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THE PEOPLE'S PHARMACY

Jelly Thickener Seems to Ease Their Arthritis Pain

April 06, 1998|JOE GRAEDON and TERESA GRAEDON

Question: My wife and I tried your golden raisins and gin for arthritis, and we were unimpressed. We have discovered something else, though. Take two teaspoons of Certo dissolved in three ounces of grape juice. Do this three times a day. We have been told to cut back to one teaspoon Certo in grape juice twice a day after the joints quit aching.

We buy Certo in the grocery store. It seems to be helping. I am on Coumadin so I can't take anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil or Aleve.

Answer: Certo contains pectin, a natural ingredient found in the cell walls of plants. It is used as a thickening agent in jams and jellies.

This is the first we've heard of using pectin for arthritis pain. It seems safe, however, though there is no scientific evidence to suggest it is effective.

Q: My husband and I are taking a group of high school girls to Europe in July. I've read in your column about jet lag and motion sickness, but don't remember the specifics.

A: Ginger is a time-honored treatment for motion sickness. It works best if taken 30 minutes before departure. Look for ginger in health-food stores or take along a box of gingersnaps.

Another approach is the use of wristbands with a plastic bump designed to stimulate an acupressure point. These are available under several brand names and can be found at drugstores, travel stores or airport shops.

Melatonin has been shown to help overcome jet lag. Taken an hour or so before bedtime, it can help reset the body's clock. Have the girls get as much sunlight in the early morning as possible.

Q: One of your readers bemoaned the fact that he could not find horehound drops for a cough. He can easily purchase horehound drops as I do from the Vermont Country Store, P.O. Box 3000, Manchester Center, VT 05255-3000; (802) 362-2400.

A: Thanks for the information. Horehound extract, from an herb in the mint family, has been used to treat coughs for centuries. It is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for this purpose, however, and that may account for its disappearance from drugstores.

Q: Why didn't you tell that poor man with the embarrassing flatulence problem about charcoal? I have found it very effective. Another solution is Beano drops or pills.

A: We agree that both activated charcoal capsules and Beano can be beneficial. The charcoal absorbs gas, just as charcoal in a gas mask would. Beano contains an enzyme that breaks down some of the complex sugars in food that lead to gas production.

People who use activated charcoal, however, may reduce the absorption of other medications, including acetaminophen, Darvon, Depakene, Dilantin, Lanoxin, Lasix, Rheumatrex and tetracycline.

* Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist. Teresa Graedon holds a doctorate in medical anthropology and is a nutrition expert. Send questions to them at People's Pharmacy, c / o King Features Syndicate, 235 E. 45th St., New York, NY 10017, or e-mail PHARMACY@mindspring.com.

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