The smallpox vaccination helped combat canker sores

Q: I want to share my cancer ulcer challenges. As a child, I was in constant pain from these painful lesions. They would get as big as pennies on the inside of my cheeks and hurt so much that if I tried to talk I would cry.

Nothing the doctors could think of did the job. I joined the Navy in my early 20s and the wounds went away! They soon reappeared after I left the Navy.

I read that a smallpox shot could prevent them. We got vaccinated in the Navy, and that’s why they disappeared.

When I got smallpox pictures every two or three years, it worked like magic. When the vaccine was no longer available, I suffered from wounds again.

Then the University of Indiana did a study. They found that foods high in amino acids arginine would cause canker sores. Some foods to avoid were chocolate, nuts, and chickpeas. Another amino acid, L-lysine, works as an antidote. If I accidentally eat something that I shouldn’t be eating, I take some lysine tablets. I haven’t had painful cancer in decades.

ON: Your approach surprised us. When searching the medical literature, we found evidence of some research in the mid-1950s. Scientists experimented with smallpox vaccines to treat recurrent canker sores and cold sores (Postgraduate Medicine, January 1954). There was evidence that this immune-boosting therapy was particularly effective against recurring herpes infections (cold sores).

You are not the first to praise L-lysine for canker sores or cold sores. Many others claim that it works well, but conventional medicine remains skeptical (Integrative Medicine, June 2017).

Q: I have suffered from leg cramps at night for many years. They may have worn high heels. They didn’t happen that often after I retired, but I still got them occasionally.

Then I came across your radio program. You interviewed the person who developed HotShot for muscle spasms. During that show, you also mentioned apple cider vinegar as a remedy. I offered HotShot for the price and decided to try vinegar first as I had it on hand.

Apple cider vinegar is a miracle to me! When I get a leg cramp, I get up and take a teaspoon of vinegar. The cramp usually goes away quickly and I can go back to bed and sleep soundly! I have a 2 ounce bottle in the car for emergencies with leg cramps while driving.

ON: The scientists who developed HotShot used strong flavors in their muscle spasms remedy. These include cinnamon, ginger and an extract from paprika. Such spices, together with pungent aromas such as vinegar or mustard, activate the channels of the transient receptor potential (TRP) in the mouth, throat and stomach. This can override the over-excited motor neurons that are responsible for leg cramps.

If, like us, you are fascinated by scientific explanations for such treatments, you might be interested in our eGuide to Favorite Home Remedies. This electronic resource can be found in the Health eGuide at

Q: You wrote about cold keys on the neck for nosebleeds. Never tried keys but a cold wet washcloth on the nape of my neck works. One of my nephews had a lot of nosebleeds when he was little and it always worked for him.

I was training fifth grade basketball last year when one of the kids got a bloody nose. I didn’t have a washcloth so I used wet paper towels. His nose stopped bleeding almost instantly.

ON: Many readers agree, although medical experts disapprove (Clinical Otolaryngology and Allied Sciences, December 2003). We suspect that the common cold causes blood vessels to narrow, but we haven’t seen any studies to support this hypothesis.

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