Health

5 Home Remedies for Embarrassing Health Woes

From flaky scalps and gassy bellies to cold sores.

This time of year can wreak havoc on our bodies — often times in embarrassing ways. If you’re suffering from winter’s wrath, not to fret: We’ve got five expert-recommended home remedies for better health and fast relief. Read on for our top tips.

Sweaty Skin? Dab on Some Tea Tree

Stress hormones can fuel the growth of stinky underarm bacteria. By dabbing on full-strength tea tree oil ($9.95, Amazon) before applying deodorant, and you’ll cut your risk of underarm odors by 71 percent.

Got Gas? Fight It With Fennel Seeds

It’s hard to sit through social gatherings when you’re trying not to toot. Fennel seeds ($9.79, Amazon) can help! Three different studies suggest that munching on a small palmful of these licorice-tasting seeds after every meal cuts gassiness by as much as 67 percent. Thanks goes to a fennel compound called cineole that stalls the growth of gas-producing bacteria in the gut.

Funky Breath? Freshen With Cinnamon

If you’re worried about going in for hugs due to malodorous breath, gargling with cinnamon water twice daily could cut your risk of bad breath by 85 percent. Microbiologist Lucas Rosa, Ph.D., explains that cinnamon ($6.39, Amazon) quickly kills the oral bacteria that produce smelly sulfur compounds. Bring 8 ounces of water to a boil, take it off the heat, then add 1 tsp. of cinnamon. Steep it for 10 minutes; strain, cool, and gargle.

Cold Sore? Heal It With Honey

Dabbing a cold sore with raw, unpasteurized honey ($12.95, Amazon) four times daily will cut the redness and pain by 57 percent — plus, it heals cold sores 43 percent faster than prescription creams can, Australian researchers report. You can credit honey’s rich stores of natural antibiotics and enzymes, which ease inflammation, calm irritated pain nerves, and kick-start new tissue growth.

Feeling Flaky? Try a Little Lemongrass

Mix 15 drops of lemongrass essential oil ($5.99, Amazon) into a dollop of your usual shampoo and massage this mix into your scalp for two minutes before rinsing, and you can wear your darkest dress without a care in the world, British scientists say. Biochemist Carol Phillips, Ph.D., explains that lemongrass oil kills up to 74 percent of the fungi that cause scalp rashes and flaking—often in as little as three days.

As an added bonus, lemongrass can also destroy up to 83 percent of smelly foot bacteria and fungi, allowing you kick off your boots worry-free! Simply combine 8 cups of very warm water with 1⁄2 cup of Epsom salts and 15 drops of lemongrass oil, then soak your feet for 10 minutes, twice weekly. Aah!

This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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