Q. I had a dog with a weird pattern of shedding on her neck and upper back. Someone at a dog show told me it could be the beginning of a staph infection. My dog wasn’t showing any pain or itching, just the weird thinning spots in her coat (on her neck and between her shoulders). This person recommended a diluted solution of vinegar. I did a little research on staph infections in dogs and learned that people have used diluted Listerine instead of vinegar as a home remedy for this problem. So I gave it a shot. The spots have cleared up completely! Her coat is back to a beautiful pitch-black color, and it shines like there is no tomorrow.
A. More than a decade ago, we heard from a horse lover that a spray formula made of 1/3 Listerine, 1/3 baby oil and 1/3 water would help a horse’s mane and tail. Dog lovers chimed in that this same formula eases dogs’ hot spots – itchy patches on the skin that the dog licks repeatedly.
Listerine contains both alcohol and herbal oils, all of which have antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial activity. This might explain why your dog responded so well to diluted Listerine.
A better night’s sleep
Q. I have suffered with insomnia for years. Now that I am in my 60s, the problem is worse than ever. I started using Benadryl at night with my doctor’s approval, but it makes me groggy in the morning. A friend suggested magnesium before bed. This seems to help, but I have had some bouts with diarrhea and an “accident” on the way to the bathroom. What else can I take that is natural and won’t cause side effects?
A. You might try tart cherry juice. Montmorency cherries are rich in melatonin, which is helpful for overcoming jet lag and reducing insomnia (Nutrition Journal, Nov. 7, 2014).
Studies have shown that drinking cherry juice in the afternoon or evening can improve sleep quality and duration (European Journal of Nutrition, December 2012; Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging, June 2013).
Q. I am a male, and I feel horrible that I can’t match my wife’s libido anymore. We are both in our 30s, and my sex drive has decreased over time, while her libido has drastically increased. I’ve been told that women reach their sexual peak much later than men, which would explain this. In our 20s, I was the one begging for sex all the time. My wife is sexually frustrated, and I feel emasculated since I can’t satisfy her as often as she would like. I also work a stressful job, and that affects libido. I read on your website that spearmint tea might help curb her cravings. Is there any science to support this suggestion?
A. Before trying to dampen your wife’s sex drive, perhaps you should see your physician to make sure there is nothing interfering with your own libido. Testosterone levels should be checked. Counseling may help you deal with the stress of your job and also might benefit the relationship.
There are a few studies of spearmint tea showing that it reduces free testosterone, which might affect sex drive (Phytotherapy Research, February 2010).
Reach Joe and Terry Graedon at PeoplesPharmacy.com.