Feeling under the weather? Thinking—as you look around your office—that you might be soon? Hone your home remedy skill set with a look at 10 of our favorite DIY cures for illnesses and your body’s annoyances.
10. Honey for rough coughs
When you’ve got a bad cough, it feels like your own body is fighting against you—your throat dries out, your lungs spasm beyond your control, and it all makes a bad illness experience feel even worse. Before reaching for the over-the-counter stuff, consider a spoonful of honey. It did better in studies of children’s coughs than any of the expensive elixirs, and it very likely elicits fewer taste complaints. Even better? An Ayurvedic-style honey-lemon-ginger infusion drink, or our readers’ cold and cough remedies from their grandparents
9. Toothpaste for bee stings
late’s William Brantley tried out all the pharmaceutical and home remedies he could find for bee stings, including the well-regarded sliced onion. Brantley said the onion made his sting feel worse, actually, and pulls for the acid-neutralizing, itch-reducing properties of toothpaste. If that doesn’t seem to work for you, Caladryl with an analgesic is the preferred store-bought solution.
8. Olive oil for children’s earaches
When a tyke has an earache, everybody knows about it. To soothe the pain until you can get to the doctor, a Columbia University Medical Center pediatrician recommends using a syringe or something similar to put 2 to 4 drops of warm oil in a small child’s ear, age 2 and older, or 5 to 10 drops in your own if you’re the one with the aches
7. Vick’s VapoRub or thyme oil for toenail fungus
It’s not the most pleasant of afflictions to discuss, but nobody wants to keep dealing with yellowed, brittle toenails if they don’t have to. Vick’s VapoRub has thymol in it, a derivative of the herb that reasearchers have found effective in combating fungus, and it’s much cheaper than the prescription treatments. eHow explains the step by step of applying Vick’s to infected feet, and the Times suggests adding essential oil of thyme, found at health and natural food stores, to a bath is a strong supplement.
6. Vinegar, oatmeal, and others for sunburns
Ever get the feeling that the makers of sunburn treatments kind of have you in a painful price position? If your bottle of the green goopy stuff doesn’t seem to work, or you don’t have any, the Wise Bread blog’s natural recommendations might do the trick: vinegar, crushed-up aspirin, tea, milk, and straight-up aloe vera. We’ve also heard that an oatmeal paste can do the trick.
5. DIY elixirs for colds and flu
The Hot Knives blogger loves an excuse to hit the grocery store, and when stricken with a cold (or maybe the flu), he found his muse: a DIY, Southern-Comfort-based elixir to make sleeping, resting, and feeling better much easier. If SoCo’s not your poison of choice, the comments thread is full of formulas that won the day for many formerly ill readers.
4. Duct tape for warts
There’s not a lot we can add to this amazing little mash-up of modern life, other than to say that, while a double-blind, placebo-matched study isn’t available to assuage the uncertainty, many Lifehacker readers swear by the gray stuff’s wart-healing powers.
3. Clear nail polish or hot water for bug bites
Gil Grissom on CSI claims its true, but the crime scene scientist has a lot of fellow believers in the air-blocking, itch-reducing power of a small drop of clear nail polish on especially bad bites. Using Ben Gay can also work, and some commenters suggest close-but-not-direct contact with heat to draw off the need to scratch.
2. Baby or talcum powder for greasy hair
When you’re traveling, pressed for time, or otherwise unable to shower on your regular schedule, your hair can end up looking a bit, well, greasy and unwieldy. The simplest solution we’ve found is running baby powder through it. That link comes from eHow, but the testing is, sadly, rigorously vetted by a certain Lifehacker editor whose morning blogging sometimes leaves him little time to get presentable in a rush. If your baby powder leaves you smelling like a changing station, consider talcum powder, or a little cover-up scent
1. Bacon sandwich for hangovers
The morning after a long night out, your brain is depleted of neurotransmitters, and your stomach is in need of something calm and steady. A bacon sandwich, according to British researchers, is just what the hangover doctor ordered. The bread has the carbohydrates you’re hungry for, while the bacon’s protein (made more appealing by tasty fat) breaks down into amino acids, which your brain has been starving for ever since happy hour started.