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Medicinal Turpentine For Bruised Fingers

Q. Here’s a remedy for carpenters and parents. If you smash your finger with a hammer, plunge it into turpentine and keep it there a few minutes till the pain goes away. It prevents a blue fingernail.

I keep bottles of ‘medicinal turpentine,’ available in drug stores, in every medicine cabinet. My drugstore also sells a product called Apinol. The pharmacist says it has the same active ingredient.

When my son was two, I slammed the car trunk lid on his finger. By the time I found the key and opened the trunk, he was screaming blue murder. We were in a shopping center, so I carried him into the drug store, found the medicinal turpentine, sat down on the floor, opened the bottle and stuck his finger in it. When he quit hollering and said his finger had stopped hurting, I paid for the turpentine. He had no more pain and no blue fingernail.

A. Although we have never heard of this remedy before, a pharmacist assures us that there is “medicinal turpentine” which contains turpentine oil. It is used as an external analgesic and is also found in Vicks VapoRub.

Apinol has been around for more than a century. It is promoted for treating insect bites, stings, scrapes and bruises. If the local pharmacy doesn’t carry it, Apinol can be found on the Internet (www.apinol.com).

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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