These Simple, Old-Fashioned Solutions Work Double Duty for Multiple Ailments–and Cost Next to Nothing

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Doctor visits are unavoidable – and advisable – for persistent or serious medical problems. But many common ailments such as colds, nausea and other discomforts can be alleviated by the same few home treatments.

  1. Soak – Everything from sore feet, minor cuts, insomnia and, ahem, hemorrhoids can benefit from a warm soak. Have a fever? Try a lukewarm bath after taking aspirin or other medicine (if your temp is under 104 degrees Fahrenheit, rest and drink plenty of fluids). To treat insomnia, take a bath two hours before bedtime.
  2. Honey – For cold sufferers, honey in a hot cup of tea is warm and cozy — a soothing way to get fluids into the body. But honey isn’t just a psychological comfort. The Mayo Clinic cites a study in which children were given 2 teaspoons of honey before bed and concluded that honey may work as well as over-the-counter cough suppressants (just don’t give it to children under age 1). Honey may also help cure insomnia: Try a teaspoonful stirred into a glass of milk.
  3. Exercise – Not only for physical fitness, regular exercise can be as effective for mild depression as medication, according to recent studies. It also helps ease chronic pain by keeping joints flexible and lessening the brain’s perception of pain thanks to the same mood-enhancing chemicals that keep your spirits up.
  4. Ginger – This tasty root can be made into a tea, chewed raw or eaten as candy to relieve nausea, indigestion, cold symptoms and possibly even arthritis. Make a tea with lemon and honey when you’re feeling unwell or inhale steam from boiled ginger to treat congestion.
  5. Garlic – Garlic’s antiseptic and antibacterial abilities may help fight the germs that cause colds, flu, sore throat, sinusitis and bronchitis. Garlic has also been used as an anti-fungal to treat athlete’s foot and to abate the symptoms of yeast infections. Its anti-oxidants may help prevent digestive cancers and heart disease, so try making garlic a regular part of your diet.