Q. I must be especially tasty to mosquitoes, since they attack me and leave other folks alone. I have read in your column about hot water to stop itching. I’ve got a different solution: Warm a spoon in hot water and then put the back of the spoon on the bite. That stops the itch for several hours.
A. We have seen this suggestion on the Internet. It often includes the explanation that the heat denatures the protein that causes itching when mosquitoes inject it under the skin.
We suspect that the actual mechanism has more to do with the temporary effect of heat on nerve endings. Years ago, we read about using heat (in the form of hot tap water) to relieve itching in “Dermatology: Diagnosis and Treatment” (1961). The itch sensation can be overwhelmed for several hours with this approach.
Q. My sweetheart developed type 2 diabetes a few years ago after decades of being overweight. Metformin caused severe diarrhea, and other drugs the doctor tried were very expensive and caused nausea.
In desperation, she started exercising every day and eating very carefully. She lost nearly 50 pounds and doesn’t need insulin any more. I am impressed that she has nearly reversed her type 2 diabetes and wonder whether there are any natural approaches she could incorporate into her regimen to help her keep her blood sugar under control. I’ve heard that cinnamon might help. Is that true?
A. Surprisingly, cinnamon and several other foods can help keep blood sugar from spiking after a meal. Nopal leaves from prickly pear cactus, bitter melon used in Asian cuisines and vinegar all are capable of blunting blood-sugar spikes.
There is more information about these and other natural approaches to controlling blood sugar in the Guide to Diabetes that we are sending you. 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. DM-11, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It also can be downloaded for $2 from our website: www.peoplespharmacy.com.