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The People’s Pharmacy: Cilantro may ease psoriasis

Q. I wrote to you about my luck with cilantro for psoriasis more than two years ago. It makes me feel good to read on your website that others have had good results from this treatment.

I have been using this as needed for more than 10 years. When I first notice small red patches, usually on my legs, I get two bunches of cilantro leaves and eat them over the next three days or so. The red spots go away.

After the patches clear up, I stop eating cilantro and see how long it takes for my symptoms to return. It might take months. If or when they come back, a few doses of cilantro take care of it.

A. We have been fascinated with your report since we first received it. Although we could find no scientific studies of cilantro as a treatment for psoriasis, a number of other readers have tried your approach.

Not everyone appreciates the unique taste of cilantro. A few people have tried capsules of dried cilantro leaves, but one person reported that the capsules did not work as well as eating the leaves. His psoriasis plaques started coming back when he quit eating the herb.

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Q. For years, my husband took medicine for acid reflux, but he doesn’t anymore. We found that eating half an apple right before going to bed solves his problem completely. Have you ever heard of something so simple being so wonderful?

A. Some other readers have told us that eating a bit of apple before bedtime helps control acid reflux at night. We also have heard from people who find that eating a few almonds (up to a small handful) at the end of a meal prevents post-meal reflux.

We have been unable to find studies supporting these simple, tasty remedies. Perhaps they help by stimulating the production of saliva, which can help protect the esophagus from acid splash-back (American Journal of the Medical Sciences, May 2015).

We are sending you our Guide to Digestive Disorders, which offers many other suggestions for relieving heartburn. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (71 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy, No. G-3, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It also can be downloaded for $2 from our website, peoplespharmacy.com.

Another approach worth considering is a low-carb diet. Studies have found that cutting back on refined carbohydrates also may ease reflux symptoms (Digestive Diseases and Sciences, August 2006).

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Q. Like some of your other readers, I used to have a problem with cracked fingertips in the winter. A couple of years ago, my doctor suggested a hot-wax spa to ease arthritis pain in one of my fingers. Because of the oils in the wax, I don’t have cracked fingertips anymore.

A. It sounds like you have found a very effective way of moisturizing your fingertips. Others have used lip balm, petroleum jelly or strong moisturizers to keep fingertips from splitting.

Not everyone will want a hot-wax spa, which heats paraffin to liquefy it and bring it to a comfortably warm temperature. A hand that has been immersed in the paraffin is coated with the wax like a glove when it is removed. This continues to warm and soothe the joints for several minutes. After peeling off the cooled paraffin, the skin that was coated is moisturized.