A nurse explores some hilarious home remedies

Image: Shane White | © Veer Incorporated

Warm weather. Most of us love it. Some of us are plagued with allergies, bug bites, bee stings, sunburns, and all the other joys that being outside in lovely weather bring with it.

Just the other day at work I was involved in a conversation with fellow coworkers about holistic remedies for everyday warm weather woes. Sure, I took note of some of them and will be sure to invest future efforts towards making Mollie’s deceased grandmother’s sworn natural deodorant, but I also snickered at most recommendations. I tend to favor non-medicinal treatment of ailments in some cases, and I actually find alternative medicine quite intriguing.

Thus, spawned by the discussion held at work combined with my already investigative nature, I did a little research on what people have actually claimed as home remedies for common ailments. Perhaps you will find some of these as useful, or perhaps you will read this post and get a good abdominal workout from laughter. Either way, enjoy. (Disclaimer: I am not a holistic medicine doctor, nor do I have MD behind my name at all. I have read reports of people trying these techniques, have not tried them myself, and probably do not recommend most of them due to safety/stupidity reasons. So please, read them, laugh at them, and take them with a grain of salt.)

Got a nagging ailment? Who needs a doctor when you can treat it from home…

Headache 1)  Cut a potato (uncooked) in half and rub it on your forehead.  2) Pound your head with a hammer.  3) Have someone come up behind you, grab your hair in a fist, and pull up as hard as they can- used most effectively for migraines.

Bleeding cuts Gather up a collection of spider webs and vigorously pack the wound with them. It will surely stop the bleeding. Another use of spider webs? If you find yourself coming home from Africa with malaria, chew them up and swallow them.

Joint/knee pain We have all heard of magnet therapy for joint pain which has some physiologic truth behind it because the magnets supposedly attract the iron-ridden red blood cells to the area for increased healing. However, people have gone to the extreme of drinking metal compounds (silver) for severe pain. NOT RECOMMENDED. This can lead to seizures, kidney damage and many other ailments worse than the original. Another suggestion to treat knee pain? Sleep with a bar of soap under your knee- one guy even said it had to be a specific brand or he wouldn’t bother.

Toenail fungus Soak your toes in Listerine. The next time you go to swish your mouth with Listerine, I know you’ll be encouraged…

Too much ear wax The latest trend to extract ear wax has been those ear candles where you light one end of a hollow stick and seal the unlit end to your ear, in hopes of sucking out the ear wax. This is actually dangerous to your ear because the creation of the vacuum in the tube can rupture your eardrum. Alternative? Put olive oil in your ear instead. It breaks up the wax and allows it to run out. Yum.

Bad case of the runs Drink a packet of powder jello and chase it down with a cup of hot water. This concoction will “stick” to your intestines and slow the process down.

Bug bites Sit in a tub full of vinegar. You will probably ward off bugs and people for a while after that endeavor.

Jellyfish sting I have heard many reports claiming that if you get stung, get out of the water immediately, track down a person (preferably somebody that you know, so it doesn’t get awkward) and have them pee on you where the sting was. Have yet to try this one out, hope to never have to.

Halitosis Case of the bad breath? Try chewing up coffee beans. I’m guessing this only works if the people who are smelling your breath enjoy the smell of coffee.

Severe sunburn Mix together a combination of yellow mustard and, wait for it, vagisil. Could possibly be the most hilarious remedy that I found. Next sunburn, you know what I’m doing…

Warts Cover them with duct tape. Change out the duct tape every couple of days. I’ve actually heard of this working because you are depriving the wart of oxygen, thereby killing the virus.

Hiccups We have all heard our grandmothers telling us to eat a spoonful of sugar to get rid of the hiccups. But there is some truth behind such a tale. To rid yourself of hiccups, you have to distract the vagus nerve. Downing a spoonful of sugar overloads the nerve endings in the hopes of distracting and ending that reflex.

Nausea/motion sickness Suck a lemon. Although you may make a terrible face, lemon juice actually helps to evaporate excessive saliva that is associated with feeling nauseous, and may help to settle your stomach.

Stuttering child (prepare yourself, this is bad)  A technique used in ancient Chinese practice to stop a child from stuttering was to smack him/her in the face multiple times on a cloudy day.

Body odor Try Milk of Magnesia as a natural body deodorant.

Yeast infection Yes, we have heard that we should increase our oral intake of plain yogurt to add some healthy normal flora to our bodies. But I read reports claiming that just as effective as Monistat is actually inserting a tablespoon of plain yogurt, um, down there. I will never look at yogurt the same.

Any other home remedies to share? Share the wealth.

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Nicole Lehr

Nicole Lehr is a pediatric nurse. She can be described in three adjectives: content, thankful and fortunate. All credit for the aforementioned description can be given to the love she has for her profession as an RN. She graduated from University of Florida with her Bachelor’s in Nursing and moved to Atlanta to work at the Cardiac Stepdown Unit at Children’s — her dream job.

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8 Responses to A nurse explores some hilarious home remedies

  1. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    OK. OK. I’m going to implement the spider web suggestion. LOL

  2. My friends and I went on a beach trip in the Philippines. One of my guy buddies stepped on a sea urchin and the native advised us to pee on his foot where it’s needles stuck in. My girl buddy had to go to the bathroom coincidently and peed on him. He was scared so she let her!

  3. Nicole Lehr Scrubs Blogger

    @Sean- Please do! And when you are finished please let me know how it worked :)
    @Kristine- Did it ease the pain?? I’m so very curious…
    Thank you both for your comments.

  4. Ro Abreu

    I worked Home Health for a while, I can tell you that there are bazillion home remedies that have varying degrees of success. Had one lady who used Vicks salve for foot maintenance after she had run out of Vaseline once and then realized she had managed to clear up nail fungus with it.

    I did a science project in high school on apple cider vinegar and honey, and their effects on bacteria. The vinegar is bactericidal, honey bacteristatic. You can extrapolate from there. Now they say pickle juice is good for muscle cramps. So maybe we should put vinegar in one of the food groups?

  5. Andrea Roberts

    When I was doing my Med-surg clinical at a small town hospital in 1996 a young girl was brought in by her grandmother with a fairly deep laceration on foot. The ER staff went to clean it out and there was a strange substance in the wound. They asked Grandma…it turns out that spider webs stop bleeding. They are apparently loaded with either adrenaline or something similar.

  6. BEth

    No fail for the hiccups, is a teaspoon of peanut butter. THere are actual research studies on the duct tape, and you are not supposed to remove it until it falls off, and simply reapply when it comes off. It may take a couple of months, but more effective than traditional medicine for getting rid of unwanted warts.
    For acne, Preparation H, makes sense, takes the inflammation out, also works for bags under eyes.

  7. sublimeaurora RN

    I actually got stung by a jellyfish when I was on my honeymoon towards the end of March. I was snorkeling in the water and didn’t see it sneak up on me. I got stung in my left thigh, just above my knee. BTW, it kind of felt like getting a papercut on your hand and then finding out by foaming in & out of a patient’s room! It wasn’t terrible, but it was annoying! Anyway, I initially thought about having my husband urinate on me, but that grossed me out too much. I went to the resort’s nurse’s station and she just dabbed my sting with vinegar and then put a little bit of hydrocortisone on it. The vinegar actually felt kinda nice!

  8. fyrdawg589 RN

    I got tangled up with a box jellyfish in the keys when I was a kid. We used the remedy recommended by the US Coast Guard. Cover the stung area with Barbasol shaving cream from the aerosol can and shave the area with a safety razor. This removes any un-activated stinging cells without triggering them. Next, rinse the affected area with fresh water. Lastly, cover liberally with Adolf’s meat tenderizer. The enzymes in the tenderizer denature the proteins in the venom. Vinegar will have a similar effect on the proteins due to the acidity. Also if you are wading in an area where jellyfish are active, you can protect yourself with spandex leggings or nylon hose. The stinging barbs aren’t long enough to reach the skin through those.