We are excited to share one of our fave stories from Prevention here on FitSugar!Ease pesky health issues with vodka, duct tape — more
From the Editors of Prevention
Of course there are some health staples you should never be without — bandages or OTC pain relievers come to mind. But you can treat or cure a surprising number of minor ailments with these unexpected household objects and foods.
Home cure: Vodka
Use it for: Foot odor
If your feet smell less than swell, wipe them down with a vodka-soaked washcloth to get rid of the stench. It's the same principle as rubbing alcohol (which works equally well if you'd rather drink your Grey Goose). Vodka contains alcohol, which is antiseptic and drying, so it destroys odor-causing fungus and bacteria and dries out the moisture that lets these organisms grow.
Home cure: Licorice
Use it for: Calluses and corns
"Licorice contains estrogen-like substances that soften the hard skin of calluses and corns," says Georgianna Donadio, PhD, director of the National Institute of Whole Health. Make this homemade licorice paste: grind up a few licorice sticks, mix them with 1/2 teaspoon of petroleum jelly, and rub the mixture into the rough areas of your feet.
Home cure: Baking soda
Use it for: Urinary tract infections
At the first sign of symptoms, drink a solution made with 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda mixed in eight ounces of water. Continue this once a day until you can get a culture done at a doctor's office and start antibiotics. Baking soda makes the bladder environment more alkaline, which reduces bacteria's ability to multiply, says Larrian Gillespie, MD, a retired assistant clinical professor of urology and urogynecology in Los Angeles.
Keep reading for more home cures.
Home cure: Duct tape
Use it for: Warts
Yes, this really does work! Covering warts with duct tape eliminates them better than freezing them off, according to a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. In the study, the duct tape eliminated 85 percent of the warts after two months, compared with 60 percent with the freezing method.
To use duct tape safely, clean the area. Then cut a piece of duct tape to a size slightly bigger than the wart. Apply the duct tape to the site and rub into place. Every three days, remove the tape and file down dead skin with a pumice stone or nail file. Repeat until the wart disappears. Chemicals in the tape suffocate and kill the wart.
Home cure: Papaya
Use it for: Smoother skin
This tropical fruit contains papain, a protein-eating enzyme that dissolves the dead cells on your skin's surface that can make it look dull and rough and leave it prone to breakouts. When used twice a month, this peel leaves skin softer, smoother, and more radiant:
Grind two tablespoons of washed and peeled papaya in a food processor and add one tablespoon of dry oatmeal. Pat this mixture onto clean skin and let it set for 10 minutes before wiping off with a wet washcloth. The enzymes in papaya are gentle, which is why this is an ideal treatment for those with sensitive skin. However, to be safe, do a test spot behind your ear the first time you try it.
Home cure: Apple
Use it for: Whiter teeth
Crunchy fruits and vegetables act as little toothbrushes when you chew them; they have a natural cleansing action that works on tooth enamel to remove stains. In particular, "apples have a gentle malic acid that also helps dissolve stains," says Jennifer Jabow, DDS, of Park 56 Dental in New York City.
Home cure: Sugar
Use it for: Hiccups
A teaspoon of sugar swallowed dry can stop hiccups in minutes, says Andre Dubois, MD, PhD, a professor of medicine in the emerging infectious diseases graduate program at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD. The sugar is believed to modify the nerve muscles that would otherwise tell the muscles in the diaphragm to contract spasmodically and contribute to hiccups.