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Coffee grounds stop bleeding

Q. My husband has very thin skin and takes aspirin. A tiny abrasion can make him bleed horribly.

With his last episode, I suddenly remembered a recommendation to put used coffee grounds on a bleed. I grabbed the coffee filter, still full of used coffee grounds, and applied it to his bleeding arm. The bleeding stopped almost immediately. Amazing!

Yesterday, I sliced my finger on a broken piece of glass. I grabbed the coffee filter, stuck my finger into the grounds, and voila, it quit bleeding. I bandaged it with the coffee grounds on the wound.

A. We have heard from others that ground coffee can stop bleeding. One person whose dog was badly injured in a fight was able to stop the serious bleeding with coffee grounds. Since he was far away from any veterinary assistance in the middle of Brazil, this probably saved the dog's life. Other kitchen remedies for minor cuts include ground black pepper and ground sage.

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Q. My question is about gin-soaked raisins. If a person takes a medication, in my case Toprol-XL, and is not supposed to drink alcoholic beverages because of that, is it harmful to eat nine little raisins daily?

I surely hope not, as I've been using those raisins for several years, with great success. If I get lazy about it and don't use them for two or three weeks, my knee pains come back.

Should I tell my doctor about the raisins? I'm not trying to hide it, but I just never think to ask him when I'm in his office. I would hate to give up my raisins.

A. Metoprolol (Toprol-XL) and other beta blockers such as atenolol and propranolol may interact with alcohol by lowering blood pressure too much. This is usually associated with alcoholic beverages such as a glass or two of wine.

The amount of alcohol in nine raisins (the correct dose) is one drop. It is unlikely that this much will create an interaction with your metoprolol.

We are sending you our Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis with information on how to make gin-soaked raisins and answers to frequently asked questions. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (65 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.

It is important to allow the gin to evaporate fully before consuming the raisins. Let your doctor know you are using this remedy.

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Q. My husband was diagnosed with gout. After suffering through several bouts, he was prescribed allopurinol. The pain seems to have spread from his big toe to his ankle and now to his elbow.

At his doctor's visit today, the doctor mentioned that some of her patients had success with dried cherries. What can you tell me about dried cherries?

A. Gout is associated with high uric-acid levels. When uric acid precipitates into crystals, it can cause excruciating joint pain.

Allopurinol lowers uric acid but has side effects such as rash, itching, digestive-tract upset, liver-enzyme disruption and even gout flare-ups. Cherries also may lower uric-acid levels (Journal of Nutrition, June 2003).

Although there have not been well-controlled trials of tart cherries for gout, many people have reported success. You can read their stories on our website, www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.