Have you seen that movie, “My Big Greek Wedding”? The Greek father in him has a funny compulsion to treat every human disease with a Windex spray! That’s right, the window cleaner. I’ve never heard of using Windex for anything other than window cleaning, but if it works, I’m guessing it’s the alcohol that did the trick, as alcohol is an antiseptic.
Now, don’t spray Windex on yourself, especially not internally! I don’t want you to end up in the ER having to tell the staff that you tried to do a Windex for your sore throat. You may be held longer than you expected in a safer wing of the hospital.
As ridiculous as that whole scenario may seem, as long as there have been cuts, bruises, bug bites, fungal nails, bad breath, and a host of other minor human ailments, there have been some outlandish remedies for them.
So, in a lighter deviation from my usual advice to you, I’d like to share some of these rare home remedies with you here so that you can find work for yourself.
Toenail fungus: How about Vick’s Vaporub? Yes, it was reported to remove nail fungus from old Vick’s Vaporub. After cleaning your feet and affected nail completely, rub some Vicks Vaporub on the nail. Do this every day for 2 weeks and see the improvement. The menthol in Vicks suffocates the fungus and kills it.
Warts: Do you have warts? Do you have duct tape? Yes, duct tape. It really works to remove them. In a study published in the Archives of Adolescent Medicine, warts with duct tape removed 85% of them, compared to 60% with the freeze method. Cut a small piece of duct tape, adhere it to the wart, remove it in 3 days, and use a cardboard file or pumice stone to remove the dead skin. Repeat if necessary.
Toothache: Until you can go to the dentist, soak a cotton ball or swab in vanilla extract and apply directly to the tooth for immediate pain relief. Rinsing your mouth with a little hydrogen peroxide in water (do not swallow!) Will kill bacteria in infected tooth tissues.
Hiccup: Swallow 1 teaspoon plain table sugar to quickly relieve hiccups.
Smell of feet: Bathe your feet in vodka or gin. Alcohol kills bacteria and dehydrates moisture from your skin, allowing fungus to grow.
Whole bread: Raisins soaked in gin are said to relieve arthritic joint pain. 2 cups of golden raisins, 1 cup of gin made with juniper berries. Place raisins in glass bowl; for gin on them covering them completely. Soak for 10 days at room temperature. Eat 10 gin-soaked grapes per day.
Headache tension: When stressed, you tend to clench your jaw and put a lot of tension on your temporal muscles. This can create a tension headache. Put a pencil between your back teeth but don’t bite down. This forces the jaw muscle to relax and the headache to subside.
Foot pain / heel spurs: Get a 16 oz soda bottle and fill it with water and freeze it. When frozen, place the frozen bottle under your sore feet, one at a time, and roll the bottle back and forth underneath it. This helps cool down the inflammation of the heel spur and relaxes the muscles of the foot.
Dry and rough corns on the feet: Get some coarse kosher salt or some sea salt; add a tablespoon or 2 of olive oil. Rub the mixture into the dry, callused area of your foot. The salt scrapes dry skin away and the olive oil adds moisture to the area making it smooth and smooth.
Bags under the eyes: We’ve all had mornings where we didn’t get enough sleep the night before and woke up with puffy bags under our eyes. A home remedy that models and actors use to get rid of them is to apply Preparation H hemorrhoid cream to the area under the eyes. The same ingredients that reduce the swelling of hemorrhoids also reduce bags under the eyes.
Urinary tract infections: If you are prone to frequent urinary tract infections, try drinking 8 ounces of cranberry juice with 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. Reduces bacteria and alkalizes urine. If infections persist, see a doctor.
Blisters: Stop the pain by quickly drying them with Listerine mouthwash. Apply to the affected areas 3 times a day with a cotton ball until dry.
Throat pain: My grandmother never let us forget this old world remedy: 1 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Gargle. Repeat several times a day until the sore throat disappears. The salt dries up and kills the bacteria in the back of your throat that are causing you pain.
Excessive underarm sweating: Apple cider vinegar, or lime juice, is applied to clean armpits before bed, allowed to air dry, and then washed off in the morning. Both are acidic agents and can balance the acidic / alkaline environment of the sweat glands.
Natural toothbrush: Forgot your toothbrush? Eat an apple, preferably a green Granny Smith type that is full of malic acid. Not only will the apple clean debris from your teeth, but the malic acid helps remove stains.
Mosquito bite: Summer is not far off and neither are mosquito bites! If you hate them as much as I do, buy yourself some bottled lime juice and apply it with cotton balls to get rid of the itchiness. A paste of salt and water applied to the bite will do the same. They both dry up the fluid that swells around the itchy bite.
Well there you have it, some rare home remedies for some everyday ailments. All of these have been shown to work not only anecdotally by people who have used them, but also by researchers who have studied quirky home remedies. Try one or more. However, if you find that your problem condition does not go away, see your doctor.
Mark Rosenberg, MD
Institute for healthy aging