If you have been following this website, you will know that we tend to do two kinds of posts: The first kind is where we do a very detailed write-up of a herb or herbal remedy, together with full references to science, history and basically as much information about the herbs as we can get.
The second kind are what we call “discovery posts” (such as this one) where we simply share one of our favorite discoveries from the world of herbalism or natural health. Today’s sensational discovery was a post about some of the weirdest home remedies that many people swear are effective! Some of these are now quite well established – for example the use of duct tape for warts.
The tape, having a plastic back, deprives the wart of oxygen that it needs to “breathe” (I know, creepy). The tricky part is that the duct tape needs to stay on there for a couple of weeks. So you might get a few weird questions but I still think it’s worth it.
One thing that I want to say is that it’s amazing what people will try when they are attempting a “home fix” for a health condition. But please remember, get symptoms diagnosed by a medical professional.
Ok I’m not going to ruin the surprise any more! You are going to laugh in astonishment and delight at some of these strange home remedies. Yes one of them is vodka. And you will never guess its use (probably the best use for it actually). If you give any of these a try, or if you have any other super-weird home remedies that you swear by, please drop by our Facebook page and tell the folks! Let us know which ones are your favorites!
1. Duct Tape aka. Duck Tape* for Warts: Have you heard the saying that duck tape is like “The Force”? Because it has a light side, a dark side and holds the universe together…? Well it turns out that it does even more than the above: A large number of people have testified to the fact that it cures warts! The theory is that the tape, having a plastic back, deprives the wart of oxygen that it needs to “breathe” (I know, creepy)… and then it eventually just falls off. Some are saying that it also works on verrucas.
The tricky part is that the duct tape needs to stay on there for a couple of weeks. So you might get a few weird questions but I still think it’s worth it. Simply place the duct tape over the wart, leave it there for a week or two… and kick all inquiries to the curb.
*Footnote – Should one say “Duck Tape” or “Duct Tape”? Answer: It depends.
The first general purpose tape of this kind was developed decades ago and made with a fabric backing that used a type of fabric called “cotton duck”. Hence, duck tape. However, various similar tapes were then utilized in duct work, and so it became known as duct tape – however these tapes no longer use cotton duck, but a plastic backing. But now, we have a brand of duct tape called “Duck Brand” (although this is not technically the correct tape to use on duct work, which now typically utilizes an aluminum backing). So, duck tape or duct tape….? It’s a mess! Take your pick – but be sure to specify plastic backed, cloth backed or metal backed, and use the correct tape for your application.
2. Toothpaste for Insect Bites: Try dabbing a small amount of toothpaste on an insect bite to relieve the sting and itch. It’s quite likely that the benefit in this case is brought about by the peppermint – in which case you might also want to try a small drop of peppermint essential oil and see if that works even better.
3. Onion Juice for Earaches: I used to get earaches a lot as a child and this is quite common. Onion has antiseptic qualities: First boil the onion until it is soft, then when cool squeeze out the juice. Apply 2 to 5 drops of this juice into the affected ear using a dropper.
4. Chocolate for a Cough – my favorite one, this! I don’t really need much justification to eat chocolate – but there is plenty. In addition to chocolate’s “bliss inducing chemicals” known as anandamides, it also contains 2% to 10% theobromine, a xanthine alkaloid. Theobromine has been studied and is reported to suppress nerves responsible for the cough reflex.  Note however that as with caffeine, it can induce sleeplessness. I’ve also nibbled on cacao to help with wakefulness on long distance drives with good effect.
5. Teabags for Burns: Applying a cool, wet used teabag (black or green tea) to a small skin burn is reported to bring relief. It’s also possible that drinking green tea can also reduce the possibility of skin damage, due to the tea’s antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate. For mild sunburn you can also add a couple of teabags to bath water. Note that in cases of significant or serious burns you should always seek prompt medical attention.
6. Crushed Aspirin for Acne: Salicylic acid is a compound which is a principal active ingredient in acne treatments. Aspirin contains a very similar compound – acetylsalicylic acid – and it’s reported that crushed aspirin, with a little water added to make it into a paste, can be used as a topical acne treatment to good effect. It is claimed that it will diminish red pimples within an hour. Observe guidelines on packaging for aspiring use and note that it is often stated that it should not be used by those under 19.
7. Vodka for Smelly Feet: Well, now finally something to do with that ghastly bottle of cheap vodka that’s been sitting on the countertop ever since your last party. Wait… you didn’t drink it, did you? Ok, anyway – foot odor is generally caused by bacteria, which have a party inside the “ideal environment” for them that is created by sweaty feet inside socks and trainers. Vodka kills these bacteria on contact. Of course, you might want to change your socks too – but wiping down your toes with a vodka-soaked cloth or tissue is reported to help in a big way. My first thought was “what about soap and water?” Oh well. Don’t just pour it in your shoes – or you might end up getting breathalyzed…
8. Banana Peels for Acne: This is a good one. It turns out that banana peels are packed full of essential nutrients that can benefit the skin – such as antioxidants, lutein (may protect against sun damage) and esterified fatty acids – which are thought to be able to treat eczema and psoriasis and have even been used in skin product formulations! Here’s what to do: 1) Rub the inside of a banana peel on the affected area for a few minutes until the inside of the peel turns brown. 2) Allow to dry for 20-30 mins or even overnight – as it dries, your skin will absorb the nutrients in the peel. 3) Rinse off. 4) Do it 3 times a day. 5) Come back and leave us a comment letting us know how you got on!
9. Dryer Sheet as Magic Eraser: The Magic Eraser is a fantastic cleaning product that seems to have untold cleaning power due to its microabrasive properties. It turns out that dryer sheets have a similar effect – and that if you wet them, they make excellent scrubbers! Try them on tiles and the shower and then wipe the surfaces with a clean damp cloth afterwards. Can someone verify that used dryer sheets are just as effective as new?
10. Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar for Restless Leg Syndrome: This one is simple, take a teaspoon of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar in a glass of water every day. Apple Cider Vinegar is also considered to have numerous additional benefits. The healthiest, youngest looking 55-year-old I know takes ACV in water every single day and swears by it – true story!