Have you seen that movie, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”? The Greek father in it has an amusing compulsion to treat every human malady with a spray of Windex! That’s right, the window cleaner. I’d never heard of using Windex for anything other than cleaning windows, but if it does work, I guess it would be due to the alcohol in it that did the trick as alcohol is an antiseptic.
Now, don’t go spraying Windex on yourself, especially not internally! I wouldn’t want you to wind up in the emergency room having to tell the staff there that you tried to Windex your sore throat. They may keep you longer than you had hoped in a more secure wing of the hospital.
As goofy as that whole scenario sounds, as long as there have been cuts, bruises, insect bites, fungal nails, bad breath, and a whole host of other minor human ailments, there have been some off-the wall remedies for them.
So, in a lighter departure from my usual advice to you, I’d like to share some of these uncommon home remedies with you here that you may find work for you.
Toenail fungus: How about Vick’s Vaporub? Yep, reported to remove toenail fungus is old-time Vick’s Vaporub. After you clean your feet and affected toenail/s completely, rub some Vicks Vaporub into the nail/s. Do this everyday for 2 weeks and watch the improvement. The menthol in Vicks suffocates the fungus and kills it off.
Warts: Have warts? Got duct tape? Yes, duct tape. It really works to remove them. In a study published in the Archives of Adolescent Medicine, duct-taping warts removed 85% of them, compared to 60% with freezing method. Cut a small piece of tape, adhere it over the wart, remove in 3 days and use emery board or pumice to remove the dead skin. Repeat if necessary.
Toothache: Until you can get to your dentist, soak a cotton ball, or Q-tip, in vanilla extract and apply directly to the tooth to immediately relieve pain. Rinsing your mouth with some hydrogen peroxide in water (don’t swallow!) will kill bacteria in infected tooth tissues.
Hiccups: Swallow 1 tsp of plain table sugar to relieve hiccups quickly.
Foot odor: Bathe your feet in Vodka or Gin. The alcohol kills bacteria as well as dehydrates skin moisture that allows fungus to grow.
Joint pain: Gin soaked raisins is said to ease arthritic joint pain. 2 cups golden raisins, 1-cup gin made from juniper berries. Place raisins in a glass bowl; pour gin over them completely covering them. Let soak for 10 days at room temperature. Eat 10 gin-soaked raisins per day.
Tension headache: When you’re stressed out, you tend to clench your jaw and create a lot of tension in your temporal muscles. This can create a tension headache. Place a pencil between your back teeth but do not bite down. This forces the jaw muscle to relax and the headache to abate.
Aching feet/heel spurs: Get a 16 oz soda bottle and fill it with water and freeze it. When frozen, place the frozen bottle beneath your sore feet, one at a time, and roll the bottle back and forth beneath it. This helps cool the inflammation of the heel spur and relaxes the foot muscles.
Rough, dry foot calluses: Get some coarse kosher salt, or a little sea salt; add a tablespoon or 2 of olive oil to it. Rub the mixture into the dry callused area of your foot. The salt abrades the dry skin and removes it and the olive oil adds moisture to the area making it smooth and soft.
Under eye bags: We’ve all had mornings when we didn’t sleep enough the night before and woke up with puffy bags under our eyes. A home remedy that models and actors use to get rid of them is to apply Preparation H hemorrhoid cream to the under eye area. The same ingredients that decrease hemorrhoid swelling also decrease the under eye bags.
Urinary tract infections: If you’re prone to frequent urinary tract infections, try drinking 8 oz of cranberry juice with 1/4 tsp of baking soda in it. Reduces bacteria and alkalizes the urine. If infections persist, see a doctor.
Blisters: Stop pain by drying them out quickly with Listerine mouthwash. Apply to affected areas 3 times a day with a cotton ball until dried out.
Sore throat: My grandmother never let us forget this old world remedy – 1 tsp of salt in a glass of warm water. Gargle. Repeat several times a day until the sore throat is gone. The salt dries out and kills the bacteria in the back of your throat that is making it sore.
Excessive armpit sweating: Apple cider vinegar, or limejuice, applied to clean armpits before bed, and let air-dry, then wash off in the morning. Both are acidic agents and may balance the acid/alkali environment of the sweat glands.
Natural toothbrush: Forgot your toothbrush? Eat an apple, preferably a green Granny Smith type that is full of malic acid. Not only will the apple clean way debris from your teeth, the malic acid helps get rid of stains.
Mosquito bites: Summer is not far away and either are mosquito bites! If you hate them as much as I do, get yourself some bottled limejuice and apply with cotton balls to take the itch out of them. A paste of salt and water applied to the bite will do the same. Both dry out the fluid that swells around the bite that causes the itch.
Well, there you have it, some uncommon home remedies for some everyday ailments. All of these have been proven to work not only anecdotally by people who have used them but also by researchers who have studied peculiar home remedies. Give one or a few a try. However, if you see that your problem ailment is not going away, do consult your doctor.
Mark Rosenberg, M.D.
Institute For Healthy Aging