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The Secret Sauce: 5 Common Home Remedies Explained

These days, stores stockpile products that can solve everything from household messes to ant invasions. But there’s something to be said for handling life’s little curveballs au natural – whipping up remedies at home using natural (and edible!) ingredients.

But even if you’ve heard that one of these home remedies works, do you know why? Let’s bolster your cocktail convo arsenal! Here are five common home remedies explained.

1. Lemon Cleans (Almost) Everything

Lemon has proven itself to be a powerful, versatile cleaner, tackling everything from soap scum to glass stains. And don’t even get us started on its microwave de-gunking skills.

Why it works: Lemon is more than just a pretty garnish. The citrus fruit has a low pH and natural antibacterial properties, which creates an acid-fueled, germ-killing extravaganza every time it’s put to work.

2. Peppermint Oil Soothes Bug Bites

When a critter makes a feast of your flesh, fight the urge to scratch the itch and, instead, apply a few drops of peppermint essential oil to the bite mark. It will stop the itchiness and cause any visible swelling to go down.

Why it works: Peppermint first cools the bite, which helps reduce the itch factor. It also increases blood flow to the spot, flushing away the bug’s venom and, eventually, healing the bite.

3. Cucumber Slices Deter Ants

Nothing stops an ant parade in its tracks like a slice of cucumber. If ants are running daily incursions into your home, place cucumber slices (or peel shavings) at strategic entry points and cracks. This will have them doing a 180 in no time.

Why it works: It’s not about the taste! Cucumber is toxic to some common types of fungi that ants feed on, so these critters want nothing to do with this gourd. Take advantage of their fear and use cucumber to deter ants!

4. Aloe Vera Makes Hair Grow

If your hope for your hair’s future is… receding, aloe vera could be your saving grace. Once every two weeks, rub the juice from an aloe vera plant directly onto your scalp. Massage, then rinse after 30 minutes. Odds are, you’ll see lusher-than-usual locks start to make an appearance.

Why it works: Aloe vera is naturally antibacterial and, therefore, able to reduce germy sebum buildup on your scalp – one cause of slowed hair growth. Aloe vera also increases blood circulation to the scalp, which kicks follicle activity into high gear.

5. Strawberries Soothe Sunburns

If you’ve caught one too many rays, strawberries will help ease the pain and irritation of a sunburn. Simply mash a handful of fresh, ripe strawberries and spread them onto your skin. You’ll experience instant pain relief (and, possibly, a sudden craving for shortcake).

Why it works: Strawberries contain tannic acid, which has a protective effect on skin. Applying it to a sunburn will allow the tannin content to work its magic and alleviate burning. 

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