Category Archives: Vitamins and Minerals

The Therapeutic Benefits of Vitamin E

Written by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH ~ Medical Herbalist

A powerful antioxidant and used for immune system support, Vitamin E is known for its ability to help prevent degenerative conditions as cancer, cardiovascular disease, anemia, cataracts and some signs of premature aging; while promoting healthy nerves and muscles, speeding the healing of wounds, strengthening capillaries and promoting healthy, youthful skin, hair and nails. The most widely known health benefits of vitamin E are protection against toxins such as air pollution, premenstrual syndrome, eye disorders such as cataracts, neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes.

 Antioxidant properties

  • Vitamin E, along with other vitamins C, B3, beta carotene, selenium and glutathione, protect healthy cells from the effects of oxidative stress caused by free radicals within our bodies.
  • Due to pollution, cigarette smoke, air pollution, ultraviolet radiation. or other oxidative factors, free radicals may increase and exceed the body’s ability to  neutralise their harmful effects; these unstable compounds can damage our healthy cells, leading to premature aging and possibly contributing to diseases such as atherosclerosis and cancer and other chronic disease. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that contain a free/ unshared electron. Antioxidants offer a spare electron – binding to the unstable free radical- and help protect against the accelerated cell destruction and other damaging effects.
  • The majority of vitamin E’s benefits stem from its antioxidant qualities. It protects polyunsaturated fats and other oxygen-sensitive compounds such as vitamin A from being destroyed by damaging oxidation reactions. There is significant evidence vitamin E can protect against heart disease and may slow the deterioration associated with aging.
  • Vitamin E also acts as an antioxidant in foods. The vitamin E in vegetable oils acts as a natural preservative, keeping food from being oxidized and turning rancid.

Women’s Health

  • An excellent supplement for managing hot flushes in pre or post menopause as well as helping to minimise vaginal dryness
  • Used in prenatal conception preparation as it is thought to be THE fertility vitamin for both men and women.
  • Women who suffer from fibrocystic breast disease can often find relief with vitamin E supplementation. Fibrocystic breast disease is characterized by painful breasts, sometimes with benign lumps or swelling, starting several days before the menstrual period.

Skin Protection

  • Whether applied topically or ingested, vitamin E can protect our skin from ultraviolet radiation, thus guarding us from both skin cancer and premature aging.
  • Vitamin E applied topically to cuts may increase the healing rate as it minimizes oxidation reactions in the wound.
  • Because of its antioxidant properties, vitamin E supplementation can help improve circulation of blood to the scalp. Vitamin E helps strengthen capillary walls while nourishing for both healthy skin and hair.

Immune Enhancement & Cancer Prevention

  • In addition to its activities as an antioxidant, vitamin E is involved in immune function and, as shown primarily by in vitro studies of cells, working with cell signaling, regulation of gene expression, and other metabolic processes. Studies have reported that a diet rich in vitamin E may lessen the likelihood of bladder and prostate cancer.
  • A dynamic cancer fighter, vitamin E helps to protects cell and DNA from damage that can turn cancerous. It helps to reduces the growth of tumors while enhancing immune function and preventing precancerous substances from being turned into carcinogens. Studies with mice show that vitamin E applied to the skin may help prevent skin cancer resulting from exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

Cholesterol Reduction

  • Vitamin E protects artery walls and keeps the “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol from being oxidized. Oxidation of LDL cholesterol marks the beginning of clogged arteries. Vitamin E also helps to keep the blood thin by preventing blood platelets from clumping together.


  • Research has also shown that gamma-tocopherol possesses anti-inflammatory effects that can combat arthritis, rheumatism, asthma, and other inflammatory disorders linked to chronic inflammation.

Blood Thinning Properties

Vitamin E can help to thin the blood which is another significant health benefit. In other words, it prevents the blood platelets from clumping. High levels of vitamin E reduce the risk of sunstroke and coronary artery disorder or heart disease. An excellent supplement as a blood thinner, instead of the over marketed aspirin (linked to gastric bleeding, erosion and numerous other side effects) – Vitamin E is a safe alternative. Always consult your holistic health care provider prior to use if using blood thinners such as warfarin or Coumadin and ensure that you are discontinue Vitamin E for at least 1 week prior if you have a scheduled surgery.

Additional Health Benefits

  • Premature babies often receive vitamin E to reduce or prevent oxygen damage to the retina of the eye as a result of artificial ventilation.
  • Vitamin E can be beneficial to people with diabetes. It enhances the action of insulin and improves blood glucose metabolism by reducing oxidative stress.
  • Nervous system health by offering protection to the myelin sheaths that surround nerves. It also may help to prevent mental degeneration due to aging, possibly including Alzheimer disease. Recent studies have reported improved short-term memory in older adults who took supplemental vitamin E. While vitamin E may not make you live longer, it may help you live a little better as you get older.

How to choose the Right Supplement

Synthetic versus Natural:  Read the fine print and make sure you are taking the natural source of Vitamin E – identified as d’ alpha tocopherol – generally made from wheat germ or soy   -do not use the synthetic vitamin E (dl’alpha tocopherol) – the presence of the ‘L” means its lousy / synthetic – (for memories sake) and sadly created from petroleum based products, dl’alpha tocopherol is not natural at all and has few- if any- health enhancement benefits.

Vitamin E is the generic name for “tocopherol” and is available in various forms. Commonly sold as a supplement as d’alpha tocopherol (read the fine print) there are actually numerous types of vitamin E such as: alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherol and alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocotrienol.

Vitamin E Succinate: is generally sold in an oil encapsulated form, however for those with a preference to avoid oil based products, it is also available in a pure dry powder form as natural d’Alpha Tocopherylacid succinate for longer shelf-life. This dry form of vitamin E is popular with those who wish to avoid oil-based products for any reason.

Mixed Tocopherol Vitamin E: Mixed tocopherols are vitamin E products that contain not only the d’ alpha tocopherol, but also the beta, delta, and gamma forms, providing full spectrum antioxidant support and the largest health benefits. This blend of tocopherols work synergistically as a team for maximum benefit.  A mixed tocopherol vitamin E provides the most optimal protection from free radicals and products of oxygenation, including lipid peroxides and oxygen free radicals. The Thorne Research Ultimate Vitamin E uses mixed tocopherols extracted from a mixture of vegetable oils, including soy oil. However, any potentially allergenic soy residues are removed during the distillation process and, unlike most vitamin E products on the market, Ultimate-E is not diluted with soy oil.

Enhance absorption of Vitamin E by eating a few raw nuts -almonds and walnuts- unroasted and unsalted- alongside the supplement each day.

Many studies conducted on vitamin E have sadly been done using the synthetic vitamin E, which clearly will have a different effect in the body, than a natural source. Most recent studies are showing the benefit on using Vitamin E combined with additional antioxidants (Vitamin C, beta carotene, Co Enzyme Q 10, L Glutamine) for their synergistic protective effect on the immune system in the body.

 Information given here is for consumer education only. It is not meant to replace the advice of a qualified health care professional, nor does intend to diagnose or treat disease.


Vitamin C with Bioflavinoids Bonus Size ~ Natural Factors

When taking Vitamin C, always ensure you are taking a supplement that also contains bioflavinoids, which enhance the absorption of Vitamin C. Together the two help strengthen the walls of blood vessels and capillaries, provide assistance for varicose veins, their anti histamine effects help to prevent allergies, minimize bruising and inflammation.

Vitamin C with bioflavinoids can be a useful supplement for women experiencing hot flushes.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, essential for enhancing immune system function and increasing resistance to infection, balancing cholesterol.

Vitamin C plays a role in the formation of collagen and is necessary for the maintenance of healthy bones, teeth, gums, skin and blood vessels – in convenient tablet form.

Aspirin, antidepressants, analgesics, steroids, anti coagulants, tobacco and oral contraceptives all reduce the levels of vitamin C in the body leading to an increased need of supplementation. Regular size 180 for $ 23.79 While supplies last bonus size 210 tablets ON SALE here.


Optimal Thyroid Function – Supporting an Underactive Thyroid

~ written by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, Medical Herbalist at Alchemy & Elixir Health Group

An under active thyroid (or Hypothyroid) refers to an impairment in the conversion of T4 (the inactive thyroid hormone) into the active T3 hormone. The thyroid responds to a feedback mechanism that keeps the thyroid levels within a certain range and is dependent upon the pituitary gland secretion of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) to regulate the amount of thyroid hormones (T4 and T3) produced by the thyroid. When circulating levels of thyroid hormones (T4 and T3) are low, the pituitary secretes TSH triggering the release of more thyroid hormones.

The majority of thyroid conditions are due to Primary Hypothyroidism, occurring when the thyroid hormones are low and TSH is elevated, indicating a local problem of thyroid hormone synthesis due to the thyroid gland itself. Secondary hypothyroid occurs when TSH is low and the thyroid hormone levels are also low.

The thyroid gland concentrates iodine and uses it to produce the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Through a process known as deiodination, T4 is converted to T3. These hormones are of similar importance to the body as the engine is to a car, both hormones are involved in the breakdown of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, thereby regulating metabolism and moderating bodies internal thermostat. They are involved in nervous system and digestive function, respiratory and cardiovascular function, calcium mobilization, muscle tone and the production of red blood cells. In short, the thyroid hormones are essential for life.

Systemic Effects of an Underactive Thyroid Include:

  • Morning fatigue Headaches and migraines
  • Fibrocystic breast disease
  • PMS, mood swings
  • Brittle thin nails
  • Anemia
  • Slurred speech
  • Increased appetite
  • Heavy or irregular menstruation
  • Nerve problems
  • Constipation
  • Recurrent infections
  • Weight gain
  • Hypertension
  • Loss of libido
  • Hoarseness
  • Impaired concentration, memory loss and impaired problem solving abilities
  • Elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels, increased risk of heart disease, hardening of the arteries
  • Dry puffy skin, eczema, hives, orange discoloration of the skin, swollen eyes Increased need for sleep Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Yeast infections
  • Brittle dry hair and hair loss (including hair loss on the eyebrows)

Nutritional Supplements to Support Healthy Thyroid Function:

  • Thyro 100: Contains botanical medicine, trace minerals and key essential nutrients for optimal thyroid function.
  • Tyrosine: both iodine and tyrosine are required for the production of thyroid hormones.
  • Zinc: Is involved in the synthesis of the hypothalamic thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH), a zinc deficiency may slow down the conversion of T4 to T3.
  • Vitamin E: supports the conversion of T4 to T3 by influencing the hepatic 5-deiodinase activity.
  • Selenium: essential for thyroid synthesis, hormone production and the conversion of T4 to T3.
  • For additional holistic supplementation for thyroid health

Some Nutritional and Lifestyle Recommendations:

  • Avoid fluoridated and chlorinated water; instead switch to reverse osmosis water for cooking and drinking. Both fluoride and chlorine are structurally similar to iodine and block the iodine receptors in the thyroid gland, resulting in a lowered iodine containing hormone production, leading to hypothyroidism.
  • Avoid toothpaste and mouthwash containing fluoride.
  • Avoid unrefined table salt (sodium chloride).
  • Avoid eating RAW curciferous vegetables, (also known as RAW goitregens). These foods consist of cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radishes.
  • Avoid Soy products
  • Hydrotherapy (water therapy) can be used daily in the shower by letting cold water fall onto the throat and neck area where the thyroid gland is situated or apply a cold compress to the throat.
  • Frequent infrared saunas, steaming and dry skin brushing are useful to support thyroid activity

For additional guidance on a holistic treatment protocol for an Underactive Thyroid and for custom blended herbal medicine to address symptoms and assist optimal function of the whole body,consider booking a consultation in our clinic with Katolen Yardley, MNIMH. for more information.

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.

Whats the word on L’ Glutamine?

~written by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, Medical Herbalist

L’ glutamine is the most widely used amino acid within our bodies, found with in both the bloodstream and in muscle tissue. When the body is under extended stress, levels of glutamine can become depleted, resulting in needed supplementation from external sources.

Glutamine is used to produce protein, used for energy and as fuel for the mucous membranes lining the digestive tract and for most cells in the body.

In the digestive tract glutamine is used to promote the healing of damaged cells by stimulating regeneration and growth for new healthy cell turnover, to minimise the effects of food sensitivities and allergies and to protect and help heal a leaky gut. Quality of glutamine is important. The best sources of glutamine are from fermented beets. Lower quality glutamine products are sourced from crab shells and by-products of glucosamine.

L’glutamine can offer the best health enhancement with taken during times of increased intestinal permeability (antibiotic use, leaky gut syndrome and times of extended stress). L’ glutamine can assist with enhancing energy levels, and an improved sense of wellbeing,

Dosage varies depending upon the reason used, although 500 mg taken 3-4 times daily is often a standard, recommended dosage. This supplement can be taken during the day or at night to support further healing during the sleep cycle.

For athletes, glutamine can help enhance recovery after a workout, healing due to overtraining. L’ glutamine helps to enhance immune system function, used as a fuel for white blood cell function, and studies show that glutamine helps to enhance the lymphocytes cells which fight illness.

For individuals working with balancing the bodies PH, glutamine acts as a buffer for acidic conditions and plays a role in the maintenance of a healthy acid/ alkaline balance.

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.

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.

9 Simple Steps to Support Body Detoxification & Cleansing

~ written by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, Medical Herbalist

After the festive holidays and an excess consumption of sugar and rich food,January and February are excellent times to focus on cleansing both internally and by reducing contact with environmental toxins.

  1. Start your morning by drinking a large glass of room temperature water with 1 freshly squeezed organic lemon to activate the digestive juices.
  2. Eat your greens! Vegetables are packed with anti cancer nutrients, their vitamin and antioxidant content are essential for immune system function, detoxification and the high fiber content will assist in lowering cholesterol and help keep the colon clean. Make it a goal to consume 4 -5 half cup servings of fresh vegetables daily.
  3. Herbal Teas such as Red Clover, Nettle Leaf, Burdock Root, and Dandelion Leaf are known as alteratives or blood cleansers, which assist in the removal of waste matter from the bloodstream, kidneys and liver. Our herbal blend, Clean Green Herbal Tea is specially blended to support the function or the liver, kidneys and lymphatic system in removing impurities from the body.
  4. Green tea assists the liver with detoxification, and helps to prevent the formation of carcinogens in the body, (such as the cancer promoting toxins from pesticides, nitrates in processed deli meats and benzopyrenes found in diesel fuel). To purchase organic green tea, click here.
  5. Munch on seaweeds. Seaweeds help remove heavy metals from the body and assist in preventing damage from chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
  6. Raise your body temperature. A lowered body temperature can contribute to lowered immunity and an inability to overthrow viruses and bacteria. Regular use of Epsom salts added to bath water for a heating, relaxing soak. Epsom salts encourage sweating and subsequent elimination of waste matter through the skin. Hot yoga and seasoning your food with fresh ginger or cayenne pepper powder can also improve circulation.
  7. Dry skin brushing: a natural vegetable bristle brush (avoid synthetic fibers or animal bristles), for use on dry skin, before showering. Skin brushing helps to remove dead skin cells and promotes detoxification by encouraging lymphatic drainage, accelerates the removal of waste matter from the body, and increases blood flow through the veins and back to the heart. How to skin brush: Begin brushing the extremities first, starting with the arms and feet, moving to the legs, hips and buttocks, and brush in a circular motion always moving towards the heart. Avoid brushing areas of varicose veins, rashes, open wounds, infection and over thin sensitive skin. Skin brushing is an invigorating way to begin the day and can be followed with a cool shower, or Epsom salt bath.
  8. Populate main living areas with plants known to cleanse the air and detoxify the environment: aloe, spider plants, boston ferns, banana plants, english ivy, philodendrons are greens which specifically help to remove benzene and formaldehyde from a living space.
  9. Decrease the use of plastics in your home and avoid using saran wrap or plastic containers in the microwave (instead use a glass plate), – or better yet, do not use the microwave at all. Plastics are constantly gassing off emitting chemicals known as xenoestrogens, a group of toxic chemicals that mimic estrogen and are known to disrupt endocrine function. For more information, I recommend a well referenced article “Get Plastic Out Of Your Diet” written by Paul Goettlich, Nov 2003. which can be read through the clicking on the link.

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.

Quercetin: The Anti Allergy Supplement

~ written by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, Medical Herbalist

Known as THE anti allergy supplement, Quercetin is a bioflavonoid found in the white material beneath the peel of citrus fruits. Quercetin is the ideal supplement for individuals experiencing seasonal and chronic allergies and helps to inhibit the bodies manufacture and release of histamine, strengthen cell membranes and prevent the formation of other allergic compounds, which all contribute to the symptoms of seasonal allergies.

  • An antioxidant and anti allergy remedy, used to minimize symptoms of runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes.
  • Quercetin can be used as a safe alternative to anti histamine drugs (and does not cause drowsiness) or can be used in conjunction with other treatment to strengthen the bodies natural resistance to allergies.
  • Quercetin may benefit asthma suffers by suppressing two inflammatory mediators, histamine and leukotrienes.

Tips for using Quercetin:

Best taken with Bromelain, Pineapple or digestive enzymes for enhanced absorption and elevating its anti inflammatory effects.

Dosing for allergies and asthma suffers: The adult dose of Quercetin is at least 750-1000 mg of Quercetin taken in divided dosages throughout the day. To order Quercetin, click here: