Anybody can pop into a drugstore to pick up pain medication or a skincare product. But if you know how to make remedies at home that actually work?Well, that's when you can officially consider yourself a self-sufficient adult. While it's obviously OK to use store bought products, nothing's quite as satisfying as relieving a headache with ingredients from your fridge, or fixing a skin issue all on your own.
DIY remedies can make you feel near-magical, and super grown up. But taking care of yourself — whether it's curing a headache, cramps, a skin issues, or the common cold — also just feels good. "There are so many ways to support your body, and taking care of yourself can be profoundly empowering," Maria Geyman, a board-certified naturopathic physician, tells Bustle. It really is adulting at its finest.
Not to mention, a few DIY skills can even save you in times of desperation. (Like when you get cramps at 3 a.m. and the drugstore isn't open.) As food and lifestyle blogger Krystin Dornik says, "It’s important to have go-to home remedies for everyday issues that come up so that you aren’t frazzled when you are in need. Home remedies save you time, money, and headache." And, they can even cure your headache. Read on for a few great tips, so you can look after yourself all by yourself.
1. Try Hydrotherapy For Your Next Headache
If you want to ease your headache without the help of drugs, go ahead and give hydrotherapy a try. "At the onset of headaches get a cold towel to wrap around the top of your head or your neck and put your feet in a tub of hot water," says Geyman. "This brings almost instantaneous headache relief." So easy, and yet so effective.
2. Put Ginger In Your Tea To Ease Cramps
If you haven't tried it, ginger tea is one of the best remedies for cramps. And it's easy to make. "Peel a whole ginger root, cut it up, bring filtered water to a boil, and pop that ginger in for at least 15 minutes before drinking," Geyman says. She recommends brewing a big batch and keeping it in your fridge to sip on in the days leading up to your period. Genius.
3. Drink Veggie Broth To Help Your Cold
Besides being incredibly soothing, sipping hot vegetable broth can help ease your cold symptoms. "Veggie broths naturally have vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes," says Geyman. To make it, she recommends cooking fresh leeks, onions, celery root, burdock, garlic, ginger, and carrots in a pot of water with salt for 45 minutes. Then, separate the veggies and use the broth as a soup, or just drink it straight. You'll feel better in no time.
4. Soak In A Warm Tub To Ease Anxiety
The next time you're feeling anxious, fill your bathtub with warm water, add a few salts and essential oils, and get to soakin'. "Getting in a warm bath at the end of the day is so helpful for anxiety, and adding Epsom salts and essential oils is an easy, quick way to make the experience even more spa-like," Geyman says. Epsom salts contain magnesium, which helps calm the body. And for a relaxing scent, try lavender oil.
5. Smooth On A Honey Mask For Brighter Skin
If your skin's been looking a little dull lately, you can shell out for a facial or a fancy cream. Or, you can make your own honey mask at home. "It’s anti-inflammatory properties will reduce redness and repair the skin," says Dornik. "Apply a dab of honey to desired areas or all over your face and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Rinse with luke warm water." Easy as that.
6. Rub On A Sugar Scrub For Dry Skin
Scaly skin certainly doesn't feel nice, so do yourself a favor and fix it with a sugar scrub. "Just add a half cup olive oil to one cup salt or sugar, rub vigorously on skin, and wash off," says Rachel Delia, co-founder of Flask Natural Products. "The sugar or salt exfoliates, while the oil moisturizes your skin." You can also try pink Himalayan sea salt, or brown sugar for a gentler scrub.
7. Create A Lavender Bed Spray For Better Sleep
If you've been struggling to fall asleep, it may be time to whip up a soothing bed spray. Lavender oil, again, is a great choice since it helps fight insomnia. "Smelling lavender essential oil has been shown in studies to reduce anxiety, and help improve sleep quality," Delia says. "Simply add 20 drops of lavender oil to one ounce water in a spray bottle, then lightly spray your pillow ... before bed."
8. Heal Dry Lips With Honey
Honey can also be great for your lips, especially if you mix it with brown sugar to make a scrub. "Take your finger and gently rub this mixture into your lips," says board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. John Diaz. "Next apply coconut oil to hydrate and soothe the skin. Cleanse with a wet cloth and apply your favorite lip balm to seal in hydration." I've done this, and it definitely makes a noticeable difference.
9. Apply Green Tea To Bug Bites
The next time your legs are covered in bug bites, don't freak out. Simply dampen a green tea bag and put it in the fridge until it gets cool. Then apply it to your bite. "The tea compounds help with inflammation and the cold assists in soothing the itch," says Amy Lawhorne, the vice president of Mosquito Squad. She also suggests applying banana peel, toothpaste, or Preparation H to help soothe itchiness.
10. Take Magnesium To Fight Off A Cold
If your body is lacking magnesium, adding some to your diet might be a good idea — especially since it can help ward off a cold. As diet and nutrition expert Carolyn Dean, MD, ND tells me, magnesium increases the activity of the part of the immune system involved in the formation of antibodies, which helps cells protect themselves from bacteria and viruses.
11. Use A Vitamin C Mask To Heal Acne
If acne has been cropping up on your face and body, then you should make a face mask with plenty of vitamin C. "Vitamin C is an antioxidant and helps your skin produce more collagen, which helps with scarring and improves elasticity," says board-certified medical doctor Jacqueline Schaffer, MD. To make it, mix a fourth cup almond meal, two tablespoons ground orange peel, one tablespoon coconut yogurt, and one teaspoon agave syrup. Apply it to your face with your fingers and let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse.
12. Keep Bugs Away With An Essential Oil Spray
If you're not too keen on spraying chemicals all over your body, then you might want to know how to make a safer bug spray at home. As naturopath Dr. Gabrielle Francis tells me, you'll need 20 drops of eucalyptus oil, 20 drops cedar wood oil, 10 drops tea tree oil, 10 drops geranium oil, and a two ounce carrier oil such as jojoba or almond. Mix it all together in a 4 ounce container and apply to your skin as needed (avoiding your eyes). "Mosquitos hate essential oils," she says. Music to your ears, right?
13. Soothe Achey Muscles With Epsom Salts
If you don't have Epsom salt on hand, here's another reason (or two) to pick it up. "Not only is it effective in baths to soothe muscle aches, but it can also be added to your face wash, your conditioner, and used to make a body scrub," Nicki Carrea, founder of Genuine Glow Skin Care, tells Bustle. For muscle aches, simply pour some into your bath and let yourself relax.
Sometimes taking care of yourself is as easy as that. Add these DIY tricks to your arsenal and you'll be able to cure some annoying issues — like cramps and headaches — no matter what.
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