While home remedies are never a substitute for real medical care, not every sore throat or moderate headache necessarily requires a trip to the ER. But which tried-and-true DIY cures are actually effective? We combed through dozens of traditional remedies for common ailments to separate fact from fiction.

Recent studies have confirmed the popular belief that a dose of honey, taken “straight up” or mixed with tea, is among the most effective natural remedies for sore throats and nocturnal coughing fits.
To shrink blisters, try applying Listerine to a cotton ball and dabbing your skin three times daily.

Ripe banana peels are rich in enzymes (fancy science word for stuff that promotes biochemical reactions). To help remove splinters or glass shards from your skin, tape a piece of the peel to the skin and after 10 – 15 minutes these enzymes will likely have drawn the tiny annoyance closer to the surface.
If rubbing your temples fails to relieve mild-to-moderate headache pain, try massaging your greater occipital nerve, roughly the point at which the back of your head descends into your neck / spine.

Can’t sleep? Try eating some foods rich in tryptophan, an essential amino acid that helps the body produce serotonin (serotonin is known to induce feelings of calm and relaxation.) These include eggs, cottage cheese, bananas, and sunflower seeds. The idea that turkey is uniquely high in tryptophan is something of an urban myth, however.

Took the meal from the microwave too soon and burned your mouth? To relieve oral blisters, mix a cup of cold water with a teaspoon of salt and gargle / swish for 30 seconds or so.While it won’t fix the problem right away, chronic joint pain can be relieved by adding more magnesium to your diet. Outside of supplements, magnesium can be found in leafy green vegetables like spinach, and in legumes.

As a child your mom may have served you ginger ale to relieve mild stomach pain / irritation, but mixing ginger with tea is even more effective (and overall healthier).