Q. I read in your column about a person who got rid of warts using Dead Sea salts from Israel. It sounded crazy, but I tried it.
I had 12 warts on my hands and feet. I had tried duct tape, banana peels, Compound W and having the dermatologist freeze them off and use a laser. NOTHING WORKED.
I got some Dead Sea salts and bathed for about 15 minutes with six spoonfuls in the water. The results were visible immediately. Within two weeks, all my warts were gone, though I only bathed in the solution once or twice a week. Incredible!
A. No one understands why wart remedies work for some people and not for others. Yours is not the first success story we have heard regarding sea-salt soaks. How this works is still a mystery. We have no better explanation, however, for most other wart remedies, such as castor oil, milkweed sap, turmeric or vinegar.
Q. Is there a tea that helps lower high blood pressure?
A. The most promising option is tea made from the dried blossoms of Hibiscus sabdariffa. Most people find its tart flavor tasty.
A review of the research showed that both animal and human studies indicate a blood-pressure-lowering effect (Fitoterapia, March 2013). Two or three cups a day seem to provide a therapeutic dose.
Other beverages also can help control blood pressure, including beet juice, grape juice, kefir (fermented milk) and pomegranate juice. We are sending you our Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment so you can learn more about these and other nondrug approaches to combating hypertension. 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. B-67, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It also can be downloaded for $2 from our website: www.peoplespharmacy.com.
Q. I am a nurse, and the constant hand-washing and antibacterial hand gel give me cracks at the corners of my thumbnails. They are painful, and I am always afraid of picking up an infection through the broken skin.
To protect myself, I clean the area first and then use two or three thin coats of instant glue. If the area is rough, I smooth it with a fine nail file. This closes the cracked skin, and I think it heals faster.
A. Cracked or split fingertips can be quite uncomfortable. They make it hard to button a blouse, type on a keyboard or play an instrument. The rough edges may snag on fabric.
Many other people report that instant glue can be helpful for cracked fingertips. Such products contain cyanoacrylate. They are not designed for use on skin, however, and might be irritating. That is why we suggest liquid bandage instead.
Q. I read about using Vicks on the bottoms of the feet on the People’s Pharmacy website, and it has worked for me. It also has relieved my lungs when they get congested with hay fever.
My unbelieving husband caught a bad cold, with a cough that could wake the dead. He was desperate, so he let me rub his feet with the Vicks VapoRub. The next day, his cough and congestion were completely relieved. He’s now a believer!
A. We, too, were initially skeptical that putting Vicks on the soles of the feet would relieve a nighttime cough. Enough people have insisted that this remedy works that we are now believers as well. A warm pair of socks will protect the sheets from the petroleum jelly in Vicks VapoRub.
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.