By Lynnie Stein / September 11, 2022

DIY Traditional Remedies

If you are disenchanted with modern drugs, antibiotics and aerosol sprays and concerned about the all too frequent use of insecticides, there’s a simple solution – a return to Grandma’s traditional remedies.

Rather than the superstitions they were once branded, it seems they make a whole lot of sense!

With the fight for the environment continuing did Granny know a thing or too? 

Maybe we should look closer at her low on pollution and low on cost ideas. 

Granny’s medicine chest contained only the basics

  • but even with a minimum of comforts and a maximum of chores and children she coped admirably.
  • She knew how to make full use of ordinary foods and herbs, not only as cures for ailments, but in everyday house cleaning.
  • Gran knew how the pain of a black eye could be eased by applying cucumber slices, and that generous helpings of beetroot would stimulate a poor appetite, while lettuce aided insomnia sufferers and celery those with jumpy nerves.
  • Gran fed carrots to asthma sufferers and grated apple for mild diarrhoea, and frequent drinks of barley water settled cases of stress or tension.

Countdown – 22 Traditional Remedies Hacks

# 22  Lemons

  • Mixed with honey the juice will ease a red throat: mixed with milk it livens the dullest complexion, when applied directly to the skin.
  • Acne Treatment – After washing the face to remove oils, pat the face with lemon juice three times a day.
  • Blood Purifier – Drink the juice of one lemon in a cup of warm water each morning. (Lemon juice should not be consumed if you have an ulcer).
  • Hand Cleaner, Softener, and Odour Remover – To cleanse and soften the hands after washing dishes or to remove vegetable stains, rub hands well with lemon juice. It will also remove strong odours such as onions and fish from the hands.
  • Heartburn Relief – Add one teaspoon of lemon juice to half glass of water and drink.

Rust stains disappear like magic when a mix of lemon juice and salt is applied and the garment spread in the sun. After the fruit is juiced to make refreshing drinks, the used halves will soften and whiten workworn elbows. Lemon juice can be used to dissolve soap scum and hard water deposits. Lemon is a great substance to clean and shine brass and copper. Lemon juice can be mixed with vinegar and or baking soda to make cleaning pastes. Cut a lemon in half and sprinkle baking soda on the cut section. Use the lemon to scrub dishes, surfaces, and stains. Mix 1 cup olive oil with ½ cup lemon juice and you have a furniture polish for your hardwood furniture. Rub on wooden or bamboo chopping boards and dry in sun / mix with sea salt to remove mould and a degreaser.

# 21 Potato

The potato’s another handy item.

And from whom did you learn that a pulped potato is an effective healer of burns?

  • # 20 Bicarb (baking Soda) -Sodium bicarbonate, one of the most useful inexpensive cleaners for bathroom scouring powder, water softener, chrome polisher, bicarb and a damp cloth for all the kitchen cleaning – fridge, oven, hot plates, china, crockery.
  • Absorbs odours – cupboards, rugs, refrigerators.
  • Cleans teeth and keeps body odour away – for a very effective deodorant – use a shaving brush and brush sparingly under arm area.
  • Baking soda serves as a safe, light bleach.
  • A baking soda and salt mixture can also restore the shine of dingy teeth (dip a wet toothbrush into 1/4 teaspoon soda and sprinkle with up to 1/8 teaspoon salt) as effectively as it polishes your pots and pans.
  • However, straight baking soda is safer for people on no-salt diets.

Baking soda is a must for any camper

  • It can serve as a dish washer, pot scrubber, hand cleanser, deodorant, toothpaste, fire extinguisher, and first aid treatment for insect bites, sunburn and poison ivy, as well as much more.
  • Plus, it saves space (one box compared to many products!).
  • Relieve the itching and pain of an insect bite with a baking soda paste.
  • After you have removed any stinger, make a paste by combining 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water.
  • Apply it to the affected area and let it dry. Wash it off and repeat, if needed.

Baking Soda is an elixir to elite athletes.

  • It is consumed in massive quantities to delay the onset of lactic acid.
  • For those non athletes, this is the naturally occurring substance in the body that we produce when we over exert ourselves.
  • It has been reported that athletes feel like floating on air and achieve improved performances of 3-4% which is massive.
  • That equates to nearly 5 seconds for a 2 minute 800 metre runner.
  • Side effects include massive amounts of flatulence, burping and frothing at the mouth.
  • Whilst it is legal to use, baking soda was recently banned in the Australian horse racing industry.
  • I wonder if it was because of the flatulence?
  • Gout is caused by high acidity levels in the blood and the basic qualities of  baking soda lower the acidity level in the blood.
  • Tastes awful, but  I have been told – a spoonful of  baking soda in a glass of water per day, will not be long before your gout free!
  • # 19 Speaking of Gas – Grandma’s recipe for flatulence – Sip 1 cup hot water steeped with 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, which stifle the enzymatic action that causes gas.
  • Ginger tea may also of been offered.
  • The active ingredients in gingerroot can calm queasiness and relieve indigestion and excessive gas.

# 18 Vinegar

  • Vinegar naturally cleans like an all-purpose cleaner.
  • Mix a solution of 1 part water to 1 part vinegar in a spray bottle and you have a solution that will clean most areas of your home.
  • Vinegar is a great natural cleaning product as well as a disinfectant and deodorizer.
  • Always test on an inconspicuous area.
  • It is safe to use on most surfaces and has the added bonus of being incredibly cheap.
  • Improperly diluted vinegar is acidic and can eat away at tile grout.
  • Never use vinegar on marble surfaces.
  • Don’t worry about your home smelling like vinegar. The smell disappears when it dries.
  • Here are some uses for vinegar in the rooms of your house. Use it in the…
  • Bathroom – Clean the bathtub, toilet, sink, and countertops.
  • Use pure vinegar in the toilet bowl to get rid of rings.
  • Flush the toilet to allow the water level to go down.
  • Pour the undiluted vinegar around the inside of the rim.
  • Scrub down the bowl. Mop the flour in the bathroom with a vinegar/water solution. The substance will also eat away the soap scum and hard water stains on your fixtures and tiles. Make sure it is safe to use with your tiles.
  • Kitchen – Clean the stovetop, appliances, countertops, and floor.
  • Laundry – Use vinegar as a natural fabric softener. Add ½ cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle in place of store bought fabric softener. Vinegar has the added benefit of breaking down laundry detergent more effectively.
  • Vinegar mixed with salt is sudden death to ringworms.
  • Looking for a natural insect repellent? Try splashing a little vinegar on exposed skin.

# 17 Banana

Houseplant cleaner:

Wipe your houseplant leaves down with the inside of a banana peel to remove dirt and leave a shine. Makes a great shoe polish, too.

Potassium rich, bananas are great for us as well as our gardens.

Dry out leftover peels over the winter months.

In the spring grind them up with a food processor or blender and use them as mulch when transplanting new plants or seedlings to give them a boost.

To Remove Warts – Rub the wart with the inside of the banana skin every time you eat a banana.

Or before bedtime tape a banana peel inside to the skin, over the wart, and cover with a bandage.

Within a couple of days the wart will be gone.

# 16 Prize Remedies – Fertilizer

  • Gran certainly knew what she was about. Another of her fields of expertise was the flower and vegetable garden.
  • Cooled water from boiled eggs helped their growth and crushed eggshells round the base of her precious gerberas and other plants made them blossom profusely.
  • If buds began dropping unopened from her favourite shrub, Gran soon had it covered in blossoms again by giving the shrub a single application of – a tablespoon of borax dissolved in about 10 litres (2 gals) of water.
  • Try starting seeds in eggshell halves.
  • Store planted shells in egg cartons so they can easily be moved to planting, plant as is.
  • Roots break through and the decomposed shell acts as a fertilizer.
    Bone meal is an excellent source of nutrients for all the plants in your garden.
  • You can make your own by drying your leftover organic chicken bones in the microwave.
  • Depending on the quantity, cook for 1-4 minutes on high.
  • Place in a sturdy paper bag and grind them up with a mallet, hammer or rolling pin. Distribute the powder around your plants. They will love it.
  • Don’t throw out organic coffee grounds or tea leaves.
  • They are full of nutrients and good for your garden. Simply sprinkle them over your plants and the soil.
  • Fertilize your plants with Epsom salts. Mix it into your soil around the plant, not too close to burn the plant roots. For tomatoes, use one tablespoon for every foot of height, water in well.

# 15 Pest Removal

  • In those days before chemical sprays were commonly used, Gran turned to her herb garden to rid the house of insect pests.
  • Most of us today grow chives and it’s a great insect repellent; so is garlic.
  • Both were familiar plants in her garden.
  • A spray made with chestnut and clove scents deters spiders.
  • Mice dislike garlic and elderberry liquid.
  • Moths dislike the smell of lavender, natural camphor, cloves, mint, sage, wormwood and rosemary. Rid clothes of moth eggs by hanging them in the sun. 

# 14 Repellent

  • Bunches of lavender hung in a corner to drive flies and mosquitos out and little lavender bags in linen not only left it sweet smelling, but kept moths at bay too.
  • A bay leaf placed in your dry food containers will discourage weevils and food moths from laying their eggs.
  • Prevent mosquitos breeding by keeping sources of still or stale water away from the house.
  • Herbs that repel them are citronella, pennyroyal, pyrethrum, basil, mint, chamomile and tansy.
  • Try burning citronella oil or basil oil near open windows to prevent flies from entering.
  • # 13 The ever useful dry borax sprinkled around a room soon freed it of ants and cockroaches. 
  • Ants – Find the trail that leads between your house and their nest and obliterate it with mint, sodium bicarbonate or aromatic oils.
  • Paprika is a good deterrent.
  • Ants also dislike pennyroyal, lavender and garlic.
  • The idea is to keep destroying their signposts that lead to the house.
  • # 12 Eucalyptus oil – typically Australian, our forbearers soon discovered its many uses
  • .Dabbed on the pillow or mixed with hot water and inhaled, it greatly relieves head and nasal congestion, and as a remover of stains it’s unequalled.
  • Keep the mozzies and nasties away – Blend together 1/2 cup glycerine, 5 drops of eucalyptus oil 2 drops of deodorant (such as rose oil, oil of citronella, or lavender oil) Rub on the skin.
  • Another one for nasal congestion, try: putting a few drops of eucalyptus oil on the floor of a hot, running shower and inhaling the steam that accumulates.
  • (Note: The room may be too hot for children).
  • Add several drops to your dogs shampoo as a flea deterrent.
  • Along with supplementing your pet’s diet with brewers yeast and garlic can make the animal’s body chemistry inhospitable to fleas.
    # 11 For itches – The inside of the pad of a broad bean rubbed on an itch relieved and bought any swelling down.
  • # 10 Another Grandma tip for bites – spiders etc – make a poultice of bread, vinegar, borax and honey.
  • Warm honey to make mix with other ingredients.
  • It draws out the poison, also good from pricks of rose thorns, etc.
  • # 9 Headache
  • Nutmeg grated into a cup of boiling water will cure a violent headache!
  • # 8 At the first sign of a cold try eating 8-10 small leaves of white horehound crushed with honey.
  • # 7 Bee Stings
  • The old time washday blue bag was used as a sure cure for bee and wasp stings. (had to put this one in, childhood memories from many bee stings and blue bags) not sure of the ingredients – earth friendly???
  • # 6 Splinter Removal
  • Also have witnessed many times the effectiveness of a sugar and grated soap poultice.
  • Applied overnight it will draw to the surface the largest thorn or splinter, also great for treating boils.

# 5 More Housecleaning

  • Even without our modern cleaning aids Gran was a whiz at housecleaning.
  • Leftover cold tea cleaned varnished floors and woodwork.
  • # 4 Bath
  • Borax made the old enamel bath look like new.
  • # 3 Gardening Hat
  • Just a soak in mild salty water, and old straw hats could be reshaped and dried to take on a new lease of life.
  • The same solution kept wicker furniture from turning yellow.
  • # 2 Silver
  • For sparkling silver, she popped a piece of chalk in the cabinet – it stopped tarnishing and absorbed moisture.

# 1  Grandma’s Earth Day Tip – Start good habits at home.

  • Enjoy the Earth. 

Spend time out doors gardening, hiking, walking, running, bike riding, reading, sitting, thinking or anything else you can think of to take advantage of our beautiful home while still respecting its beauty.    

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