Q: Years ago while eating in a restaurant, I started hiccupping badly. I asked the bartender for his suggestion, and he gave me a slice of lime with a few drops of Angostura bitters. I sucked on the lime as instructed, and the hiccups stopped immediately.
I hate hiccups, so since then, I have always kept a fresh lime and a bottle of bitters on hand. This remedy has never failed me. I have tried the lime alone and the bitters alone — neither worked, but the combination works like magic.
A: Thanks for the recommendation. A wedge of lemon or lime with Angostura bitters is a favorite bartenders’ remedy for hiccups. A spoonful of granulated sugar is another old-fashioned option.
More recently we have heard from people who favor chocolate for hiccups. One reader wrote:
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“The chocolate cure really works. I was at a hair salon when a bout of hiccups started. I looked around me for anything that might help, and I saw a box of Hershey Kisses, milk and dark chocolate.
“I don’t favor dark chocolate, so I took two milk-chocolate kisses. I ate them, but my hiccups continued, so I tried two dark-chocolate ones instead. I shoved them into my mouth quickly, and within a minute my hiccups were gone.”
Q: When I read about gin-soaked raisins, I laughed all the way to the liquor store. When I told the clerk why I was there, he said he sells a lot of gin for that very purpose.
I was still skeptical, but I tried the remedy anyway. I had relief from my joint pain and stiffness within a week, but still thought it was probably just a fluke. When I stopped taking the raisins, I found out what a difference they had made! I now keep golden raisins and gin on hand for everyday use.
A: Quite a few people have had a similar experience with liquor-store clerks reassuring them that others also have bought gin for just such a purpose. This is one of the most popular arthritis remedies we have ever written about.
Q: For years, I suffered from chronic angular cheilitis (painful cracks at the corners of my mouth). I also had chronic irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Doctor after doctor dismissed any relationship between the two. I finally saw a nutritionist, and she correlated the problem with B vitamin malabsorption because of the IBS.
I started taking sublingual (under the tongue) B vitamins. This bypasses the GI tract and allows for absorption. I have not had any cheilitis for more than a year and a half. I also started a gluten-free diet that has stopped my IBS symptoms.
After 20 years of symptoms and countless doctors, one nutritionist knew the answers.
A: Angular cheilitis (also called perleche) can be extremely painful. We have heard from people who were healed when they corrected their vitamin D deficiency. Low levels of zinc, iron or B vitamins, especially riboflavin, also are thought to contribute to this problem.
In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them c/o King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., 15th floor, New York, NY 10019, or via their website:www.peoplespharmacy.org