The At-Home Nurse: 101 At-Home Remedies For Common Ailments


By Laura Milligan

Whether or not you’ve got adequate health insurance, going to the doctor is sometimes just not worth the effort. Taking off work, driving to the doctor when you feel sick, and asking advice for embarrassing ailments is almost worse than the symptoms you’re suffering from. If you want to try a quick fix before calling up your doctor, check out this ultimate list of at-home remedies for common ailments. Chances are, you’ve already got a lot of these ingredients stashed somewhere in your house, saving you and your wallet from another trip to the doctor’s office.

Colds and AllergiesColds come in all forms, from a little stuffy nose to bronchitis to sore throats and extreme fatigue. Find out how to keep yourself on the go by reading below.

  1. Congestion: Red pepper, jalapenos and hot salsa will temporarily open up your nasal passages and break up congestion.
  2. Bronchitis: For mild bronchitis symptoms, use a vaporizer or take a steamy shower to ease your discomfort and open up your chest.
  3. Make your own nose drops: Make your own nose drops out of saltwater to break up congestion and help you breathe.
  4. Gargle salt water: To help a sore throat, gargle salt water several times daily. WebMD recommends using an astringent gargle made of tea with tannin to help an itchy “tickle” throat.
  5. Put a dab of Vick’s on your nose: Just a dab of Vick’s Vapor Rub or another menthol salve can break up congestion and help you breathe more easily.
  6. Take lots of Vitamin C: Taking Vitamin C even when you do get sick can prevent the cold from going full cycle.
  7. Take echinacea: suggests taking the herb echinacea to soothe a sore throat.
  8. Take Vitamin C to prevent allergies: Taking Vitamin C also helps allergies, especially symptoms from hay fever and asthma, because of “its ability to counteract the inflammation responses that are part of such conditions.”
  9. Drink green tea: Green tea is a natural antihistamine, which helps both allergies and colds.
  10. Eat or drink thyme: Make a tea with thyme or add a little to your recipes when you cook to break up congestion and relieve stuffy noses.

Fever and the FluGetting the flu or even a high fever can put you out of commission for days. Here are some home remedies to help make them a little less painful.

  1. Flu and cold symptoms: GrannyMed has an old-fashioned concoction that soothes cold and flu symptoms. Mix lemon juice, one spoonful of honey and one spoonful of brandy to create a therapeutic cocktail.
  2. Take a bath: Take a bath in lukewarm water to bring down escalating body temperatures.
  3. Eat artichokes: Try eating artichokes to reduce fever.
  4. Take a sponge bath: Read this professional guide to learn how to give your child a sponge bath when he or she has a fever.
  5. Drink lots of water: Drinking water is a good habit to have anyway, but it’s especially crucial when you have a fever. You’ll need to stay hydrated and bring your overall body temperature down.
  6. Make a ginger steam: Create your own steam room by turning on the hot water in the sink and adding a couple of teaspoons of ginger or eucalyptus oil. Get up close to the mixture and breathe in the steam for relief.
  7. Sleep: You probably won’t feel like doing much else anyway.
  8. Drink liquids instead of eating solid foods: An old tradition recommends drinking liquids and refraining from eating solid foods until you’re over a fever.
  9. Take aspirin: WebMD urges adults sick with the flu or fever to go ahead and take aspirin to reduce fever and muscle aches.
  10. Saffron Tea: Drink saffron tea made of half a teaspoon of saffron and boiling water.

Aches and PainsEase the pain by trying out these simple tricks.

  1. Headache: If you’ve got a bad headache and are still waiting for the aspirin to kick in, try applying ice to your head. quotes doctor and author Fred Sheftell, who maintains “if you can get the headache when it’s a dull throb, close to 80 percent of people can abort their headaches.”
  2. Backache: Before you reach for painkillers, check out your posture. If you’re constantly humped over the keyboard or hunching your shoulders forward, you could be sabotaging yourself. Sit up straight and push your shoulders back.
  3. Toothache: GrannyMed recommends mixing 1 teaspoon of baking soda with water and then swishing it around in your mouth to create a soothing mouthwash.
  4. Headache: Turn out the lights if you’re at home or have your own office. Reducing the amount of light helps ease eye strain and can calm your throbbing head.
  5. Arthritis: Soak a teaspoon of black sesame seeds in a quart of water and let it sit overnight. In the morning, eat the seeds and drink the water that’s left.
  6. Eat bananas: Instantly up your potassium levels by eating a banana. This helps everything from growing pains to charlie horses.
  7. Drink turmeric and hot milk: Make a drink made of one teaspoon of turmeric and hot milk, which supposedly relieve general body pain.
  8. Toothache: Another quick fix for a painful toothache is to chew fresh guava leaves or oregano leaves.
  9. Arthritis: Staying warm helps ease the pain of arthritis. Loosely wrap yourself up in a blanket or adjust the thermostat to create the optimum environment.
  10. Apply St. John’s wort to relieve back pain: This remedy can cause extra sensitivity to the sun, so be extra careful if you plan on being outside in your bathing suit.
  11. Take magnesium to relieve PMS symptoms: Some sources recommend taking 1,000 mg a day.

Cuts, Bumps, Burns and StingsEven if you’re not typically clumsy, the occasional bee sting or burn can slow you down. Read this list for help getting back on your feet the natural way.

  1. Bee stings: A popular remedy for bee stings is to moisten a cigarette and gently rub the wet tobacco on the sting. Tobacco brings out the poison and also helps with the pain.
  2. Gently cleanse a sunburn: Very gently cleanse a sunburn with antibacterial soap to prevent getting an infection in the damaged, vulnerable area.
  3. Black Eye: Reduce the swelling and appearance of an ugly black eye by eating papaya and pineapple, according to orthopedic surgeon Michael Rask. According to Dr. Rask, “An enzyme found in those fruits ‘changes’ the molecular structure of the blood, so it’s more easily absorbed by the body.”
  4. Minor burns: Use whole milk on a minor burn, as the milk “soothes burns and promotes healing,” according to professor Stephen M. Purcell.
  5. Apply apple cider vinegar to bites: Reduce itching by applying a dab of apple cider vinegar to bug bites.
  6. Use Arnica on bruises: According to, using a dab of the muscle soreness product Arnica helps minimize the appearance of bruises.
  7. Preparation H your burns: Preparation H helps minor burns heal more quickly. Use the treatment daily when you switch bandages.
  8. Aloe Vera helps razor burn: Rub aloe vera on the irritated area to relieve the effects of razor burn.
  9. Eat yogurt to help cold sores: Get rid of your cold sores faster by eating yogurt.

Tummy AchesWhether you’ve got a virus or motion sickness, these tried and true home remedies can calm an upset stomach.

  1. Eat ginger: Ginger cookies and ginger tea helps calm upset tummies.
  2. Eat peppermint: Peppermint also has a soothing effect that helps stomach aches.
  3. Drink lemon tea and honey: This mixture can keep a tummy ache at bay.
  4. Drink ginger ale: Some people drink Sprite to calm their upset stomachs, but ginger ale is the best soda to use. The bubbles relieve gas and pressure, and the ginger has a natural soothing effect too.
  5. Drink a high-protein drink to banish motion sickness: WebMD maintains that a high-protein liquid drink is better for an upset stomach than one that’s high in carbs.
  6. Drink rice water: Try out concoction of half a cup of rice in one cup of water. Boil the mixture for 10-20 minutes, and then drink the water after draining out the rice.
  7. Close your eyes: If you’re feeling dizzy, take a time out to shut your eyes for a few moments and regain your equilibrium.
  8. Make sage tea: Calm a nervous tummy and reduce stress by drinking sage tea.
  9. Move away from the computer: Sometimes too much eye strain can make you feel nauseous. Take a break from the computer to walk around and get some fresh air.
  10. Coconut water relieves the symptoms of gastritis: It gives the stomach the necessary rest and provides vitamins and minerals.

HangoversForget the old cup of black coffee and a cold shower remedy. These smart tricks are great for helping headaches, stomach aches, dehydration and more.

  1. Take Emergen-C: Taking Emergen-C after you drink and before you go to bed will help boost your immune system and give your body plenty of electrolytes to fight off dehydration.
  2. Tums: Relieve heartburn and stomach acid by taking Tums the morning after.
  3. Alka-Seltzer: Taking Alka-Seltzer relieves mild headaches and stomach aches due to too much alcohol consumption the night before.
  4. Drink Pedialyte: This product is marketed for kids, but adults with a nasty hangover can also re-hydrate quickly and make a tummy ache go away by drinking Pedialyte.
  5. Eat a banana: Eat a banana the morning after or boil two banana peels in a cup of water for a therapeutic drink.
  6. Eat fatty foods the night before: Eating fatty foods like pizza or downing a teaspoon of olive oil help to “grease the lining of the intestines,” according to WebMD, which then makes it take longer for alcohol to “be absorbed by the body.”

Clearing up Skin ProblemsStop hiding behind your skin problems and figure out a cost-effective way to treat them at home using these tips.

  1. Poison Ivy: Try rubbing wet table salt onto the rash to calm itching and stop the poison ivy oil from spreading.
  2. Acne: Vitamins like zinc, niacin and Vitamin A are helpful in treating acne, so increase your daily intake of all three. Another simple remedy is to apply either lemon juice or toothpaste to blemishes overnight.
  3. Eczema: For temporary relief, take an oatmeal bath or use lotion that contains oatmeal. Another way to temporarily stop itching is to rub ice over the area that is irritated.
  4. Chickenpox: Take a vinegar bath to ease itching and prevent yourself from scratching too much, which creates scars. Oatmeal baths also help.
  5. Make your own face mask: To moisturize and extra dry face, make a face mask made of 2-5 tablespoons of raw peanuts mixed with milk. Let he paste dry on your face before rinsing it off with cold water.
  6. Use lavender oil on a skin abrasion: Just a few drops will heal the abrasion.
  7. Use lemon to combat corns: Tie a slice of fresh lemon to the area on your body where the corn is, and leave it on for one night.
  8. Eat blackberries and cherries to reduce the appearance of varicose veins: These fruits can clear up many symptoms of varicose veins.

PregnancyTry out these tips to take some of the stress and discomfort out of your pregnancy.

  1. Breast milk: GrannyMed suggests consuming more almonds oil to improve the quality of the breast milk.
  2. Breast feeding: Check here for several tips on solving breast feeding issues.
  3. Wear a seasickness bracelet for morning sickness: Wearing a bracelet designed for seasickness can actually help pregnant women with nausea.

Mental Health and PsychologyIf you’re looking for a temporary boost or just can’t afford a visit with a popular therapist, try out some of these home remedies for support against depression and more.

  1. Exercise: Doctors and experts have long heralded the natural benefits of exercise against depression. Psychologist, professor and author Keith Johnsgard tells patients that “the odds are good to excellent that if you exercise, you will be virtually depression-free in three to five weeks.”
  2. Amend your diet: Add energy boosting foods like almonds and orange juice into your diet to beat depression.
  3. Licorice: Eat licorice or drink licorice tea to reduce stress and the effects of depression.
  4. Kava Kava: Kava Kava reduces anxiety and stress, helping individuals beat insomnia.
  5. Quit smoking: Read this list to learn about home remedies that may help you quit smoking, like eating cayenne pepper to reduce cravings and drinking ginger tea to help curb nausea.

Embarrassing SymptomsSome symptoms you just don’t want to have to talk about, even with a medical professional. Here are some at home remedies you can try first.

  1. Constipation: Eat plums, dates and apples to cure constipation.
  2. Body odor: Mix baking soda and lemon juice and then apply the mixture under your arms to reduce body odor.
  3. Use lime juice for dandruff problems: Rinse your hair with one teaspoon of lime juice to reduce stickiness and help prevent dandruff.
  4. Dry out genital herpes: To reduce swelling and dry out genital herpes, take aspirin, refrain from touching lesions and wear loose cotton underwear. Men can also use drying lotions like calamine lotion on the sores, but women are advised to avoid these types of lotions.
  5. Drink sage tea to get rid of bad breath: This remedy takes advantage of the presence of thujone in sage.
  6. Mint helps diarrhea: Mix mint juice with lime juice and honey to ward off diarrhea.
  7. Calm flatulence with ginger: Mixing ginger powder into a drink or chewing on fresh ginger slices can help calm flatulence.
  8. Carrot soup for diarrhea: Eating carrot soup also helps the body get rid of diarrhea, as it is rich in calcium, magnesium, sulphur and potassium.
  9. Use yogurt to help yeast infections: Fill a tampon inserter with yogurt and inject it into the vagina. Yogurt helps rid the body of fungus and the cool remedy decreases itching.
  10. Use tea tree oil to fix toenail fungus: Read here to find out about the ways tea tree oil helps toenail fungus.
  11. Drink green tea and cranberry juice for a UTI: If you can’t get to the doctor right away, drink loads of green tea and cranberry juice (not cranberry juice concentrate) to rid your body of a urinary tract infection.
  12. Reduce hot flashes with Vitamin E: Dr. Lila E. Nachtigall suggests taking lots of vitamin E to reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes.

Eyes and EarsIf you have an earache or an eye problem, chances are, you can’t concentrate on anything else. Try out some of these tips to see if they work for you.

  1. Earache: Drop garlic juice into your ear if you’re trying to relieve the pain from an ear infection.
  2. Clean out earwax: Drop peroxide or rubbing alcohol into your ear to clean out earwax.
  3. Get rid of dark circles with a cold compress: Dr. Eric Donnenfeld suggests using a cold compress over eyes to banish dark circles. The moist, cold washcloth helps constrict blood vessels and makes them less visible.
  4. Use a warm compress to moisturize eyes: Put a warm compress over your eyes to alleviate dryness.
  5. Make a compress with eyebright tea: Eyebright tea “is a gentle balm for eyes that are strained.” according to

Miscellaneous AilmentsFrom bloody noses to hysteria, find more home remedies to common ailments here.

  1. Prevent blisters with Vaseline: Rub Vaseline on your toes and heels to prevent blisters when you break in new shoes.
  2. Dry skin: Give hands and feet an intense moisturizing treatment by slathering lotion on the dry areas and then wearing mittens or heavy duty socks overnight to lock in moisture.
  3. Lemon juice drops help a bloody nose: Try dropping lemon juice into your nostrils to stop a bloody nose. Pinching your fingers across the bridge of your nose also proves to be effective.
  4. Eat foods rich in niacin to prevent or stop a migraine: Some of these foods include tomatoes, fish and nuts.
  5. Eat cauliflower to strengthen nails: Cauliflower is rich in biotin, which helps strengthen brittle nails.
  6. Hiccups: This list has lots of great ideas for stopping the hiccups, including sucking on a spoonful of sugar, tickling the throat with a cotton ball and eating a bowl of yogurt.
  7. Chow down on magnesium to help CFS: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sufferers should eat magnesium-rich foods like peas, nuts, leafy vegetables and brown rice to help beat certain symptoms.
  8. Drink barley water to cure measles: Drinking barley water a few times a day can help beat the measles.
  9. Use aloe vera on chapped lips: Aloe vera helps chapped lips the same way it helps a sunburn.
  10. Drink coriander water to reduce cholesterol: This list has ideas for lowering cholesterol, including drinking coriander water and eating oat bran.
  11. Natural anemia boosters: Instead of shelling out extra cash for vitamins, give your diet an anemia makeover by incorporating leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, bran and whole grains.
  12. Try herb treatments to stop hair loss: Herb treatments like Gingko Biloba, tea tree oil, rosemary oil and others can stop hair loss.

These are just some of the home remedies that can boost your immune system, help your body heal, and make you feel more like your old self. Post your comments below to share with us some of your favorite home remedies.

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