Q. Your column often covers high cholesterol issues. Why don't you mention the value of adding a daily dose of organic apple cider vinegar as a great way of reducing cholesterol?

I add 1 to 2 teaspoons to my morning cranberry and orange juice and my cholesterol is down from 184 to 132. It's tasty and a whole lot cheaper and safer than the medicines the pharmaceutical industry pushes on us.

A. Apple cider vinegar is a traditional remedy that is often suggested for lowering cholesterol. A Japanese study has shown that acetic acid (vinegar) added to the diet can lower cholesterol and triglycerides in rats (British Journal of Nutrition, May 2006). We have not seen such a study in humans, however.

Q. My husband was diagnosed with diverticulitis. He was treated with antibiotics, but the doctor said he could have another attack at any time.

My husband now avoids seeds and nuts, but a different doctor says food has very little impact. I now give my husband lots of fruit, yogurt and acidophilus milk and he is taking FiberCon daily. Is there anything else that might help?

A. Your husband may want to try probiotics (good bacteria). Such products can be purchased under refrigeration in health food stores. One reader reported: “After ten years of being diagnosed repeatedly with diverticulitis and treated with antibiotics, my digestive system went crazy and I lost bowel control.
“More antibiotics and prednisone were prescribed. One doctor wanted to do surgery, perhaps a colostomy, on my bowel.

“I sought a second opinion and the doctor prescribed probiotics (VSL#3). A week later I was fine. After four years I have no more diverticulitis and my system works fine. No diarrhea.”

A recent study found that a combination of anti-inflammatory medicine and probiotic VSL#3 worked better in recovery from diverticulitis than either treatment alone (International Journal of Colorectal Disease, online March 28, 2007).

Q. I have always had a problem with dry hands in the winter. The skin on my hands dries out, splits and peels off time and again. Ten years ago a co-worker told me about Bag Balm. (I later read in a magazine that it was a well kept beauty secret. As a male I don’t worry about the beauty part.)

It can be purchased in a 10-oz tin at most feed supply stores for use on cows’ udders. It has an antiseptic in it and works great on dry split hands.

A. Bag Balm is an old-fashioned farmers’ favorite that can help moisturize human hands as well as cows’ udders. Another such product is Bova Cream, found at co-op farm stores.

We discuss barnyard beauty aids and other effective hand moisturizers in our Guide to Skin Care. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $2 in check or money order with a long (no. 10) stamped (63 cents), self-addressed envelope: Graedons' People's Pharmacy, No. S-28, P. O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It can also be downloaded for $2 from the Website: www.peoplespharmacy.com.

Q. I just wanted you to know I read your column recently about the power of green olives fighting hiccups. My 5 year old got the hiccups the next day. Guess what? One green olive did the trick. Coincidence or science? Who knows, but we're convinced it worked!

A. We’re delighted to learn that this unusual remedy worked for your child.

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  1. low

    is apple cider vinegar too acid for the stomach? will it gnaw your stomach lining in the long run?

  2. lc

    How will vinegar affect diverticulitis?

  3. Tom Kees

    I have used the Organic Apple cider vinegar for a period of 6 months. My cholesterol dropped from 211 to 184. No changes made in diet or exercise regimen. For me it seems to have worked. Cholesterol readings for the past 15 years have ranged from 204 to 212, so I conclude that this is effective.

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