Popular Desi Home Remedies

Desi remedies to treat ailments and personal hygiene problems are very popular amongst South Asian communities. We look at some of the common health problems many of us have and what Desi remedies are used to cure them.

popular desi home remedies

Most of the remedies use natural ingredients

Desi home remedies in the South Asian home are a strong part of culture and heritage.

Particularly, amongst the older generations who have used these methods to address ailments through time. Most of us are bound to remember the use of traditional medicine in one form or other, perhaps when prescribed medication did not provide the antidote.

Many of these ‘Desi’ home remedies work and are very effective. Most of the remedies use natural ingredients. A lot of the remedies have been passed down through family generations.

For South Asians originating from rural environments in South Asia, these kind of remedies were the only form of medication available, due to lack of doctors or facilities in such areas.

Many of them are Indian home remedies since India is the biggest country in the South Asia region for these kinds of treatments.

These remedies have then travelled too, to countries like the UK, Canada, USA, Germany, Australia and to other parts globally where there is a South Asian diaspora.

We bring you some of the popular desi remedies known to Asian families and ones that can be used to help with certain health issues and personal hygiene problems.


Toothache - desi home remedies

Toothache is a very painful experience. It occurs from inflammation of the central portion of the tooth called the pulp. The pulp contains nerve endings that are very sensitive to pain. Toothaches can be the result of a poor diet and poor dental hygiene, a symptom of a serious dental problem, or a symptom of a serious health problem elsewhere in the body.

Here are desi remedies to help combat toothache pain. Although a visit to the dentist may still be required.

  • Keep a clove in your mouth in between the aching teeth and suck on it. You can even apply clove oil to the affected tooth.
  • Place a clove of garlic clove on the aching tooth and let its juice be absorbed for relief.
  • A pinch of pepper powder mixed with common salt works well on the aching tooth. It’s especially effective against the increased sensitiveness of the teeth.

Body Odour

Body Odour - desi home remedies

Perspiration or sweat doesn’t cause odour (or odor) but the bacteria that gets accumulated on the skin releases unpleasant smelling chemicals.

Body odour (also known as B.O) is strongly associated with the emission from our sweat glands. The armpits and genitals perspire more as compare to any other parts of the body. Body odour can be a very embarrassing and personal nightmare for those who find it difficult to manage.

So, to help reduce body odour, here are desi ways to treat body odour.

  • Drinking a cup of sage tea daily will reduce the activity of sweat glands and ultimately will minimise the odour and acts as body odour remedy.
  • Unpleasant armpit odour can be addressed by applying cider vinegar to the armpits.
  • In the bathing water, add a few cups of tomato juice and soak yourself in water for about 15 minutes.


Cough - desi home remedies

A cough is the body’s way of cleaning its airways and many times it is a reflex that cannot be controlled. Coughs come in many forms and they can be irritable mostly at night-time. They are usually caused by throat or chest infections. A cough is classified by how long it lasts: an acute cough lasts up to three weeks; 3-8 weeks is sub-acute; more than 8 weeks is considered chronic.

Use these desi home remedies for coughs.

  • Take one glass of warm water and pour some lime juice and a teaspoon of honey in it and consume it once or twice on a daily basis.
  • Take 1 tablespoon of Pepper powder and boil it in a cup of milk. Also, add a pinch of turmeric to it. Put some sugar for taste. Drink it once in a day for about three days.
  • Use unadulterated liquorice root and boil for 20 minutes to make a decoction. Use about 1 cup of water for a four-inch piece of root. Or if you have powdered liquorice root, dissolve 1/2 teaspoon in 1 cup hot water. Add honey as desired and drink.


Earache - desi home remedies

Earaches are a common occurrence in our lives, especially in children. A very common cause of an earache is due to plugged ‘Eustachian’ tubes (the tube that comes from the back of your throat and connects to your middle ear). When your Eustachian tube becomes blocked, fluid will gather resulting in a painful earache, bringing with it the possibility of bacteria buildup or infection.

Here are desi tips to reduce the pain from earaches.

  • Boil 3-4 cloves of Garlic in some water. Mash them and add a pinch of salt. Wrap this poultice in a flannel or woollen cloth and place on the aching ear.
  • Heat a little extra virgin olive oil and 2 whole cloves garlic. Strain the oil and use a dropper and put about 3-5 drops in the ear that is in pain and close with cotton wool.
  • Squeeze some onion juice from an onion. Warm it up put few drops with a dropper in the ear.


Heartburn - desi home remedies

Most people suffer from heartburn usually after a meal. Your oesophagus is the food tube that carries what you swallow down to your stomach. Stomach acid is used for digestion but when the acid reacts strongly to certain foods during digestion, Heartburn occurs, and the acid enters the oesophagus, causing a burning sensation in the stomach and chest areas.

Here are desi remedies for heartburn.

  • Make some ginger root tea by cutting two-quarter slices of ginger root into pieces and simmer them gently in 1/2 cups of water, covered, for about 25 minutes. Drink the tea after either removing the small ginger pieces or leaving them in. Or suck on a small piece of fresh ginger raw.
  • To about 8 oz. of cold water, add two drops of peppermint oil and drink whenever your heartburn gets bad.
  • Take a handful of almonds, about 15-20, and eat them slowly, making sure you chew them into a pulp. 


Diarrhoea - desi home remedies

The condition of Diarrhoea occurs when stools are frequent, loose and watery, often accompanied by abdominal cramps. It is an effective way for the body to get rid of an undesirable substance. It can be caused by food poisoning; bacteria in food or water; food allergies; or a virus. Also, excess alcohol consumption; laxatives; caffeine are known to cause diarrhoea.

Here are desi tips to help with symptoms of diarrhoea.

  • Take a ripe banana and mash it properly. Add 1 teaspoon of tamarind pulp and a pinch of salt to it. Consume this mixture two times a day.
  • Consume a paste made of 15-20 fresh curry leaves mixed with 1 teaspoon of honey.
  • Roast 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds and 1/2 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds. Mix and make it into powder. Add it to 4 teaspoons of yoghurt. Take this mixture three times in a day.

Common Cold

Common Cold - desi home remedies

Cold symptoms develop over a few days. A sore throat, sneezing and a blocked nose is generally present with a cold, while they are not so common with the flu. It is an inflammation of the upper respiratory tract caused by infection with common cold viruses. It is highly contagious. It is very common in infants and adults having low resistance or immunity power.

Try these desi remedies for a cold.

  • Prepare tea by adding 1 tablespoon of pepper powder in a cup of milk along with a pinch of turmeric and little sugar. Drink it once in a day for about three days.
  • Take one glass of warm water and pour some lime juice and a teaspoon of honey in it and consume it once or twice on a daily basis.
  • Squeeze 3-4 teaspoons of juice from an onion. Add 3-4 teaspoons of Honey and mix well before consuming.


Dandruff - desi home remedies

Dandruff is a condition of the scalp. It is when skin flakes come out of the scalp. There are basically two types of dandruff – dry dandruff and waxy dandruff. Dry dandruff causes itchiness. Waxy dandruff remains stuck to the scalp in patches. Causes of dandruff include bad diet, dry atmospheres, deficiency of zinc and high use of alkaline soaps and shampoos.

Here are desi home remedies for dandruff.

  • Add a few drops of vinegar and ginger juice to some beetroot juice. Mix the juice and lightly massage it into the scalp.
  • Apply warm neem oil mixed with lemon juice to the scalp and leave on for about an hour. Then steam your hair for 10 minutes and wash. You can also use sunflower oil instead of neem oil. Use this treatment twice a week.
  • Soak two tablespoons of fenugreek (methi) seeds overnight in water and grind into a fine paste. Apply this to your scalp and leave to absorb into the scalp, and then wash after half an hour.

There are many more remedies for these ailments and some will also vary from the above, depending on the region of origin. With most of them being natural ingredients, it will be a case of trying them to see if they help with your problem.

Desi home remedies have proven to help for centuries and because they use ingredients which are mostly in a Desi home, they can help you ease your health issue using nature’s goodness.

Nazhat is an ambitious 'Desi' woman with interests in news and lifestyle. As a writer with a determined journalistic flair, she firmly believes in the motto "an investment in knowledge pays the best interest," by Benjamin Franklin.

Please be advised that these are remedies are well known amongst South Asian cultures and do not guarantee results. If in doubt, you should consult a physician for any problems that you feel need professional help.