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People’s Pharmacy

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Home remedies for canker sores

By Joe & Terry Graedon
Joe and Terry Graedon
Joe and Terry Graedon are authors of The People's Pharmacy book and host an award-winning health talk show on public radio.

Q: I was having a serious bout of canker sores, with two deep ones on my tongue and several new ones. I could hardly eat.

I read the suggestions in your “Home and Herbal Remedies” book, but I had none of the items mentioned. The discussion got me thinking, though, and I tried swishing Pepto-Bismol around in my mouth before going to bed.

The result was unbelievable. I had no pain the next day; the sores were almost healed. I swished one more time, and now they’re gone. I thought your readers might like to know.

A: Thank you for sharing this new treatment. We have heard about a wide range of remedies, from applying alum or instant tea powder to the sore to avoiding toothpaste containing sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). Some readers have found relief swishing maple syrup, molasses, sauerkraut juice, buttermilk or a baking-soda solution in the mouth.

Your Pepto-Bismol remedy resembles one we heard about years ago: swishing a mouthful of Mylanta around for a few minutes.

Many readers report that taking L-lysine tablets or vitamin B-12 can prevent canker sores, while others have had success taking Prelief or eating canned green beans, banana or kiwi fruit.

Controlling blood sugar

Q: After my doctor prescribed the diuretic Lasix to keep fluid levels under control, I developed ringing in the ears, high uric-acid levels and prediabetes. No one warned me about such side effects. Now that I have type 2 diabetes, what can I do to control my blood sugar?

A: Diuretics like furosemide (Lasix) and hydrochlorothiazide (HCT or HCTZ) can raise uric-acid levels as well as blood sugar. Dozens of other medications, from statins to steroids like prednisone, also can boost circulating glucose.

If your doctor cannot change your prescription, you may want to explore some of our nondrug approaches for helping control blood sugar. They include following a low-carb diet, exercising (especially with friends), managing stress, enjoying coffee and adding cinnamon to some favorite foods.

Curing C. diff infection

Q: My sister had a knee replacement in October and came home with a C. diff infection. Strong antibiotics were tried, but nothing helped.

She was so sick that her children rushed her back to the hospital. Her doctor suggested a fecal transplant. That sounded disgusting, but it worked. Her daughter, my niece, was the donor. My sister went back to work this week! We are all delighted it was so effective.

A: Clostridium difficile (C. diff) is an intestinal infection that can cause debilitating or even life-threatening diarrhea. Antibiotics are expensive and not always effective.

A recent study found that fecal transplantation can cure hard-to-treat C. diff infections in 86 to 92 percent of cases (European Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases online, March 14, 2014).

Reach Joe and Terry Graedon at PeoplesPharmacy.com.

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