Ah, home remedies. No matter who swears they work (hey, lady who lives next door to your father-in-law’s sister!), the truth is they’re often more bunk than bona fide.
But, there are some that really do have science on their side. So we dug into the research, talked with the experts and found eight treatments that actually stack up. Prepare to view superglue in a whole new way.
Soothe sore throats with sage
Yes, really! A study in the European Journal of Medical Research found a spray containing 15% sage offered significant relief within two hours, compared with a placebo. Switch your usual tea-with-honey for homemade sage tea: pour one cup of almost-boiling water over two tablespoons of fresh sage or one tablespoon of dried. Cover and steep for 10 to 15 minutes, then strain well. Who needs throat lozenges?
Give your scalp TLC with aspirin
Sounds kooky, but it works! Aspirin is basically salicylic acid, the anti-acne ingredient that sloughs off dead skin. “It does the same thing for your scalp—gets rid of flakes,” explains dermatologist Marie Jhin. Add one tablespoon of crushed aspirin (you may need a mortar and pestle) to your regular shampoo, lather up and then leave it in for five to 10 minutes. Sorted.
Banish athlete’s foot with garlic
A recent study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology claimed that ajoene, an antifungal compound found in garlic, can reduce the signs and symptoms of tinea. Crush some cloves with olive oil and use a cotton ball to rub the mixture on the affected area several times a day until the infection clears up. Note: garlic can cause irritation so stop if that occurs.
Try ginger for nausea
Why? Ginger works by accelerating stomach emptying and intestinal gas release. Sip on ginger ale or eat a few lollies made with real ginger. Car making you queasy? Suck on a lemon. Motion sickness is often accompanied by excess salivating, but bitter, astringent plant compounds found in lemons called tannins dry out the mouth, eliminating that ‘Oh God, not here’ nausea.
Put the freeze on migraines
Applying ice to your temples or the back of your neck for 10 to 15 minutes numbs the nerve that sends pain signals and constricts blood vessels. Plus, the icy sensation is the ideal distraction, says neurologist Lawrence Newman.
Replace ear-ringing with the great outdoors
Digitally-produced sounds mimicking nature and water provided significant relief from tinnitus, reports research in the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology. Try a white-noise machine with nature-sound settings or a phone app like Naturespace.
Fuse cracked heels with superglue
“No amount of cream will bring that crack back together,” confirms Jhin. “Glue is a great little trick to fix it.” Soak your feet for a few minutes, then apply moisturiser and dab super glue on any remaining cracks. A single application should do the trick. Just watch you don’t get any of it stuck on your hands!
Clear up cuticles with white wine vinegar
See, it’s not just for your salad dressing. The natural antibacterial properties of vinegar can eliminate infections caused by an overzealous manicurist or picking at cuticles. Add to warm water and soak for 15 minutes daily. Cheap, natural and ridiculously effective. We like it!