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Can Chickpeas Banish Age Spots?

Q. You recently fielded a question about age spots. In the back of my mind, I remember a comment made by a guest on a TV talk show. He suggested lightening age spots by applying crushed garbanzo beans (chickpeas) to them. I don’t remember if anything else was added to the bean paste or how long it was left on.
I haven’t tried this method personally, but I tried a different remedy. I was told to put vinegar on the spots daily and over time the spots become pale. I ran out of vinegar before they faded and haven’t tried it again. I put the vinegar in a shallow container and dipped the backs of my hands in it daily. This made my hands very soft and smooth, with no more roughed up cuticles and hangnails. It also strengthened my nails, which tend to tear easily.

A. We tried unsuccessfully to find some research on topical garbanzo paste to lighten age spots. There are testimonials about this folk remedy online. The recipe calls for mashing canned chickpeas with a little water and applying the paste to age spots. The paste is to be left on until it dries; then it is supposed to be washed off. Keep in mind, though, that there is no scientific support for this approach.
On another note, we have heard from other readers that a mixture of half vinegar and half Listerine can soften calloused feet and fight nail fungus simultaneously.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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