This is our 3rd and last edition of this year’s seasonal Newsletter
I hope you enjoyed reading our 2nd edition of this year’s seasonal newsletter, in which we analysed a group of herbs that are classified as “superior herbs”.
In this newsletter I will give you tips on how to minimise and/or avoid getting colds and flu, during the Autumn and Winter seasons. I also will share with you some of my experience gained over the years in my practice using herbs, herbal formulae, supplements and nutrition to avoid getting ill during these harsh seasons. The change of season from Summer to Autumn to Winter is very strong in the UK and if we can keep healthy during this transition, we increase our chances of staying healthy throughout the Winter.
It is in the Autumn that we have to start our prevention program. The change of season from Summer to Autumn can be hard on our constitution and create a serious of imbalances that often are the underlying cause of becoming ill.
There are a few easy things we can do to maintain our health.
- Nutrition – Types of foods to be avoided or at least reduced: Here is a list of foods that are considered mucus forming; dairy (cheese, milk), red meat, alcohol, sweets especially the ones made with refined sugars, bread (especially white bread), cakes, biscuits, pasta, pizzas, potatoes, too much coffee, too much tea, and tinned food in general. It is the time of the year in which we should eat lots of stews cooked with seasonal organic vegetables. Spices such as ginger, turmeric, cumin, coriander chillies etc. are considered aromatic herbs and have many health promoting qualities. Thus adding them to our food can help us to stay healthy. Snacks such as nuts, fresh and dried fruit can be eaten in between meals rather then chocolate and cakes. Consider drinking organic cocoa instead of coffee – cocoa makes an amazing delicious and healthy drink. I like to a teaspoonful of the powder to a cup of boiling milk plus 1/3 teaspoonful of raw coconut cream. In the morning before breakfast or instead of breakfast, take a cup of freshly made juice with carrots, beetroot, apples and ginger, which will start you off well nourished. Drinking ginger tea made from freshly grated ginger as well as herbal teas during the day can further enhance and promote health. One of the fundamental building blocks to good health is to avoid the build up os waste material in our body. Furthermore, once the waste has built up in our guts, the absorption of the nutrients derived from the food we eat becomes impaired and we become deficient in minerals and vitamins needed for good health. One of the most harmful things we can do to our bodies is to eat too large quantities and too many meals a day. It has become a myth that eating a lot is good for us. However, we couldn’t be further from the truth; in-fact in the west the habit of over-eating and over-drinking has developed since we have become wealthy – many diseases are called diseases of the west or of the wealthy. Feeling sleepy or sluggish after a meal means that the meal was too large and /or the wrong food combination. This is one of the causes of improper digestion and therefore improper elimination. The vicious circle starts: improper food, improper digestion, improper elimination = disease.
- Digestion/Elimination – Water is one of the best cleansers but we often do not drink enough. Better than just drinking water, drink hot water (like ‘tea without tea’). Sipping ginger tea made from fresh grated ginger during the day will also enhance elimination. However, never drink much with meals. Drink 20 minutes before and again 20 minutes after any meal and then of course during the day. Coffee, tea and alcohol dehydrate and you must increase your water intake during the day to compensate if you do drink any of those. Sugary drinks including juices are not a substitute for water and should be avoided altogether. In the olden days, fasting during one day a week was part of life, and that was done so that the body could take a “break” to cleanse. These days we eat many “unnatural” foodstuff and do not give our bodies a break. Therefore finding other methods of improving our elimination is advisable. The enzyme activity in our upper digestive system may be reduced due to sluggish liver, pancreas and gallbladder, and the digestive problems already start even from the minute we start chewing our food. The food should be chewed until it has become liquid so that it is properly mixed with the enzymes found in the saliva. When the food stuff reaches our large intestine it is often still badly broken down giving rise to improper elimination. As a result, we accumulate waste which favours the growth of the “bad” bacteria creating an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria in the large intestine. A good brand of probiotics can help to improve the imbalances created in the colon. In Herbal Medicine, one of the most amazing ancient medicines that helps cleansing the digestive tract is called Triphala. Triphala is and ancient Ayurvedic medicine made from the powder of three fruits. It is considered the best bowel tonic found in nature. It helps the body to eliminate old and new waste, it is a blood cleanser, an anti-oxidant due to its high levels of vitamin C, as well as a rejuvenating complex. In Sanskrit it is considered a Rasajana meaning rejuvenating, and has been used in Ayurveda in rejuvenating programs for millennia. I recommend it to everyone who has digestive problems and I have been taking it for years with amazing results. In addition, I recommend that people consume more fermented foods in their daily diets, such as good old Sauerkraut! Superfoods like Chlorella and Spirulina also have, beyond the many nutritional benefits, a cleansing effect on the body.
In a Nutshell – If we free our bodies from waste then the nasty bugs have much less chance to get us or thrive in us. In addition, we will have more energy, feel and look better and younger. Instead of looking like the weather in the winter “gloomy and grey” we can look glowing and enjoy natures play during this harsher seasons.
Note: It is not the time of the year for deep cleansing programs, including juicing fasts. These can weaken our bodies and imbalance our constitution. Especially juicing can make us ill during the cold seasons. Juices are cold and damp in their nature and have naturally a high content of fructose (natural sugars), which are mucus forming if taken in large quantities at the wrong time of the year. Any cleansing program that includes damp and cold foods in large quantities is only appropriate for the Spring and Summer. The only persons who could benefit from a juicing program during the cold and damp seasons are the “hot” in Ayurveda called Pitta constitutions. However, persons offering these cleansing programs might not have sufficient knowledge to determine the different types of constitutions.
Herbs and Herbal Formulae
Everyone by now has heard about Echinacea and there is no doubt that this is a miracle herb. The many benefits one can derive from this herbs go far beyond the respiratory system. It is one of the herbs which has been research for years and the research is still ongoing. The more it is studies the more benefits are discovered. It can be taken as part of a preventative program to enhance your immune system. The minimum dose recommended for adults is 9ml a day. It is important you get a good quality Echinacea preferably organic. Please give me a call if you need further information.
Sambucus nigra fructus
Elder berries – Many studies have shown its amazing anti-viral action. This herb also can be taken as part of a preventative program.
There are many other herbs that are considered immune enhancing herbs like Andrographis paniculata, Olea europea, Zingiber officiale Thymus vulgaris, Achillea millefolium etc. In order to derive the greatest benefit from these herbs it is best to take an immune enhancing formula. As a medical herbalist this is the way I prefer to prescribe herbs. Even Echinacea can work better if taken in a formula. Formulae can be adapted to the individual constitution and therefore the results can be greater.
If you asked me what would be good for a cough I would ask you what sort of cough you have. In particular for coughs, I always combine herbs not only according to the constitution of the individual person but also according to the type of cough. If a cough is dry it requires different herbs from the cough that is productive. Again, there are many herbs that can be used with great success for coughs and chest infections. A delicious Thyme and Liquorice Syrup comes to my mind!
Vitamin C – Everyone knows how important it is to take this simple but very effective vitamin during the Winter season and indeed during the year when life becomes stressful.
Zinc – is found in every cell of our body and therefore is involved in very many functions of the body, including our immune system.
Vitamin D3 4000iu – 2 Winters ago the Ministry of Health requested an in-dept study into this Vitamin and concluded that in this country most of us are deficient. It was found that Vit D is involved in many more functions in our body then previously thought. Essentially, like zinc it is found in every cell of the body. It affects the function of some of our neuro-transmitters, our immune system, our bones our hormones and the list goes on. The minimum adult dose now recommended is 4000iu and day as opposed to 1000iu a day before the latest research.
Manuka Honey – is packed with minerals and vitamins, in addition it is great for sore throats dry coughs.
Garlic – a great medicine especially for this time of the year. There are already odor free capsules available.
5-HTP and St John’s Wort are known for their effects on serotonin levels and can help to lift the gloomy moods during the Winter season.
Note: Please note that most of these supplements also exist for children. A child usually can benefit from a good multi-vitamin formula plus Vitamin D3 made especially for children.
What should we have in our cabinet during Autumn and Winter?
Echinacea and or a good tailored made immune enhancing herbal formula
Vitamin C – Time release
Vitamin D3 4000iu
Depending on the case: 5HTP or St John’s Wort
The best prevention program is a holiday in the sun. I always safe nearly all my holidays for the Winter season.
My Winter Break
I will be away from the 30th of December/14 to the 25 of January/15.
Have a lovely cold and flu free Christmas and New Year. Remember, moderation in eating and drinking is part of your prevention program…..
Our next newsletter should reach you in the early Spring. Just in time to advice on cleansing programs and allergies (like hey fever) etc.
Thank you all :)
Disclaimer: The content of this newsletter is for information only. You must always consult a medical herbalist before taking any herbs or supplements mentioned in this newsletter.
Dipl. CNM, MURHP
The Natural Pharmacie
iria(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)thenaturalpharmacie.co.uk
Tel.: 01225 723 894