Q. I read your column about blackstrap molasses for hemorrhoids about three weeks ago. I, too, had huge, painful, bleeding hemorrhoids that weren't responding to Proctosol, sitz baths or ice. I was in a dreadful place, taking pain pills every day.
I bought some blackstrap molasses. Even though I was somewhat skeptical, I was willing to give almost anything a try. I faithfully took a teaspoon twice a day. Lo and behold, within a WEEK I had diminished hemorrhoids and pain, and within two weeks my hemorrhoids had all but disappeared.
I am amazed and thrilled. I was not really expecting this method to work so well. I continue to take the blackstrap molasses every day, but I have lowered the amount to 1 teaspoon a day. I will stop taking the molasses, but I am not sure when. Thanks so much for writing about it. I never would have known about this treatment and would have ended up with surgery, which I desperately didn't want. What a miraculous cure, and for me, the timing was phenomenal.
A. We continue to be astonished that people find blackstrap molasses eases their hemorrhoids. It might be coincidence, but if it works, this is a low-cost, low-risk remedy. People who must avoid sugar, however, should be cautious, since molasses is a byproduct of sugar manufacturing.
Q. What can I do to halt or prevent leg cramps? I get them regularly at night and even during the day. They occur only in the inner thigh of my left leg and occasionally in the left groin area. My friends have suggested eating more bananas. How many bananas a day would I need? What else can I do to prevent them? I'm becoming sleep deprived and need any advice you can offer.
A. Leg cramps can be excruciating and frequently interfere with sleep. We have collected dozens of remedies through the years to prevent or stop such cramps. They include low-sodium V8 juice for extra potassium (an alternative to eating more bananas), a glass of tonic water at bedtime, a teaspoon of yellow mustard, vitamin and mineral supplements or a bar of soap under the bottom sheet.
We offer details on these and many other approaches, including instructions on how to stretch leg muscles before bed, in our Guide to Leg Pain. Anyone who would like a copy may send $2 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (61 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Graedons' People's Pharmacy, No. RLS-5, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It also can be downloaded for $2 from our Web site: www.peoplespharmacy.com.
Q. Thanks for the soy sauce hint. I spilled boiling-hot honey on the back of my hand. After flushing the burn with cold water to remove all the honey, I remembered the soy sauce and liberally poured straight Kikkoman over my hand. I had no more pain, no blister, not even any redness. Unbelievable but true.
A. You have summed it up: unbelievable but true. We have found applying soy sauce after cold water works well to ease the pain and redness from an ordinary household burn. Severe burns deserve immediate medical attention.
We don't have a good explanation for this, but it may have something to do with the sodium content. One reader found that low-sodium soy sauce was not effective, but Bragg Liquid Aminos (which contains sodium) worked.