Cover image for The people's pharmacy guide to home and herbal remedies
The people's pharmacy guide to home and herbal remedies
Graedon, Joe.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xviii, 428 pages ; 24 cm
Added Author:
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RM666.H33 G69 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
RM666.H33 G69 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
RM666.H33 G69 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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A comprehensive guide to herbal remedies includes information about the most popular herbs and a handbook of common symptoms and cures.

Author Notes

Joe Graedon , a pharmacologist, and Teresa Graedon, PhD , a medical anthropologist, are America's most trusted health-care authorities. Their nine books, including the bestselling The People's Pharmacy , have combined sales of more than 3 million copies. Their thrice-weekly newspaper column appears in one hundred-plus newspapers. And their weekly radio talk show is heard on more than five hundred stations worldwide. They live in Durham, North Carolina.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

The Graedons, both respected authors (The People's Pharmacy) and speakers, offer advice on the safe use of home and herbal remedies. The first section combines tested scientific research and accumulated folk wisdom to provide the health consumer with treatment suggestions for common ailments. Also included are possible causes and symptoms for selected conditions, as well as contact information for product manufacturers. The second section lists the 50 most commonly used herbs, including their ingredients and information on usage, dose, adverse effects, and drug interactions. By combining herbal and folk remedies, clearly highlighting dangerous herb-drug interactions, and summarizing consumer issues, the Graedons have created a consumer resource that is entertaining (favorite home remedies include coconut macaroons for diarrhea) and easy-to-use. However, more comprehensive medicinal herb reference resources include the Complete German Commission E Monographs (American Botanical Council, 1998) and the PDR for Herbal Medicines (LJ 3/1/99), among others. Still, this is recommended for smaller public library collections that don't own the other titles.--Andy Wickens, Univ. of Washington Health Sciences Lib., Seattle (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



The People's Pharmacy Guide to Home and Herbal Remedies By Joe Graedon, Teresa Graedon St. Martin's Press ISBN: 9780312207793 The People's Pharmacy Guide to Home and Herbal Remedies JOE & TERRY'S FAVORITE HOME REMEDIES This book is full of fascinating home remedies and herbal therapies people have shared with us, but we do have a few favorites. These are treatments we have either tried ourselves, with good results, or heard about repeatedly from readers over the years. In some cases, there is scientific research to back up the folk wisdom of Doctor Mom. Most of the time, however, it is practical experience and common sense that help relieve mild, everyday ailments. We offer these top twenty tips in the hope that you will also find them helpful. Gin-Soaked Raisins for Arthritis We have received more mail about this "raisin remedy" than any other home remedy we have written about. We don't know how it got started or why it works, but many readers swear it relieves arthritis pain. Ingredients: golden raisins and gin. Empty the raisins into a bowl and pour in just enough gin to cover the raisins. Allow the gin to evaporate (about one week) and then place the moist raisins in a jar with a lid. Eat nine raisins a day. They go well on cereal! (See arthritis for more details and stories.) Black Pepper for Cuts Thanks to Nell Heard and Wendall Dean for this contribution. Wendall is a wood-carver and scroller. His carving buddies always keep a packet of black pepper on hand for times when they cut themselves on sharp tools. Nell, her sister, and brother-in-law Wendall were traveling through Yellowstone in an RV. One evening a mug fell out of a cupboard and gashed Wendall's head. The cut was long but not deep, and Wendall asked Nell to put pepper on it. The bleeding stopped almost instantly, and the cut healed with barely a scar You may want to keep some black pepper handy in the kitchen and take a packet of pepper on your next camping trip. Not only does the bleeding stop quickly, the wound heals cleanly with little scarring. Archway Coconut Macaroon Cookies for Diarrhea This is one of the tastiest and most unusual home remedies we have ever collected. Donald Agar had suffered from Crohn's disease for many years. Diarrhea was a constant problem. By accident he discovered that Archway Coconut Macaroon cookies helped control the diarrhea better than any medicine he had taken. Lots of people have written to tell us that eating coconut macaroons has stopped their diarrhea. This is the essence of home remedies. The discovery relied on serendipity, but Donald also paid attention to how his body responded. We cannot promise that these cookies will work for everyone with serious diarrhea, but for some people they seem to be amazingly helpful. And for mild diarrhea, there is no reason not to try. Vinegar for Fungus There are so many uses for vinegar it boggles the mind. An otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist) recommended rinsing the ear with the following solution: one part vinegar to five parts tepid water. He suggested putting drops in the ear three times a day. Toenail fungus can be unsightly. Try soaking the infected nails for at least fifteen to thirty minutes daily. The recipe: one part vinegar to two parts warm water. Allow six weeks to see a cure. This one worked for Joe! Aspartame for Arthritis This is one of the most bizarre discoveries we have ever heard about. A scientist noticed that when he got up out of his chair after watching a football game, his arthritis pain was greatly diminished. During the course of the game he had consumed a six-pack of diet soda containing aspartame. Putting two and two together, he thought this artificial sweetner might have contributed to his relief. He organized aplacebo-controlled trial involving aspartame (aka Equal, NutraSweet ) and confirmed that doses of 76 to 152 mg did indeed provide pain relief, roughly comparable to anti-inflammatory agents. This research was published in the very respectable scientific journal, Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 1 Ginger Tea for Colds We love this remedy and use it whenever we feel a cold coming on. It came to us from a radio listener in the hills of West Virginia but originated with her grandmother in India. Grind about half an inch of fresh ginger root into a paste and place in a mug. Add boiling water and "steep" for several minutes. Strain the clear liquid into another mug, sweeten, and sip. Our symptoms start to subside within about twenty minutes. We drink this in the morning and evening, and our cold usually gets better by the second day. Hot Water for Itches We discovered this technique in the book Dermatology: Diagnosis and Treatment and have been using it ever since we wrote it up in the first edition of The People's Pharmacy. 2 Moderate itching (the sort of thing you get from a mosquito bite or mild case of poison ivy without blisters) often responds to a hot water application. The water needs to be hot enough to be slightly uncomfortable but not so hot that it burns (120-130° Fahrenheit). If you let the hotwater tap run for a few minutes this should be about right. A few seconds' exposure is all you need to produce several hours of relief. Aromatherapy for Hair Loss When we read about this treatment for alopecia areata in the Archives of Dermatology (November 1998) we were astounded. The Scottish dermatologists stated that "Cedarwood, lavender, thyme, and rosemary oils have hair growth-promoting properties. These oils have been anecdotally used to treat alopecia [baldness] for more than 100 years."3 They actually studied a less common condition called alopecia areata, a patchy kind of baldness thought to be related to an autoimmune disorder Patients were enrolled in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. One group received the following recipe: " Thyme vulgaris (2 drops, 88 mg), Lavandula angustifolia (3 drops, 108 mg), Rosmarinus officinalis (3 drops, 114 mg), and Cedrus atlantica (2 drops, 94 mg). These oils were mixed in a carrier oil, which was a combination of jojoba, 3 ml, and grapeseed, 20 ml, oils ... . The oils were massaged into the scalp for a minimum of 2 minutes. A warm towel was then wrapped around the head to aid absorption of the oils. Patients were advised to use this technique every night."4 The results were impressive. Of those who applied aromatherapeutic oils, 44 percent had improvement after seven months, compared to 15 percent in the control group. Purple Pectin for Pain This home remedy for arthritis pain has generated almost as much mail as the gin and raisins. One newspaper column reader related that her grandmother had been using it as long ago as 1945. Purchase Certo in the canning section of your local grocery. It is a thickening agent used to make jams and jellies. Certo contains pectin, a natural ingredient found in the cell walls of plants. There are two recipes: Take 2 teaspoons of Certo in 3 ounces of grape juice three times a day. As the pain disappears, this can be reduced to 1 teaspoon in juice twice a day. An alternate approach is to use 1 tablespoon of Certo in 8 ounces of grape juice once daily. Fennel for Flatulence We have received numerous solutions for flatulence, but this one seems the most popular A physician's wife wrote to tell us that her husband's serious gas problem was solved whenhe followed this advice from a Hungarian masseuse: 1 tablespoon of flaxseed powder in a glass of juice twice a day, together with two capsules of fennel seed two or three times a day. Others have reported good results following a cup of fennel seed tea two or three times daily. To make fennel seed tea, slightly crush a teaspoon of fennel seeds and pour boiling water over them. Wart Plaster for Splinters Here is another doctor-recommended home remedy. Russell Copelan, M.D., wrote about this one in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 5 He suggests adhering a tiny piece of salicylic acid plaster (the kind used to treat warts) over a small splinter for twelve hours. Within a few days the splinter should have worked its way out or moved close enough to the surface for you to easily remove it. Corn Huskers for Slippery Sex Vaginal dryness is a common problem after menopause or certain cancer treatments. Finding an acceptable sexual lubricant can be a challenge. We heard from one couple who used an old-fashioned moisturizing hand lotion called Corn Huskers for twenty-five years. They said it is slippery but not greasy and stays where you put it. Corn Huskers contains guar gum and algin as well as glycerine, an ingredient also found in personal lubricants such as Replens , Astroglide, Maxilube , or K-Y Jelly . Saliva for Athlete's Foot We roared with laughter when we read the letter from a woman who told us that her uncle's little terrier had cured his long-standing case of athlete's foot. Every evening when he got home, he would take off his shoes and socks, put his feet up, and read the newspaper The dog would run to him and lick his feet all over in affectionate greeting. In a few months, he realized that the athlete's foot that had plagued him was no longer a problem. Dog saliva does have some antimicrobial properties. Dutch researchers have identified compounds in human saliva called histatins that have antifungal activity Canine saliva may also have similar properties. Do not try this remedy if the skin is broken, however, since dogs can carry bacteria in their mouths. Coffee for Asthma Asthma can be a serious disease that requires medical management, not home remedies. But we mentioned in the first edition of The People's Pharmacy that if you are caught without medicine, a couple of cups of strong coffee may help open airways. We later heard from a young woman who forgot to take her asthma medicine with her on her honeymoon. A walk on the beach left her wheezing, but she remembered this remedy and it saved the day. More recently, we heard from someone who was stuck at 30,000 feet on an airplane. The asthma medicine was packed in a carry-on bag that had been checked by the flight attendant. Coffee once again came to the rescue. Two or three cups can provide short-term benefit. Caffeine is very similar to a tried-and-true asthma medicine called theophylline. Tagamet for Warts There are so many wart remedies it is hard to know where to start or stop. Castor oil applications are highly recommended by our readers. But one of the few treatments that have actually been tested is taking Tagamet . This research has been published in numerous dermatological journals. We consider this a "home remedy" because it is a novel use for this popular heartburn medicine. One study found that more than 80 percent of treated patients had a significant response, though it did take six to eight weeks to see improvement.6 The dose was 30 mg/kg/day. Other studies have not had such success. Flat warts seem to respond better than raised ones. How Tagamet might work remains elusive,though one theory has it the drug modifies the immune system so the body attacks the virus that causes warts. Valerian for Stage Fright Anyone who has ever had to give a talk in front of a large audience knows that anxiety can be paralyzing. One woman had to give up a career as a musician because her stage fright was incapacitating. Even after years of therapy and practicing relaxation techniques, she was unable to perform in public. On her own she discovered the value of valerian. She takes it the evening before an engagement so she can sleep, and then she takes a "booster" dose accompanied by fifteen minutes of meditation just before she plays. Vaseline for Lice This home remedy has gotten us into a lot of trouble. In recent years lice have seemingly become resistant to over-the-counter lice shampoos, which has left families desperate for relief. One mother wrote that a pediatric dermatologist, Neil Prose, M.D., at Duke University Medical Center, had suggested smearing the hair and scalp with petroleum jelly at bedtime, covering with a shower cap, and removing the Vaseline in the morning. The lice were gone, but removing the Vaseline was easier said than done! We were inundated with complaints from parents upset about the difficulty of this chore. Suggestions for removal ranged from Dawn dishwashing liquid to Wisk laundry detergent to cornstarch and Goop (used by auto mechanics to clean hands). An easier solution to recalcitrant lice may be HairClean 1-2-3 . It contains essential oils of coconut, ylang-ylang, and anise. One dermatologist in Key West, Florida, told her colleagues, "The lice were running off their heads like clowns out of a Volkswagen!"7 Tea for Sweaty Palms and Soles Sweaty hands can be embarrassing, and sweaty feet can lead to foot odor and increase the risk of athlete's foot. One dermatologist we consulted offered the following home remedy: Boil five tea bags in a quart of water for five minutes. When the solution cools, soak your hands or feet for twenty to thirty minutes nightly. Tea contains tannic acid, which is also found in commercial products such as Ivy Dry, Zilactol, and Zilactin . The astringent properties of tannic acid are thought to be partly responsible for its antiperspirant action. Meat Tenderizer and Vinegar for Stings The meat tenderizer trick was our very first home remedy in the original edition of The People's Pharmacy. 8 We stumbled across it in the Journal of the American Medical Association. 9 Dr. Harry L. Arnold of the American Health Institute suggested mixing ¼ teaspoon of tenderizer with 1 teaspoon of water to make a paste. Smearing this on a bee or wasp sting relieves the pain. A variation was suggested by a lifeguard in Hawaii who had to deal with insect and jellyfish stings. He used a paste of meat tenderizer and vinegar and claimed it was magical. Bag Balm for Dry Skin Joe grew up on a dairy farm where Bag Balm was a staple, but he hadn't heard of using this product for chapped skin until 1990. A farmer's wife wrote to tell us there was nothing better for dry, red, cracked hands. Since then we've heard from many enthusiasts, some who maintain that this bovine beauty aid keeps their skin looking great. Knitters and quilters claim that Bag Balm or a similar product, Udder Cream , is indispensable in keeping hands from snagging on yarn or thread, and speeding the healing of needle pricks. REFERENCES 1 Edmundson, A. B., and C. V. Manion. "Treatment of Osteoarthritis with Aspartame." Clin. Pharmacol. Ther. 1998; 63:580-593. 2 Sulzberger, M. B., et al. Dermatology: Diagnosis and Treatment. Chicago: Yearbook, 1961; p. 94. 3 Hay, Isabelle C., et al. "Randomized Trial of Aromatherapy: Successful Treatment for Alopecia Areata." Arch. Dermatol . 1998; 134:1349-1352. 4 Ibid. 5 Copelan, Russell. "Chemical Removal of Splinters Without Epidermal Toxic Effects." J. Am. Acad. Dermatol. 1989; 20:697-698. 6 Glass, A. T., and B. A. Solomon. "Cimetidine Therapy for Recalcitrant Warts in Adults." Arch. Dermatol. 1996; 132:680-682. 7 "New Development in Head Lice Treatment." Dr. Greene's House Calls: Pediatric News . May 1998. 8 Graedon, Joe. The People's Pharmacy . New York: St. Martin's Press, 1976; p. 54. 9 Arnold, [Harry L.] "Immediate Treatment of Insect Stings." JAMA 1972; 220:585. Copyright © 1999 by Graedon Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved. Excerpted from The People's Pharmacy Guide to Home and Herbal Remedies by Joe Graedon, Teresa Graedon All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher. Excerpted from The People's Pharmacy Guide to Home and Herbal Remedies by Joe Graedon, Teresa Graedon All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. XV
Forewordp. XVII
Joe and Terry's Favorite Home Remediesp. 1
Dangerous Herb-Drug Interactionsp. 7
Introductionp. 11
How to Use This Bookp. 19
Healing Herbs and Home Remediesp. 23
Allergiesp. 23
Alzheimer's Disease and Memoryp. 27
Anxiety and Stressp. 34
Performance Anxietyp. 36
Panicp. 37
Arthritisp. 38
Asthmap. 48
Athlete's Footp. 52
Backache, Muscle Aches, Sprains, and Strainsp. 56
Bad Breathp. 61
Baldnessp. 64
Blistersp. 68
Bug Bitesp. 69
Burnsp. 76
Canker Soresp. 80
Chapped Lipsp. 84
Chigger Bitesp. 84
Cholesterol and Heart Healthp. 86
Coldsp. 98
Cold Soresp. 105
Constipationp. 108
Coughsp. 114
Cuts and Scratchesp. 119
Dandruffp. 123
Depressionp. 125
Diarrheap. 130
Irrititable Bowel Syndromep. 132
Traveler's Diarrheap. 136
Dry Skinp. 138
Earachesp. 142
Airplane Earsp. 144
Swimmer's Earp. 146
Fingernails (Dry and Cracked)p. 147
Flea Bitesp. 148
Gas (Flatulence)p. 150
Goutp. 158
Gum Irritationp. 160
Headachesp. 163
Heartburnp. 164
Hemorrhoidsp. 170
Hiccupsp. 173
Indigestion and Upset Stomachp. 175
Insomniap. 181
Itchy Bottom Syndromep. 189
Jock Itchp. 191
Leg Crampsp. 192
Licep. 196
Menopausep. 199
Menstrual Crampsp. 206
Migrainesp. 208
Motion Sickness and Nauseap. 213
Nail Fungusp. 216
Poison Ivyp. 221
Premenstrual Syndromep. 223
Prostate Problemsp. 226
Sexual Problemsp. 229
Skin Tagsp. 233
Smelly Feet and Sweaty Handsp. 234
Sore Throatp. 236
Splintersp. 237
Stiesp. 237
Vaginal Yeast Infectionsp. 238
Varicose Veinsp. 241
Wartsp. 243
References (for Healing Herbs and Home Remedies section)p. 247
Guide to Herbal Therapiesp. 263
Aloep. 264
Arnicap. 266
Astragalusp. 268
Bilberryp. 271
Black Cohoshp. 273
Boswelliap. 275
Cascara Sagradap. 276
Cat's Clawp. 278
Cayennep. 279
Chamomilep. 282
Chaste Tree Berryp. 284
Cranberryp. 287
Dong Quaip. 288
Echinaceap. 291
Elderberryp. 294
Evening Primorsep. 296
Fennelp. 298
Feverfewp. 300
Garlicp. 302
Gingerp. 305
Ginkgop. 307
Ginsengp. 311
Goldensealp. 316
Gotu Kolap. 318
Grape Seedp. 320
Green Teap. 322
Guggulp. 325
Hawthornp. 327
Hopsp. 329
Horse Chestnutp. 331
Juniperp. 332
Kavap. 335
Lemon Balmp. 337
Licoricep. 339
Ma Huangp. 343
Milk Thistlep. 345
Oregon Grapep. 347
Passion Flowerp. 349
Pau d'Arcop. 351
Peppermintp. 353
Psylliump. 355
Red Cloverp. 356
Saw Palmettop. 358
Scullcapp. 360
Sennap. 361
Siberian Ginsengp. 363
Slippery Elmp. 367
St. John's Wortp. 368
Stinging Nettlep. 372
Valerianp. 375
Access to Information About Herbsp. 379
Cool Herbal Web Sitesp. 383
Index of Web Sites for Products, Services, and Informationp. 387
Indexp. 391
About the Authorsp. 425