Q. A home remedy from your column really worked for me. I developed a spot on my chin that my son noticed. When I checked it in the mirror, it appeared red and scaly, though it did not hurt or itch.
I went online to find photos of skin problems, and what it most resembled was psoriasis. Then I saw the testimonial on your website from the person who eliminated his psoriasis by eating generous amounts of cilantro.
I love cilantro, so that was easy. And it worked fast, within a day or two. I made egg salad flavored with lots of turmeric and about 10 sprigs of cilantro. Spread on toast, this is a great breakfast.
A. We are glad to hear about your experience. Other readers also have found turmeric helpful against psoriasis, so you may have found a one-two punch for your skin condition.
Q. I’ve suffered from headaches most of my life. After menopause, they became brutal nighttime or early-morning headaches. I was beside myself and was taking far too much Excedrin.
I’ve always limited myself to one cup of coffee in the morning, with no other caffeine during the day. One day two months ago, I had a dreadful headache and just suffered through the day with it. I went to visit a friend that afternoon, wishing I could get home quickly and take something for my aching head. We had a cup of tea together.
When I got home later, I realized my headache was gone. Even more surprising, I had no headache the next morning.
Ever since then, I have had a cup of black tea every afternoon, and I have been headache-free for two months. My life has improved immeasurably. You can’t imagine the difference it has made to wake up with a clear head and not have to take Excedrin all the time. Who knew tea would keep headaches from developing?
A. There is evidence that ingredients in tea, including L-theanine and caffeine, affect the brain (Biological Psychology, February 2008). Whether anyone else would benefit as you have is unclear.
We offer a number of nondrug approaches for preventing or easing headache pain in our Guide to Headaches and Migraines. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (70 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy, No. M-98, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It also can be downloaded for $2 from our website: www.peoplespharmacy.com.
Q. You recently addressed a question about canker sores. The suggestions seemed mostly to be long-term dietary change or supplements.
I occasionally get a canker sore, especially if I’ve eaten too many sweets. For the past 75 years, I’ve always gotten immediate relief within 24 hours by taking 1 tablespoon of baking soda with a glass of warm water, just like my grandmother taught me. One dose does the job.
A. A tablespoon of baking soda contains a lot of sodium, so this remedy won’t be appropriate for everyone. We always appreciate remedies passed down from grandmothers.
Other possible approaches to mouth ulcers include eating fresh kiwifruit or drinking buttermilk. One reader offered this: “Swish your mouth twice a day with two tablespoons of buttermilk.
“If you don’t like the taste, spit it out. Enough friendly bacteria will stay to take care of canker sores. They will disappear in a few days.”
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist. Teresa Graedon holds a doctorate in medical anthropology and is a nutrition expert. Their syndicated radio show can be heard on public radio. In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them via their website: www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.