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PEOPLE'S PHARMACY

Cut onion may ease pain of bee sting

May 18, 2009|Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon

A bee stung me and caused excruciating pain. My hand started inflating. A cut onion on the sting worked in 20 minutes to stop the swelling and ease the pain.

We first heard about using a cut onion on a sting about 20 years ago. We checked with world-renowned onion chemist Dr. Eric Block of the State University of New York at Albany. He agreed that a fresh-cut onion might ease the pain of an insect sting because an ingredient in onions breaks down the chemicals responsible for inflammation and discomfort. Other readers have used fresh onion juice to soothe the pain from a minor kitchen burn.

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My mom has been addicted to laxatives for 30 years. Last year she had to be operated on because her anus had constricted. Four months later, she had to go back for the same problem. She was told to take Metamucil three times daily. Now she complains she has no bowel movements.

Chronic laxative use can impair the normal function of the digestive tract. It will take time and plenty of fluid and fiber for your mother's bowel to recover.

There are some simple approaches in addition to fluid and Metamucil that may be helpful. Boiling 2 tablespoons of flaxseed in 3 quarts of water and consuming 2 ounces of the liquid daily is one, as is chewing sugarless gum. A magnesium supplement of 300 to 500 milligrams per day can help, so long as her kidneys are healthy.

We have also heard from many people that Power Pudding (applesauce, wheat bran and prune juice) can be useful.

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Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist and Teresa Graedon is an expert in medical anthropology and nutrition. www.peoplespharmacy.com

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