Arrow-right Camera


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.

One 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.

Q. Has anyone else tried putting soap in the socks at night to relieve heel pain? My heel pain seems to be better since I started experimenting with soap in my socks.

A. Some people have found that putting small pieces of soap in the socks can quell restless legs when they must sit still on a long plane ride, for example. Others report that soap under the bottom sheet helps with knee or hip pain. Yours is the first report that soap in the socks at night can ease heel pain.

Q. You recently described a recipe for Power Pudding to fight constipation. How much do you have to eat at a time? Can you send me the pumpkin muffin recipe also?

A. Power Pudding, a mixture of bran, applesauce and prune juice, should be taken only 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time and washed down with plenty of fluid. Taking too much at once might cause serious digestive trouble.

We are sending you all the details on this remedy, along with a dynamite recipe for pumpkin-bran muffins, in our Guide to Constipation. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $2 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (61 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy, No. GG-30, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It also can be downloaded for $2 from our Web site:

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them via their Web site:

Click here to comment on this story »