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Reaching for a Monday morning coffee?

Caffeine increases the stress hormone cortisol which stimulates our fight or flight response. This can make us overreact to situations, become irritable & agitated and make our hearts beat faster. Our bodies are designed to boost energy levels in the mornings so we already produce cortisol naturally, adding that cup of coffee first thing swamps our system. Try waiting until you have been up for at least an hour before consuming any caffeine. If you already have increased anxiety or suffer from p...

January 16, 2022

Sleep Powder

Making a lovely powder mix to help a client get their sleep back on on track 🥰 💤Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) - traditionally used in India as bedtime drink, relieves stress, anxiety and inflammation 💤Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) - sedative and calming effect, a heart tonic and tones nervous system 💤Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) - a powerful sedative, at low doses acts as an antidepressant and useful for calming an agitated mind 💤Turmeric (Curcuma longa) - reduces inflamma...

December 10, 2021

Castor Oil Packs

A castor oil pack is a piece of wool or cotton cloth soaked in castor oil which is applied on the skin. People use them to ease several ailments, including skin conditions, blood circulation problems, and digestive issues. Specifically, application of a castor oil pack seems to increase detoxification through the liver and trigger the other organs of elimination to open and release. It may also help stimulate the lymphatic system, improve circulation, and generally aid toxin removal....

October 18, 2021

King of Bitters - Andrographis paniculata (green chiretta)

This herb has been in the news this week after trials in Thai prisons to treat COVID-19 have shown encouraging results. A strong antimicrobial, antiviral and stimulates the immune system. I often use it in remedies for infections either as a tincture (liquid extract of herb in alcohol) or as a tea. Due to its immensely bitter taste - known as ‘King of Bitters’ - I will often combine it with other herbs such as Liquorice or Elderberry to make it more palatable. The bitter taste also stimulat...

October 15, 2021

Alternate nostril breathing or Nadi Shohana

This technique balances Vata and because Vata is the chief dosha this in turn balances both Pitta and Kapha. Benefits of this technique: 🍃It activates, cleanses, and brings balance to the solar (masculine) and lunar (feminine) channels of the subtle body. These channels are directly related to the same dualistic energies activated by different hormones in the body, so hormone imbalances almost always reflect an excess or deficiency in either solar or lunar energies—and sometimes both. ...

October 12, 2021

Immune Boosting Astragalus Miso Soup

Astragalus is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to strengthen wei qi – the energy that circulates the surface of the body. It is also known to increase white blood cell count, decrease viral replication and stimulates production of T killer cells. (word of caution – do not take if you have an active infection, speak to your practitioner first) Miso is a fermented bean sauce which is full of probiotics – supporting healthy gut flora has been strongly linked with immune system health. Add...

September 30, 2021

Homemade Fire Cider

Most herbalists will have their own version of this immune booster, here’s mine with a little added extra to super charge that immune system.Ingredients:½ cup grated or chopped fresh horseradish root½ cup or more fresh chopped onions¼ cup or more chopped garlic¼ cup or more grated or chopped gingerChopped fresh or dried cayenne pepper ‘to taste’ (whole or powdered). To Taste means it should be hot, but not so hot you can’t tolerate it. Better to make it a little milder than too hot; ...

September 28, 2021

Autumn Equinox

The Autumn equinox marks the end of summer where day and night are equal and we start our journey to longer nights Also known as Mabon, named after a Welsh mythological god the son of the Earth Mother, it is a good time to reflect on the year recognising your successes and letting go of the things that have not served you well. This equinox is a time for us to find balance and nurture ourselves, an opportunity to slow down, take a deep breath and prepare for the winter - and give our immune sy...

September 22, 2021

My Naturopathic Journey

You might say herbalism is in my blood.  The story goes that my great-great grandmother was known for her home-made remedies and was secretly referred to as the witch of the village in her local community. My journey to being a Naturopath & Herbal Medicine practitioner doesn’t start in the small Welsh mining town where my ancestor practised but with a career in Chemistry where I obtained a Masters in Analytical Chemistry and then went on to become a Chartered Accountant. As I navigated my...

September 9, 2021

Menopause is a natural stage of life and not a disease, often it has been viewed as a taboo subject

Menopause is a natural stage of life and not a disease, often it has been viewed as a taboo subject but we are now speaking up and looking for natural strategies to help with some of the common symptoms such as hot flashes, insomnia, brain fog, anxiety, palpitations, loss of libido...the seven dwarves of menopause.We will explore how diet, stress and gut health can impact our experience.Perimenopause can occur 2 to 8+ years before periods cease, ovulation and periods become irregular and often w...

August 12, 2021

Moon Seed Cycling

Originally a female’s hormone cycle was dictated by the moon. Modern living has disconnected us from nature (artificial lighting, environment toxins, stress, processed diet and inactive lifestyles) and largely disrupted our natural rhythms. This protocol is designed to push your body’s rhythms back towards the lunar cycle, helping to balance hormone levels and support fertility....

August 10, 2021

Nettle Pesto!

Ingredients:- 100g young nettles or top leaves of older plants (that aren’t flowering)- Small handful of basil, parsley or whatever you have to hand (I used leafy carrot tops for this one)- 50g walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds- 25g parmesan or vegetarian equivalent (or nutritional yeast for vegan version)- 1 garlic clove- 100ml olive oil- salt and pepper Method: 10 mins prep time Place nettles in a pan of boiling water, making sure they are fully immersed. Cook for 1 minute which is enough to rem...

July 24, 2021

Urtica Dioica - Stinging nettle

The Latin name for nettles is Urtica which means “to burn” most of us have experienced that painful stinging when we have brushed against a nettle Did you know that the Romans rubbed nettles on their arms and legs to keep warm? The nettle sting is a “counter-irritant” which means its chemicals can actually decrease existing pain. Nowadays fresh nettles have been used to ease muscle and arthritic pain. What else is this stinger good for? Full of vitamins A, C and some B plus minerals suc...

July 20, 2021

World Chocolate Day

Did you know that in Britain we eat an estimated 660,000 tonnes of chocolate a year – WOW! As you will know chocolate is made from the cacao bean (which is processed into cocoa) but few of us are aware of the benefits Cacao. Cacao is packed with calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and antioxidants. Cacao powder can help: Promote healthy digestion Reduce IBS symptoms Lower blood pressure Reduce heart disease risk Improve your mood! A great way to get the benefits of Cacao is to add a coupl...

July 7, 2021

Is the weather giving you a headache?

There’s been a lot of talk about people experiencing headaches lately and a lot of it is due to our ever-changing weather we’re having! “Grey skies, high humidity and thunderstorms causes pressure changes which are thought to trigger chemical and electrical changes in our brains, leading to headaches" (NHS.UK) Ginger and feverfew are natural remedies we can use to help ease these headaches. Ginger has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects as well as being known to increase serotoni...

June 30, 2021

Love your lungs week

Whether it is a respiratory infection or a chronic respiratory issue such as asthma these herbs have shown to be useful lung tonics. Verbascum thapsus (mullein)A relaxing expectorant, can be used for a wet or dry cough with catarrhSoothes irritated & inflamed airways and eases spasmsThe infused flower oil is often used for earaches Inula helenium (elecampane)A stimulating expectorant, removes excess mucous & chronic catarrh.An excellent lung restorative herb used in chronic respiratory condition...

June 24, 2021

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)

The snails seem to know what plants are good for them…Despite being well munched my fenugreek plant is holding on and has given me a beautiful flower. Well known for its culinary use but did you know fenugreek seeds have medicinal properties:Natural source of ironStimulates milk production in mothersCan be gargled to ease sore throatsAids digestion & soothes irritation and inflammation in the gutLowers harmful cholesterol & triglyceridesRegulates blood sugar levelsReduces menopausal sympt...

June 10, 2021

Herbal Sunscreens - The Future?

With the sun finally making an appearance, I wanted to see if plants can be used to protect us against the sun’s rays.  How can we tap into the properties that a plant has to protect itself from the sun?Whilst moderate exposure to the sun is beneficial to our health & wellbeing and triggers vitamin D production, excessive UV radiation can cause sunburn, premature ageing & skin cancers and suppress our immune systems.There is growing interest in the use of herbs to protect against damaging...

June 2, 2021

Benefits of Lemon Balm

Harvesting some lemon balm today, lovely used fresh as an infusion. I’m letting mine cool for a refreshing drink Lemon Balm benefits: Reduces tension, anxiety & agitation Antiviral against herpes simplex Volatile oils are antibacterial, antifungal & antihistamine Helpful in irregular & painful periods, PMS & menopausal depression Thyroid inhibitory effect (avoid with thyroid drugs) May be useful in prevention & treatment of Alzeheimer’s due to it’s ability to inhibit acetylcholinesterase ...

June 2, 2021

Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis) - known as the “Caterpillar fungus”

A unique species in the medicinal mushroom family, it grows on an insect host rather than a plant. Originally thought to be a parasitic relationship, in some cases it seems to be also beneficial to the moth larvae it grows on - they obtain energy from the cordyceps to give them a selective advantage, particularly useful in extreme environments such as the high Tibetan plateau. The vast majority of cordyceps available today is cultivated on non-insect, grain-based substrates so suitable for veget...

June 1, 2021

Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) - “known as the fragrant mushroom”

I can’t help but think of the Outkast song Roses ...I know you’d like to think your shiitake don’t stink Shiitake mushrooms have been used as medicinal food in Asian Countries for thousands of years. As well as having a delicious rich, savoury taste, they are packed with nutrients. High levels of B vitamins and 18 amino acids (including the essential ones that we can’t make ourselves) to maintain muscle tissue and keep a healthy balance of feel-good neurochemicals. Not to mention m...

May 13, 2021

Medicinal Mushrooms - Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus)

A beautiful and delicious mushroom, known as a nootropic (a substance that enhances cognition, memory & facilitates learning). ‘Nature’s Nutrient for Neurons’ Memory loss - stimulates production of nerve growth factor (NGF) - lower levels have been linked to early stages of Alzeheimer’s & dementia Cognitive support - protects brain cells, improves memory & promotes creation of neurons, powerful antioxidant & anti-inflammatory properties Menopausal symptoms - can help with sleep disturban...

May 6, 2021

Earth Day

“Sustainability - the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance” (Dictionary.com)I have a deep connection to plants and the environment and strongly believe in being sustainable in my day to day life.  As herbalists we need to be mindful of where and how we source herbs, not to overharvest or use endangered plants, to ensure the long-term viability of our plants for food and health.Let us all take ...

April 22, 2021

Turmeric Face Mask

Turmeric has amazing healing properties and has been used for at least 6000 years in India both internally and externally; Indian brides have long used it head to toe to brighten skin before their weddingsAnti-bacterial properties help manage breakouts & acne Strong anti-oxidant properties balances sebum secretion and aids cleaning out poresAnti-inflammatory properties soothe redness...

April 21, 2021

Herb of the month - Dandelion

The whole plant is useful both as food and medicine!Root - stimulates and decongests liver, encourages digestion by stimulating bile production to breakdown fats.  Tender roots can be chopped and added to stir fry or is delicious pickled. Leaves - source of vitamins A, C, B complex, Potassium, iron, calcium & trace minerals; mild diuretic may help water retention & hypertension.  Add to salads or steam - serve with drizzled olive oil and lemon juice (and some optional feta cheese - yum...

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