Q. I have acne, and it seems that every time I eat anything with sugar, I break out. It also seems that milk makes me break out. Is this all in my head, or does diet make a difference for complexion?
A. It is not in your head. Dermatologists used to assure their acne patients that diet didn’t matter, but sophisticated research now establishes that foods such as sugar and refined starches (carbohydrates) that raise blood glucose and insulin promote acne (Dermato-Endocrinology, January/February/ March 2012). The amino acid leucine, abundant in milk, also contributes to the biochemical processes that underlie acne. The current recommendation is to eat more vegetables and fruits and to avoid dairy products and highly refined foods.
Q. I don’t know if anyone other than me thought the gin-raisin remedy had to be an idea that companies made up to sell their products. I decided to prove you WRONG, and I made up a batch with the cheapest raisins and gin I could find. It cost me a grand total of $6.24. The first batch lasted 129 days. At 5 cents per day, it only took 60 cents to prove you RIGHT.
I had taken everything from Advil to Vicodin, including Celebrex and Neurontin for chronic shoulder and back pain that should really be called agony. After 12 days of gin-soaked raisins, I woke up and realized something was very different. There was no agony, only slight pain I could manage. Granted, I took nine raisins in the morning plus nine at night, because I didn’t think it would work, but it does!
I now take only nine raisins a day, and after seven months I am pain-free. I am still on my second batch. Six months’ worth of Vicodin cost $1,873, and I still suffered pain. After six months of gin-soaked raisins ($12.48), I had no pain. So instead of writing to say “You are WRONG,” I’m writing to say “I was WRONG.”
A. Thank you for sharing your story. Not everyone benefits so impressively, but many others have found gin-soaked golden raisins helpful.
Anyone who would like to learn more about the details of this and other natural approaches to managing joint pain may send $3 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (65 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy, No. AA-2, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027 for our Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis.
It also can be downloaded for $2 from our website: www.peoplespharmacy.com.
Q. I fell on a tour in Central and South America, and a woman rushed to my aid from her post at the jewelry store. She started packing dry instant coffee onto my mashed-up shin, assuring me she was a nurse.
She wrapped the wound with paper towels until I could pull myself together and sit down. Thank you, lady in Cartagena! When I got to the ship, I gently rinsed my shin off and let the coffee do its thing. It healed beautifully, with minimal scarring.
A. We have heard from other readers that coffee grounds applied to a cut can stop bleeding. Of course, any serious wound deserves prompt medical attention. Yours is the first story we’ve received that instant coffee powder also staunches blood flow. Ground black pepper is another emergency treatment for minor cuts.
In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Email them via their website: www.peoplespharmacy .com.