Turns out old fashioned home remedies really are the best! New research proves your grandma’s favorite folk cures quickly eliminate aches and pains — no Rx required.
Muscle ache? Listen to a good story.
When you twisted your ankle on the playground as a kid, your nana likely eased the ouch with a good story. Now, a Brazilian study suggests listening to tales calms muscle aches by 60 percent! Hearing a fictional story read aloud for 30 minutes soothes the nervous system, taming muscle-tensing stress hormones and triggering the release of painkilling oxytocin. A grownup fix: Cue up an audiobook!
Stomachache? Cuddle a heating pad.
A new British study found the classic fix eases a stomachache in as little as two minutes. As researcher Brian King of the University College London explains, heating pads and hot water bottles deactivate aches at a molecular level deep within the abdomen, just like prescription painkillers. The gentle warmth on your stomach is enough to block pain receptors, easing discomfort.
Headache? Grab frozen peas.
Since the 1950s, women have reached for a bag of frozen peas to quiet a headache. Today, University of Hawaii scientists confirm doing so cuts head pain scores by 77 percent in 30 minutes. The trick: Instead of placing the pack on your forehead, drape it over the front of your neck. This cools the blood f lowing to the brain and curbs pain signals.
Knee aches? Sip ginger.
Sipping water mixed with 1 ⁄4 tsp. of ground ginger eases knee pain as effectively as Nsaids, suggests University of Miami research.
Achy joints? Rub on olive oil.
Italian and Greek grannies have always kept extravirgin olive oil (EVOO) handy, not just for meals but to ease joint pain. Now, a study in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology shows that massaging in EVOO is more effective than prescription Nsaids when applied daily for two weeks. Its anti-inflammatory compounds block pain-triggering enzymes.
Skin irritated? Quell itchiness with a potato.
If autumn’s dry weather has left you with red, itchy skin, rub a raw potato slice on affected areas and let dry. Research in Food and Agriculture Immunology found that the spud contains pain-relieving alkaloids and anti-inflammatory compounds that soothe irritation.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.