Q: In all the time I’ve read your column, I haven’t seen pineapple juice mentioned as a cure for hiccups. It works with one sip!
A: People use a huge number of remedies for hiccups, ranging from eating an olive to sipping pickle juice or sucking on a lemon wedge with Angostura bitters sprinkled on it. We suspect that these approaches may work by activating transient receptor potential (TRP) channels in nerves.
Hiccups are triggered by a misfiring of the vagus nerve, which causes an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm. Activating TRP channels might reverse this. We have not seen any studies of whether or how pineapple juice might affect these channels.
Q: I suffered from restless legs syndrome (RLS) for many years and took ropinirole (Requip) to treat it. The medication worked, but it caused me many worrying symptoms on a regular basis: dizziness, nausea, feeling like I was going to pass out, even vomiting at times. However, if I didn’t take the drug, I couldn’t sleep because my legs started acting up the minute I laid down in bed.
I accepted this until I happened to speak to someone who recommended that I see an acupuncturist. This woman cured me after only one visit. I’ll never forget that day, three years ago, when she needled my body and left the room. I felt strong movements of energy throughout my body and was so tired after that initial treatment that I went to bed as soon as I got home. I never took Requip again.
I saw the acupuncturist every month for several months, then over time I visited less frequently. I go back for a “tuneup” several times a year. I am extremely grateful that I no longer need to take Requip.
A: Many people would prefer to use some method other than medication to control their restless legs syndrome. A review of nonpharmacological interventions found that acupuncture reduces RLS symptoms (Disability and Rehabilitation, March 21, 2018). Your results are surprising in that you got such long-lasting relief. Other people may find that they need to continue with acupuncture to maintain freedom from RLS symptoms.
Q: My grandmother taught me that bee stings would relieve arthritis for an extended time. Do you have any information regarding the relief of arthritis pain by bee stings?
A: Dr. Philipp Terc wrote about bee venom therapy (apitherapy) in 1888, when he published “About a Peculiar Connection Between the Bee Stings and Rheumatism.” In 1935, Dr. Bodog Beck wrote a book titled “Bee Venom Therapy.” It detailed the application of bee stings to treat arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
A recent study used bee venom to treat experimentally induced arthritis in rats (Toxicon, Apr. 1, 2019). The scientists found that honeybee venom has a range of anti-inflammatory properties. It may be an effective option for reducing inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis. Dose is critical, however, and low doses appear to be more effective.
Some people are highly allergic to honeybee venom and may die from anaphylactic shock if they are stung. Skilled practitioners must be prepared for such emergencies.
You can learn more about bee-venom therapy and other options for treating joint pain in our book “Graedons’ Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis.” To order, please send $12.95 plus $4 shipping and handling to: The People’s Pharmacy, Dept. AFA, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It can also be ordered online at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.