Celery seed extract works wonders

Q. I’ve had knee pain for the past 10 years or so. Taking turmeric helped it quite a bit.

I also have gout. When I read that celery seed extract could control my uric acid level and help my gout, I started taking it, too. The celery seed extract has really helped my gout, but to my surprise, my knee pain subsided almost completely.

I’m walking several miles a day now. An orthopedic surgeon had said that my knee was too far gone for any arthroscopic surgery, just bone on bone, with nothing left to repair. He thought the only resolution was knee replacement.

A. Celery (Apium graveolens) is a vegetable that dates back many centuries. The seeds have long been prized for their ability to lower inflammation (Progress in Drug Research, online, July 31, 2015).

Elevated levels of uric acid are responsible for gout. Celery contains an ingredient that inhibits the enzyme xanthine oxidase, which produces uric acid in the body (Food Chemistry, Dec. 15, 2013). While we could find no clinical trials to support this natural approach, the mechanism is plausible.

Q. You have sometimes answered questions about foot odor, but I’ve never seen the remedy that worked for us. Years ago, my husband had this problem.

A friend had grown up in Arkansas with lots of home remedies. She told us to put 2 tablespoons of 20 Mule Team Borax in each shoe overnight. It worked like magic.

A. Borax has long been used as a laundry additive, water softener and deodorizer. This mineral is toxic to pets, so shoes with this powder should be kept away from cats and dogs. Remove the Borax carefully before wearing the shoes again. It should not be inhaled.

Q. I am an advanced practice registered nurse with ailing joints and suspected fibromyalgia. Does it make sense to try bromelain or other anti-inflammatory enzymes?

A. Bromelain is a mixture of enzymes extracted from pineapple. It has been used to promote wound healing and fight inflammation (Biomedical Reports, September 2016). This natural product dampens the activity of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), somewhat like how celecoxib does. Bromelain seems to have fewer side effects, however.

Q. You listed the benefits of black pepper but neglected a caveat: Some people plagued with rosacea, like me, have found relief by avoiding all peppers, including black.

A. Rosacea is a skin condition that leads to redness, flushing and eventually bumps on the face. There are a number of triggers that may make rosacea worse, including alcohol, dairy products, caffeine and sugar substitutes. Some people find that spices like red or black pepper also can spark a flare-up.

One study found that people with rosacea frequently had small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, July 2008).

Treating the bacterial imbalance resulted in substantial improvement of skin symptoms. Dr. Robynne Chutkan suggests eating leafy green veggies, legumes and other high-fiber foods, and avoiding sugar and highly processed carbs.

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