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common-remedies-moms-chicken-soupIt seems that everyone’s mom had a favorite remedy for everything from the common cold to earaches to stinky feet. The idea is nothing new. For centuries, cultures around the world have relied on natural, common remedies to cure people’s ailments.

The non-medical remedies we describe here do offer some level of relief. They don’t replace Western medicine completely, though. In the case of an ear infection, for example, you likely need antibiotics, not an onion. Another drawback? These remedies are typically less effective and work more slowly than medical solutions do.

As always, if your symptoms continue for more than a day or two, or worsen, schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider.

Does Chicken Noodle Soup Cure the Common Cold?

Believe it or not, chicken noodle soup really does help alleviate cold symptoms and even slows the progression of colds and respiratory infections, particularly if that bowl of soup includes a few vegetables. It doesn’t matter if your soup is homemade or from a can, either.

Warm chicken soup with vegetables helps slow neutrophil movement. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell and they protect you against infection. Slowing their movement with a bowl of soup allows neutrophils to concentrate their efforts on the areas of your body that need them most.

In addition to veggies in your soup, look for (or prepare) low sodium varieties to help your body stay hydrated while it fights off infection.

Does Duct Tape Get Rid of Warts?

duct tapeAlthough warts don’t cause physical harm, many people wish to remove them for aesthetic reasons. Unfortunately, that requires burning them off, typically using liquid nitrogen. However, you can rid yourself of a wart simply by removing its oxygen supply.

Duct tape seems to be a popular option, probably because most people already have a roll lying in their utility drawer. Simply cut off a small square of duct tape, cover the wart, and leave it in place for a week. Then, remove the tape, clean the area well (preferably with a rough surface, such as a pumice stone), and apply another square of duct tape. Repeat this weekly until the wart falls away on its own.

Another method we’ve seen people use is clear nail polish, which also starves the wart of oxygen. It also is practically invisible, making it far less noticeable than duct tape.

Does a Spoonful of Sugar Cure the Hiccups?sugar spoon

Hiccups are caused by involuntary, repeated contractions of the diaphragm, typically due to nerve irritation. The vagus nerve is your body’s longest cranial nerve and stimulating it may cure your hiccups. And yes, a sudden jolt of sweetness may do the trick.

Place a teaspoon of sugar under your tongue and hold it there, without swallowing, until you stop hiccupping. When you finally swallow, you give the nerve one final shock as the sugar makes its way down the back of your throat.

Can Echinacea Cure a Cold?

Echinacea FlowerEchinacea plants have been used to treat infections for hundreds of years, long before Europeans arrived in the Americas. The plant’s natural flavonoids help reduce inflammation and boost your immune system. But, does Echinacea cure the common cold?

Research is mixed as to Echinacea’s ability to cure a cold, but most studies seem to support its effectiveness in at least reducing risk of developing a cold, as well as reducing a cold’s duration. If you feel a cold coming on, take between 1 and 2 grams of Echinacea root, such as in an herbal tea, three times per day, for a maximum of one week.

Does Aspirin Cure Acne?

Aspirin Pill Clancy Medical Group Vista CAThe active ingredients in aspirin and acne treatments are very similar, acetylsalicylic acid and salicylic acid respectively. You can reduce the redness and swelling of a pimple by crushing an aspirin into powder (you can’t use gel caps for this) and creating a paste by adding a small amount of water. Then, just apply the paste to your pimple and allow it to dry. Eventually, it becomes powdery again. When that happens, simply rinse it off with water. It typically takes less than an hour.

Please note that aspirin has side effects and may be dangerous for some children. Check the packaging for any warnings and talk to your pediatrician before using this remedy on a child.

Can You Control Infection with Turmeric?

Curcumin powder in wooden spoonSpices are popular forms of medicine in many cultures, even today. Turmeric is one of them, thanks to the presence of curcumin, a compound with significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help slow the growth of bacteria.

For minor or superficial wounds, a paste made turmeric and water makes a good substitute for antibiotic ointments. You only need around half a teaspoon of turmeric and a drop or two of water to make the paste. Then, apply it to the wound and cover it with a dressing. If the wound is still bleeding, you can apply turmeric directly, no paste needed.

Again, this is only safe for minor cuts and scrapes. Do not use turmeric for deeper, more serious wounds.

Can You Relieve an Earache with an Onion?

onionEaraches strike at any age, though they seem to affect children the most. It’s always best to see your physician for an earache, in case the real problem is an infection, but you can relieve the pain of an earache with, yes, an onion.

The nutrients in onions contain antiseptic properties, which may help disinfect your ear canal for quick pain relief. Simply boil the onion until it becomes soft (whole, not chopped, sliced, or diced). Allow the onion to cool and then squeeze the juice into a bowl. With a medicine dropper, place three or four drops of slightly warm onion juice into the painful ear.

If pain worsens or continues, schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Can Chocolate Cure a Cough?dark chocolate

Yes, the right kind of chocolate may work as a cough suppressant. Most over-the-counter cough medicines rely on theobromine, which helps suppress the nerves that trigger a cough. Dark chocolate is a good source of theobromine, and two ounces contain about the same amount as a dose of cough syrup.

Does Vodka Eliminate Foot Odor?

vodkaIf your feet stink, it’s usually due to bacteria. In addition to making sure they’re clean (which should be your first line of defense), you can, indeed, give your tootsies a shot of vodka to help destroy odor-causing bacteria.

Vodka has a high alcohol volume, which kills bacteria and helps the liquid dry quickly. Drying quickly is important, as moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria, making it the main cause of foot odor. All you need to do is soak a clean cloth in vodka and then wipe your feet with it.

Hormonal changes may cause feet to sweat, as do synthetic or poorly ventilated footwear. However, chronic foot odor may indicate a condition called hyperhidrosis (excessive perspiration), which may lead to toenail fungus or athlete’s foot. If you suffer from foot odor no matter what you do, it may be time to see your doctor.

Will Honey Soothe a Cough or Sore Throat?honey

In a word: Yes. Honey helps soothe both coughs and sore throats thanks to its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. You can add it to a cup of tea or even warm a tablespoon of honey and drink it straight.

Please note that, although safe for older children and adults, honey is dangerous for infants younger than 12 months.