Monday, October 19, 2015

Natural Wart Remedies

No one wants to look at pictures of warts - so here's an image of ACV

A fan requested this one as her daughter has a wart and she wanted to know if the common home remedy of Apple Cider Vinegar would work.

This proved to be harder to research that I originally thought it would. There currently isn't any published research on this (note to researchers: Get on it!) and the results I found online were mixed. Interestingly enough though, so were the professional treatments, with many people saying after several treatments either with lasers, freezing, or acids, that their warts remained.

The thing about warts that makes them so hard to treat is that they are caused by HPV--yes the same thing that causes genital warts. However there are over 100 different strains of HPV, and being a virus it's not like antibiotics will work on it. On top of that, once you have that strain of HPV, much like the herpes virus, it remains with you forever. And much like herpes, it has a high sexual stigma, though not all strains are transmitted sexually.

So the warts might fade or go away, only to return later. You can get them cut out, but that is extremely painful and leaves scarring.

ACV aside, the list of other home remedies is long, ranging from duct tape, to the really weird ones like rubbing an onion/potato on it, and burying said veg in the garden at midnight over a full moon (I wish I was joking). However things like duct tape have actually been tested, and research is still out on that. There's a lot of conflicting studies on it, though it seems to work only slightly for children, and not at all for adults. The other thing to remember with warts, much like cold sores, is that they will go away on their own given time. How long that is depends on your body, though it seems children with warts tend to heal faster than adults do.

Personally, from the research I've done, it seems that apple cider vinegar may help. It may not always work though, so if that fails you're best bet would be to see a doctor (note that the options of doctors are as varied as the list of home remedies).

I'm filing this one under "Mixed Results" - not enough data is in for me to say this is true, but it's one of those things that wouldn't hurt to try.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Banana Peels to Heal Bruises

"Holding a banana peel over a bruise for 10-30 minutes will remove it's color!" 

Between work, hobbies and wrangler to two kids, I've had my fair share of bruises. So having seen this idea pin several times on pinterest I decided to give it a try. Despite testing it several times, it never once worked for me. Some of the pins suggest doing it right after you get hit, others seem to say it will fade already developed bruises, however if you bang your knee on a table and put a banana peel on it, and a bruise doesn't form - was it the peel or were you just not going to develop a bruise? I tested it both on newly hit areas, and bruises I already had, yet it didn't do a thing for me. (Other than making me looking silly, holding banana peels to my legs) 

Having looked up the contents of the banana peel, I was hoping perhaps there was some high content of some mineral or vitamin known to help the skin, and in turn people assumed it would help with bruises. However despite having vitamins like Manganese and Potassium, it has a much higher fiber and water content compared to an actual banana (source) In that case, why not just use an actual banana? 

Type in "How to get rid of bruises" on pinterest (or even google) will pull up dozens of different methods. I've personally tested out the banana peel method, but I'm going to list below some of the other ways they say you can fade a bruise:

  • Listerine
  • Bananas
  • Vinegar
  • Milk
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Leeches 
  • Onions
  • Eat Pineapple, Parsley

Unfortunately - most of these will not work. That's not how bruises work. They are caused by bleeding under the skin. About the only one I can see being effective on that list is the leeches, but I don't know of anyone who happens to keep a jar of those handy around anymore. Anything else is just being placed on the surface of the skin, and won't have much of an impact on how fast the blood will fade.

There are some more traditional methods that you can try to help lessen the coloring and pain, such as icing the area and taking an NSAID or tylenol; however as I was researching various methods I came across one that seems to actually work faster than just time : Kinesio tape, also known as KT tape.

The interesting thing about this, is that there are well documented photos showing how well it works. 

from the blog Ride. Write. Repeat.

In fact because of how the tape is applied, you can see where the tape was aiding in the healing process. After searching details on this method, I found countless photos and examples of people with kinesio tape to help heal bruises. The way the tape works on your skin, the tension involved and how it pulls up on the skin; allowing the blood to better disperse. Though it might seem a bit overkill if you're just trying to heal a small bruise on your knee or arm, if you're facing a far more serious and painful bruise, this is the method I'd turn to. Leave the banana peels in the garbage. 

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Drugs Handed out to Trick or Treaters

"If your kids get these for Halloween candy, they ARE NOT CANDY!!! They are the new shapes of "Ecstasy" and can kill kids through overdoses!!!" 

With the coming of October, there are some things that are just quintessential to Autumn: pumpkins, the changing leaves, and the on going fear of drugs in your child's trick or treat bucket. For decades now the fear has been there. As a child in the 80s the biggest fear was LSD, but today's drug of choice is methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, aka: Ecstasy.

Well rest assured, this isn't going to happen. Not only has there been no record of this happening, but at $10-$20 a pill the likelihood that some strung out raver is going to be dropping these into children's buckets is in fact, very, very slim. Snopes did a great write up about this as well.

But as a parent I will go through my children's Halloween buckets looking for anything out of place, though realistically I'm basically just looking for the candy I myself will end up raiding.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Activated Charcoal to Prevent Hangover

"Simply take 2-4 pills of charcoal after a night of drinking to prevent a hangover!" 

I ordered a bottle of charcoal for another pinterest project to test out, but when looking things up online I found there are actually many different remedies that call for charcoal. One was to use it to prevent hangovers. Sound enough idea, if it's good enough to use in a hospital for absorbing chemicals, surely it'll work on alcohol too right?

So I decided to take one for the team this past Saturday and test it out. One bottle of wine later, I took 3 charcoal pills and went to bed. Come morning, I was hungover. In fact I was SUPER hungover. Far worse than I would normally be after having a bottle of wine.

So what went wrong? Well research actually shows this isn't a good remedy to prevent a hangover. There's a great write up done on this by Mark Rucker, who wrote about the science behind why this doesn't work. The short of it is that charcoal seems to have ZERO affect on the blood level of alcohol in your system, so it won't really prevent a hangover.

The best way to prevent a hangover is still the old standby of not drinking too much, and making sure you are staying hydrated; try having a glass of water for each alcoholic drink you have.

And if you DO find yourself with a hangover, the best remedy in treating it is hydration, and eggs. Not only is the protein in eggs helpful, they contain a large amount of cysteine, which helps break down the hangover causing toxin called acetaldehyde.