Some of those old-fashioned home remedies your grandmother swore by actually do work.
Prevention magazine scoured "The Big Doctors Book of Home Remedies: Quick Fixes, Clever Techniques and Uncommon Cures to Get You Feeling Better Fast" to find out the best ones. You won't believe what you can do with a bottle of vodka or Listerine, as well as olive oil or yogurt!
1. Problem: Stinky feet
Home remedy: Vodka
Soak a washcloth in vodka and then thoroughly wipe your feet to get rid of the stench. It's the alcohol in vodka that does the trick, functioning as an antiseptic that destroys the odor-causing fungus and bacteria. The alcohol dries out the moisture that allows those organisms to grow. Rubbing alcohol also works.
2. Problem: Headaches
Home remedy: A pencil
Have you ever noticed when you are stressed or anxious that you subconsciously clench your jaw or teeth? When you do this, it strains the muscle that connects your jaw to your temples and can trigger a tension headache. To stop doing it, put a pencil between your teeth--but don't bite. This will automatically relax your jaw muscle and that will prevent the headache.
3. Problem: Bad Breath
Home remedy: Yogurt
The live bacteria in yogurt can suppress the bacteria that causes bad breath.
4. Problem: Blisters
Home remedy: Listerine
Listerine is a powerful antiseptic that can actually heal painful blisters. Moisten a cotton ball with Listerine and dab it on the blister three times a day until the area dries out and no longer hurts.
5. Problem: Cold Sores
Home remedy: Lemon balm tea
Cold sores are caused by a type of herpes virus (but not the same kind that is sexually transmitted), and lemon balm has antiviral properties that help tame outbreaks. To make lemon balm tea, brew two to four tablespoons of the herb per cup of boiling water. Let it cool, then dot with a cotton ball on the cold sore several times a day.
6. Problem: Achy feet
Home remedy: Tennis ball
Take off your shoes. Roll each foot over a tennis ball for a minute or two to stretch and soothe your arches in a mini-massage. Golf balls and soup cans also work. If you want to cool your throbbing feet, roll them over a bottle of frozen water.
7. Problem: Eczema
Home remedy: Olive oil
Soothe itchy eczema flare-ups with olive oil by applying it directly on the affected area. Use one teaspoon per square inch of skin. That will create a seal to prevent the skin from drying out. If you have a serious case of eczema, slather your skin in olive oil and then cover it with plastic wrap overnight to lock in the moisture. Why does this work? Olive oil, which is packed with antioxidants and is the basis for many moisturizers, helps reduce the inflammation associated with eczema. Pure olive oil doesn't contain the chemical irritants found in many store-bought lotions and creams. Added bonus: Olive oil also helps to prevent and repair damage that can lead to wrinkles or brown spots.
8. Problem: Hiccups
Home remedy: Sugar
A teaspoon of sugar may help the medicine go down, as Mary Poppins said, but it also can stop hiccups in minutes. Swallow it dry. It works by modifying the nerve muscles that would otherwise tell the muscles in the diaphragm to contract spasmodically and contribute to hiccups.
9. Problem: High Blood Pressure
Home remedy: iPod
Listening to calming music for 30 minutes a day can help lower your blood pressure. In one study by researchers from the University of Florence in Italy, listening to music for a half-hour a day for just one week lowered systolic readings (the top number) an average of 3.2 points. After a month of listening, blood pressure was down an average of 4.4 points.
10. Problem: Pizza Burn
Home remedy: Ice Cream
Everyone has done it! Eat pizza that is too hot, and it burns the roof of your mouth. The tissue there is very thin and so it's sensitive to hot foods. Soothe your mouth with a spoonful of ice cream or frozen yogurt. A swig of a cold drink or putting an ice cube in your mouth can also work.
--From the Editors at Netscape