Q: One of your readers commented that taking MSM helped her hair growth. I bought the supplement and found, to my great surprise, that after six days of use (1 gram three times daily) my sense of smell returned. I have made no other change in my supplements, and I take no medication.
I lost my sense of smell 15 years ago after my doctor prescribed calcitonin nasal spray for low bone density. No physician was able to help me with my anosmia and I had been told to “live with it.” Stopping calcitonin made no difference. I couldn’t smell anything, not even citrus. Now I can!
I haven’t found any studies supporting use of MSM for anosmia. I am a registered nurse with a master’s degree in nursing education. I tried searching in my university database as well as the internet and found nothing. But I thought you would be interested in my report.
A: You are not the first person who has reported a loss of the sense of smell (anosmia) after using calcitonin nasal spray. Your discovery, however, is intriguing.
There are no studies in the medical literature on using MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) for reversing this hard-to-treat problem. Since this anti-inflammatory supplement is considered safe, we suspect others may want to try your experiment.
Q: I have prediabetes. I have done everything my doctor told me, but nothing was working very well. I found a suggestion on your website and tried a cinnamon supplement (Cinnulin PF). It really helps! My cravings have gone down significantly, and I’ve been losing a little weight.
A: People with prediabetes have elevated fasting blood sugar that is not quite in the range for a diagnosis of diabetes. Your report does not surprise us, since cinnamon can help with blood sugar control. A controlled trial found that people with prediabetes had lower blood sugar measurements after taking cinnamon for three months (Journal of the Endocrine Society, July 21, 2020).
Readers who would like to learn more about using cinnamon to lower blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides may be interested in our book “Spice Up Your Health: How Everyday Herbs & Spices Can Lengthen & Strengthen Your Life.” You will find it in the books section of www.PeoplesPharmacy.com. You could also send $20 to Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy, Dept. SUYH, PO Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027.
Q: I have been using a home remedy for years on minor household cuts that are bleeding. I shake black pepper on the cut until it’s covered with the pepper and leave it on until the blood clots.
No, it doesn’t burn or hurt, which is what most people say when they hear this. Most minor cuts occur in the kitchen, and most kitchens are equipped with black pepper, so it is easy.
After the blood clots, I rinse off the pepper, spray the cut with Bactine and cover it with a bandage. I learned this from an aunt many, many years ago. It has worked for me ever since.
A: We first heard about putting black pepper on a cut to stop bleeding more than two decades ago. A family camping in Yellowstone had a misadventure that led to a superficial cut on the head. The bleeding was profuse and medical care was far away. The victim was a wood carver who had learned about black pepper from his carving buddies. It worked like a charm.
Some health professionals have objected to this remedy because they fear black pepper could lead to infection. Your strategy of washing it off and applying an antibacterial product might help avoid this potential problem.