14 Healthy Home Remedies in Your Spice Rack

Find out which herbs and spices help naturally cure acne, constipation, canker sores, dandruff, and more with these tips and recipes from the book Joey Green's Magic Health Remedies.

Adapted by Lauren Gelman from Joey Green's Magic Health Remedies (Rodale)
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    Erase Acne: Ground Nutmeg

    Mix equal parts ground nutmeg and honey and dab on your pimple. Let it sit for 20 minutes, then wash off. Compounds in nutmeg have strong antibacterial and antifungal properties, according to Green. Antimicrobials in honey also help to fight the infection and reduce inflammation.


    Kick Constipation: Sesame Seeds

    To rev your digestive tract, pulse a tablespoon of sesame seeds in a coffee grinder, then sprinkle the powder on other foods, like cereal, salads, or yogurt. Oil from the seeds lubricates your intestines, which helps dry stool move through more easily.


    Quell Coughing: Black Pepper

    Give your throat a break with this peppery tea recipe. Place a teaspoon of black pepper in a teacup, fill with boiling water, cover, and steep for 10 minutes. Add two tablespoons of honey and drink. The pepper acts as a decongestant and the honey’s antibiotic qualities soothe the throat.


    Can a Canker Sore: Ground Sage

    Sage tea is a perfect way to kill the bacterium or virus that may be causing the canker sore. Fill a tea infuser with ground sage, then place in a teacup with boiling water, cover, and steep for 10 minutes. When it cools to room temperature, rinse your mouth with the tea; do this several times a day. This also helps reduce inflammation and pain.


    Fight Dandruff Flakes: Rosemary Leaves

    This rosemary rinse will help prevent your scalp from producing too much sebum, an oil that contributes to dandruff. Make a tea by adding rosemary leaves to one cup of boiling water. Cover and steep for 20 minutes, then strain and cool to room temperature. After you shampoo and condition, apply the tea as a final rinse. Massage into your scalp and don’t rinse it out.

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    Freshen Bad Breath: Fennel Seed

    To perk up a less-than-fresh mouth, chew five to 10 fennel seeds after you finish a meal—and swallow. Oils in the fennel aid digestion and deodorize your digestive tract, Green explains.


    Heal a Bruise: Oregano Leaves

    Reduce inflammation and soothe pain by placing a heaping tablespoon of oregano leaves in one cup of boiling water; steep for 10 minutes. Then scoop out the leaves and place them in the foot of a clean, used pair of sheet panty hose. Tie a knot in the open end. Press against the bruised area for 15 minutes, occasionally rewetting with the tea. The oregano oil helps heal the bruise.


    Patch Up a Scrape: Garlic Powder

    Disinfect a boo-boo with a half-teaspoon of garlic powder mixed with enough water to make a thick paste; apply to the affected area. Garlic is a natural antibiotic with antiseptic properties, according to Green.


    Evade Flatulence: Basil Leaves

    Add these leaves to a bean-heavy dish to counteract the flatulent effects of the legumes. Basil helps prevent the formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract.

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    Take the Itch Out of Insect Stings: Meat Tenderizer

    Apply a combo of a half-teaspoon of meat tenderizer and two teaspoons of water to the irritated area and let sit for up to 30 minutes. The enzyme papain helps break down the proteins in the venom, according to Green, which reduces inflammation and pain.


    Ease Arthritis Pain: Vanilla Extract

    Dab the sweet-smelling stuff on a tissue and sniff every so often. Green explains that the vanilla aroma triggers certain parts of your brain to produce endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that produce a sense of well-being. Also, studies show that vanilla helps reduce stress, which can lower pain sensitivity.


    Clear Up Athlete’s Foot: Thyme Leaves

    Add two tablespoons of thyme leaves to one cup of boiling water in a teacup, cover, and steep for 10 minutes. Strain and let the liquid cool, then dunk a cotton ball into the thyme tea and dab on your feet and between your toes. Let them air dry. Antifungal compounds in thymol kill the fungus causing your stinky feet.


    Relieve Seasonal Allergies: Ground Turmeric

    Thwart your body from releasing symptom-triggering histamines with this spice-infused beverage: Stir one teaspoon of ground turmeric into an eight-ounce glass of water and drink. Certain antioxidants in turmeric help suppress histamine production.

    More Healthy Home Remedies

    Find out how to turn more everyday products into quick and easy health boosters in Joey Green's Magic Health Remedies.


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