10 Bizarre Home Cures That Really Work

VIDEO: Tips from the Mayo Clinic to stay healthy at home.
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Of course there are some health staples you should never be without -- bandages or OTC pain relievers come to mind. But you can treat or cure a surprising number of minor ailments with these unexpected household objects and foods.

Bizarre Home Cures That Really Work

PHOTO: Vodka bottles
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Your Stinky Feet

Home cure: Vodka

Use it for: Foot odor

If your feet smell less than swell, wipe them down with a vodka-soaked washcloth to get rid of the stench. It's the same principle as rubbing alcohol (which works equally well if you'd rather drink your Grey Goose). Vodka contains alcohol, which is antiseptic and drying, so it destroys odor-causing fungus and bacteria and dries out the moisture that lets these organisms grow.

Read More: 16 Surprising Things That Make You Smell

Bizarre Home Cures That Really Work

PHOTO: Pencil between teeth
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Your Throbbing Head

Home cure: Pencil

Use it for: Headaches

When you're stressed or anxious, you subconsciously clench your jaw and teeth; this strains the muscle that connects your jaw to your temples and can trigger a tension headache. A solution: "Put a pencil between your teeth but don't bite," says Fred Sheftell, MD, director of the New England Center for Headache in Stamford, CT. You automatically relax your jaw muscle to do this, which can prevent the pain.

Read More: The Best Natural Remedies for Pain

Bizarre Home Cures That Really Work

PHOTO: Eating yogurt
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Your Halitosis

Home cure: Yogurt

Use it for: Bad breath

Preliminary research shows that the live bacteria in yogurt can suppress levels of bad breath–causing bacteria. "Good" bugs in yogurt may crowd out the "bad" stink-causing bacteria or create an unhealthy environment for it, says John C. Moon, DDS, a cosmetic and general dentist in Half Moon Bay, CA.

Read More: 13 Strange Body Quirks Explained

Bizarre Home Cures That Really Work

PHOTO: Listerine
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Your Painful Blisters

Home cure: Listerine

Use it for: Blisters

The classic breath freshener—and powerful antiseptic—can also do a number on blisters. Moisten a cotton ball with Listerine and dab it on your blister 3 times a day until the area dries out and no longer hurts, says Janet Maccaro, PhD, CNC, a holistic nutritionist and certified nutrition consultant in Scottsdale, AZ.

Read More: 5 Ways to Prevent Blisters

Bizarre Home Cures That Really Work

PHOTO: Tennis ball
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Your Barking Dogs

Home cure: Tennis ball

Use it for: Achy feet

For an easy, free mini massage that stretches and soothes your arches, slip off your shoes and roll each foot over a tennis ball, golf ball, or soup can for a minute or two. To cool throbbing feet, roll them over a bottle of frozen water.

Read More: Tips to Prevent Foot Aches and Pains

Bizarre Home Cures That Really Work

PHOTO: Spoonful of sugar
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Your (Hic!)... Excuse Me, Your (Hic!)

Home cure: Sugar

Use it for: Hiccups

A teaspoon of sugar swallowed dry can stop hiccups in minutes, says Andre Dubois, MD, PhD, a professor of medicine in the emerging infectious diseases graduate program at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD. The sugar is believed to modify the nerve muscles that would otherwise tell the muscles in the diaphragm to contract spasmodically and contribute to hiccups.

Read More: 10 Weird Body Clues You Shouldn't Ignore

Bizarre Home Cures That Really Work

PHOTO: Sucking on a lemon
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Your Seasickness

Home cure: Olives or lemons

Use it for: Motion sickness

Motion sickness causes you to produce excess saliva, which can make you nauseated, some doctors say. Compounds in olives called tannins dry out your mouth and can help soothe the queasies. Pop a couple at the first hint of nausea; sucking on a lemon can also do the trick.

Read More: 7 Foods That Should Never Cross Your Lips

Bizarre Home Cures That Really Work

PHOTO: Vegetable oil
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Your Fragile Fingernails

Home cure: Vegetable oil

Use it for: Brittle nails

In order to really fix dry nails, you have to address the problem of too-little moisture. In addition to using hand lotion regularly, try this nighttime treatment from dermatologist Dee Anna Glaser, MD: Before you go to bed, apply vegetable oil to your hands, then put on vinyl gloves or wrap your hands in plastic wrap to keep the oil off your bedding. The hand coverings force the oil to penetrate your skin, preventing your hands and nails from getting too dry.

Read More: 10 Money-Saving Beauty Tricks

Bizarre Home Cures That Really Work

PHOTO: Big Red cinnamon gum
Mark Lennihan/AP Photo
Your @#*%& Road Rage

Home cure: Peppermint or cinnamon gum

Use it for: The stress of a traffic-packed commute

In a NASA-funded study, scientists from Wheeling Jesuit University monitored the responses of 25 college students during simulated driving scenarios. The volunteers reported that peppermint lowered their feelings of fatigue or anxiety by 20%. Peppermint and cinnamon each decreased frustration by 25%, increased alertness by 30%, and made the ride seem 30% shorter. Not a gum or candy person? Buy peppermint or cinnamon aromatherapy diffusers for the car.

Read More: 7 Super Spices for Your Health

Bizarre Home Cures That Really Work

PHOTO: Eating an apple
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Your Less-Than-Pearly Whites

Home cure: Apple

Use it for: Whiter teeth

Crunchy fruits and vegetables act as little toothbrushes when you chew them; they have a natural cleansing action that works on tooth enamel to remove stains. In particular, "apples have a gentle malic acid that also helps dissolve stains," says Jennifer Jabow, DDS, of Park 56 Dental in New York City.

Read More: Check out 9 More Bizarre Home Cures That Really Work at Prevention.com

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