Simple, soothing, remedies for life’s little aches and pains can be found
right in your kitchen cupboard. USU Consumer Educator, Teresa Hunsaker
shows us how to soothe what hurts, naturally.
Every now and then it is nice to know that there are some simple home
remedies that really work for some of life’s little ailments. Here are some
simple ways to soothe using items you may already have on hand, thus
saving you a trip to the store when a “hurt” hits you or your children.
There are many reasons why we may suffer from a sore throat…acid reflux,
dry air or poor air quality, allergies, sleeping with our mouth open, and
more…including infection. Here are some homemade remedies…
· Sage– This curative herb is a great sore-throat gargle. Mix 1 teaspoon
in 1 cup boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes, then strain. Add 1 teaspoon
each cider vinegar and honey. Then gargle four times a day.
· Salt water—dissolve a ½ teaspoon to a teaspoon of salt in ½ cup hot
water. Gargle every 3 or 4 hours.
· Listerine—speaks for itself
· Lemon Soother—mix 1 tablespoon each of lemon juice and honey in 1
cup hot water. Sip slowly allowing the mixture to linger on the throat.
· Vinegar Tea—mix 1 tablespoon each of cider vinegar and honey in 1
cup of hot water.
· Broths—grandma knew what she was doing when she made a pot of
chicken soup for those coming down with a cold. Sipping warm broths and
consommés will help relieve a sore throat.
· Pineapple juice and ginger—warm 1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
and approximately ¼ tsp ginger. Sip slowly and enjoy.
There is an old Amish remedy that many folks swear by: Peel and cut a
garlic bulb in half. Suck on the garlic bulb like you would a cough drop,
biting off only a little bit at a time. Apparently it works like a charm…
assuming you can stand the smell.
Also, keep throat lozenges and analgesic sprays handy too.
Hot Pepper Burn
There is a compound found in chili peppers called capsaicin that is
concentrated in the oils of the plant. It can cause pretty intense burning to
mouths and skin when it comes in contact with it, and the burning can last
up to 24 hours in some cases. Here are some remedies to soothe the
· Milk—there is a protein found in milk that acts kind of like a detergent
against capsaicin that helps not only soothe, but wash away the compound
from the nerve receptors. The colder the milk the better. For burning in
the mouth simply drink and rinse with milk. For burns on hands from
handling/chopping peppers soak hands and fingers in cold milk.
· Crackers—nibble on a plain saltine type cracker…the starches and
sugars formed in the mouth from the cracker will help neutralize the heat
from the capsaicin.
· Vegetable oil—rub hands with oil and leave on for up to an hour. (Not
intended to use for a burning mouth.) Wash with soap and water.
· Rubbing alcohol—wash hands in the alcohol. (Again, not intended for a
· Vaseline—rub all over hands. (External use only.)
There are many other suggestions for burning hands, such as baking soda
paste, automotive degreaser, lemon juice, and the list goes on. I have yet
to try all of them because once burned I learned! I do know this, each
person reacts differently to the capsaicin and what works for some may not
work for others, for a variety of reasons. None of these are going to hurt
you any further, so hopefully one of them will work.
Nausea and Upset Stomach
Nausea and an upset stomach may be caused by different things, but these
soothing remedies work for most all:
· Clear liquids—diluted apple juice,
· B.R.A.T diet—bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. All of these are
easy on the stomach while replacing some lost key nutrients quickly—like
potassium for the banana.
· Ginger—ginger is known as one of the best soother of an upset
stomach. Try ginger teas, ginger snaps, or even some ginger mixed in
some warm milk.
· Brewed mint leaves—steep about 1 TBS dry mint leaves in 2 cups of
water. Let sit 30 minutes, strain and sip slowly.
· Brewed aniseed in tea—use about ¼ tsp of aniseed in a ½ boiling water.
Let sit 5 minutes then use this mixture to make your favorite cup of herbal
Earaches can be quite bothersome, but it is important to understand that
you will need to seek professional help if an extremely painful earache
persists. An earache should be taken seriously and never neglected as it
can pose critical problems. These remedies are great for those who are
just starting out with an earache to deal with the pain and severity early.
· Warm compress—warmth always relieves the ache and can be achieved
with hot towels, hot water bottles wrapped in a towel, a warmed rice bag,
· Garlic and olive oil—press juices from garlic into some warm (not hot)
olive oil and apply a few drops into the ear.
Sometimes we get water in the ear from swimming, bathing, or other water
sports and it does not drain out, causing serious earaches. The following
treatment works really well for those in and out of water frequently:
· A mixture of equal parts vinegar and isopropyl alcohol placed in the ear
a few drops at a time. Allow to sit in the ear for about 5 minutes. Then
allow to drain out. Avoid the problem of swimmers ear altogether by
keeping the ear dry after swimming or bathing by using a cotton swab to
gently help release the water.
The obvious remedy to soothe diaper rash is to keep the area as dry as
possible by always checking baby’s diaper. However when that hasn’t been
possible, and diaper rash occurs, try any combination of these to soothe
your baby’s bottom:
· Oatmeal bath—place a cup of oatmeal in a blender and pulse it to make
a finer texture. Place about ¼ to ½ cup in your baby’s bath water.
· Cornstarch in Vaseline—simply make a paste of about equal portions of
Vaseline and cornstarch and place on the tender areas.
· Baking soda bath—place about 1-2 TBS baking soda in the bath water,
stir and dissolve before bathing the baby.
· Eliminate commercial wipes—many of the chemicals found in baby
wipes can be too harsh for many babies. Go back to warm water and a very
· Bare bum—let the baby go without a diaper for a few minutes 2 o3
times a day—right after cleaning up after a change is a good time to let
them enjoy the fresh air for 10 or 15 minutes. Yes, you may have an
accident, so place the baby where is isn’t a big deal if there is an accident.
Tired Puffy Eyes
Puffiness under the eyes is sometimes caused by lack of sleep, but not
always. Dehydration, allergies, sinus problems, medications, hormone
fluctuations, and heredity can all play a part in puffiness under the eyes.
Here are some home remedies that may help:
· Chilled cucumber slices—the high water content and coolness of a
cucumber can help bring down the puffiness and refresh tired eyes. Leave
on 10-15 minutes.
· Strawberry slices—strawberries naturally contain alpha-hydroxy which
is good for smoothing out skin. Plus the coolness and the water content
help soothe the eyes. Take a few slices of fresh strawberry and place under
and around the eyes. Leave on for 10-15 minutes while you relax.
· Olive oil and tea bags—place two tea bags in the freezer to chill. Then
gently apply olive oil to clean eye lids. Then lay back and place the chilled
tea bags over your eyes for 10-15 minutes.