Home Remedies… and Good Food… with Joe & Terry

On the last Thursday in April, Joe and Terry Graedon, of NPR’s People’s Pharmacy, greeted their loyal listeners with ever more fascinating information about simple home remedies for their various medical concerns.

This informative and animated presentation was coupled with a delicious ‘spread’ of some of Irregardless Catering’s delicious ‘small bites.’

Proceeds of the evening supported the Capital Area Food Network CAFN, Wake County’s Food Policy Council.

Smoked Brisket Biscuits

Middle Eastern Platter and Caesar Salad in Martini Glasses

Many folks find home remedies to be fascinating. Most people want to know whether a specific remedy or dietary supplement works or not.

Chef Arthur Gordon, enjoying the evening

Wine and Beer complemented the evening

Many health professionals and other people are skeptical that vinegar with a high-carb snack could keep blood sugar from spiking. They doubt that drinking tart cherry juice at bedtime would do anything to speed the onset of sleep. They don’t believe that herbal hibiscus tea could help control blood pressure. To them, reports that cocoa can ward off cognitive decline are suspect.

The intellectually curious also want to know why a particular remedy might work. Very often the scientific research that answer these questions is lacking. Recently, though, Joe and Terry Graedon have uncovered a number of scientific explanations for some favorite home remedies:

Why Does Soap Soothe Nighttime Leg Cramps?  After years of experimentation Joe and Terry were able to explain this phenomena through nerve stimulation of the mouth, throat and stomach. TRP (transient receptor potential) receptors in those organs were affected by strong flavors (cinnamon, ginger, hot pepper extract). Within minutes, stimulation of those sensory nerves could interrupt muscle cramps in legs.

How does Vicks VapoRub on the feet calm a cough?  Menthol, which is one of the ingredients in Vicks, is found in most cough lozenges.  It inhibits coughing by stimulating specialized nerve endings found in the skin as well as the mouth and throat and works through the transient receptor potential, TRPM8. This TRP channel also senses cold and such action on the TRP channels may explain how Vicks VapoRub on the soles of the feet calms a cough.

Homemade Muscle Cramp Remedy: Ginger, Cinnamon and Paprika:  If you have ever experienced a muscle cramp you know how distressing it can be, especially if the spasm wakes you out of a sound sleep.  Scientists have come up with a unique explanation for muscle cramps that involves misfiring motor neurons. They also came up with a muscle cramp remedy that has a scientific explanation. It involves stimulating TRP receptors and sensory neurons in the mouth, throat and stomach. Their Hotshot drink contains cinnamon, ginger and an extract of hot peppers.

At the end of the evening, the Graedon’s graciously signed their books – which they sold at a special price.   In addition, they were sharing the wonder of their ‘Milk of Mangesium’ Deodorant – which really works!  It  has 3 fragrances in total to select from:  unscented, women’s fragrance and a clean fragrance for men.

For more than four decades, Joe and Terry Graedon have been teaching, writing, and broadcasting information to help people make informed decisions about their health. hey cohost The People’s Pharmacy radio show heard on WUNC and nearly 200 public radio stations around the country. Their syndicated newspaper column appears in the Raleigh N&O and numerous other papers. They have written 20 books on health and home remedies. Joe is a pharmacologist and Terry is a medical anthropologist.

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