Question: That trick with banana peel on a wart really works. I tried it for one on my finger. It disappeared after I taped a bit of peel on the wart each night for about a month.
Answer: We can't explain why the banana-peel wart remedy works, but many people have reported success. You place the inside surface of the peel on the wart, tape it in place and let it work the magic for several hours. Bedtime is ideal.
One remedy at a time
Question: I am a 44-year-old man with an old knee injury. About a year ago it was causing me great pain, and I had it examined. The doctor checked the X-ray and told me that I had essentially no cartilage left. The soreness after playing tennis or other activi ties was from bone banging on bone. He prescribed Vioxx, which didn't do much for me.
After reading your book on herbs and home remedies, I have been using the following combination: Boswellia, turmeric and glucosamine. I have been very pleased with the results. The pain in my knee is under control.
Would it help to add the gin-soaked-raisin remedy? For various maladies, you list a variety of herbal and home- and folk-medicine remedies. Is it okay to try combinations of them as I did?
Answer: Boswellia and turmeric have been used together in India for centuries to relieve pain and inflammation. Glucosamine is more recent, but studies have shown it is helpful for arthritis.
We don't know whether adding gin-soaked raisins to other natural arthritis remedies would enhance effectiveness, but we can't think of any serious hazards.
Combining home remedies is an experiment. It makes sense to try them one at a time first.
Coconut calms Crohn's disease
Question: I know you've answered this question before, but at the time I didn't know anyone with the problem. My niece has recently been diagnosed with Crohn's disease, and in spite of medication is in pain and has a lot of diarrhea.
I seem to remember you suggesting Archway Coconut Macaroons for something like this. Can you send me the details?
Answer: Donald Agar wrote us several years ago about his success with Archway Coconut Macaroon cookies. He has had Crohn's disease for more than 40 years and suffered from chronic diarrhea despite medicines such as Imodium. By accident he discovered that two cookies daily controlled his diarrhea.
Others have benefited. One reader says: "My mother had diarrhea for years. Since eating the cookies she has had no problems. What's the logic behind this?"
We suspect the lauric acid in the coconut might be partially responsible, as this fatty acid has antibacterial properties. Eating coconut or homemade coconut cookies also seems to work.
We are sending you our Guide to Digestive Disorders, which discusses diarrhea, gas, heartburn and ulcers. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $2 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Graedons' People's Pharmacy, No. G-3, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027.
Flaxseed oil for cholesterol
Question: My uncle has high cholesterol like I do. His doctor recommended he take flaxseed oil with his meals.
I decided that since I was due for a checkup in six weeks, I would try it to see if it worked. My cholesterol went from 289 to 218. Is flaxseed oil safe?
Answer: Flaxseed oil is moderately effective in lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of blood clots. Usual doses of up to 1 tablespoon per day do not appear to be dangerous.
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 PHARMACYmindspring.com or in care of the Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.