GRAEDONS | People's Herbal Pharmacy Does eggplant help lower blood pressure?

Q. Have you ever heard of this remedy for high blood pressure?
Wash but don't peel a medium eggplant. Dice it into 1-inch cubes. Place the cubes in a glass gallon jug and cover the eggplant with distilled water. Put the jug in the fridge for four days. Drink 1 ounce of the water per day, taking your blood pressure daily.
After a week or so, the eggplant will begin to disintegrate; discard the cubes but keep drinking the ounce of water daily. Be sure to check your blood pressure, as it may begin to drop dramatically. Once your blood pressure is at a good level, you will need to experiment to determine how often to drink the eggplant water. It may be every other day or less often.
A. Your remedy is fascinating, but we were unable to confirm that it would lower blood pressure.
Eggplant is a popular vegetable in many parts of the world. It is also referred to as aubergine, garden egg or melanzana. The peel contains anthocyanidins, compounds like those in blackberries or purple grapes, and the flesh is rich in soluble fiber, which may help lower cholesterol.
The Nurses' Health Study has been tracking tens of thousands of women for decades to see how diet and lifestyle affect health. Surprisingly, eggplant consumption was actually associated with higher blood pressure (Hypertension, May 1996). Based on this research, we wouldn't trade in medicine for eggplant.
Q. I recently started taking St. John's wort for mood elevation. I am also on hormone-replacement therapy (Activella). I've been on HRT for over a year with very good results. Will the St. John's wort interfere with my hormone medication?
A. St. John's wort may well reduce blood levels and effectiveness of the hormones. It speeds elimination of the hormones in oral contraceptives, which are similar to those you are taking.
St. John's wort can interfere with many medications, so it makes sense to check for interactions before you begin taking it.
We are sending you our Guides to St. John's Wort and Estrogen for more information on side effects, interactions and alternatives. Anyone who would like copies, please send $2 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (60 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Graedons' People's Pharmacy, No. WV-82, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027.
Q. I have a question about a dietary supplement called konjac. It is recommended for controlling blood sugar and assisting with weight loss. Do you know anything about this product?
A. Konjac, or glucomannan, is made from a Japanese root vegetable. It absorbs water and is sometimes used as a laxative.
Glucomannan contains insoluble fiber that slows the absorption of sugars from the digestive tract. Some studies show that it helps lower blood sugar in type-2 diabetics. It can also lower cholesterol. Its usefulness for weight loss has not been firmly established.
Q. I have heard that eating sour cherries can ease the pain of gout and arthritis. My dad has gout, and I would like to get some cherries for him. So far, I have only located sweet cherries. Can you tell me how to find sour cherries?
A. Most supermarkets carry canned pie cherries. These are the same as sour or tart cherries. You may also find them in the freezer section. Brownwood Acres ([877] 591-3101) sells both tart cherry juice concentrate and CherryFlex capsules.
XIn their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019, or e-mail them at or via their Web site: Their latest book is "The People's Pharmacy Guide to Home and Herbal Remedies" (St. Martin's Press).
& copy; 2005 King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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