Q. I heard that a man with Crohn’s disease got relief from diarrhea by eating coconut. My husband had been having diarrhea almost every day since 2004. We never knew what caused it, and the gastro doctor could not cure it.
I talked my husband into taking shredded coconut (a spoonful morning and night). He was skeptical, but after a couple of months, the symptoms faded, and now they are gone.
When we moved to Florida, my husband weighed 175 pounds. Starting in 2004, his weight kept dropping, eventually to 127 (very thin for a man 5 feet 10 inches tall). He was miserable. I thought that if he kept losing weight, he would die.
He is now back to 160 pounds, looks great and has his energy back. My life has improved, too, because my husband is once again enjoying life with me!
A. There is no scientific evidence that coconut can ease symptoms of Crohn’s disease or other chronic conditions that cause diarrhea. Nonetheless, we have heard from hundreds of readers who have benefited from this inexpensive and safe approach.
Q. My blood pressure has steadily been rising during the past year. I’m 27, fit, slim and don’t eat junk food. The doctor says we need to watch my blood pressure and possibly treat it with medication. I’m quite averse to taking regular medicines.
I listen to your radio show and have read books and websites on the topic of blood pressure. What I’ve gleaned is reduce sodium and work out. I don’t use salt at the table or eat out, and I rarely eat prepared foods.
Is there something natural that could lower my blood pressure so I won’t need a prescription drug?
A. It is unusual for someone who is young and fit to have hypertension, but it is not unheard of. There are several natural approaches that might be helpful, including breathing exercises, magnesium supplements, beet juice, pomegranate, Concord grape juice and dark chocolate. All have been shown scientifically to lower blood pressure.
We are sending you our Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment with details about these and other approaches to controlling hypertension. 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. B-67, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It also can be downloaded for $2 from our website: www.peoplespharmacy.com.
Ask your doctor to check you for sleep apnea, a condition that can contribute to hypertension. Correcting it can sometimes lower blood pressure almost as much as medication (Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, Oct. 15, 2012).
Q. Are there any natural approaches for the pain of neuropathy?
A. There are two possibilities. One is alpha lipoic acid. A meta-analysis of 15 randomized controlled trials demonstrated that it is safe and probably effective for treating diabetic nerve pain (European Journal of Endocrinology, October 2012). The other possibility is benfotiamine, a synthetic derivative of vitamin B-1 (Pharmacological Research, June 2010).
One reader shared this experience: “Benfotiamine has absolutely stopped the sharp electrical pains in my feet. It also has considerably relieved the tenderness and pain on the skin of my feet. Nothing else helped me.
“I started with 300 mg a day – 150 mg in the morning and 150 mg in the evening. I have reduced that now to 75 mg a.m. and 150 mg p.m.”