Natural Health: How to get rid of bunions

* I have bunions on both feet and would like to know how I can get rid of them. They are very swollen and painful.

>> Bunions are caused by inflammation of the small fluid-filled fibrous sac which lies between some of the tendons and bones. This sac allows ease of movement, however, once it becomes swollen. It can cause much pain and issues with mobility.

Choosing appropriate and comfortable footwear is certainly the first step in preventing bunions, and your choice of footwear will also help with the healing process.

Often bunions run in families, suggesting this can be a hereditary issue due to the physical structure of the foot.

When dealing with any condition that involves inflammation, calendula is my first remedy of choice. It is wonderfully soothing, and works quickly to help reduce swelling. You can find calendula cream, balm, or ointment at your local health store — sometimes it’s stocked in the baby section of supermarkets.

Nutrition will also help with the internal swelling. One of the most effective remedies is vitamin C. While it is a good idea to increase the amount you get through your diet, in cases such as this you will also need to supercharge intake using supplementation. Taking large amounts of vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid can be a little hard on the stomach, so look for sodium ascorbate powder and take this instead.

A level teaspoon of sodium ascorbate powder is around 4,000mg (4g) — take ¼ of a teaspoon (1,000mg) stirred into a 200ml glass of water every two to three hours until you reach tolerance point — when your bowel movements become slightly loose. This is the point at which you stop taking the vitamin C. The amount you require differs depending on your needs, some days 3,000mg will be plenty.

* I was told recently that instead of taking probiotic supplements — which are very expensive — I can make my own probiotics by fermenting foods. Is this correct, and can you advise how to get started making my own?

>> Providing beneficial gut bacteria, fermentation has seen a resurgence over the last 15 years, particularly since so many people have digestive issues.

Before the use of refrigeration, freezing, and canning/bottling to preserve foods, fermentation was the main method of food preservation. Many cultures still rely heavily on fermented fruits, vegetables, and meats, whereas we have really only kept up this tradition in the preparation of ginger beer, wine, beer, cheese, yoghurt, soy sauce, and recently sourdough cultures.

This method utilises the action of bacteria, or cultures, which secrete large amounts of powerful enzymes in order to break the food down, which is why it is so much easier on our digestion.

Scientific studies now support traditional wisdom, proving that probiotic organisms improve the nutritional quality of foods and enhance the absorption of nutrients. They aid the digestion process, enhance liver functioning, and inhibit pathogens and carcinogens.

For practical ideas on using fermented foods and information of how to improve your intestinal health, the cookbook, Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods by Sandor Ellix Katz is excellent starting point.


Lifestyle

Javier Cercas’s new novel, ‘Lord of All the Dead’, is as preoccupied with the Spanish Civil War, the nature of heroism, and the distortions of history as his most famous, ‘Soldiers of Salamis’, says Alannah Hopkin .Book Review: Lord of All the Dead; Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas

A new study says feeding at the breast is better for baby than using expressed milk. Is it time mothers reconsidered their use of breast pumps, asks Sharon Ní Chonchúir.Best for baby? Pumped breastmilk under the microscope

More From The Irish Examiner