Q. Several years ago, I read about the soy sauce remedy in The People’s Pharmacy. Luckily, we always have large quantities of soy sauce in the house.

Since that day, anytime I burn myself in the kitchen, I immediately grab the soy sauce and start pouring like there’s no tomorrow. Never have I been disappointed!

Last night, while stir-frying, I decided to take out a green bean and taste it. I didn’t realize just how hot it was, considering it was only in the wok a very short time. I burned my bottom lip.

I quickly grabbed a large spoon, filled it with soy sauce and “soaked” my lip for a minute or two. I thought for sure I’d have a blister by morning, but everything is hunky-dory. I was happy to be able to kiss my husband good night!

A. We first heard about this remedy from a reader in Oregon who had burned his hand while blending hot soup. Applying soy sauce prevented a trip to the emergency department.

While serious burns deserve immediate medical attention, many other readers agree that cold water and soy sauce work wonders for everyday kitchen burns.


Q. I’d like to share some cold remedies you may not know about. One can purchase ginger tea (ginger slices preserved in honey) in Asian food stores. It makes a wonderful tonic, much stronger than the tea I make with sliced ginger root.

They also sell honey citron tea. I used to teach English to families from South Korea in their homes. If I ever had a cough or a sniffle, the mothers would serve me honey citron tea. It is very soothing, though I doubt that anything other than time actually cures a cold.

A. Ginger is a time-tested home remedy for colds, coughs and congestion. Thyme tea also can ease a cough. We offer recipes for both in our Guide to Colds, Coughs and the Flu. 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. Q-20, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It also can be downloaded for $2 from our website:

We also discuss other approaches that can be helpful for such infections, including the Chinese herbs Andrographis paniculata and Astragalus membranaceus (Alternative Medicine Review, March 2011; March 2007).


Q. Several years ago, my blood pressure was 210/100. I took the prescribed medication, but also started reading up on ways to control hypertension naturally.

I read that low-carbohydrate diets lower blood pressure, blood sugar and triglycerides. I cut back on bread, rarely eat pasta or other grains and don’t eat much fruit but do get lots of nonstarchy vegetables. I eliminated sugar, and in the next few months my blood pressure dropped to about 120/80 even without meds.

I never cut back on salt, and blood tests show my sodium is right where it should be. I suggest cutting carbs instead of salt.

My blood pressure is around 110/68 at home, but it still pops up to 140/80 at the doctor’s office. I take my monitor with me so my doctor can check my recent readings and test it against her meter.

A. Bravo! Your low-carb dietary approach works for losing weight, lowering cholesterol and controlling blood sugar.

There is evidence to support your use of this approach for hypertension (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 2009).