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Is Cranberry Sauce Safe With Blood Thinner?

Posting Date: 12/05/2005

Q. I take the anticoagulant Coumadin and I have read that drinking cranberry juice may increase my risk of bleeding. Would that hold for cranberry sauce as well? I love it.

A. There is still no consensus that cranberries interact with warfarin (Coumadin), but British health authorities have issued a warning about this combination. It is likely to apply to cranberries and cranberry sauce as well as juice.

A small taste might not hurt, but we would discourage you from overdoing. The consequence could be a dangerous bleeding episode.

Q. My three-year-old son continues to have problems with ear infections, even though he got ear tubes when he was eight months old. He now has another infection with chest congestion and a cough.

I was looking for home remedies for coughs when I found your Web site. I read about putting Vicks VapoRub on the soles of the feet. Within ten minutes of applying it, he was asleep without a cough. Thanks!

A. We can?t explain how smearing Vicks on the soles of the feet could take away a cough, but many others have told us it works. Be sure to put socks on him to protect the sheets.

Q. A man who wrote in about terrible leg cramps was told about all kinds of wacky home remedies like soap under the bottom sheet. I can?t believe you didn?t tell him about the one thing that would work: quinine! It gives instant relief with one pill.

A. Quinine was once available over the counter to prevent leg cramps but now requires a prescription. The FDA decided that quinine pills are too dangerous for people to take without medical supervision.

Quinine can still be found in tonic water. One reader discovered the hazards, however: ?One evening I drank 5 ounces of tonic water; the next morning I was in the emergency room with a frightening skin reaction. I was hospitalized for many days.