Herbs & Plants

Boerhavia diffusa

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Botanical Name : Boerhavia diffusa
Family: Nyctaginaceae
Genus: Boerhavia
Species: B. diffusa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms : B. coccinea. B. repens. L.
English Name / Common Name: Spreading Hogweed / Boerhavia
Sanskrit / Indian Name: Punarna
Other Common Names:Punarnava , Boerhavia Diffusa, Hirsuta , Erva Tostao , Red Hogweed , Hog Weed , Pig Weed, Tar Vine, Red spiderling
Part Used :Root, Seed,whole plant
Properties :Anti- Inflammatory, Panduhar(Checks Anemia), Cardiac-tonic,Analgesic
Habitat:This weed grows throughout India, Bangla Desh, Burma,Sri Lanka and in many tropical countries  of the world like Australia – New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria.   It grows in a pioneer of bare areas, usually found on dry sandy soils.

Description:Boerhavia diffusa is a perennial creaping  plant. It grows  to 0.1 m (0ft 4in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in). It has a large root system and produces yellow and white flowers. It is in flower from Jun to September, and the seeds ripen from Jun to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs). CLICK & SEE

You may click to see the pictures of Red Hogweed

Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

It is hardy to at least -7°c in Australian gardens but this cannot be translated directly to the British climate because our summers are cooler and our winters longer, colder and wetter. If the plant is capable of surviving our winters it is likely to need a sheltered very sunny position in a well-drained soil. Most if not all members of this genus have the same edible uses.

Seed -..sowing the seed in a greenhouse in the spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings

Medicinal Uses:Bitter, stomachic, laxative, diuretic, expectorant, rejuvenative, diaphoretic, emetic Root-purgative, anthelmintic, febrifuge; White-laxative, diaphoretic;

The extract of Punarnava has diuretic properties. It helps to maintain effective kidney function. Punarnava helps maintain efficient kidney function, with its diuretic, anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory action. It is a very useful herb in treating edema.

Punarnava Root Powder (Boerhaavia Diffusa) is known in Ayurveda for its diuretic action. This herb is also used to cleanse the liver, and for a variety of heart conditions.

PUNARNWA (Boerhavia diffusa) the active principle punarnavine is responsible for its laxative and diuretic properties. Presence of large amount of potassium salts reinforces its action.

The roots of this herb contain rotenoids AI, BI, C2 , D, E ,and F, dihydroisofurenoxanthin, borhavine and an antifibrinolytic agent, punarnavoside. Punarnava is a powerful Rasayana (longevity enhancer). It has diuretic and Ca2++ channel blocking activity. By clearing the excess of avalambhaka and kledhaka kapha from the chest and stomach, Punarnava opens the channels – especially for rasa and rakta, the circulatory fluids, to flow unimpeded.

» In Oedema – Paste of punamava, sunthi and Mustak should be taken in a dose of 1Ogm with milk.
» Used in Acute hapatic disorders & Ascites due to chronic peritonitis.
» In Jaundice – Punarnava is very effective.
» In Heart diseases – It should be taken with kutki, Chirayata & Sunthi.
» In Conjuctivitis – Freshroot powder of punarnava mixed with honey should be used as eye application.
» As Rasayana – One who takes pastes of fresh punamava 20mg with milk.

Remedies For: Punarnava in India where it has a long history of use by indigenous and tribal people, and in Aruyvedic or natural/herbal medicine in India. There, the roots are employed for many purposes including liver, gallbladder, kidney, renal and urinary disorders.

Red-vermifuge. Abdomen, Abdominal Pain, Anemia, Anthelmintic, Anti-inflammatory, Ascites, Asthma, Blood Purifier, Calculi, Cancer(abdominal), Cataract, Childbirth, Cholera, Cough, Debility, Diuretic, Dropsy, Dyspepsia, Edema, Emetic, Expectorant, Eye, Fever, Food, Gonorrhea, Guinea Worms, Heart Disease, Heart Ailments, Hemorrhages(childbirth) Hemorrhages(thoracic) Hemorrhoids, Hepatoprotective, Inflammation(internal), Jaundice, Lactagogue, Liver, Menstrual, Ophthalmic, Renal, Rheumatism, Spleen(enlarged), Weakness.

Ayurvedic Applications:

White-edema, anemia, heart disease, cough, intestinal colic, kidney disorders; same uses as red.

Red-nervous system, heart disease, hemorrhoids, skin diseases, kidney stones, edema, rat and snake bites; chronic alcoholism, wasting diseases, insomnia, rheumatism, eye diseases, asthma (moderate doses), induces vomiting in large doses, jaundice, ascites due to early liver and peritoneal concerns; urethritis.

Leaf juice with honey, dropped into the eyes for chronic ophthalmia.

No side effects have been noted so far.

According to Ayurveda, herbs are taken in combination with other herbs to neutralize the toxicity of one herb with the opposing effect of the other or to enhance the particular effect of one herb with the help of other.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider


Ailmemts & Remedies

Abnormal Puberty in Females

Puberty is the period during which sexual development occurs. in girls, puberty is characterized by a growth spurt, hair growth in the armpits and pubic region, the development of the breasts and reproductive organs, and the onset of menstruation. although there is considerable variation in the age of onset of puberty, girls tend to start this process between age 10 and 14. puberty may be considered abnormal if it starts either earlier than normal or later. early puberty occurs if a girl develops breasts before age 8 or if menstruation starts before age 10. in extreme cases, puberty may begin at age 4. puberty is delayed if menstruation has not started by age 16 or breast development is absent at age 14….you may click & see

Early puberty is rare and may be a sign of an underlying hormonal disorder. delayed puberty is more common. there may be an underlying cause, but many girls who have not menstruated by age 16 are simply late developers, a tendency that often runs in families.

Abnormal puberty can be disturbing for a girl and her family because physical and sexual development will not coincide with that of her peers. medical advice should be sought as soon as abnormal puberty is suspected.

What are the causes?
Puberty in girls is controlled by female sex hormones produced by the ovaries. the production of these hormones is controlled by hormones from the pituitary gland in the brand and from the hypothalamus. disorders of any of these organs may lead to an abnormally early or late puberty.

Precocious puberty may be due to an underlying disorder that leads to a premature rise in female sex hormones. for example, an ovarian cyst that develops in childhood may produce sex hormones, causing early sexual development. a tumor of the hypothalamus or damage to the pituitary gland as the result of a head injury or an infection such as meningitis may also lead to early puberty.

Delayed puberty may be caused by certain chromosomal disorders, such as turner syndrome or less commonly by a pituitary tumor. excessive weight loss or exercise may create a temporary hormonal imbalance that can lead to delayed puberty.In many cases of abnormal puberty no underlying cause is found.

What might be done?
The doctor will do a physical examination to determine whether puberty has started or how far it has progressed. a blood test may be arranged to measure hormone levels or check for a chromosomal abnormality. you may have mri or ct scanning of the brain if a pituitary tumor is suspected or ultrasound scanning of the ovaries to look for cysts.

If there is an underlying condition, it will be treated. for example, an ovarian cyst will be removed. hormonal treatment may be prescribed to suspend precocious puberty or to promote sexual development if puberty is delayed. delayed puberty may be associated with infertility and further evaluation and treatment may be required in the future if a woman who has had a delayed puberty wants to have children.

Sometimes, puberty is simply late and treatment is not necessary. gaining weight and reducing strenuous activity may help if delayed puberty has been caused by weight loss or exercise.

Precocious Puberty
Click for more knowledge on The Problem of Precocious Puberty

Read The Hazards of Abnormal Puberty due to Estrogens in the Environment”

Treatment Of Early Puberty

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.


Herbs & Plants

Aggor (Aquillaria agallocha)

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Botanical Name: Aquilaria malaccensis
Family:    Thymelaeaceae
Genus:    Aquilaria
Species:    A. malaccensis
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Malvales

Synonym:  Aquilaria agallocha roxb

Common Names:Agarwood, Oud, Oodh or Agar,Lignum Aloe, Aguru, Ch’En Hsiang, Ch’Ing Kuei Hsiang, Chan Hsiang, Chen Xiang, Chi Ku Hsiang, Huang Shu Hsiang

Bengali/Vernacular Name: Agar, Agru

Habitat :  It is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. It is threatened by habitat loss

Aquillaria agallocha is a moderate-size evergreen tree  with a conical crown when young. Height of this plant is around 60-80 feet and leaves 5-8.7 cm long, linear-lanceolate to lanceolate. Flowers rather small, greenish on shortly peduncled umbels, arising laterally from the younger branches. Capsules 3.7-5 cm, obovate-cuneate, slightly compressed. It occurs sporadically in the forest of Hill Tracts region of India,Nepal and Bangladesh.


Cultivation method: Usually seeds of this plant are used for propagation. Aggor plants are grows well in a sloping area of Hill Tracts region.

Chemical Constituents:
Principal constituent of the wood is an essential oil, which contains agarospirol. Wood also contains a chromone, agarotetrol, 1,7-oxaporphine, liriodenine and two sesqiuterpenes, gmelofuran and agarol. Stem bark contains two cytotoxic compounds (Asolkar et al., 1992). The neuroleptic compounds, jinkoheremol and agarospirol have been isolated from the benzene extract of the wood (Ghani, 2003).

Medicinal Uses:
Wood is heating, alterative tonic, carminative, laxative, stomachic, diuretic, aphrodisiac and febrifuge; useful in diseases of ear and skin, hiccup, leucoderma, chronic diarrhoea, bronchitis, asthma. The fragrant resinous substance is prescribed in gout and rheumatism. The bark is used for heart disease in Khagrachari. Decoction of wood is used as medicine for febrifuge, stomachic, diuretic, aphrodisiac, carminative, laxative and tonic. It is also very effective in various skin disease, bronchitis, asthma and rheumatism.

Other Uses:    Powdered from wood of this plant is used as perfume.

The agarwood is very popular as ‘the wood of the Gods’, It is because of its uses range from incense for religious ceremonies, perfume for the Arabic world, medicinal wine in Korea and ornamental functions in China. As a healthy tree the Aquilaria is worth next to nothing, but wounded its defence mechanisms produce agarwood and the tree becomes a valuable commodity. Today the range of agarwood products and their uses is seemingly endless. Natural art Solid pieces of agarwood are highly appreciated as ‘natural art’ in Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Craftsmen carve raw pieces of agarwood into beautiful wooden sculptures . Agarwood is also turned into beads and bracelets. Most of the wood, however, is processed and either turned into oil which is used in perfumes and other cosmetic products, or the agarwood chips are ground into powder which is used as the raw material for incense making (and sometimes also for special cigarettes).

The oil is also used in the production of traditional medicine as anti-asthma antitoxic, antioxidant, hypertension (anti-stress), hepatitis, sirosis, diuretic, painkiller, and many other diseases.
It is because of the aromatic smell of some composition of oils as reported by some scientists there are dihydroagarofuran and isodihydroagarofuran ; sesquiterpene, agarol and a couinarinolignan, aquillochin; sesquiterpene alcohols, jinkohol II and jinkoheremol; agarospirol, jinkohol-eremol and kusenol.

This is why agarwood or gaharu so expensive. The high price of this woody species actually is corelated to the resin or so called “Gubal”. This resin looks like a dark brown to black solid lump or a chunk with a fragrant smell (if burned), which is found in the heartwood or roots of gaharu-producing trees undergoing a chemical and physical change due to fungus infection (as mentioned by Dr. Devang Pandya) . The trees frequently become infected with a parasite fungus or mold, and begin to produce an aromatic resin in response to this attack. So, not all plants can produce the resin because it depends on the attack. The fungus and decomposition process continue to generate a very rich and dark resin forming within the heartwood. While the unaffected wood of the tree is relatively light in color & almost useless, the resin dramatically increases the mass and density of the affected wood, changing its color from a pale beige to dark brown or black. In natural forest only as rare as 7% of the trees are infected by the fungus in natural way. Thus, agarwood develops very, very slowly over time, typically several hundred years. However, nowadays people inpurposely develop agarwood plantation using fungi-forming gaharu injection on the hole of the trunk for fast harvest.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


Herbs & Plants

Shikakai (Acacia Concinna)

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Botanical Name :Acacia Concinna
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Mimosoideae
Genus: Acacia
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Species: A. concinna

Synonyms   :  Acacia hooperiana Zipp. ex Miq. Acacia philippinarurn Benth. Acacia poilanei Gagnep. Acacia polyceph

Common Names:  Shikakai, Soap-Pod

Other Names:  Aila, Atouqie, Banritha, Chikaka, Chikakai, Kochi, Lahiur, Ritha, Shikai, Shikakai, Shikaya, Sige, Sikakai, Soap-pod tree, Som poi, Song bai.

t :Native to Asia, common in the warm, plains of central and south India. It grows in  rain forest, disturbed forest, open grassland, fields, creek sides, in open areas often a sprawling shrub; also recorded from limestone; at elevations from 50 – 1050 metres.
Found in: Asia, China, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Pacific, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, PNG, SE Asia, Thailand, Vietnam.

Acacia concinna is an evergreen Tree growing to 10 m (32ft) by 10 m (32ft) at a medium rate. It is a thorny spreading shrub or tree that can either be scandent or climb into other plants. Bark is light grey. Leaves are oblong 4-10mm long forming 7-11 pairs of branches each with 17-37 pairs of leaflets. Flower buds are purple or dark red. The flowers are cream or white. Pods up to 5cm long are flat and thick with 7 seeds. The seedpods are widely used as a soap substitute in India. Plants flower throughout the year. Fruit are on trees from February to March.The tree is food for the larvae of the butterfly Pantoporia hordonia.


It is frost tender. and are pollinated by Bees, beetles, butterflies, wasps.It can fix Nitrogen.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: neutral soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry soil and can tolerate drought. The plant is not wind tolerant.
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

Acacia concinna can be grown from seeds. The seedlings can be transplanted. The seed of most, if not all, members of this genus has a hard seedcoat and may benefit from scarification before sowing to speed up germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 – 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen – if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing.

Edible Uses:
Edible portion: Seeds, Leaves, Flowers, Vegetable. Leaves are cooked . The acid-flavoured young leaves can be used as a substitute for tamarinds (Tamarindus indica) in chutneys . They are also added to soups to make them hot and sour . They can be curried with salted fish and coconut milk. Flowers – cooked and eaten as a vegetable . Acid fruit are used in Philippine cooking to give a sour flavour. They are roasted and eaten. Seeds are edible after roasting. The young shoots are used to make pickles or cooked as a vegetable.


The bark contains saponin, which on hydrolysis yields lupeol, (-spinasterol and acacic acid lactone. The sugars identified are glucose, arabinose and rhamnose. It also contains hexacosanol and (- spinasterone. The saponin of bark shows spermicidal activity against human semen (Banerji and Nigam, J Indian chem Soc., 1980, 57, 1043; Banerji et al, Indian Drugs, 1979 – 80, 17,6). The tender leaves, which are acidic, are used in chutneys. The leaves contain oxalic, tartaric, citric, succinic and ascorbic acids. They also contain two alkaloids calyctomine (C12H17O3N, m.p. 138-140oC) and nicotine, besides rutin and an enzyme tartaric racimase.A new triterpenoid saponin (C36H48O5, m.p. 295oC) having the basic skeleton of oleanolic acid.

Other constituents present in the leaves are tannins, amino acids and proteins.

Medicainal  Actions and Uses :
An infusion of the leaves is used in malarial fever. A decoction of the pods relieves biliousness and acts as a purgative. It is used to remove dandruff. An ointment, prepared from the ground pods, is good for skin diseases. The pods, known as Shikai or Shikakai, are extensively used as an detergent, and the dry ones are powdered and perfumed, and sold in the market as soapnut powder. The pods are reported to be used in north Bengal for poisoning fish.

Acacia concinna extracts are used in natural shampoos or hair powders and the tree is now grown commercially in India and Far East Asia. The plant parts used for the dry powdered or the extract are the bark, leaves or pods. The bark contains high levels of saponins, which are foaming agents that are found in several other plant species. Saponin-containing plants have a long history of use as mild cleaning agents. Saponins from the plant’s pods have been traditionally used as a detergent, and in Bengal for poisoning fish; they are documented to be potent marine toxins.
Research: Recent research has shown that the tree has an antidermatophytic ability that can fight off fungi responsible for skin diseases. It also has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties and even contains some phytochemicals that may have antioxidant abilities.

Other uses
In commercial extracts, when the plant is hydrolyzed it yields lupeol, spinasterol, acacic acid, lactone, and the natural sugars glucose, arabinose and rhamnose. It also contains hexacosanol and spinasterone. The saponin of the bark has spermicidal activity against human semen. It appears to have a hormonal effect, leading to its use for contraceptive purposes.

The leaves have an acidic taste and are used in chutneys. They contain oxalic, tartaric, citric, succinic and ascorbic acids, as well as two alkaloids, calyctomine and nicotine. An infusion of the leaves has been used in anti-dandruff preparations. Extracts of the ground pods have been used for various skin diseases

. For centuries the people who have had access to this tree have used its pod-like fruit to clean their hair. They collect, dry and grind this pod into a powder which is considered a superior cleanser for lustrous long hair and has been reported as “promoting hair growth and preventing dandruff”. Because of these benefits, this powder was named “shikakai” which literally translates as “fruit for the hair”.


Typically, shikakai is mixed with water to make a paste which is worked through the hair. It lathers moderately and cleans hair beautifully. It has a natural low pH, is extremely mild, and doesn’t strip hair of natural oils. Usually no rinse or conditioner is used since shikakai also acts as a detangler. This ancient product is probably the world’s original pH balanced shampoo.

Shikakai is a complete tonic for retaining complete softness of hair. It is a unique remedy for natural and beautiful hair.

It also helps in removing dandruff and lice.Shikakai is a nut from a tree. The powder is used to wash hair. It is very effective in removing oil and dirt from hair. The normal practice is to apply oil to hair and scalp and allow it soak for sometime. This will keep the body cool, reducing body heat & also prevent the scalp from getting dry. The powdered shikakai is used as a shampoo to wash off the oil.

Today this fruit is grown commercially in large quantities in India and the Far East. As a result, shikakai powder is readily available and continues to be commonly used as a preferred shampoo.Many popular brands are sold throughout India.

While it does not have the normal amount of foam that a regular shampoo would have it helps in strengthening the hair from its roots.Typically, shikakai is mixed with water to make a paste which is worked through the hair. It lathers moderately and cleans hair beautifully. It has a natural low pH, is extremely mild, and doesn’t strip hair of natural oils. Usually no rinse or conditioner is used since shikakai also acts as a detangler. This ancient product is probably the world’s original pH balanced shampoo.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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Vinegar Is Superb

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With 175 different uses, this super item deserves a reserved space in your home.Around the House

Clear dirt off PCs and peripherals Your computer, printer, fax machine, and other home office gear will work better if you keep them clean and dust-free. Before you start cleaning, make sure that all your equipment is shut off. Now mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a bucket. Dampen a clean cloth in the solution — never use a spray bottle; you don’t want to get liquid on the circuits inside — then squeeze it out as hard as you can, and start wiping. Keep a few cotton swabs on hand for getting to the buildups in tight spaces (like around the keys of your PC keyboard).

Clean your computer mouse:
If you have a mouse with a removable tracking ball, use a 50/50 vinegar-water solution to clean it. First, remove the ball from underneath the mouse by twisting off the cover over it. Use a cloth, dampened with the solution and wrung out, to wipe the ball clean and to remove fingerprints and dirt from the mouse itself. Then use a moistened cotton swab to clean out the gunk and debris from inside the ball chamber (let it dry a couple of hours before reinserting the ball).

Clean your window blinds:

You can make the job of cleaning mini-blinds or venetians considerably less torturous by giving them “the white glove treatment.” Just put on a white cotton glove — the kind sold for gardening is perfect — and moisten the fingers in a solution made of equal parts white vinegar and hot tap water. Now simply slide your fingers across both sides of each slat and prepare to be amazed. Use a container of clean water to periodically wash off the glove.

Unclog and deodorize drains:
The combination of vinegar and baking soda is one of the most effective ways to unclog and deodorize drains. It’s also far gentler on your pipes (and your wallet) than commercial drain cleaners.

  • To clear clogs in sink and tub drains, use a funnel to pour in 1/2 cup baking soda followed by 1 cup vinegar. When the foaming subsides, flush with hot tap water. Wait five minutes, and then flush again with cold water. Besides clearing blockages, this technique also washes away odor-causing bacteria.
  • To speed up a slow drain, pour in 1/2 cup salt followed by 2 cups boiling vinegar, then flush with hot and cold tap water.

Get rid of smoke odor:

If you’ve recently burned a steak — or if your chain-smoking aunt recently paid you a surprise visit — remove the lingering smoky odor by placing a shallow bowl about three-quarters full of white or cider vinegar in the room where the scent is strongest. Use several bowls if the smell permeates your entire home. The odor should be gone in less than a day. You can also quickly dispense of the smell of fresh cigarette smoke inside a room by moistening a cloth with vinegar and waving it around a bit.

Wipe away mildew:
When you want to remove mildew stains, reach for white vinegar first. It can be safely used without additional ventilation and can be applied to almost any surface –bathroom fixtures and tile, clothing, furniture, painted surfaces, plastic curtains, and more. To eliminate heavy mildew accumulations, use it full strength. For light stains, dilute it with an equal amount of water. You can also prevent mildew from forming on the bottoms of rugs and carpeting by misting the backs with full-strength white vinegar from a spray bottle.

Clean chrome and stainless steel:
To clean chrome and stainless steel fixtures around your home, apply a light misting of undiluted white vinegar from a recycled spray bottle. Buff with a soft cloth to bring out the brightness.

Shine your silver:
Make your silverware — as well as your pure silver bracelets, rings, and other jewelry — shine like new by soaking them in a mixture of 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 tablespoons baking soda for two to three hours. Rinse them under cold water and dry thoroughly with a soft cloth.

Polish brass and copper items:
Put the shimmer back in your brass, bronze, and copper objects by making a paste of equal parts white vinegar and salt, or vinegar and baking soda (wait for the fizzing to stop before using). Use a clean, soft cloth or paper towel to rub the paste into the item until the tarnish is gone. Then rinse with cool water and polish with a soft towel until dry

Erase ballpoint-pen marks:
Has the budding young artist in your home just decorated a painted wall in your home with a ballpoint original? Don’t lose your cool. Rather, dab some full-strength white vinegar on the “masterpiece” using a cloth or a sponge. Repeat until the marks are gone. Then go out and buy your child a nice big sketch pad.

Unglue stickers, decals, and price tags:

To remove a sticker or decal affixed to painted furniture or a painted wall, simply saturate the corners and sides of the sticker with full-strength white vinegar and carefully scrape it off (using an expired credit card or a plastic phone card). Remove any sticky remains by pouring on a bit more vinegar. Let it sit for a minute or two, and then wipe with a clean cloth. This approach is equally effective for removing price tags and other stickers from glass, plastic, and other glossy surfaces.

Burnish your scissors:
When your scissor blades get sticky or grimy, don’t use water to wash them off; you’re far more likely to rust the fastener that holds the blades together — or the blades themselves — than get them clean. Instead, wipe down the blades with a cloth dipped in full-strength white vinegar, and then dry it off with a rag or dish towel.

Get the salt off your shoes:

As if a winter’s worth of ice, slush, and snow wasn’t rough enough on your shoes and boots, the worst thing, by far, is all the rock salt that’s used to melt it. In addition to leaving unsightly white stains, salt can actually cause your footwear to crack and even disintegrate if it’s left on indefinitely. To remove it and prevent long-term damage, wipe fresh stains with a cloth dipped in undiluted white vinegar.

Clean your piano keys:
Here’s an easy and efficient way to get those grimy fingerprints and stains off your piano keys. Dip a soft cloth into a solution of 1/2 cup white vinegar mixed in 2 cups water, squeeze it out until there are no drips, then gently wipe off each key. Use a second cloth to dry off the keys as you move along, then leave the keyboard uncovered for 24 hours.

Deodorize lunch boxes, footlockers, and car trunks:
Does your old footlocker smell like, well, an old footlocker? Or perhaps your child’s lunch box has taken on the bouquet of week-old tuna? What about that musty old car trunk? Quit holding your breath every time you open it. Instead, soak a slice of white bread in white vinegar and leave it in the malodorous space overnight. The smell should be gone by morning.

Freshen a musty closet:

Got a closet that doesn’t smell as fresh as you’d like? First, remove the contents, then wash down the walls, ceiling, and floor with a cloth dampened in a solution of 1 cup each of vinegar and ammonia and 1/4 cup baking soda in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) water. Keep the closet door open and let the interior dry before replacing your clothes and other stuff. If the smell persists, place a small pan of cat litter inside. Replenish every few days until the odor is gone.

Brighten up brickwork:
How’s this for an effortless way to clean your brick floors without breaking out the polish? Just go over them with a damp mop dipped in 1 cup white vinegar mixed with 1 gallon (3.7 liters) warm water. Your floors will look so good you’ll never think about cleaning them with anything else. You can also use this same solution to brighten up the bricks around your fireplace.

Revitalize wood paneling:
Does the wood paneling in your den look dull and dreary? Liven it up with this simple homemade remedy: Mix 1 pint warm water, 4 tablespoons white or apple cider vinegar, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a container, give it a couple of shakes, and apply with a clean cloth. Let the mixture soak into the wood for several minutes, then polish with a dry cloth.

Restore your rugs:
If your rugs or carpets are looking worn and dingy from too much foot traffic or an excess of kids’ building blocks, toy trucks, and such, bring them back to life by brushing them with a clean push broom dipped in a solution of 1 cup white vinegar in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) water. Your faded threads will perk up, and you don’t even need to rinse off the solution.

Remove carpet stains:
You can lift out many stains from your carpet with vinegar:

  • Rub light carpet stains with a mixture of 2 tablespoons salt dissolved in 1/2 cup white vinegar. Let the solution dry, then vacuum.
  • For larger or darker stains, add 2 tablespoons borax to the mixture and use in the same way.
  • For tough, ground-in dirt and other stains, make a paste of 1 tablespoon vinegar with 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and rub it into the stain using a dry cloth. Let it set for two days, then vacuum.
  • To make spray-on spot and stain remover, fill a spray bottle with 5 parts water and 1 part vinegar. Fill a second spray bottle with 1 part nonsudsy ammonia and 5 parts water. Saturate a stain with the vinegar solution. Let it settle for a few minutes, then blot thoroughly with a clean, dry cloth. Then spray and blot using the ammonia solution. Repeat until the stain is gone.

Remove candle wax:
Candles are great for creating a romantic mood, but the mood can quickly sour if you wind up getting melted candle wax on your fine wood furniture. To remove it, first soften the wax using a blow-dryer on its hottest setting and blot up as much as you can with paper towels. Then remove what’s left by rubbing with a cloth soaked in a solution made of equal parts white vinegar and water. Wipe clean with a soft, absorbent cloth.Give grease stains the slip

Eliminate grease stains from your kitchen table or counter by wiping them down with a cloth dampened in a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water. In addition to removing the grease, the vinegar will neutralize any odors on the surface (once its own aroma evaporates, that is).

Conceal scratches in wood furniture:
Got a scratch on a wooden tabletop that grabs your attention every time you look at it? To make it much less noticeable, mix some distilled or cider vinegar and iodine in a small jar and paint over the scratch with a small artist’s brush. Use more iodine for darker woods; more vinegar for lighter shades.

Get rid of water rings on furniture:

To remove white rings left by wet glasses on wood furniture, mix equal parts vinegar and olive oil and apply it with a soft cloth while moving with the wood grain. Use another clean, soft cloth to shine it up. To get white water rings off leather furniture, dab them with a sponge soaked in full-strength white vinegar.

Wipe off wax or polish buildup:
When furniture polish or wax builds up on wood furniture or leather tabletops, get rid of it with diluted white vinegar. To get built-up polish off a piece of wood furniture, dip a cloth in equal parts vinegar and water and squeeze it out well. Then, moving with the grain, clean away the polish. Wipe dry with a soft towel or cloth. Most leather tabletops will come clean simply by wiping them down with a soft cloth dipped in 1/4 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup water. Use a clean towel to dry off any remaining liquid.

Revitalize leather furniture:
Has your leather sofa or easy chair lost its luster? To restore it to its former glory, mix equal parts white vinegar and boiled linseed oil in a recycled spray bottle, shake it up well, and spray it on. Spread it evenly over your furniture using a soft cloth, give it a couple of minutes to settle in, then rub it off with a clean cloth.

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