Q. I have had success using fresh pineapple peel on a plantar wart. I applied the pineapple skin to the wart overnight, with the fleshy fruit side toward the foot. I saved the peel in a plastic bag in the fridge so I could reapply it several nights in a row.
I found it easier to keep the pineapple skin in place with a callus cushion. I centered the plantar wart in the hole, fit the pineapple into that and covered it with a bandage. An added benefit: The fresh pineapple is delish!
A. We have heard about applying banana skin to warts, but this is the first time we have read that pineapple might be beneficial. An ingredient in pineapple, bromelain, has both anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating effects, so there is a plausible mechanism of action.
Anyone who would like to learn more about pineapple, bromelain and other anti-inflammatory food and spices may find our book “Quick and Handy Home Remedies” of value. It is available online at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.
Q. I have been taking curcumin, the active ingredient in the spice turmeric, for back pain over the past several months. It has helped quite a lot, but my gums started to bleed badly.
I realized that I was also taking fish oil and ginger. All three are anticoagulants. Am I right in assuming that the combination contributed to the excessive bleeding?
A. We often warn people taking the anticoagulant warfarin (Coumadin) not to use curcumin as a dietary supplement. It can interact with warfarin to increase the risk of dangerous bleeding. We could find no studies on the interactions of these supplements, but your conclusion seems plausible.
Q. I was looking for information about fire-ant stings and arthritis, because this just happened to me. I live in Florida, and two days ago I got about 30 fire-ant stings on my foot.
I used baking soda and vinegar on the foot, so the pain and itching wasn’t too bad. My toes became swollen and tight to the point that I couldn’t bend them, but the swelling went away overnight.
In the past, including very recently, I have had incredible pain from arthritis in this foot. Today, my foot feels great, with no pain at all. I just can’t believe the range of motion I have. All of the joints in the foot are so loose and flexible.
I’m 50, and my foot feels like it did when I was in my 20s. As crazy as this may sound, I’m getting ready to go out and put my hands on one of the several fire-ant nests in my yard. If the joints in my hands feel as good as my foot does, I will be a very happy man!
A. We would discourage you from sticking your hand in a fire-ant nest on the grounds that bites can become infected. Multiple stings sometimes trigger seizures, heart failure or life-threatening allergic reactions.
That said, there is an unusual approach to treating arthritis and some auto-immune conditions called apitherapy, or bee-venom therapy. Controlled bee stings may provide significant pain relief for stiff, sore joints or even pain that lingers after shingles.
In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of The Vindicator or email them via their Web site: www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.
2014 King Features Syndicate Inc.