>Q. I am searching for a way to remove underarm odor from clothes. I tried dilute vinegar, but it did not work at all. Is there anything else?
A. Several years ago, we heard from a person who used to work for the wardrobe department in a theater. Some costumes that cannot be tossed in the washing machine can get pretty smelly.
This reader said that spraying cheap vodka or undiluted white vinegar on the armpits of the garments took the smell away by the time the clothing was dry. We suggest testing the spray in an unobtrusive area first to make sure it doesn't discolor the cloth.
>Q. I have horrible hand cramps, even when I am not gripping anything. Is there a home remedy I can try?
A. Many readers have found that soap is helpful against muscle cramps. Some keep a bar under the bottom sheet for leg cramps. One person wrote us: "A few days ago the fingers in both hands cramped up. I thought of the soap and held it in my hands. The cramps went away like magic."
>Q. I have high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels. My doctor is encouraging me to take medications, but I would rather try natural approaches first. Is there anything that might work?
I also have high fasting glucose but have not yet been diagnosed with diabetes. Will cinnamon really help keep blood sugar under control?
A. Natural approaches may be worth considering as long as you and your physician monitor your progress. If such approaches fail, you will need medicine.
Some possibilities include almonds, apple-cider vinegar, beets, chocolate, fish oil, green tea, oatmeal, pomegranate and turmeric. One reader reported that a handful of walnuts and a glass of pomegranate juice daily lowered his cholesterol from 254 to 184.
We are sending you a copy of our book "Favorite Foods From The People's Pharmacy: Mother Nature's Medicine." It gives more details on how to use these foods for controlling many common conditions. It is available online at PeoplesPharmacy.com.
Studies are contradictory when it comes to cinnamon and blood sugar. Some people have had success with a water-based cinnamon extract.
>Q. My fingernails have always been weak. I took Knox Gelatine years ago, and most recently I have taken biotin and gelatin capsules. My nails improved a little, but then I used nail polish for a month to show them off.
The nails have started splitting and peeling again. I'd be grateful for any suggestions.
A. Nail polish or remover often contains solvents that can weaken nails. Sometimes avoiding polish is an important step to stronger nails.
Moisturizing nails with Epilyt or almond oil can be helpful. Many readers have reported that taking the dietary supplement MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) strengthens nails.