4 Doctor-Approved Home Remedies

Sometimes the best feel-better formula is right under your nose-or in your own kitchen or pantry. Check out these expert suggestions for easy (and affordable!) health fixes that don't require a trip to the pharmacy.

If You Have Chapped Lips

TRY: honey and petroleum jelly

WHY: "Honey has been shown to have both antibacterial and wound-healing properties," says Adam Friedman, MD, dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "When you combine it with the moisturizing effect of petroleum jelly, you're relieving and curing chapped lips."

HOW: Wet lips with lukewarm water, then apply a thin layer of honey to your lips and let it dry for a few seconds. Next, put a layer of petroleum jelly over it and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the moisturizing combo with a cotton swab dipped in warm water. Repeat once daily for a few days.


If You're Starting to Get Sick

TRY: Saltwater

WHY: A saline solution (salt and water) helps soothe inflamed tissues in the throat and also loosens mucus, which helps flush out irritants like allergens and bacteria, says Moshe Lewis, MD, a pain management specialist in San Francisco. In fact, one study found that gargling with salt water three times a day reduced respiratory infections up to 40%.

HOW: Dissolve ½ tsp table salt in 8 oz warm water and gargle at least three times a day.


If You Have Stomach Cramps

TRY: Chamomile Tea

WHY: Research found that chamomile contains glycine, a chemical that decreases contractions in the lower intestine and may relieve muscle spasms, says Jessica Shepherd, MD, assistant professor of OB-GYN and women's health at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

HOW: Sip on a cup of chamomile tea at least once a day when you're feeling crampy.


If You Have Bad Breath

TRY: parsley

WHY: Parsley contains chlorophyll, which is thought to fight the odor-causing bacteria that cause bad breath, says Jennifer Wider, MD, women's health specialist and host of Am I Normal? on Cosmo Radio, found on Sirius Satellite.

HOW: Chew on a fresh sprig for a minute or two whenever necessary