Helpful wisdom, compassion and care for you

Relief! My top 6 favorite home remedies

My top 6 favorite home remedies - Love Jo by Jo Cooper

These are the ones I’ve used for years and am never without!

1. For bug bites & stings: StingStop™

One gorgeous Saturday in early fall we were playing touch football on the hillside with neighbors, running and laughing and being goofy. Children were playing next to the field, and one of the older kids started poking a large stick into a hole among the gnarly roots of a big shade tree. Out swarmed yellow jackets!!!

All the children ran like the dickens except our little toddler who couldn’t make a quick getaway. He was stung countless times before we were able to whisk him to safety. It all happened so fast! Our neighbor James said, “Hang on! We’ve got the perfect thing!” He ran home and returned with a tube of StingStop, a homeopathic gel with delicious-smelling citronella that relieves the itching, stinging and burning of insect bites.

We applied it all over our little guy, who stopped crying and instantly fell asleep. When he awoke, he was fine.

We’ve never been without this remarkable remedy since and have been grateful for the relief it’s brought from every kind of insect bite and sting imaginable. We even take it on vacations! An essential.

2. For sore throats & coughs: Lemon & Honey Drink

Early in life, my youngest son, Dylan, had respiratory difficulties, so this one came in really handy: Dr. Susan Lord’s Lemon & Honey Drink.

Susan is one of the most brilliant woman I’ve ever known. In addition to being impressively learned (she’s a holistic MD), she has a high level of what’s currently called liquid intelligence — innate intelligence — independent, original and intuitive thinking. She is a phenomenal educator due to her creativity, and ability to uniquely synthesize complex issues.

Early on in our friendship she taught me this simple, delicious and mysteriously effective cough and sore-throat healing drink. To this day, it works like a charm for Dylan. I hope it does for you, too!

Lemon & Honey Drink

In a small mug-full of hot water, stir together:

  • 1 generously overflowing teaspoon of honey
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • A whisper of cayenne pepper (it warms the chest, Susan told me).

3. For muscle aches & pains: Arnica Gel

When I slipped on our twisty old wood stairs on a dark night during a late summer storm, with my arms full of towels to put down inside our back door where water can leak in during heavy rains, the toes of my right foot got smashed, and several perhaps broken. They hurt like the dickens for days.

My youngest son, Dylan, brought me his tube of arnica gel. Of course he would remember this remedy, having used it lots for sore muscles during track seasons. It works marvelously on bruises, too, both relieving pain and speeding healing.

4. For headaches: Dr. Ni’s Headache Tea & Peppermint Essential Oil

I don’t very often get headaches, but people around me do. These are the best remedies I’ve found:

Dr. Ni Tea

Dr. Yongli Ni is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) physician with offices both here in Washington, DC and in Beijing, China. When My youngest son was early in his recovery from a severe concussion and still experiencing intense headaches, Dr. Ni prescribed a little walk in fresh air, fresh tea (see below) and a little nap, whenever his head hurt. Dylan was amazed how much it helped.

To make the tea: brew a few fresh mint leaves, ginger slices and a pinch of cinnamon in hot water. Steep 5 minutes, strain and serve. What can I say? It works.

Peppermint essential oil

Place single drops of peppermint oil on the bony points at the back of your head on either side of where the spine meets your skull; as well as on each temple (just a very little bit so as not to irritate your eyes). When I offered this remedy to an acquaintance at a retreat a few years ago, it worked so well and so fast that she accused me of being a witch! It’s true that essential oils have many magical qualities.

5. For nausea: Sonne’s No. 7 Detoxificant

There are few experiences in life that are as hauntingly unpleasant as the dawning awareness of…nausea. But I have something to help you with that! Just as my friend helped me.

When I felt dreadful one morning, my doctor friend ran by with a big brown glass bottle of Sonne’s No. 7 Detoxificant, derived from bentonite, a mineral-rich volcanic clay that binds to toxins that may be upsetting your tummy and assists in excretion. I take a tablespoon-full of Sonnes clay at the first hint of discomfort, followed by a small glass of warm water. Presto! My problem is nearly always gone within minutes. If you try this once, you won’t want to be without it.

6. To promote sleep and help relieve aches & pains: Lavender & Epsom Salts Bath

Sure to delight, lavender and epsom salts baths are the perfect remedy for elusive sleep or relief of aches and pains. If you overdid the gardening or your workout at the gym, a soak will loosen things up and speed muscle repair. Also excellent as a healing foot soak for tired feet or blisters. Add ½ to a full cup of Epsom salts to a tub or a small handful to a basin plus a few drops of lavender oil for a deliciously fragrant, relaxing experience. I purchase Epsom salts in large wax cartons at CVS, the most economical in our neighborhood and with eco-friendly packaging, too.


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  1. Beth Daniel

    These all sound like excellent suggestions. Thank you for passing them along. I had never heard of Sonne’s. I am going to send the headache remedy to a friend who suffers frequent migraines.

    • Jo

      Wonderful! These are tried and true 🙂 I’m not certain about migraines, since I’ve only used the remedies to help friends with intermittent headaches… but worth a try. Many of the self-care ideas in the blog could be helpful, actually — meditation, breathing, the article about stress relief…. It’s all connected. Wishing you and your friend the best <3

  2. These are great! Of course my favorite is the epsom salt baths! It’s one of my number 1 remedies for my patients!

    • Jo

      The boys have the only bathtub in the house, so I end up doing epsom salts foot baths more often… and It’s amazing how they not only soothe feet but promote sleep! A real treat before bed. Mmmmm!

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