Q. Every few months, I wake up with a headache that makes me ill for about five days. The headache gets progressively worse, and by the third day there is no comfortable position. I have to sit in a hot shower. Nothing relieves the pain, although cold medicines help me sleep despite the nagging headache in the background.
Last week, I woke up with the headache. On the second day, I suddenly craved some ice-cream cones called Drumsticks. I bought a box of them, and the second I bit into the ice cream, my headache went away. I was afraid the relief might be temporary, but it never came back. I did not progress through the usual illness.
My personal theory is it is the cold that works. I am going to try just plain ice on the roof of my mouth the next time I get one of these headaches, but I’ll gladly eat ice cream if ice alone doesn’t work.
A. We have heard from a number of readers that ice cream or frozen drinks like slushies or Frappuccinos can interrupt a migraine headache. As with other migraine treatments, the earlier the “brain-freeze” remedy is employed, the better it seems to work.
As far as we can tell, though, there is no scientific evidence to support this “treatment.” On the other hand, it is an inexpensive and tasty way to short- circuit a prolonged headache.
Q. Where can I find the recipes you write about in your newspaper articles? Specifically, I would like the persimmon-tea formula for heartburn to help me get off omeprazole. I also would like to know more about which foods lower blood sugar and cholesterol.
A. Recipes that are especially good for lowering blood sugar and cholesterol include cinnamon-almond oatmeal, fenugreek-seed tea, mustard-and-vinegar salad dressing, fish tacos with radish and lime, bitter melon stir-fry and lentil nut loaf with red pepper sauce. We are sending you a copy of our book “Recipes and Remedies From The People’s Pharmacy.” It contains these and dozens of other recipes to help you manage common conditions, including persimmon punch for heartburn. Anyone who would like a copy can find it online at www. PeoplesPharmacy.com, or send $14.95 (plus $4 S&H) to Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy (Dept. R&R), P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027.
Q. I’m 50, and I have had problems with constipation most of my life. Nothing I tried helped at all until I read about raw almonds.
I started eating a handful of almonds every day. As long as I eat them, I am not constipated. It only takes about 1/4 cup to maintain regular bowel movements.
One of the best things about almonds is that it is easy to take them along when I’m traveling. Usually my constipation is worse on trips. I know that constipation is a common problem, so I thought I would pass this along for others.
A. Although we have heard that almonds can ease symptoms of heartburn, this is the first we have heard that they could help constipation. Other popular approaches to constipation include prunes, flaxseed, bran and magnesium. When traveling, sugarless gum, like a bag of almonds, also is easy to carry and often will solve a constipation problem.