Dealing with illnesses/injuries can be a daunting task that may put a pause or even a complete stop to someone’s routine. The time, effort, and even money required to see a health professional may lead many to look for alternatives that will allow them to tend to these issues at home. Because of this, many different home remedies have sprung up over the years.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation when it comes to these home remedies and their effectiveness (as well as the potential negative effects they can have). Not all home remedies are harmful, of course. That said, it is important to approach all home remedies with a critical eye and to always consult your doctor before trying any.

That said, below are five popular home remedies that you should avoid:

1.       Putting Food on a Burn

One of the most popular home remedies involves placing food items (such as butter, avocados, or egg whites) on recently experienced burns to soothe and prevent scars. However, this is not a great practice as these items can introduce bacteria into the injury and lead to infections.

Try instead: Those experiencing burns should place the wound under cool water to soothe the injury.

2.       Licking a Wound

Too often, people may attempt to clean a wound simply by licking their finger and rubbing the wound with their saliva-covered finger. Needless to say, this is not advised, as human saliva carries many harmful bacteria that can lead to infection.

Try instead: Much like with burns, cool water is a better alternative. In more severe cases, consulting a doctor may be a better alternative.

3.       Castor Oil

This traditional constipation home remedy can lead to intestinal trouble. While castor oil is harmless in low quantities, we do not advise using it as a frequent treatment for constipation. Overconsumption of castor oil can lead to severe nausea, dizziness, and muscle cramps.

Try instead: For constipation, try increasing the amount of fiber in your diet. Fiber is found in foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and other plant-based sources. It bulks up the contents in your bowels and makes it easier to pass large amounts of stool. If constipation persists, be sure to consult your medical provider to rule out other causes.

4.       Apple Cider Vinegar

Most frequently used as a home remedy for heartburn, apple cider vinegar has actually never been scientifically proven to be effective against heartburn. While it will most likely not harm you, it will probably not provide much relief either.

Try instead: Baking soda is a great alternative for this issue, as it can help deal with acid reflux. You might also consider avoiding any foods that trigger acid reflux, such as spicy foods, dairy, and fried foods.

5.      Whitening Teeth with Fruit

This practice can in fact aid with the whitening of teeth. However, it can also have a negative impact on the teeth’s enamel.

Try instead: Keep in mind that some people’s teeth are simply not naturally sparkling white, and this is okay. The best way to keep your teeth looking wonderful is to practice good oral hygiene. If you are worried about your smile, you can also ask your dentist for guidance.

Do Home Remedies Work?

The answer to this question is that home remedies can work. When dealing with illnesses/injuries, it is important to research any home remedies that are being considered to avoid ineffective practices as well as those that may put the patient's health at risk.

Additionally, it is always a great idea to consult with a medical professional before deciding on a course of action. Doctors and nurses will be able to direct individuals towards the safest and most effective home remedies.

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