Q: I developed toenail fungus and tried using some herbal remedies. The daily soaks were working, but very slowly.
Then I did a cornmeal soak, and almost immediately the fungus started to disappear from my big toe. I continued the soak about once a week, and all the toes grew out clear of the fungus. I used organic cornmeal for purity.
To make the cornmeal soak, put about an inch of cornmeal in a shallow container that will just fit the affected foot. Carefully pour about an inch of warm (not hot) water on top of the cornmeal and let it sit for an hour, so the water and cornmeal can combine naturally. After an hour, add enough additional warm water to cover the foot and soak for an hour. The mush must cover the whole area, not just the toenails, because fungus thrives everywhere on the toes, especially between them.
After an hour, rinse the mush off with warm water and pat the foot dry with a clean towel. Soak the toenails once a week until the fungus clears up.
A: Thank you for sharing the details on your successful nail-fungus treatment. Other readers also have reported success with cornmeal.
Not all fungus infections respond equally well to home remedies. For readers who would like to learn about other approaches, we offer our Guide to Hair and Nail Care with many other remedies that can help eliminate fungus. 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: peoplespharmacy.com.
Q: I began suffering from vertigo nearly a year ago. I often felt like I was about to fall down.
A friend said that vitamin D-3 helps with dizziness. I started taking 1,500 IU per day, and my dizziness and imbalance problems completely went away. I am now taking 5,000 IU per day and highly recommend it for dizziness and balance problems.
A: We trust you have discussed your regimen with your physician, and that you are being monitored for your vitamin D level. Your current dose of 5,000 IU daily is on the high side, and not everyone will need or tolerate such a high dose.
Adequate vitamin D has been associated with improved balance and a reduced risk of falls among older adults (Journal of Physical Therapy Science, October 2014).
Q: I am having an allergic reaction to turmeric. After taking it for two days, I have broken out in red spots all over my stomach.
I have been taking Benadryl pills every four hours for a day, and I don't seem to be improving. How can I get relief?
A: We trust your first step was to stop taking turmeric. Some people do develop allergic reactions to this anti-inflammatory spice, and they should avoid it.
We hope that the antihistamine kicked in and you are now feeling better. A rash that persists will require medical attention.
Q: Thank you for writing about maca for hot flashes. I took a capsule twice a day for a month, and my hot flashes disappeared during the day.
I also used to suffer from intense night sweats, about four a night, and now I experience only a very mild one about once a night.
A: Maca is the root of a plant native to the Andes. Although it has not been thoroughly researched, a pilot study found that it reduced blood pressure and eased depression in postmenopausal women (Climacteric, February 2015). In this study, it had no impact on hormones.
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."