Dear Dr. Gott: Fifty years ago, I made my living driving a car. I developed arthritic pain in my hands, which at times was almost unbearable. I was told that 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 tablespoon of apple-cider vinegar in a glass of water each day might help. Because it was inexpensive, my wife and I decided to try it. No. 1: It tasted good. No. 2: After a time, it did help.
I’ve been driving ever since. My wife and I work out six days a week. Her hobby is sewing, and mine is woodworking. Needless to say, our breakfast drink has never changed. I take next to no meds, so something must have helped. We are 84 years young and just celebrated our 65th wedding anniversary.
Dear Reader: Congratulations. Sixty-five years of marriage is a monumental event in anyone’s book, but especially in this day and age!
The honey-and-apple-cider-vinegar remedy has been purported to heal many ailments. Honey alone or mixed with tea is good for soothing sore throats and coughs. Apple-cider vinegar supposedly eliminates heartburn. To the best of my knowledge, no scientific studies have been performed, but perhaps these common, simple ingredients need to be looked into further. One or both have persisted through the years as a home or folk remedy, so perhaps there is something to it.
Arthritis in one form or another affects about one in five people. The condition is caused by inflammation of the joints, which can lead to pain and swelling. One form known as osteoarthritis can occur because of injury or may be due to the aging process. Healthy cartilage is smooth, elastic, flexible and allows for easy movement without pain. When osteoarthritis occurs, the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones degenerates. Pain and stiffness result. With time, the structure of the joint changes. Bone ends thicken and may form spurs. Bits of bone and cartilage may float freely in joint spaces, causing pain during movement.
Another form known as rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term destructive condition that occurs when the immune system attacks its own body tissues. Inflammation of the linings of the joints causes chronic pain and loss of range of motion.
Then there’s juvenile arthritis, which affects children under 18 years of age. Almost 295,000 children and teens fall into this category.
There are numerous over-the-counter remedies available, including glucosamine/chondroitin, acetaminophen, naproxen, liniments containing capsaicin and more. Some of those endorsed without merit are copper bracelets, electromagnetic instruments, dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and special lotions with “secret” ingredients. Home remedies for pain control are castor oil rubbed on painful joints, omega-3 fish oil and purple grape juice with liquid pectin.
What is likely helping you and your wife more than anything is your almost daily activity. Stay active, eat well, refrain from smoking, and be sure to drop me a note on your 70th anniversary!
Thank you for writing to share this new-to-me remedy. Readers, if you have any experience with this remedy for arthritis, please let me know your results. If I get enough responses, I will print a follow-up on its effectiveness.
To provide related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report “Understanding Osteoarthritis.” Other readers who would like a copy should send a self-addressed stamped No. 10 envelope and a $2 check or money order to Newsletter, P.O. Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.