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Grandma's Age Old Health Remedies Still Used Today

By Edited Oct 4, 2014 3 6

Old Health Remedies

How many times have you complained after handing out hard-earned money on products for medication and treatments that do not work? Or your doctor gives you a prescription for a product you can buy over the counter.

I am one of those skeptical people who did not believe that the tips my grandma gave me would work, yet some do. I have made a list of some of these tips plus many more that friends have shared from their Grandparents.

Precaution: Always ask your doctor before trying any of these to prevent adverse effects or allergies.

Arthritis and Rheumatism (in alphabetical order)

Today there are many different types of medications and treatments that work for some and not others. Therefore, find the one that works best for you.

Grandma's tips:

Healthy eating was one of the most important; eat fresh fruit and vegetables. Although many have suggested that you avoid citrus and acid foods.

Eat fresh celery and celery seeds in cooking. My grandpa loved the idea of Rhubarb and whisky, I wonder why?

Goanna oil rubbed into the troublesome joints helped to reduce the pain.

I use an Osteo medication, although we use Goana and emu oil too.

Grandma's Beauty ideas:

Bags under the eyes: Lie down and place sliced potato or cucumber on the eyes.

Some used cold tea bags in the same way.

Freckles and age spots- Apply a mixture of lemon and honey, wash off with warm water.

Dirty finger nails – Make a paste with water and bicarb soda and scrub nails.

Soften skin around nails- soak in olive oil for five minutes, wash off with warm soapy water.

Baby – Nappy rash

Nappy rash has been around for centuries, my grandma told me to use Vaseline and yes, it worked all the time, in my opinion it puts a protection over the skin.

My Grandmother


Grandma's Body and foot Odor tips

Body Odor - Rub body with lavender oil

Foot Odor- Rub charcoal in shoes or Lavender oil rubbed into the feet.

Boils or carbuncles

Beware: boils and carbuncles will spread and very contagious. A doctor told me that boils are a form of Golden staff which is dangerous. Always wash your hands after treating.

Boils and carbuncles, very painful so the quicker you remove the pus the quicker it will heal.

Grandma's Healing tips

The idea is to form a hot poultice in a dressing and apply to the boil. This is what they used to draw out the pus: 

  • Bread soaked in hot milk
  • Sugar and soap – we used the old velvet soap years ago, I believe they do not make it the same strength now though.
  • Grated raw cabbage and potato
  • castor oil and plain flour

Another method was to place boiling water in a bottle with small neck, then empty the water out and place neck over the wound. You can see it draw the puss up into the bottle, although it is hard to lift the bottle off sometimes. We have used this method for years.

As a child my mum used to give us a mixture of sulphur and honey or treacle mixed together on a spoon to help prevent getting boils. Not sure if it worked although I did not get many.

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We can all learn many helpful ideas from our grandmothers.

This is well worth a look


These ideas help relieve coughing and make it easier to breath.

Grandma's tips

  • Eating Garlic was popular, (and still is today) to prevent colds and to keep others away.
  • Grate and cook horseradish, mix with honey and take on a teaspoon night and morning
  • Licorice root drank with hot water eased coughing. I used this as I loved anything with licorice.
  • Place a few drops of either tea tree oil, or eucalyptus oil in hot water and place towel over your head and breathe in the steam. This makes it easier to breathe, and works the same when using Vicks vapor rub.
  • Make a tea with aniseed, thyme or elder flower.


We all suffer from this from time to time, often after indulging in too much of something. Seek medical treatment if this persists.

Grandma's tips

  • Drink a mixture of milk and magnesia.
  • Barley water was useful for many ailments in grandma's day. For diarrhoea they mixed either ginger or cinnamon with it.
  • Many herbal teas were also used.
  • My favourite and cheap remedy is to drink a teaspoon of cornflour mixed in a small quantity of water after each motion. If no better at the end of day seek medical attention.


This is another thing that we all experience from time to time, although if it becomes a larger problem then seek medical advice.

Grandma's tips

  • Chew on fresh parsley (this also helped with bad breath)
  • Grandma used many of these herbs in all her cooking like basil, marjoram, sage, and rosemary.
  • Yogurt was another option as it helped with the digestion and is still a favorite today.
  • Cinnamon mixed in a glass of milk is said to relieve the pain of flatulence.
  • Drink ginger tea and use ginger in cooking.

Restless Legs

If you have ever suffered from this then you will understand why people will try anything to gain some sort of relief. I am one of those that toss and turn for hours on end and have tried so many methods. One of the most successful that I have used is Magnesium Capsules or Tablets, or hot water bottle.

Grandma's suggestions:

  • Rub Goanna or tea tree oil on legs - I have used vicks when nothing else worked.
  • Hot and cold water bottles
  • Hot and cold baths or showers
  • Camphor block in the foot of your bed, place under bottom sheet.

Temporary relief - walking on cold floors

Grandma's Home Tips
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136 pages of helpful tips and ideas to try. Always check with your medical practitioner before taking anything.

Grandma's Tips for insect bites

Insect Bites and Stings

All bites from insects are not deadly, although they can be very irritating and painful. Some remedies help to relieve the pain and soothe the irritation. 

Many years ago women used a blue laundry bag made I think by Rickets (that is really testing my memory so do not quote me on that) which is placed in the washing to improve its whiteness.  Grandma used to place this bag on a bee or wasp sting to soothe it. This was alkaline.

  • Crushed Chrysanthemum leaves
  • Calamine lotion
  • Crushed garlic
  • butter and salt
  • Cold tea and Methylated spirits
  • White vinegar
  • Ocean stings

Grandma's tips

Most stings with vinegar and still are today in fact, most beaches have bottles of vinegar left there for treatment of these stings. If vinegar was not available you could try lemon.

Some ocean stings leave their barb, in this case seek medical advice as soon as possible.

Conclusion: Modern technology and research have improved so much over time. This is a guide only to show how some of Grandma's tips and treatments have survived through the years. Always seek medical advice before treating with anything new.

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This is ideal for preventing Nappy rash
Helps sooth burns
Use for dry chafed lips


Jul 6, 2014 8:07pm
Very good tips. We sometimes follow some of your tips at home like drinking ginger tea for flatulence.
Jul 7, 2014 7:04pm
Thank you. Ginger is so beneficial for many things and I just love anything with it in.
Jul 27, 2014 12:18am
Grandma's always right. I'm a big fan of natural remedies. Thank you for sharing!
Jul 28, 2014 1:57am
Thanks Maltylda, they knew so much way back even in the early days
Aug 3, 2014 3:58am
What a charming list of remedies and worth a good rating. Great alternatives to patent medicines if you are far away from a doctor of pharmacy. But watch our for the "golden" bacteria for boils. Grab the iodine if nothing else is around!
Aug 3, 2014 11:40pm
Shar On - Great article - thanks for sharing. Something we've always done for insect bites - the very itchy one - is spread saliva over them. If the bite is on my skin it has to be my saliva, I don't think it works with someone else. And any way, would you want to! I think saliva may have antihistamines in it. I'm not sure, but it does seem to work.
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