7 natural remedies that really do work

Be it for sore throats, bad breath or shinier hair, who doesn’t love the idea of a natural home remedy? Experts separate the tried and true from the furphies.

We’ve all heard of herbs said to magically fix ailments, strange recipes believed to cure the common cold and unusual concoctions purported to spruce up skin or hair (beer, anyone?).

But the big question is, do any natural fixes actually work?

In reality, plenty of natural remedies are a bit sketchy, but occasionally there is one that does the job.

Here is our quick guide to natural fixes that actually work.

Honey for a sore throat

Regarded as nature’s cough medicine, a teaspoon of honey will help calm an irritable cough.

“Honey has a soothing effect,” Nutrition Australia dietitian Leanne Elliston says.

“It can be as effective as cough syrup for children over 12 months.”

Parsley for bad breath

Don’t have a sugary breath mint in your purse? Perhaps you should ask the waiter for some parsley.

“Chewing on some parsley, after a meal particularly if you’ve had a garlicky meal, can help to alleviate the smell,” Leanne says.

Less shampoo for cleaner hair

Not washing your hair may feel dirty but it actually makes your hair shinier and lighter.

“The more you strip your scalp of oil, the more it goes into overdrive and starts overcompensating and producing more oil so what you can do is try and slow down the amount of hair washing you do,” Charlotte Archer, of Bob Hair Co, says.

“It rebalances, and then in turn your hair will be a lot healthier and glossier.”

Coconut oil for shinier hair

A couple of teaspoons of coconut oil massaged into your hair can help your locks grow healthier, thicker and stronger.

“Full of fatty acids, coconut oil makes your hair soft and silky smooth and promotes natural shine,” Charlotte says.

“Just avoid it on your scalp, as this is already the oiliest part of your hair and remember to rinse thoroughly.”

Fluoride for better teeth

Few people realise fluoride is actually a naturally occurring substance that can strengthen enamel to prevent the development of tooth decay, Australian Dental Association’s Dr Mikaela Chinotti says. “Fluoride is naturally present in many Australian water supplies, however, it is also added to a recommended optimum level as a community-wide prevention initiative,” she says.

For the best result, use a toothpaste containing fluoride, spit out the excess after brushing, but don’t rinse your mouth out for longer-lasting protection, Dr Chinotti advises.

Hot water for pain

We all know how relaxing a nice hot bath feels so it’s not surprising that it helps reduce joint pain.

You can either run a bath or use a hot compress.

There is some research that also suggests this is helpful for intense periods and childbirth.

Ginger for nausea

An easy and safe way to tackle nausea and vomiting is by putting a teaspoon of grated ginger in your tea.

“It’s quite a common remedy, particularly for morning sickness because you can’t take lots of medications,” Leanne says.

Written by Alex White.