Q. You receive many letters about nail fungus and I wanted to share my experience. Our daughter contracted a foot fungus while swimming at a local club when she was six. We’ve tried a lot of different anti-fungal products but I didn’t want to give her oral medicine.
The podiatrist suggested a mixture of half white vinegar and half Listerine. I dab it onto her toes every morning with a cotton ball. Finally her toenails are pink and healthy-looking. It works but it takes a very long time.
A. We first wrote about using a mixture of white vinegar and Listerine for nail fungus in the spring of 2005 after hearing about its potential from one reader. Some people dab it on their nails while other soak their feet in the solution. (It can be reused several times.)
The herbal oils in Listerine have anti-fungal activity, as does the alcohol. Vinegar makes the toes acidic, which discourages the spread of fungus. Perhaps they provide more power together than individually.
Q. Your newsletter had a story about a lady who needs help for the gas caused by her mother-in-law’s cooking with onions, cabbage, beans and barley. I’ve found peppermint oil capsules (sometimes sold as breath fresheners) are brilliant for quick relief.

Prevention would be better, however. My grandmother always boiled her onions first, then strained the water off before adding them to her recipe. This removed the gas-causing part, and we could all enjoy eating her meals with no worries.

A. Thanks for the recommendation of peppermint oil capsules. Some readers claim that mint tea drunk after the meal can ease gas. Your suggestion of discarding the initial cooking water can help with beans as well as onions.
Q. I have high cholesterol and I prefer not to take any medication. Some of my friends have experienced serious side effects with these drugs. What can I eat to help bring it down?
A. A diet with plenty of soluble fiber from oat bran or vegetables like eggplant and okra can help quite a bit. Adding psyllium, another source of soluble fiber, is also useful. Fish oil, pomegranate juice, walnuts, almonds and even a little dark chocolate can be part of a cholesterol-lowering diet.
You can learn all about these foods, red yeast rice and many other approaches to getting cholesterol down naturally in our new book, Best Choices From The People’s Pharmacy (Rodale Books). More information is at www.peoplespharmacy.com.
Q. I want to thank you for writing about turmeric for treating psoriasis. I developed this condition two years ago and it made my skin very itchy and sensitive as well as unsightly.
I saw three different dermatologists who all diagnosed psoriasis. They each prescribed creams and ointments, but none worked.
After I read your article on turmeric I tried it. Within one month I was better. After three months, every sore was gone. They have not returned even though I stopped taking the turmeric nearly a year ago.
A. Turmeric is the yellow spice in curry and mustard. It contains a compound, curcumin, that has anti-inflammatory activity.
Several readers have reported that taking turmeric capsules or putting it on food is helpful against psoriasis. Turmeric was used for digestive problems in traditional Chinese medicine, and one reader has found it helpful for irritable bowel syndrome.

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  1. amonteith

    I have had psoriasis since I was about 6. Twenty years later I have finally found out that eating gluten and using skin, hair, and any oral or topical products containing gluten (wheat, barley, rye)is what caused my beak outs. I don’t know why this happens but I have done trial and error and it proves right every time. However being gluten free is very difficult for me and my be so for your young grandchild.
    I hope this works for her! You may need to do some research, gluten is found in many everyday products and foods.

  2. Melissa

    I am a pharmacist, I have used everything that is prescribed for seborrhea dermatitis. Nothing would touch the scales. It started getting on my face and bleeding in the corner of my mouth. Finally, I started reading about vinegar and came up on the Listerine. In one day, I have 75% improvement in my hair and it is gone on my face. I mix the Listerine with baby oil and let it sit for at least 30 minutes and it disappears. I am so glad I didn’t have to step it up to something like the Eledyl cream.

  3. Serena

    I’ve been using the vinegar/listerine mixture on my feet now for a month. It is working beautifully. I got toenail fungus from a nail salon, and have had it for over 3 years. This is the only thing that has even touched the fungus (I’ve done tea-tree, vicks vapo rub, and painted some of everything on my toes religiously). My nail is now finally growing back normally and the fungus has turned white (from greenish-brown) and the toenail is no longer spongy. I’ll be able to wear sandals without bandaids very soon! Not only is listerine/vinegar good for the toenails, but my feet have never looked better – the cracks and redness have disappeared. I soak my feet every night for 15-30 minutes. And I’m going to continue doing this until my toenails have completely grown out, at least 3 times per week.

  4. J. Scott

    If she were able to swallow turmeric capsules would it be too much for a three year old?
    My granddaughter has severe psoriasis and has used many over the counter and prescription salves and creams which only help a little.

  5. dsg

    hi i read on earthclinic that turmeric is also good for the treatment of boils usually within 24 or 48hrs,1tsp 3xday hope this helps someone

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