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Dangerous Home Remedies

Don't Try This at Home: Remedies to Avoid

I have a slew of home remedies tucked in my noggin that I pull out when needed. Tummy ache? I whip up some fresh ginger tea (it's also good for colds). Honey soothes my sore throat, and when I've had a tough workout and am left with sore muscles, an apple cider vinegar wrap does the trick.

Those home remedies are safe and actually work, but some cures and treatments you may have heard about can actually be dangerous and make the issue you're trying to alleviate worse. Here are a few to stay away from.

  • Ear candles: These long, hollow, tapered tubes are made of muslin and coated with wax. You stick one end in your ear and light the other end. As the candle burns, the smoke and heat create a gentle vacuum that supposedly sucks out debris and excess ear wax to relieve sinus pressure, relieve stress, and improve hearing. The amount of suction created by this tiny candle isn't enough to suck out anything, and ear wax shouldn't be removed anyway. Your body secretes wax to help clean and lubricate your ear. Ear candling doesn't work and can be very dangerous because wax from the candle can drip into your ear, or the burning candle could catch your hair on fire. If you have an earache or sinus pressure, see your doctor instead.

To see what other remedies you should avoid,

.

  • Smearing butter on a burn: While it seems like cold sensation of butter would relieve pain, butter actually holds heat in. It also can create an environment for bacteria to grow, which could lead to an infection. Aloe is a much safer and effective natural treatment for both burns and sunburns.
  • Mayonnaise to get rid of lice: Applying this creamy condiment to your hair may kill live lice, but it won't get rid of the eggs that will hatch into more lice. Opt for a real lice medication treatment you'd find at the pharmacy.
  • Hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol on a scrape: These can actually be toxic to the skin, and impede healing. The bubbling you see is healthy cells being killed — red blood cells are being split open and oxygen is being released. Simply use water instead.

If you've heard of or tried other home remedies that don't work, share them in the comment section below.

Source: Flickr User NickStarr

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HaterTot HaterTot 6 years
Yet another poorly researched, misinformed Sugar post. Shocker.
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 6 years
I should also say Peroxide is the BOMB when it comes to removing that gunk that gets stuck in the Pinna of your ear.
cheekyredhead cheekyredhead 6 years
YEAH Sparklestar! Ear candling is so misunderstood. Notice almost every individual who has "war" stories about it was doing it to themselves....DUH....not a good idea. My great-great granny swore by it. She was American Indian and they would blow smoke in your ear and the warmth would comfort someone with ear pain. Obviously that is not candling. My son has an excess ear wax problem and this has been the best way to painlessly take care of the issue. Done correctly candling does give a sore ear comfort. ...hysterically laughing about the misinformation about hydrogen peroxide! Did you know that you can gargle it or swish it and spit it out and it will immediately kill the germs which cause bad breath? TRUE. Don't swallow it! I dilute it. It also whitens teeth and helps heal sore gums.
vanillabean vanillabean 6 years
Wow, re hydrogen peroxide! I thought all that bubbling was killing the bacteria -- isn't that what's going on when you use a toothpaste with hydrogen peroxide and your mouth foams up? Oh no, maybe that's one of those canine disease . . .
SaucySassy SaucySassy 6 years
Fitsugar - I think you need to be more careful in what you say on topics like this. You have some VERY FALSE INFORMATION above. Hydrogen Peroxide is NOT dangerous to use on small wounds. It causes only mild damage to tissue in open wounds and the bubbling is NOT FROM BROKEN BLOOD CELLS. The bubbling is a natural reaction (and thank god we have it) from the enzyme in our bodies that breaks it down into OXYGEN and WATER- hence the bubbles. PLEASE REMOVE THIS INFO - it is not good to spread false information as such around. WATER is NOT AN ALTERNATIVE. NOT EVEN CLOSE.
Spectra Spectra 6 years
Hydrogen peroxide kills everything, including bacteria. It's probably not bad to use it on areas that don't have broken skin, but you want to avoid using it on a scrape or cut where there are a lot of exposed blood vessels. You can use it to clean your ears...it works very well to dissolve wax and kill staph bacteria in your ears.
ladybirda ladybirda 6 years
Yep, I can testify to the dangers of ear candling. Have had it done three times and the last time a bit of the burning candle fell out and into my hair, burning my hair! Luckily it didn't fall on my scalp!
runningesq runningesq 6 years
If you don't have aloe on hand, it's a good idea to run cold water over the burn.
mudnessa mudnessa 6 years
Hydrogen Peroxide does kill good but it also kills bad. It can be helpful to use at first but not in a prolonged way. It will take longer for the cut scrape whatever to heal. Overuse is the main problem with it. At least that's what I've understood. My dad swears by ear candles, loves them. I used one once and boy oh boy did my ear canal itch like mad for a few days after.
nancita nancita 6 years
Good to know about the hydrogen peroxide.
Hello890 Hello890 6 years
I've used an ear candle once and it didn't make my ear feel better. However, I did a very similar procedure in a foreign country (they used a different kind of tube and lit it on fire), when I had a VERY BAD earache and the pain instantly went away! I was about 12 years old at the time and I remember feeling so much better right after. Also, I use peroxide all the time...it's better than nothing, sometimes.
sparklestar sparklestar 6 years
Argh, misconceptions about ear candles!! I am a trained practitioner of ear candling (with a recognised certificate and everything) and have been since 2003. Ear candles do not create a "vacuum" to remove "ear wax". They help to balance the pressure in the ears. The "wax" in the candle at the end is NOT your ear wax, it's a product of the candle burning. We use it to diagnose what is wrong with your ears. If the wax at the end is clumpy then it means you need to have an ear syringe carried out. If it is dry and flaky then it means the pressure in your ear needs to be balanced and the candling should have done this. If it was dangerous we would not be allowed to practise !!!!!
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 6 years
my boyfriend loves ear candles. I did one once and it definitely pulled a ton of wax out of my ear, so it does "work" in that sense. Also, for a couple weeks my ears didn't pop when I took the elevator up in my building, which was nice.
genipher85 genipher85 6 years
And what the hell is peroxide good for then? I've always just had it on hand specifically for scrapes and cuts... Now what do I do with it?
genipher85 genipher85 6 years
I've done the ear candles thing a few years ago. I had an ear infection and even though I was on an antibiotic which was all the doctor did for me, the inside of my ear was still filled with guck and was very uncomforable. I did the ear candle and it worked for me, I felt a million times better after all that pressure was relieved.
Drewsfan Drewsfan 6 years
I tried that ear candling thing a few years ago. I had it in my ear with one end lit while standing in the bathroom with my head slightly cocked to one side when my boyfriend walked into the house and screamed 'wtf are you doing!?' We still laugh about it.
weffie weffie 6 years
But ear candling feels so good! :( I use peroxide too, water isn't a disinfectant...
kevindineen kevindineen 6 years
My mom used to put olive oil in her hair to add shine, but it really just made her hair look way greasy.
Beaner Beaner 6 years
My mom was told to put a blown out match on the tick I had embedded on my scalp. It totally melted the tick and made it harder to pull it out with tweezers. Don't recommend that one.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 6 years
Man - I always swabbed cuts and scrapes with hydrogen peroxide. My mom taught me that and I never questioned it! No more! Soap and water from now on!
tlsgirl tlsgirl 6 years
I had never heard of the mayo or butter thing before. The mayo thing especially strikes me as so gross.
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