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Soy sauce on burn gives relief

The Baltimore Sun

A friend burned her hand on a very hot pan handle. I grabbed the soy sauce and had her soak her hand in it after she ran the burn under cold water. She reported relief, and the next day she was fine. I was really worried it would blister. She smelled like marinade, but that's a small price.

Thanks for sharing your success with soy sauce. We heard about this home remedy for burns from an Oregonian listener to our radio show.

On my last visit to the dentist, our hygienist recommended we chew gum containing xylitol. She raved about its potential to stop the formation of cavities. Is this true? Is xylitol safe?

Xylitol is a natural sweetener derived from birch trees and other plants. It is used in sugar-free gum and candy, especially in Europe where significant research has been conducted on its benefits. In a review published last year, dental researchers concluded that "sufficient evidence exists to support the use of xylitol to reduce caries [cavities]" (Pediatric Dentistry, March-April 2006).

If you chew too much xylitol-containing gum, you might develop diarrhea. Other than that, xylitol appears to be safe.

I have been using an applesauce-fiber mixture I learned about from you. It works well to combat constipation.

Now I have to go abroad for two weeks. Do you have any suggestions on how to take this mixture with me? Constipation while traveling is a big problem, starting with the long flight.

Dehydration is a frequent result of air travel. It complicates constipation, so make sure you get lots of liquids. Sugarless gum can also help.

The mixture of applesauce, bran and prune juice you have found helpful needs refrigeration and will be too difficult to take with you. Instead, try something like psyllium cookies (Metamucil brand, for example). Magnesium supplements are also easy to carry and should help with regularity.

I have read about how people experience muscle pain with Zetia and statin-type cholesterol drugs. That happened to me as well.

My doctor prescribed TriCor instead, and it has lowered my cholesterol and triglycerides. Maybe this will help someone else.

TriCor (fenofibrate) works differently from statins and Zetia. It can be an effective cholesterol-lowering drug that rarely causes muscle pain.

As with many other cholesterol medications, liver enzymes should be monitored. Gallstones are another possible complication. TriCor is pricey, though, and can cost more than $100 a month.

I read your column about using soap in the bed for leg cramps. It really works. My husband, a fisherman, had leg cramps for years, but they went away when we started putting soap under the bottom sheet.

We were playing cards the other night and he got cramps in his hands holding the cards. I got a bar of soap and put it in his hand. Within a minute the pain subsided. He held the bar for about 10 minutes, and the cramp never came back. Now we keep a bar of soap near where we play cards.

Though many people have told us of their success using soap under the bottom sheet to ward off nighttime leg cramps, this is the first we have heard of using soap to keep away hand cramps.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of this newspaper or e-mail them via their Web site:

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