10 Science-Backed Home Remedies Everyone Should Know About

July 24, 2022

Not every health concern is a major one. Sometimes we're faced with relatively minor annoyances that we just want gone—fast! That's where my top home remedies, also known as health hacks, come into play!

Got the hiccups? There's a sweet fix for that. Cold sores? Stop them in their tracks with a citrus application. Have a headache that won't go away? You don't have to hit the medicine cabinet in search of OTC pain relievers when you have this minty home remedy!

Want to get my top health hacks that I use at home and recommend to my patients? You’re in the right place! These home remedies work so well that you'll become the go-to person in your family and circle of friends for advice on minor health annoyances in no time.

So, let’s not delay any longer and dive right into my top home remedies for everyday minor health problems.


Home remedies - Dr. Pingel


Dr. Pingel’s Top 10 Home Remedies for Common Health Concerns

Here are my top 10 home remedies for minor health problems. Take a look and you may be surprised to learn how effective these health hacks actually are!

1. Avocado for stress and anxiety

Let’s start with one of my favorite and lesser known of the home remedies in this list: eating avocado to help manage stress and anxiety.

As you know, I believe chronic stress is the root of many of our major health concerns today. But you may be surprised to learn that avocado is a great natural source of B vitamins, which are known to help combat both stress and anxiety.

So, how do B vitamins fight stress? According to a 2010 study on 215 healthy men, B vitamins helped decrease their stress levels. [1] Meanwhile, a 2014 study showed that consuming B vitamins helped reduce workplace stress by 20 percent! [2]

So, whenever you find yourself feeling a little stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed, consider that your body may be low in B vitamins and reach for an avocado to help give yourself some much-needed relief.

2. Peppermint oil for headaches

One of my favorite natural remedies is to diffuse peppermint oil to help relieve headaches.

How effective is it? One study revealed that applying diluted peppermint oil topically was as effective as acetaminophen, a common over-the-counter pain reliever, in relieving headache pain. Plus, it was substantially more effective in relieving headache pain than a placebo. [3]

If you have sensitive skin, try diffusing a few drops of peppermint oil first. You can also apply it with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil.

3. Valerian root for insomnia

I love to use valerian root for a variety of home remedies, but there’s no question that one of its top benefits is that it promotes restful sleep.

According to one study, taking valerian extract can decrease the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep and also promotes longer sleep. [4] This occurs because valerian contains both valepotriates, which have natural sedative properties, and sesquiterpenes, which contain calming properties.

Additionally, a double-blind study found that these components in valerian not only improved sleep for 89 percent of participants but also supported “perfect sleep” in 44 percent of those studied. [5]

So, if you struggle to fall asleep at night, consider consuming valerian in tea or capsule form. You can also use this herb in an alcohol-free tincture or extract at bedtime, like I do. Just make sure to speak with your physician first, especially if you’re currently taking other medications.

4. Cayenne pepper for pain

We can’t discuss home remedies without offering an alternative for pain management. Fortunately, capsaicin, a compound found in cayenne peppers, is an all-natural pain reliever due to its ability to increase blood flow in your body.

Most of the research for capsaicin to treat headaches has been done with people who suffer from cluster headaches. When it’s applied to the inside of your nose, it can prevent these debilitating headaches. [67]

That said, it’s also commonly provided in creams to help relieve pain due to arthritis and muscle sprains.

5. Apple cider vinegar for kidney stones

Now, let’s talk about one of my absolute favorite home remedies: taking apple cider vinegar for kidney stones.

So, how does it work? Studies have shown that daily consumption of vinegar reduced kidney stone recurrence—specifically for those who have calcium oxalate stones.

According to a 2019 study, this effect is largely due to the major bioactive component in vinegar, which is known as acetic acid. This acid is believed to break down and even help dissolve kidney stones to the point that they’re easier to pass. [8]

It’s worth noting, though, that apple cider vinegar is known to make your urine more alkaline, so if your stones are due to magnesium ammonium phosphate, you may want to avoid drinking too much.

6. Lavender and tea tree oils for head lice

Believe it or not, using a combination of lavender oil and melaleuca oil (commonly known as tea tree oil) was found to be an effective treatment against head lice, which is why this made my list of top ten home remedies.

In a 2011 study, researchers found that participants who used an Australian head lice treatment product containing lavender and melaleuca oils (NeutraLice Natural Lotion®) showed a 44.4 percent success rate (live head lice eggs killed). [9]

Want to make your own shampoo? Check out this recipe, which offers different versions for different types of hair.

7, Coconut oil for dry, itchy skin

When it comes to home remedies, we have to include coconut oil. Not only is it a great fat source that you can consume to support your overall health, but it’s also a fantastic option for topical use to fight dry, itchy skin.

In fact, researchers conducted a study to test the effects of using coconut oil topically and found that those who used this oil on their legs twice daily for two weeks experienced significantly increased levels of skin hydration, which is known to reduce itching. [10]

When you’re purchasing coconut oil, make sure to get unrefined virgin coconut oil for the purest form. Apply as needed for improved moisture and reduced itchiness.

8. Honey for hiccups and coughs

Did you know that using honey is a great natural remedy for both hiccups and coughs?

Here’s how it works: The vagus nerve controls the parasympathetic nervous system, and one of its functions is to control actions in the digestive tract. Honey soothes the vagus nerve, breaking the continuity of the hiccup reflex, thus making them stop.

Additionally, honey is known to help relieve coughs. In fact, 2021 meta-analysis of 14 studies, confirmed that honey was found to be more effective at reducing both cough frequency and severity in comparison to many other methods. [11]

I recommend taking a spoonful of manuka honey as needed. Just make sure not to give honey to children under the age of 1.

9. Oil of oregano for sore throats

As I’ve mentioned before, oil of oregano is a fantastic supplement to take anytime you’re suffering from a sore throat.

Many sore throats are caused by postnasal drip, which is often the result of a viral or bacterial infection upper respiratory infection. And a 2011 study revealed that participants with an upper respiratory infection who used a throat spray containing oregano oil combined with other essential oils experienced decreased symptoms within 20 minutes of using the spray. [12]

You can find herbal sprays containing oregano oil or oil of oregano capsules in your local health food and supplement stores. Use as directed on the label.

10. Witch hazel for cold sores

Finally, witch hazel is a multipurpose use for a variety of home remedies. But I want to focus on one troublesome nuisance: cold sores!

Studies have shown that witch hazel helps to soothe inflammation and even fight the virus that prevents cold sores. It works by helping to dry out cold sores and even inhibits the activity of the virus that causes them! [13]

Simply soak a cotton ball in witch hazel and apply to your cold sore a few times daily until it’s dried out.


Key Takeaways

  • Not every health concern is a major one. Sometimes we're faced with relatively minor annoyances that we just want gone—fast! That's where my top home remedies, also known as health hacks, come into play!
  • Some of my top home remedies include: avocados for stress and anxiety, coconut oil for itchy skin, honey for hiccups, witch hazel for cold sores, and more!
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