Dr. Oz continues to put viewer home remedies to the test. See what works and what doesn't.
Often communicated by a trusted source, it's easy to believe in the healing powers of home remedies. However, it can be difficult to differentiate a successful home remedy from an old wives' tale. To clear up the confusion, Dr. Oz took some remedies YOU swear by and put them to the test!
Pepto Bismol Facial
Method: Apply Pepto Bismol to face. Leave on for 10 minutes and peel off.
Verdict: It works! When applied to the skin, Pepto Bismol does the same thing it does to your stomach: It soothes and coats it. While it is an off-label use of this product, the aspirin and bismuth sub-salicylate contained in this classic pink medicine transforms dull skin and cleans out pores, giving you a healthy glow.
Sweet Almond Oil and Sugar to Cure Chapped Lips
Method: Mix 100% pure sweet almond oil with sugar to create a paste. Dip toothbrush in mixture and scrub lips.
Verdict: It works! The sweet almond oil helps to moisturize your lips while the sugar gently exfoliates away dead tissue. Be careful not to scrub too hard to avoid doing harm to your lips.
Manuka Honey to Soften Fine Lines and Wrinkles
Method: Apply manuka honey directly to trouble spots. Leave on for 10 to 20 minutes and then rinse away.
Verdict: It works! Thanks to its healing powers, this potent honey is used in hospitals to treat wounds. It costs about $15 in health food stores. Whatever’s left over can be eaten, because it tastes delicious, too!
Chopped Garlic and Honey/Turmeric Powder and Milk for Joint Pain
Method: For the first step, chop garlic and add to 1 tablespoon of honey. For the second step, add 1 teaspoon turmeric powder to a half a glass of warm milk. Swallow the honey-garlic mixture and chase it with the milk mixture.
Verdict: It works! Inflammation is a major cause of joint pain. Garlic, honey, turmeric and milk all have anti-inflammatory properties. Mixing turmeric into warm milk (instead of water) makes it easier to drink.
Gin Soaked Raisins for Arthritis
Method: Put raisins in a bowl and pour in enough gin to cover the raisins. Allow the gin to evaporate, which should take about 1 week. Place the moist raisins in a sealed jar and eat about 9 a day.
Verdict: It works! Drinking alcohol has been shown to cut the risks of developing rheumatoid arthritis in half. Gin is flavored by the juniper berry, which contains anti-inflammatory properties. Raisins contain ferulic acid, gentisic acid and salicylic acid – all natural pain relievers.
Tickle the Roof of Your Mouth to Stop Hiccups
Method: Use a cotton ball to tickle the roof of your mouth at the point where the hard and soft palate meets.
Verdict: It works! Hiccups are caused by a spasm of the diaphragm. Tickling the roof of your mouth stimulates the vagus nerve, which interrupts that spasm.
Play the Didgeridoo to Help Snoring
Method: The didgeridoo is a wind instrument that produces a droning sound. Play this instrument, or as an alternative, blow into a wrapping paper roll before bed to help with snoring and sleep apnea.
Verdict: It works! Snoring and sleep apnea are caused by collapse of upper airways. Playing the didgeridoo strengthens those muscles and prevents them from narrowing. It uses circular breathing – storing air in your cheeks for one continuous breath. This practice can also lessen daytime sleepiness, a complication of snoring and sleep apnea.
Lemon Slices for Constipation
Method: Cut a lemon into pieces and then eat it.
Verdict: It works! Raw lemon is high in vitamin C, and in high doses, vitamin C can cause diarrhea.
Headband to Cure a Headache
Method: Pour rubbing alcohol into a bowl, wet the bandana in the alcohol and then tie it tightly around your head
Verdict: It doesn't work. Although there might be some comfort in cooling your forehead, the fumes of the alcohol can actually worsen your headache. Additionally, high levels of alcohol absorbed through the skin and may cause nausea. Instead, soak the bandana in water that's been mixed with a little bit of rosemary or lavender.
Cabbage Juice to Cure Ulcers
Method: Take raw cabbage and blend in a juice extractor to remove the pulp. Drink the juice while fresh. You can sweeten the taste by adding carrot juice.
Verdict: It works! Fresh, uncooked cabbage has been proven to heal ulcers. In a study conducted in the 1950s, over 90% of participants were completely rid of their ulcers through this method.
Olive Oil Rinse to Prevent Gingivitis
Method: Take a bit of olive oil, and swish it around in your mouth. Swallow.
Verdict: It works! Because olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats (the good kind of fat) and antioxidants that reduce plaque buildup, it works to prevent gingivitis. It can also minimize the discomfort from other sores in your mouth. Additionally, the antioxidants in olive oil help to kill off H. pylori, the bacteria that infects stomach lining and causes ulcers.
Milk and Cabbage Gel for Back Pain
Method: Chop up 5-6 large leaves of cabbage into halves or quarters. Add them to 2 cups of milk. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and heat for around 20-35 minutes until it boils and starts to look and feel sticky. Spread the mixture onto your back and leave on for around 20 minutes.
Verdict: It does not work! Although the heat may help to loosen up the muscles and bring relief, there is no science behind milk or cabbage being useful for back pain.
Curry Rice Drink for an Upset Stomach
Method: Take boiled rice, add around 10 crushed curry leaves, 1 tsp cumin seeds and then fry together. Then add 1 glass of water and bring to a boil. Have the drink on an empty stomach.
Verdict: It works! Rice usually helps an upset stomach. Additionally, there is also some evidence that curry leaves contain a protein that slows down digestion, and could be helpful to treat diarrhea.
Onion Wrap for Fever Aches & Pains
Method: Peel and slice an onion. Then cut the tops of panty hose and place the slices inside. Wrap around you ankle like a bracelet. Put a sock on over the onion. Wear overnight to reduce your fever.
Verdict: It might work. Onions have anti-inflammatory properties which could reduce a fever, but only when eaten. There is no evidence that this would work through the skin.
Olive Oil and Garlic for Ear Infections
Method: Heat 1 tsp olive oil. Cool oil until it's tepid. Make sure you test first. Add less than 1/3 of a pressed garlic clove - make sure you use only tiny pieces that will dissolve and not chunks. Use a clear dropper and add a couple drops into the ear canal.
Verdict: It works! Garlic has anti-bacterial properties which relieves pain and cures infection.
Chicken Soup Cures a Cold
Method: We've all heard that chicken soup is good for a cold, and instinctively, this makes sense...but does it really work?
Verdict: It works! Chicken soup slows immune cells down, reducing the inflammation that causes cold symptoms. The steam also helps to clear stuff airways.
Try the chicken noodle soup recipe the Oz family uses!
Apple Cider Vinegar for Heartburn
Method: Swallow a few teaspoons of apple cider vinegar rather than popping antacids to soothe heartburn.
Verdict: It does not work! Apple cider vinegar works for a lot things (like killing germs, weight loss and hair health) but unfortunately, there's no evidence that supports it can help heartburn. And if it tastes bad, skip it altogether.
A Warm Drink for PMS Symptoms
Method: This homemade warm, spicy drink contains oregano, rosemary, anise seeds and cloves. Drink before bed to ease the bloating, cramps and back pain that accompany your monthly period.
Verdict: Dr. Oz delivers his first 'maybe!' All the ingredients in this warm drink reduce bloating and gastrointestinal cramps, but there's no research that links those ingredients to PMS symptoms. Here is the recipe for this drink - try it at home and let us know if it works for you!
Nuvia's Cramps Remedy
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 tbsp rosemary
- 1 tbsp anise seeds
- 1 tbsp cloves
Add two cups of water. Let it simmer until there is only half cup left, drink while is still very warm preferably before bedtime.
Clove of Garlic for an Ear Infection
Method: Insert a glove of garlic into your ear. Make sure the garlic you use is not broken, because it can burn you.
Verdict: It works! Herbalists recommend garlic drops to shorten duration and reduce the pain of ear infections. Garlic has potential to prevent or destroy pathogens, so this is a successful treatment option.
Turmeric Powder for Cuts and Scrapes
Method: Take turmeric powder and cover the area that is bleeding. For a deep cut or gash, cover with turmeric and apply pressure to stop bleeding and prevent infection.
Verdict: It works! Turmeric contains a raw material called curcumin, which is an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory. Curcumin prevents some extra chemicals from being released from injured cells, reducing damage.
White Rum with Lemon Juice and Water as a Fever Reducer
Method: Mix together rum, lemon juice and water and then use a wash rag to apply to your arms, back and forehead.
Verdict: It Does Not Work! Alcohol works to cool the skin so quickly that you begin to shiver, which works to raise your core body temperature. A 5-10 minute sponge bath with lukewarm water is far more effective. This treatment prevents a sharp decline in temperature by bringing it down gradually.
Water and Baking Soda for Acid Reflux
Method: Mix together and drink 3 times a day, 5 days a week for 3 weeks.
Verdict: It Works! When you have acid reflux, acid is burning your stomach causing indigestion and discomfort. Chemically, the bicarbonate ion present in the baking soda will react to neutralize this acid, effectively treating acid reflux.
Glue for Removing Splinters
Method: Put glue over the splinter, let it dry, and peel it off to remove splinter.
Verdict: It Works! Glue will stick to a variety of materials, so it can work for many types of splinters. The splinter will be pulled out at the same angle that it entered your body thereby alleviating the need for picking and scratching with needles. This procedure is safe and easy.
Mayonnaise for a Burn
Method: Apply mayonnaise to a burn immediately after it occurs and leave on for 10 minutes.
Verdict: It Does Not Work! Applying mayonnaise or other types of food can actually breed bacteria and complicate the healing process. After a burn occurs, the most important thing is to cool it down. Direct ice can hurt the skin, but cold running water will work. Aloe is proven to help, and you should cover with sterile gauze to protect the wound.
Hydrogen Peroxide for Ear Infections
Method: Pour hydrogen peroxide directly into the ear.
Verdict: It Works! Ear Infections are caused by bacteria in the wax that builds up inside your ear. The hydrogen peroxide causes a chemical reaction with the bacteria which results in visible bubbling. The hydrogen peroxide dissolves this bacteria and wax, making it an effective home remedy.