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  1. #1
    The Architect Alwar's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Simple, Natural Home Remedies and Folk Cures

    Have you ever experimented with what is often called natural home and folk remedies or cures? Things like cleaning with vinegar and baking soda, cucumber slices over the eyes etc. The web is full of these types of “remedies” and “cures” but I wonder how many of them actually work.

    Post the ones what you have tried and had success with. Here is a method I use for skincare, I discovered it not by some hippy motivation, but because I have sensitive northern European type skin & hair. Common store products are hard on it so I went looking for a solution:

    Everyday Skincare

    In the shower or bathtub, put some baking soda in the palm of your hand and add enough water to form a paste. Use the paste as a daily scrub, but do it in the shower or tub as I have found that doing it at the sink is often not as thorough and 10 minutes later there is dry baking soda where it wasn't cleaned off.

    After the shower/bath, put a few drops of jojoba oil on the palm, rub hands together and apply it to the face. The rest rub through the damp hair, it leaves the skin moisturized and the hair as well without it being greasy.

    Periodic Skincare

    I don't speak womanese, but I think this is called exfoliation.

    Take concentrated lemon juice and make sure the temperature is warm. Add it to salt to make a paste.

    Take a washcloth and run hot water over it, as hot as you can tolerate and then ring it out a bit. Tilt your head and put the cloth over your face to open up the pores.

    Use the lemon/salt paste to gently scrub the dead skin off your face (watch your eyes) and use hot water to wash the paste off.

    Take a mixture of extra-virgin olive oil and castor oil and apply it to your face. Take the washcloth and apply hot water to it again and let it sit on your face until it gets cool. This helps the oil to absorb into the skin. You may have to do it twice. There shouldn't be any oil left.

    Splash cold water over your face to close the pores. Done.

    This may be too harsh or not strong enough depending on skin type, so it is probably best to experiment individually with how often you do it, but it works for me.

  2. #2
    Senior Member chasingAJ's Avatar
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    Edited to add my response to your post before I went on a tangent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alwar View Post
    I have sensitive northern European type skin & hair. Common store products are hard on it so I went looking for a solution:
    Me too!

    If you buy a moisturizer without sunscreen, it helps. I buy the night cream and smooth it over my skin. Let it sit for awhile and then rinse it off. It softens without clogging my pores.

    Lemon and salt are too rough for my skin. Sugar is more expensive and has to be washed off very well to keep from feeling sticky but it doesn't burn the way that salt does. I also use sand (cheap and plentiful) for a foot scrub.

    I had a friend with sensitive skin and she swore by shampoo! She said that she used the plain stuff for normal hair and washed her hair and used a washcloth on her face with the little bit that dripped down. I haven't tried it (I have "difficult" hair) but she had great skin.


    Okay... lesse

    I have used baking soda to scrub my face. It helps with PH balance and it exfoliates.

    I dig my nails into a bar of soap before I do anything dirty, my nails come clean with a nail brush with little effort.

    I used to put saran wrap in the freezer b/c it doesn't stick to itself when torn but I never use it anymore. Works though.

    Tough to clean pots and stained coffee cups can be reclaimed with denture tablets.

    Peroxide takes blood out of fabric. I had a white sheet that I thought was a goner, I used the peroxide from the beauty supply store and it's all better.

    Yellow mustard will take the sting out of a kitchen burn (learned that in the restaurant business) and ketchup will clean copper.

    Slip the disposable lids from straw cups (fast food etc) over your paint brush when you paint to keep it from dripping on your hand.

    A potato cut in half will "draw out" a boil (gross but true)

    To prevent computer eye strain, look at a painting/picture or something bright that doesn't move (tv doesn't count) for about a minute for every 30 in front of the monitor (per my optometrist)

    If your kids put stickers where they shouldn't, use a hair dryer to heat them up and peel them off

    For extra dirty clothes (I do this with sweaty gym clothes and with sheets periodically) toss in the washer with a small amount of dish soap. Let it cycle through and then wash as usual. For whites, you can put bleach and dish soap. It cuts grease (natural oils in the skin).

    Dish soap + baking soda = soft scrub for your tub etc.

    Regular glue will remove splinters (just put it on, let it dry and peel off) and is a cheap alternative to those Biore strips.

    Vinegar will clarify your hair (remove the product build up). I pour it on my hair and rinse then wash and condition.

    I am fair and sunburn easily. I spread on a thin layer of sour cream (it sounds icky but it works) and then rinse with tepid water when it dries.

    Duct tape (I'm a Texan, you knew it was coming) is a great lint remover and will hold together the seam/cuff of your pants in a pinch.

    If you need to sanitize something that you can't wash, put it in the freezer. I put my makeup brushes in there periodically. It doesn't take the makeup out of them but will kill any bacteria that causes breakouts (I leave them for a couple of days)

    I put everything in the freezer! My eye and lip liners go in before I sharpen them. Chips/cookies/crackers don't go stale in the freezer (at least a good one that dehumidifies). If I have more fresh herbs than I need, I chop them and freeze in ice trays with a little water to toss into soups. I also do this with marinade and put a few cubes in with meat before I freeze, it marinades as it thaws. I peel the chicken breast off of the bone and put the (still kinda meaty) bones into a bag in the freezer. When I have a few, I boil them for stock and put that into the freezer in cubes.

    When my daughter was teething, I put damp washcloths (make sure they don't have soap/fabric softener residue) in the freezer for her to chew on. The chemicals in teething rings freaked me out. I also pureed veggies and froze them in ice cube trays for convenient homemade baby food. Now I do this with carrots to add to spaghetti sauce or other foods that will mask the flavor for added nutrition.

    If you're dealing with budget woes, put all of your credit cards in a ziploc bag and fill it with water. Put it into the freezer. You can't nuke it and waiting for it to thaw makes you think about your purchase.

    If you have children, put a bell in any box/drawer etc that they should not be in. The shiny bell will attract the child and you'll know they're into it because you hear the ring.

    In a pinch, a spaghetti noodle (dry of course) will work as a long match to light pilots on the stove/water heater.

    Light a candle when you cut onions to keep from crying. If they're too strong, put them in ice water for awhile (cuts the bite).

    I use my shop vac to empty backed up sinks and it sometimes sucks out the clog.

    Plain (unscented) antiperspirant will prevent razor bumps in sensitive areas. Just shave, dry and smooth on in the direction of the hair growth. The best depilatory for the area is (yes, really) found in the African American hair care section and is meant for men's heads. It sounds weird but it works and doesn't burn.

    I'm feeling talkative today so I'll stop myself but I have millions of weird factoids like this in my brain. I'm pretty sure I went into left field and totally off topic... SORRY

  3. #3
    Phantonym
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    Great advice I might use some of these in the future as well. So far, I've only used a bit of vinegar in the water to wash windows, mirrors and to remove limescale from kettles and bathroom/kitchen faucets. Works like a charm.

  4. #4
    Senior Member MonkeyGrass's Avatar
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    You've hit a hobby of mine, alwar!

    Great info, chasingAJ!

    Upping your essential fatty acid intake helps reduce the effects of the sun on your skin. Avocado, coconut oil, fish oils and flax oil are good sources.

    A combination of white vinegar and peroxide (separate squirt bottles) is as about as effective at disinfecting as clorox, and lots less toxic.

    Cockroaches and ants hate cloves! If you interrupt an ant trail with ground cloves or oil, they don't like to cross the line. Soak a cotton ball in clove oil or sprinkle cloves near their suspected point of entry, and it'll keep them out.

    A bit of liquid dawn in your wash cycle makes funky old towels new and fluffy again, because it strips oils better than regular laundry detergent.

    White vinegar sprayed after each shower deters mildew, and, again, it's less toxic (and less expensive) than after-shower spray.

    Cold water takes out fresh blackberry stains and blood instantly.

    Lemon juice is an excellent degreaser.

    Tea tree oil (unless you have very sensitive skin that also can't handle store bought creams) is good for getting rid of pimples. (it's anti-bacterial)

    Eucalyptus oil is good in baths for relaxation and congestion, lavender oil is good for stress

    Chamomile tea is good for insomnia, slippery elm (sold as "throat coat" tea) is great for sore throats, Red raspberry leaf is good for PMS and all it's symptoms, dandelion tea for water retention, peppermint for nausea, ginger root tea (and ginger in general) good for nausea/upset stomach

    Elderberry syrup is great for coughs

    Eating a slice of watermelon is excellent for water retention...it acts as a diuretic. Taking a half hour deep bath is also good: it's gentle pressure on the body pushes the extra fluid back into your system to be peed out, basically.

    A good dose of magnesium with a lot of water is good for constipation, and, of course any fresh food with fiber. And not eating processed flour, of course.

    A garlic clove up the bagingo is good for yeast infections (or so I've heard). No sugar, xylitol and lots of plain yogurt in your diet also help.

    Fresh garlic is amazing for boosting the immune system, but you'll smell like it. Plain yogurt (for the good bacteria) or kefir, vit E, vit C and zinc help, too.

    A little olive oil can be easily infused with garlic by warming it with a fresh clove in the oil, and a few drops in your ear greatly relieves the pain of an earache (and helps kill bacteria from an ear infection).

    Gargling intermittently with saltwater and peroxide can help kill off a throat infection.

    Eating less sugar greatly increases the efficiency of your immune system overall. Sugar is baaaaad juju for the immune system. Suppresses it in a big way. (Which contributes to the holiday illness syndrome.)

    A few doses of goldenseal can kill off a general infection, and a warm poultice of goldenseal on a (closed!) eyelid can shorten the life of an eyelid stye (because it's basically a little infection/zit on the eyelid.


    Skullcap, valerian or a good shot of liquor or great for insomnia. Also turkey, onions or milk, as they contain chemicals that induce drowsiness. A white noise machine and a cool house temp also help immensely.

    Use lotion right after a soaking bath seals moisture into the skin. Using it once your skin is already flakey is fairly pointless in the long run.

    St John's wort is good for depression.

    Arnica (Wolf's bane, mountain arnica, mountain tobacco) oil or lotion almost completely reduces bruising if applied after the initial bangup. Seriously, this *works*. It can be taken internally.

    Arnica also helps sore muscles, as does a bath in epsom salt. It can be taken internally in homeopathic form for this purpose, as well.
    I think I think more than you think I think.

  5. #5
    Senior Member chasingAJ's Avatar
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    MonkeyGrass, I think you're my new best friend. Really cool info!

    I forgot about oregano oil. It is perhaps the most disgusting thing I have ever put in my mouth but 3 drops will clear up a head cold, sinus infection, ear ache (stuffy head). Put it on the back of your tongue and prepare for short term misery but ooh so worth it in the long run.

    Snakes also avoid cloves and some other spice (now I can't remember) so if you put them around the perimeter of your yard, you don't have to worry about snakes.

    I've heard that you should not put essential oils (tea tree and lavender in particular) in the bath with little girls because it can cause problems with their reproductive system. I have nothing to back that up but have been meaning to ask around.

  6. #6
    The Architect Alwar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasingAJ View Post
    Vinegar will clarify your hair (remove the product build up). I pour it on my hair and rinse then wash and condition.
    There is a popular routine called the "no-poo method" where you mix baking soda and water to wash, then rinse with apple cider vinegar and nothing else. There is a temporary phase where your scalp very oily because shampoo causes the body to overproduce it, but it balances out if you can hold out. I tried it and couldn't hold out. May try it again with just baking soda and jojoba oil afterward because the baking soda dries out hair like you wouldn't believe.

    Quote Originally Posted by MonkeyGrass View Post
    You've hit a hobby of mine, alwar!
    I knew you had encyclopedic knowledge of this stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by chasingAJ View Post
    I've heard that you should not put essential oils (tea tree and lavender in particular) in the bath with little girls because it can cause problems with their reproductive system. I have nothing to back that up but have been meaning to ask around.
    Here is some information about that, it appears to affect mainly boys.

    To add more, my mother told me that if you open up your pillow and put a drop of lavender essential oil inside, it will help you sleep.

  7. #7
    failure to thrive AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    gawsh! i just posted a long post and then my connection got disrupted and deleted. does that happen to anyone else? grrrrr. here i go again:

    cool posts y'all! i really like aj's post about credit cards in ice. haha. nice.

    i'll throw some out off the top of my head that i haven't seen mentioned yet:

    *i discovered i like spray oil for my face before i apply a cream. you can make a spray oil that uses the best, most nutritious oils available from nature for your skin and it's quick and easy too. i like evening primrose oil, rosehip seed oil, and olive oil (cuz olive oil is a bit heavier and i have drier skin so i need a more 'clingy' oil. if you have oily skin, i'd just use the first two, and throw in some kukui nut oil, or shea nut oil) a splash of aloe vera gel, and a bit of your favorite essential oil (i like lavender or geranium rose or lemongrass). the essential oil is essential because it has antiseptic qualities which keeps your oils from going bad for a longer shelf life. if you live in a hot climate, keep the spray bottle in the fridge. i also keep the more fragile oils in the fridge--all those mentioned except olive oil. i exfoliate with a loofah and homemade soap, splash with cold water; spritz with a toner using witch hazel extract, aloe vera gel, floral hydrosol, and rain water; and then spray on the oil and gently rub it in. it will soak in quickly. then either apply makeup (after an hour or so) or cover that with a light cream. (the cream is more difficult to make, but i can give y'all the recipe if you desire). i use the spray oil liberally throughout the day and the cream too for that matter, especially around my eyes. the oils are fairly expensive but probably cheaper than buying 'dead' store bought cream. i've been using natural stuff so long now that my skin reacts to stuff from the store.

    *tea tree oil--a few drops on a tampon and inserted for 1-3 hours once or twice for one day will usually cure yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis. i like it straight, but if you are sensitive, cut it with some oil first. it can burn.

    *grapefruit seed extract ($9 for a small bottle) will cure diarrhea usually in one dose. we use 5-7 drops in orange juice for the kids, and 15 drops for adults. it is bitter! this works on traveler's diarrhea or flu diarrhea or food poisoning diarrhea, although it usually takes more doses for the latter.

    *i make salve with local beeswax melted with olive oil, tea tree oil, castor oil, coconut oil (some people are sensitive to coconut oil), and aloe vera gel. let it harden and keep in fridge. [if you feel adventurous and have an herb garden, consider making herbal infusions. just put a dried herb/flower like arnica or comfrey or anything else you like in a clean jar with olive oil for a month and then use that oil in your salve for extra healing properties. i made some infused oil from witch hazel bark and leaves and used it in muscle rub and it actually tingled my skin. it was amazing!] keep the salve CLEAN! and use on wounds. keep wounds moist and covered for best healing. change dressings twice per day. tea tree oil kills bacteria, viruses, fungus, and protozoa.

    if i think of more, i'll post them. thanks for all the great input. this thread is fun!
    Ni/Ti/Fe/Si
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  8. #8
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Very interesting! Beware the garlic clove though, Monkeygrass - I'd go with the tea tree oil instead. I have used garlic clove on a plantar's wart on the bottom of my foot. It will burn through the skin within a day (although I found that on the bottom of my foot it always shifted under the bandaid to patches of healthy skin and burned them off instead). I'm just sayin', it could hurt if put somewhere...sensitive!

    I didn't know that about fatty acids neutralizing effects of the sun. Or about cloves and snakes/ants.

    I knew about asparagus, but never realized that watermelon was also a dieuretic.

    I've always thought it would be interesting to make different cool concoctions like you named A-G-A, but I'm too lazy to go out and buy the stuff and do it. Do you feel like they are more effective than boughten skin care stuff, or just more natural and less irritating, plus fun to custom design?

  9. #9
    failure to thrive AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    Very interesting! Beware the garlic clove though, Monkeygrass - I'd go with the tea tree oil instead. I have used garlic clove on a plantar's wart on the bottom of my foot. It will burn through the skin within a day (although I found that on the bottom of my foot it always shifted under the bandaid to patches of healthy skin and burned them off instead). I'm just sayin', it could hurt if put somewhere...sensitive!

    I didn't know that about fatty acids neutralizing effects of the sun. Or about cloves and snakes/ants.

    I knew about asparagus, but never realized that watermelon was also a dieuretic.

    I've always thought it would be interesting to make different cool concoctions like you named A-G-A, but I'm too lazy to go out and buy the stuff and do it. Do you feel like they are more effective than boughten skin care stuff, or just more natural and less irritating, plus fun to custom design?
    gosh, you know i don't know about effective if you are talking wrinkles, signs of aging, skin irritation, acne (although i have a lot less acne with my spray oil because the oils have antiseptic qualities as well), etc. i have very dry skin and since i hail from texas, and had excessive sun damage as a child, i think my skin is fairly challenging when it comes to slowing the signs of time. but, having used natural and real (live?) stuff for so long now, i just recoil at using store stuff. it's like my body just tells me "NO!" you know what i mean? even if i don't at all feel like making something, i will, just because it feels so good to me and my skin now. and my friends who use it feel the same. i like that it stays for a while, it feels good going on, but also lends real moisturizing qualities that are good for your skin. (just read the ingredients list on store stuff and you'll know what i'm talking about) it's kinda like when you've been eating organic whole foods and you try to eat at mcdonalds again.......you really are aware of the differences then.......... (at least for me)

    it's almost something deeper for me. it's about living simply and being healthy. and that just feels good.
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  10. #10
    Sniffles
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    Yes I sometimes use them; especially after my experiences with Russian folk medicine.

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