12 Home Remedies That Need to Be, Well, Remedied

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

As a medical professional, you’ve probably found that non-nurse folk love to run their home remedies, lesser-known quick fixes and rogue therapeutic advice by you. Heck, we know of people rubbing toothpaste all over their faces or worse, trying homemade charcoal face masks.

Not surprisingly, many of these tips and tricks hover somewhere between terrifying and completely bizarre. So, obviously, we asked you to share all of them via our Facebook page.

Check out the “cures” some of your fellow nurses have caught wind of—you may even think differently about that whole “nursing school” thing by the time you hit #12.


“Use Lysol as a monthly vaginal cleaning (told to me by an 89-year-old).”

Pamela G.


“Quitting smoking while you are pregnant will kill the baby.”

—Joshua H.


“When my 17-year-old daughter was suffering from panic attacks, I was told to give her magic mushrooms…”

—Lisa B. 


“First morning urine will cure acne.”

—Tori S.


“A pregnant patient’s boyfriend told her that sex was how the baby ate, so it had to be done daily (this was told me to me by another nurse and I laugh every time I think about it).”

—Jennifer S. 


“Breast milk can cure an eye infection…” —Nancy G.


“Letting a dog lick your wound will heal it.”

—Evelyn G.


“Blowing cigarette smoke in the ear will cure an ear infection.”

—Wendy R.


“A patient on Warfarin carried a small jar of cayenne pepper around because they had been told it would stop all bleeding if they cut themselves (ouch). I’m assuming that they intended to pour it on the wound!”

—Nicki M. 


“A woman who has a C-section cannot get her hair wet for a month, either in the rain or the shower. Her grandmother told her this…lol!” 

—Amanda T.


“Rinsing your hair with vodka can cure a headache.”

—Brittany N. 


“Peanut butter as birth control…inserted into vagina. The brilliant patient who tried it developed a wicked infection, which I guess would prevent pregnancy, lol.” —Anita B.

Bet you have your own "patient remedy" stories. Please share in the comments section below and your story may be featured in a future Modern Nurse article.


This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


  1. #9 does work. I’ve used it multiple times on wounds. It is also an excellent blood thinner when used internally without the side effects of Coumadin. There have been several books written about cayenne uses.

  2. My grandfather told my mother drinking a shot glass of lemon juice and olive oil daily would make the baby slip right out (she was very old for pregnancy at 35!). She had a C-section.

  3. If you look at some VERY old advertisements you will be surprised, Lysol was indeed advertised as a “douche”
    (Let’s hope it was super diluted). That could be where the 90 year old got the idea from. it was touted as “hygienic.”

  4. I’m a correctional nurse. When I first started in the confinement wings ( jail inside of prison), I was constantly asked for bacitracin. Finally, I asked an inmate …. “What’s the deal with bacitracin?” He replied, “If you do the deed ((have sex) with bacitracin, you don’t get “the aids”.” “Oh! Is this common knowledge?” ” Of course! Everybody knows that!”
    Needless to say, I made immediate anouncements on each wing…followed by flyers. With in 2 weeks we had over 40 hiv test requests.

  5. I’m a nurse and I can tell you from personal experience that breast milk can cure an eye infection. Breast milk has antibacterial properties and immune building properties (which is why it is so important for your baby!) Obviously if you have a raging infection I would recommend seeing a doctor, but if you catch it early breast milk will absolutely do the trick.

  6. My mother in law also told me not to hang clothes while I was pregnant, nor to wash the walls in the house. It was all in fear of wrapping the cord around the baby’s neck. We also would hold a needle on a string over the navel of a pregnant woman to determine the sex. If it started going in a circle it was a girl, or if it started swinging back and forth it was a boy. What?? LOL My mother in law carried a sterile shoe string with us everywhere we went in case I went into labor and she had to deliver. Sweet but not chance that would happen with my long labor! Also thought that taking the newborn out in public before 3 months old was a bad idea since they would surely get sick. My old time Canadian doctor who was in Palm Springs, Ca, told me to take her out and have fun, so I did. Lots of wives tales all told with love.

  7. When I was pregnant I worked in a nursing home, this was 1975. All the little old ladies warned me of all kinds of things. Don’t reach above your head you will wrap the cord (like the post above stated), If you cry when you are pregnant your baby will be a cry baby and have colic, If you break a dish when you are pregnant your baby will have a birthmark, and lots of gender identifying statements about my baby (back then you did not know what you were having). Carry around is a girl and straight out in front is a boy, Carry high is a boy, Fast heart rate is a boy, Sickness in the morning is a boy, and if late afternoon is your sick time then it’s a girl (that one proved true). And then when I was 3 weeks overdue they gave me lots of hints to induce labor….have a lot of sex, go for a ride on a bumpy country road, jump off the porch, caster oil (that only makes you have to sleep by the toilet), keeping your feet very warm by wearing lots of socks, eat cabbage (this just makes you fart a lot), sleep on my husbands side of the bed (didn’t get the connection on that one). They worried too much about me like I was some delicate flower and I found that odd as I know most of them worked hard in their roles of mother and wife, so you know they did not take it easy when they were pregnant. I often wonder where these beliefs come from.

  8. I had a dialysis patient one time who was a very brittle diabetic and was forever having some sort of infection. He had a boil on his back and he had it covered with a big dressing that smelled horrible, so I ask him to let me clean it and redress it for him and he replied, No you will stop the pullin’…?? the pullin?? He then proceeded to tell me his mother (who was about 90) had made a bread and milk “pollice” to pull the infection out of it. I was a bit grossed out but curios as all get out. He said she took a piece of bread and put it in a bowl of warm milk and let it set till it was completely filled with milk then she puts the bread on his boil and put some saran wrap on it and then a big dressing of gauze, and then an old tshirt material strip of fabric was tied around him to hold it all in place. I ask how long he had to leave it and he said 3 days. I saw it at day 3. Needless to say he ended up as an inpatient for cellulitis once I undressed, cleaned, assessed, redressed, and put in a call to the Dr.

  9. A pregnant woman cannot raise her arms higher than her chest or it will cause the cord to wrap around the baby’s neck. These women do not wash their hair for the ENTIRE pregnancy.

    If a child has a fever put him to bed with sliced onions in his socks. The onions will draw the fever out through his feet.


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