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The craziest home remedies people have used — and still do

Some ridiculous-sounding home remedies have been around for quite some time and don’t seem to be going anywhere. A couple of them are backed by science, others not so much. Still, desperate times call for creative measures.

Vodka for smelly feet

Shots of vodka poured
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Vodka’s antiseptic properties can get rid of the bacteria and fungus that cause foot odor. Alcohol also eliminates moisture, and we all know that fungus and bacteria thrive in moisture. That’s why some people soak a washcloth in vodka and wipe their feet down with it or spray vodka directly into their shoes. Who cares that you might end up smelling as if you always have a martini in your pocket? There’s no research to prove any of this, but people swear by it anyway. The only way to know for sure is to try it. If it doesn’t work, just make yourself a vodka and tonic and stop for the day. Drink enough vodka, and chances are you won’t be able to smell anything.

Crushed aspirin for acne

Photo of aspirin on white background
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People have been crushing aspirin and applying it directly to zits for quite some time. They do it because it contains acetylsalicylic acid, which is a known and proven acne treatment. Internet rumors say that using crushed aspirin for acne reduces redness and swelling. The scientific verdict on that is still out. In the meantime, it might be better to use a product with acetylsalicylic acid directly, as aspirin really is not the same thing. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology suggests only taking an aspirin orally for sunburn and swelling. They mention nothing about using aspirin topically for acne.

Duct tape for warts

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As it turns out, duct tape is even more all-purpose than we thought. Folks even use it for getting rid of warts. Sure, you can burn them off with liquid nitrogen or use topical wart medication that is full of chemicals, but that doesn’t sound pleasant. Instead, cover your wart with a piece of duct tape and leave it on for a week to block its oxygen source and stunt its growth.

After a week, you should take off the duct tape, clean the wart and the surrounding area, and scrub it with a pumice stone as if your wart-free life depends on it. Leave it open overnight before suffocating it some more with a new piece of fresh duct tape. It will eventually fall off. If you use duct tape in conjunction with an over-the-counter wart medication, that could get that wart out of your life even faster. If this all sounds crazy to you, think again, because doctors will vouch for this method.

The real question is, who thought to put duct tape on their wart in the first place?

Chocolate for your cough

Photo of crushed up chocolate
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No one really needs an excuse to eat chocolate, but if there is one, you had better believe people would be jumping on that ship before it sails. Before you get too excited, not all chocolate helps for cough relief. It’s just dark chocolate. They say two ounces of the stuff has as much theobromine as many standard cough medicines.

While theobromine does seem to work as a cough suppressant, does that mean eating dark chocolate will also suppress your cough? Quite a few studies show solid evidence of dark chocolate’s ability to calm a cough, but that may just be when it’s working together with the other ingredients in cough medicine.

Peculiar remedies that might just work

Herbs and essential oils
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Home remedies come in handy when nearby stores are closed or you just don’t feel like leaving the house. Even if they don’t work, sometimes the placebo effect is enough.