Category Archives: Treatments

Commentary about various treatments and products.

Kudzu Root (Puerario montana)

Kudzu Root

Kudzu Root

written by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH – Medical Herbalist

The Kudzu (or Kuzu) plant is a climbing, woody vine which belongs to the pea family (or the legume family). For more than 2000 years in Chinese medicine, the chopped kudzu root has been used as herbal medicine for the treatment of headaches, diarrhea, dysentery, intestinal obstruction, stomach flu, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases; it is used as a digestive aid, fever reducer, and is thought to inhibit alcohol cravings and lower blood sugar.

In traditional Chinese medicine, where it is known as gat-gun, ge gan, kudzu root is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs. TCM uses kudzu in treating the symptoms of high blood pressure such as headache and dizziness (although kudzu has little or no effect on blood pressure itself). It has been used traditionally for tinnitus, vertigo and Wei syndrome (superficial heat close to the surface). It has shown value for helping migraines and cluster headaches and can increase circulation, an action that tends to reduce muscle pain and stiffness, and increases blood flow through the coronary arteries.

Studies have shown that Kudzu can reduce alcohol cravings. For problem drinking: In clinical studies, Kudzu has shown some promising results in reducing the desire for alcohol and decrease the amount of alcohol consumed. A person who takes Kudzu, will still drink alcohol, but will consume less than if they had not taken Kudzu. The mechanism for this is not yet established, but it may have to do with both alcohol metabolism and the reward circuits in the brain. The Harvard Medical School is studying Kudzu as a possible way to treat alcoholic cravings. While Kudzu Root seems to lessen the desire for alcohol, it also stimulates regeneration of liver tissue while protecting against liver toxins.

Kudzu is also taken internally on a regular basis to prevent recurrences of colds sores, shingles, and herpes. The root is prepared as a decoction/ boiled tea for reducing an elevated fever, muscle aches, and symptoms of a cold or flu and can sooth inflamed mucous membranes of the throat and bronchial passages.

Animal and cellular studies have provided support for the traditional uses of kudzu root on cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and endocrine systems, including angina pectoris, blood sugar balancing effects for diabetes and their long term complications.

Medicinal Food The nutritive starchy root of kudzu is high in complex carbohydrates, helps balance the acidic nature of many foods, and is soothing and cooling the digestive tract. Powdered kudzu root is very “starchy” -similar to arrowroot powder, and is used to thicken sauces, especially in Asian cooking. Simply mix the powder of kudzu in a little cold liquid to dissolve and use as a substitute for cornstarch or arrowroot.

Traditional therapeutic actions: Antispasmodic, anti-pyretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-cancer, antiviral, diaphoretic, muscle relaxant, cold and flu treatment, vasodilator, antihypertensive, antioxidant, liver protective, circulatory support, raynauds. Used to counteract abuse of drug and alcohol; helping to reduce alcohol cravings.

Nutrients: Calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B2.

Kudzu root is a very safe herb, with no known drug interactions and is most effective when used in its natural state, as prepared as a decocted tea. The recommended dose of Kudzu root tea ranges from 9 to 15 g daily. To order chopped Kudzu Root click here:

Maca Root – Lepidium meyenii

Maca Root (Available in capsules and powder)

written by Katolen Yardley, MNIIMH – Medical Herbalist

Maca Root -Lepidium meyenii- is a root vegetable grown high in the Andean mountains of Peru (up to 7,000 to 11,000 feet),  making it one of the highest altitude growing plant in the world.  Maca’s use dates back to around 3800 B.C., when Peruvian Indians cultivated and ate it for both its nutritional and medicinal value.

A radish-like / turnip like root vegetable that is related to the potato family, Maca is also tuberous and spherical in form. Weeding or pesticide application are typically not used as the climate itself is not suitable for most weeds or insects, thus the majority of all maca cultivation in Peru is carried out organically, as maca itself is seldom attacked. Maca is sometimes planted alongside potatoes, to help repel most root crop pests. The root itself is about three to six centimeters across and 4.7 centimeters in length. There are four recognized types, based on the color of the root, varying from creamy yellow or light pink to dark purple or black however its nutritional value is consistent. Maca is consumed as a main staple food in the Andean diet – eaten roasted, steamed or mashed, used as a flour or cereal grain in cooking; and is packed full of nutrients including amino acids, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc.

Recently termed a Super food, (like Chaga mushroom) meaning Maca is a highly nutritious, nourishing food for enhancing our health and promoting longevity.  Known as an adaptogen, an agent which helps the body to adapt to changes in the internal or external environment- Maca is used for strengthening the nervous system, enhancing immune system function and for hormonal balancing while helping the body to raise its natural resistance to stress.

Best known for its aphrodisiac and libido enhancing properties, Maca has been found to assist with impotence, relieve symptoms of menopause or andropause, raise the sperm count in males (according to animal studies) and useful for infertility in women. A hormone balancer, for both male and female issues, Maca is useful for symptoms associated with menopause, such as power surges, mood swings, PMS and low libido ; it supports adrenal gland function for conditions of chronic stress, fatigue or depletion. Maca can be used for mood enhancement, improving energy, mental clarity, assisting to alleviate depression and lowering anxiety. Coupled with Macas ability to support the body in stressful conditions, it also has been shown, when used long term, to assist in lowering raised blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Used to promote healthy blood sugar balance. Maca is consumed as a food in other countries, thus it is non addictive, non toxic and non habit forming – it does not contain any harmful stimulants and is free from caffeine.

How Can Maca Benefit You?:

  • Increases energy (Chronic Fatigue)
  • Treat sexual dysfunction (Loss of Libido)
  • Increases stamina & athletic performance
  • Nourishes glandular system
  • Fertility enhancement
  • Improves physical and emotional well being
  • Promotes mental clarity
  • Balance hormones (PMS, menopause symptoms)
  • HRT alternative(Hormone Replacement Therapy)

Maca is available in capsule form or in powder form (which can be added to a smoothie, cereal, missed into yoghurt or put into capsules). It has a slight and unique butterscotch aroma and unique taste. To order Maca capsules and Maca powder

Organic Sweetgrass (Hierochloe odorata)

Sweetgrass (Hierochloe odorata) is one of the most sacred plants of the First Nations people. It is usually braided, dried and burned; and used in the beginning of prayers, rituals, smudging and other ceremonies to attract positive energy, purify a space, bring in good influence, and align in harmony with the earth and with ones higher self.

Three stranded braids of the sweetgrass represent mind, body and spirit. In essence, Sweetgrass is a melding or braiding of these qualities together. Sweetgrass is often referred too as “the hair of Gaia, our Mother Earth”.

The purifying smoke cleanses an area, brings in positive thoughts and healthy and higher vibrational energies. Sweetgrass is known to be carried in medicine and pipe bundles to protect sacred objects.

Just as the sweet scent of this natural grass is pleasing, smelling a bit like warm vanilla; this sacred ceremonial herb is sometimes called Seneca Grass, Holy Grass, and Vanilla Grass.

When used in combination with sage smudge sticks; sweetgrass can help turn a negative atmosphere in to a positive environment.

Directions: Sweetgrass is usually burned by shaving little bits over hot coals or by lighting the end of the braided dried grass, let it burn for about 10 seconds, then blow the flame out. Hold a large clamshell, or bowl under the grass to catch the embers.  The grass should smolder and give off smoke. It is this smoke which is used for cleansing and purifying a sacred space, a person, home, or new environment.

Begin smudging in the north corner of a space and pass the smudge stick over the top and bottom of the corner. Pass it around any doors or windows, under chairs and furniture frequently used. Moving clockwise, continue smudging an entire space and repeat the action until completed

One may visualize light filling a space, or one may repeat words in prayer as smudging, such as “light and contentment fill this space”; visualized positive energies filling the environment. Then lay the sweetgrass in the bowl and allow it to burn out on its own.

Repeat as needed, cleanse ones home or environment monthly, or after any negative or traumatic emotional experiences.

Sweetgrass braid -sold individually as one braid for $ 9.99- to order click here.

Preparing an Herbal Poultice

Where a fomentation uses the application of a flannel or cloth soaked in and strained from a decoction or infusion; a poultice involves placing the herbs themselves onto the body. Poultices have numerous applications, by supplying heat and moisture to an area:

  • they provide healing and regeneration to tissues,
  • stimulate circulation,
  • improve organ functioning,
  • can be used for eruptions, abscesses, for enlarged or inflamed glands;
  • used to reduce inflammation and help pull foreign bodies or substances from an area,
  • promote the resolution of boils, and hasten the healing of irritable ulcers and foul-smelling wounds.
  • Hot poultices applied externally can be used for respiratory conditions such as pneumonia, bronchitis and congestion.

Preparation:

  1. Bruise, grind or crush the medicinal parts of the plant (dried or fresh) to a pulpy mass. If fresh plants are being used, chop them finely before use.
  2. Add just enough moisture (hot water or brewed herbal tea) to make a thick paste; the herbs can be mixed with moistened slippery elm bark, corn meal, or flaxseed for additional drawing power.
  3. First wash / disinfect the skin with a rinse of chamomile or calendula tea or tincture. Then cover the skin, with a thin layer of vegetable oil (almond oil, grapeseed oil, or olive oil) to protect the skin and assist in easy removal of the herbs and promote the absorption of the medicinal properties through the skin.
  4. Apply the poultice herbs directly to the skin or wrap the paste / pulp in a wet, hot cloth (muslin or a towel), cover with saran wrap or plastic to retain heat and secure in place.
  5. For a poultice to be effective, it should be kept moist and warm by using a hot water bottle or heating pad on top of the pack.
  6. Remove before poultice gets cold. A second poultice can be applied. After removing wash the area with water, herb tea or antiseptic tinctures such as chamomile or calendula. Repeat daily until the condition clears.

Note: If using irritant herbs such as mustard or onion in a poultice, ensure that the skin is protected with a thin application of oil and keep the paste between two pieces of cloth to prevent direct contact with the skin. If the temperature is too high, the skin may blister or burn from hot temperatures. If a condition continues immediately consult your herbalist or health care practitioner.

Onion Poultice: Onion is one of the oldest and most versatile kitchen herbs. Excellent for drawing out impurities. A high sulfur content makes it ideal for inflamed areas. Traditionally onion preparations have been especially effective for colds and congestion, athlete’s foot, warts, athlete’s foot, muscle pain, and unsightly liver spots or dark blemishes. Yellow corn meal can be added into the onion poultice. Onion juice prepared from steamed or boiled onions was traditionally prescribed as a medicine to improve circulation, and digestion.

Onion Poultice: Prepare a thin cotton gauze or cloth old cotton towel or a piece of flannel (even a thin tea towel will work) of sufficient size to cover the area. Cut up onions very fine; heat them, not cook them too much but heat them; mixing with them – for this quantity – about a tablespoonful of corn meal. Spread this on the cloth, covering with a heavier cloth, – warm, not too hot, – and apply to the body. Use a hot water bottle to lie over the towel and let this heat for at least thirty minutes more. Remove the poultice.

Flax Seed Poultices: Flaxseed is a source of omega-3 acids and is valued for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. For minor scrapes and infections, a flaxseed poultice is a useful healing aid. Grind 1 tablespoon of flaxseed with a mortar and pestle. Pour hot water over to moisten the flaxseed, and create a thick mulch, like the consistency of oatmeal, (not too runny and not too dry) apply to the skin.

Cabbage Poultice: Use raw or cooked cabbage. Can use whole leaves layered over area and covered with a hot towel. Has a warming, detoxifying and stimulating effect for ulcers, varicose veins, shingles, eczema, gout, rheumatism, infection. Apply to lower abdomen to promote pelvic circulation and assist to dissolve small fibroids and cysts in pelvic cavity. Used over the liver it will assist in breaking up congestion and detoxify. Cabbage leaves placed in the bra will help with engorged breasts.

Carrot Poultice: Boil carrots until soft or use raw and mash to a pulp. Mix with small amount of vegetable oil. Used for cysts, abnormal growths, boils, cold sores and impetigo.

Clay Poultice: Use clay that has been cleaned of impurities. Mix with water or apple cider vinegar to make a paste. Allow to dry completely before removing with warm water. Use on inflammatory skin diseases, bruises, sprains, acne, drawing toxins from the skin.

Mustard Poultice: Good for arthritic joints and any condition requiring increased circulation. Used to help relieve congestion, aid asthma, bronchitis, relieve coughs and assists in getting rid of colds and flu when used on the chest.

Use powdered mustard and mix with water to make a paste. May need to add flour to hold paste together. Place a thin layer of oil on the skin. Do not apply mustard directly on skin, instead wrap in a muslin or cheesecloth or cotton towel barrier between skin and paste. Cover with plastic wrap. Remove immediately if stinging or burning occurs. Use with caution. Do not use on sensitive or broken skin.

Potato Poultice: Grate raw potato, mix with boiling water. Used to reduce inflammation as in arthritis. Has soothing and cooling effect. Can be applied to boils or carbuncles.

Plantain Poultice (Nature’s Band-Aid) Plantago major or lanceolata: An invaluable remedy for scrapes and wounds, bee stings and burns; even drawing out foreign objects imbedded in the skin. Best gathered fresh, collect enough to cover the affected area. Mash it, grind it, or even chew it if necessary. Add enough water to create a thick paste. Apply the poultice HOT daily or as needed until the irritated area heals.

Health benefits of Resveratrol

~ written by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, Medical Herbalist

Resveratrol has been sold as a nutritional supplement for the last 5 or so years, yet the health benefits of this supplement are just now becoming more widely known, spoken about and recognised in mainstream media. Resveratrol is a type of polyphenol, an antioxidant compound found in many foods and plants such as blueberries, bilberries, cranberries, rhubarb and grapes…which is one of the reason studies cite the benefits of drinking a glass of red wine daily. Grapes naturally produce resveratrol on their skins as a natural defence mechanism to protect from pathogens, fungus, viruses and bacteria overgrowth.

As Hippocrates said, “let food be your medicine and medicine be your food”, the plants, berries and whole foods that we eat and are grown in our local environment can also provide our human bodies with needed nutrients for our own immune enhancement, and protection from dis-ease. Recent research on resveratrol indicates benefits for general and specific immune enhancement, heart health, cancer (by inhibiting angiogenesis inhibiting the development of new blood vessels which feed tumors), and inflammation. Studies also indicate benefit in reducing cholesterol in the body, namely by a reduction of LDL cholesterol (the harmful cholesterol) and triglyceride levels, reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

The antioxidant effects of Resveratrol are also widely known, resveratrol helps to neutralise free radicals before they can damage healthy cells and protect cells damaged from environmental pollutants. Resveratrol also helps to decrease COX1, an enzyme that increases inflammatory substances which promote tumor growth. Resveratrol shows an ability to enhance life extension and healthy aging in clinical studies and promote longevity.

Studies have shown that resveratrol is difficult to absorb, thus for best absorption, combine its use with other bioflavinoids such as lutein or quercetin. Discontinue this supplement prior to surgery and consult your health care provider prior to use in pregnancy and lactation. Consult your holistic health care provider prior to use if taking anticoagulant medications.

Health benefits of Resveratrol include:

  • Lowering insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes.
  • Enhancing longevity by reducing the risk of chronic and degenerative disorders
  • Protection of blood vessel walls
  • Decreased platelet aggregation, reducing the risk of heart attacks and stroke
  • Helps to prevent or reduce plaque formation, a component in Alzheimers, and other neurodegenerative diseases, and prevent brain injury due to stroke, a neuroprotective agent
  • Counteracts insulin resistance, offering protection from diabetes
  • Prolongs the life of cells in the body
  • Blocks compounds which cause inflammation
  • Offers protection from cancer by interfering with the development of blood vessel formation nourishing a tumor

Dosage: Recent studies indicate daily supplementation of 500 mg of resveratrol or higher for full health enhancement benefits. Resveratrol may also help to promote weight loss, by suppressing estrogen production, thereby decreasing body fat and increasing lean muscle mass.  To order Resveratrol capsules, click here.

Cold & Flu Prevention

~ written by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, Medical Herbalist

Fall is the time when children head back to school and it is also the time to enhance and support the immune system to effectively ward off colds and viruses during the winter months.

Sometimes the simplest suggestions are the most effective prevention. To enhance the immune system and protect against viral infections:

  • Wash hands frequently
  • Epsom salts added to a hot bath is a useful way to raise the body temperature and jump start the immune system, (as an elevated body temperature is the immune systems first line of defense against viruses and bacteria).
  • Vitamin C and Beta Carotene are ‘tried and true’ agents to support immune system function and enhance the white blood cell activity against infection.
  • Herbs: Astragalus, Yarrow, Elderflowers, Boneset.
  • Essential oils, (such as Eucalyptus, Cinnamon, Lemon, Rosemary) added to the bath, as a steam, inhaled through a tissue or diluted in water and poured into a spritzer bottle can disinfect both the air and counter surfaces.
  • Breath Essential Oil as a steam is my top recommendation for clearing congested sinuses.
  • Winter Warming Tea Blend and Clear Breath Tea Blend provide additional support for the lungs and immune system.
  • Phytogen an potent immune enhancing herbal blend in capsule form.

Remember, antibiotics do not effectively eradicate viruses and are rarely prescribed for any symptoms of a viral related cold in all countries outside of North America. The common cold can be caused by over 200 viruses, thus the flu shot is a hit and miss attempt to inoculate against 3-4 of those many viruses. Simply the best way to rid the body of viruses of all kinds is to strengthen the immune system directly. Lifestyle suggestions can help rid the home of circulating bacteria and viruses…

  • Clean your computer keyboard and phone mouthpiece with essential oils and water.
  • A computer keyboard has been noted to contain more germs than a toilet seat.
  • Change your toothbrush monthly, also known to harbor bacteria.
  • Avoid ingesting sugar, which will decrease immune system function for hours after ingesting.
  • Avoid consuming dairy, which is very mucous forming, and will worsen symptoms of congestion.
  • Wash the kitchen dishcloth frequently…

For more information on the use of essential oils

For health programs (and custom blended plant medicine) tailored to your specific health concerns, consider booking a clinic appointment.

Finding the Jewel in Challenging Circumstances

In every area of challenge and hardship, there exists an opportunity of equal and opposite proportion to experience huge gifts. Our ability to choose what it is we focus on is the key to the outcome we will experience. With financial uncertainty and shifts in the economy, leading to increased stress and anxiety in many, NOW appears to be the perfect time to focus on developing solid habits which serve our future -cultivating thoughts of health, vitality, abundance, generosity and gratitude.

There are habits for health, happiness, peace of mind and wealth. The key is to investigate and identify those very habits of individuals who have what it is we desire more of, then commit to integrating those routines and ways of being into our own life. If we want a greater state of health for ourselves, then a study of the habits of healthy, vital individuals will lead us closer to our goal. Taking action and incorporating those routines into our daily life will allow us to create a similar level of success.

We become healthy by learning of, reading about, and investigating HEALTH, not by studying and focusing on dis-ease. Focusing on dis-ease only leads to more of the same. Contemplate the physique of an olympic athletewith a strong body, toned body. What habits must these individuals practice daily to reap the benefits of their desired goal? With an olympic athlete focused on the end result -of winning a gold medal, perseverance becomes a daily practice, training is a commitment, there is no putting off of what should be done today. Extreme weather conditions, early mornings and short term inconveniences become secondary (even insignificant) to the strong commitment and desire to attain the goal at hand.

If one is suffering from a physical dis-ease or dis-comfort, then study the actions, habits, eating patterns and routines of an individual who exhibits a healthy state of be-ing (both the body and a healthy state of mind -optimistic & loving). If anxiety is becoming a growing concern, then contemplate, sit with and speak to individuals who are serene, loving and peaceful — to learn skills and mirror a healthier way of be-ing. The poise and serenity of individuals practicing daily meditation is noticeable. Persons who consciously cultivate gratitude and give thanks for those things which bring them joy, peace and contentment possess a pleasant, magnetic and contagious personality, there-in lies a key for learning.

Developing new ways of being, incorporating regular physical exercise into each day, changing ones eating habits, and modifying ones thought patterns are skills which do not happen overnight. Like developing any new habit, it takes time, perseverance and a commitment to change which is stronger than the desire to remain the same. There is a benefit to every state of being, a benefit to change, and a benefit to staying the same. Every change also has its price, it is a personal decision to determine if the cost to change is greater than the cost to remain the same (which is more important) and then decide to pay the price and then commit to do the work to obtain the desired results.

Think back to childhood, learning to write was a learned habit, any new way of being can be considered a learned skill. Learning to write was at time a struggle when beginning to implement, repeat and practice daily the sound habits which months later led to an effortless flow of skilled penmanship ~writing is a skill which will serve us for the rest of our life.

For those desiring financial stability, a focus on developing and practicing qualities which breed success, will win in the end. Hard work, perseverance, creating win-win situations and integrity do create more of the same.

It is up to each one of us to believe in our ability to make a difference.

“Opportunity may be found wherever one really looks for it and nowhere else.” – Napoleon Hill

Herbal Remedies for Seasonal Allergies

~ written by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, Medical Herbalist

For many individuals, spring is the season of sinus congestion, sneezing and itchy watery eyes, yet it does NOT have to be a miserable time of coping with allergies. You can enjoy the changing seasons by bringing allergy and hay fever symptoms under control.

Often considered a flaw in immune system activity, allergies may be intensified in individuals with an impaired immune system. Allergens can produce excess histamine production in our body, provoking severe reactions including sneezing, irritation of the nose, eyes and throat, redness and inflammation of the mucous membranes, sinus congestion, even rashes and fatigue.

Prevention is the best medicine: strengthening and supporting the immune system is the key for minimizing allergy symptoms. Bioflavonoids, found in the white peel under the rind of citrus fruits, in berries, buckwheat, kale, garlic, green tea and onions, can aid allergy suffers in controlling symptoms. There are many types of Bioflavonoids, such as rutin, hespiridin and quercetin, however one particular bioflavonoid offers dramatic protection from the allergy response.

Known as THE allergy supplement, Quercetin is used to inhibit both the manufacture and the release of histamine. For allergy suffers, the therapeutic adult dose of Quercetin is between 750-1500 mg taken throughout the day. To enhance absorption of this well tolerated supplement, combine it with Bromelain, a digestive enzyme from pineapple. Bromelain also contains anti-inflammatory properties that enhance the activity of Quercetin.

Among herbal remedies used for allergies, the anti catarrhal properties of Elderflowers (Sambucus nigra) make it an ideal remedy for nasal congestion, throat inflammation and bronchial conditions. Elderflower can be prepared as a tea and drank or gargled for symptoms of a sore throat. High in vitamin C and flavonoids, it is used for the common cold and winter chills.

The dried leaves and flowers of Goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea) are anti-inflammatory, anti catarrhal and contain antiseptic properties to the mucous membranes and upper respiratory tract.

Nettle leaves (Urtica dioica) are my favorite herb for individuals dealing with itching, hives and allergic reactions.

The dried herbs can be combined together in equal parts and prepared as a medicinal tea. For allergy relief, consume three to four cups of tea daily. Peppermint leaves can be added to enhance the taste.

For a preblended herbal tea used for seasonal allergies, our Sin-U-Clear Tea Blend contains herbs traditionally used to minimise the bodies production of histamine, clear up congestion and reduce the symptomatic effects of allergies. This tea is best used as prevention prior to the allergy season, and then drank throughout the allergy season.

Steaming with essential oils is also beneficial to relieve allergy symptoms. When in contact with foreign pathogens, our sinuses increase production of mucous. Our Breath Essential Oil Blend contains anti bacterial and anti inflammatory properties, is antiseptic to the mucous membranes lining the nasal and sinus passages, the volatile oils found in the blend immediately help to disinfect and clear congested sinuses when used in a bath, as a steam, or inhaled by placing a couple drops of oil on a Kleenex.

Never take essential oils internally, instead place a few drops in a humidifier or in a basin of hot water, then cover your head and inhale the fragrant vapors. Take care not to burn yourself on the water or hot steam. An almost forgotten home remedy, steaming is one of the best ways to treat upper respiratory infections and sinus congestion.

Some additional tips for reducing seasonal allergies, wheezing and sinus congestion:

1. Avoid dairy products (milk, cheese, ice cream), which can increase the body’s mucous production.
2. Consume hot lemon drinks with a dash of cayenne pepper to help decrease excess mucous production.
3. Garlic and onions are useful medicinal foods for clearing up sinus congestion. Add them into ones daily diet.
4. Practice strengthening your lungs, by blowing up a balloon every day.
5. Begin using horseradish as a condiment in your foods to immediately clear up sinus congestion.
6. Dilute 2 tsp organic unpasturized apple cider vinegar mixed with 1 tsp honey and ¼ cup water and drink
3-4 times daily to help minimize symptoms of wheezing and tightening in the chest.
7. Avoid salt, dairy, corn, milk eggs, chocolate; foods high in fats, tartrazine (also known as FD&C yellow).
8. Frequent steaming with essential oils such as Eucalyptus or our popular Breath Essential Oil.
9. Yoga, deep breathing practices and singing is useful tonics for strengthening the lungs.

For health programs (and custom blended plant medicine) tailored to your specific health concerns, consider booking a clinic appointment.

Traditional Home Remedies with Apple Cider Vinegar

~ written by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, Medical Herbalist

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar offers numerous health benefits and has been used in traditional home remedies both topically and internally. After the fermentation and extraction process using organic apples, the end result is a vinegar loaded with trace minerals, beneficial enzymes, healthy bacteria and pectin.

Over time, it is common for the vinegar to form a “mother” ~ the name for the natural protein which forms from enzymatic activity on the natural bacteria in the unpasteurized vinegar. The presence of a “mother” in the vinegar ensures that the vinegar contains the live enzymes needed to aid various ailments. Shaking the bottle will help disperse the mother and it is safe to use and drink.

As non organic apples are heavily sprayed, ensure that the brand of Apple Cider Vinegar chosen uses only organic apples and is bottled in a dark container, as the presence of bright light causes the vinegar to oxidize and breaks down vital nutrients.

Some traditionally home remedies using Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Used as a hair rinse after shampooing for healthy shiny hair, to help minimise dandruff and also used as a hair soak overnight to remove nits or lice from the hair shaft (shampoo out in the morning).
  • Cold and flu prevention: 1-2 teaspoons of Apple Cider Vinegar diluted in warm water and ingested daily. Honey can be added to aid the bitter taste.
  • Sore throat and an irritated cough: 1 teaspoon of Vinegar in 1 cup of water. Gargle and swallow. Repeat frequently throughout the day.
  • Sinus congestion: Boil apple cider vinegar and use as a steam.
  • The antiseptic properties makes this vinegar an excellent disinfectant wash for scrapes and wounds.
  • May provide some relief from poison ivy and shingles when applied as a liniment or an external soak.
  • Reputed to provide some relief from arthritis and bursitis and traditionally used long term to provide some relief from calcium deposits. It is thought that the acidic nature of the vinegar can help dissolve calcium deposited around the joints. Use as a topical application, soak a tea towel in apple cider vinegar and apply to the affected joint and dilute in water and drink internally.
  • Sip, diluted in water before a meal to stimulate the digestive juices and enhance digestion.
  • A delicious salad dressing, when combined with lemon, olive oil, garlic and fresh herbs.

Apple cider vinegar should not be ingested by persons dealing with digestive conditions casued from overacididity, ulcers or heartburn.

Super Circulation! 20 Simple Tips for Improving Circulation

~ written by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, Medical Herbalist

Circulatory problems can be a sign of underlying and undiagnosed health concerns such as varicose veins, thrombosis and plaque buildup in the arteries, high or low blood pressure, chilblains, Reynauds syndrome, and diabetes. Tingling, burning,or pins and needle sensations in the hands and toes are also common signs of circulatory issues and should be specifically addressed by your medical herbalist. A lack of oxygen to the tissues due to disrupted circulation can lead to a whitish or bluish hue to the fingers and toes; and when left untreated, gangrene may result from chronic contraction of the arteries.

Tips for Improving Circulation

  1. Cut out smoking! Many chemicals added to commercial tobacco are known carcinogens (known to be cancer causing) and are extremely damaging to the heart and circulatory system. It is understood that smoking contributes to elevated cholesterol levels by affecting the livers biofeedback mechanisms ~ mechanisms that regulate how much cholesterol is manufactured. Smoking is known to promote platelet aggregation (clumping) and increase the risk of heart disease and strokes.
  2. Decrease the consumption of tea, coffee and caffeinated drinks ~such as cola and red bull. Caffeine constricts blood vessels and decreases peripheral circulation, leading to a rise in blood pressure. A high intake of caffeine in tea or coffee promotes the ‘fight or flight’ response, raises the blood pressure and contributes to irritability.
  3. Replace the salt and pepper shaker with cayenne pepper powder. Use cayenne pepper to season your food and keep on the counter where you normally would keep the salt shaker. Traditionally, Cayenne is known to improve circulation and improve blood flow throughout the body.
  4. Add freshly chopped garlic to ones diet. Garlic is known for both enhancing immune system function and for its heart health benefits. Studies on garlic have shown it to be helpful for improving cholesterol levels and decrease the likelihood of platelet clumping.
  5. Keep fresh ginger in your pantry and chop, grate or slice the fresh root, adding it to soups, stews, stir fries or even herbal teas for an added spicy flavor. Ginger is known to improve circulation and blood flow to the hands and feet, traditionally used for chilblains, and gently easing the symptoms of frostbite.
  6. Herbal Teas are ideal for improving and supporting healthy circulation: Herbal teas such as ginger root, hawthorn berries, yarrow flowers, linden leaves, rosemary leaves, ginkgo leaves are all rich in flavonoids and have the effect of strengthening the walls of blood vessels, improving circulation and used long term for reducing hypertension.
  7. Reduce stress levels: Long term stress can cause a domino effect of health concerns in the body. Continuous stress increases the release of adrenalin into the blood stream, leading to a rise in blood pressure. Deep breathing techniques, stress management, regular exercise, yoga and tai chi can all go a long way to reduce the impact that stress plays on the body.
  8. Uncross your legs. Frequent leg crossing looks pleasing to the eye, but can hinder circulation, further contributing to broken veins and spider veins.
  9. Choose Movement! Instead of sitting for long periods of time, take a moment to raise up both legs off the floor and flex and point your toes OR take a time-out moment and walk. Sitting for long periods of time can decrease blood flowing to the peripheries and raise the risk of thrombosis ~ clot formations in veins deep within the body.
  10. Witch hazel water applied topically to the skin is cooling to local inflammation and promotes circulation.
  11. Consume buckwheat. This tasty grain is packed full of bioflavonoids which assist to enhance circulation.
  12. Horseradish: this spicy condiment is traditionally consumed to alleviate symptoms of sinus congestion and to improve poor circulation.
  13. Home remedies for circulatory issues: Due to direct exposure to the cold, chilblains can cause surface inflammation, itching and redness of the hands and feet. Traditional home remedies include rubbing the affected hands and feet with raw onion, or bathing in potato water, (hot water containing grated fresh potato). Apple cider vinegar is also used to improve circulation and used as a topical soak. Essential oils such as ginger, cypress, and release essential oil blend can be diluted in a base oil and rubbed topically on the hands and feet and areas of poor circulation.
  14. Traditionally, Gingko biloba has been used to increase the blood flow to the upper part of the body. Individuals on blood thinners should consult their medical herbalist prior to use.
  15. Regular exercise: Increasing the pumping mechanism of the heart is extremely important for cardiovascular health ~ as exercise enhances blood flow, improves the circulation of blood from the heart to the peripheries, helps reduce obesity and regulates blood pressure.
  16. Decrease the intake of trans fatty acids (bad fats contained in margarine, shortening, and most processed foods) and avoid deep fried and fatty foods; instead increase the intake on Omega 3 fatty acids in forms such as flax seed oil, fish oils, extra virgin olive oil increase the intake of deep sea- cold water fish such as: mackerel, herring, salmon and halibut ~ especially rich in Omega 3. Or take Nutra Sea Oil, a high quality fish oil supplement.
  17. Dry skin brushing aids poor circulation; use a vegetable bristle brush and begin brushing from the feet and work up towards the heart, brushing in a clockwise motion. Avoid brushing over areas of varicose veins, thin skin or open wounds.
  18. Increase the intake of fiber: fiber can help lower elevated cholesterol levels. Foods high in fiber include: psyllium seed powder, oat bran, brown rich, beans, onions, pears, peas, and broccoli.
  19. Coenzyme Q 10: helps to improve tissue oxygenation.
  20. Keep hands and feet warm in cold weather and wear gloves whenever possible.