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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Many remedies may rout jock itch

Q. I have a bad case of jock itch, for want of a better word. I’ve used Neosporin, Lotrimin Ultra and one other medication I can’t remember right now. I thought it was getting better, but while I was still using the medications, it came back. Nothing I used has helped at all.

I dry the area well after bathing, and I use baby powder, but I am still having trouble. The skin has now reached the point of being dry, cracked and bleeding. Can you offer any suggestions?

A. Jock itch is normally caused by a fungal infection. Neosporin, which contains topical antibiotics, is not likely to cure a fungus.

Lotrimin Ultra contains butenafine, an antifungal ingredient, so it should have helped. You may want to alternate it with other OTC antifungal products such as clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF, Mycelex), miconazole (Micatin, Zeasorb-AF) or tolnaftate (Aftate, Tinactin).

Many readers of this column report that a skin cleanser called Cetaphil can be very helpful against chronic jock itch. It is soothing and contains propylene glycol and cetyl alcohol, which have antifungal activity. One young woman said it was as effective for her as for men.

Some people benefit from applying dandruff shampoo such as Selsun Blue to the area. Lather, let it stay on the affected zone for five minutes and then rinse. Selenium sulfide, the active ingredient, has antifungal activity.

Once the inflamed skin has healed, you may want to try applications of vinegar or original (amber) Listerine. Listerine contains herbal oils that fight fungus, while vinegar makes the skin too acidic to be hospitable to the fungus. Antiperspirant on the groin area can help keep it dry and discourage fungus overgrowth as well.

Q. I have arthritis in my fingers and knees. Using a computer makes it worse, and running on the treadmill has become difficult.

Anti-inflammatory medications make me constipated. Can you send me your Power Pudding recipe to ease my discomfort?

Why don’t you write a book? I clip your articles, but they get lost, and it’s not always convenient to use your Web site. I would reach for your book like an encyclopedia.

A. Nurses know about Power Pudding to help alleviate severe constipation. It contains 1 cup applesauce, 3/4 cup prune juice and 1 cup coarse bran.

We are sending you more details about the recipe in our book “Favorite Home Remedies From the People’s Pharmacy.” It also offers a number of natural options for easing arthritis, including herbs such as boswellia, cayenne and turmeric, and remedies such as cherry juice, gin-soaked raisins and grape juice with Certo.

The book is $8.95 plus $4 postage and handling, from Graedon Enterprises (Dept. FHR), P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027, or online at www.peoplespharmacy. com.

Q. Which is better, fish oil or flax oil capsules?

A. Both contain omega-3 fatty acids, but it is much harder for the body to utilize the fats from flax seed oil. If your goal is to lower cholesterol and triglycerides, fish oil is preferable.

Q. I read about mixing amber Listerine and vinegar to help toenail fungus with a side benefit of softening the feet as well. I’d love to know the ratio, since I’m always looking for ways to help with rough heels!

A. There is no research on this, but we think it makes sense to try a solution of equal parts Listerine and vinegar.

E-mail questions to Joe and Teresa Graedon via their Web site, www.
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