Ginkgo appears to have benefits not yet proved

People's Pharmacy

November 08, 1998|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Q. You recently printed a letter from a woman who is taking Paxil and having problems experiencing orgasm. As you noted, this is pretty common.

I have been taking Zoloft for obsessive compulsive disorder and had the same problem. My doctor suggested ginkgo. I take 40 milligrams each day and try to take a couple more tablets an hour or two before I think I'll have sex. It really works. I've seen a lot of stuff written about ginkgo, but never this. Please pass it on to your readers!

A. As far as we know, there is no scientific research supporting this use of the herb Ginkgo biloba. Nevertheless, you are not the first person to bring this to our attention. Dr. Valerie Raskin, author of "When Words Are Not Enough," told us she recommends ginkgo for patients experiencing sexual difficulties as a side effect of anti-depressants such as Effexor, Paxil, Prozac or Zoloft.

Q. I was listening to your radio show a couple of months ago, and somebody called in with his home remedy for toenail fungus: Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply it to the nail. I have tried that and can happily report that for the first time in many years I am actually growing healthy, clear nails again.

A. Thank you for sharing your experience. We knew a baking soda paste was good for stings, and of course people have been using bicarbonate of soda for indigestion for over a century. But before that call, we hadn't heard of using it against fungus.

Fungal infections of the nails can be hard to treat. Prescription drugs are pricey and can have side effects. While home remedies have not been tested for efficacy, many readers have told us that vinegar soaks (one part vinegar to two parts water) can help eliminate nail fungus.

Vinegar and baking soda are popular home remedies for all sorts of conditions, including warts, arthritis, smelly feet and itchy ears.

Write to the Graedons in care of The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278, or e-mail to pharmacindspring.com.

King Features Syndicate

Pub Date: 11/08/98

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