HONEY AND VINEGAR
I have a concoction for constipation that may help others: Mix two teaspoons honey, one teaspoon vinegar, and enough hot water to make four ounces. This is the first thing I drink every morning. It helps my stiff joints, too.
“Hot lemonade” made with lemon juice, honey, and hot water is a time-honored morning beverage said to encourage regularity. Your drink sounds like a variation on that theme.
I was constipated for five years. I was using Citrucel and extra bran on my cereal. I drank lots of water but still had hard, rabbit-like stools. A friend suggested magnesium. It has worked wonders. I take 500 milligrams before bed and have a good response, usually before noon the next day. My internist and cardiologist assure me it is safe.
Magnesium has long been used to counter constipation. (Milk of magnesia is a well-known laxative.) But too much can cause diarrhea. Most people tolerate 300 milligrams with no problems, but those with kidney problems must avoid extra magnesium.
You recently shared a nurse’s power pudding recipe of bran, applesauce, and prune juice for constipation. How much of this mixture do you recommend as a daily dose?
The recipe calls for one cup of wheat (not oat) bran, one cup of applesauce, and three-quarters cup of prune juice. Take one or two tablespoons daily, washed down with lots of water. The glop, which is quite stiff, should be kept refrigerated. It is an excellent remedy for hard-to-treat constipation, but it is critical to get plenty of fluid to avoid intestinal problems.
I have read about constipation treatments in your column. My solution—ice cream with sorbitol (the nonsugar sweetener). It has worked for me for years.
Nonsugar sweeteners like sorbitol are not absorbed from the digestive tract and have a laxative effect. Whether found in sugarless gum, candy, or ice cream, they can all help relieve constipation. Too much, though, may cause diarrhea.
I read with interest and sympathy a letter about problems with constipation. I wanted to share something that has helped me. After hearing complaints that sugar-free jellybeans cause diarrhea, I tried them to see if they would help my constipation. I found that if I eat 30 sugar-free jellybeans with a glass of water half an hour before bedtime, I stay regular. I hope this helps others with the problem.
Thank you for the tip. Many people find that sweeteners in sugar-free candy can cause diarrhea. How clever of you to turn that side effect to your advantage! Each person will have to experiment to find the right “dose.”
Joe Graedon & Terry Graedon, The People’s Pharmacy: Quick & Handy Home Remedies, published by National Geographic