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The People’s Pharmacy: Raisin Remedy helps reduce early morning bathroom visits

Q. I read that raisins could help stop nighttime trips to the toilet and decided to try it. I used to have to get up at least once a night. That’s not too much of a problem, except that I am struggling with a back injury that makes it difficult to get out of bed.

I now eat 2 teaspoons of raisins each night, and it works. I have no idea why or how, and I don’t really care. It works, and it isn’t going to cause problems, so that makes it a winner.

A. We, too, are mystified why raisins might diminish nighttime trips to the bathroom. Nocturia – frequent awakening to urinate at night – can be very disruptive. Medications that are sometimes prescribed may trigger unpleasant side effects.

We have heard from so many people that a small serving of raisins helps them that we are beginning to think it is more than a placebo effect.

Keep in mind that raisins are fairly sweet. The additional calories could add up over time. In addition, teeth should be brushed after eating raisins to prevent tooth decay.

Q. For many years at sea, I employed Listerine for almost everything – as an antiseptic for cuts, as an after shave lotion, for an itchy scalp or dandruff, for rashes, pimples or mosquito bites and, oh yes, also as a mouthwash. It was my first-aid kit in a bottle – and still is today.

A. We have been intrigued by the many uses people have found for old-fashioned Listerine mouthwash. In addition to the uses you have mentioned, people also tell us that soaking feet in Listerine and white vinegar can overcome nail fungus, foot odor and athlete’s foot. Jock itch also seems to respond to Listerine treatment.

Many readers also have discovered that amber Listerine is surprisingly effective for killing lice. One woman wrote: “Honestly, I feel like Listerine is one of the only home remedies for head lice that works. It is certainly the cheapest.

“I live with my grandma, who has waist-length hair. My little sister comes over and gives her head lice all the time. Not only does Listerine kill the adult bugs, but it also relieves the itching!”

Q. I am an avid hiker and tennis player. When the weather is bad, I go to the gym and use the elliptical trainer. If I don’t get to exercise at least three or four times a week, I get depressed and irritable.

Lately I have discovered, to my disappointment, that going down stairs is painful. My right knee is complaining, and that limits my mobility. I cannot handle ibuprofen or naproxen because my blood pressure is borderline, and I don’t want to take blood-pressure medicine. What remedies might be helpful?

A. Your reluctance to take an NSAID such as ibuprofen or naproxen is understandable. They can raise blood pressure.

You might try tart cherries, which have anti-inflammatory activity. Other remedies include the herbs ginger, turmeric and stinging nettle. A combination of purple grape juice with the plant pectin Certo might ease your pain and lower your blood pressure at the same time.

We are sending you our Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis with more details on these and other ways of managing joint pain. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (71 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy, No. AA-2, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It also can be downloaded for $2 from our website:

The People’s Pharmacy radio broadcast airs at 2 p.m. Saturdays on WBFO-FM 88.7.