I have a slew of home remedies tucked in my noggin that I pull out when needed. Tummy ache? I whip up some fresh ginger tea (it's also good for colds). Honey soothes my sore throat, and when I've had a tough workout and am left with sore muscles, an apple cider vinegar wrap does the trick.
Those home remedies are safe and actually work, but some cures and treatments you may have heard about can actually be dangerous and make the issue you're trying to alleviate worse. Here are a few to stay away from.
- Ear candles: These long, hollow, tapered tubes are made of muslin and coated with wax. You stick one end in your ear and light the other end. As the candle burns, the smoke and heat create a gentle vacuum that supposedly sucks out debris and excess ear wax to relieve sinus pressure, relieve stress, and improve hearing. The amount of suction created by this tiny candle isn't enough to suck out anything, and ear wax shouldn't be removed anyway. Your body secretes wax to help clean and lubricate your ear. Ear candling doesn't work and can be very dangerous because wax from the candle can drip into your ear, or the burning candle could catch your hair on fire. If you have an earache or sinus pressure, see your doctor instead.
To see what other remedies you should avoid, read more.
- Smearing butter on a burn: While it seems like cold sensation of butter would relieve pain, butter actually holds heat in. It also can create an environment for bacteria to grow, which could lead to an infection. Aloe is a much safer and effective natural treatment for both burns and sunburns.
- Mayonnaise to get rid of lice: Applying this creamy condiment to your hair may kill live lice, but it won't get rid of the eggs that will hatch into more lice. Opt for a real lice medication treatment you'd find at the pharmacy.
- Hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol on a scrape: These can actually be toxic to the skin, and impede healing. The bubbling you see is healthy cells being killed — red blood cells are being split open and oxygen is being released. Simply use water instead.
If you've heard of or tried other home remedies that don't work, share them in the comment section below.
Source: Flickr User NickStarr