but true: you’ve probably got an amazing assortment of stuff in the kitchen,
the tool box or the medicine chest that can do double duty as remedies for all
kinds of common ailments. What’s more, there’s actual scientific research to
back up some of these do-it-yourself treatments. Here’s a rundown on the most
Didgeridoo for Sleep Apnea
Okay, so this probably isn’t something
you’ve got lying around the house. You may not have heard of it either,
but if you’ve got sleep apnea, this strange-sounding Australian wind
instrument may be just what you need.
According to a study from
Switzerland, four months of learning to play the didgeridoo worked well
for patients with moderate sleep apnea, made for a better night’s sleep, and reduced daytime sleepiness. Even more, their bed partners slept better, too.
Playing the instrument addressed sleep apnea by strengthening the upper airway,
which prevents it from narrowing as you inhale.
This won’t work for migraines, but if
you get common tension
headaches, the pencil trick may help prevent them. We tend to
automatically clench our jaws and teeth when we’re anxious or stressed, and this is a
subconscious reaction that can lead to a tension headache.
When you feel
your jaw clench, put a pencil between your teeth (don’t bite down) and hold
it there. This simple strategy will cause your jaw to relax, easing tension,
forestalling the headache, and easing the pain.
You know it as a breath
freshener and an antiseptic, but Listerine can also dry out blisters. Dab
some on a cotton ball and apply it to your blister three times a day until
it dries and the pain vanishes. Integrative medicine
pioneer Andrew Weil, M.D., recommends applying petroleum
jelly on a blister for temporary pain relief.
Lemon Balm Tea for Cold Sores
is a member of the mint family and packs an anti-viral punch that can heal
cold sores caused by the herpes simplex virus. A big study in Germany found that once treated
with lemon balm, not a single cold sore recurrence occurred.
Duct Tape for Warts
This is not an old wives tale. Using duct tape to
remove warts has been shown to work better than freezing them off. In
one study, duct tape eliminated 85 percent of patients' warts in two months
(freezing eradicated only 60 percent).
Here’s how it works: make sure the wart and
surrounding skin are clean, then cut a piece of duct tape a bit larger than the
wart and press into place. Remove the tape every three days, rub the wart
with an emery board or pumice stone, and repeat until the wart is gone.
Ginger for Motion Sickness
Crystalized ginger, ginger tea, ginger syrup, or capsules of ginger powder can
combat motion sickness and nausea in general (ginger ale or even ginger snaps
may help, too). One study found that ginger worked better for motion sickness
than anti-nausea medication, and Danish researchers report that ginger
helped quell seasickness in susceptible naval cadets better than a placebo.
for Smoother Skin
The active ingredient is papain, an enzyme that
dissolves dead surface cells that give skin a dull, rough look. Try this fruity
facial to soften and smooth your skin: wash and peel a ripe papaya and swirl about two
tablespoons in a food processor. Add a tablespoon of dried oatmeal and apply to
your freshly washed face for 10 minutes. Remove with warm water or a wet
You can do a lot more with a banana than slice it on your cereal. Among the fruit's other uses: slap a banana peel (the inside part) on an itch caused by a bug
bite or poison ivy; this will dial down the inflammation and relieve the itch. You can also use mashed banana as a facial--it’s great for moisturizing dry skin. Banana
peel also has anti-acne properties: just rub the inside part of the peel over your clean face
to get the anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects.
for Minor Burns
Slather mustard on seared skin. After an initial sting, the
mustard will relieve the pain and prevent scarring and blistering. No science
here, but lots of enthusiastic testimonials.