Q. My daughters both suffer from eczema. It’s just heartbreaking. My older daughter had it on her hands starting when she was 1. It was so bad that her skin started to bleed and crack, and her nails were brittle and cracked also. My youngest daughter has it behind her knees, behind her ears, in the bend of her arms and the inside of her thighs.
My great-grandmother, who is 101 and raised nine children, told me to mix olive oil in plain lotion. So I got scent-free baby lotion and mixed in extra-virgin olive oil. We applied it three times daily: after the morning bath, in the middle of the day and at bedtime.
It was amazing. After just two weeks the eczema was gone. It’s been nine months on this routine and they are still doing well.
A. Grandmothers and great-grandmothers are such a wonderful resource for common-sense advice. Clearly, the olive oil is working well as a moisturizer for your girls.
Another grandmother wrote us about a different approach to eczema: “My granddaughter has had eczema forever. She tried everything for relief but still suffered. I sent her your article and a box of oolong-tea bags. She just wrote me from college that the eczema is gone and her skin is normal after four weeks of drinking oolong tea!” Japanese researchers reported on the benefits of oolong tea for eczema many years ago.
Q. I have taken Armour Thyroid for decades and have had absolutely no problem with this medication. Now my doctor maintains it is not a good medication anymore, but he hasn’t been specific about the problem. He just says my insurance company will no longer pay for it. I would gladly pay for it myself. He said he could get into trouble for just prescribing it. Can you solve this mystery?
A. Doctors have been prescribing dried thyroid gland for more than 100 years. Brands such as Armour, Erfa, Nature-Throid and Westhroid contain a mixture of thyroid hormones (T3 and T4). Synthetic levothyroxine (Levothroid, Levoxyl, Synthroid) contains only T4. Some people report that they feel better on this natural replacement hormone.
There is much more information about the benefits and risks, side effects and interactions of Armour Thyroid in our Guide to Thyroid Hormones.
Anyone who would like a copy, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (65 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy, No. T-4, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It also can be downloaded for $2 from our website: www.peoplespharmacy.com.
We find it hard to imagine that a physician would get into trouble for prescribing this medication, especially for a patient who has done well on it for as long as you have.
Q. Ice cream works very well against my migraines. I have suffered from these headaches for 10 years, and nothing has offered relief, not even strong painkillers.
After reading that ice cream could help, I tried it. It relieves a migraine within five minutes.
A. Triggering “brain freeze” with ice cream or a cold beverage may help some people stop a migraine headache in its tracks. Scientists reported at the Experimental Biology meeting in 2012 that head pain triggered by ice water changes blood flow in the brain, which may alleviate a migraine. This may account for the effect you have experienced. You can learn about more approaches to headache treatments at WePatients.com.