Q. Last night I sliced my finger on the inside of a can that I was rinsing out. It was a fairly significant cut.
I rinsed it and applied pressure, then went to the cupboard and pulled out a packet of black pepper (which had been stored in the cupboard specifically to treat cuts). I put black pepper on the bleeding cut and then bandaged it and it seemed fine. After a few minutes, I started to think maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to put pepper into an open wound. I decided to rinse out the cut and make sure it was clean, then wrap it again and start over.

But when I took the bandage off, the bleeding had stopped and the cut was basically sealed. I rinsed it and put a new bandage on. This morning, I looked again and it hardly looks like there was a cut at all, though it’s still quite tender. I’m amazed this worked so well!

A. Thanks for your story. Other readers have reported that ground black pepper does seem to help stop bleeding, but a serious cut requires medical attention instead of home remedies.
Q. I recently started taking warfarin and have been told to avoid multivitamins that contain vitamin K. I can’t seem to find any that don’t contain K. I asked my pharmacist who didn’t know of any either. Any suggestions?
A. Coumadin (warfarin) is a blood thinner that works by interfering with the body’s natural clotting mechanism, which depends on vitamin K. Getting too much vitamin K can counteract the benefits of this anticoagulant.
Finding a multivitamin without vitamin K can be tricky. Alert readers have informed us that the Shaklee Company makes a product called Vita-Lea Gold that comes with and without vitamin K. Another reader found a vitamin K-free Equate multivitamin at WalMart.
Q. I have arthritis in both my knees and fingers and have no pain. Every morning I drink a cup of green tea with 3 packets of Equal in it.

I know this works for me, for I have tried using other artificial sweeteners. After five days, I started to have mild pain and stiffness in both of my knees. Needless to say, I went right back to using Equal. It took about a week to get back to not having any pain or stiffness in my knees.

I don’t have diabetes, but my son in law does. He too uses Equal to rid himself of pain that he gets in his feet. I can’t say that this will work for everyone, but $3 for a 50-packet box is a small price to pay for pain relief.
A. Aspartame (Equal) has been tested for arthritis pain in a small placebo-controlled trial. It is nearly as effective as aspirin but does not irritate the stomach. People who cannot tolerate aspartame or prefer to avoid it may choose to try natural anti-inflammatory agents such as ginger, curcumin, boswellia or bromelain.
We include discussion of these treatments and many home remedies for arthritis in our Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (no. 10) stamped (63 cents), self-addressed envelope: Graedons’ The People’s Pharmacy®, No. AA-2, P. O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It can also be downloaded for $2 from the Website: www.peoplespharmacy.com.

Q. Do you know of any natural remedies for varicose veins?

A. European studies support the use of Venastat, a standardized extract of horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), to relieve edema and discomfort from varicose veins. Compression stockings are also helpful.

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