A reader finds amazing results with the unconventional remedy. Plus: Finding new uses for honeysuckle tea and apple cider vinegar.
Q: Thank you for writing about peeing on your feet. At first, I thought it was too gross.
I have, or did have, toenail fungus on my left foot. I had tried all the OTC medicines with no results. I even asked my doctor if he knew of a cure. The only thing he suggested was tea tree oil. That didn’t work either.
When I read your column, I thought, “What do I have to lose?” I stood in the bathtub and did the deed every morning. Within two weeks the fungus had cleared up. I was amazed. Not only did it work, but it was free.
A: We, too, are amazed. It normally takes months for nail fungus to clear up. We can almost hear the dermatologists laughing or gnashing their teeth.
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Urine is an old military secret, however. Soldiers and sailors have been using it as an antifungal remedy for decades to treat athlete’s foot.
Dermatologists have used concentrated urea (a component of urine) to treat a range of skin conditions, including athlete’s foot and nail fungus (Dermatology Online Journal, Nov. 15, 2013).
Q: I am surprised that you have not suggested apple cider vinegar for people with high blood pressure. I have been taking metoprolol succinate for years, and it works most of the time. But if my blood pressure starts to rise and I feel uncomfortable, I take 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar on salad or in a glass of water. It brings my pressure back under control quickly. Why don’t you recommend it?
A: We have written about vinegar to stop muscle cramps quickly and to prevent the rapid rise of blood sugar and insulin after a meal. It seemed unlikely that there would be any evidence to support its use to control blood pressure. To our surprise, however, a search of the medical literature revealed a study demonstrating that acetic acid (vinegar) can lower blood pressure in rats (Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry, December 2001).
The authors offer a plausible explanation for this effect. Vinegar reduces blood pressure through the renin-angiotensin system. This is the same way that widely prescribed drugs like lisinopril or losartan work. We were disappointed to discover that there have been no clinical trials to see whether vinegar works as well for humans as it does for rats.
Our eGuide to Blood Pressure Treatment offers several other nondrug approaches to managing high blood pressure. It is available in the health guide section at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.
Q: Recently, there were several news stories about children and elderly people affected by RSV (respiratory syncytial virus). I am a professor emeritus who chaired the pharmacognosy department at Ole Miss for 15 years before retiring.
My research group isolated organic natural products from Flos lonicerae as inhibitors of RSV. These findings were published in the journal Antiviral Research (December 2005, Vol. 68). The source of the active constituent is the ethnobotanical Flos lonicerae (Chinese or Japanese honeysuckle flowers).
Although I do not regularly follow the literature on RSV and Flos lonicerae research anymore, I was surprised not to find any mention of the use of Flos lonicerae tea against RSV. We have used this tea in our family against long-lasting coughs, and it was very effective.
A: Thank you so much for alerting us to this fascinating research. RSV can be hard to treat. Symptoms include cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose and headache. In severe cases it can lead to pneumonia or bronchiolitis. Honeysuckle tea is widely available.