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Onion eases sting pain

Q. My 8-year-old son was stung by a wasp this morning for the first time. He'd found a wasp nest and stood right next to it, screaming at the top of his voice while jumping up and down. Naturally, a wasp stung him on his back through his T-shirt. Considering he was surrounded by hundreds of them, it could have been much worse.

I used cut onion on the sting, and it worked brilliantly. Thanks to the person who suggested scoring the onion, as that got much more juice out and was very effective.

A. Freshly cut onion contains an enzyme that breaks down inflammatory compounds responsible for the pain of a wasp sting.

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Q. I am on a very low-fat diet. Breakfast is bread and hot water. Lunch is oats and a banana with more hot water. Dinner is a green salad with tomatoes, no dressing and chicken sausage. Why is my blood sugar climbing?

A. You may have developed insulin resistance because of your high-carbohydrate diet. Bread, oats and bananas raise blood sugar and stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin. Eventually cells stop responding normally to insulin and blood sugar rises. You may wish to reconsider your low-fat, high-carb approach, as research now shows that this can raise triglycerides as well as blood sugar.

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Q. The California raisin producers should hire me, since I irritate my friends and neighbors by yapping nonstop about gin-soaked raisins. After reading an article on your website about unflavored gelatin, I added that to my regimen. Now I wax enthusiastic about that as well. I take glucosamine-chondroitin, too.

My aging canine best buddy was developing a limp. I fed him gelatin and glucosamine-chondroitin, and, by golly, the limp is gone, and he can chase a ball. You might attribute my results to a placebo effect but not my dog's. He can't read.

Before all this, my condition had deteriorated to the point where I was in serious pain. Not anymore. The effect is not instantaneous, but it is worth a try before surgery or other invasive procedures.

A. We're glad you didn't try the gin-soaked raisins on your dog. Raisins are quite dangerous for dogs, but veterinarians have been prescribing glucosamine for stiff canine joints for a long time.

We have seen no research on the effects of taking unflavored gelatin, but other readers attest that it can help alleviate joint pain.

For more remedies to ease aches and pains, we are sending you our Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis with details about herbs like turmeric, boswellia and ginger as well as answers to FAQs about preparing the raisins. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (64 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 website: www.peoplespharmacy.com.

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Q. I have had warts on my nail bed and three fingers for a year. I had them frozen and painfully burned off by my dermatologist, to no avail.

I went through several bottles of Compound W and similar products, but none worked.

My husband saw Dr. Oz recommend banana peel for warts, and I have been using it all week. I am happy to report that this is working for me. Every morning, the warts look better, and one is completely gone. My only regret is having spent almost $300 at the dermatologist for nothing.

A. Readers report that taping the fleshy part of a banana peel to a wart can be helpful. Thanks for your story.

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