Self-conscious because of toenail fungus? Worried your breath stinks? These common conditions affect most people at one time or another – although that doesn’t seem to make them any less mortifying.
Try these natural remedies for quick relief and get your confidence back!
(Note: while the below tips offer great solutions, some of these ailments have an underlying cause which must be addressed in order to completely eliminate the problem).
1. Bad Breath
Do people seem to run away every time you open your mouth? If so, in addition to practicing good oral hygiene, try the following natural treatments:
- Chew a handful of cloves, fennel seeds, or aniseed – which all have antiseptic qualities. Alternatively, munch on fresh parsley, basil, mint or cilantro which neutralize odors.
- Rinse your mouth out with a homemade mouthwash made by mixing a teaspoon of baking soda, a few drops of peppermint essential oil and a cup of water. This changes the pH level of the mouth while killing bacteria.
2. Stained Teeth
Coffee, tea, red wine and smoking can all cause unsightly staining on your pearly whites. Instead of heading to the dentist, try the natural approach to restoring your teeth to their natural color.
- Apply activated charcoal to your teeth. This highly absorbent substance removes the organic compounds causing the staining without damaging your teeth. Learn more here.
- Give oil pulling a go. This method, which sees you swish oil in your mouth daily, helps to remove the plaque that can cause tooth discoloration. Here’s all you need to know about oil pulling.
For more natural teeth whitening techniques, check out this post.
Although a normal bodily function, belching can be embarrassing. To avoid uncomfortable situations due to excessive burping:
- Change how you eat. Chew slowly and thoroughly, don’t gulp your food or talk while chewing. You should also avoid drinking through a straw or chewing gum.
- Sip on ginger tea after meals. Ginger is an excellent remedy for bloating, belching and indigestion.
Those suffering from excessive flatulence should try the above remedies to alleviate belching, in addition to:
- Taking probiotics, or eating fermented foods (like these), to replenish the friendly bacteria that inhabit the gut and keep the gas-producing bugs under control.
- Drink herbal bitters before meals to improve the production of stomach acid and speed digestion while reducing bloating and flatulence.
5. Cold Sores
These common small blisters around the mouth are not just ugly, they’re painful. Although it’s usually just a matter of letting cold sores run their course, a few home remedies can shorten their duration.
- Coconut oil, with its antiviral, antibiotic, and antifungal properties, can be applied topically several times a day until the sores disappear. You can also take it internally to boost immunity.
- Zinc is vital for so many bodily functions. Studies show that applying zinc oxide cream to cold sores speeds healing time. It can also reduce their occurrence rate. To keep your immune system in tip-top shape, eat plenty of zinc-rich foods too, such as seafood, wheat germ, spinach, nuts, seeds, cocoa powder, beans and mushrooms.
You’ll find even more natural cold sore remedies here.
6. Body Odor
Get rid of strong or offensive body odor and come up smelling of roses with these easy remedies:
- Change your diet. Spices, garlic, onion, caffeine, alcohol and processed, fatty or sugary foods all contribute to increased sweat and body odor. Drink plenty of water to flush out toxins, and ensure you’re eating enough Vitamins B and C. Parsley, basil, mint, sage and rosemary, along with supplements like chlorophyll and wheat grass, are all said to be natural body deodorizers. Finally, reduce or eliminate the meat from your diet. A 2006 study found that vegetarians have a ‘significantly more attractive, more pleasant, and less intense’ odor than omnivores!
- Apply witch hazel – a natural antiseptic that lowers the skin’s pH, making it impossible for the odor-causing bacteria to survive.
- Detox your ‘pits. A build-up of toxins or chemical products may be contributing to the unpleasant odor making an in-depth armpit cleanse a must. Here’s how to do it.
Learn more about combating body odor naturally.
7. Smelly Feet
Strong smells don’t just come from under the arms – the feet are another seriously stinky area due to high levels of moisture and bacteria. To keep things dry and odorless try:
- An apple cider vinegar foot bath. Combine three parts water with one part vinegar and optional essential oils. Soak feet for 20 minutes and dry thoroughly. To reduce foot odor when you’re out and about, make these handy apple cider vinegar foot deodorizer wipes.
- Corn starch will absorb extra moisture, so bacteria can’t thrive. For added fragrance, whip up a batch of this deodorizing foot powder from kaolin clay, arrowroot powder and essential oils.
8. Nail Fungus
Yellowing, thickening, and crumbling toenails, caused by fungal growth, is an embarrassing and sometimes painful condition which can easily be treated at home without the use of harsh drugs. Here’s how:
- Undiluted tea tree oil can be applied daily to the affected nails and left to soak in. Continue treatment until the healthy nail grows out completely, and then for a further two to three weeks.
- Supplement with olive leaf extract. This is an excellent antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral daily supplement which should see your toenail fungus clear up in no time, especially if combined with the topical tea tree oil treatment.
There are even more natural nail fungus treatments here.
9. Stretch Marks
These shiny hair-line scars caused by a rapid gain in weight or muscle can make you self-conscious. Reduce their appearance by applying:
- A homemade body butter containing the skin nourishing ingredients shea butter, coconut oil, vanilla oil, and vitamin E. Get the recipe.
- Aloe vera gel. If you don’t have one of these plants in your home, invest in one – they have a broad range of therapeutic applications. It’s so gentle, you can apply it to your stretch marks as much as you need to!
Find more ways to reduce stretch marks here.
10. Varicose Veins
Twisted and enlarged varicose veins, usually found on the legs, aren’t just ugly – they can lead to more serious problems. Treat them with:
- Exercise – this is probably the best thing you can do to reduce varicose veins as it improves blood flow and lowers inflammation. Low-impact exercises, such as walking, swimming and cycling, are ideal for sufferers.
- Horse chestnut extract – studies show this herbal remedy, used for thousands of years, is an effective way to reduce bulging veins. Learn more here.
11. Keratosis Pilaris
This common but harmless skin problem is characterized by the presence of small, hard bumps on the upper arms, thighs, buttocks and face. Get rid of it by:
- Dry brushing your skin daily. Regular body brushing and moisturizing can help reduce the appearance of these bumps, or eliminate them completely.
- Increasing Vitamin C intake. Because low levels of vitamin C are linked to this condition, supplementing may cure it. Learn more about Vitamin C deficiency, and how to reverse it, here.
Get rid of itchy, dry scalp and snow-capped shoulders with the following natural treatments:
- Apple cider vinegar. Use this apple cider vinegar hair rinse at least once a week. The acetic acid in ACV is a potent antimicrobial which can kill bacteria and fungus, common underlying causes of dandruff.
- Essential oils. Add one or more of these oils to your shampoo or post-wash rinse for a flake-free scalp: tea tree, lavender, rosemary, thyme, peppermint, patchouli, chamomile.
13. Facial Hair
Hirsutism, or excessive hair on a woman’s face, chest or back, can be extremely uncomfortable and embarrassing. It can be caused by a variety of factors including PCOS or other hormonal imbalance. Some natural ways to remove this excessive hair include:
- Tea tree and lavender oil – one study found that applying an oil spray with tea tree and lavender twice daily for three months saw a noticeable reduction in sufferers.
- Turmeric mask – make a paste of turmeric, an oil of your choice and a little yogurt or milk and apply to the face daily, washing off after 10 minutes. You should notice the hair becomes finer and less coarse after two months of application. (Note: turmeric can stain very light skin so carry out a patch test first!)
These ugly skin growths, caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), can be easily treated with:
- Castor oil. Apply to the wart with a cotton swab twice daily for two weeks, or until cured. The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of the oil contribute to more rapid healing.
- Apple cider vinegar. Soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and bandage it in place. Leave it on overnight and repeat nightly until the wart disappears.
Redness, swelling, pain, sensitivity and bumps are just some of the symptoms of rosacea, a distressing skin condition that flares up in sufferers from time-to-time. Outbreaks can be reduced by:
- Cutting out alcohol. Research has found that just one alcoholic drink triggers problems in two out of three rosacea patients, with red wine, white wine and beer being the top three offenders. Here are more amazing things that happen when you quit drinking.
- Applying essential oils. Fight the inflammation associated with rosacea using essential oils such as tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus, geranium, chamomile, rose, rosemary and thyme. Simply rub three drops of oil on three times daily – always mixing with a carrier oil like jojoba or coconut first.