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Meat Tenderizer for Stings

Q. I grew up on the Chesapeake Bay. We would swim in the bay every summer as kids. We all got stung by jellyfish. You didn’t cry to your mama; you just put some meat tenderizer on the sting and you went through the same routine the next day.

I guess that’s why the people there are so tough. It’s weird–you went swimming and got stung, just a part of life there.

A. One-quarter teaspoon meat tenderizer mixed with one teaspoon water to make a paste is a time-honored remedy for a variety of stings (Journal of the American Medical Association, April 24, 1972). The papain enzyme breaks down the protein in the venom.

We have heard from people who have used it on bee stings, wasp stings and ant bites as well as jellyfish stings. Mixing the powder with vinegar also seems to help. We have more stories about this remedy at www.peoplespharmacy.com.

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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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