Fresh lemon juice applied several times daily may destroy warts

The Baltimore Sun

My daughter had several warts on her hands and was able to kill them quickly with lemon juice. She dabbed the warts with a sliver of lemon three or four times a day, and all of the warts fell off within four days.

Four years ago, we heard from another mother whose daughter also had warts: "Years ago, my daughter had eight plantar warts on the bottoms of her feet. She could hardly walk, and I tried everything to no avail.

"A friend of mine suggested squeezing fresh lemon juice on them three or four times a day. We had nothing to lose so we tried it. Those warts turned black and fell off so fast she was completely healed within four weeks. I hope this will help others." Other wart remedies include topical applications of castor oil, vinegar, Listerine or even instant glue. Some people report good results with duct tape, and others get rid of warts by taping a piece of banana peel to them, fleshy side to skin.

I read that if you soak raisins in gin it might help ease arthritis pain. I have pain in my hands and would like to try this remedy.

I am a school-bus driver, and we get tested all the time for drugs and alcohol. If I were to try the raisins, would the alcohol show up on the Breathalyzer test? They say not to use mouthwash 30 minutes before the test, for it will show up. I am afraid that I could lose my job if gin-soaked raisins triggered the alcohol reading on one of my tests.

We have had the raisins analyzed, and there is only one drop of alcohol in the daily dose of nine raisins. Nevertheless, your concern is justified.

Back in 1995, a North Carolina sheriff got into trouble because of the gin-soaked-raisin remedy. According to the (Hendersonville, N.C.) Times-News: "Madison County Sheriff Dedrick Brown was stopped for suspicion of drunken driving ... but the charge was thrown out by a magistrate when his Breathalyzer test was lower than the threshold to be considered legally impaired.

"The sheriff had a blood-alcohol content of .07 percent, just under the state limit of .08 percent. ... Brown said he took a home-remedy mix of white raisins and gin about 15 minutes before he was stopped. Brown said he was returning from a car auction in Henderson County. The sheriff normally chews tobacco to keep awake when driving. ... He couldn't find any tobacco in his car that night so he said he instead had about three mouthfuls of the raisins soaked in gin. Brown said he had been using the mixture lately for his arthritic knees."

We are sending you our "Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis," which tells about the gin-soaked raisins and offers other approaches, including a grape juice/apple juice/apple-cider vinegar concoction. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (59 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Graedons' People's Pharmacy, No. AA-2, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It also can be downloaded for $2 from our Web site at

A few friends have mentioned that taking zinc helps to ward off colds and flu. Is there any validity to that?

The evidence on zinc is inconclusive. There have been more than 10 well-controlled trials of zinc lozenges, nasal sprays or gels. Although some have shown benefit, others did not show that zinc is better than placebo. We need better research before we can give you a definite answer.

You ran a letter from a forensic crime-scene detective who used Vicks VapoRub to mask nasty smells on the job. You should have said, "Don't put Vicks VapoRub in your nose, your horse's nose or your meerkat's nose!" You idiots shouldn't be writing a pharmacy column if you don't know that Vicks will coat the lungs and should never be inhaled.

We do warn readers not to put Vicks in the nose for fear of triggering chemical pneumonitis (lung inflammation). In fact, the column you are referring to closed with this caution: "The manufacturer warns that Vicks VapoRub is 'for external use only,' and should not be put in nostrils. Regular use of petroleum jelly in the nose may increase the risk for lung irritation."

This warning is more important than ever, since researchers at Wake Forest University recently reported a case in which an 18-month-old child developed severe breathing problems when her grandparents put Vicks under her nostrils for a cold (Chest, January 2009).

I was on atenolol for high blood pressure and kept complaining to my doctor about fatigue, tiredness, light-headedness and swollen feet and ankles. I couldn't breathe or walk up a flight of stairs without stopping to catch my breath every two steps.

As a military dependent, I see different physicians. My current doctor switched me to propranolol. I am now noticing that my feet and ankles are beginning to swell with this medication also, and I have developed asthma. There are days when I can't do anything but sleep.

Are there better drugs or natural approaches to control my blood pressure? I am convinced that these medications have caused me more harm than good!

Atenolol and propranolol are both beta blockers. Such drugs are rarely considered appropriate as the first-line treatment for hypertension. They can trigger fatigue and asthma and are not appropriate for people with breathing difficulties. You should not have to suffer symptoms from your blood pressure medicine.

We are sending you our new "Guide to Blood Pressure" with many natural approaches, including helpful foods, special juices and breathing exercises, as well as the pros and cons of many medications. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (59 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Graedons' People's Pharmacy, No. B-67, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It also can be downloaded for $2 from our Web site at

We are concerned about your swollen feet and ankles and urge you to see a cardiologist who could evaluate this symptom.

I am a 63-year-old woman who had estrogen-positive breast cancer 10 years ago. I had bilateral mastectomies, no chemo or radiation.

Now I am extremely estrogen-deprived and cannot have sex because of the pain from vaginal dryness. My doctor will not prescribe estrogen to help with this problem because it might increase my risk of cancer recurrence. Is there some other way to treat these atrophic changes?

Applying a lubricant such as olive oil or coconut oil daily may be helpful. For intercourse, you might want to consider a water-based lubricant such as Sylk. It contains kiwi-fruit vine extract and is available on the Web at sylkusa. com or by calling 866-831-2920.

In 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.

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