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Tea rinse keeps dandruff at bay

Question: I have unexpectedly found a cure for my dandruff. I read a book that suggested using herbal tea to color hair naturally. After every shampoo, I would use sage tea as my final rinse. (The choice of herbal tea determines the hair color.)

After the first use, I realized that I did not have dandruff anymore. When I got my hair the right color, I discontinued the tea rinse, and my dandruff came back. I started using regular tea, such as Lipton, so my hair color wouldn't change. Sure enough, the dandruff ceased. What an inexpensive and healthy way to be rid of dandruff!

Answer: Thank you for telling us about your discovery. We can't imagine what there is in tea that would discourage dandruff, but it certainly sounds easy and inexpensive.

Constipation remedy

Question: I am a desperate man. I am having a terrible time with gas and constipation. Sometimes it feels like I am trying to pass a brick.

I have tried natural laxatives, including senna and cascara sagrada, but they cause cramping and my doctor has discouraged me from using them.

Milk of magnesia has been helpful, but it sometimes gives me diarrhea and I have to make a mad dash for the bathroom. I have had one accident that was very embarrassing.

Someone told me you have published a recipe for a constipation remedy. Please send it to me so I can become regular.

Answer: We can't promise the recipe will work for you, but one reader recently shared her experience: "I am using 4 tablespoons of your constipation mixture (bran, prune juice and apple sauce) and am going to the bathroom easily for the first time in years. I am delighted, but there is one problem: unreal flatulence, especially before bedtime."

The recipe is 1 cup unprocessed bran, 1 cup applesauce and } cup prune juice. Start with 1 tablespoon daily with lots of water. We are sending you our guides to constipation, diarrhea and digestive disorders, which provide more details on how to overcome these unpleasant symptoms. Anyone who would like copies, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Graedons' People's Pharmacy, No. GG-700, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027.

To fight flatulence, you may wish to consider fennel seed tea and ground flax seed. Activated charcoal also can be helpful.

No more warts

Question: Thanks for the banana remedy for warts. My son had a small wart on his left index finger. We applied a tiny piece of banana peel just once daily before bedtime. (Seven-year-olds need to bend their fingers during the day.) I didn't expect to see results as quickly as we did.

Answer: You aren't the only one who got good results from the banana peel. According to one reader: "My insurance company paid $600 for a dermatologist to burn warts off my fingers (three treatments). Such pain! When I heard that you could rub the inside of a banana peel on warts, I started treating my fingers. A month later my fingers are smooth and pain-free at no cost."

One-stop research

Question: Do you have a book that collects all your legendary cures for our common health problems? I save your columns but have loaned them to friends and would love to have one place to look them up.

Answer: You're in luck. We are sending you our new book, The People's Pharmacy Guide to Home and Herbal Remedies (St. Martin's Press), which contains many of the wonderful treatments our readers have shared over the years.

Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist. Teresa Graedon holds a doctorate in medical anthropology and is a nutrition expert. They can be reached by e-mail at or in care of the Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.