The ultimate quest of most home remedies is to cure or lessen the symptoms of an illness or condition. Home remedies concocted from herbs, plants and ingredients you’re likely to have in your cupboard have been used for centuries – and in most cases they work.
But, beware of homemade medications that can hurt rather than cure. Below are some home remedies that could cause you a trip to the hospital rather than avoiding it.
- Butter for Burns – For years, butter has been used as a salve for burns. Actually, butter is extremely bad for burns because rather than cooling the burned area, it keeps the heat inside and increases the chance for infection.
- Paraffin (Kerosene) – Thought to be an effective method to make a child vomit. Forcing a child to ingest paraffin can damage the lungs and the stomach.
- Castor Oil – An old home remedy for constipation, caster oil is a stimulant laxative that can damage the intestines if taken too often. You can also become reliant on it to induce regular bowel movements.
- Herbal Aphrodisiacs – Herbs like Spanish Fly aren’t regulated, so you don’t know how much you’re getting in a supplement. Too much of any herbal remedy can be harmful to your system.
- Hydrogen Peroxide – Some home remedy enthusiasts use hydrogen peroxide as an antiseptic. It’s effective in cleaning wounds, but doesn’t kill the bacteria that can eventually cause infection.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – Used to promote weight loss, apple cider vinegar can ruin your tooth enamel if you don’t brush your teeth after ingesting it.
- Syrup of Ipecac – A home remedy used to induce vomiting if a poison is ingested. Pediatricians now discourage the use of the syrup and suggest instead that you call the National Poison Center at 800-222-1222.
- Kerosene – Treating head lice by rubbing kerosene on a child’s head is a home remedy that is ineffective and can be harmful to the child.
Most home remedies are harmless, but some can be extremely dangerous. Mixed with certain prescriptions or medical conditions, these non-prescribed remedies can cause severe damage or death. Check with your health care professional or pharmacist before using any type of home or herbal remedy.