Category Archives: Herbs

10 Top Tips To Survive The Holiday Season and Start the New Year Powered-Up

December, the end of the year – a time of good will and the ‘Season of Stress’. At this time of the year we are all weighed down with stress – at work, at school, shopping for the Holidays, coping with crowds everywhere we go, financial worries. For almost everyone, everyday stress levels in their everyday life are ramped up right now.survive christmas

And then there are the parties! With so much going on it’s almost impossible to reach the New Year without crashing in a heap.

There is no point waiting until after the damage is done and the celebrations have finished to try to pick up the pieces. The key is to get on top of the extra stress right now.

Of course, that brings us right back to one of the big the stress triggers – you have no time right now to add anything extra into your busy life.

Fast Simple Strategies To Regain Calm Control

While the stress hormones, adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol, were essential to life in the wild, our bodies have not caught up with our lifestyle. Too much of the hormones designed to save our life in cave-man days surging through our body can have dire consequences on our health now. The constant level of stress we live with keeps them permanently switched on, constantly increasing our stress.


There are many quick and easy ways you can defuse stress in just two to five
minutes. It is simply a case of learning them and then remembering to use them.

Here are ten health hacks that take less than five minutes to get your stress levels down and have you on track to hit the New Year running. Try them all out or just one, but do yourself a favour this holiday season and practice a little self-care.

#1 Sweetly Scent-sual

Far more than just being pleasant aromas, the fragrance of flowers contains volatilelavender-76476_640 plant compounds that can reduce stress as powerfully as certain drugs. Keeping fresh flowers or a plant in your workspace will help, but to get a powerful effect opt for aromatherapy essential oils. Coming in little bottles they can be carried in your bag and quickly sniffed whenever you feel stress levels rising. Lavender is one of the best, and frankincense often the first choice to reduce stress. Rosemary is my favourite to increase clarity and focus, and peppermint is another good choice.

Simply take a long, deep breath from your bottle, or dab on your temples whenever you need it.

Or if you find your stress levels rising when you are out shopping duck into the closest florist and take some good deep calming breaths.

Flower Power can also be accessed through flower essences. These come in small bottles to carry with you, and you simply drop a few drops on your tongue whenever your stress, anxiety or worry levels start to rise.

While many find Bach Rescue Remedy helpful, The Australian Bush Flower combination essence ‘Calm & Clear’ is fantastic for helping you keep your cool. Buy it from you Natural Health practitioner or local health food shop.

#2 Tame Those Racing Thoughts

Sometimes when you are under stress and your mind is always busy, thoughts can go a bit wild, running round and round your head, building up your anxiety and increasing your stress.

When you find this happening simply begin to focus on an object – it can be any object, even just a pen, although I prefer something that is more engaging. You need to really focus on it, concentrate so other thoughts don’t creep in.

Once you are focused start to breathe deeply and slowly, right down deep into your abdomen. If you are not sure about doing this try it out a few times when you are calm to get the hang of the process which you can learn on Mastering The Breath Of Life.

Keep the breathing going for three minutes while you maintain your focus. This is an excellent way to calm your mind and relax you.

#3 Breathe…

image credit: Shawn Rossi
image credit: Shawn Rossi

You don’t necessarily need to focus and breathe when you feel stressed.

Deep diaphragmatic breathing alone soothes your nervous system and increases your alertness. Once you have mastered this technique it is easy to simply stop and do it. Even just breathing for two minutes can settle you down considerably.

Breathe down into your belly, through your nose, hold for a couple of seconds, then release slowly through your mouth.

#4 Tea Time

How often do you hear someone say in TV shows ‘let’s have a nice cuppa tea’ after some big drama is sorted? Full of antioxidants tea is the perfect way to calm down, especially if you stop rushing around and sit quietly to enjoy it.

Black, green and white tea, all have some calming effect. But if you want the big guns of relaxing teas you can’t go past some of the herbals.

Chamomile is the simplest and is readily available, even in most cafes, so is a good one to fall back on. It is far more effective when it’s brewed up with lavender though and works well in many blends.Tulsi Tea

Ashwaganda has been used in Ayervedic medicine for thousands of years to treat even severe stress. A great choice while you’re working as it calms your nervous system without sending you off to sleep. As a bonus it induces a sense of wellbeing and clears your mind.

Lemon balm, passionflower, skullcap, valerian, lime blossom and oats are just some of the others that calm and relax.

There are so many herbs already combined into excellent relaxing blends now available that all you need to do is select the combination that you like the most. Try out a few different blends until you discover your favourite.

#5 Talk With A Friend

Whether you vent, speed-talk, shed a few tears, or simply sigh, talking to a good friend who is ready to just listen, can make a huge difference to your stress levels. Research has shown that as well as getting stuff off your chest talking to a friend actually reduces your stress hormones as well as your blood pressure.

#6 Smile

Frowning or grimacing, clenching your jaw, or wrinkling your forehead all suppress your immune system and trigger the release of more stress hormones.fruit smile free use

Simple smiling boosts your levels of the neurotransmittors serotonin from your thyroid and endorphins from your pituitary gland. These are the ones the one that produce good moods and make you happy. As smiling increases your endorphins it also lowers your levels of cortisol.

The more you stimulate your brain to release these mood boosters by just smiling the more relaxed you feel.

But here’s the amazing thing. You don’t have to feel happy. It’s the simple act of moving the muscles in your face that triggers the action. Putting on a happy face starts the process.

#7 Visualize – Let Out Your Imagination

Your mind is a powerful tool and the gateway to escaping your stress. Remember how good you feel when you are think of your favourite holiday spot? Or perhaps recalling time spent with close family or friends?

Closing your eyes and taking your thoughts inside your minds-eye to your favourite perfect, beautiful scene or happy experience allows you to return to those times when you felt secure, happy and relaxed.

Simply closing your eyes gives you the space to spend a few moments to ground and reduce the stress hormones surging through your body.

#8 Yuuummm…

Now here’s one many of you will love. Small amounts of dark chocolate really do make you feel better and reduce your stress. Eating dark chocolate increases serotonin and endorphin levels in your brain – the mood enhancers. Plus it lowers your levels of that difficult stress hormone, cortisol.

Just 40 grams of dark chocolate a day for a couple of weeks does the job. And the darker the chocolate, the better. It must be at least 70% cocoa. Sweet, milk chocolate varieties don’t offer the benefits, and don’t even consider white chocolate. But be sure to practice moderation, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.

#9 Meditate

Not only does meditating calm you in the moment, establishing regular meditation practice changes the way your brain responds to stress.

The image many have of meditation practice is of sitting still for hours with a completely empty mind. But there are many forms of meditation, some still – some active, and some taking just a few minutes.

Have you ever found yourself gazing at something, perhaps a magnificent scene, completely caught up in what you are looking at, your mind a blank? You are in a state of meditation. Anything that totally pulls your focus and allows you to switch off distractions is a meditation.

Sometimes it can happen simply by watching something absorbing, at other times it helps to repeat a simple word or phrase in time with your breath. Words such as relax, I am calm, peace or serenity are all suitable choices. Find one that has the most meaning for you.

Concentrating on your breath is one way to focus and meditate. Zen masters may do this for hours on end but even doing it for just a few minutes has a powerful effect on your whole body – your brain, your nervous system, your emotions, your muscles.
You can even meditate by concentrating on your breathing as you take slow measured steps in time with each breath. LINK??

#10 Meridian Magic

This is a different take on how to relax and calm yourself.

This twenty second exercise is an ancient healing practice that rebalances the energy pathway in the body that affects stress. Realigning this meridian supports your immune system and improves your ability to manage stress and release tension, anxiety and fear.

So simple, quick and effective, you can do it anywhere, and it only takes seconds.
This year, set yourself up to hit the New Year running.

We can’t totally eliminate stress from our life in these times, it surrounds us day and night. But taking simple steps to prevent the effects of that stress building and building in your body until it reaches a level where you crash, just makes plain good sense.

Perhaps even more importantly it gives you back control of your life.



All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.
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Natural Cures For Indigestion


Indigestion_20125 NOT free

After enjoying a wonderful meal there is nothing worse than sitting back and finding minutes or even hours later, that you are suffering the discomfort of indigestion.

Acid reflux or heartburn, nausea, vomiting, burping and belching, stomach uneasiness or burning pain, flatulence (gas), abdominal pain, bloating, growling stomach are all symptoms of indigestion, causing the sufferer much discomfort or embarrassment.

Even seemingly unrelated symptoms such as dry coughing, sour or bitter tastes in the mouth, hoarseness and wheezing can be related to acid reflux.

Indigestion is very common and most people suffer from it at least occasionally. With so many lifestyle triggers leading to indigestion this is not surprising.

Drugs prescribed for indigestion are on the increase. Most people use over the counter antacids to find relief but this is one of the worst ways to treat it.

Antacids give temporary relief but can also have side effects such as diarrhea or constipation. Other drugs prescribed fall into two groups – H2 blockers (eg Zantac) and Proton pump inhibitors, PPI’s, (eg Nexium).

The problem with these drugs is that they reduce the amount of acid in your stomach. This may seem beneficial. However, in many instances the problem behind indigestion is actually that your stomach is producing insufficient stomach acid, not excess. When you do not have enough stomach acid you are unable to properly digest food, and digestive problems occur.

The drugs can easily mask imbalances and lead to more serious problems. They may cause many side effects – for example they may lower your levels of vitamin B12, cause nausea or vomiting, headache, bruising, constipation or diarrhea, increase the risk of fractures and the risk of infections. Plus, once you start you need to keep taking them because they cause a rebound effect. This is where the indigestion symptoms return even worse than they previously were, if you stop taking the drug.



Acid reflux occurs when the valve between the stomach and oesophagus (LES) does not close properly, allowing small amounts of stomach acid to spill over into the oesophagus.

Bloating or gas may be due to the fermentation of some trigger foods or foods that are difficult to digest. It can also be due to swallowing air during eating. It may also be a symptom of a disorder such as Coeliac Disease.

There are many Lifestyle triggers for indigestion including:

  • Being overweight
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Medications (including aspirin, thyroid meds, or Oral Contraceptives)
  • Eating trigger foods and drinks
  • Overweight
  • Eating too fast
  • High-fat foods
  • Pregnancy


Some of the common trigger foods include:

  • Fatty meats
  • Deep fried foods
  • Chocolate
  • Peppermint
  • Alcohol in excess
  • Coffee
  • Cola

Stress lies behind many cases of indigestion. Keeping a record of your moods and the times when you feel stressed, rushed, anxious, worried, overworked or even uneasy can help you identify emotional triggers for your indigestion. Once you work out what situations trigger the problem, regularly undertaking activities such as meditation, yoga, qi gong, tai chi or relaxation exercises goes a long way towards reducing stress levels and the symptoms of indigestion.



While prevention is ideal it is not always possible.

But you can make changes in your lifestyle that will help reduce symptoms:

  • Avoid putting pressure on the stomach, avoid tight clothes.
  • Avoid carbonated drinks.
  • Eat small meals – five to six over the day, and eat them slowly
  • Eat fibre (40g a day)
  • Avoid spicy foods
  • Drink coffee (including decaffeinated) and tea in moderation
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid ice cold food and drinks which can inactivate digestive enzymes
  • Avoid cocoa and foods containing it
  • Avoid eating in the three hours before you go to bed
  • Undertake practices to relieve stress
  • Stop smoking, avoid tobacco
  • Lose weight
  • Reduce processed and sweet foods

Foods like kefir, sauerkraut and miso contain probiotics to restore the natural balance and function of your gut. Or take a probiotic supplement containing Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. Not only do they restore the bowel flora, they also help your digestion. Taking Spirulina will also increase healthy bacteria in your digestive tract.

Vitamin D is important for stomach health. If you are not getting adequate sunshine or normally wear sunscreen, increase your Vitamin D intake. Source it from cod liver oil (which is also rich in omega 3) or take a supplement.

You can help increase your natural production of stomach acid, hydrochloric acid, by including Himalayan salt in your diet. This ensures your body gets enough chloride to make sufficient hydrochloric acid, plus it provides 83 trace minerals that are needed by your body in order to function well.

One way to identify any food triggers that may be causing your digestive problems is to keep a food diary over a few weeks.



Homeopathy for Indigestion

There are a number of Hoemopathic remedies that can effectively stop the symptoms of heartburn and indigestion when selected and taken in accordance with homeopathic prescribing guidelines.

Ipecacuahna is one of the most commonly used homeopathic remedies for acute nausea and vomiting which is not relieved by vomiting. The tongue is surprisingly very clean. Symptoms get worse from warmth but improve a little in the fresh air..

Nux-vomica is great for acute nausea especially when the result of overeating, drinking alcohol or coffee, or digestive problems which are made worse by therapeutic or recreational drugs. It is often accompanied by constipation, flatulence or heartburn. Symptoms are made better by warmth and warm applications.

Homeopathic Pulsatilla can be helpful if the indigestion is the result of eating pork or rich fatty foods. Symptoms include bloating sometimes a headache. They do not feel thirsty and find some relief from cool, fresh air.

Carbo-veg gives relief from bloating with lots of offensive gas, which is sometimes released by drinking carbonated drinks.

Natrum phos is an important homeopathic remedy for indigestion with sour belching, sour tasting vomit and a yellow colour on the tongue. Good for those who get indigestion from eating fats. You can take Natrum phos as either a Homeopathic preparation or as a Cell Salt (Schuessler’s Tissue Salts).

Take Homeopathic preparations in the 6th potency, or the 30th potency if you are familiar with Homeopathic prescribing guidelines.

These are only a few of the hundreds of different Homeopahic remedies that help indigestion and give fast effective relief. If you are not familiar with the intricacies of Homeopathic prescribing consult a practitioner.

Herbs for Indigestion

In addition to changing poor habits there are many wonderful herbs to aid your digestion.

Ginger  tea can give immediate relief for heartburn or indigestion. It can also help reduce bloating. Shred some fresh ginger root and pour boiling water over. Allow to steep for ten minutes, strain and drink.

Fenugreek seeds coat the lining of your stomach to relieve symptoms. Add one to two teaspoons to your food or eat separately.

Licorice root can be an effective treatment for reflux. It stimulates the production of digestive secretions that help reduce reflux. Take one or two tablets before meals or bed, or take as a tea to stimulate saliva and prevent symptoms. Make certain it is deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) particularly if you suffer from hypertension.

Bitter herbs. Herbs such as dandelion root, caraway, fennel, yellowdock, blessed thistle and gentian, found in Swedish Bitters, are some of the bitter herbs that promote better digestion because they encourage gastric secretions including saliva, hydrochloric (stomach) acid and digestive enzymes. They can treat or even prevent reflux. Take bitters just before eating to get the digestive juices flowing.

Holy Basil or Tulsi, has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine to treat many disorders including stomach disorders, nausea and stress. Sipping a cup of Tulsi tea could help combat your indigestion by reducing the actual stomach symptoms as well as addressing the stress behind them.

Peppermint.  Many people find peppermint tea an excellent digestive soother. However it can have the opposite effect for nearly half the population, causing heartburn If this applies to you try chamomile tea instead. Peppermint relaxes smooth muscle of your digestive tract to ease cramps, gas and nausea. It can soothe disruptions in the bowel caused by nervousness, overeating or diet changes.

Charcoal.  If you suffer from excessive flatulence taking activated charcoal in the hour or two after your meal can help reduce the gas. Be careful about taking it on a regular basis as it can interfere with the absorption of nutrients.

Slippery Elm Powder taken before meals helps heal irritated digestive tracts. It is mucilaginous and becomes gel-like when in contact with water to coat, protect and soothe the digestive tract. It comes as a powder to add to drinks or in capsules.

Apple Cider VinegarMany people swear by apple cider vinegar. One tablespoon of ACV and one tablespoon of honey in a glass of pure water before meals can ease heartburn.

Lemons. Eating lemon before a meal can prevent heartburn or take some lemon juice in a glass of warm water. Lemon also stimulates bile production to help break down fats and improve digestion.


Chronic heartburn and indigestion is a serious problem and can be part of an underlying illness. Consult your health care practitioner if symptoms persist.

What’s your favourite kitchen cure to sort out for your digestive problems?



All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.
Source articles

Getting Naturally Candid About Candida

You may start to wonder if you will ever get well when you feel ghastly but test after test comes back clear.
You may start to wonder if you will ever get well when you feel ghastly but test after test comes back clear.

It is so common to have clients come in and say “I feel just awful but all my tests have come back normal”. Whilst they could have a number of different problems, often they are suffering from yeast overgrowth, or Candida.

This has become so widespread within the community with research suggesting that 90% of the population, men and women, may suffer from it. Many individuals regularly use fungal treatments when obvious symptoms flare up. But they are not addressing the problem at its source in the digestive tract and so the symptoms persist or recur. The yeast overgrowth leads to chronic systemic problems that leave them feeling exhausted with a variety of other seemingly unconnected symptoms, ranging from itchy throat to joint pains, or brain fog.

Candida albicans is a robust form of yeast normally present in our body. It can lead to fungal infections in the digestive tract, as well as the mouth, the vagina and on our skin. The presence of other friendly bacteria, normally keep it in check and hold it to levels that do not create problems for the immune system.

But many people’s gut bacteria are not in balance. When you have sufficient numbers of “good” bacteria they keep the candida bacteria in check. But when the numbers of good bacteria are diminished it allows the candida to grow and multiply rapidly until it overtakes the good bacteria, and causes a variety of chronic health problems in both women and men.


First the candida bacteria damages the lining of your intestines causing them to weaken and allowing toxins to pass through, which are then carried throughout your body. This is known as Leaky Gut. As well as spreading the toxins right through your body it leads to intolerances to many foods that were previously well tolerated such as dairy foods, eggs or gluten.

Next you start to crave sugars and carbohydrates more and more. Candida feeds on sugars both refined and unrefined. Carbohydrates break down in your gut into sugars and so are just as appealing to the candida bacteria as are simple sugars. As the numbers increase so does their need for food and so you seek out more of these types of food.

As the candida matabolises and then dies it creates 79 different toxins. These cause symptoms such as bloating, diarrhoea or gas within the digestive system. As the toxins leak out of your gut, enter your bloodstream and are carried around your body they make you feel terrible. You may feel like you have the flu or even that you are drunk. As the numbers of candida increase the quantities of released toxins also increases.

Oral and vaginal thrush, or candidiasis, plus skin affections such as nappy  (diaper) rash, are commonly recognized and treated with western medicine. However dysbiosis, where the candida has become so prolific in the intestines that it causes the wide-ranging symptoms throughout the entire body, is more controversial and often rejected by many doctors.


Dysbiosis is thought to be created by a few things. Taking lots of antibiotics is considered one of the main things that can lead to this situation as many of the “good” bacteria are killed. Candida however is not affected by the antibiotics, and with fewer numbers of other bacteria left to maintain the balance, it is able to flourish and reproduce wildly.

The overuse of broad-spectrum antibiotics is most often the cause of the problem, particularly when the person has been on them for long periods to treat problems such as acne or sinus. But there are other medications that can also create the problem. Birth control pills are a perfect example of these medications. Taken for very long periods, often many years without a break, they has a strong bearing on gut bacteria, allowing the proliferation of Candida albicans. Commonly prescribed oral corticosteroids like prednisone, is another.

Other factors that increase susceptibility to dysbiosis are stress, lowered immune function, high-sugar diets, diabetes, and the hormonal changes in pregnancy.

When you remember that the command centre of the immune system is found in the gut it is obviously essential that significant problems in the intestines are addressed and turned around.


The imbalance of intestinal bacteria, or flora, is often called dysbiosis. It leads to many symptoms including:

  •  Nail fungal infections, discolouration of toenails
  • Skin fungal infections such as tinea, athlete’s foot, ringworm
  • Feeling tired, fatigued, worn down or exhausted
  • Digestive problems – bloating, diarrhea/constipation, gas, new food sensitivities, spastic colon
  • Autoimmune diseases including Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ulcerative Colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma, Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Poor concentration, poor memory, disorientation, brain fog, lack of focus, dizziness, headache
  • ADD or ADHD
  • Skin problems – eczema, psoriasis, recurrent rashes
  • Sinusitis, recurrent colds, chronic nasal congestion
  • Mood swings, irritability
  • Recurrent vaginal yeast infections, vulvar itching (women)
  • Prostate and bladder infections (men)
  • Rectal itching
  • Urinary tract infections
  • PMS, decreased libido
  • Strong cravings for sugar and sweets or refined carbohydrates (bread, pasta, cake, cookies etc)
  • Weight gain


Candida can be measured with a blood test. Many natural health practitioners are able to test in their clinic, or a doctors can order a blood test to test for Candida Anti-bodies, or a stool test to identify candida in your colon. But make sure it is a comprehensive stool test, not a standard one.



A good way is to starve the candida out, and to use probiotics to repopulate the gut with the friendly bacteria that then keeps the candida in check. The damage to your intestines causing the leaky gut also needs to be repaired so any chemicals produced by the remaining candida can no longer travel through your body.

To starve the candida requires adhering to a strict diet for at least two months, although it can take longer. Candida flourish in the presence of sugars, refined and unrefined, and anything fermented. Foods such as sweets, soft drinks, most fresh, all dried and all juiced fruit, refined grains including bread, pasta, cakes, cookies, rice, or fermented foods like soy, alcohol and vinegar, create “candida heaven” in your intestines. Removing these from your diet and supplementing with probiotics to help repopulate the gut with “good bacteria” can starve out the candida and help to create balance between all the gut bacteria.

Eliminate all sweets and sugars on the Candida Diet
Eliminate all sweets and sugars on the Candida Diet

It can be quite difficult to maintain the diet, especially as our Western diet is based on sugar-rich refined foods. Many people baulk at the diet and give it away before it has killed sufficient candida to reduce their symptoms in the long-term. Although the diet does require commitment, when you consider just how far-reaching the effects of yeast overgrowth are, and the extent of its impact on your entire system, it seems worth the effort. The long term improvement in lifestyle as well as health makes it worth persevering.

Removing any foods that are causing inflammation in your digestive tract, such as dairy foods and gluten, will help your gut to heal and aid your digestion. Healing your gut stops the candida getting out and making its way right through your body. Reducing inflammation improves your overall health, helping to prevent chronic disease later.

Once you finish with the candida diet it is time to be pro-active with your diet. Introduce foods rich in good bacteria such as miso, sauerkraut, kombucha tea and kefir (fermented milk). And don’t go back to eating lots of sweet or processed foods.

fermented foods


You require about 25-100 billion units of probiotics daily to start to balance out the candida by restoring the good bacteria. The variety needs to be Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus bifidus and saccharomyces boulardii (SB). The Lactobacillus varieties maintain the balance of friendly bacteria and the SB variety reduces the candida population by acidifying the contents of the intestine.

Eating yogurt alone will not replace a quality supplement.


Echinacea angustifolia boosts the immune system to battle yeast infections.

Garlic (Allium sativum) enhances immunity and research has shown that it reduces Candida albicans. Adding garlic to your diet is very useful in fighting candida.

Goldenseal may be effective for candida-related diarrhea.

Silymarin supports the liver, which may have reduced detoxification ability due to being compromised by the candida-related toxins. It enhances function and offers protection.

There are a number of herbs useful for treating candida and their effectiveness varies. This has led to some saying that different herbs must be used in cycles. In order to ensure you are taking the best antifungal for your needs, you would be better to use them under the care of a Natural Health practitioner.

Fatty Acids

Caprylic acid, a fatty acid has anti-fungal actions. It works by interfering with the cell walls of the fungus. Your body makes small amounts but it is also found in plants, particularly in coconut and palm oils. Although there is no clinical data available as to its effect on candida, it has been found to reduce the ability of the candida to grow and replicate.


An approach that incorporates change on all levels is far more effective than simply taking probiotics or changing your diet. Altering your lifestyle can make a big difference to the reappearance of yeast overgrowth.

Maintain an exercise program to support and enhance your immune system.

Reduce stress. Taking up meditation, yoga, qi gong or tai chi will help you deal with stress you cannot avoid.

Avoid commercial feminine hygiene products. Also, the perfumes in them can irritate the mucous membranes.

Eat yoghurt which is not sweetened and contains live cultures of acidophilus.

Increase fibre to maintain bowel habits to effectively eliminate toxins in the gut.

Avoid exposure to chemicals in paints, cleaning products, perfumes as chemical sensitivities are very common in those with overgrowth of yeast.

Take up meditation or yogato help you deal with stress you cannot avoid.
Take up meditation or yogato help you deal with stress you cannot avoid.

Natural Therapies

While western medicine has many strengths, it is natural therapies that shine when it comes to treating chronic illnesses. Two natural therapies are particularly useful in dealing with yeast overgrowth.

Homeopathic remedies can be selected to treat candida overgrowth, quickly reducing the associated symptoms, and at the same time building the immune system. They are also useful for dealing with associated food cravings for sweets. EFT (Emotional Freedom Technoque) is also great for stopping cravings.

Traditional Chinese Medicine combines acupuncture with Chinese herbs to clear the candida and strengthen the immune system.

For my clients I combine Homeopathic remedies with other natural therapies, the candida diet and probiotics. This combination addresses the symptoms and improves their general health, which has been undermined by the overgrowth. It also seems to speed up the process, and help with the symptoms that arise as the candida dies off.


To prevent yeast overgrowth avoid the use of antibiotics unnecessarily. If you do need to take antibiotics take probioics at the same time, and for about three weeks afterwards to rebuild friendly bacteria numbers. Avoid unnecessary steroid use. Rinse your mouth or nose after using a steroid inhaler or nasal sprays if you do use them. Consider your use of birth control pills, particularly if you use them continuously for long periods. Reduce the amount of sweet, refined carbohydrates and processed fermented foods in your diet.

Be aware that as large numbers of candida die off all at once they release significant toxins into the gut. These can cause a temporary return of symptoms such as bloating, pain or diarrhea, or general ‘flu-like’ symptoms. The symptoms pass as the waste toxins are removed.

Be careful about assuming that you have dysbiosis. Although it is quite common, and is often not diagnosed, the symptoms are similar to those of other conditions and problems. There is also quite a bit of misinformation about candida around and you need to be careful about diagnosing yourself from a book or the internet.

If you think you may have an overgrowth of candida consult with a Natural Health Practitioner. While you can make the necessary changes for yourself, this can be a very complex problem that can have extensive effects on your body, and one that is far better managed holistically by a practitioner. They will construct the best protocol for you and manage any difficulties you encounter along your way to overcoming this disorder and returning to better health.

lust for life


All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue. 

Source articles


Natural Remedies For Travel – Create Your Own Kit

With the summer holidays just around the corner many Aussies are heading off on their annual holiday. Whether it’s to one of our country’s magnificent beaches or overseas there’s always the chance that some mishap will occur. If you’re not prepared it can really mar the whole holiday. But it’s easy to leave home well prepared for travel illness with your own natural remedies first-aid kit.

natural remedies for travel

Most people going on holiday take along some products or medications just in case they’re one of the unlucky ones who fall ill – even if this is as simple as aloe gel for sunburn. But with a little foresight you can leave home much better prepared.

Whenever anyone in my family heads off on holiday they always put together a Natural Therapy First Aid Kit to take with them.

Our family natural remedy kit started soon after I first used homeopathic remedies for my boys when they were quite young. Our collection of remedies was kept in a partitioned plastic case that slid under the car seat when we went camping at the beach. It proved invaluable many, many times for all sorts of ailments from sunburn, summer colds, Bluebottle stinger attacks, sprained ankles through to New Years Day hangovers. The remedies were often pulled out to treat other campers as well.

Over the last decade we traveled further afield, through SE Asia, Southern Africa and across the Pacific to Mexico, South America and USA, and natural remedies went along on each journey. Items from the kit have been used on every trip.

Homeopathic First-Aid Kits

Our kits contain Homeopathic remedies to deal with Travelers Diarhorrea, food poisoning, fluid retention, sunburn and burns, sprains strains and bruising, nausea, travel sickness, infections, fever, insect and animal bites and stings, plus others. We also add various remedies selected to suit the individual using each kit. A migraine remedy for one, another gets sinus pain in flight, two are very susceptible to altitude sickness, another to skin infections, so we add these types or remedies where they are needed.

I usually pack everything together in a small plastic storage box from the supermarket. It keeps the products dry and clean and helps prevent spillage and breakage.


My Family’s Basics

Homeopathic remedies always form the basis of our travel kit. They are small, light and quickly very effective. There are a number of basic remedies we take wherever we go. Then we add others selected specifically for the problems we’ll likely encounter in the area we’re visiting.

I pack these remedies into a small zipped leather pouch. It keeps the remedies secure and has the added advantage of being easy to flip open to be manually scanned at the airports (rather than passing them through on the higher powered scanning belt which may damage them).

Homeopathic remedies in their zipped leather case.
My family’s well-used Homeopathic remedies in their well travelled zipped leather case.

There are a number of different strengths, or potencies, but 30c is quite suitable to use and the better choice if you’re not familiar with using them. They come in the form of tiny pillules which are dissolved under the tongue.

It can be difficult to source homeopathic remedies. Many Homeopaths have Travel Kits for sale but if you don’t have a Homeopath you visit regularly then the best alternative is to buy a Travel Kit online. They come with a small instruction booklet

Martin & Pleasance in Melbourne Australia make a compact little kit containing 20 remedies.   (It comes in the same case I use to fill with my own remedies).

This Homeopathic travel kit from Ainsworths in England contains 10 remedies and comes in a canvas or leather case  Owen Homeopathics make a small kit which only has 7 remedies

What Natural Remedies To Add


Many people from industrial countries find it difficult when they travel through developing nations because there’s a huge range of bacteria that they’re not normally exposed to.

Taking good quality probiotics increases good gut bacteria and supports your immune system. Taking them right through your travel may help protect you from ‘Travellers Diahorrea’,  keeping your immunity high so you don’t get sick so easily, and help your digestion when it’s weakened by a strange diet or unfamiliar bacteria. They’re also very restorative if you do happen to catch parasites.

You need to select a probiotic that doesn’t require refrigeration.

 Activated Charcoal Tablets

Charcoal tablets are activated carbon that absorbs toxins. They’re excellent for reducing diarrhoea. Their special benefit over medications is they absorb the bacteria and toxins from your gut, carrying them out of your body when you use your bowels.

The good news is they’re odourless and tasteless.

Don’t mix activated charcoal with ice-cream or chocolate as these reduce the effectiveness. But avoid these foods anyway if you’re suffering from travel diarrhoea!

Bach Rescue Remedy

Bach Rescue remedy has been such a basic for natural first aid for decades. A blend of flower essences developed by Dr Bach, it helps you recover quickly from shock and upset. Great for dealing calmly with lost baggage or missed flights.

But it’s also useful to avert many acute illnesses, or manage acute stress by keeping down anxiety levels. Losing luggage, missing connections, problems with accommodation, all the stresses that can spoil a holiday can be reduced and managed with the help of Rescue Remedy.

You could use Australian Bush Flower Emergency Essence instead – some people seem to respond better to this, although I’ve found the Bach Rescue Remedy works for everyone I’ve given it to. You simply take a few drops under your tongue.


Calendula Cream

Creams are easy to carry and use and Calendula is a ‘must-have’.

Calendula is anti-inflammatory, reducing pain and swelling. It promotes the rapid healing of skin tissue. It’s great for applying to  to chafed skin, scrapes, grazes, and minor burns including sunburn. It can also be used on minor wounds.

Hypercal Cream is antiseptic and particulary suited to cuts and wounds, particularly if there’s a chance they may heal slowly and become infected. It combines calendula with hypericum and often other herbals and like calendula cream provides pain relief.

Tea-tree Cream

Tea- tree is a powerful anti-bacterial and this cream is really effective on skin cuts, burns and infections. It’s also good for any fungal infection you may pick up on your feet. You could also take it in the form of oil. Either can be applied directly to the wound.

Arnica Cream

We use Homeopathic Arnica pillules for sore muscles, aching joints, bruises and pains. But Arnica is also available as a cream to rub into the sore areas. Not as strong-acting in the cream, it nonetheless gives wonderful relief and is used by many sports stars around the world. Traumeel ointment or gel combines 14 different Homeopathically prepared plants which all help relieve sprains, strains and sore muscles.

Colloidal Silver

Through the ages water was often stored in silver because silver is an effective antimicrobial agent and it kept the water pure. Colloidal silver is a powerful natural antibiotic and works by suffocating the enzymes required by the harmful microorganism, without damaging any human enzymes.

It can be added to water to help purify it if you get caught out. I wouldn’t ingest it on a regular basis as long-term use may turn your skin grey, but it can be useful in an emergency.

It also has other uses. It’s often taken orally under the tongue or in water, to ward off viral and bacterial infection. Applied to the skin it can ward off infection.

In the tropics where the air’s very moist skin infections can be very difficult to heal. For my sons backpacking or traveling in isolated places where the conditions may not be hygienic, the prevention of infection is very important and colloidal silver is a must-have for them.

It’s also useful for tinea, eczema, psoriasis, acne or burns, wherever there’s the potential for a bacterial or fungal component.

Lavender Oil

If sleeping in a strange bed is a problem for you, or you’re a pillow princess (yes that’s me – pillow princess! I always take a pillow) a small bottle of lavender oil can be a lifesend. It’s a proven sleep enhancer and inhaling the scent or shaking a few drops on the pillow helps to sedate and promote a good sleep.

Lavender oil can also help you relax if you get nervous on the plane, but you need to be careful in the confined space as some people are allergic to it.


Coconut Oil

If you’re seeking a moisturizing agent coconut oil is your answer. It’s very hydrating in dry climates. calms rashes and is excellent for chapped lips.  You can use it all over your body.


Not usually part of my family’s kit, magnesium is a great addition if you experience constipation. It clears it up very quickly. It’s also great to relax you before bed and help you sleep. If you find you’re insomniac while traveling magnesium will calm your nerves, relax you and help you get that rest.


Of course you’ll take sunscreen, but it’s worth selecting one that’s not laden with harmful chemicals. I have no affiliation with any brands of products I mention here. They’re just ones I’ve used and found to be effective and high quality.

My family loves Soleo All Natural Sunscreen because it’s very easy to apply. I love it because it’s organic and rated #1 sunscreen by the EWG.

Wotnotmakes an excellent sunscreen, which isn’t tested on animals,

UV Naturals is another excellent natural sunscreen recommended by the Feingold Association USA. Their range includes a special sunscreen formulated for babies.

These are all Australian made sunscreens, don’t contain titanium oxide and are  available around the globe.


Bioeffectives come from pine needles. They’re loaded with a multitude of essential nutrients including chlorophyll and many substances already found in the blood, brain soft tissue, and skin. They’re a powerful antioxidant and address any imbalances, so are perfect to support the effects on the body caused by the different environment, including parasites and bacteria.

My son picked up an extremely nasty amoebic parasite in Columbia recently and was very grateful for the Bioeffective-A (used here as a probiotic substitute) he was carrying, as it helped his gut recover quickly so he could enjoy the rest of his travels.

No-Jet-Lag/Jet Ease

My family uses straight homeopathic Arnica and homeopathic Coca for jet lag, but No-Jet-Lag, which is  called Jet-Ease (in Australia), is a popular Homeopathic alternative which many swear by. It combines Arnica with four other homeopathic remedies that also address the negative effects of air travel .

Remember these remedies are specially prepared homeopathically and the substances used to make them can be quite toxic in their original form if ingested.

Of course I add a few other items such as bandages and alcohol swabs as my boys like to head off the beaten track. You can include anything else that’s relevant to your travel plans but this list should give you some starting ideas.

Most of these products are available from Health Food Stores or Natural Health Practitioners. Some are available online.

Get yourself prepared and have a great holiday!

Do you have any other Natural Health Remedies that you wouldn’t be without on holiday?Let us know in the comments.

natural remedy kit for travel
photo credit: Hadi Zaher


All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue. 


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The Health Benefits Of Herbal Teas

Loose leaf herbal tea
Loose leaf herbal tea

I’m a big fan of herbal teas, or tissanes. When I started drinking them, I had a difficult time, as like many people initially I did not enjoy the taste. But I had always drunk my coffee and tea without milk and I think that this helped me make the switch. I still find herbal tea with milk added just weird (unless it is chai of course).

The problem for me was that the first herbal tea I tried was peppermint, and I tried it during pregnancy because it was recommended for treating the nausea of morning sickness. However it made me feel even sicker at the time and every since whenever I sip on peppermint tea it comes accompanied with a wave of nausea – the power of suggestion!

Peppermint is well known as a wonderful digestive – and it is, for just over about half the population. For the other half peppermint can have a very different effect. It is a herb that has a relaxing effect on the sphincters of the body. It can have that effect on the sphincter at the top of the stomach, allowing partially digested food to flow from the stomach into the oesophagus, resulting in heartburn and indigestion. It is definitely not the tea of choice for anyone who suffers from heartburn.

This is a wonderful reminder of the power of herbal tea. Herbal teas not only offer a tasty warm drink, they also deliver a dose of medication at the same time. If you have a negative sensitivity to the effects of that particular plant then you are certainly going to feel the negative effect in your body.

The medicinal effects of the plants in the tea you select can also build up. Chamomile is widely recognised as a great herb to relax people sufficiently so they can drift off to sleep. It has a soothing effect on the nervous system. But take too much chamomile tea and you could find yourself far from relaxed. Instead you become a nervous, irritable, difficult to please, pain-in-the-neck.

Herbs are a wonderful way to treat all manner of illnesses, with their prescribing origins going way back into the depths of time. But it is certainly valid to investigate whether consuming herbal teas in any quantity is going to be harmful to you. There are a number of teas that are not good during pregnancy. But there are also other health issues that may make you choose to stay away from certain herbal teas. Licorice for example can cause an increase in blood pressure and is better avoided if you suffer hypertension.

One great benefit of drinking herbal teas is that they are alkalizing when they are metabolized by the body. Too many acidifying foods create inflammation in your body, which contributes to many diseases. Balancing out these foods with alkalizing foods, including herbal teas, helps to bring your body back into balance also.

I try to vary the teas I drink in order to avoid problems from too much of any one herb in my system and so I have a whole shelf in my cupboard devoted to herbal teas. I am continually on the lookout for new ones to try. I occasionally dry my own herbs, although my current garden is not so great for growing the herbs I prefer. Growing and drying your own herbs is very easy and provided you don’t use any chemicals on them an excellent way to make your own organic teas.

My herbal tea cupboard with some of the herbal teas we drink
My herbal tea cupboard with some of the herbal teas we drink

Here are some guidelines for growing your own tea herbs. Home grown herbs are often more flavoursome than bought varieties.

If you prefer to buy packaged herbal teas there are many great brands out there, so you don’t need to buy those made by Liptons or other big companies. I love quite a few. Pukka teas are made according to Ayurvedic medicine principles and there are some great blends in their range. Tea Tonic  is the brainchild of a naturopath and herbalist Lisa Hilbert and teas in the range are formulated for good health. Healing Concepts make a big range of awesome teas, including an excellent dandelion root tea, which is great for your liver. Plus there are many other companies making great, often organic, teas. If you want quality tea that not only tastes good but is really good for you, source your teas carefully. I read a few months ago that many of the teas from a well-known and long established herbal tea company were found to contain worrying high levels of pesticides.

If you are using the herbal teas for a specific health issue you need to drink about drink two to four cups a day for a few weeks. By then you should know whether it is helping to improve your problem.

photo credit: Khairil Zhafri
photo credit: Khairil Zhafri




One of the most popular herbal teas, it is calming and soothing and helps people who lose their appetite when stressed. It soothes tense stomachs or digestive problems like heartburn or nausea. Because it relaxes it is useful for PMS or abdominal cramps.  It is also excellent for nervousness or anxiety and is a wonderful relaxant before bed. It’s a great stress buster and usually available.


The part of the plant used dictates the benefit. The leaves are a diuretic and increase your urine output. The root however gives excellent liver support and helps bile secretion. It is also helpful for skin conditions. Dandelion ‘coffee’ makes an excellent liver tonic, helping it in its detox role, for those times when you have eaten too much rich food or drunk too much alcohol.


It is often drunk by new mothers to improve production of breast milk. A good stomach tea, it eases indigestion by increasing the secretion of digestive enzymes. It increases the appetite and has been used for cancer patients to help them put weight on. Like dandelion it is also a gentle liver and bile stimulant. Also good for coughs and colds. It can be blended with chamomile for colicky babies.

Lemon Balm

Another tea helpful for stomach problems particularly cramping and it relaxes the muscles around the bowel. It also helps to lift your mood if you drink it regularly and is fantastic for the nervous system.


Excellent for anyone with a cold or flu, especially combined with lemon. It increases blood flow and helps clear blockages. It is also wonderful for upset stomachs, nausea, indigestion and diarrhea. You can simply grate fresh ginger but will get more flavour from the dried herb.


Rosemary is fairly strong tasting and helps to ease joint pains and headaches. It also has antiseptic properties so is useful to relieve mouth ulcers and sore throats.


Pretty dark rose coloured and delicious tasting hibiscus is great for lowering blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol. It is a diuretic like dandelion leaves, useful in cystitis. It is high in antioxidants, is a rich source of Vitamin C and strengthens the immune system. It is useful for colds, sore throats, gum disease and other inflammations of mucous membranes.


Good for reducing blood pressure and improving circulation. Also an antioxidant, it boosts the immune system, calms the nervous system, helps tone muscle and tissue and detoxifies the organs. It can aid digestion particularly bloating and flatulence.


A great tea to drink for seasonal allergies, excessive mucous discharge, difficulty or burning when urinating, and skin disorders.


Rapidly gaining popularity, this wonderful antioxidant tea is up there with green tea. Great for irritability or mild depression, it helps maintain a healthy nervous system. It is a broad anti-inflammatory. It is useful for hypertension, headaches, heartburn, nausea or stomach cramps. Known as the ‘complexion tea’ it is good for your skin.


This is one of my very favourite teas, it has a strong flavour with just a hint of mint. Tulsi, or Holy basil, has held a significant place for centuries in Ayervedic medicine. You can read all about the extraordinary benefits of Tulsi here.


Generally used as an excellent digestif, it reduces bloating and flatulence and helps indigestion (for some people). It can also ease stuffed-up colds. Very cooling, it can be drunk iced in the summer.

In fact many herbal teas are wonderful cooling summer drinks. When my children were small I often made them iced blackcurrant tea on hot days. They were happy to drink it unsweetened and it made an excellent fruity alternative to soft drink (soda) or cordials with the extra benefit of being sugar-free and artificial sweetener-free.

These are just a few of the herbal teas available. There are many other herbal teas and herbal blends for you to enjoy. If you find you don’t like one, then keep trying them out until you work out your preferences.

What’s your favourite herbal tea? Do you grow any yourself?

Herbal tea
Herbal tea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended
as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.


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The Benefits of Drinking Green Tea

I grew up a tea drinker because my mother was a great tea drinker. It almost seemed I was destined to follow and she couldn’t wait for me to be old enough to discover her love of tea. Most of my memories of her involve her holding a cuppa in one hand. She’d start her day with a mug of tea and end it the same way. She’d even take a mug of tea when she went outside to garden or hang the washing out. But she always drank black tea and never got to know the amazing health benefits of green tea.

Back then tea was always black tea varieties. Green tea was served at the local Chinese restaurant, but I never knew anyone who actually drank it. But the health benefits of green tea are now well known and widely touted.

health benefits green tea

The healing effects of green tea have been recognized by the Chinese for over 5,000 years. In the west we have been slow to recognize these, but widespread research has verified the amazing role that green tea plays in protecting the body against a host of diseases. You too can benefit simply by drinking green tea each day.

Tea is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, which are considered the most effective and protective of all the antioxidants. Green tea is particulary rich in one of these called catechins, with between fifteen and thirty percent catechin content. EGCG is the main active component of the polyphenol activity and is highest in green tea.

The Difference Between Green And Black Tea

Green tea differs from black tea in that it is unfermented. It is made by steaming the leaves very quickly just before picking, rolling and drying. This prevents the breakdown, or oxidation, of the catechins.

Black tea undergoes more processing and the leaves are subjected to heat and light where they wither before they are fermented. This results in the EGCG being converted into less effective compounds. Black tea has less far less beneficial properties than green.

I started drinking three cups of green tea on my homeopath’s advice and initially I hated the taste. But I decided to experiment with how I made the tea and learnt some interesting things.

  • Strong green tea is very astringent.
  • Green tea gets bitter as it cools down.
  • Experts advise to not use boiling water in the preparation of green tea as it destroys the flavonoids which give the healing potential.
  • Green tea marries well with other herbal and floral flavours.

Once I realized that unlike black teas, the strength and temperature of the green tea brew was far more crucial to drinking pleasure, I quickly came to enjoy it. In fact I enjoyed it so much that I had to careful not to drink too much and this leads to digestive problems. Now I stick to three or four cups a day.

Green tea is often combined with other ingredients. Jasmine is one of the more common ones. Recently I found a wonderful mix of green tea and berries. Not only is it delicious, it is also loaded with antioxidants.

The Benefits

teapot cartoonWhich brings me to the benefits of drinking green tea, and the good news just keep getting better. It’s difficult for any black tea or coffee lover to see why they should make the change, whether it be a total change to green tea or just to include it alongside their coffee or black tea, but green tea has many reasons why it’s a vastly better choice.

Green tea’s high in antioxidants (EGCG) to protect the cells from damage and inflammation caused by free radicals which leads to many chronic diseases.

Scientific research into the effects of green tea

Continue reading…






All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue. 

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Aloe! Aloe!

Last year my family traveled from three different continents to meet up at a beautiful Caribbean beach on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. As always I took a kit of 25 Homeopathic remedies with me. The Homeopathic kit has traveled with me wherever I travel for over twenty years and has been invaluable for all sorts of acute illnesses and first-aid situations many times.

Initially my kit included remedies for small children’s problems but as the boys grew the remedies changed a little to suit their changing activites and destinations. Remedies for teething relief eventually gave way to ‘hangover rescues’ and as we ventured overseas we added remedies for “Bali-belly” and jetlag.

A 'home' Homeopathy kit containing twenty different remedies suitable for acute illness and first aid situations.
A ‘home’ Homeopathy kit containing twenty different remedies suitable for acute illness and first aid situations.

Of course some remedies remained, the same remedy served for the effects of falling of a bicycle with training wheels as did for falling from a small Asian motorcycle. And some were always there because they were such fundamental stalwarts. Arnica is one that I would be lost without, in fact I can’t imagine raising a family of four boys without this gem in the medicine chest!

Being a practitioner I have access to a broader range of Homeopathic remedies than are found in most kits, and I have the knowledge of a wider range of applications, so that I am able to tailor the selection of the Homeopathic medicines more closely to our specific need. But nonetheless I still often manage to find myself without the necessary remedy for the problem we face. When one son had his drink spiked in Asia I knew which remedy he needed to counteract the nasty effects of the drug, but not having it with me had to make do with another that while it did help ‘bring him down’ was not ideal.

However, back to Mexico, as I said there are some remedies I never leave home without.

The amazing lagoon and the bottom of the garden in the Mexican villa

We arrived in Mexico in the late summer and it was hot! Seriously hot, especially after coming out of the tail of the Melbourne winter. The villa we were staying at had a pool, sun lounges under the cabana and backed onto an amazing fish-filled lagoon. So the family was quick to soak up the long-missed sun and it only took one day before one of the boys came to me seriously sunburned. There are a number of Homeopathic remedies that are useful for burns, but there is one I always carry as it dissipates sunburn with amazing speed. But for hot, sunny Mexico I had forgotten to pack it.

Luckily being Mexico the garden was full of succulents and a quick walk around the garden revealed our second treatment choice, a clump of Aloe Vera plants. My son broke a leaf applied the gel to his burnt skin with good healing results. Most people know one of the characteristics of Aloe Vera is it’s ability to soothe the skin. But it is not only an excellent anti-inflammatory, it also actually heals any tissues it touches. It is great for skin problems such as acne, dandruff, eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis. (Although I prefer to treat psoriasis with a deeper-acting treatment like homeopathy) On the skin it will also help heal infections, although you must not apply it to any deep vertical wounds (such as those from surgery). And of course it soothes and starts the healing process for sunburn, cooking and ironing burns or insect bites.

Many people drink Aloe juice regularly for its laxative qualities, as a general health tonic for the Gastrointestinal system, or to help build up the immune system. However, do not use Aloe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, have a kidney disorder, IBD or intestinal obstruction, or for young children. Also, Aloe can cause irritation on the skin in some people with a specific sensitivity to the plant, although it is uncommon.



There are over 240 varieties of Aloe and there are also a number of plants that look very like Aloe but don’t have the same healing properties. The one you need is Aloe barbadensis and the clue to identifying Aloe is in the way the leaves sit. In a true Aloe plant they all come up from the base in a circular pattern, like in the picture below. If there are leaves pointing in only a couple of directions it is not an Aloe. The edges of the leaf have short little barbs a bit like a cactus, although it is actually a member of the lily family and not a cactus. The fleshy leaves can vary in colour and even be spotted but they will always grow in this shape. There are lots of Aloe varieties but Aloe barbadensis is the one you want to use.

The fleshy leaves of Aloe barbadensis grow from the base in a circular pattern

The useful part of the plant is the gooey gel in the centre of the leaf. The outer part of the leaf contains constituents that can be problematic and you want to avoid. The outer part also has a bitter taste whereas the gel does not so if the juice or powder tastes bitter it is a clue that the product is not good quality as it has some of the outer leaf mixed in with the gel.

The other problem that can be a problem with commercial products is that the gel oxidizes when it is exposed to the air for more than about four hours. This is like the apple going brown after it is cut. Some manufacturers buy Aloe gel and stockpile it for long periods during which time it deteriorates. Rather than wondering whether the bought product is truly good or poor quality it makes sense to formulate your own ‘Aloe’ products from your own plant.



You can apply the gel directly to your skin, as my son did, to relieve inflammation, whenever there is a breakout, or as a regular beauty treatment. It is also useful for dry skin. You can also use it to de-frizz your hair before you blow-dry it, as it is the main ingredient of most defrizzers on the market. It is easy to apply because of its consistency.

You can substitute Aloe for your shaving cream, it  gives a great close shave and, being anti-inflammatory and with a high water content stops the need for moisturizers afterwards. In fact it sorts out razor burn beautifully – use it after you shower and again before bed.

Aloe vera is high in a range of nutrients that will be absorbed into your skin. It contains all eighteen amino acids, including the eight essential ones, twenty minerals, the standouts being calcium, zinc, selenium and magnesium and twelve vitamins, including Vitamins A, C and E which benefit the skin because they have antioxidant activity that neutralizes free radicals.

Aloes are very easy to grow in a pot on a sunny windowsill. They like hot, dry weather and are fine inside. They need almost no care and the danger is that they will die from over-watering rather than neglect. They are fine outside but you will need to bring them in during a cold snap especially if there is frost. Once your plant is established you can easily grow more by planting a ‘pup’ from the parent plant into some Cacti potting mix. Keeping a pot of Aloe vera is the best way to have a ready supply of fresh gel on hand.



Once your Aloe vera plant is growing you might like to use it to make a face mask for yourself. Here is how:

Cut one of the bigger leaves off the plant with a knife close to the base. Put the leaf onto a plate and leave it for about 20 minutes to allow the yellow sap to flow out. Then wash the leaf under running water.

Slice your Aloe leaf in half vertically (from the top to bottom). Take care, it will be slippery. Then with a spoon scrape the

The gooey gel inside the Aloe vera leaf

gooey gel out of the inside of the leaf. It is really gooey, like very sticky egg white, and will stick to your fingers. (If it is a very big leaf cut it across before leaving it to sit and store half in the fridge for another time. The leaf end will seal over and stop any oxidisation)

To make a very easy Aloe and Honey mask, take about 2 teaspoons of the gel and mix well with equal quantities of honey, ideally Manuka honey or otherwise organic honey. Add ¼ teaspoon of rose hip oil. Apply to your face with your fingers and leave on for 20 minutes. Then wash it off your face. This mask is rejuvenating for dry skin when used twice a week for two months. (If you have no Rose Hip Oil make this with just the Aloe and honey)

A Cucumber and Aloe mask is great after being out in the sun. It is also excellent for acne, or any stressed and inflamed skin. Peel and deseed ½ a cucumber and then process it to a smooth paste with about 2 tablespoons of Aloe vera gel. Spread over your face (and neck), relax for 20 minutes and then wash off gently.

Alternatively, if you are pressed for time you can simply rub the inside of the leaf directly on your skin. It is safe to use on your face, although better to avoid the eye area. It will help heal outbreaks as well as tightening and toning the skin.

You do not need to cleanse afterwards as Aloe is cleansing, and you can simply apply a moisturizer or face oil if you wish.



This advice is not intended to replace the advice of your Health Care Practitioner. Please seek professional advice for serious medical problems.

Holy Basil! It’s Tulsi, the Queen of Herbs

Herbal teas are a wonderful way to get the healing benefits of herbal remedies very easily  and I sat down today to enjoy my afternoon cup of tea with great pleasure. I drink many different green and herbal teas but this one, Tulsi tea, is one of my favourites.




Tulsi, Ocimum sanctum or Holy Basil, is a small plant which has played an important role in Ayurvedic medicine and has been cherished as a sacred plant by Indians for nearly five thousand years. It is also known by many other names that reflect the exalted position it holds, such as Sacred Basil, Queen of Herbs, the Incomparable One, the Elixir of Life and the Mother Medicine of Nature. In Ayurvedic medicine many herbs are highly valued, but Tulsi is a prized medicinal, recognized as a herb with unique status and revered alongside the Lotus

Tulsi is believed to be spiritually endowed and powerfully transformative. In India it plays an important part in religious practices and is used during meditation to gain clarity and protection. Many traditional Hindus worship at an altar in the courtyard of their home on which is placed a potted Tulsi plant, which is thought to provide divine protection, insure personal health, spiritual purity and family well-being. The plant is revered for both its healing abilities and its ability to heighten spiritual awareness. It is thought to balance the chakras and to be capable of bringing on goodness, virtue and joy in humans

There are three types of Tulsi, and all are known for their fragrance which resembles that of their cousin, the Sweet Basil that you use in cooking. Krishna (purple) is slightly peppery and Rama (green) is cooling and mellow. Vana (‘forest Tulsi’) grows wild and is a bit ‘lemony’. They are members of the Lamiaceae (mint) family have a mint overtone.

Traditionally Tulsi was used for an impressively wide-range of health promoting purposes. As a herbal remedy it has been shown to have many benefits. The chemical composition of Tulsi is very complex and it is rich in antioxidants and other nutrients. It is used in over 300 medical treatments and there is a lot of evidence of its health benefits. The research offers impressive evidence that Tulsi has general vitality-enhancing properties which support and enhance the body’s natural capacity to maintain a state of well-being. Research shows that it both protects against and reduces stress, enhances stamina and endurance, increases the body’s efficient use of oxygen, boosts the immune system and slows aging.

Holy Basil has a wide range of actions including anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral which make it effective in fighting infections. It’s also an adaptogen, antidepressant, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, galactagogue (promotes the flow of mother’s milk), and immunomodulator. It acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and in addition it will boost your immunity. These terms may be confusing but this range of actions all add up to a herb that is able to restore widespread balance in your body.

Tulsi is perhaps most recognized and appreciated as a powerful adaptogen, and acts as an excellent ‘anti-stress agent’. It is a herb that allows the body to cope with the many stresses of modern life, whether they are environmental, physical or chemical. It keeps the body in a balanced state of health and offers protection from the vast range of diseases that are caused by these stressors. It assists with mental tension, emotional difficulties and problems that are the result of poor lifestyle. It is an ancient protective herb ideally suited to the modern world because it will help prevent illnesses that are the result of living a modern high-speed lifestyle.

Tulsi Tea nourishes a persons growth to perfect health and promotes long life

Tulsi is beneficial for so many problems that I have to list some of the ways that it may help you:

  • Supports the immune system
  • Helps fight infections, and is widely used to treat respiratory ailments
  • Provides physical stamina
  • Has anti-depressive action
  • Enhances digestion and nutrient absorption and helps with gastrointestinal problems such as bloating
  • Reduces inflammation in diseases like arthritis
  • Supports heart function, reduces cholesterol and high blood pressure, reduces the risk of stroke
  • Neutralizes dangerous chemicals that can cause cancer, degenerative diseases and early aging
  • It is a nerve tonic
  • Sharpens your memory
  • Is expectorant and effective in asthma, cough, croup, allergies and respiratory infections
  • Strengthens the kidneys
  • Lowers cortisol levels
  • May help to lower blood sugar levels and nourishes the pancreas
  • Is useful in many children’s illnesses like diarrhea, cough, cold, fever or vomiting as well as ADHD
  • It hydrates the skin and helps with disorders like ringworm or dryness
  • In conjunction with chemotherapy or radiotherapy it neutralizes the effects of bio-chemicals
  • In addition it assists insomnia, pain & spasms; excess phlegm, sluggishness, excess weight, lack of energy

It seems that Tulsi is able to offer remarkable preventative and curative potential with respect to many degenerative disorders, such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and dementia.

It is not recommended taking Tulsi during pregnancy or if you are considering getting pregnant (there are indications that it may have an anti-fertility effect), but it is perfect after the birth as it helps to increase milk production

The tea is made from the leaves and blossoms of the plant. The Tulsi I drink (Pukka Organic Three Tulsi) is a mix of only the three different Tulsi’s, (Rama, Krishna and Vana) but others I have tried have been combined with green tea, or other herbs for flavour. As I enjoy the fresh, zesty flavour of the Tulsi leaf, I prefer the ‘pure’ blend rather than one added to other teas, both for the taste as well as the increased benefits it offers. It is the perfect pick-me-up in the late afternoon, immediately rejuvenating my energy, and uplifting my spirits, and without any caffeine at all! As I drink it regularly I know it is also having a positive effect in the long-term on so many of my body systems.


Tulsi holds both medicinal and spiritual importance in India


Disclaimer: This information is not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. It is advisable to seek professional opinion and guidance before trying any of the treatments suggested on this site.

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Wonderful Warming Ways To Weather Winter

Winter Sunlight Through The Morning Fog

I met a friend outside the bank yesterday who after exchanging the “it is sooo cold” comments, told me that she had been told that apparently yesterday morning was the last really cold morning we were going to have here in Melbourne this year. Given that the meteorologists from the Bureau don’t often seem to be able to get the forecasts right,  I don’t feel terribly inclined to believe such a wild and sweeping prediction. Although who knows, perhaps this person has extraordinary physic powers that focus on the weather.

Perhaps it was significant that we had that conversation yesterday as the second of August is Imbolc here in the Southern latitudes. Imbolc is a festival celebrating the approaching Spring and the return of the light. It coincides with the first stirrings of Spring. Here in Melbourne early spring bulbs are busily flowering and the wattles have been dressed in a blaze of gold for weeks now. But it’s easy to imagine how significant the sight of a tuft of green glimpsed on this day would be to someone who’d been snowbound for months. In fact even in Melbourne we often feel a bit low by the time Imbolc arrives, lacking energy and eating and sleeping more.

In spite of spring beauties in the garden, and in spite of seeing the  seasons have begun to change I’m still feeling the effects of winter. I am still cold! The garden is still too cold and wet to get started on spring planting, and the air is too wet to start on spring refurbishments around the house. Spring has really not yet managed to get a toehold on the side of winter.

In the interests of getting us over the mark into “real spring” here are some uplifting and reviving ideas to carry us the extra yard.


Himalayan Salt Foot Bath

Foot baths were once seen as something for old ladies with sore feet. But a few years ago I discovered just how nice it is to sit with my feet in hot water, while I read and sipped tea. Now  never, ever regret it when I manage to indulge in this way. Also, soaking in a bath, even a foot bath, is a great way to gain the health benefits of essential oils or Himalayan salts.

Our home lacks the luxury of any bath that allows more stretch than “knees around the ears” so foot baths are the alternative. I managed to pick an electric one up on e-Bay for $1. But you can use any nice big bowl instead. In fact I rarely plug mine in, as the oils or salts do their job perfectly well in the still water.

Soaking in a Himalayan salt foot bath is soothing for your feet, so it’s great after a long day, and also very revitalizing. Essential Oils  have wonderful healing effects and can be added to your foot bath to deal with all sorts of winter problems. Just be careful to check the actual oil you choose before using them as some are contra-indicated for various diseases and others can be irritating if they come into contact with the skin. According to reflexology philosophy our whole body is mirrored in our feet, so anything we do to nurture them is also going to nurture our whole body.

Foot Bath – any large bowl will work well


Herbal Teas For Winter

Warming Winter Herbal teas are a great way to get a winter lift. This excellent page links to 52 different herbal tea recipes.  There is a huge range of choice to suit every taste, and many are made from ingredients that you probably have in your kitchen cupboard. Like the essential oils, many are specific to winter ailments. Also, you could easily mix a few up for a yummy brew.

Herbal teas are the easiest way to get the benefits of herbal healing wisdom that has been around for thousands of years. Although there are many ready-made versions of the teas it’s great to tailor make them to fit your needs from fresh ingredients.

Loose leaf herbal tea
Loose leaf herbal tea


Winter Mood-Boosts

Sometimes we just need a “mood boost” during winter so here are a few quickies…

  • Put on some uplifting music, especially good if you can dance to it. Music accesses your emotions directly and  can be a really quick mood booster.
  • Call your best friend and perhaps even meet up for a cuppa. It’s tempting to hibernate in winter but socialising gives a great sense of belonging and makes you feel appreciated. Make sure to keep the conversation light!
  • Get moving especially if you’re sitting at a desk all day, even if it is just for a few minutes. Exercise releases endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine and with all those dancing around inside you’re sure to feel livelier.
  • Don’t forget to laugh. Laughter clubs are everywhere. A good laugh send you straight into a relaxed state. It lowers your blood pressure and also stimulates endorphins. Remember how good you feel after you hear a good joke? Of course you don’t need to join a club, a funny movie, a joke on facebook are all good.


Winter Gratitude

Winter is a great time to count your blessings. Cultivating gratitude has been shown to be a wonderful way to increase happiness. Try making a list of some of the things in your life for which you are truly grateful. It’s a wonderful and quick way to get you out of a slump

Cook up a big pot of yummy warming winter soup this weekend. I found this interesting variation  on traditional Potato and Leek soup. This chef catered a party for me once and his food was delicious. If you have a slow cooker put on a nourishing casserole for dinner. You can load it up with root vegetables full of nutrients for a great health boost.

Find yourself a great book in which you can get immersed. By the time you finish it and raise your head you’ll find that spring has sprung. Too often we save up the great books for holidays and forget to enjoy the relaxation and pleasure they bring throughout the rest of the year. Turn off the TV, close the computer, and instead grab a cosy rug, a warm tea and curl up for a couple of hours blissful reading…for pleasure, not for work.

I’m not about to pack away my winter woolies for a long time yet, in spite of the positive forecast of that friend-of-a-friend. But I am going to look for the parts of winter for which I’m grateful. There’s the crispness of the air, the beauty of the fog hanging low over the river in the morning, the awesome heater I have in my house, the chance to wear my great collection of beautiful boots, and the reassurance that the wheel of life continues rolling along. But right now I’m off outside to pick some of the gorgeously scented and very aptly named “Erlicheer” jonquils to bring into the house to lift my winter spirits and remind me that Spring really is in fact, just around the corner.

Erlicheer Jonquil


All information and opinions presented here are for information only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatment suggested on this site. 

© Catherine Bullard and Happy Holistic Health, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Catherine Bullard and Happy Holistic Health with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.