13 Everyday Remedies From Your Kitchen

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Ordinary Remedies From Your Kitchen Cupboard

Brightly colored spices on spoons
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Many everyday items in your kitchen cupboard can double as ingredients in DIY remedies for skin, hair, and wellness concerns, from acne to heartburn to dry skin and hair. Click through to find out which herbs, spices, and foods made the list!

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Coconut Oil

A jar of coconut oil with towels and a razor
Cathy Wong

Said to offer numerous benefits, coconut oil is a multi-tasking ingredient often used for hair, skin, and wellness concerns. Here are 26 easy ways to use coconut oil (some of my favorite DIY recipes are the coconut oil sugar scrub and the homemade shaving cream).

When using DIY coconut remedies, be sure not to get them on clothes, towels, and bedding because it can leave stubborn oil stains. Also, avoid getting water or moisture into homemade products as it encourages mold growth. Read up on 10 common mistakes people make when using coconut oil in DIY remedies.

Find out more about the benefits of coconut oil.

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Apple Cider Vinegar

A jar and glass of apple cider vinegar
Cathy Wong

A type of vinegar made from fermenting apple cider, apple cider vinegar is said to have a variety of health benefits. It's sometimes touted as a weight loss aid and dandruff-fighter.

One of the most popular folk remedies using apple cider vinegar involves mixing one teaspoon of honey and one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water and drinking it 30 minutes before meals as a digestive aid. 

Other ways to use it include: as a DIY clarifying hair rinse, a natural deodorant, and to ease a sore throat. You can find out more about these and other uses in 12 clever ways to use apple cider vinegar.

Just be sure to avoid these 6 common mistakes that people unknowingly make when using apple cider vinegar.

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Black Tea

A mug of black tea and some tea bags
Cathy Wong

The most common variety of tea, black tea contains the most caffeine (about 50 milligrams per cup) and has high levels of antioxidant compounds that have been linked to lower cholesterol levels.

Related: Drinking tea to Stave Off Heart Disease? and Can Tea Help to Fight Off Diabetes?

There are many other reasons to keep black tea in your kitchen cupboard. Rich in tannins, black tea may help to soothe a sore throat and shrink undereye puffiness.

It's sometimes used as a home remedy for mild sunburn or razor burn. Typically, three to five tea bags are placed in a container of warm to hot water and allowed to steep. The tea bags are removed and the container is placed in the fridge to cool. A washcloth is then dipped into the tea, slightly wrung out, and then applied gently on the affected area.

Another handy remedy is to use a piece of a tea bag as a quick fix for a broken fingernail. Simply cut a small corner of the tea bag and press it on the broken part of the nail, adhering it with nail glue. The edges can be filed down.

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Honey

A glass bowl of honey with a honey dipper
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A time-honored home remedy, honey has long been used as a remedy for sore throat, either on its own or as an ingredient is this warm lemon drink. Honey may also soothe coughs more effectively than over-the-counter medications, a study shows. The study involved 139 children (ages two to five), all of whom were dealing with coughs caused by upper respiratory infections.

For the study, participants received honey, dextromethorphan (a cough suppressant), diphenhydramine (an antihistamine), or no medication. After about 24 hours, scientists tested all participants for the frequency and severity of their coughs. Study results showed that the 2.5-ml dose of honey provided greater cough relief, compared to both medications and the control treatment.

Rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and antibacterial compounds, honey has been found to protect against sinusitis in past research. If you're seeking a natural alternative to cough medication, you may also want to consider marshmallow and mullein (two herbs known to ease irritation in the throat).

Related:

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Oats

bowl of oats
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Oats contain beta-glucan, a substance that may offer a number of health benefits, including stimulating the immune system, keeping cholesterol levels in check, and helping to manage diabetes.

Oats also contain anti-inflammatory compounds known as avenanthramides and are used topically for sensitive skin. Typically, raw oats are ground into a fine powder and then mixed with honey and some water. The oat mixture is then applied as a face mask for 10 minutes then wiped off and rinsed with water.  An oatmeal bath may help soothe dry, itchy skin. Raw oats are typically soaked in a bowl of water (preferably overnight), then the mixture is strained and the oat water can be added to a warm bath.

Typically included in anti-inflammatory diets, oats may help to protect against constipation (see other foods for constipation). The soluble fiber in oats also helps to smooth out blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of sugar into the blood.

Related: 5 Foods for a Better Mood

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Cinnamon

A bunch of cinnamon sticks resting on a mound of ground cinnamon
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One of the oldest known spices, cinnamon is a kitchen staple that works in many recipes, from oatmeal to chai to baked goods. But there are also many reasons people use it for wellness. Preliminary research suggests that it may play a role in the diet for diabetes prevention. One tasty way to have cinnamon is in chai tea, or you can have it plain in this cinnamon tea recipe.

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Olive Oil

Olive oil being poured into a measuring cup
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Found in many kitchen cupboards, olive oil is often used as an ingredient in DIY hair treatments and face masks, usually in combination with other ingredients such as honey and essential oils (such as lavender essential oil and tea tree essential oil).

Olive oil may also aid in stroke prevention, according to a study published in the journal Neurology. For the study, researchers looked at data on 7,625 adults (ages 65 and up). Study results showed that those who regularly used olive oil in their cooking or as a dressing had a 41 percent lower risk of stroke (compared to those who never consumed olive oil).

In past studies, scientists have found that including olive oil in your diet may help protect against heart disease, reduce diabetes risk, keep blood pressure and cholesterol in check, and help prevent obesity.

For more help in preventing stroke, make sure to follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly, manage your stress, monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol, and maintain a healthy weight. There's some evidence that green tea, omega-3 fatty acids, and garlic may also help curb your stroke risk.

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Green Tea

A pot of steeping loose leaf green tea
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An antioxidant found in green tea may help enhance immune function, according to preliminary research published in the journal Immunology Letters.

In a series of lab experiments, scientists discovered that a compound called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) helped rev up production of regulatory T cells (a type of cell known to suppress autoimmune disease). Given this finding, the study's authors suggest that green tea may help control autoimmune disorders (such as rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes). However, more research needs to be conducted before green tea can be recommended in the treatment or prevention of any autoimmune disease.

Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, green tea may help protect against several other conditions. For instance, previously published studies suggest that drinking green tea could aid in type 2 diabetes prevention, keep cholesterol in check, fight uterine fibroids, and guard against depression.

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Turmeric

turmeric root and powder
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Scientists have shed new light on how curcumin—a compound found in the curry spice turmeric—can help guard cells against all kinds of disease-promoting damage. For a study, researchers explored curcumin's effects in a series of lab tests. Their findings indicate that curcumin inserts itself into cell membranes and works to make them more orderly. By becoming more disciplined, the study's authors explain, the cells can then more efficiently fight off infection and malignancy.

In past research, curcumin has been shown to deliver antioxidant and antimicrobial effects. One 2008 study found that the compound may help reduce risk of heart failure, while another 2008 report suggested that curcumin could help prevent type-2 diabetes.

Practitioners of ayurvedic medicine have long used curcumin in the treatment of inflammation-related conditions, such as arthritis. To include more curcumin in your diet, try sipping turmeric tea or dining on curry dishes.

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Sugar

A bowl of natural sugar
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Sugar is often used in DIY scrubs to exfoliate skin as it is less abrasive than salt. You can find several sugar scrub recipes using coconut oil in my article on 26 easy ways to use coconut oil. Coconut oil can clog pores, so people with acne-prone skin may prefer sugar scrubs made with other oils or with honey, aloe vera gel, or oat water as a base.

For smooth lips, a sugar treatment made with one part sugar and one part olive oil can be applied to lips and left on for a minute before rinsing.

Brown sugar is one of the softest types of sugar, making it good for facial scrubs or for sensitive skin. It should still be rubbed gently into the skin to avoid irritation (ask a dermatologist or licensed esthetician about the suitability of sugar scrubs for your skin type).

Some sources say that a paste made of sugar and water can be used as a treatment to remove grass stains from clothes. The paste can be applied to grass stains and left on for an hour before washing as normal.

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Ginger

ginger root and powder
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Ginger may help ease functional dyspepsia, according to a small study from the World Journal of Gastroenterology. A condition marked by abdominal pain, functional dyspepsia often causes an uncomfortable feeling of fullness after eating (similar to the symptoms of indigestion).

For the study, 11 people with functional dyspepsia took either ginger supplements or a placebo prior to eating a meal. Among those given ginger, researchers noted speedier gastric emptying (the time it takes for food to leave the stomach and enter the small intestine). However, ginger did not appear to improve gastrointestinal symptoms.

Ginger may help treat other stomach troubles. For instance, research shows that the anti-inflammatory herb can help alleviate nausea caused by morning sickness. There's also some evidence that ginger may relieve stomach upset experienced by people undergoing chemotherapy and help to lessen some of the symptoms of travel sickness (carsickness or seasickness) such as nausea and dizziness.

Popular ways of taking ginger are to eat crystallized ginger or drink ginger tea or ginger ale. Find out more about the health benefits of ginger.

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Nuts

bowls of several different types of nuts
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Research shows that nuts may offer a natural approach to cutting cholesterol. In a review of 25 clinical trials with a total of 583 participants, scientists found that consuming about 2.4 ounces of nuts daily was linked to an average 5.1 percent drop in total cholesterol levels. That same amount of nut consumption was also associated with a 7.4 percent decrease in LDL ("bad") cholesterol and an 8.3 increase in HDL ("good") cholesterol).

Rich in healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, nuts may be helpful in lowering risk of heart disease, according to the study's authors. A number of other foods (such as oats, legumes, and fiber-rich fruits and vegetables) may also help you achieve healthy cholesterol levels and protect heart health. What's more, some studies suggest that certain natural substances (such as cinnamon and red yeast rice) may help keep cholesterol in check as well.

Related: Natural Remedies for High Cholesterol

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Chili Peppers

Wooden bowls of red Chili Peppers
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Capsaicin—the chemical that gives chili peppers their spicy kick—may promote weight loss, according to a study on animals. The study's findings suggest that capsaicin may be useful in the fight against obesity.

For the study, scientists fed lab rats high-fat diets with or without capsaicin. Results revealed that the capsaicin-treated rats lost eight percent of their body weight over the course of the study. What's more, capsaicin appeared to trigger changes in the treatment group's levels of at least 20 proteins involved in breaking down fats.

In past studies, capsaicin has been found to lower calorie intake (possibly by suppressing appetite) and reduce levels of blood fats (harmful substances known to contribute to heart disease). The compound also appears to aid in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, back pain, and psoriasis.

Find out more about the benefits of capsaicin.

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Tips

Shelves full of canning jars
Cathy Wong

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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