Q: I read with interest your advice to those with pain in their ears when flying. I found a wonderful remedy for this problem.
The pain used to feel like knives in my ears and lasted for hours after a flight was over. When I flew to Australia on Qantas Airways, they routinely offered a warm towel with the aroma of eucalyptus oil for fliers with ear pain. I used it and had total relief.
Since then, I take a small bottle of eucalyptus oil with me on flights, and if I have pain, I open it and smell the eucalyptus oil. The pain vanishes. I wish that airlines in the United States would offer this remedy for fliers.
A: This is an intriguing idea. Eucalyptus is found in many cough drops and is an ingredient in Vicks VapoRub. It has a distinctive aroma.
One study found that a mixture of eucalyptus and other essential oils was found beneficial for nasal congestion (American Journal of Rhinology and Allergy, May-June 2014).
It's not clear whether you would be allowed to pass through airport security with a bottle of eucalyptus oil. Check with the Transportation Security Administration before flying. You might be able to put some on a few cotton balls and put them inside a plastic bag. Another option would be a tiny tin of Vicks.
Q: My wife says I have ugly feet. What she really means is that she hates to look at my toenails. Every single one is brown, thick or misshapen.
I am not the sort of person who would ever go to a doctor because of ugly feet. Do you have any remedies for nail fungus? My wife would be grateful.
A: Readers have shared many remedies for nail fungus. Very few have been tested scientifically, and all require patience, since it takes months for nails to grow out.
You may want to try daily applications of hydrogen peroxide, vita
min E oil, tea tree oil, oregano oil or Vicks VapoRub. Consider soaking your toes in a solution of Listerine, vinegar or Pau d'Arco tea a few times a week.
We are sending you our Guide to Hair and Nail Care for details on these remedies. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (70 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Graedons' People's Pharmacy, No. H-31, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It also can be downloaded for $2 from our website: www.peoplespharmacy.com.
Q: Marigold leaves work for me to stop bleeding. I was 8 years old when I got a cut from a metal wire on my ankle. Blood was gushing out, and nothing could stop the bleeding.
Then my grandfather went outside and picked leaves from a marigold plant. He washed the leaves under the tap and then rolled them between his palms to crush them. When he put that mixture directly on the cut, it stopped bleeding instantly. I kept the paste on for half an hour and then put a bandage on the cut to protect it.
A: We suspect the plant your grandfather was using was Calendula officinalis or pot marigold. It has a long history as an herbal medicine, and its extract has anti-inflammatory activity.
Its use on battlefields to keep wounds from bleeding goes back at least to Civil War times. Scientists today have been working on new delivery methods for the extract to speed wound healing (Drug Delivery and Translational Research, June 2015).
In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Email them via PeoplesPharmacy.com. Their newest book is "Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them."