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Reader needs help identifying particular drawing salve
By Dr. Peter Gott | Columnist
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Published: 3/8/2010 12:36 AM

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Q. I am trying to find a particular drawing salve that my grandmother, mother and I have used. It looks like a large Tootsie Roll and comes wrapped in a tan piece of rolled paper with black lettering. You melt a couple of drops of it onto a bandage and apply it where you have a sliver or piece of metal or glass. In a day or two, when you remove it, the sliver comes out.

I have looked everywhere for it, but no one even knows what I'm talking about. I'm originally from Connecticut but now live in Virginia. I am hoping that because you are from Connecticut, maybe you know what I'm talking about and possibly know the actual name of the product.

I have about 1 inch of my roll left, but don't want to use it because I may never get it again. I would love to get hold of several rolls and lock them up in a safe for future use. Thanks for any help you can provide.

A. While I do not know the exact brand of which you are speaking, I believe that the product in question is ichthammol ointment. This product has been around for years and is typically used to treat slivers, boils and minor skin irritations, such as rashes or eczema.

The good news is that the product is still available in many pharmacies and chain stores. However, the particular product and packaging you have is likely to be old and no longer available, so you will have to do with the more modern ichthammol, which comes in small jars or tubes. The product is much easier to apply to affected areas because of its softer consistency.

Q. I've been on your diet plan for four weeks with much success. I would like you to clarify one point. In your cookbook, it states that bacon is allowed; however, bacon has sugar because it is part of the curing process. Is this an error?

A. Sugar is part of the curing process for most bacon; however, sugar-free bacon is available. Also, the amount of sugar is likely small because, according to the nutrition labels of most brands, there are zero carbs (which means no sugars). Therefore, bacon is an acceptable part of my No Flour, No Sugar Diet.

I must add a caveat here to say that just because bacon is acceptable does not mean that it should be used as a staple. Bacon - even sugar-free bacon - is typically high in salt and fat and should be reserved for an occasional treat and used in moderation.

Remember, occasional cheating is allowed on my diet. If you plan to attend a party or get-together and do not wish to abstain from the sweets and goodies often available, plan ahead and tighten your belt the week before so that when you indulge (in moderation) in the tempting treats, you do not spoil your end goal.

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