Like pepper, ground sage can put a stop to bleeding

People's Pharmacy

September 01, 2002|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,Special to the Sun; King Features Syndicate

Q. More than 40 years ago, I worked in a Chinese restaurant. One day at work I somehow stabbed an ice pick through the end of my thumb, and it bled severely. I couldn't get it stopped even long enough to put on a bandage.

Finally, I went into the kitchen to show it to my boss. He took one look, then he reached for a can of ground sage and applied it to the wound. I never saw anything stop bleeding as quickly as that. Black pepper isn't the only home remedy for bleeding found in the kitchen.

A. Thanks for this unusual remedy. We have had firsthand experience using black pepper to stop bleeding from a minor cut. It's helpful to know that ground sage works, too. Of course, serious cuts require medical attention.

Q. My doctor prescribed Baycol to lower my cholesterol. It almost killed me. Then he put me on Lescol, which gave me terrible leg cramps. He agrees that I cannot tolerate statins, but my cholesterol is 268. My diet is prudent: fish, salads and oatmeal. I am interested in the Indian herb guggul and any other natural way to control cholesterol.

A. Guggul is a traditional Indian medicine approved in that country for cholesterol control. It comes from the resin of a tree, Commiphora mukul, native to India.

Scientists at Baylor University discovered recently that guggul prevents the re-absorption of cholesterol-containing bile acids, and this is how it lowers cholesterol. Their research was published in Science last May.

Guggul might also have anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting activity, although these are not as well-established as its cholesterol-lowering ability. It is not appropriate for people with chronic diarrhea or overactive thyroid glands, and some people develop serious allergies to guggul.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019, or e-mail them from their Web site, www.peoplespharmacy.org.

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