This is our first Newsletter since we moved to our new premises in Blackberry Lane, near Conkwell. I hope you will enjoy reading it.
The Natural Pharmacie still operates very much in the same manner as before.
The supplements you were able to buy from our shop on the high street in Bradford-on-Avon, you can now buy on our website www.thenaturalpharmacie.co.uk You can still call us for advice on health issues or to book a consultation, or to order your herbal prescription as per usual. You can also e-mail us, or complete a consultation form on our website. We send orders directly to you or you can pick them up from our new premises if you prefer. We are just three miles outside Bradford-on-Avon. There is easy parking and we might even make you a cup of tea!
Some of you will know that I went to the tropics for most of last winter. The purpose of the trip was multi-faceted; to get my Vitamin D from a natural source the SUN; to catch up with my family and to undertake some research into tropical herbs and their uses. I have, with great “sacrifice” managed to post a summary on my website of some of the herbs I had the chance to “meet”. If you are interested, here is the link: http://www.thenaturalpharmacie.co.uk/news
It is Spring! Time to lighten up! Body and mind! This is a good time to change our diets from the overload of starchy (carb) diets to a lighter and more alkalizing diet containing more raw foods. As well as that, the time is approaching for us to have a light herbal detox, adding to it more outdoor exercise to help move the clogged up stuff accumulated in our bodies during the winter months.
When the sap starts rising, and the herbs that grow around us are big enough to be picked, then it is the right time to detox. The best way to a balanced body and therefore the best way to good health, is to follow the cycles of nature. Firstly, if we do that, we have to pay attention to what nature is doing, and in doing so, we already are taking the first necessary step to a balanced existence, namely: “getting in tune with NATURE”. We often remove ourselves from nature, the greatest teacher of all. In fact it is not so often that we are actually removed from nature physically, we often just don’t pay attention to it. And by not observing what nature does, and what it can teach us, we are just in it, but not “of it”. It should not be underestimated how deeply this deviation from nature can affect us. To commune more often with the elements and nourish our bodies with fresh organic foods is one of the secrets to good health and wellbeing.
Lets look into some seasonal herbs that can help us to get on to the spring ladder.
There is a group of herbs that I take at the beginning of every spring, which have a gentle cleansing and nourishing effect on the body. These are:
- Dandelion leaves – Taraxacum officinale
- Nettle leaves – Urtica dioica
- Cleavers – Galium aparine
I mix these in equal parts and take them, infused for ten minutes, as a tea – about a handful of the mix of fresh herbs per cup. I then take about three cups per day for a month.
A brief summary of the recommended herbs
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Its root and leaves are of great nutritional and medicinal value. It has been used for centuries, not only in the Western Tradition of Herbal Medicine, but also in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The leaves are rich in potassium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus. It is one of the best diuretic herbs known. When used for this purpose it does not deplete the body of its potassium, which is one of the side effects of chemical drugs used for that purpose.
The root is one of the most gentle but effective liver tonics. It also improves the flow of the bile from the gallbladder and therefore can help to prevent gallstones. It can be used to treat a sluggish pancreas, improving insulin production. It is an overall digestive tonic and can be used to balance the digestive system as well as improve the metabolism.
Nettles (Urtica dioica)
This is an amazing herb and is now at its juiciest. Its main constituents are chlorophyll, vitamins including Vitamin C, minerals including iron, calcium and silica.
It is a blood tonic, antiseptic, diuretic and has been used with great success for centuries to treat rheumatic conditions and gout. It helps the body to eliminate uric acid and it is a great herb to use in cases of iron-deficiency anaemia. It helps the kidneys to eliminate waste products from the body and is a great blood purifier.
Cleavers/Goosegrass (Galium aparine)
This amazing lymphatic herb usually grows amongst nettles and it is also at its best this time of the year. Nature often does these little displays, growing our lovely medicinal plants together, when our bodies can benefit more from actually taking them together. This is a good example of two such herbs, that grow together and work in synergy.
Amongst other active constituents, cleavers is rich in flavonoids. Flavonoids are a large group of phytochemicals, which are known for their great anti-oxidant effect on the body. Being a great lymphatic herb, it also enhances our immune system. It is the right time of the year to do a good lymphatic drainage and since this herb is also considered a detoxifier there couldn’t be a better choice.
- Juice Fasting (‘juicing’) should be done only in the Spring/Summer. If you want to do it in the winter you need to first know your “body type” otherwise you could be doing harm to yourself. Juicing is “cold and damp forming” according to Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda when done in the wrong season, therefore it is not recommended to be undertaken during a cold and damp season such as the British winter.
- Fasting one day a week on just liquids is a very good practice, since this gives the body a break from constant digestive loading and therefore gives the digestive system a chance to cleanse. It is a very good maintenance practice and good for maintaining a healthy digestive system.
Deep Liver Cleanse
If you feel you need a deeper cleanse, it is best to seek the advice of a qualified professional. For example the celebrated olive oil / lime-juice and garlic combination can affect your bile flow, and if you do suffer from gallstones you might cause stones to move. Whilst removing gallstones is a good thing, if the stones are too large to pass the gallbladder duct they will get stuck and you will need emergency surgery. It is therefore important to be aware of any ill health conditions before embarking on a stronger cleanse such as this.
The herbs milk thistle and turmeric also go a long way in helping the liver to work better and therefore cleanse, but before taking these herbs, you must consult a qualified herbalist.
Maintenance Throughout the Year
Cleansing isn’t only for spring. The best long-term tonic for the digestive system I have found that can be taken throughout the year is the ancient Ayurvedic formula Triphala. Not only is this a gentle but effective bowel tonic but it is also a blood cleanser. In Ayurveda, it is considered a rasayana, meaning a rejuvenating formula. Triphala is a powdered mix of three fruits, and consists of equal parts of Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica), and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula). (If you are interested in a more in depth knowledge, you can click on these links).
Those who suffer from allergies would particularly benefit from a cleansing program. In ancient traditions of herbal medicine such as Ayurveda, it is understood that most allergies have their origin in the digestive system. I have certainly found this to be the case and my patients have had very good results alleviating allergies through treating digestive system disorders.
General Tips / Keeping up Good Practice
Many of my patients ask me for good-practice health tips. Here are a few for this quarter’s newsletter.
- If you suffer from weight gain, be sure your thyroid function is optimal.
- Exercise for at least half an hour three times a week.
- Follow an alkalizing diet (you can find a guide on the internet).
- If you are a female, make sure your hormones are balanced.
- If you have a sweet tooth, you might be chromium deficient.
- HCA Hydroxy Citric Acid (from the fruit Garcinia cambogia) helps you to metabolize fats more easily.
- Take Triphala to ensure good elimination.
- Sipping hot water during the day is one of the best cleansers and is free. You can improve the both the effect and the taste by adding fresh ginger.
In our next quarterly newsletter, we will be talking about some more wonderful herbs – the likes of Turmeric, (Curcuma longa) Ashwaganda, (Withania somnifera) and other classics. These herbs have been in the news lately. It is very exciting to see the media talk about such amazing ancient herbs. In herbal medicine, they are part of a group of herbs that are considered “superior” herbs. So watch out for our next newsletter.
Note: This newsletter is intended for information only. Please seek the advice of a qualified professional before taking any of the suggested medicines.