Is there anything natural that I can use to keep away ants, roaches, flies and bees? I don’t like using pesticides if I can avoid them.
Readers of this column have offered a variety of remedies to keep away insect pests: “I was at a child’s birthday party, and wasps and bees were flying all over while the food was out. Someone said to get self-sealing zippered plastic bags, fill them with water and put them on the table. the wasps disappeared. If I hadn’t seen this with my own eyes, I never would have believed it.” Another said you need to put a shiny penny in the plastic bags, fill them with water and hang them so that the sunlight reflects off the bags.
Some people maintain that cinnamon can deter ants. One reader wrote: “I have always used toothpaste to repel ants. just put a dab where they seem to be entering.”
Another advises: “Sprinkle baby powder to prevent ants. Ants will not cross the powder, and it seems safe for animals. Dried cucumber peel deters roaches. I put it in kitchen drawers and behind appliances.”
I will be starting chemotherapy for breast cancer. What can I do to improve my chances for the best result? I am interested in healthy anti-cancer foods. I don’t just want to be passive in my treatment!
We applaud your initiative. Cancer treatments often involve surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. Diet may seem inconsequential compared with those powerful treatments, though we think it is important for post-treatment survival. the American Cancer Society has just issued guidelines to encourage more attention to diet and exercise to reduce the likelihood of recurrence.
We have developed a list of anti-cancer foods such as garlic, leeks, brussels sprouts, scallions, cabbage, beets and broccoli. For delicious recipes incorporating these healthful vegetables, we are sending you a copy of our book “Recipes and Remedies from the People’s Pharmacy.” it is available online or for $18.25 from Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy (Dept R&R), P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. We think that limiting sugar intake is advisable because it can stimulate growth factors that may encourage abnormal cell proliferation.
During a visit to an amusement park last fall, I developed severe leg cramps while walking around the park. this happened several times during the day, and each time I got a little cup of mustard from a food vendor, swallowed the mustard and washed it down with water. the cramps were gone within seconds, and I enjoyed the time at the park with the grandkids.
Yellow mustard is a favorite People’s Pharmacy remedy for muscle cramps. many people report success like yours. some even keep individual serving packets on their nightstand just in case they are wakened with leg cramps.
At 39, my brother had knots come up on his shins. his ankles and knees got swollen, and the pain was so excruciating that he could barely walk. Tests showed his uric-acid levels were extremely high, and he was diagnosed with gout.
He couldn’t afford prescription medicines, so he took pure cherry extract instead. within three days, the knots and pain disappeared. his uric acid came down to normal, and he has had no problems since.
His doctor agreed that the cherries must have worked since he had no other treatment. I have used cherry extract successfully for joint pain. If you try this, be sure to use pure cherry extract, not watered-down juice.
Gout is a painful irritation of the joints due to excess uric-acid accumulation. many people agree that tart cherries or cherry extract can be helpful. anyone who tries this remedy should seek genuine cherry extract. Imitation cherry extract used for cooking is unlikely to work.
If it hadn’t happened to me, I wouldn’t have believed it. Recently, several of my friends have reported bouts of extreme stomach cramps, severe bloating and uncontrollable gas. the common culprit in all these cases turned out to be snack bars with extra fiber! We have taken to calling them “fart bars.”
I had symptoms of bladder irritation along with the other problems and was about to call the doctor until I figured it out for myself. the common belief is that the chicory root in the bars is the culprit. There should be a warning on the box.
Chicory root contains inulin, which is frequently used as a fiber supplement in some processed foods, such as ice cream, dairy drinks and juice in addition to breakfast bars. Because it is indigestible, it doesn’t raise blood sugar, but it can cause gas (Journal of the American Dietetic Association, June 2010). That is why we are not surprised you and your friends have had problems.
There are many causes of flatulence, ranging from your breakfast bar or bagel to cholesterol pills. For more information about dealing with gas and other intestinal complaints, we are sending you our Guide to Digestive Disorders. anyone who would like a copy, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (65 cents), self-addressed envelope to, Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy, No. G-3, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. it also can be downloaded for $2 from our website, www.peoplespharmacy.com. Stealth fiber is in so many foods that it is hard to keep track. A “fart chart” can help you identify your food triggers.
Do you know anything about a new blood pressure drug called Tekturna? Three months after my doctor prescribed this pill, I developed the most horrendous deep cough.
I thought it was whooping cough. A chest X-ray showed my lungs were clear. I would rather have high BP than deal with this awful cough.
Tekturna is a relatively new and different blood pressure medicine. Cough is considered a relatively rare side effect, but we have heard from other readers who also have experienced a terrible cough while taking this drug. Other side effects may include digestive distress, dizziness, weakness, gout, rash and kidney stones.
The Food and Drug Administration recently issued a warning that Tekturna should not be taken with drugs like Diovan, enalapril, lisinopril and losartan by people with diabetes. anyone with reduced kidney function also should avoid such combinations.
I almost died from an allergic reaction to lamb chops. I was surprised when my allergist asked about ticks, but told him I had gotten into a nest of seed ticks a year ago. now I have to avoid all meat. I carry an EpiPen just in case I am exposed accidentally.
I also have been avoiding cheese, since it is produced with the use of rennet, an animal product. Am I being overly cautious?
You are describing alpha-gal allergy, a condition that is initially triggered by a tick bite. People then develop a delayed allergic reaction to meat, including beef, pork, lamb and even venison or rabbit.
Chicken, turkey and fish do not trigger the allergy, which can range from itchy hives to the type of anaphylactic reaction you experienced.
According to the lab at the University of Virginia that discovered this condition, most patients with alpha-gal allergy are able to eat cheese without reacting.
• Write to the Graedons at their website, www.peoplespharmacy.com. their newest book is “Recipes & Remedies from the People’s Pharmacy.”