Peppermint oil ‘the most effective treatment for irritable bowel syndrome’

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a bowel disorder which gives the sufferer abdominal pain, discomfort, bloating and alteration of bowel habits. While there is no cure for IBS, adjustments to your diet could give effective relief.

Research by doctors at McMaster University in Canada is now indicating that the humble peppermint could provide the most effective relief for IBS sufferers, even over drugs.

Daily Mail:

Peppermint oil is the most effective treatment for irritable bowel syndrome, doctors said last night.

The oil, which can be bought cheaply and without prescription, is better than muscle-relaxants or fibre for easing the condition which afflicts up to one in five Britons, research suggests.

The results were so convincing that scientists recommended that national and international treatment guidelines be updated to reflect the benefits.

The research by doctors at McMaster University in Canada and published in the British Medical Journal, took results from dozens of studies over the past 60 years into the treatment of the syndrome.

They found that 40 per cent of sufferers experienced a significant improvement after using peppermint oil as opposed to 20 per cent after taking drugs.

See also:

About candida and candidiasis

Candida is a genus of yeast that lives in the gut. If an overgrowth occurs, it can lead to a serious condition called candidiasis.

Candidiasis symptoms can include chronic fatigue, thrush, abdominal bloating, depression and, at worst irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

It affects both men and women and can be easily cured by following a low-carbohydrate diet and taking nutritional supplements which stem the overgrowth of yeast.

Candida albicans is a kind of fungus which normally lives harmlessly in your gut, being kept in check by gut bacteria like Acidophilus.

Sugar entering the gut is fermented by Candida, which produces carbon dioxide and alcohol. Carbon Dioxide will lead to bloating and flatulence, whereas the alcohol can irritate the lining of your stomach, leading to spasms and poor digestion, constipation or diarrhoea.

Candida will also spead through the body, releasing more toxins.

See also:

Top 10 Iron rich foods

  1. Clams – 23.8 mg per 3 ounces
  2. Hot and cold cereal – 1.8 to 21.1 mg
  3. Oysters – 10.2 mg per 3 ounces
  4. Liver and giblets – 5.2 to 9.9 mg per 3 ounces
  5. Soybeans – 4.4 mg per 1/2 cup
  6. Pumpkin Seeds – 4.2 mg per ounce
  7. White Beans – 3.9 mg per 1/2 cup
  8. Blackstrap Molasses – 3.5 mg per tablespoon
  9. Lentils – 3.3 mg per 1/2 cup
  10. Cooked Spinach – 3.2 mg per 1/2 cup

USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans

2 million British women suffer from the painful womb condition endometriosis, tomatoes could help

Telegraph: Tomatoes contain the antioxidant called lycopene in high amounts which U.S. scientists have found may prevent the internal scarring caused by the disease.

They found that lycopene cut by up to 90 per cent the chemical activity that leads to the build-up of scar tissue.

Experts say a tomato a day, 8oz of tomato juice,150g of pasta sauce or one lycopene tablet a day is enough to raise levels of lycopene in the blood.

There is no cure for endometriosis and it can damage the fertility of sufferers, who include singer Louise Redknapp and TV presenter Anthea Turner.

The problem arises when cells normally found in the womb lining attach themselves to other parts of the pelvic area, causing scar tissue called adhesions, pain and inflammation.

In a study, adhesive tissues such as those found in endometriosis were treated with lycopene in the laboratory. Lycopene is a nutrient that gives the red colour to tomatoes, watermelon and pink grapefruit.

Gluten Free Christmas cake recipe – minus the added extras

Christmas cake is a heavy indulgence, but once a year is OK for this fine treat which is gluten free and skips the added salt and sugar.



  1. Dates should be chopped into small pieces and placed in a pan with the water.
  2. Bring to the boil and simmer for until dates are soft. Allow to cool.
  3. Mix together the dates, sunflower oil, ground almonds, spice, eggs (or replacer) and all the flours.
  4. Stir in you selection of mixed dried fruit and mix well.
  5. Place mixture into a lined, greased 18cm cake tin.
  6. Bake for 30mins at 170c, then another 45mins at 145c.
  7. Allow to cool for 10mins then turn out, removing lining paper.
  8. Allow to fully cool and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Minerals from the Great Salt Lake can help us get the most out of life

Since the 1940s our life expectancy in the UK has increased by about fifteen years, but the quality of that life has been impaired by the increasing incidence of chronic disease. It is estimated that as many as eleven of the fifteen years we’ve gained are plagued by illness and disability.

Nobody can be sure why we have seen so many new cases of serious diseases, allergies and conditions like asthma and eczema, but the impact of fundamental changes to our environment must be considered. The increase in chemical pollutants has had a direct effect on the overall quality of our food, our water and our air.

A comparison of the chemical composition of fruit and vegetables in 1991 with figures published in 1940 shows an alarming depletion in their overall mineral content and a dramatic alteration in the ratios of minerals to one another. Results for vegetables, for example showed a loss of 49% of sodium, 16% of potassium, 24% of magnesium, 46% of calcium, 27% of iron and 76% of copper. By implication it can be assumed that all the other trace minerals have been affected.

It is impossible to underestimate the importance of minerals and trace minerals for the human body. They are the catalysts for all the vitamins and many other nutrients used for developing and maintaining good health. Minerals and trace minerals in their ionic form are essential players in the proper functioning of electrical systems in the body.

Reduced sodium ConcenTrace is the most concentrated liquid trace mineral supplement in the world. It contains the full spectrum of all the naturally occurring minerals and trace elements present in the Periodic Table, in a balance and form appropriate to the body.

ConcenTrace Trace Mineral Drops capture a perfect balance of minerals and trace minerals derived from the Great Salt Lake in Utah. They contain a balance of minerals and trace minerals very similar to that of blood plasma and lymphatic fluid.

To obtain ConcenTrace, the brine of the Great Salt Lake is put through a solar evaporation and precipitation process to dramatically increase the concentration of dissolved elements. ConcenTrace then, is a highly saturated, ionic, brine solution. It was specifically designed to contain a minimal amount of sodium because it has been estimated that most people consume twice as much sodium as potassium while an ideal diet should consist of five times more potassium than sodium.

Great Salt Lake minerals have been used as a trace mineral supplement by many people, who report good results with arthritis, healing and hardening of bones and teeth, stopping hair loss, increasing general energy levels, increasing the effectiveness of vitamins and herbs and helping to reverse a number of symptoms commonly associated with aging. It is also effective in dissolving unwanted calcium deposits in the body, which contribute to such problems as arthritis, poor circulation and cataracts.

Potassium, sodium and chloride are all considered electrolytes. They function in the maintenance and distribution of water within the body. In addition, they control acid-base balance, heart contractility, kidney and adrenal function and vital neuromuscular activity.

ConcenTrace is intended to be a comprehensive mineral and electrolyte supplement, that can be used confidently as a complement to all alternative and complementary therapies. It nourishes the body with a complete blend of essential minerals, providing the support of the appropriate physiological balance of trace elements.

Milk Allergy and Intolerance

Cows milk is one of the biggest problem foods in Western society. Around five and a half million of us in the UK have to avoid it due to a condition called lactose intolerance. Lactose Intolerance is an inability to properly digest the milk sugar lactose due to insufficient production of lactase enzyme.

Lactase, which is secreted by cells in the small intestine breaks down lactose into the simple sugars glucose and galactose, which can be absorbed into the bloodstream. When undigested lactose is allowed to continue along the gut, it eventually ferments producing acid and gas, which in turn leads to bloating, wind, cramps, constipation and diarrhoea.

Lactose intolerance is a relative term because the amount of lactase required depends on the amount of lactose being consumed. Some people may have the ability to produce reasonable quantities of lactase, but still suffer uncomfortable symptoms because they consume a great deal of dairy produce. If lactase is produced in very small amounts or not at all, then dairy products are best avoided altogether.

It is primarily in Western society that lactose intolerance is seen as a disorder. In some cultures eg Japan and China, up to 90% of the population are what we would term lactose intolerant, but to them it is not seen as restrictive because dairy foods do not feature in their diet to the same degree that they do here.

Milk protein allergy

A much smaller number of people have to exclude dairy products because they have an allergy to one or more of the proteins contained in milk. The most common offender is casein. All true allergies are caused by an antibody in the blood called Immunoglobulin E or IgE. In an allergic individual, the immune system wrongly recognises an allergen, in this case milk protein, as a harmful substance and produces IgE to counteract it. The catalogue of symptoms that can manifest as a result include eczema, swelling of the face, mouth and throat, vomiting, diarrhoea, bloating, stomach cramps, runny nose, itchy eyes and wheezing.

Milk allergy affects around three percent of babies, but most tend to outgrow it within five or six years. In others, the allergy does not manifest itself until later in life. The tendency to develop allergies is an inherited trait and so children have an increased risk of suffering from milk allergy if one or both parents have allergies of any kind.

Hidden milk ingredients

Milk components crop up in all kinds of processed foods under various names. Watch out for the caseinates – sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron and zinc as well as ingredients such as lactic acid, lactaglobulin, lactalbumin, whey and curds. In addition lactose is often used as a filler in pharmaceutical tablets.

No more treats?

Once an intolerance of or allergy to cows milk has been established, the future may seem rather bleak – no more ice cream, yogurt, breakfast cereal etc. On the contrary though, following a dairy free diet is not as torturous as it might appear.


The mainstay of the milk free diet has long been soya. This little white bean can be used to make versions of milk, yogurt and cheese. These soya alternatives taste an awful lot better than they used to and in fact many people who have no immediate problem with cows milk are turning to soya simply because it is healthier. Soya milk is a good source of protein, fibre and essential fatty acids and contains no cholesterol. Extensive research has shown that 25g of soya protein each day, as part of a balanced diet, can significantly reduce total and LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Soya has the added advantage of providing isoflavones, plant compounds that are associated with reducing the risk of certain cancers, heart disease and menopausal symptoms.

Other alternatives

Another possible replacement for cows milk is goats milk. This still contains lactose but many people find it easier to digest. Goats milk is quite similar to cows milk in taste but isn’t quite as smooth, and it can be purchased spray dried Allergycare Spray Dried Goats Milk 200g. Nanny by Vitacare is an infant formula of goats milk that has proved a very popular alternative for bottle-fed babies that have difficulty digesting cows milk.

Sheeps’ milk provides twice as much calcium as cows milk as well as vitamins B2, B12 and zinc. However, it has to be said that it is an acquired taste! This is available as a frozen product, pasteurised Ark Farm Pasteurised Sheep Milk or unpasteurised Ark Farm Unpasteurised Sheep Milk, or in the form of a powder Woodlands Park Sheeps Milk Powder Skimmed.

Rice and oat milks are palatable alternatives containing neither cholesterol nor lactose. Oat milk is particularly suitable for pouring over breakfast cereals as the cereal masks its oaty taste. Fruit juice is another option for accompanying muesli and other breakfast cereals.

Those who don’t drink milk needn’t miss out on ice cream either as there are some delicious non-dairy frozen desserts available. Examples are First Glace, which is made from oats and the Swedish Glace and Tofutti ranges, including Rock n Roll Cones, which are soya based.

What about calcium and other nutrients?

Removing cows milk from the diet will not necessarily lead to a deficiency in nutrients but there are one or two areas to be extra vigilant in. Cows milk is the primary source of calcium in most people’s diet, but there are plenty of other foods that provide this important mineral. Other excellent sources include green vegetables like broccoli and kale, sea vegetables, nuts, molasses and sunflower seeds. Some soya milks are fortified with calcium so that they provide just the same amount as cows milk.

Perhaps even more important than ensuring a plentiful intake of calcium is maximising its absorption in the body. Factors that can help to reduce calcium loss include reducing caffeine and alcohol consumption, getting plenty of exposure to sunlight, regular exercise and an adequate intake of magnesium, which works with calcium to promote bone growth.

An adequate supply of vitamin A is easily obtainable in a dairy free diet. Precursors to vitamin A, carotenoids are found in abundance in fruit and vegetables, especially carrots. If there is any concern over dietary intake though, there is always the option to take a daily supplement eg MicrOrganics Hawaiian Pacifica Spirulina Powder.

Grape seeds may combat Alzheimer’s Disease

Telegraph: New research is showing that eating grape seeds may help fight degenerative brain conditions.

Grape seeds contain a compound which when fed to mice for six months, showed “better cognitive function” than those on a normal diet.

“Experts at the Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, found that mice fed with grape seed extract for six months had “better cognitive function” than those on a normal diet.

They believe that the seeds could be used as a cheap treatment for preventing Alzheimer’s.

Professor Xin-Fu Zhou said the extract prevented the formation of deposits of amyloid proteins – a major cause of the disease – in the brain.

So he believed that people should think twice before spitting the seeds out.”

The Big Question: Are statins really a wonder drug, and should we all be taking them?


Why are we asking this now?

Statins, the cholesterol-lowering drugs, are known to cut the risk of heart disease and are already prescribed to millions of people at high risk. This week a trial of rosuvastatin, whose brand name is Crestor made by AstraZeneca, was shown to dramatically reduce the risk even in people whose cholesterol level was normal or low.

Researchers had expected a reduction of around 25 per cent but the actual decline in risk among the treated group was almost twice that (47 per cent). The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, were so clear that the trial of 18,000 patients in 26 countries was stopped early so that all those on placebo could be offered the drug.

Manuka Honey cure for MRSA ?

Could Manuka honey be an answer to the ever worrying problems with MRSA in our UK hospitals ?

The antibacterial properties of UMF Manuka Honey have been found to be effective against the MRSA (staphylococcus aureus) strains of bacteria which are notoriously resistant to antibiotics and sometimes responsible for closing hospital wards. The active ingredient in Manuka Honey has historically been a bit of a mystery, so although the compound worked well on wound healing, just how it worked was unknown scientifically. Thus it was labelled the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF).

Indeed the effectiveness of the honey was so evident that in recent studies and hospital trials in New Zealand results showed the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) property could be a very effective treatment for MRSA.

There has also been additional research into the healing properties of Manuka honey. Traditionally Manuka honey has been widely used for wounds, healing and digestion, but the more we can get to know about this honey’s healing properties for wounds, digestive and skin problems the better. The new research is very welcome and has been made on manuka honey’s anti-bacterial qualities.

There are some exciting new discoveries amid the results:

Manuka Health chief executive, Kerry Paul, said the University’s Institute of Food Chemistry was the first to identify the active compound methylglyoxal (MO),and prove its high levels in some New Zealand manuka honeys . The discovery that honey’s anti-bacterial ability was directly related to MO levels is highly significant. As quoted by Manuka Health chief executive Kerry Paul: ‘We have known for some time that manuka honey has this property ‘.

The term Unique Manuka Factor (UMF)is used to describe this honey’s consistently reliable anti-bacterial effect and UMF has been trademarked by the Active Manuka Honey Association. ‘It is only recently that we have known what part of the honey compound was responsible for this unique factor’. Kerry Paul explained. ‘The next step is to put a standards process in place with the industry which independently certifies MGO levels in honey-based health products’,he said.

However, with the identification of MO, further applications for manuka honey were possible, including use as a potential tumorcidal agent to fight cancer. Current research on humans shows MO results in complete remission in about 40% of malignancies, with partial remission in another 40%. Further studies are under way to improve treatment techniques.

A Japanese cancer researcher at a German university hospital earlier this month announced the results of a study showing Manuka Health’s Bio30 propolis extract suppressed NF1 neurofibromatosis, a type of tumour affecting one in 3000 people. Who knows where this will lead?

Manuka Products available now