Q. I have been plagued with jock itch for weeks and had tried a couple of OTC creams with little success. I was getting ready to see my dermatologist when I read about using Listerine for jock itch, athlete’s foot, and other fungal infections.
Listerine has now cleared the problem up in a couple of days. It stings for a minute or two when first applied, but it isn’t that bad and it really worked.
A. The herbal oils in the original formula Listerine include eucalyptol, menthol and thymol. There is some evidence that these herbal extracts in combination may have anti-fungal activity. That may be why readers have reported that rinsing the scalp with Listerine can knock out resistant dandruff, which is also fungal in origin.
Q. A friend shared her happiness with your arthritis remedy of aging golden raisins in gin. I am an alcoholic. Does the alcohol evaporate, or is this a prescription to resume my illness?
A. Most of the alcohol evaporates, but not all. We had the remedy analyzed and a chemist found about a drop of alcohol in nine raisins. This is not enough to get a buzz, but having gin in the house for the remedy would NOT be a good idea for you.
Why not try Certo and grape juice (1 Tbsp. in 8 oz. of grape juice) or a combination of apple juice, grape juice and apple cider vinegar? We are sending you our Guide to Home Remedies with more detailed instructions. Anyone who would like a copy may send $2 in check or money order with a long (no. 10) stamped (63 cents), self-addressed envelope: Graedons’ The People’s Pharmacy®, No. R-1, P. O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It can be downloaded for $2 from www.peoplespharmacy.com.

Q. A recent article in the paper asked for help with Raynaud’s phenomenon. About a year ago I read in your column that a man had good luck with astragalus root for this problem. I tried it and within days it had worked like magic. Before using it I had almost decided I would move to Florida for the winter.

I did not take it during the summer, because my fingers become painful only in cold weather. As soon as I started to have trouble this winter I began taking it and it is working beautifully again.

A. People with Raynaud’s may experience pain when fingers or feet are exposed to cold. Chinese healers have used astragalus root to improve circulation and boost immunity. Animal research confirms that this herb may indeed enhance blood flow.
Q. Years ago, my dad had hiccups non-stop for days. What finally helped him was to lick peanut butter off a spoon a little at a time. I hope this helps others.
A. A spoonful of white sugar often stops hiccups. We’ve also heard that swallowing peanut butter, ice cream or chocolate chips can help.
Q. Putting a bar of soap under the sheet does not prevent leg cramps. I had to take twice the usual dose of quinine when I awoke with severe leg cramps despite the bar of soap under my bottom sheet! That proved to me that it’s just an old wives’ tale.
A. Just as drugs don’t work for everyone, neither do home remedies. Another reader wrote: “I can’t tell you how pleased I am about the cake of soap for cramps! Although I thought it ridiculous, I decided to try it. I’ve had terrible nighttime cramps for years. Since putting soap under my sheet, I’ve had only one.��?

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