10 Home Remedies That Really Work

Person inserting a stick of gum into their mouth
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Feeling tired? A stick of peppermint or cinnamon gum might perk you right up. A Wheeling Jesuit University study found that chewing one of the flavored gums increased alertness in participants by 30 percent. This is just one example of an easy, natural health solution that doesn't require a prescription or much money. Check out our full list of 10 simple remedies that might surprise you — and naturally we included duct tape and Listerine. Find out why.

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Duct tape to remove warts

Hand with band aid

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Duct tape eliminates warts better than liquid nitrogen, according to a study in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. If you have a wart, cut a piece of duct tape slightly larger than the wart and apply it to the cleaned area. Every few days, remove the tape and exfoliate the wart with a pumice stone or nail file. Repeat until the wart is gone.

Scientists aren't sure why duct tape is so effective, but they reason that a chemical in the tape could be the cause. It could also be that duct tape irritates the area and stimulates the body's immune system to attack the wart.

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Bite a pencil to relieve a headache

Young person biting a pencil

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When you're stressed, you often clench your teeth, which strains the muscle that connects the jaw to the temples and can trigger a tension headache. By placing a pencil between your teeth — but not biting down hard — you relax your muscles, which reduces pain.

However, this remedy applies only to tension headaches and won't relieve pain caused by other types of headaches.

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Listerine to dry out blisters

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Mouthwash like Listerine is a powerful antiseptic. There's plenty of chatter from home remedy lovers about how this simple mouthwash can easily dry out blisters. Try using cotton balls to dab Listerine onto blisters three times a day until they heal.

If it doesn't work, at least you'll smell minty fresh.

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Oatmeal to soothe eczema

Oatmeal and scoop on a wooden table

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If you have eczema or simply have dry, irritated skin, try soaking in an oatmeal bath. Add two to three cups of colloidal, or finely ground, oatmeal to warm water and soak in it for 15 minutes. The oatmeal reduces inflammation and is thought to have an antihistamine effect.

You can also make the oatmeal into a paste and apply that to your skin for areas that are extremely dry or irritated, says the National Eczema Association.

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Olives for motion sickness

Bowl of olives and herbs

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Motion sickness is accompanied by increased salivation, which is the body's way of protecting teeth from stomach acid in the event of vomiting. Olives contain tannins, which dry the mouth out, so eating a few can eliminate the excess saliva. Treating that symptom can reduce nausea and keep the body from vomiting.

The key is to eat the olives as soon as the first waves of motion sickness hit.

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Sugar to cure hiccups

Spoon of sugar poised over glass container

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It seems a spoonful of sugar does more than just help the medicine go down. Taking a teaspoon gets rid of hiccups by stimulating the vagus nerve, which makes the body forget to hiccup. The vagus nerve is a cranial nerve that conveys sensory information about the organs to the brain. When it's distracted by something else — like swallowing sugar — it tells the brain that something more important than hiccuping has come up so the diaphragm spasms stop.

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VapoRub for nail fungus

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Although there's no scientific proof that Vick's VapoRub kills nails fungus, there's a wealth of anecdotal evidence that the treatment can be effective. Some people believe it's the menthol that kills fungus, while others think it could be the suffocating effect of the balm. To treat nail fungus, simply smear VapoRub over the affected area twice a day until hopefully it's gone.

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Vegetable oil for dry nails

Different shapes and sizes of bottles of oils

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If you have dry, brittle nails, consider a solution in your pantry. Apply vegetable oil to your hands and cover them with plastic gloves overnight. That should work for a deep-moisturizing treatment.

Some home remedy fans also suggest soaking your hands in warm olive oil for 15-30 minute to moisturize your nails. To keep them from dying out, massage olive oil into your nails and cuticles daily

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Vodka for foot odor

Bottles on a shelf

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Alcohol is an antiseptic that can destroy odor-causing bacteria and fungus and dry out the moisture that allows these organisms to thrive. Simply soak a washcloth in the liquid and wipe your feet down at the end of the day. It should dry odorless, promises Business Insider, so no one should know you're swiping remedies from the alcohol cabinet.

Of course, rubbing alcohol works just as well, if you'd rather save that vodka for a martini.

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Yogurt to cure bad breath

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Bad breath at can originate in several places, but one of the most common sources is the stomach. Eating yogurt and other foods that contain probiotics can neutralize acid and help the odor.

Recent studies say that the active bacteria in yogurt, specifically Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus may have a beneficial effect on odor-causing bacteria in the mouth, reports WebMD.