Don’t ignore Grandma next time she tells you to do something weird, like bite down on a pencil. She may be on to something.
Weird home remedies stick around for a reason: sometimes they actually work! Next time you find yourself suffering from an aching head, stressing out about a test, or worried about your bad breath, try one of these crazy-yet-effective home remedies. After all, Grandma’s always right.
The Problem: Warts
The Cure: Duct Tape
Kissing too many frogs? A scientific study showed that duct tape was even more effective than the more traditional freezing treatment when it came to pesky warts. 85% of warts were cured when treated with duct tape, compared to only 60% cured via freezing treatment.
To try the duct tape fix, place a small piece of tape over the wart (like you’re putting on a bandage). Leave on for six days. After six days, remove and gently buff the wart with an emery board or pumice stone, leave the wart bare overnight, and reapply the duct tape in the morning.
Repeat for 2 months or until the wart vanishes.
Note: duct tape comes in colors other than silver, if you’re worried about matching your outfit.
The Problem: Tension Headaches
The Cure: A Pencil
No, we’re not about to suggest that you write down all the things that are stressing you out (though journaling can provide a lot of stress relief). Jaw-clenching (a result of anxiety or stress) can result in a painful tension headache. Place a pencil gently between your teeth without biting down – this simple action will cause your jaw to relax, hopefully relieving the headache.
The Problem: Blisters
The Cure: Listerine
Marathon training? Shoveling the garden? Certain repeated actions lead to tender, painful blisters on your hands and feed, but the powerful antiseptic properties of Listerine can help dry them out. Dab some on the affected area three times a day until the blister is gone.
The Problem: Bad Breath
The Cure: Parsley and Mint
They’re not just a garnish anymore. Chew a sprig of these freshening herbs to relieve unpleasant breath – the bacteria-fighting chlorophyll in the herbs acts as a natural odor-destroyer. We recommend parsley before dinner; mint after.
The Problem: Insomnia/Anxiety
The Cure: Lemon Balm
Trouble sleeping? Big test in the morning? Make a tea from sweet-smelling lemon balm and hit the sheets. Several studies have explored the effect of lemon balm (combined with other relaxing herbs like valerian, chamomile, and hops) on sleep problems and anxiety, and the herbs were shown to be beneficial.
You can buy dried lemon balm from your local grocer, or look for it in the bulk bins at the health food store.
Bonus: cream containing lemon balm has been shown to be very effective in curing cold sores!