JOE AND TERESA GRAEDON

Joe and Teresa Graedon

Q: In my refrigerator, I have a bottle of beer, and in the freezer, a small carton of milk. Either one will wash off poison ivy plant oils, just as they each soothe the fire of hot Mexican peppers. I have lots of poison ivy here in the mountain woodlands. I’m surprised that no one else has mentioned these remedies. Just thaw the milk in hot water if there is none in the fridge.

Answer: Washing the urushiol resin of poison ivy off the skin within 15 minutes of exposure is the best way to prevent the rash. Readers have offered a wide variety of strategies for this purpose including Fels-Naptha soap, witch hazel, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, jewel weed or good old-fashioned soap and water. Many readers also recommend over-the-counter products such as Zanfel poison ivy wash or Tecnu Outdoor Skin Cleanser. Yours is the most unusual solution for washing off poison ivy oil promptly.

Q: My husband was having blood sugars in the 200s, even though he was taking metformin and cutting his carb intake down to 15 to 30 grams a day. He was becoming insulin-resistant.

We had bought some cinnamon sticks in Mexico, where they are called canela. He ground up some and started taking a ¼ teaspoon of the powder. His sugars immediately dropped into the low 100s and stayed there.

Answer: A review of research on the effects of cinnamon concluded that it is probably helpful (together with medication) in controlling blood sugar (Clinical Nutrition ESPEN, October 2018). The “canela” used in Mexican cuisine is Cinnamomum zeylanicum, or Ceylon cinnamon.

Anyone who would like to learn more about using cinnamon to lower blood sugar or triglycerides may want to consult our book “Spice Up Your Health,” where you’ll find a discussion of the benefits and risks, as well as guidance on dosage. It is available at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.

Q: I sometimes get hiccups right after eating. If I’m in a restaurant, I can’t always stop them with any of the tricks that usually work, like a lemon wedge with bitters.

One night, our waitress told me of an acupressure technique. She worked as a massage therapist for her day job and had studied pressure points. She told me to pinch the sides of both index fingertips at the same time. This requires a bit of finger gymnastics, but it can be done. My hiccups stopped almost immediately. I’ve used that technique multiple times since and it has worked every time.

Answer: Thanks for sharing this unusual hiccup remedy. Many home cures for hiccups involve drinking something, sometimes in an unusual posture (e.g., to drink from the far side of the cup, you have to bend over it). In a restaurant, you might be able to get an olive to eat or some dill pickle juice to sip. These are other favorites, similar to sucking on a lemon wedge sprinkled with Angostura bitters. A teaspoonful of sugar swallowed straight also should be available in a restaurant and is a classic hiccup remedy.

Q: Is there iodine in the salt used in processed foods like cereal, bread and frozen products such as pizza and some vegetables?

Answer: According to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements, processed foods almost never contain iodized salt. Dairy products such as milk, cheese or yogurt are good sources of iodine, however. If you are not using iodized salt at your table, you might want to check that your multivitamin contains iodine.

King Features Syndicate

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Questions for Joe and Teresa Graedon can be emailed via their website: www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.

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