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Cures from nature’s medicine cabinet: Effective home remedies for pain, coughs and other common complaints
03/31/2020 // Zoey Sky // Views

Home remedies are popular among those who prefer natural cures for common ailments, especially since this means you can avoid the harmful side effects often linked to over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. These natural remedies include honey for coughs and saltwater for sore throats.

It's useful to know these home remedies, particularly if you need a specific cure and are reluctant to visit a store because of panic buying shoppers who were unprepared for a pandemic like the coronavirus.

A warm compress for inflamed styes

Styes are small abscesses that contain pus. They form on your eyelids and they are caused by an infection at the eyelash root.

Styes can heal on their own, but if your stye is bothering you, apply a warm compress.

Soak a clean towel in hot water, then hold it against the eye for at least 10 minutes. This can encourage the stye to release pus and promote faster healing.

Oats to relieve itchy skin

Dry and itchy allergic skin conditions are a pain.

Dr. Justine Hextall, a consultant dermatologist at the Tarrant Street Clinic, recommends adding oats to your bath as a remedy.

Bathing with oats can help calm your irritated skin due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Oats are also hydrating, and they can help cleanse your skin. Put a cup of oats in a muslin bag, tie it up and hang it in your bathwater.

If you don't have oats, add a tablespoon of olive oil to your bath. The oil offers a similar soothing and softening effect on irritated skin.

Aloe vera for minor burns

Aloe vera can ease a minor burn from cooking.


Hextall recommends first cooling the burn under cold running water. Next, tear off an aloe vera leaf and squeeze the gel inside it onto the injury. Cover the burn and let aloe vera's soothing anti-inflammatory effect take care of the rest. Aloe vera can also help speed up the healing process.

In a study by researchers from Bangkok, Thailand, 27 patients who were treated with aloe vera gel healed faster than those who used a Vaseline gauze. Findings showed that the average time of healing was 11.89 days, compared with 18.19 days for the Vaseline gauze-treated wounds.

Hot or cold compress for aches and pains

Using a hot water bottle can offer localized pain relief for muscular aches.

When dealing with pain from an acute injury like a sprain, apply ice wrapped in a clean towel.

Honey for a cough

A cough is a common symptom of respiratory illnesses, like the common cold and flu. It's also one of the symptoms of COVID-19 infection, along with fever, headache and shortness of breath.

Some patients with coronavirus also experience other symptoms like diarrhea, headaches, muscle aches or a sore throat. These symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure.

According to Dr. Lynda Ware, a former GP and a senior fellow in general practice at Cochrane UK, honey is an effective alternative for cough medicine.

Data from a 2018 Cochrane Review analyzed six trials and the findings suggested that honey can offer relief for children with a cough. However, honey isn't recommended for children younger than two years old.

Ware noted that honey may have properties that can fight against bacteria, viruses and inflammation. Since honey is viscous, the superfood coats your throat and offers a soothing effect. (Related: 5 Effective cough remedies you can make at home.)

Vitamin C to support a healthy immune system

In a 2013 Cochrane Review, researchers studied vitamin C to see if it benefits patients with a cold. Results showed that vitamin C can reduce the likelihood of getting a cold, but only if you are doing short periods of extreme physical activity, like skiing or running.

Saltwater or ice cubes for a sore throat

Sore throats are often caused by viral or bacterial infections. In most cases, a sore throat will get better on its own after seven days.

But if a sore throat is too painful to bear, Sultan Dajani, a pharmacist from Eastleigh, Hampshire, recommends gargling with saltwater. Add two teaspoons of salt to a glass with 400 mL water, mix, then gargle. Spit out the liquid once you're done.

Alternatively, sucking on ice cubes or popsicles may help reduce inflammation and pain.

Relieve migraines with hot milk and aloe vera

If you have a migraine, Dr. Fayyaz Ahmed, a consultant neurologist at Hull Royal Infirmary, suggests resting in a dark room and drinking hot milk, which has a sedative effect.

Aloe vera is another unlikely migraine remedy. Ahmed explained that applying aloe vera gel to the face and temples can help since the aloe vera scent has a muscle relaxant effect that can help relieve tension that contributes to a migraine.

Drink prune juice to stay regular

To stay regular, Dajani suggests drinking prune juice, which causes mild irritation to the gut and naturally stimulates it to work.

Prune juice contains sorbitol, a sugar that draws water into the gut. Sorbitol also has a natural laxative effect. But don't drink too much prune juice because it can result in a purging effect.

If you have one of these common issues, try a home remedy for natural relief.

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