Tobacco smoke cures earaches
Believe it or not, it was once thought that blowing smoke into someone’s ears remedied an earache. This was during a time when doctors smoked while performing surgery, though, so it probably made more sense then than it does now, where all things tobacco are largely frowned upon. Who knows – maybe vape smoke has taken the wheel? It’s been said that Elvis Presley had childhood earaches cured by his mother’s cigarette exhales.
Turpentine cures shingles
Ever had shingles? Boy, we hope not! That stuff hurts. If you have ever been afflicted with the illness, you might have been told that turpentine can help cure it. Simply soak a string in turpentine and hang it around your neck for immediate relief. Do not try this at home. Go to the doctor where you can get some actual medical care.
Urine cures acne
One day you’re up and about, riding your bike, eating popsicles with a face as smooth as silk. The next, you’ve got a different voice and your skin’s covered in oily bumps. Acne remains a bane of adolescence and, for some, adulthood. The cure? Pat your sore spots down with urine. It’ll clear right up. Only kidding! This home remedy is, of course, utterly insane and without any scientific credibility.
Earwax cures cold sores
You might have heard about this one not that long ago in the grand scheme of things, given that in 1995 it was all but confirmed by a Russian scientist who found that “the cerumen (earwax) of some mammals possesses antistaphylococcal, antimicrococcal and antiherpes activities. The cerumen of two thirds of individuals, irrespective of their species identity and sex, has antiviral properties.” Still gross, though.
Butter cures a burn
Common knowledge has it that applying cool water to a burn is the best way to immediately cure the pain. Putting butter on it, as plenty have suggested throughout time, will only make things worse, as the grease will slow the release of heat from the skin. The price of butter is crazy these days, so let’s not be wasting it on minor burns.
A spoonful of sugar cures hiccups
Allow to us to first say, that if possible, avoid consuming sugar by the spoonful. Unless you have a case of the hiccups. It sounds mad but this wild home remedy actually works. Sugar stimulates the vagus nerve responsible for hiccups. A study in 1971 proved that 9 out of 10 patients had their hiccups cured after a teaspoon of the white stuff (but not that white stuff).
Rattlesnake whiskey cures arthritis
Are your bones all stiff and swollen? Fear not, this old remedy is foolproof. Simply locate a rattlesnake, kill it by whatever means; then skin it, dry it and shove the remains in a glass of corn whiskey. Get that down your gullet and bish bash bosh: a cure for arthitis. At least, that’s people in the Old West used to believe. It’s no wonder that “death by rattlesnake” was so much more common back then.
Chocolate garlic cures memory loss
You know when you walk into a room or open YouTube and forget what it was you were looking for? Try dipping some garlic gloves in chocolate and eating them. The thing is, this is obviously crazy on the face of it, and something your grandparents would 100% endorse, but it may have some validity to it. Both garlic and chocolate contain the kind of antioxidants that protect brain cells so in the long run, it COULD aide memory retention.
A chicken’s digestive tract cures diarrhea
How… how was this ever discovered? What cruel curse befell the man (and it was definitely a man) who had no other goal in life but to cure a case of intestinal malaise with the lining of a chicken’s digestive tract? Needless to say, putting a chicken gizzard in boiling water, creating a tea out of it, and then spoon-feeding said tea to a poorly baby will never cure it of diarrhea.
Dirty socks cure a sore throat
This remedy stretched from Olde England right up until the 20th century, so there’s a chance one of your grandparents suggested this at one time or another. Apparently, wrapping your own dirty sock around your throat cured all soreness. Hogwash, obviously. It might have been a signal for other people to stay away in a time when sore throats could be symptomatic of something more sinister.
Train track therapy
Fair play to train track therapy, it does exactly what it says on the tin. Though whether or not this is any good for your body is another matter. Over in Indonesia, people are advised to lie down on a train tack with the top half of their body on one rail and their legs on the other, and wait for a train to zip past on the opposite track. The small electric current is alleged to treat diabetes. Do NOT try this.
Northern Italians have sworn by hay baths since ancient times. Apparently, laying down and covering yourself in hay removes all the unwanted toxins from your body and revitalises your muscles. Hop on over to South Tyrol whever you’re feeling a tad stiff.
Baby mice wine
China has had a long history of what Western cultures would consider to be mysticism. They’ll try anything when it comes to a taste sensation or home remedy. In this instance, it’s baby mice. Drown 10 to 15 hairless baby mice in rice wine and leave to ferment for a year. This is considered a “health tonic.”
Peruvian frog juice
From mice to a slightly less gross creature: Peruvian Frog Juice is the answer to all your health problems, at least if you have a Peruvian grandparent. This blend of maca root, honey – and yes, frogs – claims to heal anemia and tuberculosis.
Oatmeal for bites
Oatmeal, for something seemingly plain and boring, has a strong track record of easing itchiness. Find yourself a cream containing colloidal oatmeal in your nearest shop or create a paste by mixing oatmeal and water. Smother it over a bite for around ten minutes, rinse, and hey presto: a weird home remedy that actually works.
Ground Flaxseed for constipation
Ground flaxseed is an amazing source of insoluble and soluble fibre, which adds bulk to your poo and promotes good bacteria. Its plant-based omega-3 fatty acids help soften your poo and ease off the bumpy effects of constipation. Just two to three tablespoons of this stuff will you have back to normal in no time.
Cucumber for eye pain
We’ve all seen someone at some point, in real life or on a film, with two slices of cucumber over their eyes. But we never really believe in its validity. Cucumber, after all, is just water isn’t it? That might be true, but they do in fact contain antioxidants that have been shown to decrease swelling and plan.
Cherries for gout
Got a nasty, painful case of gout that is a great source of shame to you, as well as your friends and family? Not to worry, so long as cherries continue to grow on this ailment-ridden planet. A study found that people who ate about 20 cherries every day were far less likely to experience instances of gout thanks to compounds that help neutralise uric acid.
Olives for motion sickness
Admit it. We’ve all been sitting in a car trying not to throw up and thought, “I could kill for an olive or two right now.” Look, while you might not ever crave olives in the throes of queasiness, you should definitely pack some if you’re motion sickness inclined, as the tannins dry your mouth and help dissipate nausea.
Pencils for headaches
Have you got a headache this exact moment? Understandable. It’s a loud world out there. Grab a pencil and stick it between your teeth. Clenching your jaw muscles can lead to a headache so wedging something in between that clasp can soften the muscles and ease the symptoms.
Duct tape for warts
A study found that duct tape helped remove 85 percent of warts compared to the 60 percent helped by freezing them. A small, air-tight piece of duct tape creates a toxic environment for the wart, killing it. This may take time though. Stick on a new piece every six days until it’s gone.
Vodka for smelly feet
Have a bad case of stinky feet? Skip the shower, dump a bunch of vodka into a bowl and let your toes simmer in it. This apparently works. But how much can you trust the person who discovered standing in cheap vodka covers body odour?
Cranberry juice for UTIs
UTIs, or urinary tract infections, can be solved by supping on some cranberry juice. Who knew? Doctors apparently. Cranberry has been found to reduce how well the bacteria stick to the lining cells of the bladder. This tart drink may even reduce bladder infections. That said, you shouldn’t solely rely on this…
Witch hazel for hemorrhoids
Witch hazel, which isn’t half as mad as it sounds, is an anti-inflammatory compound that can cool the burn of hemorrhoids thanks to the tannins that calm blood vessels and reduce swelling. Your grandparents definitely know about this old chestnut.
Tennis ball for sore feet
Cheap as chips, so long as you own a tennis ball or two; this remedy is one of the weirdest but most effective out there. Roll your foot on a tennis ball to massage your plantar fascia, the ligament that connects your heel bone to your toes for a spot of instant relief.
Apple for cleaning teeth
If you’re in a dirty-toothed pinch and don’t have a brush handy, do your best to locate an apple, which has been described as a natural toothbrush. There’s nothing too complex at work here. When you eat an apple, it scrubs your teeth. Simple as that. Don’t rely on this method in the long-run however, as apples do contain acids and sugar that can degrade your enamel.
Chewing gum for stress
We all love a bit of chewing gum, don’t we? Occupies your mouth during moments of boredom and clears your sinuses at the same time. A study in Japan found that a fortnight of regular gum chewing improved volunteers’ levels of anxiety and tiredness.
Milk of magnesia for mouth sores
Mouth sores, or more specifically canker sores, are ulcers usually caused by viral infections. They’re a massive pain in the bum and something you’ll want to nip in the bud as quick as possible. Try rinsing your mouth with milk of magnesia three to four times a day.
Artichoke for heartburn
Have you got heartburn? Tired of constantly having heartburn? Waking up and going to bed with a burning heart? Artichoke is the way forward! The caffeoylquinic acids found in the leaves stimulate the release of bile from the gall bladder, relieving nausea, gas, bloating and heartburn.
Olive oil for chapped lips
If you live in a colder climate, chapped lips are an inescapable fact of life. Heading out for a quick walk to the shops? Expect hell on your lips. Don’t fret if you’re all out of lip balm, as olive works as a natural lubricant to help moisturise your lips. And it’ll taste like you’ve just eaten a big pizza pie.
Sage for memory loss
Word recall and memory was improved in healthy older adults after taking capsules containing sage leaf extract, a study found. So return the favours your grandparents gave you over the years when it came to home remedies and buy them some of this extract. You could even call that ‘sage’ advice.
Avocado for razor burn
Avocado this, avocado that. Over the past decade, it’s been hard for millennials to dodge the brunt of avocado patter. Well, who’s laughing now? Turns out applying smushed-up avocado on a razor burn takes away the irritation.
Pure gold for a sty
A sty on the eye is not a fun time. Forget about creams and ointments: go fetch the nearest pure gold ring or piece of jewellery, warm it up between your palms for a minute and place it on the sty. This will help soothe the pain and swelling in the short-term.
Chocolate for coughing fit
Research published in the Journal of Thoracic Disease found that dark chocolate (has to be dark chocolate, sorry milk chocolate fans) can be a better remedy for a bad cough than the likes of codeine. So indulge, indulge, indulge!
Wine bread for hunger
Back in the day, if you were hungry, or had what was called a “canine appetite” it was commonplace to be asked to dip a piece of bread in wine and hold it up to your nostrils. Apparently eating the bread and drinking the wine wasn’t an option.
Potatoes for bug bites
Potatoes are versatile as any food out there. Whether mashed, baked or sliced into crispy chips, nobody’s complaining. Did you know they also qualify as an anti-inflammatory food? A slice of raw potato is one the best things to press against a bug bite, a study in Food and Agriculture Immunology found.
Tobacco juice for wasp stings
Wasp stings are nasty but they can be treated by the weirdest things. Notably tobacco juice. Thank the University of Georgia for verifying this old remedy. Applying this stuff to your sting will help alleviate the pain. Bear in mind you have to chew the tobacco before producing the juice…
Marshmallows for sore throats
Who needs a cup of bitter Lemsip when we can just kick back and eat marshmallows instead? The sap from the marshmallow plant used to make the soft sweet version has been lauded for being anti-inflammatory. Any gelatin-based sweet should do the trick.
Boiled egg for black eye
Have you been a naughty boy and gotten yourself a black eye? Maybe you’re just a clumsy idiot that’s falling into a table. Whatever the case, go fetch a silver coin and slip it into a freshly peeled warm hard-boiled egg. Then wrap it in a thin cloth and rub it into your black eye until the coin absorbs the bruise. Would it surprise you to hear this has never been verified?
Spinach for nose bleeds
Are you someone who suffers nose bleeds a lot? You’re probably lacking some good vitamin K. As such, you should start eating spinach, which helps blood coagulate and prevent nose bleeds (most of the time). Back in the day, however, people bypassed the mouth and stuck spinach behind their ears as that was meant to cure a bloody nose.
Papaya juice and milk for a larger chest
Having smaller boobs isn’t an ailment, but it is an insecurity of many women. Remarkably, there is a drink that CAN possibly result in a bigger chest: fresh papaya juice and milk. Milk provides you the protein while papaya’s enzymes help digest and absorb the protein to bulk up your pectoral muscles. Be prepared for the sugar content to also make your body in general bigger.
Coffee for giving birth
Can’t wait to give birth to your child and also a big fan of the smell of coffee? Great news. There’s a wackjob labour-inducing method doing the rounds of parenting forums called the “coffee potty” which requires pregnant women to squat over a bowl of steaming black coffee. Apparently this causes the mucus plug loosen, leading to contractions.
Slapping for stutters
Okay, this is controversial. And something we do not condone. But it is a weird home remedy from olden times, so here we are. Back in the day, a stuttering child in China was “cured” by being slapped multiple times on a cloudy day. It’s unclear whether this is still practised.
Yoghurt for yeast infection
Steady, now. You think we’re talking about eating yoghurt, don’t you? Oh, what a nice remedy, you think. Who doesn’t love yoghurt? Listen. This is not what you think. Rumour has it, some people out there have putting tablespoons of the stuff down yonder, shall we say. We’re gonna go out on a limb and say this doesn’t work.
Vagisil for sunburn
Ouch! As it happens, baking in the piping sun all day can be very bad for your skin. If your body isn’t acclimatised to a particular degree of heat, you’re probably gonna suffer sunburn at the very least. Not to worry, as Vagisil is has been claimed (emphasis on claimed) to treat sunburn.
Spiders webs for cuts
Disaster, you’ve just cut yourself doing something banal and non-cut-worthy. What do you do? You do what they used to do way back when and stuff a bunch of spider webs over it. Sounds gross, doesn’t it? But spider webs have natural antiseptic and anti-fungal properties which can fend off infections.
Urine on a jellyfish sting
The “you should pee on a jellyfish sting” was doing the rounds before that episode of Friends, but since then it is now etched in most people’s heads. Not that jellyfish stings are too common, but you know, it’s nice to accrue knowledge. Well, sadly, this knowledge is hokum. All this will do is make your wound stink of pee.
Powdered Jello for diarrhea
Get a bag of powdered jello down you and wash it back with a cup of hot water. This combo will stick to your intestines, by all accounts, and slow down the frequency of your dia-plop-plops.
Soap for knee pain
If you’re the type of person who doesn’t believe in modern medicine and prefers instead to indulge stupid, unproven, crazy home remedies then this is right up your street. Next time you have pain in your knees and joints, put a bar of soap under the sheets with you. Unsurprisingly there’s no scientific confirmation of this, but some homeopathy devotees swear by it.
Listerine for toenail fungus
Ugh, toenail fungus, am I right? What a drag. Next time your feet are looking and smelling a bit funky, let them soak in a bowl of Listerine. Hey, look, if it can kill all the germs in your mouth, why shouldn’t it do wonders on your toes?