Also: ginger may be a natural remedy for a cough or sore throat, but it isn’t a sugar-free solution. Dry eyes? Make sure you blink enough, especially if you spend a lot of time in front of a computer.

Share story

Q. My doctor recently diagnosed me with diabetes. I don’t want to deal with pills and shots, so I started experimenting.

Through trial and error, I found that turmeric controls my blood sugar. I don’t like the taste or smell, but if I sprinkle some ground turmeric on my food at dinner in the evening, my blood sugar reading the following morning is just where it should be. This works great!

A. Turmeric (which makes curry yellow) is not the only spice that can help control blood sugar (Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, March 2017). You might want to try cinnamon and fenugreek as well (Journal of Pharmacy Practice, online Sept. 11, 2016). In addition, finishing your meal with a salad dressed with vinaigrette can be a useful tactic, since vinegar helps control blood sugar (Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, August 2016).

You can learn more about nondrug approaches to Type 2 diabetes as well as some popular medications for blood sugar control in our Guide to Managing Diabetes. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (70 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy, No. DM-11, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It also can be downloaded for $2 from our website:

Be sure to monitor your blood glucose levels. Keep your doctor informed of your progress.

Q. I was very excited to read about using crystallized ginger as a cough remedy. I had a sore throat and ate a piece of crystallized ginger. Not only did my sore throat go away, the relief lasted for almost four hours. It also worked well for the cough that came later on in the cold, quieting it for more than three hours.

I now keep some crystallized ginger in my purse and next to my bed. No more sugary cough drops for me!

A. Ginger, known scientifically as Zingiber officinale, has been used for centuries to calm coughs as well as to settle digestive distress. Ginger tea and crystallized ginger both are effective. Scientists recently worked out which water-soluble compounds are responsible for fighting coughs (Phytotherapy Research, January 2016). While crystallized ginger may be more appealing than sugary cough drops, it also contains a fair amount of sugar.

Q. An article in the newspaper mentioned that a reader’s psoriasis improved when he took biotin along with the resveratrol, which he was on for another purpose. My husband tried it, and it is working! He is seeing slow but steady and significant improvement in his psoriasis by taking these daily. Thank you.

A. As far as we can tell, there have been no clinical trials involving resveratrol for treating psoriasis. Nevertheless, there are studies suggesting that this antioxidant found in red wine might be beneficial (Oncology Reports, January 2016; PLOS One, May 12, 2015). Biotin is a B vitamin. It has a reputation for improving hair and nails. There are no data on its effect on psoriasis plaques.

Q. Many years ago, when I was young and vain, I was trying desperately to wear contact lenses, but my eyes were too dry. The doctor told me to start doing eye exercises multiple times a day, whenever I thought about it.

He had me blink rapidly and look up, down and to each the side, blinking rapidly 10 times on each glance. This really made a difference in easing my dry eyes.

A. Blinking is important in preventing dry eye syndrome. People who stare at computer screens may not blink adequately. Your doctor’s recommendation still makes sense today.