Q I noticed an article on your Web site (www.peoplespharmacy.com) about coconut macaroon cookies stopping diarrhea. I am a hospice nurse, and one of my patients was literally dying of diarrhea. None of the medical treatments was helping. After reading about macaroons stopping diarrhea, I asked my patient's daughter if we could try giving her mom coconut milk and rice milk. She had nothing to lose. The diarrhea stopped in 24 hours, and the patient began to eat again. As a result, she began to thrive and had to leave our hospice program!

A. We are so glad this suggestion inspired you and was so helpful for your patient with life-threatening diarrhea. We have heard from many readers that coconut is a traditional remedy for diarrhea.



Q. I have spent more than a year trying one kind of blood pressure medicine after another. I have suffered from all sorts of side effects, including heart palpitations and dizziness, but the worst was depression. All I wanted to do was hide from the world, and I couldn't do that because I had to work. I finally told my doctor that I would rather die than take any more medicine.

I seem to have weird body chemistry. I develop side effects or allergies to most medications. What kinds of natural approaches are there for controlling blood pressure?

A. You might be surprised to learn how many nondrug approaches can help against hypertension. Learning to breathe more slowly - for example, with the help of a feedback machine called RESPeRATE - can lower blood pressure. The DASH diet (rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium) can also help. Dark chocolate and grape juice make blood vessels flexible to adjust blood pressure.

We are sending you our Guide to Blood Pressure, which discusses nondrug approaches as well as medications that might be more tolerable.

Anyone who would like a copy, please send $2 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (58 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Graedons' People's Pharmacy, No. B-67, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It also can be downloaded for $2 from our Web site: www.peoplespharmacy.com.

Q. I have suffered from restless leg syndrome all of my life, and I am over 50! My mother always told me I had "growing pains" when I was a kid, but that was clearly ridiculous by the time I reached my 20s.

When I read about putting soap under the bottom sheet, I thought it was the silliest thing I had ever heard of. To my great surprise, it WORKS. I have now had five straight nights of sleep in my own bed with no walking around and no moving from one place to another to try to get comfortable. I never would have guessed I'd enjoy such pure, wonderful sleep just by trying this odd remedy.

A. Putting a bar of plain soap between the bottom sheet and the mattress pad certainly seems bizarre. We have no idea how it may work, but we have heard from many happy readers that it does.





In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of Direct Gates, P.O. Box 408, Lakeland, FL 33802. or e-mail them via their Web site: www.PeoplesPharmacy.com. Their newest book is "Best Choices From The People's Pharmacy" (Rodale Books).