How to get to the Land of Nod the natural way

People's Pharmacy

January 12, 2003|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,Special to the Sun; King Features Syndicate

Do you have any natural remedies for insomnia? I have suddenly become unable to sleep at night. I drink hot milk before I go to bed, but it doesn't help. I just lie there, watching the minutes tick past.

I never had this problem before. As soon as my head hit the pillow, I was asleep. I hesitate to take sleeping pills.

Taking a hot bath at least an hour before bedtime might be helpful. As your body cools down, it triggers chemical messengers that promote drowsiness. A high-carbohydrate snack like cereal, crackers or cookies before bed can also help. Go light on the milk.

Herbs that have been used for sleeping problems include Saint-John's-wort, catnip, hops and valerian. Chamomile tea is also a time-honored remedy at bedtime.

We were intrigued by your report about coconut macaroons. My husband, who has Crohn's disease, had a flare-up with diarrhea for three months. Medication was unable to cure it.

He was skeptical about the macaroons, but decided it wouldn't hurt to try them. To his amazement, eating two Archway coconut cookies a day kept this problem under control.

My husband's gastroenterologist does not believe in nonmedical cures but knows how difficult it was to stop the last bout of diarrhea.

So far, we only have anecdotal reports similar to yours. Several years ago, Donald Agar discovered that two Archway Coconut Macaroons daily relieved his decades-long diarrhea caused by Crohn's disease.

Some scientists have suggested that coconut fat has antibacterial activity and that this might explain the effect. We would welcome any research that would examine whether coconut has a measurable impact on chronic diarrhea and, if so, how it works.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019, or e-mail them from their Web site, www.peoplespharmacy.org.

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