Prevent hay fever early

Autumn 2015 1

Start early to prevent hay fever this season with natural health remedies.

Hay fever facts :sneezing newsletter

  • Around 12 million people have hay fever in the UK
  • 95  per cent are affected by grass pollen, but many suffer from the tree pollens that are abundant from the spring.
  • Silver birch is the most prevalent hay fever trigger from trees, and it releases pollen as the temperature goes up.

Nutritional changes

More and more people are getting hay fever and age is no  barrier – you can start getting it at any age.   Ali Cullen, nutritional therapist at A. Vogel suggests some nutritional changes:

• Eat foods with anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties: including carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, avocado, mango, apricots, peaches, nectarines, papaya, pears, pineapples, blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes, blackcurrants, prunes, plums, raisins, figs, herring, salmon, sardines, trout, and pilchards.
• Cut down on foods that trigger inflammation such as: caffeine and refined sugar.
• Avoid mucus-forming dairy foods – milk products – to help to reduce catarrh.

The symptoms

Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen or mould which the body reacts to as alien substances. It causes numerous symptoms:

• Sneezing
• Runny, red and itchy eyes
• Blocked nose
• Wheezing
• Itchy throat
• Coughing
• Headaches and tiredness
• Sleep problems

Although it’s unpleasant the body is dealing with the alien substance by trying to get rid of it through sneezing and runny nose and eyes. Not surprisingly all this makes people feel very run down and unwell for as long as it lasts.

What else could it be?

Different people react to different pollens such as grass pollen, tree pollen and mould spores. Some weeds like nettle can affect people who are sensitive and often sufferers also react to house dust mites, animal fur and chemicals in household products and furniture.

Where you live

If you live in the south-east, the Midlands, north-east or central Scotland, particularly in a city you are more likely to suffer than people in most of Scotland and Wales, the north and the west country. The pollen season is shorter in Scotland and Wales and places like Devon or the Lake District benefit because of mountains and moorland.

What can you do about it?

Most people use anti-histamines, but they can make you drowsy.  There are some great natural remedies including a nasal wash – with a tiny bit of salt in warm water, or beetroot juice (if you can bear it) to clear out the nostrils. You can buy neti pots that enable you to do this easily – it has a little spout. This isn’t a pleasant experience and you might prefer one of the nasal sprays below.

A few tips

  • Avoid caffeine as it triggers histamine release – green teas and herbal teas are better.
  • Stay away from grassy areas particularly in the early evening when the pollen count peaks.
  • Cut down on dairy as it can increase the production of mucus.
  • Refined sugar makes blood sugar levels rise and fall, resulting in a surge of adrenaline which releases histamine.
  • Inhale steam with a few drops of basil, tea tree in to soothe nostrils.
  •  Rub some olive oil, Vaseline or HayMax on the inside of your nose to trap pollen.
  • Keep windows closed where possible. Net curtains can trap the pollen.
  • Wear sunglasses to keep pollen away from eyes

Herbal Remedies

• Luffa is little known but believed by nutritional experts such as Alison Cullen from Ayrshire to be the ‘number one treatment’. Clears a blocked or runny nose, and watery red eyes but has no side-effects, and children can take it. Start two weeks before the hayfever season is in force.
• Echinacea can be taken from one month before the hayfever season and then combined with Luffa.
• Euphrasia as a herbal tincture can ease watery sore eyes.
• Nettle for people who get skin rashes as well – a natural antihistamine.

Quercetin is a substance found in onions that is believed to stabilise the body’s cells that produce histamine and cause the allergic response (sniffing, sneezing, wheezing). It is enhanced by Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapples, which is said to help the absorption of quercetin into the body.

Homeopathic remedies for hay fever

Susanne Haar, Nelsons Homeopathic Pharmacist recommends trying a homeopathic consultation. Homeopathy can be used to help with the symptoms of hay fever and useful remedies include:

•    Nux vomica: for a runny nose during the day, which is dry at night; irritable and impatient mood; a person who feels worse in the morning, better in open air.
•    Euphrasia: for watery irritated eyes.
•    Allium cepa: for sneezing; runny nose; irritated eyes; when a person feels better in cool open air.

Featured products
Euphrasia homeopathic tablets 30C Ainsworths 120 £7.12
Pollinosan A. Vogel (Bioforce) 120 tablets £10.29
Luffa Tincture A. Vogel (Bioforce) 50ml £10.95
HayMax Pollen Barrier Balm triple pack HayMax 3 x 5ml £12.49
Pollenna homeopathic tablets Nelson’s 72  tablets £5.10
Nux vomica Nelson’s 84 tablets £4.97
Vitamin C BioCare 90 x 1000 mg capsules £20.45
Quercetin Plus with Quercetin, Bromelain, Nettle, Vitamin C Biocare 90 capsules £22.96
Get 15% discount at with the promotion code: HSoul1




Quit smoking

SmokingWednesday, March 14th is National No Smoking Day.  Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution or this day it gives an incentive to cut it out.  Smoking is SO expensive these days, plus Smoking Kills.

Smoking Statistics

  • There are 9 million smokers in the UK, the majority of whom are young people.
  • That means that 19 per cent of smokers are men and 15 per cent are women.
  • Two thirds of smokers took up the habit before the age of 18.
  • Every year 96,000 people in the UK die due to smoking related diseases.  Half of all smokers will die because of their habit.
  • One in seven 15 year olds smoke, with more girls smoking than boys.
  • Smoking related diseases cost the NHS £2 billion a year.
  • 80 per cent of deaths from lung cancer, emphysema, and bronchitis are directly attributable to smoking.

However, some progress has been made over the years –

 In 1948 82 per cent of British men smoked, and 41 per cent of women.

There are more people in the UK who used to smoke than those who currently maintain the habit. But the good news is that the body recovers reasonably quickly if you are young enough.


Smoking is the worst thing you can do for your health

  • 90% of lung cancer deaths are due to smoking.
  • 80% of bronchitis and emphesema deaths are due to smoking.
  • 1/3 of cancer deaths are due to smoking.

Positive health prospects

The body is very resilient and health benefits are quick to realise. According to ASH, the anti-smoking public health charity:

•20 minutes after quitting: blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal;
•Two hours later: nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in the blood reduce by half and oxygen levels return to normal ;
•24 hours: carbon monoxide eliminated from the body, lungs start to clear out mucus and other debris;
•48 hours: no nicotine left in the body;
•72 hours: breathing easier, bronchial tubes relax and energy levels increase
•2-12 weeks: improved circulation;
•3-9 months: coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve as lung function increases by up to 10 per cent;
•One year: risk of heart attack halved;
•10 years: risk of lung cancer halved;
•15 years: risk of heart attack falls to level of a permanent non-smoker.

Around 70 per cent of adult smokers want to quit and 86 per cent have already tried but failed. The benefits are all too obvious, not just in health terms but also to the smokers’ wallet – a 20 a day smoker spends almost £1,700 every year on their habit.

The good news is there is plenty of help at hand. Anyone can go to an NHS Stop Smoking clinic by referral from a GP, midwife or pharmacist (Local Stop Smoking Services, 0800 169 0169). You get to talk to an adviser and may be offered nicotine replacement therapy or Zyban, a prescription drug.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy:

Published trials claim that using nicotine replacement therapy to quit smoking doubles your chances compared with plain and simple willpower.  You can see your doctor about NRT.

•There is a wide variety of choice of NRT methods available on prescription including patches, gum, sprays, inhalers, tablets and lozenges.
•They all provide lower levels of nicotine than cigarettes which is absorbed into the bloodstream and is enough to relieve craving and withdrawal symptoms.
Available on prescription and over the counter at chemists.

Dispelling the illusion the Easyway

Boasting a 90 per cent success rate the Allen Carr Easyway method incorporates just one four and a half hour session with a trained therapist who:

•Dispels common misconceptions about smoking, such as its calming and confidence-boosting effects;
•Also included is a brief hypnotherapy session to reinforce the message.

Those people who give up smoking as a result of Allen Carr sessions claim that they come out of the session with a completely changed view about the habit, and the majority don’t revert to smoking.

For details of the nearest Allen Carr clinic contact: 0208 944 7761.

Blocking the nicotine

For people who find that they don’t know what to do with their hands when they quit NicoBloc provides a chance to give up gradually.

Drops of NicoBloc are put on each cigarette where it solidifies and blocks the amount of tar and nicotine inhaled.

The gradual build-up starts with one drop in the first week, two drops the next week and so on.

Eventually there is so little nicotine being inhaled and taken into the blood stream that the desire for smoking diminishes.

Available from chemists.

Natural alternatives

It might be possible to get complementary therapies for quitting smoking on the NHS, at The Christie Hospital in Manchester, for instance where they use aromatherapy, reflexology, hypnotherapy and acupuncture as part of their smoking cessation programme.

Acupuncture can help

Acupuncture stimulates the body to release endorphins which help to induce a sense of calm and relaxation.

•Needles are usually placed in the ear during a session – this is often called auricular acupuncture.

•Sometimes one or more is left in to help people cope with cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

For acupuncturists in your area contact the British Acupuncture Council: 020 8735 0400,

Changing behaviour – Hypnosis and NLP

A study of 6,000 smokers found that hypnosis was three times as successful as nicotine replacement therapy in helping people to give up.

Sometimes available on the NHS but mostly you have to pay for these.  The combination of hypnosis and NLP is often used to help people quit smoking as hypnosis works on the sub-conscious mind, and NLP provides ways of changing behaviour on a conscious level.

National Register of Hypnotherapists and Psychotherapists: 01282 716839),

More information on giving up smoking: and


Colds, coughs, flu

cherriesEveryone’s got colds at the moment but there’s not much the doctor can do when you have a cold or flu,  because antibiotics won’t work for viruses. But there’s plenty you can do yourself.

  • Regular Vitamin C – especially as Montmorency cherries.
  • Echinacea daily – you can take it all winter.
  • Garlic – many people swear by garlic capsules, or if you can stomach it, plenty of raw garlic.
  • Blackcurrant – in various preparations.


COLDS Serious illnesses are not cured with complementary medicine, but symptoms can sometimes be managed with a healthy eating regime and use of therapies. We’re more likely to get colds when we’re run down, stressed and tired. They are most common between September and March with the peak time around Christmas (when you may be stressed and worn out). People still work when they have a cold, but rest and sleep are the best solution because the body heals itself when you sleep. Symptoms include:

  • sneezing
  • runny nose
  • blocked up nose
  • sore throat
  • earache
  • sinus pain
  • low grade fever
The way to avoid colds is to eat and sleep well, manage stress, exercise and take regular Vitamin C, zinc and Echinacea in winter. Once a cold is in full force the aim is to get over it as quickly as possible.
  • Keep taking Echinacea to boost the immune system and help to clear up the cold faster.
  • Chew grapefruit seeds or take the liquid extract, according to Suzanne Woodward, medical herbalist.
  • Steam inhalations help to clear stuffed up noses – put a few drops of eucalyptus, tea tree, or lavender oil in a bowl of boiling hot water and breathe in the vapours.
  • Try ginger root tea– one inch of peeled and chopped ginger boiled in water.
  • Cherry Active is made with Montmorency cherries and is absolutely packed with Vitamin C. It tastes nice and helps to keep you in top form.
A great combination is Yarrow, Peppermint and Elder, often prescribed by herbalists as a tea – Yarrow fights fever, Elderflower eases catarrh, and Peppermint cools and calms.

The other great soothers for colds:

  • Plenty of Vitamin C – nutritionists claim that 200 mg a day or more is safe when in need
  • Garlic boosts the immune system – take capsules or if you can bear it put it raw into soups and casseroles.

Cautious note: always check with your GP if taking prescribed medication BEFORE having herbal remedies as they may contraindicate the medicines.

Featured products
Echinaforce Echinacea tincture A. Vogel (Bioforce) 50ml £9.15
Cherry Active Concentrate Cherry Active 473ml £17.99
Cherry Active Capsules Cherry Active 60 £19.99
Coldenza homeopathic combination Nelson’s 72 £6.90
Ester C Vitamin C Viridian Nutrition 30 veg caps £9.85
Citricidal grapefruit seed extract  Biocare 25ml £5.70
Eucalyptus oil Tisserand Aromatherapy 9ml £4.85
Tea tree oil Tisserand Aromatherapy 9ml £4.90
Lavender oil Tisserand Aromatherapy 9ml £4.90
Sambucol Elderflower Sambucol 120ml £8.49
Get 5 per cent discount with the code HSoul1 at 
  • Antibiotics don’t work for viruses, such as colds and flu
  • Taking too many can lower the body’s defences when it needs to fight more serious infection

COUGHS Respiratory tract infections take up more of the GPs’ time than anything else, but while pneumonia and bronchitis can be serious some coughs linger after cold and flu symptoms have gone.Trudy Norris, herbalist and president of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists, suggests an infusion of thyme which is antiseptic, clears phlegm and fights chest infections . ‘Put a heaped tablespoonful of dried thyme into a litre of boiling water and fill a thermos flask. Add a teaspoonful of honey to the mixture to relieve irritation and keep near day or night.’ Just sipping a mixture of one teaspoonful of honey and warm water can prevent persistent coughing at night as well.

Featured products
Propolis Herbal Cough Elixir Comvita 200ml £10.99
Santasapina Cough Syrup A. Vogel (Bioforce) 100ml £5.71
Herb and Honey Cough Elixir Weleda 100ml £9.50
Get 5 per cent discount with the code HSoul1 at 



Echinacea can be taken at the first signs of aches and pains (unless you are on medication in which case you should check for contraindications), as well as homeopathic remedies:

  • Gelsemium for aches and pains, rising temperature and constant aching;
  • Rhus Tox for aches and pains which get better when moving around;
  • Belladonna for sudden high fever, with or without sweating, cold hands and feet.

Boneset is an excellent herbal remedy for someone who has had flu for a couple of weeks, and it doesn’t seem to be getting better.

Featured products
Echinaforce Echinacea tincture A. Vogel (Bioforce) 50ml £9.15
Gelsemium Nelson’s 84 £5.30
Rhus Tox Nelson’s 84 £5.30
Belladonna 30c Nelson’s 84 £5.30
Get 5 per cent discount with the code HSoul1 at 

  SORE THROATS: Antibiotics should only be offered for infections like tonsillitis but natural remedies can help to soothe the throat. If a sore throat seems to be signalling the start of a cold the homeopathic remedy Aconite can stop it progressing. Over recent years doctors have been advised to cut down on handing out antibiotics yet research shows that 44 per cent of people who see doctors when they have a cold are given a prescription for antibiotics. The downside of this is that when they get a serious illness they may be antibiotic-resistant (as we’ve seen with many hospital infections). Propolis is made by bees from natural ingredients to protect their hives from infection and invasion, and gargling with it soothes a sore throat. Gargling with a few drops of tea tree oil or a pinch of salt in a glass of warm water also eases the pain.

Featured products
Propolis Herbal Elixir Comvita 100ml £6.59
Echinaforce Echinacea Throat Spray A. Vogel 30ml £8.65
Propolis Lemon & Honey Lozenges (or Mint) Comvita 75g £4.99
Aconite 30c Nelson’s 84 £5.30
Get 5 per cent discount with the code HSoul1 at 



Too many painkillers can suppress headaches and make them recur. The causes of a headache may be tension, hormonal imbalances, blocked sinuses, or back and neck problems. If headaches persist you should always consult a doctor, but if there is no serious problem you might find that a chiropractor or cranial osteopath can find the problem and ease the pain.

Trying to get rid of a headache can be really difficult, and one approach is to put strong smelling eucalyptus or camphor on the skin above the sinuses or on the forehead as so many headaches are caused by blocked sinuses. There are now several sticks available that make this easy to do, except you must be sure not to get it too near your eyes or they will pour.

Feverfew is the herbal answer to painkillers and Belladonna homeopathic remedy, is good for a throbbing headache, particularly in children.

Featured products
4Head Headache Treatment 4Head £9.95
MigraStick Arkopharma £5.82
Jan de Vries Feverfew A. Vogel (Bioforce) 50ml £9.15
Belladonna 30c Nelson’s 84 tablets £5.30
F Nervous and Migraine Headache New Era 450 tablets £5.10
Get 5 per cent discount with the code HSoul1 at 


Often children with ear problems have repeated prescriptions for antibiotics which run down their immune systems. Homeopathy works well for glue ear and Pulsatilla is the most common remedy when there is lots of discharge. In cases of repeated ear infections a visit to a professional homeopath can be invaluable.

For adults earache can be cleared by putting a drop of lavender oil on a piece of cotton wool and placing it in the ear, but the vapours are quite strong and may not be recommended for children. For a desperate child you could try the old fashioned remedy of a baked onion, cut in half, wrapped in muslin and placed on the outside of the ear. Jenny Jones, herbalist, explains, ‘The vapours from the onion oils are antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, and they go into the ear and the heat of the warm onion is also soothing.’

Featured products
Pulsatilla 30c Nelson’s 84 £5.30
Lavender oil Tisserand Aromatherapy 9ml £4.90
Get 5 per cent discount with the code HSoul1 at 

The National Institute of Medical Herbalists, 01392 426022, For a list of homeopaths contact: The Society of Homeopaths, 01604 621400,

Jenny Jones, Creative Health Centre, Leamington Spa, 01926 316500



The spice of life

Root ginger

Spices are good for you, and they have many health benefits.    Turmeric is a wonderful spice with so many properties, especially in the fight against osteoarthritis (see below).  Spices are also used to preserve food and make it taste good.

At the end of this post there are lots of spicy supplements and products you can buy at using the promotion code: HSoul1.

Rob Hobson, a nutritionist, who co-authored the Detox Kitchen Bible, says it is an excellent way of getting nutrients to people who need them – such as elderly people in care homes and young girls, who are almost all low in iron and other minerals.

Most spices have similar health benefits because they warm the system. In Chinese Herbal Medicine (see Therapies) an imbalance in the energy flow is considered to be due to heat, coolness, damp, or dryness in the system in the way that old women complain about the cold getting into their bones.

The warming properties of spices help to relieve damp and cold and have many other health benefits:


Babies have been reared on gripe water for over a century and many of them love it. Commercially made with dill, it can equally be concocted at home using caraway seeds.

Rosalind Blackwell, naturopath and herbalist, claims that caraway is very safe for anyone’s stomach and can ease gripey pains and other stomach problems.


Its pungent taste makes cardamom a popular spice with curry eaters, who sometimes eat it whole in their food. Chewing a cardamom pod can help to relieve indigestion and stomach pain, but the spice has many medicinal purposes too. It has been known to relieve asthma, bloating and travel sickness, boost circulation and alleviate symptoms of colds and flu.

Make a tea using crushed pods, or follow Deepak Chopra’s recommendation in his book, The Chopra Centre Herbal Handbook, of adding a pinch of cardamom powder to hot milk for a good sleep.

Cayenne pepper and chilli

The capsicum family encompasses peppers of all kinds – hot and mild. Cayenne is the ground spice from a hot chilli, which is rich in Vitamin C, and it can certainly induce sweating!

It is so pungent and hot that TCM practitioners use it for:

•warming the spleen and stomach
•eliminating damp and cold
•promoting appetite
•soothing digestive problems and vomiting
As a gel its warming effect eases rheumatic and muscular aches and the nerve pain of shingles.

Rosalind Blackwell claims, ‘I use the tincture of cayenne as a circulatory stimulant as it has a very warming effect.’


Many British cooks use cinnamon regularly for its recognisable flavour in apple pies, mulled wine and curries. A particularly warming spice, it makes a good blend with turmeric and coriander for many types of ailment.

According to Rosalind Blackwell, ‘Cinnamon gets rid of all kinds of bugs, particularly in the gut and eases muscle spasms, but its properties are much stronger as an essential oil.’

Commonly used in a hot toddy to ease cold and flu symptoms, it has also been proven to fight E-coli and has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. A dash of cinnamon in a honey and lemon drink can ease a sore throat, or made into a tea with boiling water it can relieve period pain and muscle spasms.


Any grandmother will tell you that oil of cloves soothes toothache by numbing the gum – just put some oil on a piece of cotton wool and place it near the tooth, but if it touches your lip it will really sting! Chewing a raw clove has the same effect if there is no oil in the house. Traditionally used to preserve meat, as a component of mulled wine and to flavour apple pies cloves can usually be found in the kitchen cupboard.

Essential oil of cloves also:

•Soothes insect bites;
•Is a good cold and flu fighter due to its antiseptic properties;
•Eases nausea.
Rosalind Blackwell suggests making an infusion of cloves in hot water or combining it with cinnamon and ginger in a tea to ease nausea and stomach problems, and relieve colds.


These seeds of an umbrella-shaped plant are used in cooking whole or ground and they can be liberally added to food to give it a delicious curry flavour. The black variety was said by Mohammed to heal every disease ‘except death’.

Particularly it is known for:

•alleviating wind
•preventing blood platelets sticking together
•preventing clotting
•fighting bacteria
•protecting the heart
•relieving heartburn, indigestion and bloating.


Often used in pickles, curries and garnishes, fenugreek has been recognised in medicine since Hippocrates’ time, particularly for its beneficial effect on blood glucose levels.

Deepak Chopra recommends a couple of teaspoons in the diet every day for anyone with diabetes or high cholesterol levels;
•Chinese herbal medicine practitioners use it to supporting the kidney function;
•The seeds can be ground or crushed in a cup of hot water to be drunk or used as a gargle for sore throats.


Apart from its versatility in cooking, ginger can be kept in the fridge simply for its therapeutic benefits. Make a tea by chopping up about one inch of the root and infusing it in boiling water either in a pan over the heat or in a teapot.

•Drink it to relieve colds – adding garlic if you can bear it – or stomach problems;
•Ginger is anti-inflammatory, helps to improve circulation. Massage arthritic fingers with some warmed ginger oil in a base oil.
•In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is particularly used to fuel the system and warm it up, when there is too much cold and damp;
•For nausea or travel sickness a child can be given a ginger biscuit, cake, crystallised ginger or ginger ale as they all ease the symptoms.

Juniper berries

Most known as an ingredient of gin, juniper berries have been used in cooking and for medicinal benefits since ancient Egyptian times.

According to Rosalind Blackwell, ‘Juniper berries have traditionally been used to disinfect the urinary tract, particularly in cases of cystitis. It can irritate the kidney if used for a long time an infusion of berries in water should only be taken as long as the discomfort lasts.’


It may be an old wive’s tale but you can’t beat a hot mustard footbath for easing the symptoms of colds such as blocked nose – just put some mustard powder into a bowl of hot water, put both feet in and relax! ‘It is particularly good for clearing phlegm too,’ Rosalind Blackwell explains.

‘I only suggest this to people who like it because it is an acquired taste, but a regular sandwich with mustard and meat could be helpful’. The Indian mustard plant (Brassicaceae) is believed to act as a magnet for essential minerals and metals in the soil, which we don’t get enough in our food these days.


Its bright yellow colouring has made turmeric useful for adding colour to rice, potatoes, mustard and sauces, and in primitive civilisations for dying clothes. A member of the ginger family, turmeric is familiar to us as a ground up powder, but it is now available in tablet form for medicinal purposes.

To extract the essential ingredient – curcumin – you need either alcohol or cooking in oil. The golden paste which is so good for arthritis in dogs and people involves heating up turmeric powder in water, and then adding coconut oil, and pepper – which is a vital ingredient to help the absorption in the body.

It has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antifungal properties, and is an anti-oxidant which means it fights damaging free radicals.   It is especially good for arthritis, general aches and pains, a healthy digestive system, and an all round boost to the immune system.

Deepak Chopra advises sprinkling it into organic honey and licking the teaspoon every two hours to ease sore throats, or for colds and flu making a tea of one half-teaspoonful of turmeric and some honey to sweeten works well!

Featured products
Wholistic Turmeric Pukka Herbs 30 capsules £15.19
Active Turmeric & Boswellia Pukka Herbs 30 capsules £15.19
Cardamom Oil Health Aid 15ml £7.99
Virgin Coconut Oil Pukka Herbs 300g £7.47
Cinnamon tablets Health Plus 60 x 500mg £8.95
Clove Oil Health Aid 10ml £9.19
Fenugreek capsules Nature’s Aid 90 x 500mg £10.07
Ginger essential oil Absolute Aromas 10ml £8.53
Ginger High Strength capsules Pukka Herbs 60 capsules £9.61
Three Ginger/Three Mint teabags Pukka Herbs      4 packets each of  20 teabags £11.63
Cleanse tea bags Pukka Herbs 20 teabags £4.86
Juniper Berry Oil Absolute Aromas 10ml £10.01

You can get 5% discount with the promotion code: HSoul1 by going to


Cystitis tips

One in three women get cystitis in their lives and some get recurrent attacks, but doctors can only provide antibiotics as a solution. There are plenty of ways of trying to prevent it and natural solutions when you’ve got it.  At its worst cystitis can be excruciating.There are a number of symptoms and some can be present without the others:

•  burning sensation on passing water
•  pain in the lower abdomen
•  pain in the lower back, the kidneys and in the ureters   – the tubes from the bladder to the opening.

Often the vagina itself feels inflamed and there may be general malaise, depression and fever.

The woman may have to go to the toilet regularly and as this is a painful experience it makes it even worse. The urine becomes cloudy, smelly and often contains blood streaks, although these may not be visible to the naked eye. The pain can be so severe that you feel like pulling your hair or sticking your nails in your palms – this is danger point and requires medical attention.

It is vital that if someone is in severe pain and has a temperature that they see a doctor immediately because it can spread to the kidneys and become very serious. At this stage self-help may not work.

Repeat attacks

Some women are particularly prone to cystitis and bladder discomfort, which may not involve an infection but means that going to the loo can feel uncomfortable afterwards with pain in the bladder situated in the lower abdomen or in the back.

The medical profession has found little to no solutions to repeated cystitis and bladder discomfort. Common treatment is by antibiotic which will certainly take away an infection fairly quickly but often has the effect of giving thrush as well. It is possible that the antibiotic you get doesn’t fight the specific bug and you have to go back to the GP and get a different one.

Antibiotics don’t help to prevent further attacks and unfortunately if someone has cystitis regularly repeat prescriptions eventually wear down the immune system making them more susceptible to everything!

Prevention is the answer

As there’s no medical cure self-help is the only answer. Standard advice is:

• Drink plenty of water to flush out the infection;
• Avoid coffee, tea, alcohol which are all diuretics and make you go to the loo even more;
• As germs come from the anal area wipe from front to back with toilet paper;
• Don’t use soaps, shower gels, bath lotions contain chemicals;
• Go to the loo immediately after intercourse and wash in a bidet or bath;
• Wear cotton pants;
• Ask your partner to wash his genitals before sex – often embarrassing!

Intercourse triggers attacks

Intercourse is one of the most common causes of bladder problems and it may be the position of the bladder and the womb that cause it in some females and not in others. Most women don’t want to give up sex for the rest of their lives so they need to find an answer!

Cystitis is caused by bacteria going up into the bladder and causing infection. This is often because the penis causes bruising to the vaginal walls and bladder and the bruising sets up infection. If the woman is using spermicides or the cap it is more than likely that these will aggravate the condition as does menopause when the vagina becomes dryer.

One of the reasons why women suffer from this debilitating problem rather than men is the position of the genitals. The anus is full of germs and is situated very close to the vagina, which is near to the ureter so it is easy for germs to move from one to the other.


Sometimes repeated attacks of cystitis are due to candida, a yeast infection that takes a hold on the system. There are plenty of symptoms of candida including fungal infections (thrush, athlete’s foot), digestive problems, bloating, tiredness, lethargy. See our article on Candida in Women’s Health.

Natural remedies

There are a several over the counter solutions, many of them based on bicarbonate of soda which aims to neutralise the acid in the urine. There are also plenty of herbal and homeopathic solutions:

  • Uva ursi – a herbal remedy for urinary infection
  • Echinacea – boosts the immune system and can help to prevent an attack when the first twinges start
  • Taking regular probiotics such as Acidophilus helps to keep the gut replenished with healthy bacteria which reduces chances of infections
  • Cranberries – contain PACs (proanthocyanidins) that attach themselves to the bacteria – mostly E-coli – preventing them from attaching themselves to cells in the body. Supplements can be good but choose a juice that has no artificial sweeteners or sugar in
  • D-Mannose, made from the bark of the spruce tree, is a compound which is present in the urine to fight bacteria, but by providing more in a supplement it can ease cystitis
  • Cantharis – homeopathic remedy when there is a burning sensation on going to the loo
  • Witch-hazel squeezed on a piece of cotton wool at the opening to the ureter so that it can be felt right up into the tubes or held in the vagina to soothe inflammation
  • Gokshura and Shatavari are Ayurvedic herbs for urinary discomfort with pain on passing water, urgency, dribbles, burning and blood streaked urine

Complementary therapies

Naturopathy – looks at lifestyle and the causes of the problem which could be emotional as well as finding herbal and other natural solutions. People with bladder problems are said to be holding on to the past or they may be feeling out of control in their lives (literally!).

General Council and Register of Naturopaths & British Naturopathic Association, 01458 840072,

Reflexology – particularly helpful during an attack because the reflexologist can work on the bladder area and can help it to go away entirely.

Association of Reflexologists, 01823 364951,

Nutrition – unhealthy eating habits won’t help sufferers of cystitis to get better. A nutritionist can be more specific, but generally it may help to eat organic food so that chemicals aren’t irritating the bladder and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. As the problem may stem from candida, an overgrowth of yeast, avoiding bread and sugar may help.

The British Association of Nutritional Therapists, 0870 6061284,
The Institute for Optimum Nutrition, 020 8614 7800,

Emotional Freedom Technique – where tapping the ends of the meridians helps to get out emotional causes for illness.

The Association for the Advancement of Meridian Therapies:

Chinese Herbal Medicine – herbs have to be boiled up and drunk twice a day as a tea to build up the ‘chi’ or energy in the kidneys.

Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine,,  01603 927420

Featured products
Simicina Cranberry & D-Mannose Bio-Health 60 x 400mg Organic Cranberry capsules

60 x 550mg D-Mannose capsules

Cantharis 30c Ainsworth’s 120 £7.58
Uva Ursi A. Vogel (Bioforce) 50ml £10.95
Echinaforce Echinacea A. Vogel (Bioforce) 50ml £10.95
Bio-Acidophilus Forte Biocare 30 £33.60
5% discount using the Promotion Code: HSoul1 at