickness due to pregnancy, motion sickness, and even chemotherapy. Ginger can be used to treat other stomach issues such as diarrhea, IBS, and vomiting.

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Black Tea for Sunburns

The tannic acid, theobromine, and catechins in black tea help to soothe the pain from a sunburn while also repairing skin damage. Soak black tea bags in a pitcher of warm water until the water is a dark color and is lukewarm. Use a rag to dab the mixture onto the sunburn.

Re-apply two or three more times and wash off the mixture in the morning. Your sunburn should be much less painful, if not completely gone!

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Tea Bags for Puffy Eyes

For this home remedy, you need caffeinated tea bags. These can be used tea bags, so it’s also a great way to reuse what would otherwise be thrown away!

Ring out wet tea bags, put them in the fridge until cool, and then put the tea bags over your eyes. The caffeine and cool temperature helps shrink the blood vessels around the eyes and reduce puffiness or swelling.

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White Vinegar for Mosquito Bites

For quick relief from the itch of insect bites, apply white vinegar to the bug area. You can use full strength white vinegar unless the area is raw from scratching

Alternatively, you can make a paste from white vinegar, baking soda, and meat tenderizer for a stronger itch relief.

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Prunes for Constipation

Prunes are an all natural source of fiber and low in calories, making them a healthy (and yummy) snack! The fiber and sugar in prunes help relieve constipation and keep your digestive system regular.

These dried plum snacks also help to hydrate your body, which helps with constipation. You can eat the prunes or drink prune juice to get the benefits of this high-fiber, tasty fruit.

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Oatmeal for Dry Skin

People suffering from skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema can find relief in oatmeal baths. The oatmeal gives off a slimy film that coats your skin and locks in moisture while protecting your skin.

Simply grind rolled up oats and pour them into a warm bath, making sure to pat dry. This home remedy is helpful even if you just have dry, itchy skin.

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Toothpaste for Bee Stings

We’ve all heard of using tobacco on a bee sting, but what if you don’t smoke or want to put tobacco on your skin? You can use toothpaste instead! Toothpaste’s alkalinity helps neutralize the acidic venom from the bee sting, providing pain relief and encouraging healing.

Just remove the stinger and cover the area with toothpaste for this pain relief home remedy!

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Lemons for Earaches

Lemons can be used to relieve ear pain. Lemons are loaded with vitamins A, B6, C, E, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc in addition to being a natural antiseptic.

For relief from earaches squeeze lemon juice onto a q-tip and let it rest in your ear for a few minutes. This balances your ear’s natural pH levels, giving you quick pain relief!


Licorice for Calluses and Corns

Licorice has been used to treat eczema, heartburn, muscle cramps, and much more. The glycyrrhizin acid in it has anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, and antibacterial properties

You can make a paste from licorice powder and petroleum jelly, which you apply nightly until the calluses or corns are gone. The licorice softens the tough layer of skin on calluses and corns and allows them to fall off naturally.

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Lavender for Sleeping Problems

The scent from lavender essential oil helps the body to relax because your heart rate and blood pressure decrease when you smell lavender oil. Lavender has pain-relieving and sedative effects, so sniffing this oil before bedtime can help you sleep easier and have a deeper sleep.

You can get a diffuser to keep the smell going all night long or just take a couple whiffs from the bottle.

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Aloe Vera for Burns

This plant helps relieve pain from all types of burns—not just sunburns. The gel from the aloe vera plant has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe burns and help heal them faster

If you have an aloe vera plant at your house you can just break off a piece of the plant and rub the gel directly on the affected area, or you can use fragrance-free aloe gel from the store. For serious burns, you should see a doctor.

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Chicken Noodle Soup for Colds

This is more than just a comfort meal when you’re sick; it can help relieve some of the symptoms for colds as well! Chicken noodle soup contains a small amount of prostaglandins, something our body naturally produces in response to injury or infection.

The prostaglandins in chicken noodle soup help fight infections and relieve inflammation.

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Witch Hazel for Hemorrhoids

All natural witch hazel has soothing and antiseptic properties and has been used for a variety of ailments such as skin redness, swimmer’s ear, sore throat, and much more. You can apply witch hazel with a cotton ball directly to the affected area as often as needed for instant pain relief.

The tannins in witch hazel calm blood vessels, reduce swelling, and stop bleeding making it a perfect, inexpensive treatment.

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Duct Tape for Warts

Going to the doctor to get a wart removed can be time-consuming and painful. A cheap, convenient home remedy is to use duct tape! Just apply a piece of duct tape over the wart and remove every three to six days to let the skin breathe.

You can soak the area in warm water and rub it with a pumice stone to speed up the process. This may take several weeks, but it’s a painless way to get rid of a wart.

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Neti Pot for Nasal Congestion

Neti pots are an ancient Indian tradition used to relieve nasal congestion by irrigating your sinuses. The neti pot works by using water or a saline solution to clean out your nasal passageways of mucus, which also helps relieve inflammation.

This is a quick and easy home remedy for those suffering from nasal congestion or other cold symptoms. Neti pots can also help with chronic sinus issues.

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Baking Soda for Whiter Teeth

Making a baking soda paste is a natural alternative to whitening strips that you can do at home. Baking soda is a natural tooth whitener and is very effective at removing plaque because of the abrasiveness of baking soda.

Just make a paste with baking soda and a little water to dip your toothbrush in, or use a toothpaste that contains baking soda.

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Tennis Ball for Sore Feet

Tennis balls can be used as a quick and affordable way to relieve foot pain without taking medicine or booking a massage. By rolling the underside of your foot over a tennis ball, you stretch the tight tissue at the bottom of your foot.

Combining this with stretching the heel makes this a helpful technique for plantar fasciitis and general foot pain.

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Thyme Tea for a Cough

This is a home remedy you can prepare at home with ingredients in your cabinet. Thyme is a natural expectorant that helps relax your respiratory tract and loosen mucus, relieving the symptoms of a cough.

This tea can reduce the frequency and duration of coughs. Just add fresh or dried thyme to hot water to make the tea and then add honey to taste. Bonus: Honey also helps relieve the symptoms of a cough!

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Blackberry Tea for Diarrhea

For this home remedy, all you need is blackberries and water. Blackberries have a high tannin content which can tighten mucus membranes in the digestive system and have been used as a treatment for diarrhea for a long time.

You can make blackberry tea by boiling fresh or frozen blackberries or the leaves in water for 10 minutes. If you buy blackberry tea, make sure it has blackberry leaves in it and not just flavoring.

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Fennel Seed for Indigestion

Fennel has antispasmodic properties, so it can relax the muscles causing indigestion. You can boil crushed fennel seed in water for fennel tea and drink it whenever you feel indigestion.

You can also chew fennel seeds after eating foods that cause you indigestion. Fennel seed has been known to sooth other gastrointestinal problems like nausea, bloating, and stomach cramps.

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Capsaicin for Shingles

Capsaicin is the active component in chili peppers and is what makes them spicy. Usually you don’t want to get capsaicin on your skin as it can cause a burning sensation. Luckily, capsaicin can be used to relieve neuralgia, or shingles, pain.

Capsaicin stops the nerve receptors from processing pain signals. You can buy gels, ointments, or lotions at any drug store as a safe way to use capsaicin at home.

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Eucalyptus Oil for Sinusitis

This home remedy combines the refreshing scent of eucalyptus oil with steam to relieve the symptoms of sinusitis. The vapor from this remedy carries the eucalyptus oil into your sinuses, loosening congestion and helping you recover more quickly from sinusitis.

Just add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a pot of water until it boils, then remove from heat. Use a towel over your head to make a little tent and stand over the pot for an at-home steam treatment.

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Garlic for Athlete’s Foot

Despite having many products available for athlete’s foot, the condition often returns quickly. This is because the fungus sticks around after the symptoms go away, which can trick you into thinking it’s gone.

Garlic has natural antifungal properties and has been used to treat many other fungal infections. Just mince some garlic and mix them with olive oil to make a salve to put on the affected area.

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Vinegar and Rubbing Alcohol for Swimmer’s Ear

Vinegar can be used to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi that cause swimmer’s ear. If you make a mixture of rubbing alcohol and vinegar you can achieve additional relief. The alcohol combines with water in the ear and then evaporates, drying the ear.

Just mix equal parts rubbing alcohol and vinegar, apply a few drops in each ear, and then let your ears drain!

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Yogurt for Bad Breath

Yogurt contains active bacteria called Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus, which help eliminate odor-causing bacteria in your mouth.

Daily consumption of yogurt has been shown to greatly reduce the presence of hydrogen sulfide, one of the main causes of bad breath. Yogurt also helps prevent gum disease and lower plaque levels in your mouth.

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Beets for Constipation

Beets are high in fiber, which aids in digestion. Daily consumption of beets can help keep you regular but are also effective when you need quick relief from constipation.

Simply steam some beets, eat those, and drink the water they were steamed in. But be warned: Beets will turn your stools and urine bright red, but it’s nothing to be seriously concerned about.

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Apples for Clean Teeth

An apple a day keeps the dentist away with this home remedy. Apples clean your mouth while you eat by cleaning teeth and fighting bad breath. The fibers in apples act as a natural toothbrush and scrubs away plaque and food debris while the acidity kills bacteria that causes bad breath.

Be sure to eat the skin because it’s high in the abrasive fibers that clean your teeth.

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