Several years ago, when my arthritis began acting up, I started taking aspirin to relieve my pain and inflammation.
When my physician discovered I was taking at least 27 regular aspirin tablets a day, he was horrified. Then he prescribed Lodine (etodolac).
Decades ago, doctors relied on aspirin to ease inflammation. In acute flare-ups of rheumatic fever, the dose might go up to 24 pills. But at such high levels the drug can cause ringing in the ears and serious stomach ulcers.
Then many nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) were developed to relieve pain. They include diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren), etodolac (Lodine), fenoprofen (Nalfon), ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), indomethacin (Indocin), nabumetone (Relafen) and naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn).
Like aspirin, such drugs can cause stomach irritation and bleeding ulcers. They may also raise blood pressure. There is growing concern that some may also increase the risk of heart attacks or strokes, as Vioxx does.
I use a natural approach to combat allergies: a neti pot to wash my sinuses, stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) capsules and daily vacuuming to rid my bedding of dust mites.
Your approach combines several traditional remedies. Nose cleansing with salt water is popular from Scandinavia to India, where a neti pot, which looks like an Aladdin's lamp, is used to pour water into the nostrils. Stinging nettle is used in Germany to ease allergy symptoms.
Joe Graedon, a pharmacologist, and Teresa Graedon, an expert in medical anthropology and nutrition, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.