Thursday, 3 March 2011

Do you take your health for granted?

I reckon being ill as one of the great pleasures of life, provided one is not too ill and is not obliged to work till one is better. ~ Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh, 1903

What is it about health that we take so much for granted? We often abuse our bodies to the point where we are ill, and only then do we reassess. I am just as guilty of this and I work in health!

I started thinking about this recently as a couple of weeks ago I started developing a scratchy throat, sneezing and had a bit of a headache. Uh oh, I hope that’s not a sore throat and cold coming on?? By the following afternoon I was feeling worse and just about managing to get myself through a full day of work. Immediately I looked back at what might the cause of all this (can’t help it, I am a homeopath after all). Well, I suppose I had had some rather late nights. I hadn’t been eating as well as I ‘should’, I’d definitely felt a bit stressed and had been worrying incessantly about some silly stuff (isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing?)

Generally speaking becoming ill doesn’t have to always be seen as a bad thing. It can be a great time to reflect, relax and recuperate. Often it is the only way the body ensures we slow down and get some important rest. Hence why a lot of us get ill on holiday!

Overnight I became a complete health freak and it got me thinking, if I had only been doing 20% of what I’m doing now, perhaps I could have avoided this and would be feeling in full health? Thankfully due to all my efforts I was feeling a lot better by the following day.

So, lesson learnt, prevention really is better than cure. But, if like me, you’ve been burning the candle at both ends and already displaying symptoms, here is my quick start guide to getting back to health as quickly as possible...naturally of course :)

Acceptance: it might sound crazy but sometimes just simply breathing and accepting that we feel unwell, rather than fighting against it can really help our bodies to heal so much faster.

Remedies can usually be purchased in larger pharmacies such as Boots and cost between £5-8 each. Alternatively they can be ordered from a Homeopathic Pharmacy such as Ainsworth, Helios or Nelsons. Place remedies under or on the tongue, ideally 10 minutes either side of food and drink. Try not to touch the remedy.

·       Aconite Nap. 30c – this is a great homeopathic remedy to use at the first signs of a cold with plenty of sneezing. Symptoms are sudden, violent, brief. Anxiety, fear, restlessness, grief. High temperature with great thirst. Insomnia. Take hourly for the first 6 doses and then 3 times per day until symptoms subside.

·       Gelsemium 30c - Influenza, sneezing, sore throat, symptoms of flushing, aching, trembling, weary with heavy aching muscles, runny nose, vertigo. Take hourly for the first 6 doses and then 3 times per day until symptoms subside.

·       Ferrum Phos 6x (New Era tissue salts) - The remedy for first stage of all febrile disturbances and inflammations before they set in; especially for catarrhal affections of the respiratory tract. Fever starts slowly. Better for cold applications. Worse at night and 4-6 am; touch, jar, motion, right side. Take every half an hour for the first 6 doses then 4 times a day until symptoms subside.

·       Anas Barb. (aka Oscillococcinum) 200c – ideal for the onset of flu and best taken before symptoms fully set in; a more generic influenza remedy. Often used as a preventative. Take hourly for the first 6 doses then can be taken weekly as a booster.

·       Increase intake of Zinc and Vitamin C. Take at least 1,000mg of Vitamin C and no more than 25mg of Zinc daily.

·       Vitamin D – we are often deficient in Vitamin D, especially during the winter months, this has been linked to all sorts of health problems and makes us especially susceptible to colds and flu. Recommended allowance is between 200 and 600 IUs daily.

·       Lemon & Ginger tea with spoonful of Active Manuka Honey (15 UMF or higher).


·       Olive Leaf Extract – excellent anti-oxidant and immune system booster.

·       Echinacea Angustifolia - acts as a natural antibiotic, purifying the lymphatic system and the blood. It is also an immune stimulant.

·       Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis) - has proven very effective against parasites and in stimulating the immune system and for mouth ulcers. It reportedly increases the blood supply to various digestive parts.

·       Astragalus - This Chinese herb is often regarded as Asia’s answer to Echinacea. Studies have shown it to have certain potent anti-viral properties and helps boost white blood cell fighting properties.

·       Cayenne - This is a magical herb and has numerous external and internal uses. Internally cayenne is considered one of the best circulatory stimulants. It stimulates all parts and systems involved with blood flow. Its stimulating properties also extend to the digestive system, by stimulating the flow of saliva and stomach secretions.

If you really want to boost your immune system take 1 level teaspoon of Cayenne pepper (dried form from the supermarket) in a glass of lukewarm water and knock it back – NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED! But will definitely get your immune system going in no time, has saved me for developing numerous illnesses in the past.

Happy health everyone – happy homeopathy!

Friday, 4 February 2011

What hangover?

“Warning!! The consumption of alcohol beverages can lead to headache, nausea and vomiting.” This advice is about as useless as being told that a packet of cashews ‘contains nuts’. We’ve all over indulged at one time or another. So what to do when you’ve woken up with your tongue stuck to the roof of your mouth, your head is pounding and you’re convinced if you move, you might hurl?

Homeopathy is an excellent natural alternative to help speed up the recovery process, especially if you ‘accidentally’ indulged on a weekday and now have a bunch of meetings, emails and colleagues to get through.

Nux Vomica is the first remedy to think of with a hangover headache, but it is also excellent for headaches from overwork, indigestion headaches and headaches accompanying constipation. Use it when your headache is worse when you cough or bend down, and headaches that feel worse when you move your eyes. If you have overeaten and drunk too much alcohol, you may also feel nauseous and want to vomit to make yourself feel better but find you can’t. If this describes your symptoms then Nux Vomica is the remedy for you. When you are hungover you are likely to feel irritable and grouchy (surprise, surprise!) You may also be hypersensitive to noise, light and odours.
If this sounds familiar take Nux Vomica 30c half hourly until the symptoms start to improve. If you have pillules drop them into a glass of water, stir it and take a generous sip each dose until you are feeling better. If you have your Nux Vomica in a liquid form, put a few drops into a glass of water and stir and take it as above.
As with all homeopathic dosing, it is important to stop taking the remedy as soon as an improvement is noted.
Remedies can usually be purchased in larger pharmacies such as Boots and cost between £5-6 each. Alternatively they can be ordered from a Homeopathic Pharmacy such as Ainsworth, Helios or Nelsons.

Also consider….

Hydration is very important as dehydration causes a lot of your symptoms. Alcohol effectively turns off a hormone that helps the body retain water. Drink 2 to 3 large glasses of water before getting into bed or better still stop drinking alcohol an hour before the end of the evening and move onto water to get your hydration levels up. Alternatively drink a soft drink between each alcoholic drink during your evening as your liver can only cope effectively with one drink an hour.

Overeating can really disturb your sleep won't help your hangover in the morning. If you have eaten a large meal and wake in the middle of the night feeling bilious and vaguely nauseous, then take a single drop or pillule of Nux Vomica before lying down for sleep. If you have eaten a lot of rich, fatty food and your stomach feels weighed down, then take Pulsatilla30c instead before sleep.

Indigestion can really add to your problems. Ginger tea made from fresh ginger slices steeped in hot water can help. Peppermint tea is also very helpful.

Nutrients are used up when the body processes alcohol. Vitamin B3 is particularly important as it helps to transport alcohol out of the body. Take a multi-vitamin B supplement before going out as well as a zinc and vitamin C supplement. These will all help you to fight the effects of alcohol consumption. If you would like to support your liver function, the herb Milk Thistle, makes liver cells less permeable to alcohol, and helps to prevent damage and so can be taken in preparation for a big night.

All these things will help your hangover suffering but the most effective one of all is Nux Vomica. As it is always best to be prepared, buy some in advance and enjoy indulgences with the smug satisfaction that comes from knowing something that other people have yet to find out…or if you’re feeling nice, you could let them know too!