People's Pharmacy

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY

November 18, 2005

I have been eating two cloves of raw garlic every day at my evening meal. It may be a coincidence, but I have not had a cold in more than 10 years, and I don't get sick for any other reason either. I'm 84 years old and am shooting for 120.

Garlic has a long history of medicinal use. As far back as Hippocrates, healers used it for toothaches and chest pain. Grandmothers have been administering garlic for centuries to overcome colds and other respiratory infections.

Although there is no scientific evidence to validate garlic's power against viral infections, eating two cloves daily may keep others so far away that they can't give you their colds.

You suggested Sonata for a reader who wakens early in the morning and can't get back to sleep. This is a good recommendation, but you should also warn people not to drink alcohol in the evening. This is one of the most common causes of early-morning wakefulness. When the alcohol wears off, the person wakes up.

As a doctor, I hate using a drug to counter the side effects of another drug, including alcohol.

A nightcap may be a traditional way to relax, but it can affect sleep. Thanks for reminding us that treating drug-induced insomnia with a medication is not logical.

Some time ago, you wrote about a person who had taped a bean to the inside of his wrist at bedtime as an aid against insomnia. By pushing on an acupressure point, it gave him a decent night's sleep.

That reader told us that he taped a dried kidney bean between the two tendons on the inside of his right wrist. He located a spot the width of three fingers from the wrist crease.

According to our research, this is an acupressure point called the "inner gate." Pushing on it is supposed to relieve anxiety and promote sleep.

You may also want to investigate 1st Choice Sleep Band, which has a plastic button embedded in a strap. It stimulates a different acupressure point. For more information, visit acuband.com.

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 via their Web site: peoplespharmacy.org.

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