Herbal blend cream helped get rid of long-term rosacea problem.

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Q. I have been looking for ways to get rid of rosacea and have tried a number of products during the seven years I’ve had this problem. Finally, a local herbalist gave me an herbal blend cream; the active ingredient was calendula.

In two weeks, the rosacea had gotten much better, and I can honestly say that it has cured the long-term problem. I thought others would want to know.

A. Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition. It often begins with easy flushing and proceeds to permanent redness and dilated blood vessels. Sometimes there are pimples, and if the skin of the nose is involved, it may appear bumpy or bulbous.

Dermatologists have been looking at the properties of marigold (Calendula officinalis) because it may speed wound healing (European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, April 25, 2015). We have not been able to find clinical trials of calendula extract for rosacea, although there are testimonials and calendula-containing creams on the Internet.

Calendula flowers, like chamomile flowers, contain significant amounts of bisabolol. This anti-inflammatory compound is also found in CamoCare Soothing Cream used for eczema.

Q. I saw a question about calming hot flashes, and it inspired me to share my experience with the herbal remedy pycnogenol.

After a few weeks of 15 to 20 hot flashes per day, I found a small mention of this natural product in a health magazine. I started taking it, and after only a week, I was having very few flushes.

It’s a little pricey at about $30 per month for the 100 mg dose, but I will find a way to pay. It is worth every penny.

A. Pycnogenol (French maritime pine bark extract) has been shown in randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials to ease symptoms of menopause, especially hot flashes and sleep problems (Journal of Reproductive Medicine, January-February 2013, and Acta Obstetrica Gynecologica Scandinavica, August 2007).

Pycnogenol seems to be a very reasonable approach to taming hot flashes. Unlike more conventional approaches such as hormone-replacement therapy or antidepressant medication, it does not appear to carry frightening side effects.

Q. A letter writer who suggested that a “placebo effect” is not possible with dogs was mistaken. The person had used a bar of soap under the dog’s bed to treat arthritis.

There is a very large placebo effect documented from placebo-controlled clinical trials in dogs. This effect can reach 30 or 40 percent or higher. It is caused by either the pet owner or the veterinarian having a perceived belief that the dog’s condition has improved.

As a veterinarian, I suspect that the owner in this instance observed a placebo effect, since a bar of soap has never been shown to be effective in a well-conducted trial in humans.

A. You may very well be right. We have not seen any trials of soap under the sheets, well-conducted or not, so we would have to say this approach remains untested.