Home remedies that really work for arthritis
marylooo/ShutterstockThere are plenty of natural arthritis remedies out there, but one of the most powerful may be green tea. A potent antioxidant found green tea called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) may put the brakes on the joint pain and inflammation that are hallmarks of rheumatoid arthritis, according to a study in the January 2016 issue of Arthritis and Rheumatology. Researchers suggest drinking two or three cups a day to reap the benefits. And if we are talking about osteoarthritis, the wear-and-tear form of the disease, red hot chili peppers may do the trick. Chili peppers contain capsaicin, which research shows can reduce joint pain, stiffness, and swelling of OA. Try applying a capsaicin cream four times daily to sore joints.
Home remedies that really work for bug bites
Timmary/ShutterstockThere are some bug bite symptoms you should never ignore, but for run-of-the-mill itching, look no further than that breakfast staple, oatmeal. "Colloidal oatmeal has a long history and equally solid biological basis for its anti-inflammatory and anti-itch effects," says Adam Friedman, MD, an Associate Professor of Dermatology at George Washington School of Medicine and Hospital in Washington DC. Find it in the form of creams or even over-the-counter bath powder and follow instructions on the label.
If you've already scratched the bite, prevent infection with Healthful Manuka honey (not regular honey), which comes from New Zealand and is approved for the treatment of wounds. "It is a great osmotic agent, meaning that it pulls water into the wound/skin and an antibacterial agent," Dr. Friedman says. "Hydrating the skin can help cool it off, and the antibacterial properties are useful as a scratched bug bite is susceptible to infection."
Home remedy that really works for colds
successo images/ShutterstockYour mother was right. (Isn't she always?) "Chicken soup has been shown to be helpful for colds in a study," says Len Horovitz, MD, an internist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. It may kick start an anti-inflammatory mechanism that could ease the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections, according to the study in CHEST. The researchers found that chicken soup stops white blood cells called neutrophils in their tracks, reducing their movement and curbing symptoms. Learn about all of the medicinal properties in chicken soup that help to fight viruses. "It's important to be seen and examined, to have a strep test or influenza test to be sure it is 'just a cold,'" Dr. Horovitz says.
Home remedy that really works for cough
showcake/ShutterstockWe're on a roll with the amazing medicinal benefits of honey. Regular store-bought honey may be more effective at reducing cough and improving sleep for kids than honey-flavored over-the-counter cough suppressant, according to study in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. This is a big deal, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said that over-the-counter cough medications are too risky for kids under 2. The researchers gave one-half teaspoon of honey to children ages 2 to 5, 1 teaspoon to children 6 to 11, and 2 teaspoons to those ages 12 to 18. Just don't give honey to children under 1 because it can cause potentially life-threatening infantile botulism. There are some other natural cough remedies that may be worth a try too.
Home remedy that really works for constipation
Anna Bogush/ShutterstockFiber is the best fix for constipation, and of all the proven ways to boost your fiber intake, flaxseed may be most effective. "It's almost as if nature tailor-made ground flaxseed to relieve constipation because there are actually four mechanisms by which it helps," says Will Bulsiewicz, MD, a gastroenterologist in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. For starters, this home remedy for constipation is a great source of both insoluble and soluble fiber, which work in different ways, he explains. "The insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool, helping it to move quickly through the intestines, [and] the soluble fiber acts as fertilizer for the gut garden, promoting the growth of good bacteria."
There's more to it. "Unique to ground flaxseed is the mucilage component of its soluble fiber. Mucilage is a slimy, gum like compound that provides both bulk and softness to help relieve constipation," Dr. Bulsiwicz says. Finally, ground flaxseed is an excellent source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids that are known to help soften stool and relieve constipation. His Rx? Aim for two to three tablespoons a day as part of a fiber-rich diet. "Be sure to drink a lot of water when consuming ground flaxseed to insure adequate hydration," he adds.
Home remedy that really works for cuts, scrapes, and burns
HikoPhotography/ShutterstockAnother reason to keep Manuka honey on hand: "One of my all-time favorite home remedies—that works 100 percent of the time—is Manuka honey on open cuts, burns, or scrapes," says Nadia Kumentas, ND, a naturopathic doctor from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and founder of affecthealth.com. "Its potent antibacterial and wound-healing abilities help you heal quickly, minimize scarring, and prevent infection," she says. "Making sure you apply a thin layer of Manuka honey to the wound and covering it to keep the environment moist. Change the dressing/Band-Aid daily." Here are more home remedies for bumps, burns, and bruises to try.
Home remedy that really works for headaches
Tanya Brighidina/ShutterstockUnless there are signs that your headache pain is something more serious, caffeine will alleviate a headache, says Claire Martin, a nutritionist based in Oakland, California. "Try some coffee, tea, soda, or a dark chocolate bar," she says. "Your blood vessels have expanded during a headache and the caffeine will help shrink them." (These chocolates have extra health benefits.)
Home remedy that really works for hemorrhoids
Africa Studio/ShutterstockExperts at the Cleveland Clinic recommend Sitz baths—a shallow bowl that fits over your toilet—for hemorrhoid relief. Sitting in warm water for 15 minutes, several times a day—especially after a bowel movement—can soothe the irritated area. These simple tips can also ease hemorrhoid pain.
Home remedy that really works for hiccups
Africa Studio/ShutterstockA spoonful of sugar doesn't just help the medicine go down—when it comes to hiccups, it is the medicine. "Eating the grainy sugar crystals forces you to swallow harder than normal, and this also works to reset your diaphragm," Martin says. Hiccups are spasms of the diaphragm. If you're desperate to get rid of hiccups, try these tricks too.
Home remedy that really works for infected nails
DPRM/ShutterstockYour fingernails can reveal important health clues such as bacterial or fungal infections that occur where nail and skin meet. If you have the tell-tale signs of a bacterial or fungal infection—toenails that are thick, crumbling, and yellow, try soaking in white vinegar, a proven antifungal. "The white vinegar soak should be half vinegar and half water," says Dr. Friedman. Soak the affected finger or toe three or four times a day for 15 to 20 minutes until it clears up.