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Natural Remedies That Actually Work

Updated on September 4, 2010

What Actually Works?

I love the idea of natural medicine, but I find that a lot of it seemed ineffective, at least for me.

I've listed below some of the natural remedies that I've found (through totally un-scientific testing with no control groups) to work for me, my friends, and my pets. In most instances, I've found these products to work even better than their allopathic counterparts.

Hopefully, some of them will work for you as well, and you'll be able to start your own collection of natural remedies (that actually work).

Calendula Ointment / Cream For Skin Irritations

Calendula works on burns, scrapes, itching, and skin irritations.

How I Tested It:

  • My dog had a wound on his chin. It would start to heal, he'd scratch it, the scab would fall off, and he'd start all over again. The scab kept reopening for over a month. I applied antibiotic ointment to it, but it did not stop the itching from the healing scab. Hydrocortisone did not work either. I put the calendula cream on it as a last ditch effort that was suggested by a dog forum user. Within a week, the sore was healed.
  • My mom's dog had the same thing, also on her chin. Calendula also worked here.
  • I've used it on myself for general itching or bug bites on my legs.

Valerian for Sleeplessness and Anxiety

Valerian is used in treating sleeplessness and anxiety. It works. Really.

How I Tested It:

  • I had trouble sleeping at one point in my life. I used this. It stinks to high heaven, but I slept really well.
  • My dog has firework anxiety. I gave him Pet Calm by Richard's Organics. the primary ingredient is Valerian. He was quite relaxed after taking this, but he was not doped up or groggy, as he might be on allopathic drugs.
  • One of my friends was a night shift police officer. I suggested this to hep regulate his sleep schedule, and he was pleased with the results.

Tea Tree Oil for Cuts and Skin Problems

Tea tree oil is magical (almost... okay not really). It is antiseptic, fungicidal, antibacterial, and antiviral. It is used for acne, oily skin, scalp problems, skin fungi, rashes, infections, and anything that might need an antiseptic.

Tea tree oil can be toxic to cats, even in tiny doses.

How I Tested It:

I stepped on a nail and had a deep puncture in my foot. Before going to the hospital, I pushed tea tree oil as deeply into the wound as I could. When I got to the hospital, they asked me if I was sure I'd stepped hard on it, because the wound seemed not at all inflamed.

I've used tea tree oil for itching skin.

I use it instead of peroxide to clean my cuts.

Slippery Elm Bark for Gastrointestinal Problems

Slippery Elm bark was my first foray into natural medicine. It is used in the treatment of Crohn's, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), colitis, nausea, gas, sour stomach / acid indigestion, stomach cramping, diarrhea, and just about anything you can think of that has to do with your "tummy."

It can be safely used in babies, children, adults, the elderly, and even in animals. The only side effect I've found is that it can inhibit vitamin absorption if you use it constantly without taking a break. So if you're using it regularly, skip a day every 5 days or so.

It can be taken as capsules, or you can make a mush with water, slippery elm bark, and sugar or honey (do not give honey to babies or immuno-compromised individuals because of botulism risk). For pets and babies, it may be easiest to empty capsules into water or food.

This stuff works better and faster than Pepto Bismol!

How I Tested It:

  • My dog had colitis and vomiting for the first year of his life. I often treated him with slippery elm to stop the diarrhea. Now, when it shows up again if he eats nasty stuff outside, I give him three capsules a day, and it gets him better fast.
  • You know that feeling when you eat something bad, and you just know you're going to throw up within the next 20 minutes and you really wish you didn't have to, but you know it's inevitable? I've had that, too, and I've taken 2 slippery elm capsules with a glass of water. Within about 15 minutes, I feel better fast.
  • A friend of mine visited from another country, and he had a stomachache. I gave him two slippery elm capsules (he wasn't familiar with it or that it was an herbal remedy). Within ten minutes, he asked for the name of this stuff because he was already feeling better and wanted to buy some to take home with him.

Vegetable Glycerin for Dry Skin

Vegetable glycerin is excellent in treating dry skin.  It can be applied at regular concentration, but it is kind of goopy this way.

I prefer to mix half water and half glycerin in a pump bottle.  This makes a non-greasy, easily-absorbed liquid barely thicker than water, and it can easily be applied to skin.

If you look at good quality lotions, one of the major ingredients is usually glycerin.  Of course, there's also scent, alcohol, parabens, preserving agents, and all sorts of other chemicals in there.  Since glycerin is the moisturizing agent, why not just use that?

How I Tested It:

  • I have very dry skin in winter, but I'm also intolerant of many scents and chemicals on my skin.  I started applying the 50/50 water / glycerin mixture to my skin, and have found a marked improvement. 
  • I also use this on my dog's itchy skin in the winter.  He has trouble with the electric heat, and his skin becomes dry.  I apply this to the dry areas, and he feels more comfortable right away.

Chamomile for Eyes

Chamomile tea may be used to treat mild eye infections or as an eye rinse.  To use this way, make a cup of chamomile tea, cool, and put in a bottle or jar.  Store in the fridge up for up to a few days.  Moisten a cotton ball with the tea and use to clean the corner of the eye and the general eye area.  Please, don't rub the cornea... that's just no good all around.  Remember that eye infections can get dangerous quickly, so if there is no improvement, seek medical help.

How I Tested It:

  • My dog gets goopy eyes occasionally from swimming in not-so-savory water.  I used this to get rid of the goop and help in healing the infection.
  • I also use this if my cats get a mild flare-up of feline rhinotracheitis and their eyes get gunky.


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    • profile image

      Jeremy Steele 

      8 years ago

      Thank you for publishing a really amazing Hub. I love reading through articles regarding various alternative medical treatment options. I feel we have become way too dependant on prescription drugs and chemical substances even though I believe they have their place in our general well-being and health, I don't think we ought to take them for every single illness.

    • fundamentallife profile image


      9 years ago

      Great hub, thanks for posting.

      Voted up and useful.


    • Lyricallor profile image

      Lorna Lorraine 

      9 years ago from Croydon

      First hand testimonials are winners. I love it when someone can tell me why they know something is good from their personal experience with it. Thank you for sharing this hub.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Congratulations on your win. This is a great hub on natural remedies and I like them also because they are so much healthier.

    • hypnosis4u2 profile image


      9 years ago from Massachusetts

      I prefer natural remedies as well and enjoyed reading your hub and information you provided - seems to have helped your dog a lot as well! Keep up good work.

    • MoRita profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from IL

      Thanks, Denise! And thanks for reading :0)

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Wow, nice work. Thanks for the tips and congratulations on your hubnugget nomination. Good luck!

    • MoRita profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from IL

      Thanks, bayoulady! And thanks for visiting my blog. I put a lot of work into it, though don't update nearly as often as I should.

    • bayoulady profile image


      9 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

      I'm very impressed with this hub. I agree with ripplemaker that the "how I tested it" part makes it more personal and believable.

      Congrats on your well deserved nomination. I also visited your blog, and your little doggie cartoons are so cute, especially the "censored" one!

    • MoRita profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from IL


    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      I just organized a Natural Remedies seminar in our city a few days ago. So I was intrigued with your hub. I liked how you shared what worked for you. Nothing beats a testimony. Bookmarked! Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. Best of luck.


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