Q: You recently answered a reader asking about natural remedies for heartburn. You listed apple cider vinegar and ginger as possible candidates.
I was diagnosed with a hiatal hernia in my late 20s and took various heartburn medications for many years. About 10 years ago I saw a suggestion that aloe could help. I bought a container of aloe juice from my grocery store and drank a small glass every evening before bed.
It tasted like it would cause heartburn, but actually did the opposite. It worked so well that I started drinking it less often.
Aloe grows readily here in Florida, so I planted some in my yard. I simply cut off a part of the leaf and eat a small amount of the inner gel. I haven’t needed to take any medication since I started using aloe. While I don’t know if this works for everyone, it definitely worked for me.
A: The clear gel in the center of the aloe vera leaf contains mucopolysaccharides that seem to be calming to the digestive tract. Be careful not to include the outer part of the leaf. It contains compounds that act as strong laxatives.
Two recent studies considered aloe vera in combination with other natural remedies (Internal and Emergency Medicine, Oct. 2020; Nutrition Research, April 2020).
Neither was placebo-controlled, but both suggest that aloe vera may be helpful against reflux.
You will find other suggestions for nondrug approaches as well as a discussion of medications in our eGuide to Overcoming Digestive Disorders. This online resource is located in the Health eGuides section at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.
Q: I had a wart on my thumb and another on one of my toes for the longest time, so I tried rubbing a potato on them. Keeping a piece under a bandage overnight worked within a few weeks. The warts slowly turned black and then progressively faded away.
I definitely recommend this. It’s much cheaper and less painful than going to a dermatologist to have them removed or frozen off. By the way, that doesn’t always ensure they won’t come back.
A: Potato therapy has not been documented in the dermatological literature. That said, this is a popular old-fashioned home remedy for warts.
We have collected dozens of wart remedies over the decades. What works for one person isn’t always successful for someone else. As you point out, even surgery or cryotherapy (freezing) may not offer a permanent solution for everyone.
Q: My right knee has bone grating on bone. To alleviate the pain, I tried a cortisone shot and then a series of hyaluronic gel shots. I got no real relief.
Then I started using liquid Certo in grape juice. Liquid Certo is costly and messy, and grape juice is too sweet. However, I found an antioxidant juice containing tart cherry, pomegranate, red grape, purple carrot, cranberry and blueberry. I add a heaping teaspoon of powdered fruit pectin to 3 ounces of juice every morning.
Now my knees are feeling pretty good. They’re not perfect, but I haven’t needed knee braces or even a CBD roll-on.
Here’s an added bonus: My cholesterol dropped 20 points! My doctor never heard of this remedy but encouraged me to keep it up.
A: Fruit pectin has been shown to counteract inflammation as well as lower cholesterol (Fitoterapia, October 2020). We’re glad you found an effective, affordable way to manage your knee pain.