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Home Remedies That Work (and Some That Don’t)

By Sixty and Me February 27, 2016 Health and Fitness

We’re practically drowning in home remedy advice these days. Everything we eat, drink or use on our bodies seems to be able to cure some ailment (or cause it – it can be difficult to tell).

The trouble, then, is knowing how to separate fact from fiction. Does green tea help prevent skin aging? Is Vaseline toxic? Should we really use coconut oil for everything? Read on and find out…

Green Tea

Green tea has been hyped as something of a universal preventative for any and all ailments, so researchers have put it through its paces in a number of capacities. What have they found?

  • Green tea can help to reverse cell damage. It contains chemicals called catechins, which can help to repair skin damage in the form of blemishes and wrinkles.
  • Green tea does not aid weight loss. A review of 18 studies from 2012 has concluded that there is no significant effect on weight loss from drinking green tea.

Petroleum Jelly

You might have searched “is Vaseline toxic” at least once in your life, particularly if you’ve been in charge of a young child recently. The good news is that the answer is no! Cosmetic grade petroleum jelly is not just safe for skin; it has some pretty specific benefits as well.

  • Petroleum jelly protects broken skin. Applied to clean skin, it acts as a barrier that keeps dirt and germs away from chapped, dry skin, and even helps it to heal faster. Most of us develop more patches of dry skin as we get older and this is a good, inexpensive solution.
  • Petroleum jelly is best used on dry skin. Is Vaseline toxic? No. Will it cause acne? No. Will it cure acne? No. The same properties that make petroleum jelly effective on dry skin make it unsuitable for oily skin and blemishes. The barrier it creates helps keep germs in and air out, and while it is non-comedogenic (it won’t block pores) it can’t cure conditions such as acne.

Natural Yogurt

Now a refrigerator staple, yogurt is most often talked about for its properties in aiding digestion. That’s not the only benefit attributed to it, though:

  • Yogurt makes a great face wash. We’ve all heard about Cleopatra bathing in milk to get her skin glowing. It turns out that she was onto something: lactic acid is a natural exfoliator, and the bacteria in live yogurt help to balance the natural flora of your facial skin.
  • Yogurt is not necessarily a cure for yeast infections. While some women claim yogurt can be used to soothe the irritation caused by thrust, there’s no evidence either way. Some claims have been made that eating yogurt can help re-introduce ‘friendly’ bacteria to your digestive tract though and this may assist in keeping yeast in check.

Home Remedies - Yogurt

Coconut Oil

The last couple of years have been all about coconut oil. If the rumors are true, we should be cooking with it, washing our hair with it, covering our skin with it, and probably leaving it out by the kitchen sink in the hope that it’ll do the dishes. So what’s the real deal?

  • Coconut oil can help clean your teeth. Oil pulling – the practice of swirling oil around your mouth for 20 minutes each day – has been common practice in Ayurveda for centuries. It became globally popular in 2014, and there is some evidence that regular coconut oil pulling can improve the appearance of your teeth (although dentists are still testing the practice before giving it their seal of approval).
  • Coconut oil is not a miracle weight loss ingredient. It’s certainly not as bad for us as once thought and using it as a replacement for other kinds of oil in some dishes might be beneficial. That said, eating food fried in any kind of oil every day is best avoided.

So, there you have it. Have we found the secret to eternal youth? No. Can coconut oil help prevent tooth cavities? Yes. Is Vaseline toxic? No. Can you wash your face with yogurt? Yes!

The world is full of surprises.

Were you surprised to hear which products work and which don’t? Which home remedies have you found that work for you? Please join the conversation and share your finds with the community below.

This is a guest post by John Brasington.

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Sixty and Me is a community of over 500,000 women over 60 founded by Margaret Manning. Our editorial team publishes articles on lifestyle topics including fashion, dating, retirement and money.

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