The wildest home remedies that Australian people have shared on Medicine or Myth?



One of the most fascinating things about the human race is that we are forever interested in the minutiae of other people’s lives.

Back in the day, it meant peeking over the neighbour’s fence to assess everything from the time they put their bins out to the items they had peeking out of their grocery bags.

From there, the interest spiraled into magazine articles where thousands of words were dedicated to what people keep in their closets and now the obsession has actually gone on to spawn a slew of careers. Generations of people now spend the majority of their downtime watching strangers talk through their shopping hauls in mesmerising detail, while they get paid for the privilege.

The SBS show Medicine or Myth? takes our fascination with other people and their families to a whole new level by allowing everyday Australians the chance to pitch their sometimes weird, sometimes wonderful, health and home remedies to a panel of medical experts with the idea that some of them could go onto a medical trial.

Watch the trailer for SBS’s Medicine or Myth? below. Post continues after video.


The idea is that every family has some little home remedies that they swear by.

For Medicine or Myth? host Jan Fran, her family cure-all centered on the belief that boiled potatoes can aide diarrhea or digestive issues (although she was quick to point out there is no science to back this up so please don’t try it at home).

In the spirit of being endlessly interested in each other’s lives, here are the wildest home remedies and ideas that were presented on Medicine or Myth?

A do-it-yourself weapon against head lice. 

If you’ve been one of the few humans lucky enough to avoid their grasp, head lice are tiny wingless insects who reside on the human scalp and feed on human blood. Symptoms of head lice infestation can include itching, but they can also go quietly undetected.

In Medicine or Myth? a mother and daughter team named Patti and Mia presented their head lice repellent to viewers, giving us an inside look at how Patti chooses to keep head lice from Mia’s hair, which is mermaid-esque and flows down to the eight-year-old’s calves.

Patti’s headlice spray includes tea tree, rosemary oils, lavender and the hero ingredient, eucalyptus.

Would you smear ear wax on your cold sores?

Ear wax has never been the kind of thing you wax lyrical about in public, yet that’s exactly what Victorian medical nutritionists Kathy and Chris Ashton did on national TV. Ear wax is the harmless (yet highly irritating when it builds up) substance made by tiny glands found in your ear canal.


On the show, Chris, who is in his fifties, talked about how he had suffered from cold sores since he was a child, explaining that they would constantly build up around his mouth and that he had always been highly embarrassed about the situation. Cold sores are an infection with the herpes simplex virus around the border of the lips, and while there are treatments available, there is no cure.

While doing research on the sores, Kathy discovered that earwax had the potential to be a natural and cheap remedy. Chris said that using his own ear wax on the sores was an effective and fast-acting treatment, but only his ear wax alone has proven useful so far.

Chris and Kathy Ashton have found an unusual remedy for cold sores. Source: SBS Medicine or Myth.

Drinking tea made from maggots is being used to treat acne.

Here's something you may have never have thought to try at home.

When Perth woman CJ Grant appeared on Medicine or Myth? she talked about having to battle acne from when she was a teenager and highlighted how debilitating it can be and how much it can affect a person's self-esteem.

As an avid tea fanatic, she discovered maggot tea while on holiday in Thailand and said that after having tried nearly every product and treatment out there, she found that the tea maggot team had the best results of her skin.

Maggots have the ability to clean up a wound within two to three days and along with eating away dead flesh, some maggot secretions (their “spit and sweat”), can kill several species of bacteria, according to Associate Professor of Biomedical Science Yamni Nigam, in an article posted on The Conversation. 

Of course, none of these home remedies are being medically recommended here, but if you'd like to know what the expert judging panel of Dr Ginni Mansberg, Associate Professor in Immunology and Australian neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo had to say about these ideas, you can watch the full first season of Medicine or Myth? on SBS On Demand now.