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Tea tree oil helped nip toenail fungus

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — I have been a Type 2 diabetic for 13 years and thought that using cinnamon on a daily basis would result in a lower blood-sugar reading. To date, cinnamon has had absolutely no effect on my condition.

A: The use of cinnamon for blood-sugar control remains controversial. It is not a substitute for medical supervision and appropriate medications.

Adding an indeterminate amount of cinnamon from the spice rack poses some challenges. For one thing, you don’t know the daily dose, and for another, you don’t know what cinnamon you are consuming.

There are two types of cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon from China is the type that was used in the original research showing that it could help lower blood sugar after a meal (Diabetes Care, December 2003). Other studies have shown that “true” cinnamon, also known as Cinnamomum zeylanicum or verum, has little or no impact.

Cinnamon supplements might be a way to get a safe and reliable dose. An analysis of six placebo-controlled studies found that cinnamon (in doses ranging from 1 to 6 grams/day) reduced HbA1c and blood sugar (Clinical Nutrition, October 2012).

Q: I suffered for many years with recurring headaches. Medications produced awful side effects.

An amazing natural cure got rid of my headaches. I stirred 2 tablespoons organic apple cider, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 2 tablespoons honey into 8 ounces hot water and drank it daily. Within three days, my headaches lessened, and within a week they were gone.

Now if I feel a slight headache coming on, I drink the mixture, and within 15 minutes my headache disappears.

A: Thanks for this recipe. Other people have found that triggering “brain freeze” also may stop a headache. Here is a testimonial:

“I had a painful headache today. I drank two glasses of really cold water to get a brain-freeze effect. The pain was quickly reduced.”

Q: I had a problem with toenail fungus and asked my doctor for a cure. He just said not to worry, as the nails would eventually fall off.

I realized that professional nail technicians in beauty shops must deal with this problem all the time, so I asked my manicurist to recommend something.

She told me to buy 100 percent pure Australian tea tree oil and paint the affected nail once or twice a day. It kills the fungus. I used it for about six months because toenails take so long to grow in. The fungus is definitely gone!

I have since read that tea tree oil is a natural astringent and good for minor cuts, insect bites and athlete’s foot.

A: Tea tree oil is extracted from an Australian tree called Melaleuca alternifolia. Research has demonstrated that this herbal oil has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal activity.

Q: My husband has terrible plantar warts.

The warts have spread and are practically covering his entire heel. We are at a loss. Is there any remedy to get rid of these warts once and for all?

A: Plantar warts occur on the toes or soles of the feet and can be quite painful. Treatment is not always successful, as you have discovered.

Readers have shared remedies that include turmeric paste, duct tape or banana peel on the wart. The turmeric powder is mixed with a little olive oil, applied to the wart and covered carefully with tape. The socks you wear may become stained, so don’t use your best pair. Change the turmeric daily.

To use banana peel, cut a piece of the peel to the size of the wart and tape it to the foot, with the inner side of the peel against the wart. This, too, is changed daily; some people wear it only at night.

Any of these remedies may take up to six weeks, so be patient. Another approach is the oral heartburn drug Tagamet (cimetidine), taken twice daily.

Write to Joe and Teresa Graedon via their Web site: Their newest book is “Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them.”