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Health & Fitness


  • Here's a helpful hint if you have children with allergies who suffer from anaphylaxis. You will already know that life-saving Epipen or Epipen Junior is very expensive. They are absolutely essential but not subsidised by Pharmac, and through your GP or local pharmacy they cost close to $200. The Epipen expires after a year, whether it has been used or not, and has to be replaced. If it is used during an anaphylactic attack, you must dispose of it and purchase another. I have just discovered that you can purchase one for $144.90 from www.allergypharmacy.co.nz including courier delivery. I ordered online and it arrived two days later in perfect condition i.e. protective wrapping and temperature controlled. Parents of allergy sufferers, especially those with anaphylaxis, are under a lot of stress, so even a small saving on essential products cheers you up. The site also sells a range of other products for allergy sufferers. Check it out! - D.W.

Burns, treatment

  • For minor burns and scalds use fresh aloe vera. No need to buy ointment, just have a couple of these plants growing in the garden or in pots. After cooling skin with cold water, cut off a fleshy leaf and dab on the sticky juice. Apply repeatedly, slicing the leaf back and using fresh juice each time.  - Thirties Depression Baby, Auckland.


  • For fitness, use the internet and do bodyrock.  You can find it on youtube. Bodyrocktv is popular and free! - LM, Kapiti coast.

  • Use a push mower instead of a petrol driven mower. They are cheaper to buy, cheaper to run, create no pollution, and will keep you fit.

  • Avoid an expensive gym membership and get variety in your workout by having a buddy system. If you have a friend who has different exercise equipment/dvds etc to you then organise a swap, or better yet take turns visiting each others house (change of venue can increase motivation). This means you can get variety in your work out, catch up with your friend for free and if you have children you can take turns watching each others children and save on creche fees. Having a buddy also makes you more accountable. - Sam, Auckland.

Face mask (cleansing) - homemade

  • Brown sugar mixed into a paste with a few drops water.  Leave on the face for a few seconds and then wash off. It really works for me. - Margaret, Porirua


  • "I see the ads on TV for expensive treatments for cracked heels. Just as effective (if not more!) is to apply a coating of petroleum jelly (generic of course!) to the cracked/rough area. Cover with a piece of cling film, then a cotton sock (to keep it in place). Pumice away the dead skin in the shower/bath the next day. You should only need to treat them once or twice, and just maintain by pumicing once or twice a week. (Pumice can be picked up for free on our beaches.) You'll also find that this prolongs the life of your socks/tights/sheets etc." - Karen, Palmerston North. 

  • Burning feet (which usually happen at night in bed and can keep you awake) - put each foot on a cake of soap. - Jude


  • A very bad sore throat can sometimes be stopped in its tracks by chewing garlic and gargling the mash with water. It 'burns' the tongue a bit, but works. Garlic [the smelly bit] is equivalent to a particular big name antibiotic for some diseases. - Giblet, Wellsford.

  • Honey and cinnamon, either as a hot drink or, spread thickly on bread and butter, will stop the worst cough in its tracks. - P.M.


  • Jeffro from Te Awamutu has lots of health tips:

    Conjuntivitus: put a cold teabag on the eye and lie back for a while, (don't re-use, instead dry for fire lighters). This remedy cured my young son in three days, his cousin was treated with prescription medicine and took three weeks, cousins mother is a doctor and poo pooed the teabags. Works on pets too, you just have to hold it on them.

    Athletes foot? You might think this is gross but urine can cure it in no time, the shower is a good start for the squeamish, store in a bottle and add a few drops if walking around outside for the more adventurous.

    Indigestion: put 1 teaspoon of Sodium bicarb (baking soda) in a glass of water stir till clear and down the hatch, tastes yuk but works better than most other remedies and it's cheap!

    If out or you have kids that won't go for this idea try ginger beer, Bunderburg works not too bad.

    Sodium bicarb is a very handy substance for cleaning and deodorising. Get together with friends and buy a 20kg sack from a farm supplies store like RD1, Farmlands or PGG Wrightsons, last one I bought cost me $18 can't beat that, makes you want to use it for everything you can, saving you heaps!


  • For a case of `the trots` grate an apple, leave to go brown, eat, it looks a bit off-putting. Do this several times, after each `trot`  Never fails. Cheers keep up the good work. - Peg, Whangarei.

Hair care

  • Buy the cheapest hair conditioner that you can find.  Smother it on dry hair - completely saturate the hair.  Then comb through with nit comb, depositing contents on to tissues. Keep combing until no nits or eggs are coming off.  Wash thoroughly.  A few days later check - by hand for any remaining nits and remove with fingers.  Works every time and is very common practice in Australia. - Julia, Melbourne. 

  • For hair conditioner I dilute 25mls cider vinegar with 250 mls warm water then rinse off with warm water leaves hair softer. - BMD, Christchurch.

  • Add 1-2 drops of tea tree oil to a bit of shampoo in the palm of your hand at bath time and wash hair as normal and rinse out.  Repeat 2-3 times weekly, & comb hair with a nit comb to remove dead lice.  Watch it doesn't get into the eyes as it can sting, and smells quite strongly. - Mum of Two, Auckland

  • Dyeing to save money. When using colour on your hair get a small clean plastic container and divide the liquid in half then just use half the stuff in the tube to mix with it. As long as they are kept separate they will last till you need the next treatment instead of using the whole lot. If you have very short hair and are very good at measuring you could could probably get 3 treatments out of one pack. - Canny Scot, Christchurch.

  • A reader has a question:, "Question please, a cheap way for dealing with head lice in my two granddaughters long hair. I've just bought yet another expensive product to try and break this cycle. Even after 10 days at the beach swimming in salt water, still the nits are there. This is war." - C.S, Auckland 

A.M. from Wainiuomata replies: With regards to nits, I found the best way to control them was to buy the daughter a hair straightner,  killed the little suckers instantly. wash and condition as normal then do  one hundred strokes with a nit comb to get dead lice out. for younger children ensure you supervise or do it for them. $80 for a good straightner that lasts almost forever, compared to at least $80+ each term for chemical insecticides. 
N.R. from Auckland replies: I tried lots of things to get rid of nits, didn't really want to go chemical but found a hair dye got rid of the lot all at once.
1h from Waitakere City replies: Vinegar is the way to go, but not just once. 50/50 every night and comb with a fine toothed comb.Be gentle on the scalp, though ensure that you touch it. Check carefully behind the ears and around collar line.  As a teacher, I've had to deal with this a number of times on kids and myself too! They love clean hair, but unwashed hair suits them just as well. Not too proud, those nits. 
Kathryn from Masterton replies: "As a mother of 8 year old twins I can't tell you how much time and MONEY I have spent attempting to rid my family of Nits, with commercial products that either don't work or burn the scalp. I was at my wits end two years ago, having treated the children (one with hair to her waist) about 5 times in one term, when I decided to have a go at solving the problem myself. To 500mls of cooking oil I added 20 drops of Lavender Essential oil, 15 drops of Tea Tree EO and 10 drops of eucalyptus EO. Apply to hair with a nozzle bottle (I saved one from a commercial product tried earlier). Make sure every inch of the scalp and hair is covered, then wrap in gladwrap and leave for a good half hour. Comb through with nit comb then wash hair with shampoo. I often have to shampoo twice. I have since discovered that there are many other essential oils that will work so use whatever you can get, but herb oils work best. Tea Tree oil can be bought from the supermarket and also work well as a household cleaner, removing gummy, sticky or oily mess from surfaces. Use sparingly." - Kathryn Bellamy.
Sam from Auckland replies: "My mum used to use vinegar to do our heads and a plain nit comb. I also heard regular combing when there is conditioner in the hair helps remove the eggs."
Viv from Manurewa replies: "50/50 normal cooking oil and malt vinegar mix together rub on hair well comb through and shampoo as normal do this for about a week or when the nits have gone. Nits hate malt vinegar this is a real saving on your pocket and it works. See the nits on the comb."
John from Gore replies: "About head lice. They prefer clean hair to dirty - nice!! Could try coloidal silver, brushing Listerine mouth wash through the hair is good or boiling up some thyme leaves and brushing the cool liquid is good. Same chemical in the thyme leaves as is in Listerine."

Hair cuts

  • Cut the families hair yourself. At worst, put a pudding bowl over their head and cut around the edges! (Just joking.) Most parents can do a reasonable job without turning young Johnny into the school clown. If you find a family revolution results from your hair cutting exercise, look around for cut-price hairdressers operating from their home. You donít need to pay salon prices.


  • If you suffer from painful hands e.g. Arthritis here is a useful tip. Take a new pair of rubber gloves, smother your hands in baby oil, cooking oil will do. Fill the hand basin with water as hot as you can stand, put the gloves on and soak up to the wrists. When you remove the gloves all the oil will have gone, hands will be soft and pain free. - J.S. 

Insect bites

  • Annoying insect bites can be calmed by covering liberally with toothpaste! Especially good if they have got red and swollen. I found this tip on the net after trying a lot of other remedies. It works if you persevere with it. - Tony, Blenheim.

Make up

  • Buy makeup from 123 store and they work just as good as expensive makeup. Some cost $4 for mascara. - LM, Kapiti coast.

  • This tip is actually from an English actress. The only product she uses to remove make-up and moisturise her face is grape seed oil.  Have used it myself for ages now and it's perfect. I have used a baby oil but my eyes always felt gritty afterwards. I have even used the grape seed oil on my hands and arms.  Don't use too much and rub it well in. - Auntie, Timaru.


  • Instead of going in to see my GP to full my script. I simply use the ring in service. I only pay 1/3 of the price of a visit. - Rene, Brooklyn.


  • If you have a sore throat my granny gave me a handed down cure hundreds of yeas old. One level spoon of sulphur and one teaspoon of honey. Mix enough up for three days. After standing the medicine for a good two hours. Take it three times a day by letting it melt whilst going down your throat. For three days. You will be amazed just how good this old hand me down is compared to expensive Strepsils and the likes. - Keith, Wanganui. 

Mouth ulcers & wash

  • I was put onto this mouthwash formula by a customer in our pharmacy. Buy a bottle of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide (weakest) from your pharmacy (about $5) and put a capful (approx.1 teaspoon) in small glass of warm water and gargle. It works just as well as expensive Listerine etc and lasts three times as long. It makes sense because all the all time recipes used hydrogen peroxide. - DBC, Auckland.

  • My friend is a chemist. I was moaning about continual mouth ulcers, under my new dentures, (the lower). Instead of very expensive creams etc just put marmite or vegemite on the ulcer, be warned, it stings something awful, but it works. - D.M.

Nasal things

  • A good nasal spray is mixing 640 ml of warm water with 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 salt.  Irrigate [which sounds a little agricultural] nostrils (tip head forward, keep mouth open, pump water up nostril using plastic squeeze bottle) to help relieve sinus symptoms and flush flu virus from your system. - L.M., Wellington.


  • Don't waste money on the expensive creams for piles. What is much more effective and a lot faster acting is ice! Yes a couple of ice cubes inserted while sitting on the loo until they melt will give instant relief from burning and itching and shrink the piles at the same time. - Canny Scot, Christchurch  


  • Seven of my friends and I have given up smoking by reading this book:  Allen Carr's Easyway To Stop Smoking.  It worked for all of us, cost a lot less than patch's or lozenges and we have all been free for over a year.  Some brought the book ($20 approx online) others borrowed it from the library. We have all saved $000's. - Carolyn, Otorohanga.

  • Don't! - O.R.


  • My number one tip: join a ski club.  Once you get involved you can pretty much ski for free and have the best time ever with great people. - T.I.

Warts, treatment

  • Ever since I was a child, I have used dandelion milk to treat warts. Break the flower off and dab the plants milk onto the wart 3-4 times a day for between 4-5 days. The wart will be gone within 5-7 days (sometimes a bit longer depending on size). Dandelions have so many goodies in the stem, milk and leaves! - Lesleigh, Wainuiomata

Women's health

  • Ok boys, look away... When it is that time of the month do you ladies waste money time and time again buying disposable sanitary products? Please google 'mooncup uk' and you will see an amazing solution. A one time purchase, reusable, clean piece of genius! Also, it is good for our lovely environment. I feel so free never having to buy products time and time again! - Sara, Christchurch.

Wounds, treatment

  • Use (raw) honey on wounds as it has antibacterial properties. - Z.H., Warkworth.

  • For open wounds use vegemite - could sting a bit but works in healing. - GSB, Nelson.


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