by Jay Heinrichs, Dorothy Behlen Heinrichs & The Editors of Yankee Magazine. Skyhorse Publishing, $14.95, 500 pp.

The subtitle of this homey, old-fashioned book - "Oatmeal, Cucumbers, Ammonia, Lemon, Gin-Soaked Raisins - Timeless Solutions to More than 200 Common Aches, Pains and Illnesses" - is intriguing. The editors of Yankee spoke to more than 250 doctors, herbalists, midwives and other medical pros to come up with fixes (that you don't have to get filled at the pharmacy) for some of those nagging little problems.

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THE SCOOP Afternoon slump? Try five minutes of vigorous exercise. Hair loss? Take your vitamins. Sweets cravings? Put Swedish bitters on your tongue. Charley horse? Drink tonic (this time, without the gin).

THE BOTTOM LINESo, OK, how 'bout those gin-soaked raisins? Dr. Harry Bird, a retired anesthesiologist in Hanover, N.H., says he eats nine of them (the golden kind) every morning - for arthritis pain. He can't explain why it works, "it just does."