Signs Your Hormones May Be Out of Balance

I hear you. You’re working out daily, eating all the greens you can lay your eyes on and yet you’re still picking up weight and your skin has started to break out like you’re 30 going on 13.

We talk about hormones so often; Whether we’re referring to an emotional woman as being “hormonal” (PSA to all the men: don’t do that), or talking about our sex drives or their part in the natural progression of a woman to procreate and our ‘ticking clocks’.

As women, we’ve been brought up believing that having hormonal ebbs and flows are just a part of being female and that there’s nothing that we can do about the symptoms that come along with it. We often notice the symptoms but assume that its a) normal or b) something we just need to put up with. And it’s this part that really gets to me. So many women suffer year in and year out thinking that there’s nothing they can do about managing or treating the cause of these symptoms.

Our bodies are designed to work in a balanced state; so why are we okay with having an hormone IMbalance? There are so many signs that women experience and don’t attribute it to their hormones because we’ve been brought up with the understanding that if it doesn’t affect our menstrual cycle, then it can’t be our hormones in trouble.

Here are a few little-known symptoms of hormone imbalance to look out for that aren’t typically associated with your menstrual cycle & PMS. Hair Loss or Thinning

  • Hair Loss or Thinning

Mostly in women, hair loss & thinning is attributed to thyroid hormones and testosterone. But it can also be attributed to insulin, estrogen and certain chronic medications.  

  • Insomnia

SO many hormones can be the monsters under our beds when it comes to insomnia. Estrogen is our biggest sleep-maintaining hormone, however, progesterone also plays a role in calming the nervous system and imbalances with testosterone, cortisol and serotonin can all create the perfect night light that keeps us awake.

  • Weight Gain

That pesky stress hormone cortisol is usually the culprit that keeps us from hitting our weight-loss & fitness goals but hormones including leptin (the hormone that breaks down fat), testosterone, insulin and estrogen can all play a role.

  • Brain Fog

Feeling like your thoughts are a bit jumbled up? Can’t find your keys or forgot why you walked into a room? An imbalance in GABA, serotonin, cortisol, FSH or dopamine could all be playing a role here.

  • Night Sweats & Hot Flushes

Most people associate night sweats & hot flushes with menopause. And it’s true that night sweats are one in a constellation of symptoms associated with it, but women in their early 20’s can experience these symptoms and they are by no means going through menopause (or shouldn’t be. Previously, it was thought that having low estrogen was the problem. But more recently, we have come to understand that progesterone, cortisol and thyroid hormones can all be involved here.

So Where To From Here?

When it comes to treating hormonal imbalance, there is no one-size-fits-all option.

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above or more, its always best to see a registered health practitioner so that you can identify the exact cause of your symptoms and get guided, individualised treatment.

Inflammation: The Root of All Evil?

Everything these days seems to be ‘anti-inflammatory’; declaring inflammation as public enemy number one and enticing you to avoid it like the plague! But surely a process which your body naturally does, can’t be bad for you? Let’s take a look at the good & the bad of it. After all, there are always two sides to the story.

The Good

Inflammation is part of our body’s natural immune response and as such, it works really hard at trying to keep us… essentially, alive. It’s an incredibly complex process that takes place, and I don’t want you to stare at your screen reading this getting confused with medical terminology and chemical names flying left, right and centre; so the simplest way I can explain our immune system is like an army.

Let’s take the flu as an example:

  1. The bad virus (pathogen) enters the body
  2. The immune system kicks in and releases an army of chemicals (e.g. histamine and prostaglandins) to fight the virus.
  3. The battle starts and symptoms appear (in a sense, battle scars). These symptoms include a runny nose, sore throat, fever etc.
  4. Over time, a solid immune system (sometimes with the help from medicine – alternative or allopathic) wins the war and the symptoms alleviate and ultimately the pathogen is killed.

When working correctly, our immune system is our saving grace in a world filled with things wanting to harm us and take us down. Short periods of inflammation works mostly in our favour and is crucial to our innate healing process.

The Bad

So, this is where the issue lies: chronic, long-term inflammation.

When it’s good, it fights off pathogens, heals injuries and mops up debris. However, chronic inflammation that is left untreated has been found to be a player in almost every chronic disease; diabetes, coeliac’s, cancer, heart disease, arthritis, asthma – the list goes on and on.

Why does chronic inflammation happen? Well, there’s a multitude of reasons, but basically sometimes when the immune system is fighting the battle (like it’s supposed to), it’s arsenal of chemical fighters isn’t strong enough & doesn’t have success. Or the immune system gets confused, like when someone is allergic to gluten and the immune system ends up attacking other parts of the body that resemble gluten.

Our lifestyle also plays a key role in chronic inflammation. Smoking, alcohol, prolonged stress and having excess weight can all contribute to chronic inflammation. Just keep in mind that every individual is different, and some cases of chronic inflammation doesn’t have a clear underlying cause.

Symptoms To Look out For

I pay a lot of attention to chronic inflammation when seeing patients. Right from the first consultation, I look for specific symptoms that often creep in without the patient realising or thinking that it’s not ‘important’. Some red-alerts to look out for include:

  • Rashes or ‘bumps’ (especially on the back of arms when it comes to gluten)
  • Mucous/ phlegm production (having to clear your throat constantly/ after eating certain foods)
  • Low energy and lethargy (even when getting ‘enough’ sleep or drinking caffeine)
  • Bloating, indigestion and pain in the abdominal area along with poor/disrupted digestion
  • Unexplained pain (especially in joints)
  • Low-grade fever for long periods of time

Steps To Healing Chronic Inflammation

When I see patients, my ultimate goal is to always help THEM to prevent and reverse chronic disease. (We always need to remind ourselves as doctors, that we do not do the healing. We need to equip and guide our patients with the tools in order to empower themselves in the healing process. Afterall, I’m not going to be there in your kitchen force-feeding you anti-inflammatory foods)

An anti-inflammatory lifestyle falls very much in line with a general healthy lifestyle.

  1. Remove/ reduce commonly known inflammatory foods like sugar and processed meats/dairy.
  2. Avoid foods that are known allergies/ intolerances.
  3. Manage stress trough reducing/ using coping mechanisms
  4. Regular, consistent exercise with moderate intensity
  5. Eating lots of deeply coloured vegetables, fruit, herbs and spices like spinach, turmeric, beetroot and blueberries.
  6. Additional supplements which can include adaptogens, omega-fatty acid complexes, probiotics etc (according to the individual’s needs)

The Bottom Line

While you might not have a diagnosed condition now, chronic inflammation increases your risk of developing several serious diseases, so if you want to optimise your current and future health, you can do so by minimising inflammation. 

If you suspect you may be showing signs of chronic inflammation, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a registered health practitioner who will be able to guide you through a proper treatment program.

How Long Are You Contagious With The Flu?

It happens to the best of us. You wake up one day and you are completely man-down with a stuffy nose, fever and body aches. And now you need to message your manager and tell them that you’re the office’s patient-zero and face the guilt-trip from your colleagues.

Adults are contagious before they even realize they’re sick. The virus can spread from up to 24 hours before you start showing any symptoms (sneaky bugs!) and can spread for a further week after you are really in the thick of being sick.

This contagious period can last even longer for kids or people with weakened immune systems such as the elderly. That being said, you’re most contagious with the flu during the first three to four days after you begin feeling sick.

Is There A Way To Tell If You’re Contagious?

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The best way to judge if you’re still contagious is timing. Because symptoms of the flu typically begin about two days after the virus enters the body (but could appear anytime between 1 and 4 days after infection begins), you should be particularly careful during your first week of symptoms. Meaning, stay home from work or school, if possible, and be careful to avoid direct contact with other people. Drink lot’s of water & make an appointment to see your practitioner if you’re worried about your symptoms and would like help to ease them and recover quicker.

I’ve also written a post with my favourite herbs to treat colds & flu, which you can read here.

The Hormones Causing Your Hairloss

To any woman who’s suffered from a hormone imbalance and the many symptoms that come with them it won’t surprise you to learn that hormones and hair loss are connected. And it’s more common than you think! Male pattern baldness is an expected, if often trivialized, part of aging for many men. Its female counterpart is seldom discussed until it becomes a problem. Women suffering from health issues, excessive stress, or simply going through menopause are waking up to find more hair than usual in their drain.

So what’s the reason behind this epidemic of hair issues? It’s likely due to modern life and the stress—both physical, mental, and hormonal—that many of us experience daily. To get down to the root cause, it’s always best to consult a trusted practitioner, but here are some key hormones which may be the culprit.

1.Testosterone

Androgenic Alopecia. When it comes to a testosterone imbalance, many think of a middle-aged man with thinning hair, trying to cover it up with a comb-over (think Donald Trump). Historically, practitioners blamed it on excess testosterone, but that’s only part of the story.

The real culprit appears to be dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a more potent derivative of testosterone. Simply put, under certain conditions DHT wants those hair follicles dead. Scientists now believe that it’s not the amount of circulating testosterone that’s the problem but the level of DHT binding to receptors in scalp follicles. DHT shrinks hair follicles, making it damn-near impossible for healthy hair to survive.

Under normal conditions, women have a minute fraction of the level of testosterone that men have, but even a lower level can cause DHT- triggered hair loss in women.

2. Thyroid Hormone

The thyroid hormone is thought to be the “master metabolism” hormone, and it’s probably the most straightforward culprit behind hair loss, especially in women. If you have dry skin, brittle nails, fatigue, and hair loss—it’s a telltale sign that your thyroid may be under stress and you should look into it.

When the thyroid is under stress or poorly nourished, it starts to focus its efforts on supporting the bodily processes (like breathing and regulating heart rate) that support and sustain life and it stops paying as much attention to less vital functions, like hair growth.

3. Insulin

It has long been known that polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is driven by chronically elevated insulin (hyperinsulinemia), which causes hair loss, acne, and weight gain, among other symptoms. And it’s not just in women that insulin is important! Men with hyperinsulinemia seem to suffer from hair loss as well.

Insulin resistance is also linked to Androgenic alopecia and can lead to diabetes, which left untreated, can have life-long damaging effects. The best way to treat this type of hair loss is by cutting down the amount of sugar in your diet, but make sure that this is the actual cause of your hair-loss before treating it aimlessly

4. Estrogen

Many women find that in pregnancy, when estrogen levels rise and then fall after birth, a large amount of their hair falls out. This is also true for many women during menopause, when estrogen levels are also falling. But it’s not just about having more estrogen in the body to prevent hair loss because chronic estrogen dominance can cause hair loss as well.

Just like excess testosterone (and DHT) can cause hair troubles, so can too much estrogen. For some women, excess estrogen may trigger hair loss because of a gene variant that affects the functioning of an enzyme (aromatase) that processes estrogen.

How To Get Those Luscious Locks?

Hormones are cyclical. Testosterone levels in some men drop by 10% each decade after age 30. Women’s hormone levels decline as menopause approaches and drop sharply during menopause and beyond. The cyclic nature of both our hair and hormones is one reason hair loss can increase in the short term even when you are having a long-term slowdown of hair loss (and a long-term increase in hair growth) while on a treatment that controls hair loss.

If you’re worried at all about the state of your hair, get in touch so we can figure out what the root cause of your problem may be.

Colds & Flu’s: Whats The Difference?

Yes, they are two completely different things! Both are caused by viruses and have similar symptoms which is why many people mistake them for the same thing, but once you see the differences side-by-side it’s easy to never see them the same again.

In general, flu can be much worse than the common cold, and symptoms come across more intense whereas colds are usually milder and don’t result in serious health problems if left untreated like pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalisations.

Image Cred: http://www.cdc.gov

As Far As Treatment is Concerned…

In all honesty, chances are high that you’ll receive a prescription for antibiotics from your GP. However, antibiotics don’t do anything when it comes to viruses. They’re only effective for treating infections caused by bacteria. With that said though – if you leave a flu untreated, you can develop a co-infection that could be bacterial and thereby, need antibiotics (but you won’t need antibiotics immediately). 

I must say, many GP’s I know and have worked with delay prescribing antibiotics and don’t go to it immediately which is a BIG step in the right direction. 

Phytotherapeutic Approach To Treatment

Treating any kind of problems affecting the respiratory system is  my absolute favourite. Patients can see a difference in their symptoms so quickly which is really satisfying from a “customer satisfaction” point of view. The lungs are such a life-force to the human body. Think about taking a breath of fresh air – how rejuvenating it can feel & how restrictive it feels when you’re in the full swing of a flu and can barely breath through the mucous build-up & constant coughing. 

A phytotherapeutic approach will always be individualised & based on fighting the virus first (the cause) and at the same time, helping to alleviate the symptoms which can make the patient a lot happier. So these would include herbs that support the immune system; have antiviral properties; decongestant properties or demulcent, soothing properties if there is a dry cough involved. 

I don’t think I have ever used the exact same prescription for two different patients. I certainly have my go-to herbs like echinacea or olive leave, but I’ll use them in different strengths or ratio’s to fit the individual. 

My Top 5 Go-To Herbs For Colds & Flu

Treating any kind of problems affecting the respiratory system is  my absolute favourite thing to do. Patients can see a difference in their symptoms so quickly which is really satisfying from a “customer satisfaction” point of view. The lungs are such a life-force to the human body. Think about taking a breath of fresh air – how rejuvenating it can feel & how restrictive it feels when you’re in the full swing of a flu and can barely breath through the mucous build-up & constant coughing.

While my treatments are always individualised, I do have my go-to ‘top performers’ when it comes to the respiratory system. You can read more on the differences between colds & flu here

Olive Leaf

For some unknown reason, I never used this herb at university, but seem to be including it in every prescription in practice. 

It contains oleuropein which is readily absorbed by the body & is well known for it’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and especially it’s anti-viral properties. This makes it exceptionally good at fighting off the flu. There have even been theoretical investigations into using olive leaf extract in fighting HIV

Echinacea

Echinacea has got to be one of the biggest celebrities in immunity world. Numerous studies showcase it’s effectiveness in specifically modulating the immune system and fighting off colds & flu’s. In the US, echinacea extract sales total more than $100 million annually. Now, I’m not one for touting big pharma, but people don’t carry on buying something that doesn’t work. 

Ethanolic extracts (tinctures) contain multiple constituents that can suppress the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and upregulate phagocytic activity.

Simply put, Echinacea supports the immune system by stopping inflammation and actively killing off harmful pathogens. 

Pelargonium 

A South African BEAUTY! I love this plant so much – it tastes great in remedies and is super effective, especially in children. Have been thinking of experimenting with making medicinal lozenges with pelargonium as the base. Would you be keen on getting a recipe?

Studies have shown it’s specific effective use in bronchitis and sinusitis

Mint

Congested nose? Just sniffing this potent plant is a god-send. This herb is almost always the base of my medicinal tea preparations. The essential oils that are given off when brewed, not only break down mucous but have amazing antimicrobial properties. 

Sage

Sage can sometimes be a tricky herb when it comes to colds and flu’s. It can be incredibly ‘drying’ so I wouldn’t use it for a harsh cough – only for productive, mucous-filled coughs that need drying up. 

Medications can also interact with Sage. Especially diabetic medications, which I see all-too-often in practice. Which is why I won’t often use Sage in a prescription, but when I do, I’m very happy with the results. 

Do you have any herbs that you run to when you feel a cold/flu coming on? Drop a comment below & I’ll let you know the science behind why it can be so effective.

Is it a Food Allergy or Intolerance?

Seems like lately, every patient walking through my doors complains that they’re allergic to something. Anything from the typical dairy, dog hair and gluten to Handy Andy and chamomile tea. One patient complains of a stomach ache if they eat bread; another’s has a life-threatening reaction to nuts. Both call it an allergy. Unfortunately the term “allergy” has become a generic term used to describe allergies and intolerances, but there is a clear clinical difference between them – that being your bodies immune response.

And with the media trying  to use every buzz word possible to hook you into buying R50 loaves of bread because of your ‘allergy’,  it’s important to know the differences between an allergy or intolerance.

Allergy

When you have a food allergy, your immune system will illicit a response by releasing antibodies to ‘fight off’ the allergen. Symptoms will show fairly quickly after eating & could include difficulty breathing, wheezing; skin reactions like hives & swelling; dizziness; swelling of the tongue, mouth or face.

The most common foods that cause allergic reactions are:

  • Peanuts & tree nuts
  • Shellfish
  • Cow’s milk
  • Wheat

Allergies can be life-threatening and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Your doctor will be able to specifically test for allergies with a skin-prick test.

Intolerance

Food intolerances occur when your body doesn’t have the right enzymes to properly break down the food in your gut. There is NO immune response but your body will show uncomfortable gut symptoms. The most common words I hear are “It just doesn’t agree with me”.

A really good example of this is lactose (from milk). People who are lactose intolerant, don’t have the enzymes to break down lactose properly so when it is ingested and reaches the large intestine, the bacteria break it down releasing gas, bloating, pain and diarrhoea. The symptoms take longer to show & other symptoms could be headaches, nausea, nervousness, heartburn and vomiting.

Foods that can cause intolerances can vary greatly but commonly include:

  • Wheat
  • Caffeine
  • Dairy
  • Food additives & artificial flavourants (like MSG)

Elimination diets under the guidance of a practitioner are the most useful in isolating the culprit foods.

In Closing

Food allergies and intolerances actually fairly uncommon and your symptoms could be caused by a number of other factors such as stress, hormonal changes or a different digestive disease. They can also be quite difficult to tell apart because of how symptoms overlap so greatly. If you suspect that you may have an allergy or an intolerance, I urge you to see a registered health practitioner so that you can be properly diagnosed and treated under their supervision.

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A side note on gluten

Gluten seems to be a favourite word with the media at the moment. It’s found in most grains like wheat, rye and barley & can be the cause of both an intolerance or an allergy, depending on the structure of the gut & microbiome. 

Many people have an intolerance to gluten and will have quite a bit of discomfort when they eat foods that contain it. But gluten intolerance isn’t very common and not everybody needs to be eliminating gluten from their diet like we’re told in the media. 

Now, for some individuals, it is critical that they avoid gluten. These individuals have an autoimmune disease called Coeliac’s. The body has a completely abnormal immune response to gluten that causes damage to the villi in the small intestine (the finger-like structures in our gut that help with absorption of nutrients). It’s not entirely clear what causes the immune system to act in this way, but a combination of genetics and the environment appear to play a part. This damage creates gaps between the villi which means toxins are able to enter the blood stream and can be fatal if left untreated. 

So my ‘side note’ about gluten is clearly becoming its own blog post & I promise to write a more in-depth post in the near future on this. 

No, I probably won’t prescribe you Cannabis (even if it was legal)

With all the hype around Cannabis at the moment, I often get asked if I can get it for my patients (often in the hopes that I will then become the asker’s new ‘dealer’).

But the truth is, even if I could get you cannabis, I probably won’t. While it really is a fantastic plant with incredible healing properties, it isn’t the be-all and end-all of healing botanicals. And it most definitely will not be right for every individual who walks through my practice doors.

You see, the main thing about Cannabis is that it contains phytochemicals called cannabinoids which activate the endocannabinoid system (very fancy words for plant chemicals which ‘turn on’ the signals for certain functions in your body to happen, like sleeping, immune function and digestion).

Cannabis is NOT the only herb that activates this system and many patient’s don’t need this system to be looked into or treated.

Before treating with ANY herb, diet and lifestyle will be looked at and adjusted which might regulate the system in and of itself without the need for herbal interventions. And even if you get to the point of needing herbal intervention, there are many herbs which can influence the endocannabinoid system including Rosemary, Helichrysum (Imphempho), Maca and Echinacea – all which are widely available to practitioners and all very effective in their own ways.

So at the end of the day, even if I could get you cannabis, I probably won’t. I might get you cannabis if you need it, if you require a herbal intervention that has the exact effects of cannabis. But will I recommend it for everyone? No.

The basis of Phytotherapy is patient-centred, individual therapy. Each patient is different and will be treated differently. Rosemary might work for one patient but not for another even if they have the same health problems. In the same way, cannabis could work for some but not others.

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DISCLAIMER: HERBS ARE NOT ALWAYS SAFE TO BE TAKEN WITHOUT THE SUPERVISION AND GUIDANCE FROM A QUALIFIED (AND REGISTERED) HERBAL PRACTITIONER. IF YOU’D LIKE TO ENJOY A HOLISTIC, PATIENT-CENTRED APPROACH TO YOUR HEALTH NEEDS, DON’T HESITATE TO CONTACT ME TO BOOK YOUR APPOINTMENT. 

6 Adaptogens That You Should Know

This is an article I wrote for Wellness Warehouse a while back & ended up being one of my favourite that I had written for them. You can find the original article here.


Trends in the health & wellness industry come and go – new buzzwords pop up on a daily basis, so are adaptogens the real deal or is it all just a bunch of hogwash?

What are Adaptogens & how do they work?

Adaptogens have been part of ancient herbal practices in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. However, the term ‘adaptogens’ was coined in 1947 by a Russian scientist, Lazarev, who was interested in substances that helped the body adapt to physical and emotional stress. Adaptogens are a class of herbs that offer up some serious benefits for the body. They have a ‘normalising’ effect, improving body function. In the end, there is a total body response that increases resistance against harm from physical and emotional stress (disease, anxiety etc.).

Not only do adaptogens have a normalising effect, they support the adrenal glands which are responsible for that ‘fight or flight’ response we experience when we are stressed. When our adrenal glands are constantly being activated by our stressful and busy lives without a break, they get a bit exhausted. Ideally we would want to create an environment that would maintain a less stressful life, but let’s be honest, that’s next to impossible in this day and age. Adaptogens can help to bounce back from the constant strain for better sleep, memory, focus, digestion and so much more.

6 Top Herbal Supplements

  1. Panax Ginseng

    Also known as Korean ginseng, it’s probably the most popular herbal supplement on the market – you can’t go into any health shop without seeing the words “ginseng” and “energy” paired together. Referred to as the ‘True Ginseng’, panax ginseng has been studied extensively, appearing to be effective for improving mood, immunity, energy levels & brain function. Panax ginseng is also used to regulate blood sugar in diabetes. Some studies have shown that panax ginseng increases the well-being & happiness in people who are diseased but in healthy individuals, it is actually unlikely to have any benefits.

    Available from Faithful To Nature, Wellness Warehouse & Dischem

  2. Ashwagandha

    One of the most esteemed herbs in Ayurveda, ashwagandha has been used for over 3000 years to relieve stress, increase energy levels and improve concentration. “Ashwagandha” is Sanskrit for “smell of the horse,” which refers to both its unique smell and ability to increase strength. Ashwagandha has had many studies done on it to prove its benefits. It’s been shown to help in treating diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels and has also been studied for its ability to boost testosterone and increase libido!
    Available from Faithful To Nature, Wellness Warehouse & Dischem.

  3. Maca

    Another buzzword, maca’s popularity has sky-rocketed in recent years, but it has actually been around for centuries! Traditionally used to enhance fertility and sex drive, maca has also been claimed to improve energy and stamina. It’s an incredibly nutritious herb & is a great source of several vitamins, like vitamin C. In Peru, maca has been used by natives to improve learning & memory in children and recent studies are confirming how it works. While research on maca is still in its early stages, it is showing great results. Several studies have shown that maca can improve your mental well-being & mood by reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.
    Available from Faithful To Nature, Wellness Warehouse & Dischem

  4. Reishi Mushrooms

    One of nature’s greatest tonics, reishi strengthens the immune system to help build resistance to stress & it’s being hailed as the “mushroom of immortality”. That may sound too good to be true, but with the overwhelming studies being completed showing the astounding proof of its benefits, this seemingly insignificant fungus has a solid case. Because of its ability to boost the immune system, reishi has been found hugely beneficial to chronic diseases like bronchitis, leaky-gut syndrome, HIV, Epstein-Barr and even Cancer. It also has the ability to lower cholesterol & triglycerides in the blood, earning it the right as a soldier to fight against heart disease & stroke.
    Available from Faithful To Nature & Wellness Warehouse.

  5. Rhodiola

    Arguably the most studied adaptogen – Rhodiola is a pretty convincing powerhouse of prosperity. Rhodiola is well known for its ability to supress cortisol while enhancing stress-resistance. It contains a phytochemical called salisdroside which is proven to help the body regulate cortisol after periods of intense stress. Rhodiola also helps with reducing fatigue & exhaustion while promoting longevity – a great competitor to panax ginseng! Studies are showing that rhodiola supports cognitive function & is a fantastic nervine tonic in that it uplifts when we are down (fatigued) & calms down when we are too heightened (stressed).
    Available from Faithful To Nature & Wellness Warehouse.

  6. Astragalus

    A fundamental herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine, astragalus is used for a medley of purposes & supposedly increases lifespan. Astragalus has been studied for its cardio—protective, anti-inflammatory and immune activating effects. Boosting the immune system is astragalus’ claim to fame. For thousands of years – this has been its main use & studies have shown that astragalus does stimulate immune cells to be released & that used as an additional therapy, it’s incredibly effective.
    Available from Faithful To Nature & Wellness Warehouse.

Disclaimmer: Herbs are not always safe to be taken without the supervision and guidance from a qualified (and registered) herbal practitioner. If you’d like to enjoy a holistic, patient-centred approach to your health needs, don’t hesitate to contact me to book your appointment. 

Herb of the Month: Violet

Viola odorata. Sweet, sweet violet. I can’t think of a better plant to represent February. Becoming more and more obsessed with the language of flowers, violets speak of delicate love, affection, modesty, faith, nobility, intuition and dignity – perfectly fitting in with the overwhelming theme of February – Valentines. It’s heart-shaped leaves seem to add to that mysticism.

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Violets have such beautiful symbolism. History has depicted violets as plants representing deep spiritual insights and were revered by monks and religions throughout time. During the middle ages they were called a “herb of the Holy Trinity” being associated with beginning life, death as well as resurrection.

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Traditionally violets were used by healers to treat heart conditions. Oh the irony. Sold by almost all apothecaries, herbalists have used violet to treat inflammation, varicose veins, eczema, as a lymphatic stimulant, blood cleanser and all-round cardiotonic. Nobody says it better than Culpepper himself…

‘It is a fine pleasing plant of Venus, of a mild nature and no way hurtful. All the Violets are cold and moist, while they are fresh and green, and are used to cool any heat or distemperature of the body, either inwardly or outwardly, as the inflammation in the eyes, to drink the decoction of the leaves and flowers made with water or wine, or to apply them poultice wise to the grieved places; it likewise easeth pains in the head caused through want of sleep, or any pains arising of heat if applied in the same manner or with oil of Roses. A drachm weight of the dried leaves or flowers of Violets, but the leaves more strongly, doth purge the body of choleric humours and assuageth the heat if taken in a draught of wine or other drink; the powder of the purple leaves of the flowers only picked and dried and drank in water helps the quinsy and the falling sickness in children, especially at the beginning of the disease. It is also good for jaundice. The flowers of the Violets ripen and dissolve swellings. The herbs or flowers while they are fresh or the flowers that are dry are effectual in the pleurisy and all diseases of the lungs. The green leaves are used with other herbs to make plasters and poultices for inflammation and swellings and to ease all pains whatsoever arising of heat and for piles, being fried with yoke of egg and applied thereto.’

Give your loved one something beautifully symbolic this Valentines. A devoted love? Blue violet is best. Wanting to take a gamble on love? White is the winner.

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