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People’s Pharmacy: Yellow mustard relieves burns

Q. I am so glad I found your website ( with the information about mustard for burns. I am sitting here typing with one hand as I have the other in a baggy full of mustard. I was using a glue gun, and the burn is severe. The burning-hot glue blob stuck to the skin and continued to burn. I was in tears.

I started with cool water, then frozen gel packs, but I was in agony the second I removed the ice. Thank goodness for the Internet! I have zero pain even though the mustard has now warmed to body temperature.

I’ll NEVER forget this remedy. I’d gladly trade the pain for a yellow-stained thumb any day!

A. We were skeptical when we first heard about putting yellow mustard on burns more than 10 years ago. Since then, however, many people have reported success with this approach.

We caution that a severe burn always requires medical attention. That said, many people have found that cold yellow mustard is helpful for taking away the pain and preventing a blister.

Q. I was on Synthroid for more than 20 years, from my early 40s to my mid-60s. As I got into my late 50s, I assumed the pain in my joints was from old athletic injuries or arthritis.

A naturopathic doctor from my church suggested switching to natural Armour Thyroid. Within six weeks, the joint pain was gone, and my energy level went up. I had a constant struggle convincing my primary-care doctor to prescribe the natural treatment, though.

A. Synthroid is the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine (T4). It contains four iodine atoms and is inactive until the body converts it to a compound with three iodine atoms (T3).

Most physicians have been taught that T4 is all patients need to achieve normal thyroid function. A new study, however, suggests that people vary in their ability to convert T4 to T3 (Clinical Endocrinology, November 2014).

Armour desiccated thyroid is powdered thyroid gland from pigs and contains T3 as well as T4. Some people find that such a combination makes them feel better than levothyroxine alone.

There is more information about this new research, diagnostic tests and treatment with both T3 and T4 in our downloadable 25-page Guide to Thyroid Hormones, available for purchase at our website.

Q. I’ve gotten immediate relief from canker sores by dabbing on milk of magnesia. I had one starting on the inside of my lip and dabbed on the MoM. It disappeared completely overnight. Who knew?

A. The cause of canker sores (aphthous ulcers) remains mysterious. Unlike cold sores, canker sores occur in the lining of the mouth rather than on the lips. Biting your cheek or scratching your mouth with a sharp potato chip can trigger a lesion.

We were surprised to find that there is a recommendation for using milk of magnesia (MoM) on canker sores in the U.S. National Library of Medicine (MedlinePlus) resource. Other suggestions from this official database include rinsing the area with salt water or applying a mixture of half hydrogen peroxide and half water with a cotton swab to the canker sore before dabbing on MoM.

Readers of The People’s Pharmacy have reported success healing canker sores by eating kiwi fruit or pureed green beans. Others find that swishing sauerkraut juice around in the mouth helps the pain and speeds healing. Many recommend avoiding toothpaste containing sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) as a way of preventing canker sores.