Home Remedies from Your Pantry

June 2, 2011
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

What quick fixes are hiding in your home?

Whether it’s a scraped knee, a painful sunburn, or high blood pressure, it can’t hurt to find a fast, effective, and cost friendly home remedy. You may be surprised to learn how many easy fixes you already have in your own home that will relieve a variety of discomforts—and be good to your wallet. Here are a few of my favorites.

Cayenne Pepper. It does much more than create a tongue-tingling meal. Cayenne helps keep the heart healthy and strong. As most of us can attest, cayenne is a diaphoretic—a sweat-inducing and thermogenic spice. Its hotness comes from a high concentration of capsicum—a substance that has been firing up the circulation for centuries. It gives cayenne the power to get the blood pumping efficiently, stimulate the body’s metabolic rate, and help clean fat out of the arteries. Cayenne is also great to reduce blood pressure. You can experience fairly rapid blood pressure-lowering results by taking one-half to one teaspoon of cayenne mixed with a glass of warm water twice daily.

Here’s a potentially life-saving cayenne pepper tip: If you or a loved one starts to feel pain in the chest, left arm, or shoulder that signals the beginning of a heart attack, besides calling 911 and/or administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), chew an aspirin and take a tablespoon of Tabasco or two cayenne pepper capsules. The latter can help stabilize heart function until help arrives!

Honey. Scraped knees are a summer staple for any active child, but an infection can put a damper on the fun. After thoroughly washing and drying the area, cover the wound with honey before placing a bandage over it. A natural antimicrobial, honey can speed healing, prevent a nasty infection, and it has even been found to reduce inflammation. Properly cared for wounds as a child mean scar-free knees as an adult.

Oatmeal. As much as we try to avoid it, sometimes it happens to the best of SPF-protected skin—a sunburn. Just like what mom would have you bathe in when you had chickenpox as a child, an oatmeal bath can offer huge relief to sunburned skin. Hormone-like substances known as prostaglandins in your body dilate your blood vessels, thus making the pain of sunburn worse. Oatmeal acts as a topical anti-inflammatory—so a 30 minute soak in mild temperature water mixed with 1 cup crushed oatmeal (it should have a fine texture) does the trick. Plus, it’s also a great solution for bug bites and rashes.

Cloves. You have your bug banishing candle burning and you’ve slathered yourself with bug spray, but what about the insects crawling on the ground? Try sprinkling a handful of cloves, which are actually flower buds that have been picked and dried before they blossomed. They serve as a natural insect repellent for ants and other crawling insects, so you’ll never have to throw ant-infested picnic food out again.

Castor Oil Pack. Feeling blah? A castor oil pack is used to stimulate the liver and gallbladder as well as to draw toxins out of your body. The use of castor oil packs often result in a remarkable sense of well-being, and decrease elevated cholesterol and liver enzyme levels in the process.

You will need: 100 percent pure, cold-pressed castor oil; wool (not cotton) flannel; and a heating pad. To do the treatment, follow these easy steps:

1) Fold the wool flannel into three or four layers and soak it with castor oil.
2) Place the soaked flannel in a baking dish and heat it slowly in the oven until it’s hot to your touch.
3) Lie down, gently rub 3 tablespoons of castor oil on your abdomen, then place the soaked flannel across your abdomen.
4) Cover the soaked flannel with plastic wrap or a plastic garbage bag.
5) Finally, cover the soaked flannel and plastic with the heating pad for 1 hour, and keep it comfortably hot (but not too hot).

When you finish, wash the oil from your abdomen. You can keep the oil soaked flannel sealed in plastic wrap or place it in a plastic storage bag for further use, since castor oil does not become rancid as quickly as many other oils.

Have a home remedy tip? Please share!

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

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  1. Sarah

    Why wool flannel and not cotton? Some people have a wool allergy.

  2. Anne Peterson

    My teenage grandson has recently been beseiged with warts on his hands. After several unsuccessful visits and treatments at the doctor’s ~ with $20 co-pays, my daughter searched the internet for other solutions and found that vinegar might do the trick. So she saturated a cotton ball with vinegar and placed on each of several warts with a band-aid. Within a short time, all warts were gone!! Skin is smooth again and no more embarrassed hands for a young man.

  3. Eileen Jackson

    Apple Cider Vinegar is useful for a variety of remedies. Use it to gargle at the first signs of a sore throat. @ tablespoons of apple cider Vinegar in a 1/4 cup of warm water. Gargle with a mouthful several times. be sure to spit out the potion. Swallow the lat bit in the glass. This works. well. Just finished getting rid of a sore throat.

  4. liz

    Everthing I’ve ever read about compresses uses wool flannel. It may work better with the heat than cotton.

  5. Administrator

    Great tips, folks!~ Apple cider vinegar is one of the best natural remedies on the planet. Also good to get rid of dandruff and clear up acne.

  6. Renee

    I had a wart on my finger that would not go away, even after a Dr’s. visit and trying OTC removal products. I searched the internet and found Apple Cider Vinegar as well. I applied it on some cotton and wrapped my finger in a bandaid, the next day the wart was green and black. Another application and the wart turned black and dried up and went away.

  7. Suzette

    My 10-year-old gets acid reflux on occasion. I used 1 tbls. apple cider vinegar with 1/8th tsp baking soda to clear it up within minutes! All the over-the-counter products didn’t work.

    I also have her on Inner-Ecco Keifer Acidolfilus and the reflux is gone. Inner-Ecco brand has 1 trillion cultures and one of them is working for her.

    Interestingly, she near sewage on the ground because a toilet backed up. The next day she had acid reflux and she swears it was from standing near that sewage. Does anyone have any insight as to how this could happen? And treatment?

  8. liz

    Suzette, thanks for sharing what is working for your daughter. Being near sewage could have given her some pathogenic bacteria exposure or even parasites. Dr. Ann Louise has formulated wonderful herbal parasite remedies.

  9. LJ Smith

    I used to have what I call chronic heartburn. I was running to the Dr for over ten years w/ problems. I was given Tagamet, Prevacid,Antacids, baking soda and water and on and on and on. Finally I read about about taking Cayenne caps. I thought it meant I had to take it forever. Took it something like four caps a day for a month. The heartburn stopped. That was over six yrs ago. I rarely get heartburn nowadays.



  1. Home remedies from your pantry – New Life Natural Foods - […] following list comes from a blog post written by Ann Louise Gittleman, a nationally-known […]

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