Castor oil can eliminate growths and skin tags

Q. I don’t know if others have had an experience like mine with castor oil. I had a place on my face about the size of a nickel that looked like a scab but actually was something that developed from a surgical procedure several years earlier. It started tiny and grew bigger over time.

My neighbor suggested castor oil and gave me a little container of it. After about six months of regular application, the thing vanished entirely. That was several years ago, but I also have used castor oil on skin tags. They have now gone away.

A. A scab or sore that doesn’t heal should be seen by a dermatologist. Occasionally, that’s how skin cancers appear.

Some other readers have had success getting rid of skin tags by applying castor oil to them. Skin tags are fleshy growths that may appear on the neck or face. While they aren’t dangerous, they sometimes can be annoying and unsightly.

A dermatologist can remove them, but readers may prefer to try a home remedy first. Some people report that coating the skin tag with New-Skin Liquid Bandage also can be helpful. It may take several weeks to see a response. Not everyone reports success, however.

Q. I have struggled for several years with gout. Some of the episodes have been severe.

Multiple medications have had unwanted side effects.

I stumbled on organic apple cider vinegar, which has provided by far the most benefit. I take a couple of tablespoons in a glass of water three times a day, and the result is amazing. I have not read about this remedy anywhere, but it keeps my gout at bay.

A. Thank you for sharing your intriguing story. We searched high and low for some scientific evidence that would support using apple cider vinegar for gout. We couldn’t find any, but there are testimonials on the web.

Q. When I was a kid in Minnesota, mosquitoes and poison ivy were always troublesome in the summer. For any itch from bug or plant, I have found that running hot but not burning water on the affected area does the trick. A few minutes will desensitize the skin for hours of relief.

A. If the water is hot enough, between 120 and 130 degrees F, just a few seconds of exposure should take away the itch for hours. We found this gem of a home remedy decades ago in a dermatology textbook, “Dermatology: Diagnosis and Treatment” (1961). The dermatologists who wrote about this suggested that heat “short circuits” the itch reflex.

Apparently, transient receptor potential (TRP) channels are important for sensing itch (Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology, 2015).

Because the TRP channels involved (TRPV1 and TRPV4) also are important in sensing heat, hot water does indeed work through a type of short circuit (Temperature, May 26, 2015).

Anyone using this remedy must be careful not to burn the skin. A couple of seconds is all you need.

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