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The People's Pharmacy Quick and Handy Home Remedies

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From coconut for diarrhea to Oolong tea for eczema, from Listerine for acne and dandruff to pickle juice for hiccups, the "People's Pharmacy" NPR personalities Joe and Terry Graedon report the best of the anecdotes they have heard over the years, in this easy-to-use, Q-and-A paperback guide to home remedies, healthy diet, and foods that heal. Packed with practical information, easily accessible, and grounded in medical science, this indispensable guide comes from two totally reliable sources: the People's Pharmacy and National Geographic.


  • Softcover
  • 256 pages
  • 7 5/8" x 9 3/4"
  • © 2011

Author Info

When originally published, this book was one of the first to provide drug and health information to consumers. It went on to become a number one bestseller. Joe and Terry Graedon have since written 14 more books, including Best Choices from the People's Pharmacy (Rodale), which has sold more than 400,000 copies in numerous editions. Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist; Terry Graedon has a Ph.D. in medical anthropology. They combine their expertise to bring a unique approach to traditional, natural, and home remedies. They write The People's Pharmacy® syndicated newspaper column, distributed by King Features®; they co-host an award-winning health talk show, carried weekly by 128 public radio stations; they maintain a rich and lively website, www.peoplespharmacy.com; and they speak frequently on health issues on television news and information programs, asked to discuss issues relating to drugs, herbs, home remedies, vitamins, and similar health topics. Appearances include public television, Dateline NBC, 20/20, Extra, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, CBS Morning News, Today and NBC Evening News.

Book Excerpt

Doctors have been writing about treating heartburn for most of recorded history. In 400 B.C. the Greek physician Hippocrates noted that eating cheese after a meal could cause indigestion and discomfort, especially if accompanied by wine. Apparently Europeans were already enjoying that habit if they didn’t suffer reflux. Heartburn, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), can have serious consequences and should not be ignored. Drugs that doctors prescribe for the condition can be very difficult to discontinue, however, and have potential side effects. We’re not convinced that they are always better than home remedies.

Baking Soda
Q: I used to have very bad heartburn until I remembered a home remedy my mother used to make. I mix a couple ounces of water, an ounce of apple cider vinegar, and a teaspoon of sugar. After the sugar dissolves, I add half a teaspoon of baking soda, stir it briefly, and drink the mixture immediately. This offers fast relief.
A: Baking soda is a time-honored approach to neutralizing stomach acid that has splashed into the esophagus and is causing heartburn.

Yellow Mustard
Q: My wife and I both use plain old yellow mustard to combat indigestion or acid reflux. It works very well for us. If we swallow a spoonful of mustard before an Italian meal, we are okay.
A: Although mustard may seem like the last thing anyone would want to take for heartburn, we have heard from others that it can be helpful. The turmeric that makes mustard yellow was traditionally used for digestive upset in Chinese medicine. Mustard also contains vinegar, which some people find helpful against heartburn.

Q: I frequently have heartburn and finally found a wonderful remedy: papaya pills. Every time I have heartburn, I eat one of the pills and the heartburn disappears. My doctor says it’s fine to use them. Others might like to know about this great way to treat heartburn.
A: Papaya is a tropical fruit that contains an enzyme (papain) that may be very helpful for digestion. Although papain does nothing to suppress acid, some people report that papaya relieves heartburn. Anyone who is allergic to latex should avoid papaya since there is cross-reactivity between latex and papaya, which could be very dangerous. Papain may also increase the blood-thinning effects of warfarin (coumadin).