No, this is not about marijuana; it’s my suggestions for some other useful things. Press on regardless, as a friend of mine often says.
1) QR – Quick Relief, for bleeding from cuts. QR is a non-prescription ‘powder bandage’ that is made from a potassium salt and a polymer (a substance made of large molecules with repeated structural units) that absorbs fluid. If a wound or cut is bleeding profusely and will not stop with manual pressure, pour QR onto the wound and then press with a clean (preferably sterile) bandage or cloth. Bleeding generally stops with one or two applications. Wounds should always be cleaned, and QR does not replace stitches if these are needed. There is a separate QR substance for use with nosebleeds, which is also really effective. Anyone taking Coumadin or aspirin, or people with frequent cuts or nosebleeds, might consider having a handy stash of QR. Find this product on line, or ask your pharmacist to order it for you.
2) Alkamax - If you have problems with gastric reflux (GERD), a condition in which backward flow of acid from the stomach causes a burning feeling in the chest, you may be taking drugs such as Zantac, Pepcid, Prilosec or Nexium. These drugs are really important in certain situations, including the prevention of esophageal cancer and stomach ulcers. If your doctor has prescribed them, do not stop without her/his OK. However, many people are taking these meds without knowing why, or for minor problems that can be treated more naturally. If you have occasional discomfort after a big meal you may not need to suppress your stomach acid all the time – that acid helps your digestion. Try eating frequent small meals, and have dinner at least 3 hours before bedtime. If you do experience reflux pain, try drinking a few ounces of water with a scant teaspoon of Alkamax – potassium bicarbonate. This will usually cause you to burp and feel better. If you have a comfortable reclining chair, sip your Alkamax, cover your eyes, and go to sleep. The ‘alkaline tide’ will send you into dreamland. I buy it online.
3) Prescription Drugs – have a one month stash if possible, in case of an earthquake or other emergency.
4) Cabbage – this healthy and tasty brassica vegetable lasts a long time in the refrigerator. If you always have one on hand, you can make slaw or a stir-fry or cabbage borscht even when you have run out of other veggies and the grocery store has closed. Have I mentioned that Johns Hopkins University has a brassica lab and a brassica foundation that studies the chemopreventive effects of brassica vegetables? More in a future column – for now, try a cache of cabbage.
5) Fava Beans - For gardeners, beginners, or anyone who has access to a little piece of mother earth, there is an easy, tasty and virtually foolproof plant – the fava bean. You buy dried favas at a plant store, and poke a few into the ground, two inches deep. Separate them by about 4 inches. You can plant them now, and actually year round in our mild California climate. They don’t need to be staked, and rarely need water. First come the green shoots – when they are leafed out you can enjoy the leaves in salad or as a cooked vegetable. Fava shoots have become a gourmet food, because they are delicious. The beans are very tasty too, but need a little more preparation. Growing favas will enrich your soil, as they fix nitrogen in little nodules on their roots. Some people (mostly men) with origins in Greece and other Mediterranean countries develop anemia and other problems when eating fava beans – if you have a family history of this problem, get a blood test and don’t eat favas until you find out. This problem is rare in the US, so most of us enjoy this really easy plant. Get a stash!
6) Be Happy – A friend who is prone to depression told me about this book by an English author, Robert Holden. I make a beeline for the self-help section in bookstores, so I’ve read a lot of these books, starting with Dale Carnegie when I was 16. I’m quite taken with Be Happy; it is a summary of an 8 week course that Holden gives in London every year. He is a psychologist with the National Health Service. After reading it, I decided to go back and do the written (or spoken) exercises, and my partner, Alan, is doing them with me. We are finding out new things about ourselves and each other; this has been a very positive experience. If you want to have new views on happiness, and to become happier, add this book to your stash. It’s in our local library system, or can be ordered from your book store..
Sadja Greenwood, MD, MPH. Back issues on this blog. Leave me a message!