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Do Grandmother’s Home Remedies Really Work?

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(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

CBS Connecticut (con't)

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CBS SAN FRANCISCO — From chicken soup to an apple a day, home remedies have been around for ages. But do they really work? But do they work? Robbie Caploe, executive director at Prevention Magazine and her team put them to the test. She said there is good reason to believe in the so-called “tried and true.”

“When the beginning of the sentence is ‘My grandmother told me,’ it’s always a good thing to follow,” said Caploe. Some of these treatments can be found in the kitchen, or in the bar. For example, vodka has long been the base for cocktails, but it can also give stinky feet the boot. “It’s actually very antiseptic and drying, just like rubbing alcohol. You take a face cloth and you soak it in vodka and you actually rub it on your feet, and it destroys the odor causing fungus,” said Caploe.

If your breath could use a little freshening, try yogurt. “The live bacteria in yogurt are actually very effective at killing the quote unquote bad bacteria. Any kind of yogurt is good. Probably plain is better than anything else, but it all has the same beneficial effect” said the executive director.

But don’t throw away the mouthwash. Use it for blisters. “You just put a little on a cotton ball, and you put it on a blister, maybe three times a day, and it will do a very effective job of drying it out,’ said Caploe.

If dry skin is a problem, try papaya. Papaya actually has some protein eating enzymes that are very good at sloughing off dead skin cells. Experts said to take about 2-4 tablespoons of papaya and grind it up. Then mix the papaya with a tablespoon of dry oatmeal into a paste. Apply the paste on your skin and leave it there for about 10 minutes. Afterwards, your skin should be soft and supple.

You can also use olive oil. Take a teaspoon of olive oil per square inch of skin and rub it in. It will serve to create a seal, and reduce any kind of dryness as well as keep your skin moist.

Olives themselves and lemons can come in handy if road trips leave you a little woozy. “When you feel like you’re getting motion sickness, you actually produce an excess of saliva. So what you want to do is dry your mouth out,” said Caploe. There are actually properties in things such as olives that are called tannins, and they do that for you. “So you should eat a couple of olives, or pardon the expression, suck on a lemon and it will actually help quell any motion sickness,” said Caploe.

As for hiccups, a teaspoon of dried, granulated sugar can get them to go away. The dry, granulated sugar modifies the nerve muscles that actually help the diaphragm convulse to give you the hiccups.

Here are a few more home remedies:

  • Feel nauseous or have a headache? Get some ginger out of your spice cabinet. It works like an anti-inflammatory and may mediate your headache and or nausea. But don’t take ginger if you have gall stones or if you’re on blood thinners.
  • If you don’t want to waste vodka on stinky feet, try apple cider vinegar. Soak your feet in it. Or for women who are concerned about underarm order, dip cotton balls into the vinegar and rub under your armpits. It will kill the bacteria causing the odor.
  • If you hate yogurt, but have stinky breath, try chewing on a sprig of parsley. It contains chlorophyll, a phyto-chemical that acts like a natural deodorizer.

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