Millions of Americans love television's Dr. Mehmet Oz, and we like him, too. However, when he recently released his list of nine favorite home remedies, we realized that no single remedy works for everyone. Here are some alternatives to the alternatives.
1. If peppermint oil doesn't relieve your migraine, try butterbur (which happens to be recommended by Dr. Oz, too).
Dabbing a little peppermint oil on your forehead when you feel a migraine coming on usually reduces the pain. Taking butterbur (Petasites) extract on a regular basis, European clinical trials have shown, reduces the frequency of migraines, especially if they are triggered by allergies.
2. If you have gallbladder problems, don't take dandelion tea for bloating.
Dandelion tea stimulates the flow of bile from the liver, which is exactly what you don't want if you have gallbladder problems. Try chamomile tea instead, for relief of pain without stimulation of the gallbladder.
3. Careful use of capsaicin gives longer relief of lower back pain than a peppermint-ice massage.
Dr. Oz recommends getting a friend to apply a mixture of ice and peppermint oil to the lower back to relieve pain. That's fine if the peppermint oil isn't completely frozen in the ice so that it never reaches the back. A remedy you can try yourself that is a lot faster and often more effective is applying a capsaicin (hot pepper) cream directly to the back. The slight sting of the pepper cancels out back pain for up to several hours at a time. Just be sure not to get the cream into your eyes.
4. Any kind of warm moist heat usually relieves a stubborn, dry cough.
The television doctor recommends combining cayenne pepper, honey, apple cider vinegar, and water to make one of the best soothing dry cough remedies. That's fine, unless you have a reflex gag reaction to the cayenne pepper or the vinegar. If you tend to have asthma or acid reflux, stick to warm, herbal teas--or just plain hot but not scalding water.
5. You don't have to cure a brain freeze just by putting your tongue against the roof of your mouth.
Warming your "brain" after eating something too cold will relieve pain, but simply drinking warm water or any other warm or even room-temperature beverage will cure your brain freeze faster.
6. Cherry juice contains tiny amounts of all natural-melatonin that can help you get to sleep.
And you only need to drink 32 ounces (about a liter) to get the equivalent of a 1-milligram melatonin tablet. Unless you really like cherry juice, you might prefer just to take the supplement. It's certainly less expensive.
7. "Got wrinkles? Cover them with mayonnaise!" is great advice if you want acne.
Eww. Should we slap two slices of bread on the sides of our face, too? The problem with the mayonnaise treatment is that when you wash the mayonnaise off, the wrinkles quickly come back. You would get better results from using a mild exfoliant to lift and separate tiny particles of dead skin from your face that hold wrinkles in place. Then use a water-based (not maynnaise-based) moisturizer to restore elasticity to your skin without clogging your pores.
8. "Legs tired after a workout? Cover them with bleu cheese!" may not be as helpful as simply doing stretches and staying hydrated.
Besides being expensive and smelly, bleu cheese really wasn't intended as a muscle liniment. For better results, at a much lower cost and without attracting mice, try foam rollers for massage and stretching exercises before and after your workout. Be sure you stay hydrated when you work out, too.
9. Dry, tangled hair a problem? Don't soak it in olive oil!
Well, soaking your hair in olive oil actually does hydrate your scalp. If scalp acne is a problem, this really isn't a bad idea, as long as you wash your hair with a gentle shampoo (no detergents, no foamy bubbles, no scents) immediately afterwards.
But treating dry hair is largely a matter of what you don't do:
- Don't blow dry without putting a diffuser cap over your blow dryer.
- Don't bleach your hair.
- Don't spend a lot of time in the sun with your hair uncovered.
- Don't use detergent shampoos (which make big bubbles).
- Don't dye your hair more than twice a year.