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People’s Pharmacy: Black pepper can stop bleeding

Tue., Sept. 7, 2010

Q. Black pepper works great to stop bleeding! I build cabinets. While moving a large cabinet on rollers across a gap in my concrete floor, the cabinet slipped back into the gap and onto my middle finger, just as I was standing up. Not only did it bust open, but the action of standing up almost ripped it in two.

I bandaged the finger, but the next morning it was still bleeding. My cousin told me about your suggestion of black pepper on cuts, so I tried it. It stopped the bleeding. Thanks for this simple remedy.

A. We first heard about using black pepper to control bleeding from an RV camper in 1996. Her brother-in-law Wendall was a woodcarver and had learned from his carving buddies to put black pepper on minor cuts. During a road trip, a coffee cup fell out of a cupboard and hit him on the head. It bled profusely, but the bleeding stopped when they applied ground black pepper.

We have subsequently heard from many other readers who have tried this remedy successfully. We have even used it ourselves. Of course, a serious injury requires medical attention rather than a home remedy.

Q. I am continually intrigued by all the various home remedies I read in your column. As a borderline diabetic, I am especially interested in nondrug approaches to help keep my blood sugar under control. What can you tell me about cinnamon or any other herbs that might be helpful?

A. There are a number of natural products that can help lower blood sugar, and cinnamon is one of them. Several studies have shown improved insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control with this spice.

You can find more details about cinnamon and other nondrug approaches to blood glucose control in our book “Favorite Home Remedies From The People’s Pharmacy” ( Last year, a report showed increased improvement when test subjects took a cinnamon extract over a longer period of time (Journal of the American College of Nutrition, February 2009). The overweight volunteers took either 250 mg of a cinnamon extract (Cinnulin PF) or a placebo twice daily.

Q. I have arthritis in my hands and my back. I heard that gin-soaked raisins would help the pain. Is that true? If so, what is the recipe for mixing, and what is the dose? I would prefer something without alcohol.

A. We have heard for years that gin-soaked raisins help some people with arthritis pain. Here is one example: “I am completely convinced that taking a teaspoon a day of gin-soaked raisins has done what the chiropractor could not do for my feet and ankles.

“I have a gardening business and MUST walk, shovel, rake and move around on uneven ground. I was in such pain it was becoming difficult to work, but this is my only source of income. Ibuprofen didn’t really help, but the raisins turned the condition around.”

Another reader offered this possible alternative to gin for soaking the raisins: “Mix two parts vinegar to one part honey. I just made some for my arthritic daughter to try. I used 1/4 cup honey and 1/2 cup apple-cider vinegar, poured it into a half-pint jar and added golden raisins until the jar was full. At nine or 10 raisins a day, that should be plenty for her to see if it works or not.”

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