Thursday, 10 January 2013

All change..

After many years on blogger I have recently moved this blog and website to wordpress with help from the guys at Dinosaur Design

This blog will no longer be updated but you can still see all blog posts here. All these posts have also been copied over to the new, shiny website. So .. have a look and let me know what you think.

or say hello to me on twitter @homeojo

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Natural Remedies for the Festive Season

I did a talk recently about some natural remedies to help you get through the Christmas period and thought I'd post the information on here. The clever carousel is linked to Amazon and is there so you can buy those items of just see images of what I'm talking about. All of these products can be bought in your local health food shop and most will be available in any chemists. 

I generally offer advice to my patients on healthy living, but I know it’s also important to have fun and let your hair down occasionally – so here is some holistic help for some of the ailments that come up over the festive season. For long standing health problems, it's important to see a practitioner, but there are many homeopathic and other natural remedies which might help with minor symptoms, worry and over-indulgence over the festive period.

A particular favourite with my patients is the homeopathic remedy Nux vomica, which many people use to help with the symptoms of a hangover. We all know it's not healthy to drink too much alcohol, but from time to time, we do it anyway. Nux vomica works in most cases, no need to take time off work!

Nux vomica is not just for hangovers but it also be used for the general symptoms of over-indulgence. Symptoms include heartburn, indigestion, and nausea, a headache, sensitivity to noise and light, and irritability. Particularly suits people who tend to burn the candle at both ends, who keep going with coffee and feel the cold.

This is also very helpful for colds or hayfever with a very runny nose and lots of sneezing, especially when accompanied by a lot of grumpiness!

Remember that homeopathic remedies are always prescribed according to a specific set of symptoms, and in most cases, different people will need different remedies for the same ailment, because their symptoms and how they experience them, will differ. But, in the case of Nux vomica, it perfectly fits the symptoms of a hangover in most people. 

Arnica is the most well known of all homeopathic remedies and is the first one you should consider for most accidents, bruising, shock, injuries or aches and pain from physical exertion.

Given early it will reduce swelling and bruising. There may be a fear of being touched because of the pain, and the person may want to be left alone.  They may claim to be alright when they clearly are not. Useful for the classic response of someone in shock. 

Arnica is also very helpful for the effects of physical strain like too much dancing, sport or gardening or even the scrum of the January sales! A dose or two will help relieve stiffness and help the body to recover. 

The rest are not homeopathic remedies but are all natural remedies I often recommend, especially over Christmas which can be a stressful and exhausting time.
Rescue Remedy This is available in a variety of forms and comes in distinctive bright yellow packaging – liquid, lozenges, chewing gum, spray and a cream and can be used for any sort of shock, stress or panic. Other brands such as Ainsworths and Healing Herbs also make remedies to the same recipe and specification as the Bach ones.

Rescue Remedy can help you cope with the varied demands in your life whether they are everyday stressful moments or the bigger life-changing events. Sometimes it's the little things, like sitting in traffic when you know you're already late, feeding loads of visitors, dealing with difficult relatives, continual interruptions when you're trying to meet a deadline, or perhaps the kids throwing a tantrum when you're trying to get around a busy supermarket.

There is also a Rescue Night Time, this also contains White Chestnut which is particularly good for helping switch off mental chatter and allow a restful sleep.

Echinacea There is a growing amount of evidence that Echinacea can help boost the immune system, but be warned. There are many varieties of Echinacea and not all of them have medicinal properties. Many of the cheap Echinacea pills and tinctures are of questionable medical value.

Echinaforce products by Vogel are excellent quality and contain Echinacea Purpurea which is the one that has most research to back up its effectiveness. Echinacea Pallida is also proven to be effective. The roots of some varieties like Augustifolia actually contain more of the active ingredient but it is not always clear which variety or which parts of the plant have been used. The Vogel website has lots of research information about many of their products, including Echinacea, if you want to find out more.

Avena Sativa (Wild Oats) is available in herbal or homeopathic doses. We usually eat the grains of oats but both of these remedies are prepared using the leaves.

The main use is to help calm the mind and it is great for insomnia or anxiety where you cannot switch off your brain. With such a change of routine over Christmas and an influx of visitors and demands on you, this can be a really simple way of helping you get a good sleep and make you more able to face the following day.

If you have the tincture take 5-10 drops in a small glass of water before bed, if using the homeopathic version, take one 6c or 30c pill before bed.

Lavender is a great essential oil to have around the house at any time of year but particularly at Christmas. It is the only oil that is OK to use neat on your skin and is particularly good for burns and insect bites. 

If you feel a cold coming on rub a couple of drops of lavender oil into your jaw line. Doing this can get the lavender into your system quickly through lymph nodes and will often prevent colds developing. Lavender is a great one to help mind and body switch off and a few drops in a bath or a drop on your pillowcase can help you to unwind and get a good sleep. Lavender can be used for many, many things - for some more suggestions see this page from Yorkshire Lavender

If you would like to know more about essential oils I highly recommend the book Aromatherapy for Women by Maggie Tisserand

This has many simple and practical tips on how to use essential oils for a range of family ailments, hair and skin treatments and even in cleaning products around the house. It is quite an old book and you will be able to find it cheaply second hand.

Olbas Oil is a wonderful multi-purpose oil. Most people think of it to use as an inhalation for stuffy noses and colds but it is much more versatile that that. It is also good for sinus pain and can be added to some cream or oil to massage aches and pains.

Olbas contains a large amount of eucalyptus and mint which are both great for helping disturbed digestion. If your tummy is feeling a bit bloated, crampy or bunged up then add a couple of drops to a blob of handcream and rub on your tummy. This will ease the discomfort very quickly.

Always wash your hands after handling Olbas Oil as it will sting if you rub your eyes!

Black Strap Molasses  is one of the few sweet things that is actually good for you. Unlike refined white sugar, blackstrap molasses contain significant amounts of a variety of minerals that promote your health. High in calcium, iron, manganese, copper, potassium and magnesium.

This is particularly useful after a bout of vomiting or diarrhoea as it gets good sugars and minerals into your system quickly. Can also be helpful for women who feel a bit limp during heavy periods as it will help replace the minerals lost with menstruation.

Very useful in cooking too and gives a rich flavour to flapjacks or even baked beans!

Vitamin C and D  Both of these are important for your immune system and much more. A lot of the food we eat containing vitamin C (eg. citrus fruit) has travelled a long way and lost much of its nutritional value before it reaches us. Eating organic local seasonal fruit and veg will help but there is a growing amount of evidence suggesting everyone should take some Vitamin C daily. 

As with Echinacea, the quality of vitamin C products varies enormously. High dose cheap pills from supermarkets are not always in a form your body can metabolise. I would recommend food based Vitamin C products and especially cherry based ones. Acerola cherries contain all sorts of other bioflavinoids such as quercetin which is proving to be important for general health and the immune system.

Vitamin D is now considered one of the most vital vitamins for health and protection and one of the most depleted, particularly in pregnant women, the elderly and those that rarely get outdoors. In the frozen North, how much daylight do you see in winter? Probably not a lot. Vitamin D3 is the most bioavailable form of this nutrient and emerging evidence is that we need around 50ug/day for health and this is the newly established RDA in Canada. 

I get my vitamins and supplements from Cytoplan who make excellent quality food state supplements which are much easier for your body to metabolise. Many very cheap vitamins and supplements are really a waste of money as the ingredients are not in a form your body can use. 

For more information see this article about food state and whole food supplements on the Cytoplan website. They have a vast amount of technical information, articles, research information and free booklets on a range of health conditions. They also offer a free Health Questionnaire which will give you an appraisal health, together with advice on lifestyle, diet and supplements. 

Food Based nutritional supplements

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Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Mo Morrish - my hero!

Over the past year the School of Homeopathy and the Homeopathy Action Trust has funded the professional media training of selected homeopaths.

Mani Norland who has been involved with this project says "It was clear to us that the profession needed people who were passionate about homeopathy, good at talking clearly and presenting the facts well. We needed to be compelling, coherent and consistent! In the past homeopathy has not fared well in the media and we need to try and prevent this from happening. Finding great spokespeople is an important aspect of this. We trained eight people, but really we only need one or two who can really represent the voice of the profession."

One of the videos features Mo Morrish who has been an inspiration to me and many other students over the years at the British School of Homoeopathy.

Before getting interesting in homeopathy Mo worked in proper science as a microbiologist and so has a very solid understanding of the science of homeopathy and dilutions as well as the philosophy which he teaches in a brilliant and engaging way.

More of these videos can be viewed on the School of Homeopathy channel on youtube

As well as being a great teacher Mo has also written two books.

Medicine Flows is aimed at homeopathy students and discusses the writings of Samuel Hahnemann and the philosophy of homeopathy. It really gives a simple interpretation of 

The other book Homoeopathy: A Rational Choice in Medicine

 is a very small but information-packed book which answers many of the frequently asked questions about what we do. I have several copies of this one and they are great for anyone who is curious about homeopathy and would like more information, whether they are patients, health professionals or sceptics! Let me know if you would like to borrow a copy.

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Thursday, 13 September 2012

Settle Showcase on 29th September

Apologies for the strange green text colour.. blogger doesn't seem to want to let me use black text!

As some of you know, I started an informal lunchtime networking group last autumn. This was aimed at small businesses and home based workers who don't get much opportunity to meet other business folk. The group has grown enormously and we now have over 100 local businesses on our list. At the end of the month we are holding a free Settle Showcase to highlight what a diverse mix of skills and talents can be found in the area.  

As well as having a stall in the main hall I will be doing a talk about food foraging in the afternoon. The first 20 people to come and find me on the day get a 2013 fridge magnet calender!

Hopefully see some of you there.

Come and meet your local businesses and community organisations at this free local event!

Saturday 29th September 2012
 Victoria Hall and Quaker Meeting House, Settle

This event is going to be jam-packed with information and entertainment. There will be a wide range of exhibitors with information and displays, demonstrating the scope of the small businesses and organisations across Settle and the surrounding villages. 

They represent a variety of sectors:  the outdoor world and natural environment, IT training and advice, business and financial support, architectural services and garden design, photography, alternative therapies, health and healing, books and publishing, craft, education and community projects, fitness and exercise, and First Aid and life support techniques. 

There will also be a range of absolutely FREE talks and workshops, so you can try out the skills of our town’s talented entrepreneurs on the spot! These include Basic First Aid, Food Foraging, Advice for Parents on Internet Safety, Tai Chi, Creative Writing, Computer Tips, Crafts, Guided Meditation, Nutritional Advice, and World Wide Scouting and more. Get there early to book them on the day at Victoria Hall. See here for a full list of talks, tours and workshops.

Added to all this there will be lively lunchtime entertainment, free tours of the Town Hall, reduced entry to the Folly for all Showcase attendees (£1 for adults and kids go free), and a talk from Settle Stories about their work to develop the WR Mitchell Archive, including readings from some of his recordings which uniquely document life in the Dales through the stories of local Dales folk.

And don’t forget there’s also the chance to take part in a free prize draw, a Treasure Trail around Settle with a chance to win prize vouchers, and charity tombola in aid of the Cave Rescue Organisation.

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