Q: Tart cherry juice didn’t help my arthritis, but it did help me get the first and subsequent best nights of sleep I’ve had in a long time. Cherries contain melatonin and tryptophan, and they may be given the credit.

I drink a 3-ounce glass of juice both morning and night made from concentrate (with no added sugar). This works for me.

A: Thank you for sharing your experience. Most people are not aware that there is research to support cherry juice for insomnia.

One small randomized, controlled trial tested tart cherry juice for its ability to affect sleep (Nutrients, August 2020). The authors report that volunteers fell asleep faster and slept better after consuming cherry juice. In another study, researchers also concluded that cherry juice was helpful against insomnia, even though the amount of melatonin it contained was low (American Journal of Therapeutics, March-April 2018). Earlier research showed that people who drank tart cherry juice before bed slept better and had higher urinary melatonin levels (European Journal of Nutrition, December 2012).

To learn more about cherries and other natural ways to overcome insomnia, you may wish to read our eGuide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep. This online resource is found under the Health eGuides tab at PeoplesPharmacy.com.

Q: Decades ago, a friend from India taught me to keep curcuma (what we call turmeric) on hand in the kitchen for first aid. He told me to dab the powder on a cut. The spice should stop the bleeding and work as an antiseptic.


I found the same spice in regular yellow mustard. This is a far easier way to apply turmeric and keep the remedy in place.

A: We have heard quite a bit about turmeric or its active ingredient curcumin to fight against inflammation. We were surprised to find that it also has antimicrobial (antiseptic) properties (Current Pharmaceutical Design, 2020).

We’ve certainly heard from people who’ve put yellow mustard on a burn, after cooling it with cold tap water. It’s fascinating to think mustard might also be helpful for cuts.

Another reader found a novel use for yellow mustard: “The yellow mustard contains turmeric, which is an anti-inflammatory. That’s why it works on burns and also on mosquito bites. It really reduces the itch!”

Q: We have heard for years that we are supposed to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day. Yet, no one has ever bothered to tackle the other side of that equation. That is 64 ounces of liquid with perhaps many more from other sources throughout the day.

So, just how many times am I going to go to the bathroom during the day and night? I don’t think that all this liquid can be eliminated before bedtime. Some inevitably filters through and causes nighttime bathroom jaunts. The doctors and health experts say do this and do that and seldom tell us what to expect after following their advice.

A: There has been a great deal of confusion about the “8 x 8” (8 ounces of water, eight times a day). Some researchers call this recommendation unscientific. Others point out that you get liquid from other sources besides drinking plain water (Nutrients, Oct. 31, 2020).

Older people may be vulnerable to dehydration if they don’t drink enough fluid, especially during hot weather. On the other hand, your point is pertinent that drinking a lot of water will result in a lot of nighttime trips to the bathroom.