Some home remedies are absolutely ridiculous.

You can’t use dirty socks to cure a sore throat, for instance, and smoke won’t cure an earache. But some home remedies are better than others—and some are actually pretty scientifically valid.

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1. Lemons and olive oil can treat an earache.

To be clear, if you’ve got an earache that lasts for more than a day or two, go see a doctor. But temporary earaches can be treated with lemon juice, which can equalize the pH within the ear. A small amount of olive oil can be used to get rid of excessive ear wax, potentially warding off an earache in the first place.

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2. Ginger actually does eliminate nausea.

Looking to avoid motion sickness or get rid of an upset stomach? Ginger works by limiting inflammation and distracting your senses, providing temporary relief. You can chew on raw ginger, ginger candies, or even frozen ginger. Olives also work, by the way.

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3. Baking soda can treat a urinary tract infection.

Again, go to the doctor if you’re experiencing new symptoms, but if you can’t get in right away, drinking water with a bit of baking soda can relieve some of the pain. It may also prevent bacteria from multiplying. Oh, and don’t forget about cranberry juice—it’s also fairly effective for the same purpose.

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4. Potatoes can limit the pain from a burn or sting.

Yes, a sliced potato can act as a powerful anti-inflammatory. Simply rub it gently on the affected area for fast relief. If you don’t have any potatoes around the house, wet black tea bags also work fairly well.

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5. Garlic can fight a sore throat.

It won’t do your breath any favors, unfortunately, but garlic has antimicrobial properties. Crush a few garlic cloves in a cup of warm water then gargle with it.

If you don’t have garlic around, you can also gargle with heavily salted water, which will soothe your symptoms while preventing bacteria from multiplying.

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6. You can eliminate hiccups with sugar.

Yes, two teaspoons of sugar can stimulate the nerve in your throat that causes hiccups, essentially setting your system back to square one. Salt would also work. Really, anything coarse should do the trick, but you’ll enjoy the experience a lot more if you use sugar.

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7. Putting a pencil between your teeth can cure some types of headaches.

How? Well, the pencil focuses your jaw muscles, allowing muscles in your head to relax and eliminating the headaches you might get from stress or anxiety. Don’t bite down on the pencil, however, or you’ll just make the headache worse (and probably end up with the taste of paint in your mouth).

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