Couple tries pectin to ease discomfort of arthritis

People's Pharmacy

March 31, 1998|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon, Ph.D. | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon, Ph.D.,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

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 of Certo in grape juice twice a day after the joints quit aching.

We buy Certo in the grocery store near the canning jars. It's simple and cheap and seems to be helping.

I am on Coumadin so I can't take anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil or Aleve.

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.

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. Please give us some tips for natural ways of treating these problems.

Taking a group of teen-age girls to Europe sounds like a big challenge! A bumpy flight could certainly start things off badly.

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

Another approach is the use of wrist bands 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.

We are sending you our Guide to Getting a Good Night's Sleep, which describes the use of melatonin and light to fight jet lag.

Anyone else who would like a copy, please send $2 with a long (No.10) stamped, self-addressed envelope to Graedons' People's Pharmacy, No. I-839, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027.

One of your readers bemoaned the fact that he could not find horehound drops for a cough. His local pharmacy didn't carry them.

He can easily purchase REAL horehound drops as I do from the Vermont Country Store: P.O. Box 3000, Manchester Center, Vt. 05255-3000. Their phone number is (802) 362-2400.

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 FDA for this purpose, however, and that may account for its disappearance from drugstores.

Why didn't you tell that poor man with the embarrassing flatulence problem about charcoal as a safe solution for intestinal gas? I have found it very effective.

Another solution you could have mentioned is Beano drops or pills. When taken with the first bite of flatulence-causing food, it can be helpful.

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.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of this newspaper or e-mail to

Pub Date: 3/31/98

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