Tag Archives: herbal supplements

TREATING ANXIETY THE NATURAL WAY

More and more people nowadays are suffering from some form of anxiety.  As the pace of life continues to increase, so do your stress levels.  Life events such as employment stress, exam pressure and family break-ups leave people feel tense and agitated.  Other causes of anxiety are more deep-rooted and stem from unresolved painful events in childhood.  Reports of hazards and disasters in the news also add a general sense of fear and worry.  Anxiety-related disorders such as panic attacks are on the increase but many suffer symptoms without realising it including irritability, headaches and digestive disorders such as gastric ulcers.

How anxiety affects the body

The autonomic nervous system, over which you have no conscious control, is divided into the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. In response to intense physical or emotional stimulation, your sympathetic system induces a ‘fight or flight’ response, increasing adrenalin production from the adrenal glands, so that you can respond to danger.  In our evolutionary past this helped us to avoid predators but extended, long term stimulation results in a racing heart rate, sweating and irritability.

The parasympathetic system is suppressed during ‘fight or flight’.  This system governs vital bodily functions including digestion, assimilation of nutrients and waste elimination, so is it any wonder that excessive anxiety can result in digestive disorders?

Restoring balance

Various traditional herbal remedies can treat symptoms of anxiety.  For example, lemon balm and skullcap are relaxants, helping you to unwind and gain a restful night’s sleep.  Vervain and skullcap can also help to nourish, strengthen and balance your nervous system.  Linden is helpful in protecting against the formation of gastric ulcers.  Wild lettuce has an antispasmodic effect which helps to relax muscles.

Holistic therapies such as Reiki can help to rebalance the mental/emotional bodies, calming the mind and balancing the emotions. A more physical therapy such as reflexology can help to balance the symptoms of stress within the physical body.  Therapies such as hypnotherapy and CBT are also worth investigating as they help to change your response to certain ‘triggers’.

Notes:

1. Therapies including Reiki and Reflexology are available with Helen Shortland.

2.  Herbal remedies and a wide selection of herbal teas are available from Little London Herbal Stores, 9 Kings Walk, Nottingham, NG1 2AE. Tel 0115 9472854 or visit www.all-ages-vitamins.co.uk.

Helen Shortland is a Reiki Master Teacher, Meditation Teacher and Holistic Therapist based at Little London Herbal Stores on Kings Walk in Nottingham city centre. Please ring her on 07748 591690 to book a treatment or visit her website http://helenshortland.comfor further information.

 

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FIGHTING FATIGUE THE NATURAL WAY

Characterised by tiredness, lack of enthusiasm and difficulty concentrating, fatigue can have many causes but is a complaint with no single, simple treatment.  We all have days when it is difficult to get out of bed but chronic fatigue can be frustrating, leaving sufferers unable to cope.  There are however several herbal remedies which can help fight fatigue, as well as various complementary therapies to help bring the body and mind back into balance.

Identifying Causes of Fatigue

Identifying the cause of your fatigue can help you choose the correct remedy.  Common causes include:-

Stress – Physical, mental, money or work related worries can keep you awake at night.

Emotional upset – Marital issues, divorce or bereavement can leave you feeling emotionally drained.

Insomnia – This is a medical condition that can be debilitating if left untreated.

Illness or infection – An underactive thyroid or the effort of fighting off illness can leave you feeling drained.

Food intolerance – Often difficult to identify but fatigue can be a major symptom of some food intolerances.

Blood sugar – Imbalance in blood sugar levels can lead to a serious lack of energy.

Depression – This condition can alter sleep patterns or prevent sleep altogether.

Herbal Remedies

Some herbs, called tonic or adaptogenic, can increase vitality and promote wellbeing.  They balance the body’s hormonal, digestive, cardiovascular, nervous and immune systems.  Alfalfa, ginseng and cordyceps improve strength and stamina.  Liquorice, which balances the adrenal glands, can help fatigue caused by weakened immunity.  Other herbs you can try include:-

Oats:  Rich in minerals and B vitamins, a daily bowl of porridge or a tincture of oat seeds raises energy levels and promotes sleep.  Oats combat exhaustion caused by stress, alcohol or drugs and are effective for mental or physical fatigue.

Sage:  Stimulates the nervous and digestive systems and is also a good all-round restorative. Try sage tea or a simple infusion of fresh sage leaves, or try a massage with clary sage essential oil. Avoid sage if you are epileptic or pregnant.

Astragalus:  Excellent for treating chronic fatigue, it stimulates the immune system and endurance.

Schisandra:  Improves digestion of fatty food, regulates sugar levels and the functioning of the liver and kidneys.

Complementary Therapies

Therapies can help with both the physical and mental/emotional causes of fatigue.  A course of treatment is usually recommended.

Reiki healing is an excellent all-round therapy for stress. It restores balance in the physical body (helping to balance the adrenals and nervous system) as well as strengthening mental/emotional energy.  Reflexology, which stimulates the reflex points on the soles of the feet, aims to bring the whole body back into a state of balance.  An excellent remedy for mental/emotional stress and fatigue is Meditation: this wonderful practice boosts mental alertness and focus and eases depression.

Lifestyle Changes

Changing your lifestyle can often relieve fatigue, especially if your lifestyle is contributing towards it! Regular exercise actually increases energy levels, while a new mind-stretching interest can stimulate the mind, leaving less time for lethargy. Being out in nature or taking a walk in the countryside can also boost your energy and wellbeing.

Recipe – Oaty Fruit Muffins

Delicious, low fat, and ideal for maintaining blood sugar levels.

225g plain flour

60g rolled oats

5ml baking powder

5ml bicarbonate of soda

4 medium bananas, mashed

120g caster sugar

90ml skimmed milk

90ml vegetable oil

1 egg

  1. Preheat oven to 190C/Gas mark 5.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together (flour, raising agents, sugar and oats) in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and add milk and vegetable oil. Then add mashed bananas.
  4. Add wet ingredients. Blend mixture with a metal spoon.
  5. Spoon mixture into muffin cases, sprinkle with handful of oats and bake for 20 minutes until golden on top.

Notes:

1. Reiki, Reflexology and meditation workshops are available with Helen Shortland.

2. All herbal remedies are available from Little London Herbal Stores, 9 Kings Walk, Nottingham, NG1 2AE. Tel 0115 9472854 or visit www.all-ages-vitamins.co.uk.

Helen Shortland is a Reiki Master Teacher, Meditation Teacher and Holistic Therapist based at Little London Herbal Stores on Kings Walk in Nottingham city centre. Please ring her on 07748 591690 to book a treatment or visit her website http://helenshortland.com for further information.

Natural Ways to Promote Better Sleep

Insomnia is a common problem that affects many people.  Fortunately it can be helped with many natural remedies that are readily available.  First and foremost, however, there are many practices you can incorporate yourself to promote better sleep.

Easy Lifestyle Changes

A ‘winding down’ period for about an hour before you go to bed is essential and that includes avoiding the use of electronic devices such as computers and mobile phones.  Make sure you have good curtains that block out the light and try to keep the temperature in the room so that it is neither too warm nor too cold.  Avoid heavy meals at least three hours before bedtime to give your body time to digest food properly.  Reducing caffeine and other stimulants is also advisable after tea time and these can be replaced with a herbal tea such as valerian, rooibos or chamomile.  Practising yoga or meditation just before bedtime may also help you to relax and unwind.  Another idea is to have a warm bath just before bedtime with aromatherapy bath oils containing lavender, valerian or hops.  A bath with Epsom salts or magnesium sulphate can also help to relax the muscles and promote sleep.

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements

Insomnia and sleep problems can be linked to not having enough magnesium in the diet.  Magnesium is a relaxant and can be obtained through eating green vegetables such as spinach, kale and broccoli, as well as being available in supplement form.  Vitamin B6 is also useful for helping to promote sleep.  5-HTP is another useful supplement which converts directly into serotonin in the brain.  Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which helps with the regulation of sleep.  It is a precursor to melatonin which is involved in setting your circadian rhythm (the sleep-wake cycle).  Valerian root is a useful herb for helping with insomnia and mild anxiety which can be taken in supplement form or as a herbal tea.

 Complementary Therapies

Lavender essential oil can aid relaxation and help people to get a better night’s sleep.  Try adding a few drops to your pillow or burning some in an oil burner in the evening (remember to extinguish the candle before you go to bed!).  You can also get roller balls containing essential oils which you apply to your pulse points.

Massage treatments are particularly beneficial for reducing tension and anxiety and promoting relaxation.  Try a Back Massage with a relaxing oil blend, a Foot Massage or an Indian Head Massage to ease tension in the neck, shoulders and scalp.  Reiki healing (a form of hands-on healing) is also a wonderful way to relieve stress and anxiety and restore equilibrium.  In my ten years’ experience as a therapist I have found that clients usually report a better night’s sleep after receiving a complementary therapy treatment!

 

Notes:

1.  All supplements mentioned in this article are available from Little London Herbal Stores, 9 Kings Walk, Nottingham, NG1 2AE or visit website www.all-ages-vitamins.co.uk

 2.  All complementary therapy treatments mentioned in this article are available with Helen Shortland.

 Helen Shortland is a Reiki Master Teacher, Meditation Teacher and Holistic Therapist based at Little London Herbal Stores on Kings Walk in Nottingham city centre. Please ring her on 07748 591690 to book a treatment or visit her website http://helenshortland.com for further information.