Which home remedies actually work?

LOS ANGELES If you can't breathe, a saltwater bath may be just what your nose needs. Internal medicine specialist Dr. John de Beixedon says salt into nasal passages can help clear the sinuses.

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"The saltwater thins the mucus and it also washes out irritants," said Dr. John de Beixedon.

The same with the salt in chicken soup, but it has a two-pronged effect. Studies show the marrow in chicken bones contain immune system boosters.

"A chicken itself apparently produces some enzymes that are a little like the over the counter medications that you can utilize to treat sinus congestion," said Dr. John de Beixedon.

Have a tummy ache? Eat a little yogurt.

"The lactobacillus in the culture actually forces out bad bacteria and allows good bacteria to grow in your intestines," said Dr. John de Beixedon.

But not all home remedies stand up to scientific scrutiny. A study analyzing duct tape on warts revealed not only it doesn't work it can cause adverse skin reactions like eczema.

And if you've been told to put butter on burns, Dr. Beixedon says butter does better on bread. "Butter is very high in fat so that actually pulls the water out of the wound which then makes it heal worse."

Handstands for hiccups, artichokes for low libido and banana peels for bruises, are other things that don't work as well.

"If you've ever had a bee sting, if you take baking soda and you make a little clay out of it and rub it on the bee sting that actually helps inactivate the venom," said Dr. John de Beixedon.

While other tried and true therapies standup up to science, like cranberry juice to fight urinary tract infections, you need to know when to seek professional help.

"If somebody's temperature is 102-103 degrees and they're delirious, they should be seen by a doctor. They shouldn't be drinking lemon juice to make them better," said Dr. John de Beixedon.

As for bananas and cramps, experts say the potassium in bananas is what helps some people with cramps. But what you really need to reduce cramps is lots of hydration, so drink plenty of water.


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