Though you probably know your way around the drugstore, you may not be aware of some of the hidden money savers on the shelves. For example, these four alternative remedies for common problems not only cost less, but in some instances, they actually work better than the remedies you're used to.
Witch Hazel for Hemorrhoids
Traditionally, witch hazel is used to treat sunburns, mosquito bites, and other surface skin ailments. But the astringent quality of witch hazel can provide an instant effect on irritated hemorrhoid tissue, relieving itching, burning and general discomfort. Also, because it is a mild astringent, witch hazel helps shrink the inflamed veins that cause hemorrhoids. You can get witch hazel for about $6 at the drugstore, which is half the price of hemorrhoid creams or pads.
Zinc Gluconate Lozenges for Colds
When people get sick with a common cold, they will reach for any and all medicine to get rid of it—from cold and flu medicine to cough drops. Zinc lozenges help to get rid of colds quickly and efficiently. Studies have shown that zinc gluconate lozenges not only shorten the duration of the common cold, but they're more effective than vitamin C in treating it. A bag of these lozenges is only $8 and you can take 3-4 per day. Plus, one bag of lozenges will cost a lot less than a cocktail of other medications.
Baking Soda for Canker Sores
Canker sores are harmless and can be treated easily with baking soda. Your mouth's acidity can irritate the sore further and make it more painful. The properties in baking soda neutralize the acidity and soothe the pain that comes with canker sores. Simply create a paste by mixing baking soda with water, and apply a thin layer with a cotton swab. Not only will it soothe the pain, but it also seals in the canker sore and gives it a chance to heal. Baking soda is only about a dollar, whereas canker sore numbing gels can cost about $7.
Nettle Tea for Seasonal Allergies
This tea has antihistamine properties, and can prevent hay fever or allergy attacks from happening in the first place. It also relieves annoying allergy symptoms like stuffy nose, sneezing and itchy eyes. Typically, allergy medications can cost around $15, but nettle tea is only about $3 for a box of 20 tea bags.
More From Dr. Oz