A friend of mine recently shared a post about home remedies that she loves, which got me thinking about some of my favorite remedies. I can attest to the salt water gargle she mentioned. I hate it. It tastes bad and it never really makes the soreness go away, as she states. My usual treatment plan is to gargle once in the morning and before bed — the times when my throat seems to be at peak soreness. While it may not remedy your sore throat entirely, it does help clear chest congestion, phlegm, or mucus that built up. This is particularly useful as your head cold sometimes turns to chest cold before you know it!
If you’re looking for a few more natural remedies to try out, these are a few of my frequently used.
Use: Poison Ivy
I’m very allergic to poison ivy. I’ve tried calamine lotion, in all varieties, and oatmeal baths to end the misery. Nothing ever seems to work well, except, jewelweed (aka, Touch-Me-Not).
Jewelweed, of the impatiens family, is a natural remedy for poison ivy. It prefers to grow in humid woodlands often near poison ivy. It is by far the most effective treatment I’ve ever used! Simply ask someone to venture into the wood to retrieve some, cut open the stems, and rub the juice directly on the affected area. Viola!
We would collect a bunch, juice it, and store in a mason jar in the fridge. The liquid can remain potent for up to a year! I highly recommend washing the area thoroughly with soap and water as soon as possible after contact — the oil takes about 8 hours to take effect.
In more recent years, I’ve opted for jewelweed soap from the local natural health food store. It works wonders and smells nice!
Small Glass Bottles
Use: Splinter removal
Vanilla and peppermint extract can usually be found in small, amber bottles in the baking section at most grocery stores. Once you’ve used it up baking, wash the empty bottle for later. Place it in your medicine cabinet for those pesky splinters that are too difficult to get with tweezers.
I clearly recall being held down on a counter by my Dad, Mom, Uncle, and Grandpa as my Grandma tried to remove a splinter I had gotten in my toe. I screamed and cried as if they were amputating without anesthesia. No parent wants a repeat of that experience. This little trick will keep crying to a minimum and painlessly remove splinters of all kinds!
Nearly fill the bottle with hot water and place the opening over the splinter. Let it sit to creating steam and a vacuum that will extract the splinter. Easy, painless splinter removal!
Alternative method: Light a match, drop it in. The flame will use up the oxygen thus creating a vacuum.
Use: Sore Throat/Colds
Lemon and vinegar are staples in any home apothecary. Another recommendation: honey. Oftentimes “natural” honey isn’t really much better than the commercial brands, and I’ve found that they’re usually equal in price. Honey can be added to tea for soothing sore throats or concocted into a tincture of sorts.
My grandmother always drank a small glass of vinegar, lemon, and honey (diluted with water, of course) in the mornings if she felt a cold coming on. She swore by this remedy! As my dad got older, he adopted it too. I’ve read that cayenne pepper can be added to the lemon/vinegar mix — or used like salt water gargle.