Meat tenderizer soothes stings

Q. I was in the high desert of Oregon several years ago, looking for arrowheads. I saw an arrowhead lying beneath some sagebrush and picked it up. I felt a sharp prick on the back of my hand. Later that evening, my hand started swelling, and there was a purplish discoloration around that area. I must have been stung.

I was with my friends, “The Desert Rangers,” so they knew what to do. We applied Adolph’s meat tenderizer. We learned this treatment from a paramedic when we took a first-aid course.

As a little kid, when I got a bee sting, Mom always made a paste of baking soda to put on it. That worked fine, too.

A. We have been writing about meat tenderizer for bee, wasp and jellyfish stings since 1975. The enzyme papain, derived from papaya, breaks down protein. That is why it tenderizes meat. Venom contains proteins, and that may be how this remedy is supposed to work against stings.

Make a thick paste of meat tenderizer with water or vinegar and apply it to the stung area promptly.

Q. When my daughter learned that I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, she did some research on the Internet. She found out that cinnamon capsules would be helpful. I have used cinnamon for about three years.

My family doctor does blood tests and has confirmed that cinnamon keeps my blood sugar under control. This was also proved when I was admitted to the hospital for another problem. They tested me three times a day and found that my diabetes is well-controlled.

A. There is research to support your experience. Cinnamon can keep levels of blood glucose from going too high after a meal. We don’t recommend using cinnamon from the spice rack, though, since some brands might be contaminated with coumarin. This ingredient can be toxic to the liver. Taking cinnamon capsules can be safer.

We discuss the use of cinnamon and other natural approaches for type 2 diabetes (oolong tea, prickly pear cactus, vinegar, fenugreek, bitter melon) in our book “Best Choices From The People’s Pharmacy.” You can find it in libraries, bookstores or at

Q. Last year, my triglyceride level was 300. I took no medication (except for a baby aspirin daily), but I did start taking fish-oil capsules.

This year when I saw my doctor, my triglyceride level was down to 56. He was amazed and told me to keep doing what I was doing.

A. Fish oil can be very effective at lowering triglycerides (Pharmacotherapy, May 2007). During the past several years, it has become evident that high triglycerides increase the risk of heart disease. Congratulations on lowering yours!

Q. Years ago, my dermatologist suggested I stop using all topical creams and lotions, since I am allergic to them all. Twice a day I rub olive oil on my skin instead. On the weekends I also use it as a hair conditioner. By sticking with olive oil, I have solved my skin problems. As the doctor said, “If it was good enough for Cleopatra, it’s good enough for you!”

A. Some people might be allergic to olive oil, but for most people this can be an effective moisturizer. It may be a little greasy, though. Some women find that applying olive oil also can reduce vaginal dryness.

XIn their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of this newspaper or e-mail them via their Web site:

© 2007 King Features Syndicate Inc.

Subscribe Today

Sign up for our email newsletter to receive daily news.

Want more? Click here to subscribe to either the Print or Digital Editions.