Q. You’ve had questions on how to get rid of cockroaches. A simple way to get rid of them and other insects is to place a few fabric-softener sheets around your home in the corners, on the floors and on the kitchen counters behind appliances.
I guarantee that soon there will be NO insects. Some chemical in these dryer sheets really irritates and kills bugs. The cockroaches are big enough to saddle up here in Texas, but they will soon disappear. While they are slowly dying, they walk out to the center of the room so that even a very slow-moving person can kill them.
This is easy and cheap. I use off-brand fabric-softener sheets.
A. Several years ago, an e-mail circulated on the Internet claiming that fabric-softener sheets could repel ants, yellow jackets and other insects. Skeptics scoffed.
Now, scientists at Kansas State University have determined that Bounce fabric-softener dryer sheets actually do repel adult fungus gnats (HortScience online, Dec. 1, 2010).
The scientists also analyzed the dryer sheets and found that they contain linalool, a pleasant-smelling compound naturally found in basil, lavender and marjoram. This compound is known to be toxic to certain mites and other insects.
We were not able to find any data on cockroaches, but we appreciate your suggestion. We welcome comments and research reports from other readers.
Q. Stopping omeprazole (Prilosec) is really hard. When I tried, my heartburn came back worse than ever. I heard a report on public radio last year that when people stop this kind of medicine, they experience rebound acidity that leads to bad heartburn.
An Internet search revealed a number of folks using deglycyrrhizinated licorice extract (DGL) to manage their reflux. When I asked at my local health-food store, I learned that many people claim DGL has helped them get off omeprazole.
I went cold turkey off the omeprazole and chewed two 400 mg DGL tablets before each meal. If it was a particularly spicy meal (garlic is a culprit for me), I used an additional tablet after the meal. I followed this regimen for several months and then stopped altogether.
Today, I seldom need the DGL, but when I do, I chew a single tablet for immediate relief. I continue to be amazed about how effective this is.
A. Licorice that has not had glycyrrhizin removed could be dangerous. People who overdose on natural licorice may experience hypertension, headaches, hormonal imbalance and reduced libido.
DGL, on the other hand, appears much safer. It has been prescribed in Europe and South America to treat ulcers (Gut, June, 1985). Others tell us that DGL can help in gradual withdrawal from acid-suppressing drugs such as omeprazole.
Q. I am a fan of your column and keep many clippings. It is very difficult, however, to go back and check on one of your answers. There are just too many clippings in the box where I keep them.
Do you have a pamphlet or a booklet with all these questions and answers? If so, please let me know how much it would cost. It would be so convenient.
A. You’ll find many of these suggestions in our books (available online at www.peoplespharmacy.com). “Favorite Home Remedies” is $8.95 (plus $4 S&H) from Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy (Dept HR), P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027.