Home remedies for cold sores, bruises and skin irritations

Sometimes the simplest remedies produce the best results. Next time you feel a cold sore coming on, nurse a bruise or have a skin irritation, try these classic natural remedies. You won't have to look further than your kitchen cupboard for the ingredients.

Home remedies for cold sores, bruises and skin irritations

1. Use yogurt to dry up cold sores

Why is it that a cold sore seems to pop out just as you have an important event coming up, like your wedding? Probably because most cold sores are caused by the common herpes virus. It lives quietly in your body until some kind of stress wakes it up.

Lou Schlachter, PhD, RN, a former dean at the University of North Carolina who now teaches herbal and folk medicine at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, does this to quickly get rid of an ugly cold sore: she puts five millilitres (one teaspoon) of cultured yogurt on the area several times a day. The active microorganisms in the yogurt "attack" the virus, she says, reducing the itching and helping the sore heal faster.

2. Put an onion on that bruise

If you bruise so easily that your co-workers have begun leaving brochures about domestic abuse on your desk, try this folk remedy.

  • Place a slice of yellow onion on the bruise for 15 minutes. The same compound in onions that makes your eyes water — allicin — stimulates the lymphatic flow in your body, helping flush away the excess blood in the tissue that creates the bruise.
  • This only works, however, if you apply the onion immediately after the injury.

3. Treat a bruise with witch hazel

  • If the onion remedy just isn't doing it for you, try rubbing the bruise with witch hazel and covering with ice for five minutes.
  • The two together constrict blood vessels, reducing bleeding into the tissue and speeding healing.

4. Use baking soda to prevent athlete’s foot

  • Snatch that box of baking soda out of the fridge and sprinkle it on your feet and between your toes. By absorbing moisture, it can help prevent itchy, unsightly athlete's foot.
  • Need the baking soda for biscuits? No problem. Just crush six garlic cloves in 30 millilitres (two tablespoons) olive oil and let it sit for a few days, then strain and apply the oil to the area once a day.
  • The active ingredient in garlic, ajoene, is a powerful antifungal substance.

5. Prevent contact irritation with nail polish

Your husband just bought you a set of gorgeous diamond stud earrings. Problem is, you're having an allergic reaction to the metal. Try coating the backs with clear nail polish to provide a barrier between the metal and your skin.

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