Doctor's Home Remedies
Aging Matters

In a Sharecare Newsletter, I found an article written by a physician on home remedies that she uses. The doctor turns to her own kitchen pantry for them. Of course, being a medical professional, she is more skeptical of some remedies than others. But here are the five that she says are supported by medical evidence ... and Grandma.

1. Honey - An alternative cough and cold over the counter medication: Try one teaspoon of honey the next time you have a cough. It's been shown to decrease coughing as effectively as standard over-the-counter cough suppressant. (Caution: Do not give honey to children under one year old due to risk of botulism). While honey hasn't been studied as much in adults, it's a time-worn remedy. Try one to two teaspoons the next time you have a cough.

2. Magic Mouthwash (MM) - We come up with some strange names in medicine. This is one of them. MM is great for mouth ulcers, sore throats and other mouth pain. Doctors sometimes prescribe it (usually including lidocaine), but you can make your own home remedy (I call it "Magic Mouthwash Lite") with one part Benadryl plus one part Maalox. Don't swallow it-either swish and spit it out or use a Popsicle stick to "paint" a small amount wherever it hurts.

3. Homemade ice pack - Need ice for an injury? A bag of peas is a perfect resource. But my favorite homemade ice pack is made with this trick: Combine one part rubbing alcohol with three parts water in a large zipper plastic bag and stick in the freezer for a few hours. It will stay cold, but won't fully harden, so you can shape it however you want around the injured area.

4. Baking soda paste - I'll admit, I've never really known what baking soda was for (note to self: ask one of my friends that bake), but here's a good use for it: Last weekend a friend was stung by a bee; another friend quickly made a slurry of baking soda to put on it-and it stopped the itch. For easy spot-treatment of an itchy insect bite, mix three teaspoons of baking soda with one teaspoon water.

5. Just a spoonful of ginger - Ginger is shown in several studies to be an effective solution to prevent or reduce nausea and vomiting for causes ranging from pregnancy to motion sickness. Consider making your own ginger tea by boiling sliced ginger root in a cup of water for five minutes (most ginger ale soft drinks don't have much ginger). Drinking it cold (after it's had time to cool) is also helps with nausea.

To receive your Sharecare Newsletter go to

Carol Marak, aging advocate and editor at She's earned a Certificate in the Fundamentals of Gerontology from UC Davis, School of Gerontology.

Part of the Aging Matters Weekly Syndicated Column

Aging Matters is a weekly column tackling everyday challenges that our growing elderly population and their loved ones face. It is also published in a variety of syndication partners including newspapers all over the country.

Learn More

More on Lifestyle