Old Age Health – Problems & Cures

  1. Kidney Stones & Constipation
  2. Diabetes
  3. E Coli
  4. Rotary Arm Cuff
  5. Pulled Knee and leg muscles
  6. Stevia – diabetic sugar substitute
  7. Dry Skin
  8. Fatigue

1. KIDNEY STONES  – Quebra Pedra tea

Diagnosing a kidney stone is problematic. Many doctors, including urologists, are clueless that kidney stones cause constipation. “Oh, it’s just constipation,” one young doctor casually dismissed my distress. Finally, with unbearable pain, a late-night rush to an emergency room, then an MRI, an infected kidney stone was discovered. The cure? An IV hook-up. After three hours, I was woken. The label on the IV’s bottle was Cipro. Horrors!  Cipro can cause serious, life-altering effects. I removed the IV and escaped the hospital: cured but worriedly awaiting possible horrendous side effects.

The second stone caused severe pain on my abdomen’s left side – not the right, where the appendix lives. A simple x-ray revealed the exact location.

Modern medicine has not found an easy cure for kidney stones. However, a British friend in Portugal suggested Quebra Pedra tea from the Amazon jungle. A local health food shop carries it – for less than three euros.  It worked within three days! From a website:   

…. In the 1980’s it gained worldwide attention due to the plants antiviral activity against hepatitis B. The herb is a natural remedy to dissolve kidney stones and gallstones and break up the stones and enable them to pass. Chanca Piedra is the Spanish name, and translated, means Stone Breaker.

A third kidney stone appeared. I ordered Stonebreaker from Amazon. After a week, the pain and constipation remained. I then bought the same tea from my local store. Within four days, I was fine.

Kidney stones cause constipation – a fact many doctors don’t know. Finally today, I found a possible cure – add two tablespoons of olive oil to juice and drink. Worked two hours later. NOTHING else worked!

2. DIABETES – Corn Silk Tea

Corn Silk tea is easy to find – if you live by a farmer’s market. The tea is made from the long silky threads on cornhusks. A former American colleague from Oman who retired in Colombia told me about this miracle substance. At my local herbal store, the tea is called, in Portuguese, Barbas de Milho,  “Beard of Corn”.  This tea is also available from Amazon, but is often described as a Korean tea.

Corn silk tea is made by steeping corn silk – the delicate strands that are found on ears of corn – in hot water. It is believed to have been first used by the Mayans and Aztecs. It contains beneficial nutrients with few negative side effects.  It lowers blood sugar for diabetics; decreases inflammation caused by gout or arthritis; removes toxicity from the body; and improves kidney, heart, blood pressure and digestive problems.

3. E COLI – Fosfomicina Monuril 3g (antibiotic)

Surprisingly, the Mayo Clinic’s website states there is no cure for e coli. Wait it out and drink plenty of fluids. I had no symptoms except extreme fatigue. Thus it took three months to diagnose here in Portugal, having gotten infected while teaching in Turkey. My German-Portuguese doctor prescribed the antibiotic Fosfomicina Monuril 3g.

The boxed medicine comes with two packages of a powder. Dissolve the white powder in a very large glass of water. Drink on an empty stomach before going to sleep.  (An empty stomach is achieved two hours after eating.)  Take the second package the next day. Same way.

Instant cure!

One doctor suggested a week of follow-up antibiotic treatment with Nitrofurantoina.

For women, putting estrogen cream into the vagina strengthens the urethra so it can fight e coli bacteria, as well as prevent vaginal atrophy.  Terrible side-effect of such cream? Excessive sleeping, from 12-14 hours! But it has not stopped reoccurring e coli infections.


I immediately knew, from a sister’s advice, I should drop the heavy wooden bookcase. If I did, it would block my front door. Thus I caused a left arm rotary cuff injury.

Certain positions eased the pain. Surgery was an unacceptable option. However, after more than a year, I stopped taking Wellbutrin, an antidepressant. To my surprise, the pain healed quickly, after one and a half years. Why? I had forgotten that Wellbutrin, first taken in 1984, effects the body’s muscles.

5. PULLED KNEE/LEG MUSCLES  – tennis ball exercise

After rearranging furniture in my bedroom, I was fine. The next day, however, I was unable to walk, my right knee and lower leg injured. I feared knee-replacement surgery, so relied on my weekly medical massage to help. It didn’t. In two weeks, I was to travel and teach at a resort outside Prague. Unable to walk, stuck in a hotel in Prague, I took a taxi to a CBD oil sales shop. I learned I am one of the 20 percent that CBD does not provide pain relief. I hobbled, bent over, clinging to walls for support at the hotel resort. After a few days, my roommate shared her Advil. Suddenly, I could stand upright and the pain was tolerable.

Back home in Portugal, a Facebook friend, a Canadian and former colleague from South Korea, suggested a simple exercise.  Roll my foot atop a tennis ball for a few minutes.  Desperate for any cure, I tried this. I was cured and able to walk after less than five minutes!


My friend in Colombia explained how I could replace sugar with stevia. I found large stevia chocolate bars for about six euros that tasted like Nestlé’s Crunch in the diabetic section of the major grocery store in town.  Consuming a whole bar caused explosive and never-ending diarrhea. Stevia, in a bottle to add to food, costs up to eight euros – both less than on Amazon. When I do get constipated, I use stevia to encourage a bowel movement.


A trip to Morocco found me buying gardenia and jasmine scented argan oil – an oil with 18 times the Vitamin E found in many other skin oils. Nowadays, at night, I lather my skin with argan oil, shea butter, or almond oil. When young, I had to wash my oily face in the morning. Nowadays, I apply argan oil onto my dry skin each night and morning.


Old people lose energy, but having a borderline personality had fueled my energy levels: high and intense. At 60, I had the energy of a 30 year old.  At 65, my energy and motivation levels plummeted. My self-identity died. Old age? Friends told me many older people are still energetic.

Thus began a year looking for a cure. An expensive consultation with professional gerontologists simply said the fatigue was depression, because I had a history of depression. The doctor shoved two new antidepressants at me. I lied through my teeth assuring him that, “Yes, I will take them.”

Internet research noted that diagnosing fatigue was a major problem: Fatigue is a symptom for countless illnesses, not just depression.

Eight months later, having returned to Wellbutrin, and repeatedly getting e coli along with its debilitating fatigue, the tiredness was killing me. Desperate, I researched more. I made a list of urine, blood and heart problems I should be checked for. Fortunately, my GP is an older woman.

Lab reports: iron deficiency and diabetes. Liquid iron causes constipation.  Metformin to lower blood sugar causes diarrhea while Wellbutrin and Metformin do not play well together.

An internet forum talked of a liquid iron supplement Spatone, made in Wales, sold on Amazon.com and easier on the body.

I feet energetic and healthier immediately after taking it.  Later in the day, I faded. Sadly, it hasn’t been consistent in preventing constipation.

Remedies I use to solve constipation: a general vitamin pill with breakfast. Add stevia chocolate to yogurt. Caffeine used to help but now needs the added kick sugar-free Red Bull supplies. Oral laxatives cause up to four hours of pain while sitting on the throne, as my mother called it.

To normalize my iron levels may take two to three months. Since the corn silk tea lowers my blood sugar, I don’t need Metformin. A Metformin Extended Release pill exists that doesn’t cause diarrhea but is unavailable in Portugal.

One month down. I’ll have my iron levels checked at the two-month mark to calculate improvement..  

I find my life absurd. Everyday I concentrate solely on body maintenance.

In sum, the cliché advise for good health remains: meditate, exercise, do yoga, sleep, eat healthy food, and socialize. (Avoid sugar and alcohol too!)

Add: Internet research; suggestions from friends; and blood, urine, and heart tests.

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