Q: Upon learning that Listerine could help control athlete’s foot, I first thought that meant soaking your feet in Listerine. That could get quite expensive over time.

I have found a more affordable solution. After my shower, as I am drying off, I pour a partial capful of amber Listerine across my toes, using my fingers to work it between and under them. I wiggle my toes around to make sure it gets everywhere. My toes are completely dry by the time I put my socks and shoes on.

This has completely taken care of my athlete’s foot problem without using bottles and bottles of Listerine!

A: Readers of this column have been using old-fashioned amber Listerine to treat a variety of fungal infections including nail fungus, athlete’s foot and jock itch. A popular strategy for nail fungus is a 20-minute foot soak in a solution of equal parts white vinegar and Listerine. That may be needed to allow the solution to soak through to the fungus-infected nail bed. For athlete’s foot, which is a fungus infection of the skin, your strategy sounds cost-effective.

You can learn about inexpensive ways to treat many common ailments in our book “The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies.” The book should be available in your local library. It may also be found in the books section of the store at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.

Q: I am hearing about elderberry syrup as an immune booster. Do you have any pros or cons?


A: Elderberry juice or extract is a traditional tonic for colds and coughs. Researchers have found that the extract from one Sambucus species has antiviral activity against coronavirus in test tubes (Frontiers in Pharmacology, Jan. 11, 2021). Other laboratory research has found that an extract of the flowers, in combination with beta-glucan and vitamin D3, may help reduce inflammation (Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, December 2020).

Don’t try to make your own elderberry extract at home, though. Unripe or uncooked berries, along with the rest of the plant, contain cyanide and are poisonous.

Q: I suffer from restless leg syndrome and have tried various medications and home remedies with limited success. A few years ago, I read on your website that someone had used liquid soap on their legs, which relieved their symptoms within minutes.

I have been using this method ever since with excellent results. I have only used pump soaps labeled antibacterial, though I’m not sure whether that matters.

Whenever I feel restless leg symptoms, I just put on some soap as you would apply lotion. It relieves my symptoms within a few minutes.

I have tried this over 30 or 40 times with almost 100% success. Have you ever heard of this remedy for restless leg syndrome?

A: There has been little research on the use of soap for restless leg syndrome (RLS). That said, an anesthesiologist published two studies on the use of soap or soap-scented oil (SSO) to treat pain (Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, July 2008; Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, September 2008). He reported that “the SSO skin patch consistently and adequately relieved muscular pain.”

RLS is a mysterious neuromuscular condition that is hard to treat. If liquid soap can be helpful, it’s a low-tech option.