6 Popular “Home Remedies” That Don’t Actually Work

[ ♪ Intro ] Going to the doctor’s office is almost always
a bummer. Even if you’re not deathly ill, there’s
the whole ordeal of actually getting out of the house and then filling out forms and waiting
around reading old magazines for what seems like eternity. So it’s not surprising that home remedies
are pretty popular, but do they actually work? I should probably point out that I’m not
a doctor, so if you have any questions about what can and can’t be treated at home, you should definitely ask someone with medical training. But studies by actual doctors have found that
even some of the most well-known home remedies don’t work, and sometimes they do more harm
than good. And for these six, science says it’s time
to find an alternative. Honey can be kind of wonderful when you’re
sick. It has antibacterial powers, and if nothing
else, it adds a little sweetness your sleepy
time tea. But one thing it doesn’t seem to do is reduce
allergies. You might have heard that eating local, raw
honey can prevent you from experiencing seasonal allergies. Because this honey is made from the plants
around you, it’s thought that it provides controlled exposure to the stuff causing your allergies kind of like an allergy shot would. And we know that those can cut down your allergic
response. There are even tablet versions for ragweed
and grass pollen allergies, so you can fight
allergies with your mouth. But studies suggest honey just doesn’t do
the job. Most of the pollen in honey is from flowers
that rarely cause allergies. But more importantly, even super raw, unfiltered
honey straight from the hive just doesn’t have that much pollen in it, less than half
a percent by weight. And clinical studies suggest that’s just
not enough. For example, researchers at the University
of Connecticut tested 36 people with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, aka classic allergy sufferers,
complete with runny noses and red, puffy eyes. The participants ate a daily tablespoon of
either raw, locally sourced honey, processed honey, or a placebo, and maintained a diary
of their symptoms for 10 days. But in the end, neither honey-eating group
reported more allergy relief than the placebo. A different study did find that spiking honey
with an allergy-causing pollen could help, so there might be a way for scientists to
create a honey-based allergy treatment. But that would mean a lot more research to
design something that probably will end up being a lot like the tablets we already have. Though maybe you could use it to sweeten your
tea, too. Now this one wasn’t some kind of pre-tanning
bed bronzing strategy. Putting butter on a toasty patch of skin used
to be considered a viable home remedy for thermal burns. The treatment started on the battlefields
of 19th century Europe because it was thought that deep burn wounds needed protection from air. Even in the early to mid 20th century, butter
and oils were used on burns that started to blister or char. These days, we know better. Butter, coconut oil, and pretty much any greasy
goo of your choosing will trap heat, which is the opposite of what you want to do with
a thermal burn. Doctors say the key to a speedy recovery is
cooling such burns ASAP, and certainly within in the first 48 hours. This not only makes the burn less severe,
it reduces pain, something you probably want if you just burned yourself. It’s actually a little weird that cooling
works so well even if the application is a little delayed, considering the actual temperature
of your skin goes back to normal within a few minutes. But in animal studies, even delayed cooling
of burns helps decrease swelling, preserve blood flow to the skin, and reduce healing
time, though sooner is better. And you might think ice water would be top
choice since it cools quickly, but research is mixed. That’s because it’s hard to judge how
cold things are when you’re burned, so you might overdo it and get frostbite… ironic
as that may sound. And that’s why international burn associations
and first aid organizations usually recommend gently cooling down a burn for 10 to 20 minutes
with cool to room temperature water. And they’re also pretty clear about not
using butter. The only real exception to the no butter rule
seems to be if your burn is caused by hot tar. In that case, something slick like butter
can help remove the sticky stuff, but it’s probably still best to go to the doctor. Parents of young children are all too familiar
with head lice. These extremely contagious little vermin can
climb aboard when your hair or head touches someone else’s, though probably not via
hats or combs like we used to think. And they set up shop on your scalp, sucking
your blood and making it itch like crazy. Getting rid of them usually means doing laundry
constantly, picking at hairs for hours, and multiple head washes with annoyingly expensive
medicated shampoos, that it turns out some lice have become resistant to. So it’s no wonder many hope household items
can take them out instead. Unfortunately, one common go-to, vinegar,
just isn’t effective. It’s thought that the acidic liquid might
harm or suffocate the little critters. But when researchers tested a handful of different
home remedies by dipping human hair samples in different products, the vinegar-drenched
tufts had almost no difference in adult lice or egg content after 8 hours, the time ofa typical overnight treatment. The researchers also found the lice were able
to survive over 24 hours without food, and some even made it through 12 hours without
air. Other things they tried did seem to work better
than vinegar, though, like petroleum jelly. But I still wouldn’t get too excited, since
some lice and eggs survive the jelly, too. So it will still require multiple applications
and a lot of hair brushing to get rid of the lice completely. There’s simply no quick and easy way to
rid your head of lice, other than to completely shave off your hair. Now, this might come as a shock, but swallowing
poison isn’t a good idea. So for decades, people used to stock their
medicine cabinets with a product called ipecac syrup. Made from dried bits of a Costa Rican plant,
it could used to induce vomiting if their kid ate some rat poison or something. It was such a common remedy that you used
to be able to find it in any big drug store. But as of 2010, American manufacturers stopped
producing it altogether because it doesn’t work. Well, I mean, it does make you throw up. Ipecac syrup is an emetic: a substance that
causes you to vomit. But the act of vomiting doesn’t do all that
good a job of ridding your body of poison. When you purge, you don’t always completely
empty your stomach. And any delay between ingestion and vomiting
gives your body time to absorb a poison. Which is why research in 2005 concluded that
when it comes to removing toxins, vomiting isn’t as effective as other treatments. And taking the time to drink ipecac and vomit
can delay or even interfere with better options like activated charcoal. Also, some of the side effects of ipecac syrup
are similar to the effects of some poisons, which makes the diagnosis more confusing for
your doctor. So these days, most major toxicology authorities
agree that no matter what you’ve ingested, you shouldn’t reach for ipecac. If you’re really concerned that you or a
family member has ingested poison, call your local poison center, call 911, or just go
to the hospital. People’s main priority when they get a nosebleed
is usually to stop the fountain of blood coming out of their nose as quickly as possible. So it’s no wonder that many people think
the best treatment for epistaxis, that’s the medical term for a nosebleed, is to tilt
your head back. And it works! I mean, it stops the blood from dripping down
your face, but it doesn’t stop the blood from flowing. Human noses are full of blood vessels, so
when there’s a bleed, there’s often a lot of blood and all that blood has to go
somewhere. The main danger with the head tilt method
is that you can actually choke on your own blood. Your nose is connected to your throat, you
know, where your windpipe and esophagus are, by a tube called the pharynx. So when you tilt your head back, you can block
or flood your windpipe with blood. Or all of it can travel straight to your stomach,
which can cause irritation and vomiting. Which is why doctors say to do the exact opposite: tilt your head forward while keeping your head above your heart. And just catch the blood in a towel or something. Studies have suggested that pinching your
nose just below the bridge for 5 to 10 minutes can help, that applies pressure to the most
likely bleeding point. Or, a cold compress may help by giving you
some much needed pain relief. So you can try that, too, but if the blood
just doesn’t seem to stop coming, then calling a doctor isn’t the worst idea. If you’ve ever had pink eye or conjunctivitis,
you have my sympathy. Pink eye is highly contagious and extremely
common in both kids and adults. And the pain, swelling, and redness just,
sucks. As if to make matters worse, doctors often
don’t prescribe anything, not even medicated eye drops, preferring to just wait it out. So a desperate desire to do something to speed
things along might be why someone came up with the idea of covering infected eyes with
boiled tea bags. And it’s not as far-fetched as it might
seem. The main symptoms of pink eye stem from inflammation, which is an immune response usually triggered by a viral or bacterial infection. Chamomile, a common component of teas, does
have some anti-inflammatory properties. But there’s no evidence that chamomile-filled
tea bags help with pink eye. People who swear by this method might be picking
up on something else: the heat. For reasons that aren’t completely understood,
applying heat often reduces pain. So basically, those tea bags might be acting
like a hot towel. And in all fairness, you’re probably not
doing any harm by covering your eyes with hot tea bags, so long as they aren’t hot
enough to burn you. So I guess if you need an excuse to brew a
quick pot of tea and take a nap, more power to you. Nowadays, it is super easy to find all kinds
of different medical advice, but just because a treatment comes up in a search or has been around awhile doesn’t mean it’s good. If you use one of the “home remedies”
we just talked about, you could be making the whole experience that much worse. So before you follow age-old idioms or even
the sage advice of Google, you probably want to check with a trusted medical resource. Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow! And if you want to learn more about medical
science, from an actual doctor, no less, you might like one of our sister channels, Healthcare
Triage. On this channel, Dr. Aaron Carroll explains
healthcare policy, dives deep into medical research, and answers all sorts of questions
about medicine, health, and healthcare. So check it out at YouTube.com/HealthcareTriage! [ ♪ Outro ]


  1. Wow, I didn’t even think the honey for allergy thing was an actual thing at all. The idea was so far fetched that I didn’t think most people would think it, let alone believe it.

  2. Robicombs worked well for us on lice. Anecdotally it seems much harder to develop resistance to electric shock then chemicals.

  3. Check out the tried and true about honey, I used it to heal wounds, somewhat sticky and leaking out of the wrapping, no DR. No ER. HONEY IS GOOD FOR OTHER HEALTH PROBLEMS. LOOK IT UP.

  4. I eat raw unfiltered unpasteurized "super enriched bee pollen bee propolis royal jelly " that wish would be on a study I've noticed a huge spike in energy and wonder if the high content of awesomeness is the core source of the initial thoughts

  5. I once burned myself when I was younger and my mom told me to put some butter on it. I had never heard of that and thought it was super gross and weird.

    So I instead decided to run it under cold tap water for a minute and then ice pack it.

  6. I've only heard of one of these (honey) but never bothered with it. For burns it's always run under (cold) tap water, My mum owned a bakery so I'm not surprised we were right. I say cold tap water, but it was usually just not hot tap water if that makes sense. For lice I heard Teatree oil, but it always just picked them out, I remember sitting in front of the TV for hours because my mum was picking them out. For poison, ugh doctor? call poison control? like the idea of a home remedy is not something I ever heard. nosebleeds was tissue and pinch, no tilt, just tissue and pinch. And then pink eye, I had it as a kid and the optometrist or doctor or someone gave me eyedrops (or gave my parents eyedrops) and I was like 5 so the biggest thing was banning me from touching my eyes, I got those fake glasses so I'd feel if I reflexively tried to rub my eye. Now I wear real glasses and am used to pushing them up to rub my eye. >.<

  7. My mom and I found a clinic where they cooked the lice and eggs to death with a special hair dryer, it actually worked. So yeah, there is actually a quick and easy way to get rid of lice. (but might be pricey)

  8. I’ve never heard of any of these things😅 except from the nose bleed thing since it’s featured in anime a lot aha

  9. As someone who has nose bleeds frequently since childhood, I thank you for spreading the DON'T PULL YOU HEAD BACK advice. I have being saying this my entire life and most of the time it's a surprise to people. When I was about 16 a teacher didn't believe me and forced me to pull my head back which made me choke in my own blood and cough violently '-' At least now I believe that teacher will never forget the proper protocol.

  10. Well, in Canada, the reason we don't go to the doctor is
    a)we're too lazy
    b)we're afraid of the doctor
    or c) the doctor will say something that will make us cry

  11. Raw organic honey DOES alleviate the pain of burns AND prevents blistering. I've tried it myself and it works!😀

  12. My mother works as a nurse practitioner for a doctors office, rubbing alcohol kills lice extremely well, she said it drys the hell out your hair thought. The lice in the area she works at are immune to the medicated shampoo

  13. I don't pinch nose for nosebleeds anymore. And I get a lot. It hurts and many times, I've triggered the other side. I take a square of toilet paper, fold it a couple times and roll it up to make what can only be described as a makeshift tampon. Replace every few minutes till done.

  14. *sigh*. 10 day study on limited number of participants.
    1. The theory behind honey being able to provide some measure of relief from seasonal allergies is precisely the same theory we employ for desensitisation (which works). Desensitisation doesn't work in 10 days, so obviously it would be insane to do a study on the effects of honey (in desensitisation to whatever local pollens might be around), in 10 days. – This isn't science. This is … so un-scientific that it actually makes me have to half heartedly consider that "big pharma" IS ACTUALLY just doing these shitty studies to discredit whatever… to sell … allergy meds? Seriously. FFS.

  15. 2:30 …when my grandmother worked in a laundry in the 1930s, she had an accident with an rotary-iron, severly burning her right hand (she barely escaped amputation!)
    Her boss (in fact SHE caused the accident, by removing/deactivating some of the safety-equipment to speed up the process…!!!) 'treated' the burnt hand with SALAD-OIL…!!!
    And instead of calling an ambulance, she send her home…!
    Nearly every mistake, you can make in such a case…!

  16. i love this chanel and all of the presenters, but if you google nerd and go into images this presenter will be the firs photo XDXD

  17. Conjunctivitis:
    It takes usually a week to two weeks at most to clear up. Some get lucky and it clears up in seventy-two hours.
    I concocted a salve that treats and diminishes it in half a day, taking two or three to heal completely.
    Cannabis oil, aloe, dehydrated chamomile, lemon extract, rose stem humor, and about half a day's worth of simmering at 340 degrees K (Kelvin). Applied directly to the area, wrapped snugly, the pain goes away quickly, the swelling reduces to next to nothing, oh, and the kicker. Level of contagion reduces by ninety-seven percent in the time it takes for the swelling to reduce. It also works on anyone, at any 'age', any skin tone, no adverse side effects short of eye irritation should the salve get into the eye.

  18. But wait… I took a shot at the doctor’s for pink eyes instead of medication(it is a choice as well) or other stuff. Soooo….you don’t have to wait it out

    Well as a former patient, i have some advice for when you have pink eyes :

    (or any other eye discomfort)
    DO NOT rub your eyes because it may transfer from one eye to another or you may get even more infected by the dirt
    And do not use a wet towel to reduce wellness as well if you suspect it is infection of some kind

    Also, go see a doctor immediately and don’t wait it out, it doesn’t go away easily

    I’d advice to take the shot instead of medicine, because it takes much longer to recover. A bit of pain is worth the suffering of a week or two

    I had pink eyes about 5 years ago so the medical treatment may have changed— but anyways, just wanted to help anyone swinging by

  19. easy fix for lice, dye your hair – make sure the dye has peroxide and ammonia, re dye 2 weeks later to make sure you got any left over eggs that have hatched plus it gets any regrowth and keeps the colour nice and vibrant

  20. I've used mustard on a burn and it helped. Was told the vinegar was what helped

  21. The other reason not to induce vomiting is some toxins such as bleach or other acids that a child might accidentally ingest would burn the throat on the way back up as well. So for those it's simply better to neutralize them in place.

  22. My mom did the teabag thingy for pinkeye on me, but she used black tea bc she said it has antibacterial properties. Does that have any truth to it?

  23. If you have a closed blister burn or one that you think will blister, put water on it and then cover it in salt. It will reduce or prevent the blister from forming

  24. The reason that somthing warm helps is that the nervs that transmit feeling do so faster than those that transmit pain. And being from the UK, Tea means Tea not a herbal tea, I belive the tanning may help.

  25. I know it's anecdotal evidence but every time I had lice my parents would spray Aerogard in everyone's hair and within 2 days they were gone.

  26. My doctor told me that a majority of pink eye cases were actually caused by virus so antibiotics dont really work beyond placebo and it also is a factor in resistance to antibiotics. He also told me to put warm compress on my eyelid because it increases blood flow which triggers quicker response from immune system.

  27. My Indian grandmother always blew air onto my burns as a child…she would consistently blow air onto it for about 1-2 minutes.Her grandmother (100% Cherokee Native American ) taught her several Indian remedies that always seemed to work…like the time she told me to cut an onion in half and go bury it in the woods- and the key factor here was to forget where I buried it.So I did this,age 6,to the wart on top of my right hand.1 month later – amazingly- it dried up like a scab and just flaked off.

  28. My mom used to put mustard on my burns saying it will take the heat out. Is that true? It’s been so long I can’t remember. (We are talking cigarette burns and minor stuff like that)

  29. Good treatment for burns in the kitchen? Slap a pickle slice on it. It hurts like hell but the coldness of the pickle and the evaporitive cooling from the vinegar helps.

  30. The best way to stop a nosebleed that I have found is to keep my head upright, tilted slightly downward, and to squeeze just below the bridge (the hard cartilage part) for a few minutes. Keep your head and hand still and breathe steadily.
    If you remove your hand after a few minutes and it hasn't stopped bleeding, try a few more minutes. If it hits the 15+ minute mark of continuous bleeding you should probably call a doctor.
    Eidt oh he basically said the exact same things lol

  31. Well I don't know why but someone I know we'll took some of our local honey raw and her allergies disappeared. I'm not sure why

  32. Vinegar for head lice.. weird that you say it doesnt work. I just come from the doctor. He said use vinegar.

  33. bro i just dyed my hair with box dye after combing my hair out thuroughly and it always works to get rid of lice

  34. My friend had allergys so bad that no medications help. He didn’t believe the honey thing but he tried it and he hasn’t had to carry a tissue box since. I guess it doesn’t hurt to try, honey taste good.

  35. There actually is a really quick and super effective way to get rid of lice. Hair dye. The cheaper, the better. If you dont want your hair to be the color, just dont add the pigment, just the clear stuff. Leave it in a bit longer and the lice will die.

  36. For nose bleeds, I just pack a small amount of tissue into my nose and very, very slightly into my nasal cavity. Leave it for 5 minutes, then gently pull the tissue out (this doesn't look nice, clotted blood on tissue), clean myself up and gently blow my nose to get any extra blood out after I am sure the bleeding has stopped. Works every time.

  37. Thank God he didn't say Mercury isn't a good treatment for constipation! Mercury is the SWEETEST of all the heavy metals and it's fun to poop out.

  38. What doctor isnt giving out medicated eye drops? That's not standard procedure. Standard procedure is to give an ophthalmic antibiotic since most conjunctivitis is bacterial

  39. I believe I've had a weird allergic reaction to honey in a scandanavian honey mead. It advertised that the honey was made via natural wild flowers of the region. My mouth/tongue/throat/lips got all tingly, almost numb, but burning feeling, i got short of breath, and just felt really weird lightheaded, nauseous, almost a drugged feeling, and ill for a couple hours. Granted I was tipsy, but normally alcohol doesn't make me feel "that" out of sorts (and no, I wasn't rufied). I have no reaction to honey normally. But I do get bad hayfever, and am allergic to grass & many grassy weeds, no where near as bad as that mead though. I suspect there's a wild flower species in scandanavia which has it in for me. Fortunately I am cleverly across an ocean from it 😉

  40. As dumb as this sounds I've burnt myself on a soldering iron at work and I keep a detached blower cooler from an old nvidia graphics card and a 9v battery that I can rest the burn on. If it can cool a chip it can cool your hand I guess.

  41. 0:13 or you don't have medical insurance or it won't cover everything and you can't afford to go to the doctor for every small sign of a minor affliction.

  42. For poisoning: if it is a liquid poison such as, but spray, antifreeze, etc. Try bread. Once when I was 5 I thought the blue coolant liquid was a big hug juice barrel. Bread helped soak it up. And tilting your head back for nosebleeds DOES work.

  43. Makes sense, thanks! I always investigate home cures anyway.Some are great and some are terrible. Good video.

  44. If you think pink eyes bad imagine POISON IVY EYE

    Some idiots that my town paid to pick up and burn brush didnt remove poison ivy and they burnt it near my house so my 5 year old self woke up with their eye swollen shut IT SUCKED

  45. The butter thing is interested. I've always put butter on small burns like accidently touching a hot pan. I always though that it made it feel better

  46. what is wrong with a placebo is the fact that they tell you that it is a placebo. Therefore you know that you're not taking Jack.

  47. I really like the fact that they give out their sources for each topic in the description. It really helps when you want to read/dig more about it

  48. These are one of the times that make we want to go to medical school, become a professional doctor, and do all that JUST TO BE ABLE TO TELL WHAT DOES AND WHAT DOES NOT WORK BECAUSE IT IS INFURIATING! Plus, then I can tell people the truth, and hopefully I can spread a better message of truth.

  49. For nose bleeds:
    Grab towel.
    Grab ice pack.
    Sit in a chair or on ground.
    Lean forward with head tilted towards ground.
    Place towel to top lip and ice pack to forehead.
    Keep position until nose bleed stops. NEVER blow your nose until at least 15 minutes when bleeding completely stops. This allows time for nose to completely clot.
    Also, if bleed does not slow after 5 minutes, go to the hospital immediately or call your emergency system immediately.

  50. " Cooling the burn within the first 48 hours "  ? ? ?  The first 4.8 seconds you mean. After that the air and your capillary vessels will have it back to normal temperature.

  51. I work in a kitchen and have for 7 years. Oils always make a burn so much worse. What I have always done is stick it immediate in cold water, or batter once or twice

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