Q. You wrote about a home remedy for a nighttime cough that called for putting a heating pad under the butt. As a doctor, I must say: Don’t do this! Nasty burns can result.
A. Thank you for the reminder. Many other readers also warned about going to bed with a heating pad. Some pointed out that newer heating pads turn themselves off after half an hour.
There are certainly other remedies for nighttime coughs. Some of them, such as smearing Vicks VapoRub on the soles of the feet, might not meet medical approval, but they should not be harmful.
Q. I solved my acid reflux problem with an answer that had been in your column a few years ago: almonds. I had just had a bad experience with a medication called Dexilant. It made my acid reflux 10 times worse.
I stopped the medication and started eating almonds. I experimented with raw, roasted and roasted with salt to see what worked best for me. I found almonds roasted with salt did the trick.
Someone had written in that they ate almonds before a meal to prevent heartburn. I also ate almonds just as a snack.
I got to the point I only needed the almonds after a tomato-based meal, and after a little more time I needed none at all. I still eat them as a snack, though.
I do get heartburn occasionally. Depending on where I am, I’ll take Tums or almonds. I hope this information will help some of your readers, because it was a huge help for me.
A. We appreciate your story. Other readers have suggested that about half a dozen almonds are enough to ward off heartburn.
We have information about almonds, bananas, fennel, ginger and a range of other options for heartburn in our book “The People’s Pharmacy Quick and Handy Home Remedies.” It is available online at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.
Q. I have been afflicted with hand psoriasis for several years. My dermatologist has prescribed a $1,000 UV light that is less than effective. She also has given me a prescription steroid ointment that I apply and then wear vinyl exam gloves overnight.
A few weeks ago, I had an intense craving for pico de gallo (not a favorite munchie). After eating it for four days, I read your article about psoriasis and cilantro.
Looking at my hands, I could see that the psoriasis had significantly improved. I now eat pico de gallo with extra cilantro every other day.
A friend suggested infusing the cilantro in EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil) and using it that way. After three topical applications, the infused oil works marvelously. I thought you’d like to know!
A. Pico de gallo is an uncooked salsa made with tomatoes, onions, chili peppers and (often) cilantro. We heard years ago from a psoriasis sufferer that eating salsa brought him relief. We did not think to ask him if his salsa contained cilantro.
The idea of infusing EVOO with cilantro and using it as a salve is new to us. We’re glad to hear about another way to use cilantro against psoriasis. The oil could be especially helpful for those who can’t abide the taste of this green herb.
Q. I want to share with fellow readers a pleasant discovery about an unpleasant subject: constipation. I have tried most conventional remedies for this problem. I eat a high-fiber diet, drink water regularly and take a stool softener every evening before bed.
However, I’ve found that the best remedy is hummus, which is high in fiber no matter what the flavor.
Whenever I eat it, either as an appetizer or as part of a meal, I am always pleased with the result the following morning.
A. Perhaps your tasty remedy also will work for others who are troubled with sluggish digestive tracts.