6 Natural Cures And Home Remedies That Really Work

Keep these expert-approved home remedies on hand to treat bruises, cuts, burns, rashes, and bee stings safely and effectively.

March 10, 2017
Aloe vera is an effective home remedy for burns

Spring is just around the corner, people. And along with all that extra time spent basking in the glorious sunshine comes the usual crop of warm-weather woes like bumps, cuts, and stings. (Oh, my.)

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If you’d rather avoid reaching for the usual ibuprofen and antibiotic creams, options for natural home remedies abound. Stock your first-aid kit with these all-natural, science-backed home remedies, and rest easy knowing you’ve got options for when that first seasonal injury strikes. Remember to always consult your doctor before trying any type of new treatment or remedy. 

Use Arnica cream for bruises and sore muscles
Use Arnica For Bruises And Sore Muscles

Overdid it during your workout, or took an accidental tumble? Try rubbing an ointment or cream made with this perennial yellow flower on sore spots. It’s an effective alternative to NSAIDs for soothing everyday aches and pains, suggests one European Journal of Sports Science study. That could be because arnica sesquiterpene lactones, compounds that boast anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, says Dr. Joseph Feuerstein, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at Columbia University and Director of Integrative Medicine at Stamford Hospital in Connecticut. Just avoid using arnica on broken skin, since it can irritate wounds. (Here are 8 more natural alternatives to Tylenol.)

Try it: Boiron Arnicare Cream

Use Tea Tree Oil For Cuts And Scrapes
Use Tea Tree Oil For Cuts And Scrapes

Use the pale yellow oil, derived from the leaves of the tea tree, to keep infections and inflammation at bay. Subjects who used tea tree oil on infected wounds actually healed faster than those who used conventional antibiotics, found a Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine study.

Try it: Since applying tea tree essential oil directly to a cut or scrape would be irritating, dilute a few drops of Plant Therapy Organic Tea Tree Oil  in just-boiled water (boiling sterilizes the water).  Dip a cloth into the mixture, and apply the cloth to the wound like a poultice, says naturopathic doctor Carolyn Dean, author of The Complete Natural Guide to Women’s Health. (Never use tea tree oil on wounds near the mouth, since it can be toxic when ingested.) 

Use Lavender Essential Oil for Bee Stings
Use Lavender Essential Oil For Bee Stings

Lavender essential oil can do more than just lull you to sleep. When it comes to stings, lavender essential oil is a triple threat: It boasts anti-inflammatory properties to fight swelling, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties to reduce the risk of infection, and analgesic properties to relieve discomfort, concluded a recent Brazilian review.

Try it: Apply a few drops of NOW Foods Organic Lavender Oil directly to the affected area, Dean says.

Use Oatmeal for Itchy Skin
Use Oatmeal For Itchy Skin

For problems like poison ivy or hives, head to your pantry. Oats contain avenathramides, anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine compounds that can help ease itchy skin, says Feuerstein.

Related: Here’s What Happened When We Put 10 Natural Mosquiteo Repellents To The Test  

Try it: Put 1/4 cup rolled oats in a cloth bag, soak the bag in hot water for 5-10 minutes, then wring out the liquid and apply directly to the rash, recommends Dean. For allover itching, put 1 cup rolled oats in a cloth bag, swirl the bag in a warm bath, and soak. 

Use Peppermint Oil for Headaches
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Use Peppermint Oil for Headaches

Get this: When it comes to tension headaches, applying peppermint oil to the forehead and temples could be as effective as taking 1,000 mg of acetaminophen, found one German study. The icy-cool oil may be effective for fighting migraines, too. One small study found that 60% of migraine sufferers experienced reductions in pain within two hours of using a homeopathic gel containing menthol (the active compound in peppermint).

Try it: Stopain Migraine Topical Pain Relieving Gel 

Aloe vera is an effective home remedy for burns
Use Aloe Vera for Burns

The cooling gel of the aloe leaf contains pain- and inflammation-fighting compounds, says Feuerstein. (Here are 9 indoor herbs that fight colds, ease headaches, and more.) But more importantly, the compounds in aloe vera may also stimulate fresh skin growth—and studies show that it speeds healing in first- and second-degree burns.

Try it:You can apply aloe vera gel directly to burns, says Dean. To steer clear of gels with artificial additives or preservatives, look for 100% pure organic aloe vera gel, like Amara Organics Aloe Vera Gel.