Also called bromhidrosis, body odor refers to the “unpleasant smell” that comes from the body as it sweats [1].

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the sweat that smells, but the “bacteria on the skin that breaks sweat into acids” [1].

Some of the bacterial strains that cause body odor include Corynebacterium, Staphylococcus hominis, Propionibacteria, and Staphylococcus epidermidis [2].

Other factors that can also possibly cause this problem include certain foods, stress, alcohol drinking, poor hygiene and underlying medical conditions like diabetes [3].

Although body odor is not a medical emergency that you should panic about, it can be extremely embarrassing.

It can definitely affect your self-esteem, making you feel self-conscious when socializing with other people.

To get rid of body odor once and for all, try these scientifically proven remedies.

1. Baking Soda

If you know about the versatility of baking soda, then you probably have a box or two of this at home.

You know how efficiently it cleans and disinfects, and how it can be used as food additive or ingredient.

Did you know that it can also remove body odor?

Also called sodium bicarbonate, baking soda is often used as an antiseptic agent for deodorizing products [4, 5, 6].

Plain baking soda is sometimes combined with cornstarch, talc or rice flour, and used as a deodorant for the underarms [6].

Researchers from the University of Oklahoma in the United States recommend the daily use of baking soda as a deodorant, confirming both its safety and efficacy in combating body odor [7].

They explain that the deodorizing effect of this natural remedy works by changing the pH of the bacteria that cause the unpleasant smell [7].

It’s no surprise that experts call it an “excellent deodorant” [7].

It doesn’t only work for the underarms, but also for the feet, getting rid of the stinky smell after you’ve worn your shoes all day long.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of cornstarch

Recommended Directions:

  1. Combine cornstarch and baking soda.
  2. Apply on dry underarms once or twice daily.
  3. You can also apply on your toes before wearing your socks or shoes.

2. Sage

Native to Mediterranean countries, sage is a traditional herbal remedy recognized in Ayurveda for its wide range of properties including as an astringent, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and carminative [8].

Oil extracted from sage is a popular ingredient in perfumes and deodorants [8].

A clinical trial conducted in 2013 assessed the effectiveness of sage as a deodorizing agent [9].

Participants included 45 female volunteers treated with three various doses of sage extract, and a placebo [9].

A standard olfactory evaluation was conducted two hours, four hours and eight hours after applying the deodorant or placebo [9].

Findings disclose that a single application of sage in the form of a stick deodorant was enough to combat odor in the armpits of healthy subjects [9].

No skin irritation was observed after using a rabbit skin patch test [9].

Researchers conclude that sage is a safe and efficient alternative to commercial antibacterial products that increase the risk of certain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease [9].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of sage oil
  • 3 drops of coriander oil
  • 2 drops of lavender oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients, and put in a spray bottle.
  2. Use as deodorant everyday.

3. Licorice Root Extract

Here’s an interesting fact about the same ingredient commonly used for making candies: it can also be used to eliminate body odor.

The active ingredient in licorice root extract called glycyrrhetic acid can help get rid of underarm odor even at low concentration of 0.01 to 5 percent [10].

It’s no wonder, it’s often used as the key component in deodorants, whether powder, cream, stick, roll-on or lotion [10].

According to Japanese scientists, licorice root extract works by reducing bacterial strains like Staphylococcus epidermidis on the skin [11].

These bacteria are known to produce diacetyl, a substance that contributes to the repulsive smell coming from the armpits, head and feet [11].

Licorice root extract does a great job in disrupting the growth and formation of diacetyl [11].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of licorice root extract
  • 1 cup of water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Add licorice root extract to water.
  2. Use this solution to rinse your underarms after bathing.
  3. Repeat remedy daily.

4. Calendula

Historical records show that calendula, also called marigold, has long been cultivated in Europe, North America, and India for its “rich medicinal values” [12].

It is said to possess strong antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, among many others [12].

This is due to the presence of phytochemicals in different parts of this plant [12].

For those suffering from body odor, calendula can also be a reliable solution.

Research has shown that it has probiotic effects that can stop the growth of odor-producing bacteria [10].

It’s for this reason that calendula is often incorporated in deodorizing products such as creams, powders, soaps, gels, lotions and sticks [10].

There have been no reports of skin irritation or other harmful side effects from the use of calendula-based herbal products.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of calendula
  • 2 cups of water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Boil calendula in water.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. Strain calendula.
  4. Use this solution as an after bath rinse.
  5. Repeat three to four times a week.

5. Myrrh

A staple in ancient Chinese medicine, myrrh is relied upon as treatment for blood stagnation, arthritis and trauma [13].

Ayurvedic healers, meanwhile, recognize its therapeutic purposes for heart diseases, inflammation, obesity and gynecological problems [13].

Apart from resolving major health issues, it can also help fight minor ones such as body odor.

Like calendula, myrrh also possesses probiotic activities that can help inhibit the formation of bacteria that produce bad odor in the body [10].

Its active compounds prevent bacteria from growing, forming and spreading to various parts of the skin.

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of myrrh oil
  • 1 teaspoon of jojoba oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Dilute myrrh oil in jojoba oil.
  2. Apply oil mixture on underarms.
  3. Wipe it off after 30 minutes.

6. Thyme

Thyme is an aromatic herb grown in many parts of the world [14].

It is a staple in the kitchens of many people who love its nutty and minty flavor and scent that make dishes more palatable.

It’s also one of those herbs that have many benefits for the health.

It has various active compounds but thymol, carvacrol and flavonoids are the ones that serve as potent antibacterial agents [14].

It’s not a surprise that many people also use thyme for fighting body odor.

A study that can be found in the Agricultural and Biological Chemistry reported that the leaves of thyme have strong deodorizing properties that are even more effective than sodium copper chlorophylline [15].

What You’ll Need:

  • 10 drops of thyme oil
  • 1 cup of thyme leaves
  • Bath water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Add thyme leaves and oil to bath water.
  2. Soak in the bath for 30 minutes.
  3. Proceed with regular bath.
  4. Repeat everyday.

7. Sandalwood Powder

sandalwood-for-feverA well known coolant, sedative and astringent, sandalwood has been used to treat many types of ailments since the ancient times [16].

Folk healers rely on sandalwood tonic to resolve bronchial infections, diarrhea, heart disease, food poisoning and many more [16].

That’s not all, sandalwood also has a sweet lasting scent that makes it popular in the perfume and cosmetic industry [16].

And it’s so safe, it works even for babies [17].

Babies are naturally sweet-smelling but sometimes, when it’s hot and humid, they can get sweaty.

To maintain their pleasant smell, you can use sandalwood powder.

In fact, a baby powder product designed for reducing body odor among infants included sandalwood as a main component [17].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of sandalwood powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda

Recommended Directions:

  1. Combine baking soda and sandalwood powder.
  2. Apply on underarms.
  3. Do this everyday before going out.

8. Strawberry

Strawberries are the perfect healthy snack as they contain many essential nutrients that are good for the health.

You should know that it can also be an excellent way to get rid of body odor.

A 2011 study reveals that strawberries can inhibit the growth and spread of microbes that produce horrible smell in the body [10].

Its antibacterial activities work against Staphylococcus epidermidis [10].

This remedy is also very simple to put together. It only requires the use of a few ingredients, and you can prepare the formula in a matter of minutes.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of strawberries, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda

Recommended Directions:

  1. Mix strawberries and baking soda to form a paste.
  2. Apply paste on the underarms.
  3. Let it sit for 30 minutes to one hour.
  4. Take a bath.
  5. Repeat everyday.

9. Rosemary

cancer-rosemary-oilThe broad spectrum antimicrobial properties of herbal remedies have been the subject of a 2007 study [18].

Rosemary is one of the medicinal plants screened for this study [18].

Clinical data shows that its active compounds disrupted the growth of Corynebacterium and Propionibacterium acnes [18].

As mentioned earlier, these are the microbes responsible for the foul odor that comes out of the body.

It’s not difficult to imagine how rosemary can help fight body odor, as it is a natural pleasant smell.

It’s also good to know that it can help you relax, and take your mind off the constant worries that stress you out.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 cup of dried rosemary leaves
  • 4 cups of hot water
  • Bath water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Add rosemary to hot water.
  2. Let it steep for 15 minutes.
  3. Add this mixture to your bath water.
  4. Soak in the bath for 20 minutes.
  5. Do this remedy everyday.

10. Lavender

lice-home-remedies-lavender-oilDuring the Middle Ages, fragrant essential oils like lavender were the go-to solution for masking body odor [19].

Not much has changed since then.

Even with the proliferation of commercial deodorants, many still use lavender for its wonderful scent.

Lavender is a safe and effective way to conceal body odor [19].

It is also good for inducing relaxation, promoting sleep, and toning down stress levels, among many other benefits.

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of lavender oil
  • 1 teaspoon of jojoba oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Blend oils in a glass jar.
  2. Apply a thin layer on your armpits.
  3. Let it sit for 15 minutes before wiping off.
  4. Take a bath.
  5. Do this everyday.

11. Tea

green-tea-pinkeyeDrinking tea is a form of socialization in some countries.

In others, it’s a part of religious ceremonies or cultural rituals.

When it comes to health, tea has remarkable benefits thanks to its catechins and phenolic compounds [10].

It can also help freshen up your scent and remove body odor.

Research has proved that tea has inhibitory effects on Staphylococcus epidermidis [10].

Gallocatechins are said to be the components responsible for its antibacterial properties [10].

In addition, it also impacts the androgen receptors to reduce body odor [10].

As it turns out, tea is more than just a beverage. It also has other practical uses for the body such as for masking unpleasant smell.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 bag of black tea
  • 1 cup of hot water

Recommended Directions:

  1. Soak black tea bag in a cup of hot water.
  2. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the tea bag.
  4. Chill the tea in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  5. Soak a cotton pad in the tea.
  6. Put your arms up and place cotton pad in the armpits.
  7. Put down your arms.
  8. Leave cotton pads in the armpits for 30 minutes.
  9. Rinse with cool water and pat it dry.
  10. Repeat remedy three times a day for one to two weeks.

12. Garlic

Here’s something that you didn’t expect to see in this list: garlic.

Garlic is avoided by those who suffer from bad breath or halitosis, as it aggravates the smell coming from the mouth.

So how come it’s recommended for treating body odor?

This is because garlic has been known to be a powerful antibacterial agent [10].

Its water extract can efficiently combat Staphylococcus epidermidis and prevent it from spreading on the skin [10].

In as quickly as one hour, a 90 percent garlic solution can kill most of the bacterial strains on your skin [10].

Of course, you have to get rid of the garlic smell after. You need to use a mild soap to wash it off.

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups of water
  • Mild liquid soap
  • 3 drops of lavender oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Crush garlic cloves and chop into medium pieces.
  2. Boil chopped garlic in water.
  3. Apply this solution on your armpits.
  4. Leave it on for 30 minutes.
  5. Rinse off with cool water.
  6. Take a bath and wash underarms with a mixture of liquid soap and lavender oil.
  7. Repeat procedure everyday.

Body odor can negatively affect your confidence, and social interaction with people.

Resolve this problem right away with the help of these safe but effective natural methods.

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