There are many different types of substances, plant, mineral and synthetic, that fall under the umbrella of home remedies. Among these are some of the more popular ones – the top 20 home remedies. Before you try using any of them, make sure you understand the effects, any warnings regarding usage, and the specific dosage and application. Do understand the different strengths involved and the need to dilute essential oils.
NEVER use a home remedy without being sure of the correct procedure. When in doubt, talk to a doctor or trained professional. That is being said, here are the top 20 home remedies and their numerous general uses.
Table of Contents
Aloe vera is one of the most popular skincare herbs. It is one of the very best skin remedies available. The plant is rich in anti-inflammatory compounds and contains Brady kininase, a topical painkiller, magnesium lactate, which suppresses itching and other healing substances. The part of the plant used is the gel extracted from the leaf. Among the uses of aloe vera are the following:
- Minor burns, including sunburn – apply gel to soothe and heal
- Cuts and scrapes – as the gel dries on the cut, it creates a natural bandage
- Psoriasis – it softens the itchy skin scales and stops the inflammation
- Acne – acts to ease the painful sores and helps to heal
- Shingles – with an application of gel, the anti-viral effects help speed up the healing process
As wonderful as aloe vera can be, there are precautionary notes. Do be sure to use for only minor not severe burns. The gel is for external use.
Arnica contains a variety of chemical substances including helenalin and dihydrohelenalin – natural pain killers and anti-inflammatories. Typical application is through a cream ointment or tincture. This daisy-like flower has a variety of possible uses, although most centre on skincare. These include:
- Bruises – reduces pain and swelling
- Mild sprains and strains – relieves pain
- Sore and tired feet – relieves and relaxes – soak in a foot bath
Arnica is a powerful herb. You only use it EXTERNALLY. It is toxic to ingest. If you have an allergy to other members of the this plant’s family, including asters and ragweed, do not use. It may produce a severe rash. There is a further caution considering usage. Never apply arnica to broken skin. It may be absorbed internally.
If there is one substance on this list that is both commonplace and versatile, it is baking soda. The full name, and contents of pure baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. It has a pH of 9, making it mildly alkaline. This makes it excellent in treating specific digestive orders. Besides making cookies and keeping your refrigerator smell fresh, you can use baking soda for any number of home remedies including
- Heartburn – baking soda comprises the basis of many types of antacids and is one of the home remedies for heartburn
- Toothpaste – baking soda can by itself be used to clean teeth. It is the ingredient of several brands of toothpaste
- Feet – a footbath with dissolved baking soda puts your feet at ease and results in them smelling fresher
- Armpits – baking soda is a natural deodorant
- Stings and other itchy skin problems – baking soda as a paste or a wash helps to relieve the itch of insect bites as well as that of poison ivy and even chickenpox
- Sunburn – a warm bath containing baking soda eases sunburn
- Bladder infection – drinking baking soda and water reduces the problem
- Sore throat – water and baking soda is one of the excellent home remedies for sore throat.
- Bad breath – gargling a combination of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda helps clear up bad breath.
Baking soda is a wonderful product. It is indeed versatile. Yet, not everyone can use it. If you have high blood pressure problems, you should avoid using baking soda. Too much sodium will increase your blood pressure.
Chamomile is another popular herbal cure. It contains apigenin, a calmative and bisabolol, an antispasmodic. It is anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. It also has coumarin, an anticoagulant. You can take chamomile internally or apply externally. You can drink a cup of tea or use the oil, a cream, a compress, or a tea wash. In general, the uses are the following:
- Soporific and calmative – it calms the central nervous system allowing you to relax, escape stress and fall asleep
- Eases cramps and other digestive problems – it is antispasmodic. Drink it and feel relieved
- Rashes and burns – a cream or compress tea will help heal burns, sunburns or even rashes
- Skin irritation – a chamomile-based cream is a common soother for such things as eczema, allergies and post-radiation skin damage
- Infections – a chamomile wash can kill off several types of bacteria and fungi
There are a few precautions concerning the use of chamomile. If you have allergies associated with other composite plants such as ragweed, do not try chamomile. It is in the same family. If you have a blood clotting disorder, you need to stay clear of this plant. The same applies if you are taking any anticoagulant medication.
Echinacea has risen from relative obscurity to popularity in the past 15 years. This purple coneflower offers up its roots, leaves and rhizomes for usage in a variety of ways.
- Colds and flus – it boosts the immune system before a cold and hence is one of the best home remedies for cold.
- Viral, bacterial and fungal infections – helps defeat minor
- Lymphatic system and liver
- Canker Sores
- Sore throat
There are several precautions to consider when considering this plant. It is beneficial only in minor immune system problems. For chronic immune or autoimmune diseases consult a doctor. Be very careful with your drug combinations as well as watch for allergies. Do not use for more than eight weeks.
Epsom salt is a mineral substance – magnesium sulfate. This is the active ingredient in many forms of laxatives. Epsom salt is, however, mainly for external usage. Internal usage is combined with commercial products that use Epsom salts in conjunction with other substances. In general, the primary uses of Epsom salt are:
- Splinters and stingers – an Epsom soak will draw them out. It will work quickly as a paste
- Pores – using Epsom salt in warm water removes blackheads and dead skin, producing a fresh look
- Muscles – in a hot bath, it eases sore and tired muscles
- Sprains and bruises – a warm bath reduces the swelling
- Haemorrhoids – helps to shrink the swollen tissue
- Softens skin – as a massage tool, it exfoliates
Epsom salt is a safe product except when applied externally. Although it may be ingested to soften stools, the result can be excessive diarrhoea and abdominal cramps. It is best to avoid this usage altogether.
There have been many studies done on the uses and possible uses of garlic as a medicine. Garlic does contain some useful substances including alliin that turns into allicin when the bulb is crushed and/or chewed. It is probably an antibiotic and has possible heart benefits. There are some roles garlic plays in medicine for which there is currently no known reason.
- Inhibits liver production of cholesterol
- Improves blood flow through the body
- Wounds – apply crushed to injuries also useful against some fungi and bacteria including tuberculosis and E. coli.
- One of the best home remedies for cold and flu
Garlic is more effective fresh and raw than cooked. Barring the consequences of having garlic breath, it seems to lack cautionary measures.
Ginger contains both gingerol and shagaol. It is a calmative and available in root, powder and even capsule form. There is ginger tea, ginger root, crystallized and candied ginger and even real ginger ale. You can take ginger internally or apply it externally. It is best used for
- Nausea – prevents it, ingest to help prevent it before you feel sick
- Stomach – soothes an upset stomach
- Migraines – at the first indication of a migraine or a severe headache, swallow some ginger to decrease the symptoms
- Blood clots – thins out blood without stomach upset
- Ease arthritic pain
- Stuffiness – the smell reduce
- Cholesterol – lowers
- Blood pressure – can possible reduce
- Menstrual cramps – antispasmodic properties relieves cramps
Do not use ginger if you are pregnant. If you have gallstones, do not use ginger root.
Ginseng is a common root in Asia and North America famous in the Far East and Europe but gaining ground in North America. Panax ginseng is grown in Korea and North America. True ginseng contains ginsenosides and is an adaptogen. Uses include:
- Stress reduction
- Reduces cholesterol
- Increases energy – stimulates the nervous system- sometimes an ingredient in energy drinks
- Aphrodisiac, sexual enhancer – Use to bolster male virility
Ginseng tends to be incompatible with vitamin C. Vitamin C interferes with the absorption of ginseng. If you have high blood pressure, a heart condition or an anxiety disorder, do not take ginseng. If you are post-menopausal, it could cause bleeding. Do not take it with other stimulant herbs. It would be best if you also decreased or even restrict your intake of caffeine.
Goldenseal contains hydrastine, an infection fighter and berberine. The latter ingredient prevents diarrhoea-causing germs from adhering to the gastrointestinal system. It can be used both internally and externally. The following are the most common usages:
- Flu and cold – best home remedies for cold and flu
- Urinary tract infections – antibiotic characteristics
- Infectious diarrhea – berberine
- Destroys warts – use a diluted tincture
- Eyes soother – Use as an eyewash to reduce and remove strain
Goldenseal is a member of the daisy family together with ragweed and chamomile. If you are allergic to either of these plants, avoid golden seal. You should also not use golden seal if you are hypoglycemic, have high blood pressure, or suffer from a weak digestive system or autoimmune disease. If you are on the golden seal, do not remain so for longer than one week. To continue usage after this period is to cause a reduction in the absorption of vitamin B12 by your body.
Honey is a substance containing hydrogen peroxide, propolis – both bacteria slayers and high levels of fructose. It is considered by many to be a sweet treat. It and its by-products are in candles, desserts and various forms of medicine. The reasons for using honey extend beyond its availability and cost. They are:
- Incisions – applied to a cut or wound, it will promote rapid healing
- Burns – used on burns to heal quicker with less pain and little scarring
- Ulcers – honey reduces and speeds the healing of ulcers
- Gastrointestinal problems – promotes regularity
Honey has no known side effects among adults. It does have an age restriction. You should not give anyone under the age of 1 honey because of the content and type of spores.
The sweet smell of lavender can quickly fill a room. Its ability to cure lies in its tannin. Lavender flowers find their way into cookies and other baked goods. There are the dried flowers used in fragrant potpourris and the essence of the plant in lavender oil. You can massage lavender into the skin or burn its oil. Use the recommended means and dosage in a variety of ways:
- Sedative – lavender helps you calm down. It soothes the nerves. Use the oil in a diffuser, the aroma of the actual plant, or drop a few petals or oil into bathwater. You can soothe using lavender massage oils as well.
- Headache – find relief by dabbing the oil onto each temple
- Stomach ache – lavender tea acts as a digestive aid, easing the stomach.
- Infection – kills bacteria and prevents infection on minor cuts and scrapes.
- Soothes the ears – fights infection and itch from swimmer’s ear.
- Pain reliever – rub on and it will reduce pains from minor wounds while its anti-inflammatory actions help decrease itching.
- Touted as a possible cancer cure
The much maligned lemon – it is the butt of many a sweet and sour joke. This vitamin C-packed fruit contains the antioxidant powers of vitamin C together with citric acid, bioflavonoid – specifically rutin, and limonene for anti-tumour activity. Used internally or externally, lemons act to help in a variety of ways including:
- Cold – vitamin content helps fight off cold and cough and hence one of the excellent home remedies for cold and cough.
- Heart diseases – protects against
- Kidney stones – reduces calcium secretion in the kidney therefore preventing the formation of stones
- Veins – strengthens the walls of both capillaries and veins
- Tumors – helps to reduce breast tumors – a distinct possibility
- Beauty uses include bleaching out of freckles and the fading of age spots, also heals acne
- Skin cancer – lemon tea helps fight off
Mustard contains expectorants and irritants such as myrosin and sinigrin as well as being a rubefacient. Used externally, mustard seeds in packs and baths can take care of several different health issues. These include:
- Colds and stuffy noses – use the smell of mustard to clear sinuses and unclog noses, or apply a mustard pack to the chest
- Raynard’s disease – this circulatory problem can be treated with a mustard compress
- Stimulates the appetite
- Athlete’s foot – a foot bath will help relieve the itching
- Back and joint pain – it is an ingredient in many types of arthritis liniments or unguent, use a mustard plaster
- Headache, fever or congestion – place a cloth in tea and place on the affected part
- Induce vomiting
Mustard does come with some cautions. If you use it for a prolonged period, it can burn your skin. If you take it internally, beware of a laxative effect or possible vomiting.
Peppermint is a favourite flavour for gum and other types of candies. Real peppermint contains menthol and Methone. It is antispasmodic and antibiotic. It is frequently used in oral hygiene and
digestive matters. It acts to help in a variety of ways:
- Digestive problems – helps aid stomach settlement and reduce flatulence
- Gall stones – helps them dissolve
- Nausea – subsides mild cases of
- Ulcers – relieves pain and helps them heal
- Congestion – drink tea or smell the plant to help reduce and relieve
- Headaches – dab oil or tea on forehead and temples
- Mouthwash – gargle with tea
Avoid peppermint if you have heartburn frequently. Always dilute peppermint oil before using.
Petroleum jelly – often marketed as vasoline, is a petroleum by-product home remedies. It is for external use. Its primary focus is on repairing and treating skin problems including:
- Skin protection – traps moisture next to the skin
- Prevent windburn – acts as a protective barrier
- Psoriasis – lubricates the skin
- Eliminate head lice – applied thickly to the scalp than remove with baby oil taking all the head lice with it
- Smoothes and soothes sore lips
- Scrapes and cuts – eases soreness and helps healing
- Burns – moisturizes them but use only after the burn has cooled down
St. John’s Wort
St. John’s wort (Hypericum) contains many different polyphenols, flavenoids, phsnolic acids and naphtodianthrones. Active ingredients include hypericin, pseudohypericin and hyperforin. St. John’s wort is used in several different ways and treatments. Many peoples use it as common home remedies. Below is a partial list:
- Depression – St. John’s wort is used to treat mild depression in children and adolescents and in instances where cost is a significant factor
- Carpel tunnel syndrome
- Seasonal affective disorders
It may take several weeks to take effect. A major problem with the plant is it makes the skin light sensitive. If you take St. John’s wort, do not ingest alcohol or any over-the-counter cold medications. You must also be careful what prescription medicines you are taking. It includes any drugs addressing high blood pressure and anti-depressants. You must also not assume it if you are pregnant.
Vinegar is acetic acid. It comes in different types from different sources. The most common is wine vinegar, cider vinegar and white (grain) vinegar. Vinegar is a common home remedies for:
- Athlete’s foot and swimmer’s ear – fights fungi and bacteria
- Settles stomach – if the stomach lacks acid but not if there is too much stomach acid
- Sunburn – cools skin and reduces itch
- Freshens clothing – sprinkle on or wash in
- Stings and bites – relieves itches and removes pain
- Headache – an old folk remedy is to soak the brown paper in vinegar and place it on your head
- Throat soother – gargle or as part of a cough syrup
Witch hazel has a long history of curing in North America. It also has powers as a water finder – dowsing. It is used externally in several reasons including:
- Haemorrhoid relief – apply to the affected area
- Poison ivy – splash skin with, eases the itch temporarily
- Shaving cuts – disinfects and helps to clot the bleeding
- Freshen skin
- Insect bites – apply directly
No particular problems are using commercial witch hazel externally.
Yogurt contains live bacteria, or at least the active yogurt does. it is also one of the best home remedies. It includes digestible calcium as well as lactose in its make-up. Yogurt has long been considered a healthy food. It also is effective against many health issues. These include:
- Diarrhea – antibiotic-related types only. Increases the bacteria in the gut to restore balance
- Infant diarrhea – reduces
- Yeast infections – eat to get rid of
- Bladder – protects
- Immunity system – strengthens
- Combat cancer
- Bones – builds strong bones without worrying about lactose intolerance
Yogurt has no significant adverse effects. However, if you wish to ensure the best impact possible look for live or active cultures in the yogurt.
There are many different types of home remedies. The top 20 illustrate some of the most common home remedies. They encompass plants, minerals, and human-constructed substances. While they have significant effects on improving or protecting your health, you need to be aware of possible side effects and cautionary issues. Always be mindful of the specific dosage. Make sure you know whether the best and safest results are achieved through internal or external use. Know the possible side effects and always talk to your doctor or other health professional. He or she can help you decide which herb or other substance will be the most effective in your particular instance.
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