Heal Yourself With These Research-Backed Home Remedies That Actually Work

Have you ever tried a home remedy? These days, many people dismiss home remedies as old wives’ tales: supposed truths that are actually superstitions. But what if some of these techniques really work? What if doctors and studies alike support people doing them?

You can solve specific bodily pain, illness, and other dilemmas by using the ingredients in your kitchen cabinets. Based on scientific research, you can save money by curing warts with duct tape and eliminating bad breath by gargling citrus juice. The amount of home remedies backed by science is surprising. Read on to learn which ones can actually work.

One college football team heals ankle sprains in two weeks due to one player’s home remedy.

End Hiccups With A Spoonful Of Sugar

Some holding a teaspoon of sugar
Luis Ascui/Getty Images
Luis Ascui/Getty Images

Of all the hiccup-prevention techniques, eating a spoonful of sugar isn’t the most well-known. However, a study in the British Medical Journal found that 19 out of 20 people ended their hiccups successfully by eating sugar.

The New England Journal of Medicine clarifies that the coarse granulates brush against your nerves. The grains are so small that they can scratch that irritated nerve that’s making you cough. With a teaspoon, place the sugar on the back of your tongue, and swallow. If you don’t want to swallow sugar, the Cleveland Clinic suggests that chewing on crushed ice has the same effect.

Soak In An Oatmeal Bath

Oats in Bowl
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Oatmeal has populated several soaps, shampoos, and moisturizing creams in the beauty industry — and for a good reason. In the 2014 Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, researchers concluded that oatmeal soothes skin inflammation and itchiness. The US Food and Drug Administration even labels colloidal oatmeal as a safe over-the-counter skincare tool.

The best way to prepare an oatmeal bath is to grind one cup of oats into a fine powder (1/3 cup for children). Test a spoonful to see if it absorbs in water; if it does, you may stir the rest of the oats in and enjoy.

Cake A Sprain With Red Clay and Vinegar

clay wrap on a sprained ankle
Youtube/HealthyTreasures
Youtube/HealthyTreasures

When players for the Vanderbilt Commodores got sprained ankles right before the season opened, Zac Stacy’s grandmother employed her home remedy. She mixed red clay with vinegar and applied it to the teammate’s ankles. The players were ready to run two weeks later. This formula stems from the Aztec healing recipe of combining “healing clay” with apple cider vinegar.

How does this work? According to Lab Muffin, the acidic vinegar combines with alkaline clay, resulting in the ideal pH middle ground. In simpler terms, you’re receiving the bacteria-fighting effects of vinegar without its skin-damaging acidity.

Struggling with whitening your teeth? Pick some strawberries.

Gargle Lemon Juice To Eliminate Bad Breath

A sliced lemon dripping juices
Stefan Klein/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Stefan Klein/ullstein bild via Getty Images

To keep your breath fresh all day, consider gargling some lemon juice. According to the Journal of Food Science, lemon oxidizes the polyphenols that cause bad breath. In other words, the enzymes in lemon kill off odor bacteria.

There are several ways to combat bad breath with lemon juice. You can stir one teaspoon into a glass of water and rinse your mouth with it. Or, you can add some lemon drops to a leaf of mint and chew on it. The latter option will taste better after brushing your teeth.

Add Strawberries To Your Teeth-Whitening Formula

combining baking soda with strawberries to whiten teeth
Youtube/Ellko
Youtube/Ellko

If you’ve ever used baking soda to whiten your teeth, you missed a crucial ingredient: strawberries. In a 2018 study, researchers at the Padjadjaran University in Indonesia found that mashing three or four berries into baking soda creates a teeth whitening formula.

Dentist Dr. Uchenna Okoye explains that strawberries contain malic acid, which exfoliates coffee stains. The riper the fruit, the more malic acid the strawberry has. However, another study at the University of Iowa adds that this whitening is short-lived. If you need brighter teeth by tomorrow, do this hack. If you want to change your smile permanently, seek another method.

There’s no need to spend money on removing calluses. Check out an equally effective method using a single herb.

Have Warts? Try Using Duct Tape

Man examines a roll of duct tape before purchasing it
Mario Tama/Getty Images
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Don’t worry; you don’t have to rip off your warts. The duct tape suffocates the wart, which will shrivel it over time. To start, cover your wart with a strip of duct tape for a week. Remove it, and clean the blemish. Repeat until the wart is entirely gone.

Although this technique may sound dubious, science backs it up. A 2002 study in theArchives of Pediatric and & Adolescent Medicine reports that 85% of participants treated their warts with duct tape. In comparison, only 60% of patients extracted warts with cryotherapy.

Swap The Eye Cucumbers With Tea Bags

woman placing green tea bags over her eyes to relieve swelling and wrinkles
Youtube/Yin & Yang Living
Youtube/Yin & Yang Living

Most people recognize the age-old method of placing cucumber slices over your eyes. If you don’t have any cucumbers available, a tea bag works just as well. Steep the tea in hot water, and remove the bags to chill in the fridge. Once they’re cold (about 20 minutes later), place the bags over your eyes for 15 to 30 minutes.

Different teas mitigate the skin in specific ways. A study in the 2000 Archives of Dermatology explains that green tea lowers skin inflammation and irritation. Researchers from Kingston University discovered that white tea reduces wrinkles with its powerful oxidants.

Rub Off Calluses With Licorice Root

Bulk food of licorice root in North America
Lucas Oleniuk/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Lucas Oleniuk/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Licorice root is part of the licorice plant Glycyrrhiza glabra, which is extracted to make the candy. If you buy the herb at a spice shop, though, you’ll have a homemade callus remedy. Georgianna Donadio, Ph.D., says that “licorice contains estrogen-like substances that literally soften the hard skin of calluses.”

For the best results, turn the root into a paste. Dr. Donadio recommends grinding licorice sticks and mixing them with 1/2 teaspoon of petroleum jelly. Rub the gel over your calluses and watch the magic happen.

Coming up: a yummy way to relieve severe coughs.

Your Feet Will Smell Great After Vinegar

person having a foot bath
Twitter/@40alliswell
Twitter/@40alliswell

Are you worried that your feet stink after a long day? Try giving them a vinegar bath. Dr. Erika M. Schwartz, D.P.M, FACFAS, revealed that foot odor results from sweat being trapped in shoes and socks. Over time, bacteria and fungi build up. Vinegar acts as an anti-bacterial that eliminates these organisms.

“Try soaking feet daily in one part vinegar and two parts water,” Dr. Kosinski advises. After adding water, the vinegar won’t be too acidic. The vinegar will kill of fungi and bacteria and be safe enough to soak your feet in for ten minutes.

Chew On Chocolate For A Coughing Fit

A child is eating a piece of chocolate with a spoon in Berlin, Germany
Jens Kalaene/picture alliance via Getty Images
Jens Kalaene/picture alliance via Getty Images

Dark chocolate has several health benefits. If you buy chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or higher, it can soothe harsh coughs. A study in the 2017 Journal of Thoracic Disease noted that theobromine, an alkaloid found in chocolate, lowered cough severity in over 300 participants.

One study from the University of Hull in Yorkshire, England, reports that eating dark chocolate alleviated coughs more quickly than cough syrup. The authors recommend sucking on a square of chocolate because it coats the nerves that trigger coughing.

If you get motion sickness, consider carrying a particular fruit with you.

Drown Out Lice With Coconut Oil

Youtuber Jordan Anne applying coconut oil to her hair
Youtube/Jordan Anne
Youtube/Jordan Anne

Recent studies suggest that coconut oil smothers lice better than other agents. In the International Journal of Dermatology, Brazilian researchers observed that coconut oil killed off 80% of lice after four hours. Another study in the 2010 European Journal of Pediatrics expressed that a coconut oil and anise spray effectively removed lice.

To eliminate the little mites, rub coconut oil through dry hair. Cover your hair with a shower cap, and leave it on overnight. For a shorter solution, combine one tablespoon of coconut oil, green tea, and lemon juice. Leave it on for an hour.

Decrease Motion Sickness With Lemon

Hezekiel Nkosi, leader of the Moletele community, smells a lemon at a Moletele community's farm
MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images
MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images

Lemons keep popping up in home remedies since they have anti-nausea and antibacterial properties. Stephen Hanauer, M.D., a professor of hepatology and gastroenterology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, supports using lemon for motion sickness.

Hanauer asserts that motion sickness results from excessive salivating. Lemons stop salivating through their bitter, astringent compounds called tannins. Olives also have tannins, so you can suck on a lemon or olive to ease your nausea. Citric smells also ease queasy stomachs. Smelling lemon essential oil can relieve you temporarily.

Coming up: a research-backed herbal remedy that alleviates a toothache.

Enjoy Some Cherries And Go To Sleep

Woman eating cherries.
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Most likely, cherries aren’t the first thing you think of when you reach for a midnight snack. But they do help you sleep. These tiny fruits contain melatonin, the hormone that prompts you to fall asleep.

In 2017, a study in the American Journal of Therapeutics found that drinking cherry juice increased sleep time by 84 minutes in insomniac patients. And that’s just one out of several studies. Eat some cherries or enjoy tart cherry juice about an hour before bed, and you’ll feel drowsy when you hit the hay.

Relieve That Bug Bite By Soaking In Apple Cider Vinegar

person pouring a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar into water
Twitter/@ToMakeAMommy
Twitter/@ToMakeAMommy

Dr. Marie Jhin, a spokesperson of the American Academy of Dermatology, claims that using apple cider vinegar for bug bites is an “underutilized home remedy.” This vinegar has antimicrobial properties that heal wounds, even beneath cuticles.

If you have a lot of bug bites, pour two cups of apple cider vinegar in a bathtub and soak. Dr. Jhin agrees that it’ll relieve itching. However, specific brands of apple cider vinegar can be too acidic and irritate some people. For a more alkaline option, use white vinegar instead.

Suck On Clove To Relieve A Toothache

chef pouring whole cloves into his hand
Youtube/America’s Test Kitchen
Youtube/America’s Test Kitchen

Many people buy ground clove to add to drinks, sweets, and meats. But if you purchase whole cloves, you’ll have a toothache relief. Clove’s eugenol content works as a natural pain-reliever, according to the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine.

A study in the 2006 Journal of Dentistry suggests that “clove can replace benzocaine as a topical anesthetic.” This is how cloves reduce the pain of toothaches. To use, swab a cotton pad in clove oil and swipe over the irritated area. Or, you can suck on a whole clove for a while.

Relieve headaches without painkillers with an upcoming home remedy.

Lighten Your Fever By Drinking Ginger, Lemon, and Honey Tea

 a ginger root fresh cut and a freshly brewed ginger tea with lemon
Oedullstein bild via Getty Images
Oedullstein bild via Getty Images

You’ve probably heard people recommend ginger for nausea. For colds and fevers, though, it’s best to combine ginger with lemon and honey to drink as a tea. According to the Journal of Innate Immunity, ginger is a diaphoretic, which means that it induces sweating. When you have a fever, you want to sweat more. It releases dermcidin, a natural antibiotic that strengthens the immune system.

A teaspoon of lemon juice destroys fever bacteria, according to a study in JAMA. And the honey? Research in a 2012 volume of Pediatrics demonstrates that consuming honey suppresses coughing and promotes better sleep.

Breeze Through Cold Season By Eating Garlic

person chopping garlic
Pinterest/The Culinary Institute of America
Pinterest/The Culinary Institute of America

You know the folklore that says garlic wards off vampires? Scientifically, garlic turns away another monster: illness. In 2017, scientists at the University of Copenhagen indicated that garlic inhibits bacteria from infecting people. Eat more to boost your immunity against cold season.

Along with adding garlic to meals, you can create a cold-battling brew by infusing garlic into honey. Pharmacognosy Research states that honey is also an antimicrobial and antibacterial. To infuse, place whole garlic cloves in honey and leave for three days. Open the jar to let the gases out, and stir every day for a week. Keep at room temperature.

Relieve Headaches With Peppermint Oil

senior man with headache
MediaForMedical/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
MediaForMedical/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Although research on topical essential oils is still up and coming, a study in 1996 reveals that dabbing peppermint oil on your temples can alleviate headaches. An article in Phytomedicine says that peppermint oil increases blood flow, which helps with tension-type headaches.

Some professionals sell solutions of 10% peppermint oil in ethanol, which is the mixture used in previous studies. To apply, drip peppermint oil onto a cotton cloth or sponge and dab lightly to your temples. In some studies, researchers added eucalyptus oil to the solution as well.

How do you relieve athlete’s foot safely? Read on to find out.

Sip Sage Tea To Soothe A Sore Throat

sage tea brewed in two small cups
Pinterest/LIVESTRONG.COM
Pinterest/LIVESTRONG.COM

Although sage might not be someone’s first choice of tea, the herb relaxes coughs, asthma, and sore throats. Sage contains ursolic acid, which has strong anti-inflammatory properties. In 2009, a study in the European Journal of Medical Research found that a sage spray alleviates sore throats. Combining sage and echinacea produces the best results.

You can brew sage tea by steeping two tablespoons of leaves in almost boiling water for ten to 15 minutes. Strain the brew, and flavor with lemon or honey as desired. Relief may come within two hours, according to the study.

Dilute Garlic And Place Over Athlete’s Foot

Twitter user Simon making fermented garlic paste
Twitter/@TartanLlama
Twitter/@TartanLlama

Garlic has long been used as an antifungal, and some research observed that it treats skin fungi. According to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, garlic’s ajoene compound kills the growth. Researchers demonstrated that a garlic topical could alleviate athlete’s foot; a 1996 study in Journal Mycoses claimed the same result.

The key to this home remedy is to dilute the garlic first. In 2018, a woman in England tried placing raw garlic on her athlete’s foot, and it made her condition worse. Instead, crush a few cloves and mix it with olive oil. Dab the solution on your athlete’s foot a couple of times a day.