Do home remedies really save you money?

May 22, 2012 8:42:39 AM PDT
We've probably all tried them once or twice. We're talking about home remedies to cure common medical problems. Some people swear by them as an easy do-it-yourself way to feel better without spending time or money at the doctor's office. But medical home remedies can end up costing you in the long run.

Sometimes they are passed down through the family as cheap, quick fixes. Doctors do not recommend them.

Dr. Nick Solomos, staff physician at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic says they really can do more harm than good.

"Heard of a few, been through a few and seen a few here," he said.

Like a ten dollar bottle of kerosene to treat lice.

"Kerosene on the scalp for treating lice, it's a little dangerous because as you know, kerosene is a little dangerous and it can also penetrate the skin and be toxic," said Dr. Solomos.

And what about treating a rash with turpentine?

"Turpentine on rashes to burn the rash away ends up burning the good skin away," said Dr. Solomos.

So can a crushed-up aspirin rubbed on a sore tooth.

"Aspirin-type powders on sore teeth to relieve a toothache, unfortunately all that does is burn the gums,'" Dr. Solomos told us.

One of the more dangerous home remedies Dr. Solomos has heard of is one to treat a fever. It involves actually eating a spider!

"Probably the most outrageous method I've heard for treating fever and that was to take a daddy longlegs, remove the legs and swallow the rest of the bug alive and apparently that was used for to lower fever," he said.

He does not recommend swallowing spiders for any reason, and says obviously that could make you really sick.

But what about the more harmless home remedies, like one for easing a sore throat or common cold?

Patients take a handkerchief, that you put some honey, lemons, sometimes onion and Vicks in, and put it together and tie it around their necks for what's called the goat rag.

"It was supposedly for sore throat and hoarseness, probably kept a lot of people away from you so you didn't transmit the illness and that's probably the way it worked best," Dr. Solomos said.

And there's something else to consider when taking these cheap home remedies.

"They can also interact with other medications," he said.

Remember, they could end up costing you much more than you bargained for.

"Sometimes when you do cut corners, you end up paying more in the long run in terms of your health and time and dollar," said Dr. Solomos.

Again these home remedies are not recommended by doctors. You should always consult with your doctor before making any changes when it comes to your health.

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