Q. I read in your column that coconut macaroon cookies could help control diarrhea. I have had chronic intermittent diarrhea once or twice a week for 20 years. The doctors have never been able to solve or prevent it.
I didn’t want to eat coconut cookies since I avoid sugar, so I bought flaked coconut and mixed two teaspoons into my oatmeal as I was cooking it each morning. Results: 100 percent elimination of diarrhea! Thank you for this remedy.
A. In November of 1998 we first heard from Donald Agar of Pittsfield, MA. He reported that eating two Archway Coconut Macaroon cookies a day helped control chronic diarrhea associated with Crohn’s disease. Since then we have heard from many people that coconut seems to be key to the success of this remedy.
Biochemist Mary G. Enig, Ph.D., suggested that lauric acid found in coconut may be partially responsible for the benefit. Lauric acid has antibacterial activity which may in some way counteract the inflammation behind this hard-to-control condition.
Q. I used to experience violent migraine headaches until I started using feverfew on the advice of a friend. Are there any side effects I should know about? I would hate to stop since feverfew has been a Godsend for me.
A. Feverfew is a wildflower that grows abundantly in the northeastern U.S. This herb was used by ancient Greek healers. Research has shown that feverfew helps reduce the severity and incidence of migraines. Side effects may include mouth ulcers, indigestion and increased heart rate. Feverfew should not be discontinued suddenly or headaches may return.
Q. My mother read an article that talked about treating toenail fungus with urea paste. Is there a brand or a prescription of the urea paste that she can buy so she doesn’t have to go through another toenail removal? It was extremely painful.
A. There are prescription-strength urea creams (Carmol 40 or Gordon’s Urea 40 percent) that dissolve away fungus-infected nails. This must be a doctor-supervised project, but it can reduce the pain and potential for infection that is associated with surgical removal of nails.
We’re sending you our Guides to Nail Care and Unique Uses for Vicks VapoRub so that your doctor can learn more details about this approach and you can find out about other ways to eliminate fungus. Anyone who would like copies, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (no. 10) stamped (60 cents), self-addressed envelope: Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy, No. HV-376, P. O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027.
Q. You have written how black pepper can stop bleeding. We use cayenne pepper for the same purpose. It works quickly and seems to help heal the area too.
A. Although cayenne pepper is unrelated to black pepper it does seem to have the same ability to stop bleeding from a minor cut. Many people have told us that cayenne is effective, and like black pepper it does not sting when used to stop bleeding. Ground sage also appears to work for this purpose.
While none of these remedies has been tested scientifically, researchers at the Mayo Clinic recently reported that purified potato powder also works. Investigators found that the potato powder stopped bleeding instantly in 77 percent of the subjects, whereas bleeding continued for about six minutes without the powder.

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