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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Aloe vera gel clears witch wart

Q. I have been stressing out over a wart on my face. I have tried every treatment mentioned in your column for more than two years, including banana peel, vinegar, Listerine and duct tape.

Nothing worked, no matter how conscientious I was about applying the treatment. Finally I read about the aloe plant and how to apply it by peeling it and applying the juicy material directly to the wart. That worked! Now I don’t feel like a Halloween witch with a big facial wart.

A. We are delighted to learn that topical application of aloe vera gel got rid of your wart. This is the first time we have heard of using aloe as a wart remedy.

Other readers have had success soaking warts in hot water, or applying duct tape, castor oil, lemon juice, vinegar or the prescription antiviral drug amantadine. Others tell us that taping eggplant or banana peel to a wart also will make it disappear.

Q. I have read your articles about various ways to treat heartburn naturally. What I have found most helpful are chewable papaya enzymes. They work great!

A. We have heard from other readers that chewing a tablet with papain, an enzyme from the tropical fruit papaya, can help with heartburn. Although we could find no recent scientific research supporting this natural approach, we did locate an article in the British Medical Journal from April 3, 1886. A physician writing about acid reflux (dyspepsia) noted that “this drug [papain] is extremely valuable in this form of indigestion.”

Papain is found in powdered meat tenderizer because it breaks down proteins. Anyone who is allergic to latex should steer clear of papaya enzymes, though, as they might cause an allergic reaction.

Q. I love reading in your column about foods like cherries, curry and ginger that can help alleviate certain conditions. Where can I find out more about these food remedies?

A. We have gathered hundreds of remedies, along with the scientific research supporting them, in our new book, “Favorite Foods: Mother Nature’s Medicine.” It is only available online at

Q. A few months ago, a 51-year-old woman wrote in asking for help with her menopausal symptoms. She had hot flashes every 15 to 30 minutes that woke her up at night. She couldn’t take estrogen or other therapy because she was prone to blood clots.

I have yet to read about natural progesterone treatment in your column. I went through early menopause four years ago, at age 46. I was one big hot flash all day and all night long! I was unbelievably tired from menopause-induced insomnia.

A friend told me about natural progesterone. I have been using it for a month, and already my menopausal symptoms are completely gone. Please share this with your readers. Other women will want to know about natural progesterone therapy.

A. You have company. Many readers have reported that natural progesterone eased their hot flashes.

This treatment is somewhat controversial, however. Here’s what the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says about topical hormones: “At this point, no formal studies have been conducted to determine the safety and/or effectiveness of these products. Many so-called ‘natural’ progesterone creams do not contain substances that the human body can use as progesterone.”

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