Spring 2016 Newsletter

Happy Spring 2016!
It has definitely arrived! Yes, and we all want to feel great! Detox, Detox, Detox …Wait a minute, perhaps we are being too harsh. Here is the good news, we do not need to be so tough with ourselves, lets be gentle! The body naturally responds better to a gentle approach. Changing our unhealthy habits is in fact the best and cheapest detox program. Better health is not about doing a detox program every so often, it is about changing unhealthy habits into healthy habits. One should have such a life that is not conducive to a toxic body in the first place. Yes, it is true that many toxins in the environment are unavoidable but if we reduce our exposure to only those toxins we can still have a pretty healthy existence. It is also true that the Winter Season in this country is gloomy and wet, and we can feel like indulging in comfort drinking and eating. When the Spring arrives our bodies might be a bit sluggish and clogged up and a gentle nudge to improve metabolic processes is often just what we need.

Who Needs a Nudge?
The liver plays a key role in most metabolic processes, especially detoxification, and it is the major organ involved in this process. It carries out hundreds of functions on a daily basis provided it is in a good state of health. The liver needs a broad range of amino acids, vitamins and minerals to be able to carry out all these metabolic processes. It is not with a couple of detox programs in the Spring and Summer that we can best care and look after our liver. These programs can potentially lack in key nutrients that the liver needs. It is in avoiding poor diet that is based on refined, processed junk food, devoid from all its nourishment, coupled with excesses such as alcohol, caffeine, starches, dairy, wheat and so on, that we can best assist the liver to drive these complex metabolic processes. However, it is not only junk food, and all the excesses that are detrimental to our wellbeing. The quantity we eat at each meal, the number of meals we eat per day, the snacks in between meals, the food combination, the gaps between meals, the last meal before bedtime – all these play an equally important role in our wellbeing. The sum of all unhealthy habits contribute to a congested liver. A congested and sluggish liver increasingly fails to remove toxins from our blood circulation, leaving them to potentially impact every organ in our body.
These toxins circulating in our body have adverse effects on our health and it is then no wonder that we start to feel dull or develop all kinds of chronic diseases. We have forgotten about many important good health habits and rules that ancient cultures followed – and the exhilarating sense of wellbeing that follows from these. Our bodies need rest, but not only the physical rest we get from sleep; we also need “rest” from food. Fasting on just liquids one day a week is one of the “golden” keys for good health and longevity. (It’s worth looking into how to do this properly.) We only wash ourselves on the outside but do not give the body a break for it to be able to clean itself on the inside. How then can we expect to be healthy?

Bile: the most overlooked detoxifier
Medicinal plants that have the potential in assisting with metabolic processes and elimination.

This is a term used in Herbal Medicine to classify a group of herbs that have a specific action of stimulating the production of bile by the liver. They increase the amount of bile secreted by the liver and at the same time can also act as choleretics, meaning they also increase the amount of bile being released by the gallbladder (where it is stored having been generated by the liver).
Most medicinal plants that have a bitter taste act as cholagogues, and are called hepatic herbs in Herbal Medicine. A whole range of plant constituents will have this action on the liver tissue, but without it being forced or damaging. The secretion of bile is of great help to the whole digestive and assimilative process, and as we are what we eat – we are what we digest. The role of bile is primarily that of facilitating fat digestion, but also being a natural laxative, and thus cleansing to the system. Without exploring the vast complexities of liver function, it is worth noting that bile formation and flow are fundamental to all of us for health. The herbs listed below have a much deeper value than simply the release of bile, they help ensure a strong and healthy liver and so enliven the whole being.

Herbal examples that are classified as cholagogues:

Artichoke (Cynara scolymus)
Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale rdx )
Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
Burdock root (Arctium lappa)
Barberry (Berberis vulgaris)
Oregon grape (Berberis aquifolium)
Herbal examples with specific actions on the Kidneys and Lymphatic system.
Nettle leaf (Urtica dioca fol)
Dandelion (leaf) (Urtica dioca fol)
Cleavers (Galium aparine)
These three herbs will soon be at their best to be picked in the wild. They will be fresh and juicy and are the perfect trio to to be used to gently assist the kidneys and the lymphatics and to help the body release accumulated toxicity. It is good practice to use these herbs in conjunction with the liver herbs as they can assist the detoxifying process of the liver.
Note: Do not pick these herbs in the wild unless you are 100% sure you are picking the right plants.

Next Newsletter
Our next newsletter should reach you in the Summer/ Autumn. Enjoy the Spring!

Disclaimer: The content of this newsletter is for general interest only. You must always consult a medical herbalist before taking any herbs or supplements mentioned in this newsletter.

Iria Kreutz-Schiller
The Natural Pharmacie
iria(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)thenaturalpharmacie.co.uk
Tel.: 01225 723 894

Trifolium pratense 3

Summer Newsletter

Happy Summer 2015!
I hope you have enjoyed the Summer so far and are spending time outside to get the much needed Vitamin D. It has been rather dry till we had the lovely rain the other week. However, the drought doesn’t seem to have been too severe and a copule of the lovely herbs I will talk about in this Newsletter are still in bloom. These are: Oregano (also called Wild Marjoram) and Red clover. I do hope you will be able to identify them on your walks in the fields. Olive leaf, is the third herb discussed in this Newsletter, for those who are off to a lovely Mediterranean holiday; you will never look at this beautiful tree in the same way again! Identifying this wonderful medicines in their own habit can contribute to developing a much closer relationship with them and with nature itself. Our senses may start to become more sensitive and in tune with what is around us, especially our sight, smell and touch. In ancient times, mankind had a much closer connection with nature. Through this close relationship with the plant kingdom, a great knowledge and wisdom developed and till to date we benefit from such knowledge, in particular in the area of medicinal plants and their properties and uses. Ancient traditions of medicine such as Ayurveda which is over five thousand years old, evolved as a natural consequence of this intimate relationship with the plant kingdom and natural world around us.
We have largely forgotten how important plants are. Plants take a lead role in this mysterious play of life, providing, in one way or another, most of our clothes, our shelter, our foods and our medicine. Re-engaging with the web of life may improve the future for us all.

The medicinal plants discussed in this Newsletter:
Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
Red clover (Trifolium pratense)
Olive leaf (Olea europeae)

Oregano (Wild Marjoram)

History and Folklore:
The Name Origanum originates from two Greek words; pros (mountain) and ganos (Joy) allusive to its happy appearance these plants give to the hillsides on which they grow.
It is a perennial herb and is distributed over Asia, Europe and North Africa; it grows freely in England, in particular in the south-east and south-west. It flowers from the end of June, through August.
Oregano has a very ancient medicinal reputation. The Greeks used it extensively, both internally and externally for fomentations (heating / cooling compresses). Among both the Greeks and the Romans, it was the custom to crown young couples with oregano. In England the flowering tops were used to dye woollen cloth, and before the introduction of hops, it was very much in demand for ale-brewing.

Medicinal properties and uses:
The main source of its medicinal properties are the essential oils which are found in the leaves, but for medicinal purposes, the whole aerial parts are used. These essential oils work in synergy with the plant’s additional constituents, and make Oregano a very useful medicinal plant; it is now very much part of the Western Tradition of Herbal Medicine.
Studies have found that Oregano has many beneficial properties. As an anti-microbial, it has been used for the treatment of chronic candidiasis and other types of fungal infections. It also has been used for the treatment of indigestion, heartburn and low stomach acidity. Additional treatments include: yeast infections, colds, flu, coughs, chest infections, sinus congestion, nausea, hay fever, and so on. Research has also shown that oregano inhibits the growth of Candida albicans. The anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties of Oregano stem from its essential oils.

How to use Oregano for Medicinal Purposes:
A simple way to take Oregano is by making a tea. This can be made with the fresh or dried herb using approximately 1 to 2 teaspoons, steeped in hot water for approximately 10 minutes (with a lid on). Take this dose up to three times daily. Herbalists will use it in the form of a tincture in a herbal formula, in which it will work in synergy with the other herbs.

Oregano oil can be applied topically for the treatment of microbial infections such as athletes’s foot among other fungal infections. The oil needs to be diluted by 50% or more, typically in a carrier oil such as almond, prior to application. The oil should not be used internally as there could be safety issues.
Precautions: Essential oil of Oregano may irritate the skin if used undiluted. Avoid during pregnancy and known allergy.

Red Clover
History and Folklore:
Red clover is a perennial plant and is native to Europe, Western Asia and Northwest Africa. In the 1930s, it was a popular anticancer remedy and may still be used for such treatments to date.
Folklore: Each of the leaves of a normal three-leafed clover was said to represent one aspect of the Triple Goddess; one was the maiden – the young woman; one the mother – the fertility symbol, and one the crone – old age and wisdom.

Medicinal properties and uses:
The parts used for medicinal purposes are the flower heads, which can be gathered between the Spring and early Autumn. It has been used to treat cancer and tumours in general, and also skin diseases, syphilis, bronchitis, fevers, colds and inflammatory conditions associated with arthritis and gout. Due to its antispasmodic and expectorant properties it makes it a useful herb for coughs, especially whooping cough, and other diseases associated with mucus congestion. A strong tea is indicated as a gargle for mouth ulcers and sore throats. It has been used topically to heal fresh wounds as well as old ulcers and makes an excellent healing salve. For scaly skin, a strong tea can be used as a wash or an ointment of the herb can be applied. As a poultice or cream, it can be used to soften milk ducts for nursing mothers.
In my clinic I have used it with success as a blood cleanser for chronic deep-seated skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. However, the greatest success I have had with this amazing herb is in using it in formulae to balance hormones, in particular for peri-menopausal, menopausal and post-menopausal women.
Red clover is one of the richest sources of isoflavones. This constituent (phytochemical) has oestrogen-like effects. Studies have show that it activates the oestrogen receptor sides in the body, hence influencing the balance of this hormone. It is one of my very favourite herbs to be included in my hormone balancing formulae to treat hot flashes, PMS, breast enhancement and all related hormone imbalance symptoms. It is also a source of many valuable nutrients including minerals and vitamins.

Olive Leaf
History and Folklore:
Legend has it that in ancient times, the olive tree was held in such a high position that Moses exempted from military service men who worked at its cultivation. The oil, in addition to its wide use in diet, was burned in the sacred lamps of temples. It was a symbol of purity and goodness and the tree was a representation of peace and happiness. In Greece, the champions of the olympic games were crowned with the leaves, and it is the leaves that are still used to date in herbal medicine.
Olive trees are native to Asia Minor and Syria, but are cultivated throughout the Mediterranean countries and also Chile, Peru and South Australia. Olive leaf was first used medicinally in Ancient Egypt. The more recent knowledge of the olive leaf’s medicinal properties goes back to the 1800s, when the leaves were used as a drink to reduce fevers and treat malaria.

Medicinal properties and uses:
Olive leaf is the leaf of the olive tree (Olea europaea) and to our knowledge, was first used medicinally in Ancient Egypt. It is gaining recognition as a powerful medicine against many conditions of ill health and numerous scientific studies have been conducted to investigate its beneficial properties. The medicinal benefits of olive leaf range from promoting increased energy and healthy blood pressure, to supporting the cardiovascular system and the immune system.
In herbal medicine, the leaves are used for a huge variety of conditions. As an anti-microbial, it can be used to treat bacterial, fungal and viral infections. In my experience it is very effective as an immune booster, and I use it either on its own or in immune boosting formulae as a preventative for flu and colds, in particular during the winter months. It can, however, also be effective in shortening the duration of viral infections such as flu. Olive leaf has been used to treat urinary infections, and indeed many other infections in the body caused by fungus or bacteria. As a hypoglycemic (low sugar levels in the blood), it can help stabilize blood sugar levels. It has a bitter taste, which can enhance the flow and production of bile and enzyme production from the pancreas, both of which are important for an optimal function of the upper digestive system. In my experience, it can be a great herb to treat adrenal exhaustion, and I have used it with great success in formulae for this condition. In the stressful world of the 21st century there is no shortage of people who suffer from adrenal and mental exhaustion. From books of herbal medicine we can read that it has been a very popular medicine for years, and has been used for the treatment of hypertension, to dilate coronary arteries and improve blood circulation although in my own clinic I have not used it for these conditions.

Next Newsletter
Our next newsletter should reach you in the Autumn. Enjoy the rest of the Summer!

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.

Iria Kreutz-Schiller
The Natural Pharmacie
iria(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)thenaturalpharmacie.co.uk
Tel.: 01225 723 894

Gut Health

Happy Spring 2015!
Healthy Gut

I hope the Winter season wasn’t to hard on you and you managed to enjoy it for what it is.
In this newsletter I will focus on how to keep our guts healthy and how to restore gut health. You might be asking why I am not focussing on Spring cleanse, hay fever and other “Spring allergies”. If you read on it will all become clear.

Immunity Starts in the Gut
We often hear that gut health is important but perhaps do not take it very seriously. I believe it will help us to pay more attention to this matter if we are more informed about it. A lot of research is being done/has been done on this subject, the results of which can be used to help us understand better the importance of having a healthy gastrointestinal tract (GI, or simply ‘gut’). With around 65% t0 70% of the immune system being located in our GI, it is imperative that we look after our gut health. We have all heard about beneficial and also pathogenic (harmful) bacteria that live in our gut. Some of us will have taken probiotics and seen the names of the beneficial bacteria written on the bottle. Familiar names like Lactobacillus or Bifidobacteria, will probably spring to your mind. Studies have shown that an overgrowth of the harmful bacteria can be the root cause of many illnesses, including allergies, atopic diseases (such as psoriasis), auto-immune diseases (such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus) and more. Many factors can contribute to this imbalance including pollutants from the environment, pesticides, the food we eat, lifestyle and certain modern medicines including antibiotics etc. Studies have demonstrated that certain beneficial bacteria increase the body’s ability to change from a pro-inflammatory to anti-inflammatory state, which may help with the prevention of certain diseases including allergies, auto-immune diseases, atopic diseases etc. (Note: the root cause of many diseases, including allergies, are believed to be based on our body’s pro-inflammatory reactions).

How to Achieve and Maintain Gut Health
Fast Symptom relief
Using a natural approach for fast relief of the symptoms will make it easier to follow a longer and more in-depth treatment for chronic gut conditions. Simple things you can do to achieve this are:
Take digestive enzymes – these will help to give your upper digestive system a good start. Studies have shown that our digestive enzymes often are low and a bad start in digesting our food will influence the digestion further down.
Peppermint has been used for millennia. Its tradition comes from the Middle East where it is still used as a hot tea after a meal to aid the digestion. It can be used either as a hot tea or in capsule form. The best peppermint oil capsules to take are the coated ones and are called, “enteric-coated capsules”. The essential oils in peppermint relax the muscles in the gastrointestinal tract and alleviate abdominal pain and distention. Studies have shown that it can also act as a natural anti-biotic against a range of pathogenic bacteria.
Aloe vera is another ancient herb that has been used for millennia. Energetically, it is a “cooling” herb. The inner leaf gel of aloe vera has been shown to reduce gastrointestinal inflammation. Studies also have found it to improve general gastrointestinal health, reducing bad bacteria and bowel putrefaction, and furthermore improving bowel motility, digestion and absorption.
Herbal medicine mixtures. Plants have been used as medicines for thousands of years, and are still widely used around the globe today. The complex bioactive compounds in herbs make them a suitable medicine to treat complex health conditions in the human body, including gut problems. Herbs are different from pharmaceutical drugs, which are typically based on a single chemical compound active ingredient. In Herbal Medicine, herbs that benefit the digestive system are classified as digestive herbs, and within that group, they are further classified into sub-groups according to their actions. In aromatic digestive herbs, the main beneficial compounds are essential oils. The action of an essential oil on our digestive system is multifaceted, but it includes muscle relaxation, and action as a natural anti-biotic and antiseptic. Some herbs in this group are: Peppermint (Mentha piperita) , Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum), Cinnamon (Cinnamomum), Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), Caraway (Carum carvi), and Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis). Furthermore, in Herbal Medicine, we consider the liver and the pancreas to be part of our digestive system. A herbal formula for the digestive system would therefore not be complete if it did not include herbs that improve bile production and bile flow as well as increasing the production of pancreatic digestive enzymes. This group of herbs are called cholagogues. Herbs such as Dandelion Root (Taraxacum officialis radix), Turmeric (Curcuma longa), Artichoke Leaf (Cynara scolymus), Burdock Root (Arctium lappa radix), Barberry (Berberis vulgaris), Mahonia (Berberis aqufolium), Milk Thistle (Carduus marianus), and Ginger ( Zinger official), can achieve such results. Lastly, when there is an underling inflammation of the mucus membranes of the gut, herbs with a soothing and “cooling” action are used. These include: Slippery elm (Ulmus fulva), Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Marshmallow root (Althea officials radix), Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Aloe Vera gel.
Sweedish bitters: Many people have heard about this very old and traditional formula. This bitter compound includes around 16 herbs, and their actions are varied. However, the main synergetic action of this compound is aimed to improve bile flow and bile production as well as stimulating the production of pancreatic digestive enzymes.

Gut Bacteria Supplementation
Good gut health will not happen without a well-balanced gut microflora. To quickly improve your gut bacterial balance you can take prebiotics and / or probiotics, and make changes to your diet. Harmful bacteria in our digestive tract are often the cause of not only our digestive problems but also the cause of many other ill-health conditions. At long last, scientific and medical interest in probiotics has taken off and supplementation of probiotics is generally accepted in medical practice as an important treatment for some illnesses.
Probiotics can be purchased as single-strain or multi-strain bacterial blends. Follow the recommended dose on the product label or the advice from a practitioner. They are typically taken daily for a minimum of four weeks, but can be continued longer term if necessary. If one probiotic does not improve your symptoms, trial a different product to see if it works better. Probiotics can be used safely alongside medication and are also considered safe for use during pregnancy.
Prebiotics are a special type of dietary fibre that our beneficial bacteria, particularly Bifidobacteria, use to grow and increase in number. Bifidobacteria plays an important role in maintaining digestive health.

Natural Foods
A diet high in calories, refined sugars, fat and protein (such as from processed foods, sweets and high-fat animal products) increases levels of harmful bacteria in the gut. A diet rich in complex carbohydrates (such as from wholegrain, fruits and vegetables) not only lowers levels of harmful bacteria but also increases the levels of beneficial bacteria.

Some foods have been found to potentially increase beneficial bacteria. These include: apples, bananas, blueberries, cocoa, green tea, whole grains and more. Additionally, it is helpful to establish whether common problem foods, such as gluten and lactose, are a problem for you – the symptoms are not always acute. It is also important to pay attention to food combination. Meat (if you eat it) is best combined with non-starchy vegetables only, as our bodies digest carbohydrates and proteins at different rates. The same applies to a high carbohydrate meal (such as pasta) – it is best also to combine it only with vegetables and not with meat. Most fruits are best eaten as a snack and not with meals. Exceptions are bananas, pineapples and stewed apples.

Food Guidelines to Support Beneficial Gut Bacteria
Some helpful general rules for maintaining a healthy gut microflora include:
Eating lean-protein foods;
Consuming plenty of vegetables; .
Eating fresh and dried fruit as a snack in between meals;
Including ‘good fats’ in your diet (i.e. omegas 3, 6 and 9). (Organic butter is allowed);
Limiting carbohydrate-rich foods;
Reducing alcohol, coffee and tea intake, and drinking mostly water (but not too much with your meals);
Drinking fresh ginger tea in between or after meals, or simply just hot water;
Introducing fermented foods into your diet, such as Sauerkraut, Miso, and Kefir;
Eating organic foods whenever possible.

Stress Management
Calm down your Nervous Gut
Your central nervous system directly influences gastrointestinal function. Your mood, and the way you deal with stress, can contribute to your digestive health or lack of it. It is worth trying mind-body therapies that help to break the cycle of stress, and thereby improve gastrointestinal health as well as overall quality of life. For example:
Mindfulness can help you to get to grips with a ruminating mind that focuses on negative emotions that will create tension in your body;
Practising meditation on a daily basis will help to calm the mind and relax the body;
Listen to calming and relaxing music;
Daily exercise – go for walks in nature, and take time to appreciate beauty;
Have a purpose in life – even small steps towards a goal can make a big difference;
Meeting friends;
Take time to watch a sunset;
Sit down, do nothing!
Try to just BE. After all we are human BEings, not human DOings.

Steps to Stay Symptom-free for Life
Start putting into practice the knowledge you gained from this newsletter to regain your digestive health. This will in turn improve the vitality of your mind and body, and enable you to live a happier and healthier life.

Keep your bowels clean. In Herbal Medicine, one of the most amazing ancient medicines that helps cleansing the digestive tract is called Triphala. Triphala is an ancient Ayurvedic medicine made from the powder of three fruits. It is considered the best natural bowel tonic. Triphala helps the body to eliminate old and new waste, acts as a blood cleanser and an anti-oxidant due to its high levels of vitamin C, and 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 or as a tonic to people who want to keep a healthy digestive system. I have been taking it for years with amazing results.

Remember, simple lifestyle changes can work as a powerful medicine. Find out what works for you.

Note: It is important to note that many people have parasitic infections but do not realise it. It is therefore worth having stool tests done ever so often, especially if a program for gut health such as laid out in this newsletter does not give the desired results.
Next Newsletter
Our next newsletter should reach you in the Summer. Enjoy the lovely Spring!

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.

Iria Kreutz-Schiller
The Natural Pharmacie
iria(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)thenaturalpharmacie.co.uk
Tel.: 01225 723 894

Autumn/Winter Seasonal Newsletter

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.

Prevention program
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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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
Manuka Honey
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…..

Next Newsletter
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.

Iria Kreutz-Schiller
The Natural Pharmacie
iria(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)thenaturalpharmacie.co.uk
Tel.: 01225 723 894


Summer 2014 Newsletter

This is our 2nd edition of this year’s quarterly Newsletter


I hope you are enjoying the Summer and enjoyed reading our Spring quarterly newsletter. I was very pleased to hear from some of you who gathered some of the fresh growing herbs in the Spring and took the opportunity to do a gentle Spring detox as suggested in my Newsletter.

In this Newsletter, I will analyse some of the herbs that can be classified as superior herbs. One of the many properties of this large group of herbs is that the herb can be taken over a long period of time without interruption, and without side effects. Also, these herbs work very well as ‘singles’, meaning on their own rather than with others as part of a herbal formula. Those of you who have had herbal prescriptions may have noticed that the prescription was made up of several herbs, often seven or more in a formula. Herbal formulae are the most common way of prescribing Herbal Medicine.

The main medicinal properties of a herb are directly linked to its main active constituents. I will mention a few names of the constituents of the herbs I will be talking about in this newsletter as I believe this will provide a better understanding of the therapeutic mechanism of Herbal Medicine.

The Herbs


1. Curcuma longa – Turmeric

This herb has lately been news in the mainstream media. The attention was given to the latest findings in the West of Turmeric’s value in the treatment of cancer. Those of you who like a good curry will probably know it best as a spice and will recognise it for its beautiful yellow colour. It is a herb that thrives in the tropics in countries like India, Sri Lanka, China, Brazil etc.

Turmeric is a traditional Ayurvedic herb and has been used for millennia in India, in one of the oldest systems of traditional herbal medicine – Ayurveda. At long last its value as a medicine is starting to be recognised in the West. Many qualified western herbalists have long used it, such that it has gradually become part of the Western Tradition of Herbal Medicine. It is an invaluable herb and has always been one of the selection of herbs I use in my own practice.

Curcumin is the phytochemical that gives turmeric its lovely yellow colour, and it is the main active constituent for which turmeric is used in Herbal Medicine. The part of the plant used is the whole rhizome rather than just a purified curcumin extract. Within Herbal Medicine, for curcumin to work without side effects, all constituents found in the rhizome need to be present. They work together synergistically to help the principal precious constituents to be properly absorbed and metabolised, and to serve their intended purpose. This is a good example of how a natural medicine works – in harmony with our bodies and metabolism. The wonder of this is never lost on me. It is a perfection: from the table of Mother Nature, into our bodies to heal and to keep us healthy, as Nature intended.

The properties of this amazing herb are many. To mention a few, it is: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, hepato-protective, anti-carcinogenic, anti-microbial, supports mucosal tissues, and assists the body to lower cholesterol.

Recent research has shown that it promotes apoptosis of the cancer stems cells. This is really good news, considering that 1 in 3 people are dying of cancer, according to the latest statistics. In my clinic I get consistently good results using this herb in combination with other anti-inflammatory herbs to treat many different types of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. I also use it to treat certain types of digestive disorder. It can be very effective for lowering cholesterol, and is one of the greatest anti-oxidants found in nature. As liver restorative, it helps the liver to regenerate and therefore can be used in the treatment of liver damage, caused, for example, by cancer or cirrhosis.


2. Asparagus racemosa – Shatavari

This is another herb from the ancient Ayurvedic tradition and has been part of the Herbal Pharmacopeia for millennia. The part used is the root, and the main active constituents found in the root are steroidal saponins. These steroidal saponins can have a positive effect in balancing hormones.

“She who possesses a hundred husbands”. I have always loved this quote. In a few words it expresses the amazing action this herb has on the female reproductive organs.

Shatavari – Yin tonic – has a tonic and rejuvenating action on the female reproductive system and is said to give a woman the capacity to have a hundred husbands! It is said that it increases love, devotion and compassion.

In the West it is called “the natural HRT”. I include this herb in nearly every peri-menopausal, menopausal and post-menopausal formula but I also use it in formulae for young women who have symptoms of hormonal imbalance. It works very well with Ashwaganda (the next herb I will analyse), when in addition to hormonal imbalance, adrenal support is required. Shatavari works on many levels; not only does it rejuvenate the female reproductive system but it also is very effective in the treatment of infertility. In addition to its nourishing and rejuvenating action, it has been used effectively in treating dry inflamed membranes of the lungs, stomach, kidneys and sexual organs.

As a medical herbalist specialising in hormone balance, I am immensely grateful to Mother Nature who provides us with such gifts that can help women to go through their difficult years of change in a very smooth and dignified manner. This is especially so when modern society fails to understand the process of menopause, which I believe has led to further suppression of real femininity. True femininity today is seldom respected by Western society and is often confined to sex appeal. The menopause in particular is frequently portrayed in a negative light, making any promises of continued youthfulness an enticing lure for any treatment. Faced with propositions such as this, it can be easy to dismiss side effects as another day’s problem.

HRT, a treatment invented in the 1960’s promising eternal youthfulness for women, is becoming an increasingly controversial subject. Concerns about its side effects are being debated in the media, and a number of authors have written about it with erudition. Dr. John Lee, MD is one such author, and bases his books on research conducted over 30 years into the side effects of using HRT. These make disturbing reading. Should you wish to read more about this subject follow the link “Recommended Reading” on my website. http://www.thenaturalpharmacie.co.uk/category/books/


3. Withania somnifera – Ashwaganda

This is yet another herb from the ancient tradition of Ayurveda, and like Turmeric and Shatavari, it has been used to treat ill health for millennia. The main active constituent is an alkaloid found in the root. This herb also has a high content of iron.

Ashwaganda is considered a Yang tonic, and as such, its affinity with the male reproductive system can be compared with that of Shatavari’s for the female reproductive system.

Ashwaganda has aphrodisiac, sedative and astringent properties. It can be used to treat impotence, infertility, weakness of the back and knees, adrenal exhaustion, joint and nerve pain. Further conditions that can be treated with this herb are weakness of the mind, nerve exhaustion, insomnia, wasting diseases, convalescence, and poor growth in children. It promotes deep, sound sleep and stamina for the mind. In the West it is considered the primary herb for the stress of the 21st century. A perfect herb for a busy overworked career person, it can also be helpful for children and adolescents who feel overworked at school and get the “can’t cope” feeling. It is one of the best rejuvenating herbs in the Ayurvedic pharmacopeia, particularly for the muscles, marrow and semen. Ashwaganda is nourishing to the nervous system and is one of the primary strengthening tonics used in the Ayurvedic tradition.

Although a less common use, it can also be applied externally to promote the healing of wounds and sores.


Lamberts Healthcare Ltd, a English company that manufactures a huge range of supplements to a high standard has kindly offered to give a seminar free of charge through The Natual Pharmacie on their range of products. Lamberts is one of my key suppliers and I have used their products in my practice for nearly 10 years. This seminar will offer you a chance to gain a deeper understanding about supplements, what they can do for you, and what to look for when choosing them.
Dates suggested by Lamberts: either Wednesday the 24th of September/14 or Tuesday the 30th of September/14.

Should you be interested, please send me an email with the date you will be able to attend.


The next quarterly Newsletter should reach you towards the end of October/14. The change of season from summer to autumn will be well underway by then and I will give you loads of tips on how to stay healthy during this delicate transition from summer/autumn to winter when so many people go down with bugs. I will give some recommendations on how minimise/avoid colds and flu as well as how to avoid the winter glooms.

Thank you all :)

Disclaimer: The content of this newsletter is for information only. You must always consult a medical herbalist before taking any herbs mentioned in this newsletter.


Spring Cleanse – A gentle approach


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.

Gentle Detox

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.

Supplements can also be beneficial.  A Natural Treatment for Hay-fever that has helped many people  is for example  Quercetin B5 Plus complex and a good brand of Vitamin C.

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.


photoDANDELION downsized

Herbs in Common With The Tropics

How interesting!  Given that the tropics are such a long way away from Europe and given the fact that these are the same herbs used for the same medicinal purposes, it remains to be found out how they got here.  Or vice-versa?  Were they brought in as medicinal herbs, the plants and their uses by man coming across together as food crops have done at other times?  This would underline the value they must have represented.  And this utility is undiminished – they remain potent herbs to date.


Taraxacum officinale

Isn’t it beautiful! – But a nonsense when it takes over our lawn! However, many of us know that the leaves make a delicious salad and the roasted root has been used for many years to make a delicious drink.  This is another plant we share with the tropics. It doesn’t grow as abundantly here as it does in the UK, thus, it is quite precious.  It’s 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 the 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.

Note: Please consult a qualified medical herbalist before using this herb.


Herbs In Common with the Tropics


Rosemarinus officinalis

This beautiful garden herb does not grow as happily in Brazil as it does in the UK.  It is not seen in many gardens and doesn’t seem to grow in the wild.

Rosemary is traditionally used as an antiseptic, astringent and a food preservative. It is used in facial cleansers for oily skin, and in compresses in treatment of bruises and sprains. It is a very helpful muscle relaxant, and can relieve muscle cramps and improve circulation in the affected area. It also improves relaxation of muscles of the digestive tract and uterus. Therefore, it can be used in cases of digestive complaints and menstrual cramps. Some studies suggest Rosemary’s beneficial effects on our brain. Used in aromatherapy, Rosemary oil is said to improve concentration and memory.
Note: Before using this herb consult a qualified medical herbalist.


Herbs In Common With The Tropics



Verbascum thapsus 

Mullein has been used as an alternative medicine for centuries, and in many countries throughout the world including Brazil. The value of Mullein as a proven medicinal herb is now backed by scientific evidence. I have used this herb successfully for many years to improve digestion and for conditions of the respiratory system including dry cough. Research also indicates that this herb has anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antioxidant, antiviral and anti-bacterial, properties.

Note: please consult a qualified medical herbalist before using this herb.



Herbs in Common with the Tropics


Plantago major

The medicinal properties are found in the leaves and the seeds. The plant has astringent and demulcent properties, and is used as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. Conditions treated with this herb include: respiratory problems such as; asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, coughs, hay fever. It also can be used to treat irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis, haemorrhoids and cystitis. The heated or “chewed” leaves can be used as a dressing for wounds, skin inflammation, stings and swellings.

Note: Please seek advice from a qualified medical herbalist before using this herb.