Question: : A while ago, I read about persimmon tea for acid reflux. I have it from time to time, but my husband has it constantly. It is so bad that he wakes up almost every night and throws up! Prilosec, Nexium and a host of other drugs along with extra-strength Gaviscon or Pepcid do nothing.

I made the persimmon tea. He drank a shot glass full the first morning and a shot glass after supper. From Day 1, he has slept soundly, and so have I. Nothing he eats now causes him heartburn. The recipe was simple, though we did have trouble finding persimmons at first.


Answer: : We first heard about persimmon punch, a concentrated cinnamon-ginger drink, early in 2005. A woman wrote that she had tried it in a Korean restaurant and found that it stopped her heartburn. She made some at home and added 3 tablespoons to her tea morning and evening. After several months, her cholesterol and blood sugar also were lower.

We looked for a recipe for persimmon punch and found one posted by Hyungshin Song on the Food Network Web site: Combine 2 quarts water, 1/2 cup of thinly sliced fresh ginger and 3 cinnamon sticks. Simmer for a half-hour. Strain the liquid and stir in 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 cup of sliced, dried persimmons. Keep refrigerated.


Question:: I have read that Lipitor may cause memory impairment. I am taking Lipitor and am having trouble with speaking and memory, along with intense muscle soreness. My lab tests are within the normal range, so my doctor says Lipitor is not the source of my problems.

Are there other drugs without these side effects? A friend mentioned red yeast rice.

Answer: : A study of statin-type cholesterol-lowering drugs (such as Crestor, Lipitor and simvastatin) revealed that these drugs can cause structural muscle damage. Normal blood tests (creatine phosphokinase) don't rule out serious muscle injury (Canadian Medical Association Journal, July 7, 2009). Memory loss and amnesia occasionally have been reported as side effects with statins.

Red yeast rice is a dietary supplement that has centuries of use in traditional Chinese cooking and medicine. One recent study suggests that some people who have difficulty with statins can lower their cholesterol with red yeast rice (Annals of Internal Medicine, June 16, 2009). Others may find, though, that it causes similar side effects to statins.

Question: : For recurring warts, try rubbing the inside of a banana peel on the growth a couple of times daily. This worked on a wart on my hand that I'd had for several years. It takes a couple of weeks for the process to work completely.

Answer: : Some people use tape to attach the banana peel to the wart, changing it daily.

Question: : Our 14-year-old granddaughter has seen the doctor about her underarm sweating, but he had no suggestions.

Answer:: Your granddaughter might have hyperhidrosis, a condition of excessive sweating. There are a couple of over-the-counter products that would be worth a try. One is Certain Dri, which contains aluminum chloride (12 percent). She should put it on before bed, making sure her armpits are dry before it is applied. After a week or so of use, she may only need to apply it two or three times a week. Doctors can prescribe stronger products such as Drysol.


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,