Some home remedies are supported by science, while others are tall tales. A doctor tells us what works—according to scientific research.
Most of us have tried a home remedy at some point—some work and some don’t.
According to Elizabeth Kightlinger, MD, an internal medicine physician with Cleveland Clinic, one home remedy backed by science is using duct tape to remove a wart.
“You want to put it on the wart and you want to leave it on for about six days,” she said. “You want to give it substantial time to have an occlusive property over that wart. Take it off, scrub it. Then you want to reapply the tape again and leave it on for another six days and repeat this process.”
And it looks like grandma was right. Research suggests chicken soup can be good for a cold.
“The chicken noodle soup actually increased the velocity of movement of the mucus in your nose better compared to hot water and better compared to cold water,” said Dr. Kightlinger. “So, there actually is science that it may relieve some of that congestion and mucus and make you feel better.”
If you have a cough, research shows honey may help.
“There are a lot of studies that found that giving a couple of teaspoons of honey at night can actually reduce symptoms, reduce coughing, and improve sleep,” Dr. Kightlinger said. “The last point I want to make about the honey, is you always want to make sure you’re not giving it to anyone younger than one year of age because honey does have a risk of infant botulism, which is a very serious disease.”
For those dealing with tummy troubles, products containing ginger can provide relief.
“There’s a lot of data showing that it actually can be quite effective for nausea,” said Dr. Kightlinger. “There are studies that have used it in pregnant women and chemotherapy patients and the overall trend was that these are helpful medications.”
If you’re reaching for an herbal medicine, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider first. Some can interact with certain medical conditions and medications.
It’s best to forgo home remedies if you’re in severe pain, having trouble breathing, or if you’re not able to eat, drink or keep fluids down.
Dr. Kightlinger recommends contacting your doctor if the home remedy you’re using isn’t working, if it’s making your ailment worse or if you develop new symptoms.
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