Q: Will beet root powder boost libido? I started adding a teaspoon of beet root powder to my morning juice after hearing about it on your radio show, since my doctor advised me I was pre-hypertensive.
I'm 51, and my wife and I enjoy a very active sex life even after 25 years together. A few times a week is normal.
Since taking the beet root powder, I'm pestering my wife daily, and that's just a little too much for her. Have you heard from others whose sex drive has increased due to beet root powder?
A: Five years ago we read a study showing that beet root juice could lower blood pressure. A recent review has confirmed this fascinating discovery (Journal of Nutrition, June 2013).
Beet root helps the body create nitric oxide in blood vessels. This makes them relax, improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure. The erectile-dysfunction drugs (Cialis, Levitra and Viagra) all work through a similar mechanism. By increasing nitric-oxide levels, they improve blood flow to the penis.
We could find no credible evidence that beets boost libido, but improving circulation might have unexpected benefits when it comes to sex. If this continues to be a problem, however, you may want to moderate your beet root powder intake or find a different way to control your blood pressure. You will find many other nondrug approaches in our Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (66 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Graedons' People's Pharmacy, No. B-67, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It also can be downloaded for $2 from our website: www.peoplespharmacy.com.
Q: I grew up highly allergic to poison ivy. Our one acre was covered with it, and I seemed to have it year-round. In 1978, we got milk goats to eat the vines, with no thoughts other than to get rid of the ivy.
I started drinking their milk. In 1981, we began clearing thick woods that were infested with poison ivy. I tried not to get in it, but in clearing 35 acres and following a bulldozer around while picking up sticks, I am positive that I had to have encountered it. I never did get a rash, though. I couldn't believe how lucky I had been.
About a year later, there was an article in the Dairy Goat Journal about the immunity factor, and I thought back to determine the last time I had a rash. I could not remember ever having one after getting the goats, now 28 years ago.
A: We could find no scientific evidence to support this idea. Some researchers report that goats eating poison oak or poison ivy don't transfer the irritating compound, urushiol, to their milk.
We have heard, however, from other readers with a similar experience. Here's one such story:
"I grew up with goats and drank only goat milk. Our goats had acres of land to roam and ate lots of poison ivy. Neither my brother nor I have EVER had poison ivy, and we can roll in it without getting it. My mother and father, who were both sensitive to poison ivy before the goats, have never had it since."
Q: During a power outage, I burned
four fingers while removing hot glass from a kerosene lantern. I first used cool water, then soy sauce, without much relief. I quickly went to your website and searched "burns." I found the mustard remedy.
I put on a sterile plastic glove and squirted yellow mustard in the fingers, and left this on for an hour. Immediate relief!
A: We're glad this remedy helped.
In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of this newspaper or email them via twww.PeoplesPharmacy.com.
Their newest book is "Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them."