Manuka Honey and Cider Vinegar – a winning combination

manuka honey and cider vinegar
Healing combination

Some people would swear by cider vinegar for treating weight loss, rheumatism, blood pressure and more.

Others will tell you that manuka honey is the elixir of life, its antibacterial and antioxidant properties can be used to treat complaints internally and externally.

So, why not combine them together?

The wonderfully named Picklecoombe House are doing just that with an active 5+ Manuka Honey & Cider Vinegar.

I’m looking forward to hearing what folk are going to say about this!

Pure herbal remedies are available for everyday complaints

When i was going through a tough time I really appreciated Bio-Health’s St John’s Wort and I guess I’m a bit of a fan of the brand now.

They make 100% additive free herbal medicinal products as well as other herbal remedies and vitamin supplements.

We’re extending their range at GoodnessDirect with more herbals such as cinnamon bark, said to reduce stomach spasms, flatulence and menstrual cramps; celery seed, believed to benefit by eliminating water retention, reducing inflammation and regulating blood pressure; or melissa (lemon balm) leaf, traditionally favoured for nervous disorders such as depression, anxiety and palpitations.

Herbal remedies don’t pretend to replace medicines, but they are useful for everyday self-limiting conditions. Bio-Health ensure those who prefer natural solutions get the quality, safety and efficacy they rightly deserve.

Flaxseed could protect from breast cancer

Compelling evidence that consuming phytoestrogen-rich substances like flaxseed can reduce the risk of death from breast cancer by as much as 40%.

The study involved 1140 women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

It seems that foods like flaxseed and sesame seeds introduce plant-derived compounds called lingans into your diet (a type of phytoestrogen). Lingans in turn attach themselves to oestrogen hormones to prevent the growth of further breast cancer tumours.

Seeds of life?
Seeds of life?

This is interesting because the use of soya – also a phytoestrogen rich food is still controversial in its association with breast cancer.

So what can you do?

The introduction of flaxseed (aka linseed) into your diet could well be advised, however it’s useful to know that more studies have to be done before people start taking lingan supplements. There are outstanding questions about how lingans are digested in order to become effective in action against oestrogen.

So, as always, the best advice is to maintain a balanced diet. Flaxseed is healthy anyway. It is rich in omega 3 and is known to lower cholesterol and blood pressure and also prevent arthritis. You can try flaxseed with cereals, yoghurt or salads, mixed into mashed potato or baked with bread.

Richly coloured fruits can reduce blood pressure

Who’d object to some more blueberries or strawberries? Now, you may have good reason to eat them.

Richly coloured fruits contain flavanoids which help to prevent high blood pressure.

High blood pressure, of course, is bad and can lead to heart attacks or strokes, and also kidney and eye problems. It tends to be more of a problem as we get older, but is best prevented when we are young.

Diet is the new wonder drug when it comes to high blood pressure. It is worth consulting your doctor about changing your diet if you want to reduce your blood pressure.

But studies which focussed on the eating of bright coloured fruit, particularly with a type of flavanoid called anthocyanins, showed that people under 60 could reduce their risk of high blood pressure by 12%. Other flavanoids: apigenin, catechin, and epicatechin (found in parsley and green tea) also reduced blood pressure for some people.

So, enjoy more blueberries, cranberries, and strawberries, by adding them to your cereal or dessert, and your body will thank you for it. And keep eating lots of colours throughout the day.

Are you getting enough minerals? – Quiz

Our bodies can’t make minerals. We get them from what we eat and drink. You don’t need loads but they are as vital as vitamins are. They are needed for structural strength, fluid control and energy conversion.

So here’s a test: Count up the foods in each category (A,B,C etc.) that you eat on a regular basis (several times a week). Then compare your score with the guide at the bottom.

A Apples, Kale, Broccoli, Live yoghurt, Cottage cheese, Cheddar cheese, Sesame seeds, Whitebait, Sardines, Salmon (tinned)
B Tomatoes, Broccoli, Onions (raw), Liver, Chicken, Turkey, Oysters, Mussels
C Avocados, Asparagus, Chickpeas, Barley, Hazelnuts, Macadamia nuts, Pecans, Sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, Cashews, Pistachios, Sesame seeds, Walnuts
D Spinach, Apricots (dried), Chickpeas, Kidney beans, Lentils, Soya beans, Tofu, Liver, Beef, Lamb, Venison, Prawns, Anchovies
E Pumpkin, Lettuce, Spinach, Brown rice, Spelt, Whole wheat, Hazelnuts, Macadamia nuts, Pecans, Sunflower seeds, Almonds, Brazil nuts, Cashews, Pumpkin seeds, Scallops, Salmon
F Pumpkin, Seaweed, Peas, Beef, Lamb, Poultry, Game, Liver, Cheese, Yoghurt, Eggs, Pecans, Pine nuts
G Cabbage, Onions, Brussel sprouts, Peas, Red meat, Poultry, Eggs
H Potatoes, Avocados, Tomatoes, Sun dried tomatoes, Dried fruits, Squash, Sweet potatoes, Cucumber, Peppers, Bananas, Celery, Lettuce (dark), Herring
I Pineapples, Sweet potatoes, Spinach, Peas, Leeks, Chickpeas, Kidney beans, Lentils, Soya beans, Tofu, Barley, Brown rice, Oat, Wild rice, Hazelnuts, Macadamia nuts, Pecans, Sunflower seeds, Almonds, Sesame seeds, Walnuts


A = Calcium levels. You are: 1-3 probably deficient, 4-6 possibly deficient, 7-10 adequate
Maintains strong and healthy bones and teeth. Also aids blood clotting, muscle and nerve function, lowering blood pressure.

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Men’s Maintenance

Compared to as little as ten years ago, the amount of information that is out there for men to keep tabs on their health is much better. Research has shown that men find it harder to talk to their friends, family, and even their doctor about their health problems, especially in the nether regions. We take a look at common health problems and what you could consider with a health practitioner…

Do you…

(all ages)

  • Have heart trouble, diabetes or hyperthyroidism?
  • Drink excessively, work excessively, worry excessively?
  • Find it hard to get close to people sexually?
  • Find it hard to maintain an erection?

…then see below

Data from 1998 shows that only one man in three with this condition seeks help within the NHS, but there really is no reason to shy away from this problem. There is often more than one causal factor, so it’s important to talk to identify key issues.

Dilation of blood vessels is vital for healthy erectile response, and this is why herbs which increase circulation, such as ginkgo, are popular. Because each case of erectile dysfunction is so different, see a herbalist to assess the right intake for you.

Products which help with relaxation are vital. Try calming and relaxing essential oils such as frankincense, or patchouli. Make sure you rest for at least half an hour each day.

For emotional issues, why not speak with a homeopath or a practitioner using flower remedies. They might sound a bit girly, but are designed to help with emotional and physical problems.

Do you…

(in older age)

  • Feel the need to urinate more often?
  • Find that the force is less when you urinate?
  • Get frequent urinary infections?

…then see below

Prostate problems are most commonly found in men over the age of 50.

Half of all 50 year old men have Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (enlargement).

See a nutritional therapist to discuss taking essential fatty acids (one tablespoon of linseedoil per day) alongside vitamin E supplementation. Amino acids could also be recommended, especially glycine, alanine and glutamine acid, which may reduce swelling of the prostate gland.

Consider saw palmetto – well known to decrease urinary flow (dribbling). It would be sensible to talk to a healthcare practitioner about this, to check contraindications with medication, and to get the right intake for you.

Some men take pumpkin seeds, as they are a rich source of zinc. These are helpful, but, in addition, consider taking 15mg zinc daily as a supplement. A practitioner might recommend more – so do check first.

Do you…

(all ages)

  • Drink excessive alcohol or smoke?
  • Sit all day?
  • Have a diet rich in refined junk food?

…then see below

All these mean that you could be compromising your sperm quality.

Keep cool. High temperatures can decrease sperm count.

Take Vitamin C 1000mg daily if you smoke. Vitamin C reduces sperm ‘agglutination’ (sticking together), which reduces sperm motility. This was found in research to be especially applicable to men who smoke.

Consider taking the amino acid L-arginine, as research shows that taking it for several months can increase sperm count and quality.

Ask a herbalist whether it is suitable for you to take Korean ginseng. It is widely taken to encourage fertility, via its ability to increase sperm count and motility.

Note: Please be diligent and check with your GP to discuss a treatment plan before taking any supplements or remedies.

Natural Lifestyle © Natural Lifestyle in connection with Natural Health Week

Healthy Heart

The heart pumps, on average, 100 000 times a day – which is an amazing 2.5 billion times in an average lifetime. It moves 8 tonnes of blood every 24 hours. This really is an amazing biomechanical feat, balancing the thickness of the blood, the regular beating of the muscle and continued supply of energy and nutrients to this vital organ. So it’s important to make sure it’s working properly…

Other items of interest

Do you…

  • Have diagnosed high blood pressure?
  • Have to control the sodium content in your diet?
  • Have a family history of high blood pressure?
  • Have diabetes?

Hypertension is a serious condition which can, if not properly managed, lead to enlargement and weakening of the heart.

Anyone with high blood pressure should use alternatives to table salt, such as low sodium ‘salt’ products, or other flavourings such as herbs and spices.

Take regular exercise. Research shows that people who take more than 30 minutes aerobic exercise, three to five times a week, lower raised blood pressure levels.

Use calming essential oils such as chamomile, sypress and lavender. If you’re the type of person who gets anzious or depressed, use marjoram, rosewood, rose or ylang ylang.

Take time to rest. This is the key to a strong immune system. Have a long soak in the bath, using a spa system (which are relatively cheap) and scented bath products and use CDs or even candles to calm and relax you.

There is some research showing that fish oils can reduce high blood pressure, but see a nutritionist about this, as levels taken were relatively high (3000mg daily or more).

    Do you…

    • Have a family history of heart disease?
    • Have a track record of smoking?
    • Exercise little in your daily life?
    • Eat hardly any fresh fruit or vegetables?

    All of these factors increase a person’s risk of heart attack. This is usually caused by atherosclerosis – hardening of the artery walls. A heart attack occurs when blood flow to part of the heart is blocked, often by a blood clot, causing damage to the affected muscle.

    It is vital that you eat a diet which is rich in plant oils, which will naturally decrease the amount of animal fat in your diet.

    Eat at least five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day, not only to increase your intakes of heart-protecting antioxidant nutrients, but to cut the likelihood of you snacking on junk food. You must be disciplined about this.

    Vitamin E, at 400µg or above, was shown in one study from Cambridge, to reduce risk of heart attack by up to 75% in some people. Garlic supplements also have some strong research to back them.

    If you smoke, make every attempt to quit. Visit a natural healthcare practitioner (herbalist, homeopath) to get remedies to support you.

      Do you…

      • Get a racing feeling in the chest?
      • Get a feeling that your heart is skipping a beat?
      • Feel dizzy, light-headed or fainty?

      Cut out caffeine, which can temporarily set the heart racing. It’s important that you can keep a thorough note on how your heart is acting without stimulants.

      Consider taking a magnesium supplement, as research shows that this mineral can help to relax heart muscles.

      Studies on fish oils have shown that they can help to regulate irregular heart beats, but make sure you do this only under supervision of a healthcare practitioner, as intakes used to acheive this are high (3000mg daily or more).

      Some naturopaths believe that Selenium deficiency (which is relatively common in the UK) can lead to irregular heart beat, so supplement with around 100mg daily.

      Hawthorn is traditionally used for irregular heart beat.

      NOTE: Please be diligent and check with your GP to discuss a treatment plan before taking any supplements or remedies.

        Natural Lifestyle © Natural Lifestyle May 2005 in connection with Natural Health Week

        Beetroot juice ‘can tame blood pressure’

        Telegraph: A daily glass of beetroot juice can help to beat high blood pressure, scientists have claimed.

        They found that drinking 500 millilitres of the juice led to significant reductions in blood pressure within hours.

        The effect was traced to nitrate in the vegetable which reacted with bacteria in the mouth. This led to chemical changes which resulted in blood vessels dilating to increase blood flow.

        Other vegetables also contain high nitrate levels, especially green leafy varieties.

        Fourteen healthy volunteers were recruited for the study and asked to drink either 500 millilitres of beetroot juice or the same quantity of water within 30 minutes.

        Their blood pressure was measured every 15 minutes from one hour before taking the drink to three hours afterwards.

        Thereafter readings were taken every hour for six hours. A final test was conducted 24 hours after the drink was consumed.

        Volunteers who drank the juice started to show reductions in blood pressure after just one hour.

        See GoodnessDirect for a range of freshly pressed, organic Beetroot juice.

        Pomegranate and heart health

        I feel like I’m always harping on about pomegranate Juice and how wonderful it is, but honestly its not without good cause. And just to back up my rantings I found this in the press…

        Daily Mail 26.9.05: Just 1 glass a day of pomegranate juice improves blood flow to the heart by over a third, found a study led by Dr. Dean Ornish of California Uni. It’s full of vitamins A,C, E & folic acid. 1 glass contains as many antioxidants as 2 glasses of red wine.(Yet red wine receives all the publicity for being good for the heart.) Scientists examined the effect of the juice on heart disease patients in a US study. They all had reduced blood flow to the heart caused by arteries clogged with fat. They were compared with a group given a similar placebo drink. After 3 months the pomegranate drinkers had a 17% increase in heart blood flow. The placebo group worsened by 18% – meaning the pomegranate group were 35% better off according to a report in the ‘American Journal of Cardiology.’ It may also help prevent heart disease. ”

        …See what I mean?


        One of the Q&A’s that passed my desk today – quite interesting I thought? The surprising properties of herbs and spices – amazing.

        Q: I have been taking fenugreek to help my hormones and to increase energy. Now I read that it also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. How much do I need to take to gain these benefits? And is there anything else fenugreek is good for?

        A: Fenugreek is a plant that is native to southeast Europe and west Asia. Its small seeds, which have a bitter taste, are often used in Middle Eastern or North African cooking. But generations of Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans have also used fenugreek for its many medicinal properties.

        As you have learned, the spice can improve cholesterol levels. In a 24-week study where subjects were given 25 g a day, “good” HDL cholesterol rose by 10 percent, while “bad” LDL cholesterol steadily decreased.

        Studies have also shown that fenugreek can help stabilize blood sugar in diabetics. It works so well that sometimes it can cause the blood sugar to dip too low, so be sure to talk to your doctor before trying it for this condition.

        Fenugreek can also aid digestion. Occasionally it can cause diarrhoea, though. Decreasing your dose should alleviate this side effect. In addition to seeds and capsules, fenugreek also comes in powder and gum forms.