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.

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Why we should always have some aloe vera gel in the medicine cupboard

My wife regularly gets heat rash (which is a bit embarrassing as a South Indian). The main remedy she uses is aloe vera gel, so I know from experience how incredibly soothing this stuff is.

The sap of the aloe vera plant contains minerals and proteins, vitamins and amino acids, which are essential for cell growth and renewal in the human body. That’s why it has been used for centuries to care for the skin. It deeply penetrates the skin and nourishes the skin from the inside out.

Life Stream Biogenic Aloe Vera Gel is not sticky and contains no parabens, artificial colourants or synthetic fragrances. It’s called biogenic precisely because of its ability to stimulate cell rejuvenation.

Alo vera - 'the medicine plant'
Aloe Vera – ‘the medicine plant’

In addition to using aloe vera on rashes you can use it on wounds, sunburn, scalding, blisters, cold sores, stings and bites. It also useful for scalp problems like dandruff and psoriasis, and can soothe the inflammation and pain associated with muscle strains and arthritic pain.

Stop arthritis getting out of hand

Do you know someone who suffers from osteoarthritis? Perhaps you do yourself?

The good news is that researchers are finding ways to better manage bone degeneration…

There are already some useful ways to fight back against the pain. A good diet of foods which help resist inflammation for example. Foods such as colourful vegetables and fruit and fish are good choices along with healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, and olive oil. It’s a good idea to maintain mobility and apply temperature controlled relief to joints too. Of course, doctors are there to advise and may prescribe pain relief medicine.

A recent test however, shows the value of a dietary supplement called chondroitin sulfate.

When 162 adults (all with proven hand osteoarthritis) were tested over six months it was found that those who took the supplement had less hand pain,     better hand function, and less morning stiffness in their hands.

This was regardless of whether they used paracetamol.

It is always advisable to consult a doctor when using supplements, especially to assess what else can be done to help your condition. Many supplements companies are offering a combination of chondroitin sulphate, glucosamine sulphate and collagen as a benefit.

Why do you need Prebiotics? And other musings…

Why do you need Prebiotics?

They cultivate good bacteria in your gut and kill off the bad ones. A healthy balance of good bacteria means you’ll have a better immune system, absorb nutrients more efficiently (especially calcium), and improve your bowel health.

Why do we need Calcium?

We all know that calcium is good for the bones. It is also essential for your metabolism and muscles, it protects your heart and improves premenstrual moods. Too little calcium and your body can soon be in a mess, but if you overdose on it you won’t absorb nutrients properly.

Why do we need Cranberries?

Cranberries inhibit bacteria at work in your body and helps reduce inflammation. The knock on effect has been linked to heart health, kidney stones, urinary health, gum disease and cancer.

Why do you need Flaxseed?

For Omega 3 apart from anything else. It has been found to have an impact on the symptoms of arthritis, colitis, cancer, heart disease and even acne. Flaxseed helps your hormone levels and is a natural way to normalize the menstrual cycle, manage menopause, and lower the risk of osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease.

How can you get them?

Calciflax is a new food supplement from Lifestream which is 100% natural and has Calcium, Flaxseed, Prebiotics and Cranberries in it. It is ethically made and can easily be added to cereals or smoothies, yoghurts and salads.

If you’re interested, take a look

Winter Wonders!

Winter is one of the busiest times of the year, so it makes good sense to make sure that we’re as healthy as we can be. Tackle all kinds of winter health problems… the natural way.

Feeling it in your bones?

The phrase “feeling it in your bones” is not so stupid – in fact, changes in atmospheric pressure in the autumn and winter can aggravate bone conditions, increasing inflammation and swelling. As well as good old-fashioned high strength cod liver oil, there are plenty of more modern remedies to help keep joint problems at bay. Take glucosamine sulphate, for example. You can now get it as a tablet which you drop into water or you can use gel patches. If you are choosing a supplement, remember to take at least 1500mg daily in the first three months. This is the level which has been used in research. Long term, consider a bone formulation to nutritionally support joints health. These contain minerals, and vitamin D which are important for the bone matrix.
SAMe (S-adenosyl methionine) is another remedy which reduces pain, stiffness and swelling and green lipped mussel extract is also a popular anti-inflammatory, reducing joint tenderness and morning stiffness.

If you prefer herbal remedies, then there are plenty which are aimed at managing inflammation and swelling; willow, black cohosh and sarsaparilla are good examples, and there are some tailor-made herbal preparations you can try. Some even come in balm or rub-form, using strong essential oils such as the mints and ginger (which smell very Christmassy!) and soothing plant extracts like chamomile and calendula.

Strengthen Your Defences…

At this time of year, our immune systems are having to work overtime. The change towards damper weather, short sunlight hours and lethargy after nearly a full year at work can all take their toll. Coughs, colds, flu and general feelings of being under the weather can leave you feeling drained. But there are things that you can do to help…

Vitamin C, taken at 1000mg daily (sometimes recommended three times daily) will help to reduce duration of the common cold. If you have an established cold, high potency is the only way of getting research levels of nutrients, a recommended dose would be 1000mg vitamin C, with 40 to 50mg zinc. Support this with a general antioxidant formulation.

Echinacea is a highly popular remedy at this time of year. You can use it to improve the action of white blood cells – helping your body to manage any infection. At the same time, another popular remedy – ginseng – can be used to help the body adapt to physical, mental and emotional stress (prevalent at this time of the year).

Think holistically too – looking at your diet. Include more garlic (or take a supplement) as this herbs is naturally antimicrobial. Fortify your diet with dried fruits and vegetables, immune-strengthening shiitake mushrooms, no-caffeine drinks, green teafruit juices and other nonalcoholic drinks (some naturopaths argue that alcohol depresses the immune system’s ability to fight infection). If your diet is poor, take a high potency multinutrient, PLUS a combination formula of essential fatty acids omega 3 and 6for at least 3 months.

Don’t forget that stress affects immune function. Unwind using essential oils which are good for immune function and act as decongestants such as Eucalyptus, peppermint, cajuput.

Saving Face

With our immune systems being under pressure from stress, lack of antioxidant nutrients from fresh produce and a barrage of seasonal infections, it’s hardly surprising that some people become more susceptible to bad skin and cold sores. There are all kinds of lip balms that you can recommend for general lip (and mouth) health, preventing cracking and soreness, but to tackle cold sores head on, recommend one to three grams of lysine, a powerful antioxidant formulation, and plenty of products to manage stress, such as CDs, candles and essential oils (lavender, mandarin).

For general skin care, recommend a skin formula (including B vitaminsvitamin C) and a supplement of essential fatty acids including fish oils and evening primrose oil. Herbals which are good for the skin include: echinacea, ginkgo biloba, pine bark, milk thistle (there are many to choose from, so refer to a herbalist if the problem is very person-specific).

Tackle coughs and colds head on.

If you do get a cough or a cold, then herbal remedies are for you. There are all kinds of products which are tailor-made for various symptoms; marshmallow and slippery elm are mucilage and can soothe a sore throat, goldenseal (which contains berberine and canadine) is antimicrobial and has immune-stimulating components), and there are other herbs for tickly coughs, headaches, runny noses, blocked sinuses and barking coughs and phlegm.

Beating the Christmas Stodge

If there’s one time of year when digestive problems such as bloating, wind and acid indigestion are on the up, it’s Christmas. People tend to eat heavier foods, so a supplement of betaine hydrochloride (which adds stomach acid, assisting softening and breakdown of food in the stomach) can be useful to many. This is often found as an inherent part of a digestive enzyme supplement, most often made using plant-source enzymes to break down fats, carbohydrates and proteins (great when any rich, or hard-to digest food is eaten). Herbals are useful, including chamomile, fennel, peppermint, turmeric to calm the stomach, and artichoke, devil’s claw and boldo to stimulate the digestive system.

Senna, aloe vera and fruit cubes are great for constipation, which is common when a lot of refined foods are being eaten. Essential oils, applied using massage to the stomach can be great for crampy and bloated (windy) stomachs, using coriander, dill, clove or peppermint.

Natural Lifestyle © Natural Lifestyle in connection with Natural Health Week

Drug free relief for arthritis

Green Lipped Mussels. The original discovery that Green Lipped Mussel may help arthritis was made by American researchers looking for treatments for cancer from the sea – back in the ’60s. The New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel was one of a number of shellfish being screened. During this research, it was coincidentally discovered that Green Lipped Mussel has anti-inflammatory properties which are unique to this particular mussel. Hence the connection with arthritis.

Arthritis is essentially inflammation in a joint. There are over 200 types of arthritis but there are 2 types which are most common: inflammation of a joint for an unknown cause (as in rheumatoid arthritis) and wear and tear arthritis where the joint wears out and rough, thickened areas develop in place of smooth cartilages which enable easy, smooth movement of the joint (as in osteo-arthritis).

Clinical trials on Green Lipped Mussel extract have shown beneficial results for patients suffering from both rheumatoid arthritis and osteo-arthritis.

The pain and stiffness associated with arthritis is commonly treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, one of the most common side-effects of which are gastric disorders ie the irritation of the stomach and upsetting of the digestive system.

However, side effects of Green Lipped Mussel are very uncommon and are mainly confined to mild gastro-intestinal distress. This can be particularly important for elderly patients who may develop a gastric or duodenal ulcer during treatment with conventional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. However, allergic reactions are not unknown and people who suffer from an allergy to shellfish or gelatin would not be recommended to use the product.

Anti-inflammatory properties of Green Lipped Mussel

As a result of the discovery in the ’60s, research on the anti-inflammatory properties of Green lipped Mussel began in 1973 and still continues.

Other items of interest

Studies so far indicate that this property is associated with a glycoprotein consisting of glycogen; a complex form of sugar tied up with one of the proteins. Glycogen is a sugar store in the muscle (of the mussel) which is in fact found in all animals and is utilised in energy production.

Suppression of swelling has been demonstrated to a degree with the glycogen complex.

An anti-histamine substance has also been isolated from the New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel extract and studies have shown it to have a preventative action against arthritis.

Conclusion

Green Lipped Mussel is taken as a food supplement in over 20 countries, mainly to help maintain mobility of the joints. The potential benefits may take effect gradually and a regular course over several months is recommended. One of the major benefits demonstrated by scientific studies is that the extract is gentle on the stomach and can be safely taken at the same time as most prescribed medication or medicines.

Seatone Green Lipped Mussel Extract

NB Seatone contains natural sea salts and should therefore not be taken by those suffering from, or taking medication for, high blood pressure.