Category Archives: Seasons

Best Tips For Spring Health And Wellness

BEST TIPS FOR SPRING HEALTH AND WELLNESS

 

After a long cold, wet, winter we’re all quite ready to bid it farewell! Spring has blossomed bringing the reminder of youth, and the promise of new beginnings. We’re ready to shrug off winter, stretch and expand our energy up and outwards. Spring is the time of transformation and growth. Spring’s the time to renew your energy and change your life. These top tips for Spring health will launch your momentum to rise to your fullest Summer potential.

As the days warm and lengthen in Spring you’ll start to feel lighter, both emotionally and physically.

 

best tips for spring health and wellness

 

AWAKEN

Get outside. Play, socialize and have fun just as a child would. The sun is up earlier and staying later. Join him and get outside to watch the dawn. Even if you wake grumpy give yourself the opportunity to get out, feel the earth under your feet and soak in all the benefits of grounding.

 

MOVE

Instead of letting restlessness irritate you in spring use it to kick-start your exercise program.

Spring is a great time to overhaul – or begin – your exercise routine. Walk faster, join a dance class, try yoga or tai chi, even join a hiking group or cricket team. Honour your body by not overdoing it, and remember to keep hydrated or you’ll become fatigued very quickly.

 

RELEASE

If you want to bring the new into your life you must make space for it. Whether it’s a new spring wardrobe, new habits or new thought patterns, if you want it to create a new you, you need to de-clutter first. The first step is to release everything that no longer serves you.

Spring offers a great opportunity to clear the mind and get rid of thoughts that undermine our self-esteem or are toxic to relationships. Once you clear out old toxic thought patterns you can start planting positivity seeds to create a life you love.

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Natural Remedies For Hayfever Relief

Spring Has Almost Sprung and that spells bad news for anyone who suffers from hay fever as it means it’s ‘Sneezing Season’ again. Unable to get out and enjoy the beautiful Spring sun, seasonal allergy sufferers following the conventional path can only look forward to being housebound for even longer or taking medications with side effects that really knock them about!

Natural Cures For Hayfever Relief

Hay fever results from exposure to pollens released from grasses and other plants, carried through the air, which cause inflammatory reactions on the mucous membranes and affect the immune system.

With sneezing, itching, runny nose, coughing and congestion, hay fever (or seasonal allergic rhinitis) is enough to ruin anyone’s day. It can affect any of the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, sinuses, throat and palate, or all of them at once.

But it doesn’t have to be like this.

There are many natural remedies including herbs, vitamins, kitchen cures and my favourite, homeopathy, that can effectively knock the symptoms of hay fever on the head by providing natural antihistamines.

In addition to actual treatments some precautionary practices can minimize the effect of the allergen on your system. Gifting your liver a Spring clean can lessen the allergic effect. Here are tips to help you gently detox your liver without ‘doing a detox’.

Dandelion seeds

Some Natural Treatments

Supplements can improve your response to allergens. Vitamin C and the bioflavonoid quercetin have an antihistamine effect, while vitamin A helps maintain healthy mucous membranes. Studies have shown a link between low zinc intake and higher allergy risk so a zinc supplement may help anyone who falls into this category,

It’s important with any aggravation of the mucous membranes to reduce the amount of dairy food you eat as it increases the production of mucous and exacerbates congestion. Eat less milk, cheese, ice-cream, cream, yoghurt and butter during hay fever season to keep you better prepared. And watch for “milk solids” often added to processed foods.

Refined starches also stimulate mucous production and limiting bread and other baked goods can reduce the severity of your symptoms.

Increasing your intake of omega 3 fatty acids over the season can help decrease the incidence of hay fever as they help lower the amount of inflammatory chemicals produced when you are exposed to an allergen.

While many alternative treatments, including nutrition and supplements, can alleviate hay fever by strengthening the immune system they don’t always give immediate relief in the moment when symptoms strike. Some can reduce symptoms when taken in mega dosage but often need to be taken in combination with others.

Air filters can make a real difference by keeping the air inside your home pollen free especially when placed over windows and doors.

Steaming is an age old practice for breaking up congestion. Add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to a bowl of steaming water and with a towel over your head breathe in the eucalyptus-rich vapour to loosen mucous and clear air passages. Tea tree is another suitable essential oil.

Many herbs including chamomile, stinging nettle, ginger, and butterbur can block histamine and relieve symptoms, but often their effect is limited to just some of your symptoms or they can take time to have an effect.

In someone already highly oversensitive to plant material herbs may not be a great choice, and may even exacerbate the symptoms. Stinging nettle is one herb commonly used for it’s antihistamine and anti-inflammatory effects. But when I take it internally it causes itching and swelling on my skin. The crude nature of herbs may actually be too harsh for these highly sensitive individuals.

Homeopathic Ideal Of Cure

Homeopathy

Homeopathy can be used for hay fever either preventatively or as a treatment. It has a great track record for the treatment of hay fever with symptoms being switched off almost immediately when the correctly matched remedy is used. I can personally vouch for this.

In France the most commonly prescribed treatment for hay fever by medical doctors is a homeopathic remedy just because it can be so effective and fast.

I’m going to introduce you to some of the more commonly used homeopathic remedies for symptomatic relief. These remedies activate the body’s own system of healing. They’re excellent for quickly relieving the symptoms of acute bouts of hay fever when they’re selected to closely match the individual symptoms being experienced.

Use remedies in 6x, 6c, 30x or 30c potencies, taking one dose every few hours for up to 3 doses. With the right remedy symptoms should improve after the first or second dose. If symptoms haven’t improved after the third dose it means you’ve selected the wrong remedy, so go back and again match the remedy picture to your symptoms for a closer match.

Pay particular attention to what makes your hayfever symptoms better or worse – these are important pointers to the right remedy.

As always with Homeopathy the remedy picture must match your symptoms for it to work. If none of these remedies match visit a homeopath who can select the right remedy for you from the hundreds of possibilities.

Allium cepa

Perhaps the most commonly used remedy for hay fever is Allium cepa (red onion). Use this when sneezing is prominent along with watery eyes that burn and smart. The tears here are non-irritating but the copious watery discharge from the nose is acrid and irritates the skin between the nose and upper lip which becomes red and sore. The nose feels blocked and the sense of smell is gone. The voice may become hoarse. When Allium cepa is called for the symptoms improve outside in the fresh air or in cool air.

Arsenicum album

This remedy is very commonly used for hay fever with burning and itching in the throat, nose or eyes. The discharges burn and redden the skin. This person will feel cold and although they want to be rugged up their head clears in cool fresh air. They are sensitive to light.

Euphrasia

Euphrasia is needed when the eyes feel swollen and gritty. The copious watery tears are acrid, unlike Allium cepa, and they irritate and burn the skin around the eyes and even the cheeks. There is a watery discharge from the nose which is bland and non-irritating. There may be much sneezing. Symptoms are worse outside in the open air, and also worse from heat or wind. (Notice how the symptoms of Allium cepa and Euphrasia are opposite to help you distinguish which is a closer match)

Nat mur

Violent sneezing is a symptom that may call for Nat mur, particularly when it is accompanied by itching and tingling inside the nose. There may be a watery or egg-white like nasal discharge, although not usually at the time of hayfever onset. These symptoms get worse after being out in the sun. Taste and smell are lost. Cold sores may occur at the same time. The person needing Nat mur may feel sad or sorry for themselves and want to be alone, and they feel better outside.

Nux vomica

Sore, smarting eyes that are light sensitive call for Nux vomica. The nose feels stuffed up making breathing difficult. There may be a streaming discharge through the day even though the nose feels stuffy. At night the nose dries up. This person feels irritable, even nasty, and chilly. Other people can really annoy them. They may have a headache with the stuffy nose which is made worse from stooping. Their symptoms are worse in dry air and better when the air is damp. These people have a tendency to over work, and may crave coffee to keep them going.

Pulsatilla

Congestion is the hallmark of a Pulsatilla picture with thick discharges that are bland (non-irritating) and yellow or yellow green. While there is much nasal discharge in the morning the nose is dry at night. This person feels much better outside in the cold fresh air and considerably worse in a warm stuffy room. They also feel better when they keep moving about. They may be weepy, and children whiny or clingy.

Sabadilla

Eyes that water with red burning margins of the eyelids, and lots of watery nasal discharge indicate the need for Sabadilla. There is much sneezing which occurs in spasms, one sneeze after another, and is caused by a tickle in the nose. The sneezing causes the eyes to water. This person is very sensitive to the smell of flowers which may exacerbate the sneezing. The tickle in the throat may be relived by warm drinks. This person feels very chilly, and the symptoms are worse in the open air and better in a warm room.

Wyethia

Extreme, even intolerable itching in the nose and throat calls for Wyethia. This is the remedy for severe itching of the upper palate, where the person tries to “scratch” it with their tongue. Often the throat feels swollen, dry or burning, causing a constant need to swallow to moisten it.

These are just a few of the hundreds of homeopathic remedies used for treating hayfever. If you can’t match one to your symptoms consult a professional for the remedy you need.

Hay Fever Prevention

Homeopathic treatment is very effective for preventing, as well as treating, hay fever attacks but it must begin well before the hay fever season. If you’d like to diminish your hay fever in the future begin by selecting the remedy that matches your current symptoms most closely and take it whenever you have an acute attack this season. In about six months visit a professional homeopath who will treat you to improve your resistance to allergens and prevent, or reduce, further attacks in the future.

I experienced terrible hay fever when I was younger with red, burning, itching, watery eyes. But I haven’t had any for many years after taking preventative homeopathy one winter years ago.

If you’d like to learn more about using Homeopathy to treat your family’s acute and first aid illnesses why not join my HOMEOPATHY @ HOME Course designed especially for the home prescriber. This fun and information-packed course is totally empowering, and enables you to be ready with the right homeopathic treatment for you and your children need whenever you need relief from an acute illness.

How do you manage your hay fever? What are your favourite natural remedies for hayfever?

I hate pollen brooke novak

Disclaimer

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

http://www.naturalnews.com/035367_hay_fever_seasonal_allergies_remedies.html#
http://homeopathyplus.com.au/hay-fever-help-homeopathic-treatment-and-other-self-help-tips/
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2157014/The-hayfever-treatments-really-work.html
http://www.naturopathic.org/content.asp?contentid=117

Stay Well Through Autumn With Natural Remedies

As the gentle energy of Autumn settles around us, wrapping us in her hazy sunny days and crisp evenings it is time to prepare for the turning inward that naturally occurs as we approach winter.  Autumn is a time of benevolence, when the activity of summer has slowed, when pastimes become gentler and more leisurely, when we turn our attention within to our own thoughts and dreams.

stay well for winter

As the energies of Autumn contract and gather inwards, they cause us to also slow down in readiness for the stillness of the coming winter. The contemplative nature of the season allows time for inner reflection and awareness, providing a space to find clarity before setting plans and goals to initiate in the Spring.

In readiness for increased awareness and understanding, Autumn is a time to embrace peace and avoid engaging in personal dramas. This is the time to practice distancing yourself, to step back from conflict, judgement and other triggers in your life. This is the time to take a deep breath and count to ten before responding to potential conflicts.

 

Autumn Health

April is a time of transition for our whole body. As the evening air takes on a bite after the gentle warmth of the afternoon sun our bodies become more susceptible to health problems. Illnesses that have gone underground over the summer will re-appear and new flu and other infections appear.

If you don’t use this time to build your health and charge up your immune system, by June you may find yourself more susceptible to winter illness and less capable of throwing off any illness you develop.

 

Change Your Habits

By adjusting your lifestyle to best use the seasonal energies you can strengthen your whole system.

There are a number of ways to make changes all of which contribute to building your health.
Most people naturally change their foods as the weather cools as Summer salads make way for heavier meat and root vegetable stews and soups. But also adapting life practices including exercise, meditation and sleep so they are healthier offers enormous support through the colder months.

 

Sleep, Sleep, Sleep

One of the most important lifestyle changes to make for Autumnsleeping under the moon watermarked bought and Winter health is to recognize that your body needs much more sleep as it turns inward. Having about seven hours sleep every night is one of the best ways to protect yourself against winter illness. Your body doesn’t recover by sleeping in on the weekend after a sleep-deprived week and this does not support your health.

If you can’t get to sleep or stay asleep, speak to your natural health practitioner now, before Winter, for advice and treatment to change this pattern.

Push yourself to rest and take it easy. Develop great bedtime routines to maintain wellness and keep away ‘office illness’. These Seven Surefire Ways To Get a Good Night’s Sleep will get you started.

As Autumn settles in it is time to treat yourself with compassion. Be conscious this is the season to be gentle, and wrap yourself with TLC. If you are someone who is constantly there for everyone else, now is the time to turn that caring inwards and say ‘no’ to others.

It is only by first caring for your own needs that you can adequately care for those around you.

 

Autumn Exercise

Exercise is a great way to boost immune health.

Exercise increases oxygen levels in the blood. Oxygen levels in major cities are repeatedly measured at levels significantly below normal. When you consider that most people also breathe poorly, taking in less oxygen, and that many chronic diseases including cancer are associated with low oxygen levels, the importance of boosting oxygen intake becomes obvious.

Exercise makes you feel more alert, boosts your levels of endorphins to make you feel positive, as well as improving oxygen levels in every cell of your body. But during Autumn it is vital to tone down your exercise program to prevent your energy becoming depleted, as that adversely affects your immune system.

Yoga, t’ai chi or Qi Gong are very balancing and present the perfect exercise option for autumn. Deep breathing exercises and yoga stretching both serve your immune system as well as your respiratory organs through the winter. Brisk walking and bike riding are other great ways to exercise in Autumn.
Avoid heavy aerobic exercise outdoors in the cooler autumn months, as it may reduce vital energy and weaken your system.

autumn-colors

Susceptible Organs During Autumn

The lung and the colon are both organs of elimination and relate to your ability to “let go” on all levels. According to the teachings of Traditional Chinese Medicine if your immunity is weak these are the organs that will be affected during Autumn, with respiratory problems including coughs, breathing difficulties and sinus problems, or gut issues like constipation and/or diarrhoea.

These are the organs that are affected when you hold on to grief and sadness. If you are holding unresolved grief or sadenss they eventually affect the health and function of your lungs or large intestine, sending you the message that it is “time to let go”.

 

 

Continue reading to discover which foods to eat in Autumn, what supplements you need and what to do if you still get sick…

 

stay Well For Winter 4

Disclaimer

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 treatments suggested on this site.

Seeking Natural Balance

autumn 1

The end of this week marks the Autumnal Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere and the Spring, or Vernal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. The two equinoxes always occur in the months of March and September and they mark the point of balance in the year. At its most mundane level the equinox is the day of the year when the daylight hours and the night hours are of equal length, when the sun rises and sets exactly twelve hours apart.

But on an energetic level the equinoxes have a deeper significance. Just as they are the time of balance between daylight and darkness, so they are the time to seek balance within ourselves and in our life.

This is the time in nature when trees are shedding their leaves, or the eucalypts and wattles are dropping their gumnuts and seeds. The trees are drawing in their life force by releasing the leaves that have been nourished over the summer by the suns rays and the nutrients from the earth, they are shedding that which no longer serves them, turning inward and focusing inward on their centre, their heart. They are creating the space to build their reserves in readiness for the changes later in the year.

For all the earth it is the time to prepare for the next part of the cycle, the dark of winter, the time of going within.

 autumn-colors

STRATEGIES

The Autumn Equinox is the time for you to achieve balance in your life by releasing anything in your life that is no longer of use to you and that doesn’t support you to be your essential self and to live your true purpose.

Begin with your material possessions and be harshly honest with yourself to decide what can be given away or discarded. Cleaning out the excess clutter in your life opens space for the new, whether that is possessions, people or insights.

Don’t stop with your possessions. Look hard at your relationships. Are there some that have served well in the past but are no longer supportive? What about your job? Does it fire your passion or even still interest you? How about your self-nurturing? Do you even take the time to honour your essential needs?

As you release unneeded stuff from your life you feel much lighter, just as the trees are lighter without their leaves.

 lust for life

SELF-CARE

When the days slow in autumn it is time for you to begin to conserve your energy, allow yourself more rest and make preparations for the winter. Winter is the time of quiet. Your body needs more sleep, more nourishment and more downtime, just so that it can function well. When you honour that basic need your body responds. You stay healthier through the cold months. When you honour that need your mind responds with clarity and focus. When you honour that need your soul responds with insights and understanding.

In our modern homes life often goes on without much change over winter. We have light and warmth, we continue to go out and party, we still exercise, work and play. But living in tune with the seasons allows you to also tune in to yourself. Tuning into the energies of autumn allows you the space to slow down and listen to your inner voice. It allows you to recognize your needs and where they are not being met. It allows you to recognize your strengths and to find ways to support yourself to find happiness, and to love your life.

The equinox serves as a reminder to us to live in harmony with nature and with ourselves by first acknowledging and then honouring our own essential emotional needs. When you strive to live holistically, in sync with the seasons you become attuned to the greater rhythyms of life. When you nurture and nourish yourself, not only does it support your health, it enables you to tune in to the cosmic energies and encourages you to live in a state of harmonious balance on all levels.

Just as the trees emerge in Spring sprouting a flush of beautiful new leaves, you too will emerge from a winter where you have tuned inward to nourish your essential core, with new life.

How do you seek balance in your life as the season turns?

Autumn Equinox - the message is balance
Autumn Equinox – the message is balance

Disclaimer.

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. 

Living With The Seasons – Summer

Consciously living in harmony with the world around us supports our body, our emotions and our spirit. Within that consciousness we need to be in harmony with the greater cycles of life. When we tune into the passage of time by living with the seasons our energy synchronises with universal and earth energies to bring balance.

Living with the seasons

I’ve been luxuriating in the relaxing space between work finishing before Christmas and now, the New Year, doing very little and simply enjoying the summer. This two week period included the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year and the day when the sun shines the longest and the night is shortest.

I make it a practice to live in sync with the seasons, emotionally as well as in the basics like what I eat or wear. But slowing down over the Summer Solstice flies in the face of this practice. The energy of Summer Solstice is intense, joyous and one for celebration and partying. Taking it slow isn’t what’s called for but this year the seasonal energy called for rest.

The ancient teachings behind Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are perhaps where we see the theories of living with the seasons at its strongest in our modern world. This ancient discipline examines the effects that emotions and foods have on the different organs of our body. It provides guidelines about which organs of the body are most significant in each season and the steps needed to support the appropriate organ and create harmony within.

The steps of TCM are based on many aspects of diet including the quantities of food eaten, time of day, even your state of mind while you eat.

But living with the seasons requires more, it requires an wholistic approach.

Getting sufficient exercise, sleep, and clean water; reducing stress, anxieties and toxin exposure are equally essential to living a balanced life, in tune with the rhythms of the earth and the seasons.

Living With Winter

The natural way for your body as a whole to respond to the seasons is to ‘close down’ over the winter and to ‘open out’ over the summer. During the cold, dark winter months you need and want more sleep, your activities slow and quieten, your body requires external warmth from fire and warm, nourishing foods. Even emotions can close down and it’s not uncommon for depression to surface during the depths of winter, partly due to the lack of sunlight and associated decreased Vitamin D intake.

Living With Summer

During the warmer summer months, when the days are longer, the body requires and benefits from, less nourishment. It doesn’t need extra kilojoules to keep itself warm, you feel more energetic and your natural instinct is to get out, socialize, and be much more active.

Rise early and face the sunrise to benefit from the rays.
During summer rise early and face the sunrise to benefit from the rays.

Take a moment to think about how much easier it is to go out to a party on a warm, balmy summer night than it is on a cold, dark, rainy winter one, when all you want to do is curl up with a book or movie, or simply sleep. Think of how much easier it is to diet and exercise during the warmer months when your requirement is for lighter foods.

As more and more of us grow our own veggies and shop at Farmers Markets we are becoming increasingly aware of which foods are in season at any time, and beginning to direct our food choices towards only those foods that are in season. Obviously we don’t need watermelon in the winter when it doesn’t grow. Instead, we look for stews made from warming meats and root vegetables in season at that time.

Seasonal Wellness Books

Summer holidays are the time when many catch up on their reading. There are a few books I love that you might like to take a look at,  which are useful guides towards living in tune with the seasons.

One is a cookbook appropriately named Eating For The Seasons by Janella Purcell, an Australian Naturopath, Nutritionist and Cook. It’s a great book with tips and recipes carefully selected to benefit and support to your body in each of the four seasons.

Another book I love is Ancient Healing For The Modern Woman by Xiaolan Zhao. This book looks at the ‘seasons’ of a woman’s life, rather than the seasons of the year, and offers wonderful ways to naturally remedy problems like PMS, symptoms of pregnancy, menopause, and breast health. It contains lots of great, simple tips taken from the authors personal experience of Traditional Chinese Medicine used by her family in China. She is a doctor of both TCM and Western Medicine in Canada,  and her advice is very soundly grounded in both modalities.

If you’d like something a little more hefty you may prefer Healing With Whole Foods by teacher and nutrition researcher Paul Pitchford, a very comprehensive guide to Chinese Medicine. This book also contains lots of information about nutrition and diet, as well as a cookbook. There are sections on the Ayurvedic principles of food-combining, treating disease with foods, plus much more. As I say, detailed and comprehensive.

Living In Tune With The Summer Season

Early and Mid Summer

living with the seasonsAccording to Chinese Medicine, summer is the season of Yang (masculine energy), and during early and mid-summer the heart and small intestine come to the fore. The emotions associated with the heart are joy and playfulness. Mental acuity is also associated with the heart in TCM, so memory, thought processes, emotional well-being and consciousness, as well as sleep also belong to this time.

When the heart is balanced the mind is calm.

Early and mid-summer is a time for celebrating and partying, as well as balancing that with enough rest and sleep.

When the fire element is out of harmony, so too is your experience of joy. You feel either depressed with too little fire, or joyous chaos with too much.

When your fire is unbalanced you experience associated symptoms that include agitation, nervousness, high blood pressure, heartburn, irregular heartbeat and insomnia.

Imbalance of the heart, governed by fire, can lead to confusion, crazy or no laughter, a very red or very pale face, stuttering, verbal diarrhoea, memory loss, mental illness or an aversion to external heat.

Late Summer

In the late summer (the fifth season in TCM) it becomes the time of the spleen and stomach. Overworked spleen and stomach is associated with worry and obsessive thoughts. Spleen is associated with damp and problems may kick in if the weather is humid.

The summer season is ruled by fire. Life and energy is at a peak.

 

Align With Summer Energy

The aim during Summer is to let your energy flow ‘out’, to get rid of the heat stored in the body over winter.

  • Eat spicy foods to induce sweat, it helps rid the body of heat
  • Rise early to benefit from the rays of the sun.
  • Go to bed later. Rest at midday if you need more sleep.
  • Drink plenty of clean water (water is the opposing element of fire), take cool baths, seek shade. Watermelon juice, an old remedy for dehydration, cools the body and cleanses the system.
  • Add pungent and strong flavours to your diet
  • Avoid drinks full of sugars and chemicals which don’t actually relieve thirst, but do bring toxins into the body which then have to be cleared out.
  • Refrain from anger, keep calm.
  • Green-vegetablesEat more cooling, hydrating yin foods to balance the fire heat of summer – raw foods, salads, seafood, legumes, sprouts (especially mung-bean), zucchini, cucumbers, kelp, and fruits like watermelons, apples, limes and lemons.  Cooling foods tend towards the green foods – lettuce, cucumbers, watercress. Very few vegetables are warming. Fish and seafoods are cooling but most meats are warming. Be careful not to eat too much raw or cold food though as it may ‘cool’ your digestion too much – you want to achieve balance in all things!
  • Bitter yin foods are associated with the heart and small intestine. They reduce the heat and drain dampness. Foods such as celery, dandelion, endive, watercress, quinoa and rye. But be careful not to overdo bitter foods, unless you have lots of fire in you. Asparagus and lettuce are both bitter and sweet.
  • Later in the summer add the sweet yang flavours of complex carbohydrates, legumes, nuts, oats, rice, peas, peaches, avocado, kiwifruit, cucumber and raw honey. These build and strengthen the spleen and thus the whole body. The spleen is the most important organ of the immune system. They also slow and relax an overactive heart and mind. But don’t have too much!
  • Eat foods that promote energy and activity. Use hot spices such as fresh (not dried) ginger. Black pepper, cayenne and horseradish will induce a sweat. Cardamon is a useful spice as it clears the digestive system of blockage caused by heat.
  • Eat in moderation. Keep your food light and simple. Indigestion, sluggishness and even diarrhoea can easily occur in the summer. It’s healthier for you, and it gives you more time to get outside and enjoy the outdoors.
  • Avoid heavy or salty foods – meat, excess grains, dairy, oil and eggs as they will make you feel sluggish during summer.
  • Avoid cold foods in early summer – iced drinks and ice-cream (they hold in the sweat and heat)
  • Focus on changes in your life related to joy, growth and spiritual awareness. With the predominant nature of Summer being Yang, related to excitement, assertiveness and exuberance, it is the perfect time to take action to make positive change.

 

The Key To Living With The Seasons

If you remember that the human body is simply a microcosm of the universe, the macrocosm, it becomes easier to understand that the same imbalances that occur in the environment are mirrored in the human being. By keeping this relationship with nature in mind we can become more conscious of keeping the rhythms  of life in harmony, of living with the seasons.

living with the seasons summer

Disclaimer.

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:

Purcell, J, Eating For The Seasons, Allen & Unwin, 2011

http://www.chinesemedicineliving.com/blog/nutrition/seasons/summer

https://www.acufinder.com/Acupuncture+Information/Detail/Summertime!+Chinese+Medicine+and+the+Summer+Season

http://www.pacificcollege.edu/acupuncture-massage-news/articles/454-traditional-chinese-medicine-summer-tips.html

http://straightbamboo.com/articles/how-to-stay-healthy-in-summer/

 

The Twelve Top Tips For a Happy Healthy Christmas

With December arriving so quickly the festive season is all around us. Follow these twelve top tips to stay healthy in the holiday season so you can reach New Year in your best state ever, without having to lock yourself away to keep out of temptations reach.

12 Top tips for a happy healthy Christmas

Research shows that the three biggest stresses for most people around Christmas are: weight gain from overindulging, financial strain from overspending, and anxiety from having to spend time with people they prefer to avoid.

According to a recent Australian study by Roy Morgan Research, around 60 per cent of Australians dislike Christmas shopping (I’m one!). But instead of devising a shopping strategy about 20% head out to shop without any plan of action, and most (75%) come home without buying anything at all.

Instead they DO get to stand in queues, hunt-the-parking-spot, surround themselves with crowds of stressed people and ramp up their own stress, frustration and anxiety levels.

12 Top Tips For A Happier Healthier Christmas

Top tips to stay healthy at Christmas

 

Use this list of Twelve Tips to enjoy Christmas this year, instead of simply surviving it.

1.      Stress

Shopping – whether it is standing in long queues, finding space to park, or trying to hunt down a desperately desired gift, many people find Christmas shopping the most stressful part of the season. Wherever you go you will encounter tired, cross irritable people.

It is good to remember that stress and anxiety are quite normal at this time of year. When one family member is under stress, other family members are likely to feel stressed too, aggravating the situation and making life even more difficult for all.

There are many different natural ways to deal with the stress. The simplest of these is without a doubt the flower essence, Bach Rescue Remedy.

Rescue Remedy has been around for over 60 years and was created to help people cope with everyday stressful situations. Its effects are calming and centering. It is suitable for stressed children as well as adults. Carry some with you or keep it in the car so it’s handy when you need to de-stress.

Get it from the Health Food shop or your natural medicine practitioner. Keep one in your bag, your car or your office, so you have it on hand whenever you start to feel stressed. It is available in a number of different forms now – drops, spray, gum, cream, even pastilles and is easy to use. You can take it as often as you need.

2.      Water

This might seem a no-brainer, but it is one that is easy to forget. The reality is that dehydration is a greater problem when you are drinking alcohol. Have two glasses of water before you go to any function. Alternate alcoholic drinks with cool clear water or soda water when you are out socializing. Adding a slice of lemon or lime to the water is even better. Carry a water bottle when you are out shopping.

Remember to keep hydrated.

Photo credit: Evan Courtney
Photo credit: Evan Courtney

3.      Family Conflict

Family tensions seem to surface at this time of year, especially if your relationships are a little strained normally. If you struggle to interact some of the family normally then Christmas is not likely to be any different.

Rather than self-medicating with alcohol, cigarettes or other drugs in order to cope, you can again use the Bach Rescue remedy to help you get through difficult events. If you are able to identify triggers for the conflict, and consciously avoid them you may find it easier to cope.

Christmas gatherings are frequently the place where family dynamics replay just as they existed back decades ago. It can be difficult to be treated as the vague child you once were, when you in your everyday life you are a capable, competent and responsible adult with many skills and abilities.

Involving the family in a group activity after lunch can help keep conflict at bay. Backyard cricket, swimming if you have a pool, or charades if the weather turns nasty, will help lighten the mood.

And if it is still too much, then politely but firmly decline invitations.

4.      Sleep

It is far too easy to lose sleep during December, with busy calendars, lots of socializing, and preparations for the big day. Aim to get seven to eight hours  sleep each night.

We all know that sleep deprivation can cause foggy thinking, slow reactions and irritability. But insomnia can also increase your risk of depression and anxiety, or contribute to obesity. With stress and anxiety already a problem for many people adequate sleep is essential to help keep it at a minimum.

If you are tired, don’t go out. It won’t hurt to miss some parties.

There are a number of herbs that aid sleep. Lavender is very effective and can be used in the form of an essential oil in a burner or diffuser, in your bathwater, or in carrier oil rubbed on the skin. Chamomile, Californian Poppy, Passionflower or Hops are others to help insomnia. Many herbal formulations to aid sleep are available as teas and are simple and lovely in the evening before going to bed. Children can also drink many relaxing herbal teas such as Chamomile.

5.     Avoiding weight blow-out

Going to parties hungry, anticipating lots of yummy Christmas treats is a recipe for disaster. When you are hungry it is difficult to resist eating anything offered to you and you are likely to overindulge.Avoid weight blow out in the holiday season

Finger foods are high in kilojoules, as well as fat and sugar. Opt for low-joule options like vegetable crudités, hommus or fruit. Eating smart when you are out partying is the way to stay on top of excessive weight gain. Limit temptation by eating regular nutritious meals and avoiding Christmas goodies like chocolates, pudding and shortbread throughout the whole season.

Keep up your regular exercise program, and keep in mind it takes many hours of exercise to burn off the extra kilojoules gained at two or three parties.

 6.      Purpose

Finding some ‘purpose’ to Christmas may be a way to help you cope better. There are plenty of ways in which you could volunteer your time. As well as benefiting others, contributing to your community may create feelings in you that make you feel happy. If you find experiencing Christmas Joy difficult this could be a way to get in touch with it again.

7.      Finances.

Credit card blowout in January can be devastating, often taking many months to pay off. Paying for gifts, as well as your celebrations, with cash means you will know whether you can afford the purchase or not, and avoid the financial headache in January.

Rationalize who you will buy gifts for and consider whether you can gift with your time, or something you have made yourself, instead if finances are tight.

If you are hosting the Christmas meal, avoid the temptation to over-cater. You don’t need more food than you would on any other day. You will be thanked when your guests do not feel awful after eating too much.

8.      Breathe

Incorporate the practice of mindful breathing into your daily habits every day through December, if you haven’t already. Simply spend thirty seconds to take slow deep breaths. Do this a few times a day. It is a great way to reduce stress. The simple relaxation technique of focusing on your breath helps to relieve tension and anxiety.

Alternatively you could meditate – there is no need to be scared of this, it is not about becoming a yogi, simply the practice of drawing focus and reducing stress.  Here are some fun, light, easy ways to spend just a few minutes in meditation.

Christmas is about giving, but it is also the time to allow you to receive the gift of relaxation from yourself.

Relax in a bath with hand made natural products to sooth away stress
Relax in a bath with hand made natural products to sooth away stress

9.      Relax

It’s easy to say take some time out for yourself but often we feel there is no time, especially in busy December. However setting aside a relaxing night in to create a home spa experience, followed by a good book or DVD and an early night, could be the answer to getting through Christmas and the New Year and soaring into the New Year.

Run yourself a soothing bath if you have a tub. If not sit yourself in a comfy chair with a relaxing foot bath and a ‘renew you’ herbal brew for about twenty minutes.  Add essential oils to the water to help you relax.  Follow with some nourishing cream on your skin before you curl with your book or movie.

10.      Loss and loneliness

For many people the Christmas Season is one when feelings of loss for a loved one who has passed are magnified, especially as they are surrounded by others celebrating with their families.

For others who are single, whether they are young or elderly, it can be a time of great loneliness. Those far from home can feel overwhelming homesickness. When emotions become overwhelming Homeopathic remedies can be of great assistance. There are a number of excellent ones to help with grief, such as Ignatia, Nat-mur or Causticum. Homeopathic Nat-mur, Capsicum, Phos-ac or Ignatia are just some of dozens of remedies that help relieve homesickness. But Homeopathic Remedies need to be well matched to your own individual experience, or symptoms, of homesickness or loss, and this is best prescribed by a professional Homeopath, who takes many things into consideration before selecting the remedy best suited to you.

If you have decided to add purpose to your Christmas, including someone on their own, far from home in your celebrations is one way to achieve this.

11.  Embrace your inner child

Children look forward to Christmas with enormous excitement. They pour love into cards and gifts made at school. They marvel at the Christmas tree and street lights, rip open presents, pop crackers and join in the Embrace your inner child at Christmas and resolve to have funtraditions with absolute exuberance. They keep going all day because they stop before they have overeaten and don’t need to lie around to recover. They live every moment of the day before falling into bed at night to sleep soundly.

Approach Christmas with the resolve to have fun.

12.  Alcohol

Start the practice of alcohol-free days each week.

Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Limit the number of drinks you consume and alternate them with water or soda water. Be aware that many restaurants use over-sized wine glasses that contain much more than normal serving sizes. Also watch out for top-ups.

Drinking alcohol in the evening interferes with sleep. While you may fall asleep easily, it leads to disturbed sleep later in the night, possible waking you for long periods, or leaving you exhausted in the morning.

If you do overdo it help reduce a hangover with Vitamin C on the day after and Vitamin B Complex both BEFORE and AFTER the big night. It’s a much better combo than Berocca and is minus the aspartame which Berocca contains.

Many people find Homeopathic Nux-vomica, taken in accordance with Homeopathic prescribing guidelines gets rid of the headache and nausea very quickly.

Chlorella has been shown in studies to reduce hangover by 96%. It’s a green sea algae and available from health food shops. Buy a reputable organic brand – very important!

Coconut water is rich in electrolytes to help cleanse and antioxidants. Drink it through the day before you head out as well as before you go to bed to help offset some of the damage caused by the alcohol.

Dandelion root tea helps detoxify the liver and can be drunk before you go out as well as the following day.

Very Important –  What Not To Do

Finally these are some things that you should NOT do if you want to easily sail through into the New Year.

  • Don’t start a new diet, there’s time for that later.
  • Don’t add the expense of sending out cards to people you see all the time.
  • If your kids are scared of Santa, don’t force them onto his lap just to get the cute picture.
  • Remember, you don’t have to find the ‘perfect’ gift. Fundamentally a gift is a token that tells the recipient that you have had them in your thoughts, nothing more. It does NOT have to be big, or expensive, or just what they have always wanted. It is A TOKEN of the feelings from your heart.
  • Do NOT stress about being the ‘perfect’ Mum, partner or friend – most people close to you will understand.

And finally don’t become a slave to any list – gift, card, menu, parties, or even this one. Stay flexible, honour what your body tells you is needed the most, and enjoy the Christmas Season.

keep calm it's only christmas

Disclaimer.

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

http://www.myspringday.com.au/wellness_centre_details/top_5_tips_to_stay_healthy_during_christmas/302?id=302

http://www.drjoe.net.au/dr-joes-diy-health-guide-to-christmas/

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Christmas_tips_to_reduce_the_stress?open&utm_term=Christmas_tips_to_reduce_the_stress&utm_source=&utm_campaign=newsletter

http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-christmas-not-to-do-list/00010228

Related articles

 

A Winter’s Tale: Does Your Winter Mood Need A Lift?

Winter Girl Blowing Snow by Petr Kratochvil

Enough is enough! Yesterday was a day of bitingly cold winds, hail showers and snowfalls on the nearby ranges. Eleven weeks in and I am over the Winter Wonderland Magic.

I was chatting to a man in the supermarket register queue last night as he added some gorgeous coral coloured roses to his pile of groceries. He said he just needed some warm colours around his house to remind him that winter would not go on forever, that spring is nearly here. I felt so inspired, I bought some too!

Winter is eleven weeks in now and it seems we are all feeling over it. The joy of curling up with a warm drink, cosy slippers, a heat pack in front of a movie or with an engrossing book is past. I want to go outside without rugging up, to plant my spring vegetables, to enjoy a salad again, to get to the end of the day without cold feet and to enjoy some sunny evenings.

Even though we are at the tail end of winter this is the time that Winter Blues shows up for many people, as the accumulated stresses of winter start to affect them. These days winter blues are recognised as a disorder known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which is caused by a lack or not sufficient sunlight.

To help get us over that last hump in the winter road and to keep us going until the warmer days of spring arrive I have gathered some ideas to help lift our spirits as winter heads on out.

First up, a couple of warm drinks with a difference. I love herbal teas and I have a whole cupboard devoted to their storage – the tea cupboard. But, even with my wide choice, as well as the basic green tea back-up, I am bored. Here are a few new yummy hot drink ideas I have come across to spice things up when tea is just not going to cut it any more

Hot chocolate!  Chocolate is recognized as a mild stimulant and if you choose your chocolate wisely you get all the benefits of antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamins and minerals. Here are two DELICIOUS chocolaty drinks to warm your insides and your mood.

The first is from Tara Bliss at Such Different Skies

hot choc smoothie

This PIPING HOT CHOC WINTER SMOOTHIE is thick, creamy, decadent and not-naughty.

1 banana

1 heaped Tablespoon raw cacao (don’t use drinking chocolate or cocoa…it’s absolutely worth GETTING some Raw Cacao INSTEAD)

½ teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon chia seeds

2 medjool dates or some honey

1 cup boiling water OR warm almond milk OR dandelion tea

(you can add peanut butter, oats, cinnamon, coconut or maca)

 Blend, Pour, Guzzle Buzz.

 haute hotchocoalte

SUPERFOOD HAUTE CHOCOLATE from Sarah Britton at My New Roots

2 Tablespoons raw cacao powder

2 teaspoons maca porder

1 Tablespoon coconut sugar

Pinch sea salt

Pinch cinnamon powder

Pinch cayenne pepper

Pinch ginger powder

Small piece vanilla bean, scraped (optional)

1½ cups milk of your choice or water

Boil water or warm milk on the stove and let cool slightly. If using raw nut milk do not heat above 42ْ C

Whisk in dry ingredients. Serve immediately with a cinnamon stick, if desired.

Not only is this hot choc yummy but all the spices are wonderfully warming circulation stimulants to warm you through to the fingertips and toes.

                DANDELION CHAISPICED DANDELION ROOT TEA

                1 teaspoon -1 dessertspooon organic roast dandelion root per cup.

1 cinnamon stick (or a pinch of cinnamon powder)

Ginger root, chopped up with the skin left on

Add any of these spices to taste: star anise, bay leaf, black peppercorns, green cardamom seeds slightly crushed, cloves, dried orange peel, dried raspberry leaf, fennel seeds, peppercorns, vanilla bean, licorice root.

Place all ingredients and water in a pot, bring to boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

You can keep any leftover in the fridge and add water and reuse.

Add some honey and your milk of choice if desired.

It tastes great black, but may be too strong for if you are not used to it.

 Aug 22 040

HOME MADE LEMON AND GINGER TEA is so easy to make and head and shoulders better than any from a tea bag.

2 cups boiling water

Juice of ½-1 lemon (about 60ml)

2.5cm piece ginger root, grated

A couple of spoons (or more) of honey to taste

Add the ginger to the boiling water. Simmer in an open pan for about 15 minutes. Add the lemon juice and the honey to the ginger water. Strain into your cup.

Or you can add all the ingredients to the water and pour into a thermos and let the mix sit for 20 minutes before straining and drinking.

This is a good option if you are still trying to throw off a winter cough. The lemon is high in vitamin C to boost your immune system. Ginger and honey also help the immune system.

ROOIBOS, sometimes called red tea, is one with heaps of health benefits. It comes from South Africa and has a fairly robust flavour. We recently tried one with added honey at work and it was very popular.

Looking out the window at the pots of flowers on my deck today, it struck me that the  colours of late winter are lavender, the colour of the rosemary in full flower, and golden yellow – think daffodils. Bringing a bunch of winter daffs in for your desk or bench will brighten your mood, reminding you the season is about to change. Yellow is the colour of spring and it is considered cheerful and optimistic.

There have been a number of studies done which show that the colours you surround yourself with will have a great impact on your state of mind. In the Stadium at the University of Iowa, the visiting teams locker rooms are painted all-pink and have been for thirty years, because pink is a tranquil colour that is known to calm and pacify. If the Home Team then painted their own locker rooms red which stimulates a faster heart rate and breathing, they would no doubt benefit from an emotional energy boost.

Using colour is a great way to lift your mood and one very simple way to use colour is to swap a bright cheerful coloured silk scarf for your woolly, black  winter scarf (of course you have a black scarf if you live in Melbourne!). Avoid blue because it lowers the pulse rate and body temperature.

Vitamin D is a wonderful mood lifter and if you are feeling a bit low taking a quality vitamin D supplement is a great move. In many parts of the world it is almost impossible to get sufficient sun exposure to meet your needs during the winter. Vitamin D is involved in so many body functions, but at this time of the year it often becomes very obvious that you have a deficiency of this vitamin when your mood drops. It is really worth having your blood levels tested with a simple blood test, as then you will be able to calculate how much vitamin D supplement you need to take.  Optimum levels are >75 nmol/L. If your levels are significantly lower than this (and a large part of the populations are, even here in ‘sunny Australia’), then you will need to take quite a bit of supplement to bring the levels up again.

Another vitamin that plays a crucial role in keeping up good spirits are the B group of vitamins. Vitamin B deficiency is linked to a range of emotional disorders as well as many other body functions. Opt for 50mg daily of a Vitamin B-complex rather than selecting individual B vitamins as these vitamins work much better synergistically when all the ‘B’s’ are present.

Other supplements that are critical in dealing with depression and mood disorders are selenium, magnesium and iron. A multi vitamin and multi mineral can address any deficiency you may have.

Socialising is a great way to pick up your mood. Maybe this is the time to do something with your friends out of the ordinary. Hold a fondue party, or dust off the board games, particularly the ones you loved as a child, like Twister, Pictionary, Monopoly or Charades. Or combine a pot-luck night with a game night. Or maybe your friends would enjoy a ‘Funny-Home Video’ night or a Karaoke night.

Even though it is cold try and get outside for some exercise. It is tough to exercise in the winter, and arriving home in the evening just as the sun goes down and the cold closes in is not much incentive to head out to the gym or go out for a walk. But exercise goes a long way towards relieving the stress of the day. The endorphins released during exercise improve your mood and help you sleep, and the effects can last for a number of hours.

One problem of the colder weather for many people is that they crave starchy or sweet foods more than normal which increases their blood sugar levels, making them feel blue. Remember that the foods you eat are a strong contributor to your mood. A poor diet will cause an imbalance in your body and make you feel worse. Add more fruits and vegetables, including raw as much as possible. Use complex grains, organic meats when you can and eggs and ignore those cravings for white flour and sugars.

Natural light is one of the best ways to avoid the blues and to lift your spirits. You can now get full spectrum light globes in Australia and there are energy saving versions available. They provide the full range of natural light from infra-red to ultra-violet. The benefits are well established and they reduce many health problems such as headaches, nausea and fatigue. In your home open the curtains wide to let the sun stream in on any day that is a little warmer, particularly where you cannot install full spectrum light globes.

After being closed up for months on end houses get stale. Freshen up your surroundings and your mood at the same time with essential oils. There are some that have anti-depressant properties including bergamot, lavender, geranium, jasmine and clary sage.  Others that are good mood lifters are sweet orange, neroli, and ylang ylang. Using high quality essential oil in an aromatherapy diffuser releases them into the air in the form of water vapour, which is the best way for them to spread through your home. You can also add them to a bath (or a foot bath) or add a few drops to a carrier oil and use as a massage oil.

Here’s to the arrival of spring…

 Copy of daffodils

Disclaimer.

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

http://www.naturopathic.org/content.asp?contentid=262

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/5-natural-ways-to-beat-the-winter-blues.html?page=2

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/wellness_articles.asp?id=341

http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/sex+relationships/wellbeing/beat+the+winter+blues,9093

Ah-Ah-Ah-Choooooo! Scratch, Scratch! Allergy Time

Allergies are the bane of so many people’s life these days making it difficult for them to function well in their everyday life.

Allergies occur when your immune system is hypersensitive. When an allergen comes into contact with any mucous membrane surface – the respiratory tract, digestive tract, the eyes – it sets up an inflammation which causes the symptoms. Food Intolerances are different to allergies and are the result of an inability to digest or absorb foods. But the symptoms of each can be very similar and often confused. Symptoms from allergy usually develop quickly.

Allergies are the bane of so many people’s life these days Photo credit: Brooke Novak
Allergies are the bane of so many people’s life these days Photo credit: Brooke Novak

The incidence of food allergy is growing. In 2011 an Australian study, the Health Nuts Study, found that 10% out of 5000 infants demonstrated food allergy. This is the highest rate in the world and we should be alarmed about why the incidence is rising so rapidly.

The most common allergic reactions usually fall into four groups.
  •       Anaphylaxis – a life-threatening reaction where the airways can swell
  •       Skin symptoms – eczema, dermatitis, welts and hives
  •       Eye reactions – conjunctivitis, redness, itching and watering
  •       Hay Fever or Rhinitis

Some asthmas are caused by allergies. Anaphylaxis is a more serious allergic response and is potentially life-threatening. One of my children experienced this on a number of occasions from milk and butter when he was young and beestings later, and it is a very scary situation. It usually occurs very quickly and affects multiple body systems. It needs an immediate dose of adrenalin to reverse it.

There is now evidence which suggests that the increased use of antibiotics may have something to do with the increase in allergies and asthma because it upsets the normal balance of gut flora and leads to confusion within the immune system so that it is unable to tell the difference between harmless substances and bacteria, viruses and parasites. It is also thought that our higher hygiene standards may have contributed, by exposing us to fewer pathogens, which leads to your body attacking harmless antigens instead.

You can develop an allergy to many common things including grasses and flower pollen
You can develop an allergy to many common things including grasses and flower pollen

There are many common things to which people develop an allergy. Allergens might be any of the following:

  •      Foods such as gluten or wheat, milk and dairy foods, seafood and shellfish,alcohol, soy, eggs, peanuts, nuts, seeds, tomatoes, alcohol.
  •      Environmental factors such as dust, dust mites, pollen, mould, animal fur, grasses
  •      Man-made substances such as medications, pesticides, latex, nickel
  •      Insects including cockroaches, bees or wasps

While there are a number of over-the-counter and prescription medications that are regularly used for allergies, they all put lots of strain on your liver as it has to detox the medications. This may actually exacerbate the condition. Most people have used antihistamines to gain relief from the symptoms of hay fever at some time, but the ongoing prospect of having to take loads of pharmaceuticals, to say nothing of the debilitating side effects they cause, is not at all appealing. Western medicine stresses ongoing medications and avoidance of exposure but this is not always possible.

What else can you do to deal with this in more natural way?

The best way to get rid of the problem of allergies is with professional advice from a Natural Medicine Practitioner.

But there are many ways that you can get relief for your allergy symptoms using a host of ‘Kitchen Remedies’. Anaphylaxis must always be regarded as a medical emergency and treated accordingly. But the next time allergy strikes with other symptoms, before you reach for the antihistamine try out some of these tips, until you are ready to seek long-term relief from a Natural Health practitioner.

 

Please read my disclaimer below before reading on.

Allergies occur when your immune system is hypersensitive.
Allergies occur when your immune system is hypersensitive.

Kitchen Remedies

Respiratory passages:

For sinuses and nasal congestion put some olive oil in your palm and sprinkle some black pepper into it. Breathe the aroma in. It makes you sneeze and that removes the allergens in your nose.

Many people swear by Neti pots, although I haven’t tried them myself. You fill the Neti pot with a saline solution and use it to flush the allergens and irritation from your sinuses. Use a pre-made saline rinse or make one yourself by dissolving 1 teaspoon of Himalayan salt (or sea salt as a second choice) in 1 litre of boiled distilled water. Allow it to cool completely and put it in the Neti pot. Pour it through one nostril and allow it to drain out the other. Make sure you rinse the irrigation device after you use it with boiled distilled water and leave it to ‘air-dry’.

Herbal teas:    Peppermint tea is a great decongestant which can unclog sinuses and improve breathing. It is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. Chamomile tea is a natural anti-inflammatory and may reduce the duration of hay fever attacks.

Eating food drenched in wasabi will clear out your sinuses in an instant, so head for the sushi bar if you need a quick clear when you are out and about.

Showering as soon as you come back inside after being outdoors can be an easy way to get quick allergy relief. It can help remove allergens from your skin and hair and the steam will help to clear nasal cavities, although it will usually be only temporarily.

Even just inhaling the steam over a bowl of hot water can flush out the mucous just as well as a shower. Add a few drops of Eucalyptus essential oil and carefully inhale the steam for an even better result.

Skin reactions:

A colloidal oatmeal mask for hives or eczema. You can either add  2 or 3 cups straight to the bathwater where it disperses and stays in suspension rather than settling to the bottom, or make a paste to spread over the affected area. To make the paste you need 1-2 tablespoons of Colloidal Oatmeal. You can make your own if you cannot buy it. Add warm water until you get the desired consistency. Spread on your skin and leave for a few minutes

Apple cider vinegar has long been recognized for its wonderful healing properties. Dilute a little in water and dab onto any itchy area. Great for dry eczema, hives or bed bug bites.

Mixing Bicarbonate of Soda (Baking Soda) with a little water to form a paste which you can spread on the skin will help stop the itching. You can also add it to a warm bath and soak in it for twenty minutes if the reaction area is more widespread.

Nettle is often used to relieve allergies as it is a natural antihistamine which targets the immune system. As well as drinking your nettle tea you can also use it topically. Allow it to cool and then use a cloth or gauze to dab it on the itchy spots where it will give relief. You could also take 300 to 500 mg of stinging nettle capsules each day.

A strong brew of dried anti-inflammatory chamomile flowers steeped for fifteen minutes or more then cooled and strained, can be applied to eczema for about 20 minutes with gauze or a cloth for itchiness relief. You can use it three times a day.

Basil is another herb that contains anti-allergenic components and it will give relief for hives. Boil a couple of leaves in water. Once the tea has cooled down apply it topically on the hives.

Organic cold pressed coconut oil can be applied topically and gives relief to many sufferers.

Aloe vera gel is useful, especially when it comes from freshly cut leaves.

Water that has had thin cucumber slices soaked in it for a few hours and then filtered can be applied to the area with a clean gauze or cloth.

Eye reactions:

For puffiness place slices of cold raw potato on your eyes

To relieve itchy, dry or watery eyes try making a compress from chamomile or black tea bags that have been steeped in boiling water and allowed to cool. Leave on for five minutes. Choose organic teabags as there are many chemicals used to bleach the material used for the bag that may aggravate already inflamed eyes. Even better if you refrigerate the teabags first.

A wonderful eyewash can be made to soothe itchy eyes by diluting non-alcoholic calendula liquid in water.

And last but not least, don’t forget to drink lots of water which helps with sinus drainage and congestion. It seems as though I say to do this in every post, but almost everybody drinks too little water and dehydration, even when it is mild, contributes to many health problems. With allergies, dehydration makes your mouth and throat dry and your mucous thickens.

Do you have a great “Kitchen Remedy” that you use for your allergies? Share it in the replies below.

Check back again soon as I will write lots more about allergies and food intolerances (lactose and gluten).

Photo credit: Sylvia McFadden
Photo credit: Sylvia McFadden

Source articles:

http://wellnessmama.com/8370/7-natural-remedies-for-allergy-relief/

http://www.wellbeing.com.au/article/Features/Body-Health/Allergy-alert_1260

http://www.naturalnews.com/036292_eczema_home_remedies_skin_disease.html

http://www.great-natural-home-remedies.org/home-remedies/allergies.html

http://www.detoxificationforthebody.com/2013/05/22/home-remedies-for-allergies/

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/herbal-remedies-for-spring-allergies.html

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/get-healthy/home-remedies/natural-home-remedies-hives

http://www.anniesremedy.com/chart_remedy.php?tag=allergies

Disclaimer.

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. 

No Resolutions To A New Outlook

Just how worthwhile are New Years resolutions when 1st March rolls around?
Just how worthwhile are New Years resolutions when 1st March rolls around?

I woke today, the first day of 2013 to a beautiful warm, sunny summer morning. As I watched from my deck the summer butterflies darted about the parched garden seeking the few open flowers, the surrounding trees were filled with the songs of the lorikeets and magpies, and I began to crystalize my thoughts about the directions I wished to follow in the coming year.

You may call these resolutions, but I have always shied away from using this term. I am not making any resolutions. I hate New Year resolutions. They seem somehow so pointless. I hear people around me making the same resolutions year in and year out – stop smoking, lose weight, exercise more, get a new job, etc, etc and at the end of the year most of their resolutions have fallen by the wayside and they have made no changes in their life.

Do these ring a bell for you? The top 10 resolutions made over the last 10 years have remained the same every year.
Do you recognise yourself in this collection? The most common top 10 resolutions made over the last 10 years have remained the same every year.

New Year Resolutions seems to lock everything into a very narrow field and set up you up firmly and squarely on the success/fail axis. I prefer to adopt the more accepting belief that whatever we experience or wherever we find ourselves is the right place to be because it the one place at that moment where we will find the opportunity to learn and understand more about ourselves. So, by setting up resolutions I would be setting up inflexible parameters that didn’t allow for the shifts of life that provide the opportunity for growth.

In addition, this type of a rigid approach causes stress and all the concomitant health problems that stress invariably leads to, which I would like to avoid. What I have noticed is that when people are living in a way that embraces opportunities for personal growth other things in their life fall into place more easily. Exercising or weight loss comes more easily because they want to be out doing whatever activity draws them, difficult decisions are made, new opportunities arise, and life begins to flow more fluidly and easily.

So my thoughts about my directions for 2013 are a little looser than things like “lose weight”, although that would be nice! I decided to take a look at the Virtues Project to form my list of the virtues I would like to see acknowledged and strengthened through this year, both on a personal and a wider community or global level.

Here is my list in no particular order of THIRTEEN VIRTUES TO EMBRACE FOR 2013, taken from the condensed list of 52 Virtues from The 52 Virtues Project (the full list of Virtues is extensive and this condensed list provided a little more focus):

1. Assertiveness
Being assertive means being positive and confident. You are aware that you are a worthy person with your own special gifts. You think for yourself and express your own ideas. You know what you stand for and what you won’t stand for. You expect respect.

2. Confidence
Confidence is having faith in someone. Self-confidence is trusting that you have what it takes to handle whatever happens. You feel sure of yourself and enjoy trying new things, without letting doubts or fears hold you back. When you have confidence in others, you rely on them

3. Creativity
Creativity is the power of imagination. It is discovering your own special talents. Dare to see things in new ways and find different ways to solve problems. With your creativity, you can bring something new into the world

4. Integrity
Integrity is living by your highest values. It is being honest and sincere. Integrity helps you to listen to your conscience, to do the right thing, and to tell the truth. You act with integrity when your words and actions match. Integrity gives you self-respect and a peaceful heart.

5. Joyfulness
Joyfulness is an inner sense of peace and happiness. You appreciate the gifts each day brings. Without joyfulness, when the fun stops, our happiness stops. Joy can carry us through the hard times even when we are feeling very sad. Joy gives us wings.

6. Moderation
Moderation is creating a healthy balance in your life between work and play, rest and exercise. You don’t overdo or get swept away by the things you like. You use your self-discipline to take charge of your life and your time.

7. Thankfulness
Thankfulness is being grateful for what we have. It is an attitude of gratitude for learning, loving and being. Appreciate the little things that happen around you and within you every day. Think positively. Thankfulness brings contentment

8. Compassion
Compassion is understanding and caring when someone is hurt or troubled, even if you don’t know them. It is wanting to help, even if all you can do is listen and say kind words. You forgive mistakes. You are a friend when someone needs a friend.

9. Generosity
Generosity is giving and sharing. You share freely, not with the idea of receiving something in return. You find ways to give others happiness, and give just for the joy of giving. Generosity is one of the best ways to show love and friendship.

10. Tolerance
Being tolerant is accepting differences. You don’t expect others to think, look, speak or act just like you. You are free of prejudice, knowing that all people have feelings, needs, hopes and dreams. Tolerance is also accepting things you wish were different with patience and flexibility.

11. Understanding
Understanding is using your mind to think clearly, paying careful attention to see the meaning of things. An understanding mind gives you insights and wonderful ideas. An understanding heart gives you empathy and compassion for others. Understanding is the power to think and learn and also to care

12.Unity                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Unity helps us work and live together peacefully. We feel connected with each other and all living things. We value the specialness of each person as a gift, not as a reason to fight or be scared. With unity we accomplish more together than any of one of us could alone.

13. Love
Love is a special feeling that fills your heart. You show love in a smile, a kind word, a thoughtful act or a hug. Love is treating people and things with care and kindness because they mean so much to you. Love is contagious. It keeps spreading.

Of course there are many more virtues to ambrace, and selecting only thirteen was very difficult.

The Virtues Project is a grassroots initiative started in Canada aimed at inspiring the practice of virtues in everyday life. It is widely used in schools but is equally effective in the home or your personal life. It “empowers individuals to live more authentic meaningful lives, families to raise children of compassion and integrity, educators to create safe, caring, and high performing learning communities, and leaders to encourage excellence and ethics in the work place.” If you would like to start off 2013 doing a daily Virtues Card pick for yourself then go here and click on ‘Do A Virtues Pick’.

Use 2013 to achieve change that you can recognise when 2014 rocks in
Make 2013 a year of change that you can recognise when 2014 rocks along

But, if someone were to twist my arm and force me to make three New Year resolutions, then this is how I would go

1. make no stupid resolutions that would fall by the wayside during January

2. adopt a new Virtue to embrace each week, thirteen of which would take me through to the end of March

3. refuse to take any of these doomsdayer prophesies literally.

I hope that 2013 brings you the opportunity to experience the new, to find joy in the simple things of life and to grow to know and understand yourself and the world around you more fully, and that by opening your self to the world around you experience much abundance in all parts of your life.

And especially, if as the doomsdayers claim, the Earth is about to be wiped out by a meteor in the next few months taking us all with it, that as you go down screaming you can feel that you have lived a life worthwhile.

Allow your virtues to unfurl
Allow your virtues to unfurl

Disclaimer.

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. 

Treat Time with this Delicious Dessert for Christmas

Christmas has arrived in my household. It was a little slow in appearing this year but the tree went up three days ago and now it feels more like Christmas time.

The Christmas Tree in the corner of my living room
The Christmas Tree in the corner of my living room

We always celebrate on the night before Christmas when we meet for the family dinner, and like most families there are long-held food traditions. One which my boys hold on to most vehemently is the inclusion of Summer Pudding in the menu. To them, Summer Pudding, a delicious, light, berry-bright dessert that celebrates the height of summer is synonymous with Christmas. This suits me fine as it is a breeze to make.

Christmas and New Year is a time when it is all too easy to overeat, or to eat poorly, when eating out more often means that keeping up your normal healthy food choices becomes very difficult, so it is great to find a festive dessert that is delicious as well as being reasonably healthy, as desserts go.

The other benefit for me, and no doubt many of you, in these times when so many people are on restricted diets is that it fits the bill for many of them. In our family, we have to cater to a wide range of diets from the ‘meat and potato’ eaters to Vegan, and include gluten-free and dairy-free along the way, which is quite a tall order. Summer Pudding can be very easily adapted to fit these as well as being suitable for nut-free and egg-free diets also. The only negatives are that it really does need refined white bread and some sweetening.

The recipe normally calls for fine wheat bread but I replace this with  gluten-free bread. Some gluten-free breads are still as heavy as rocks but increased public demand has forced manufacturers to improve their product and there are some around now that taste just fine.

I replace the white castor sugar normally used in the recipe with coconut palm sugar, although as I was out of it today I had to use Panela which is unrefined cane sugar. In addition I cut the sugar content dramatically, as too much makes the dessert taste sickly and overwhelms the slight tartness that sings fresh berries. Do not leave all the sugar out though as it needs a little.

So here is my Super- Easy Antioxidant Rich Delicious Summer Pudding recipe adapted to suit restricted diets.

Serves 6 – But you can increase the quantities as needed and use a cake tin instead of the bowl for larger quantities.

Don’t stress too much about the berries – sometimes I use more or less of one or another. But, strawberries and blueberries don’t work well so leave them out. Normally I go out to the hills a few days before Christmas to pick my berries but this year didn’t have time and used mostly frozen berries from my last ‘picking’ with a few fresh ones thrown in. As long as you don’t over heat them they are fine.

1 Loaf of stale white gluten-free bread (GF bread stales quite quickly and will do so if left out on the bench for an or so)

300g raspberries

125g redcurrants

100g blackberries

100g boysenberries

1/3 cup coconut palm sugar

Line a bowl with plastic wrap, letting it hang over the sides.

Let the edges of the plastic wrap hang generously over the edge
Let the edges of the plastic wrap hang generously over the edge

Place the fruit in a saucepan with the sugar, and gently heat until it just starts to boil. Remove from the heat. Put the raspberries on the top as they are softest and will break up the easiest.

The berries release lots of juice as soon as they are heated.
The berries release lots of juice as soon as they are heated.

While the fruit is heating, cut the crusts from the bread and  line the bottom and sides with it. I use triangles on the bottom (as this will become the top) and tightly fitting rectangles for the sides. Take some care to make sure it fits snugly.

Cut the bread pieces so they fit snugly together
Cut the bread pieces so they fit snugly together

When the fruit has heated fill the lined bowl with the fruit, and cover the fruit with a lid of bread. I usually pour some of

Cover the berries with a lid of bread pieces
Cover the berries with a lid of bread pieces

the remaining juice over the bread lid and trickle some down the edges between the bread and plastic. Save any left over juice.

Fold the overhanging plastic over the bread lid and place a plate on top and weigh it down. You can use a can to do this.

I use these gorgeous antique weights but a can of food will do the job perfectly
I use these gorgeous antique weights but a can of food will do the job perfectly

Place in the refrigerator overnight.

To serve, turn the pudding out on a plate. If there are patches that have not absorbed the juices and are not ‘berry-juice red’ pour the reserved juices over them to patch them. Slice the pudding just as you would a cake.

The finished Summer Pudding
The finished Summer Pudding

Even if you are not celebrating Christmas, or your menu is already planned, try out this yummy treat, I am sure you will love it as much as we do.