Soap between sheets helps another reader

Q. A man told my daughter that a bar of soap at the foot of the bed between the sheets would help arthritis. I have arthritis, so I tried it. After about four weeks, my arthritis seems to be much better. I would like to know if there is something in the soap that helps, or if it is my imagination?
A. We have been writing about a home remedy for leg cramps that calls for a bar of soap beneath the bottom sheet, near the legs. At first we thought the man or your daughter was confused. Then we received this note:
"Since my husband sometimes gets leg cramps, I gave him your article about carrying soap in his pocket. He decided to try it, and for four days now he has had no pain from his sciatica. He has not had to take the pain medication that he usually takes daily. Have you heard of this effect from anyone else? Do you have any conjectures on why it works?"
We have no idea why it might work. If others experience pain relief from soap, we'd love to hear about it.
Q. I've been wondering why you never mention the wonders of broccoli. I have had heartburn as long as I can remember. Broccoli, three or four times weekly, has been a godsend. Studies have shown it even destroys the stomach bugs I have. I had a course of antibiotics and it killed half of them, but I still had heartburn.
Broccoli is not a drug and doesn't work like one. (I tolerate them poorly.) It takes time and persistence, but it works for me. I no longer have to take Prilosec for nighttime reflux.
A. Broccoli is certainly a nutritious vegetable, loaded with vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, folate and fiber. As you note, it also contains a natural compound that can destroy Helicobacter pylori, a type of bacteria that lives in the stomach and causes ulcers.
Scientists at Johns Hopkins University reported their research on sulfurophane from broccoli and broccoli sprouts in 2002. In test-tube studies, sulfurophane was able to kill Helicobacter inside cells, even when the bacteria had developed resistance to antibiotics.
Other researchers subsequently tested broccoli sprouts on infected humans. Three out of nine people who ate sprouts twice a day for a week were cured of their Helicobacter infections (Digestive Diseases and Sciences, August 2004).
In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of The Vindicator or e-mail them via their Web site:
& copy; 2007 King Features Syndicate Inc.

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