By Dr. Scott Saunders, M.D.
I read all sorts of literature on healthcare and I’m continually amazed at the number of remedies that exist for ailments. I have tried countless remedies with my patients and have found some really crazy ones that work!
In medical school, sometimes we called weird remedies that worked “the placebo effect.” But, that doesn’t really matter, does it? If something works, it works, no matter how or why! Just because I can’t explain it chemically, doesn’t mean a remedy doesn’t have value.
For example, I give vitamin B12 shots for all sorts of neurological problems. But, one of my colleagues believes I shouldn’t be doing that because it’s just a “placebo” and isn’t widely accepted by the medical community. However, to that thought I responded, “I promise I will stop using it as soon as it stops working!” I’m still giving those shots because they work – weird or not!
Humans all over the world for thousands of years have used weird disease cures and methods to become and stay healthy. While modern Western medicine has evolved into a system of doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical drugs, other remedies— some pretty silly remedies — are still in use around the world.
Here are 6 weird remedies that actually happen to work, no matter how foolish you feel.
1. Lemon peels for headaches
In a small book on home remedies, I read about using lemon peelings for headache. Years later, I had a woman with chronic headaches who had a very hard time with the medications she took that didn’t really work very well. I mentioned the lemon peel trick: peel a lemon and take the white part of the peeling and rub it on your temples, massaging it in to the skin on both sides. Within a minute or so the headache will be gone! She did it and it worked – better than the drugs she had been taking. Now she always has a lemon with her, in case she gets a headache.
2. Soap for cramps
One woman came into my office because of nighttime leg cramps. I know what to routinely do for leg cramps:
- Take coral calcium, magnesium or potassium.
- If that doesn’t work, I tell people to drink more water to assure hydration.
- Some are low in sodium, so I tell them to use more salt on their food. A good trick is V-8 vegetable juice, which has sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium all together.
However, none of the usual remedies worked. She tried increasing her stomach acid for better absorption, without any help. I also tried glycine and taurine to relax the muscles but to no avail. We then tried medications for Restless Legs Syndrome, but that didn’t help either.
I didn’t see her for a while and then when she came in to see me for something else I asked her about the cramps. She said a neighbor told her to put a bar of soap under her sheet by her legs. She did – and she slept all night without cramps! After a few months she started getting cramps again and the neighbor told her to change the soap. She swapped out the bar of soap for a new one and hasn’t suffered with leg cramps since discovering this weird remedy.
Another patience of mine had the same problem with leg cramps, so I told her about the soap trick, which she said she had used in the past and it worked.