By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon, King Features Syndicate
11:47 AM PST, January 18, 2012
Q: After dancing up a storm in high heels at a very fun wedding reception, I awoke with a terrible leg cramp in my calf. It was so intense I could barely move.
After trying to grab my toe to stretch out my leg with no relief, I hobbled to the kitchen for a teaspoon of yellow mustard. Within minutes, my cramp eased, and I returned to bed for a better night's sleep.
This was in response to hearing about the yellow mustard cramp cure on your syndicated radio show. Thanks!
A: We can't explain why yellow mustard works so quickly to relieve leg cramps, but you are certainly not the first to report success. Perhaps the turmeric that makes mustard yellow is the key ingredient, or possibly it is the vinegar. Regardless, swallowing a teaspoon of mustard is an easy, inexpensive way to treat leg cramps.
Q: I've suffered from chronic constipation most of my life. My doctor prescribed Amitiza, and it has been a lifesaver. However, the medicine is now costing me hundreds of dollars a month, and I can't afford it.
Is there another drug that would be as effective? I've tried fiber products, with little success.
A: Amitiza is a unique drug for severe, chronic constipation, despite its side effects of nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, gas, headache and shortness of breath. Amitiza is pricey, so we understand your dilemma.
We recently heard from another reader who reports great benefit from power pudding (unprocessed wheat bran, applesauce and prune juice followed by 8 ounces of water): "I started the formula 12 days ago. It's like a miracle! I told my new primary doc, and he wants the formula since he has the same problem."
Q: I am amazed at all the uses for milk of magnesia that I have read about in your newspaper column. I know people use it as a deodorant.
I have eczema. When I read your article on how it helps poison ivy, I decided to give it a try on my eczema. It works well to control the itching and also dries the outbreaks up with daily use.
A: Like you, we have been surprised by the many uses people have found for milk of magnesia applied to the skin. They include acne, body odor, poison ivy, rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis. You are the first to report success applying milk of magnesia to eczema.
Q: I have been suffering with chronic gastritis for a long time. I began eating a small portion of grated Japanese daikon after every meal, and it seems to be helping my digestive problems a lot. What more can you tell me about this remedy?
A: Daikon (Raphanus sativus) is a Japanese root vegetable belonging to the cabbage family. It is called Japanese radish, white radish or Oriental radish. It traditionally has been used to aid digestion and protect the liver (Journal of Food Science, January/February 2011).
Biochemical analysis shows that daikon is rich in enzymes and antioxidants that may account for its reputed health benefits.
In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Send questions to them via peoplespharmacy.com.