Vote for One step ahead of osteoarthritis

One Step Ahead of Osteoarthritis, Frances Ive, published by Hammersmith Health Books, available at Waterstones and Amazon. https://www.waterstones.com/book/one-step-ahead-of-osteoarthritis/frances-ive/9781781611647 www.amazon.co.uk/One-Step-Ahead-Osteoarthritis-Frances/dp/1781611645 One Step Ahead of Osteoarthritis, Frances Ive, published by Hammersmith Health Books, available at Waterstones and Amazon.  PLEASE vote for it in the People’s Book Award where it has become a finalist: https://peoplesbookprize.com/winter-categories-2019/non-fiction.

As many as 8.75 million people have osteoarthritis and I am one of them, but I wasn’t prepared to give in to it. I wanted to carry on playing tennis, do yoga and tai chi. So as any health journalist would do, I researched osteoarthritis and found there were loads of things I could do and now I’ve put them in my book, One Step Ahead of Osteoarthritis.

Professor Sir Sam Everington, GP in Tower Hamlets, Chair of NHS Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group, board member of NHS Clinical Commissioners,  wrote in his Foreword to the book: ‘This book is not just about length of life, it is about something much more important, a happy and healthy life, whatever is thrown at you. It is about self-motivation and well-being. It should be prescribed on the NHS by all doctors. It can’t be, but if you have osteoarthritis or want to live a happier and healthier life, buying this book is the best investment you could ever make.’

The aim is to stay mobile and active and continue with a good quality of life.

So what can you do?

  • Diet: Look at what you eat and drink, perhaps trying a new way of eating and cutting down on acidic foods that may be aggravating osteoarthritis.  Use turmeric in cooking – see The Spice of Life.
  • Exercise: Ensure you do regular exercise or activity that is right for you, and try exercises that are specific for osteoarthritis in the knees, hips and hands. The purpose of exercise is to build up muscles to protect the joints they surround.  Swimming, walking, Pilates, yoga, tai chi, and many more activities are good for osteoarthritis.
  • Weight management: It makes sense that the more you weigh, the more pressure you put on the lower part of your body – particularly feet, knees and hips.  Just losing a few pounds can make a big difference.
  • Supplements: There are choices and people tend to find that one works better than another. We’re all different so try them out – turmeric, rosehip, glucosamine, Boswellia (Indian frankincense), and many more.
  • Therapies: If you can afford to have acupuncture, massage, osteopathy, chiropractic or visit a herbalist, these therapies can relax  your joints and get your circulation moving.
  • Cider vinegar: it may not taste nice but it turns from acid to alkaline in the body and can help to reduce inflammation in arthritic joints when taken daily in water.

One Step Ahead of Osteoarthritis, Frances Ive, Hammersmith Health Books. Forewords by Professor Sir Sam Everington & Barbara Cousins; Good health and osteoarthritis; Looking at weight loss; Finding exercise to suit you; Protect and strengthen your body: pilates, t’ai chi, yoga, Alexander technique; What is ‘healthy eating’? Food and drink – acid or alkaline? Supplements and herbs; Helpful complementary therapies; Practical solutions; The power of sleep and the weather; Lonely, depressed and stressed; Emotional support; Soups, juices and meals with turmeric and ginger; Further information
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Boost the immune system

cherries for JuneHealth stores are doing a roaring trade at the moment, due to  Coronavirus and that’s because people who know about vitamins and herbal medicines are stocking up. So what are they buying?

Vitamin C:  has a reputation for fighting all viruses, and so it’s a daily essential. When you are healthy you only require 10mg of Vitamin C, because that’s all the body can absorb at once (it pees the rest out). When you are unwell the body is depleted of Vitamin C so you need much more.

How to take it: Cherry Active is made from Montmorency cherries and is packed with Vitamin C – take as a juice (which you can dilute and drink hot) or tablets.  Or you can buy capsules, tablets or gel Vitamin C.  See:See Vitamin C fights all viruses.

Cherry Active liquid made from Montmorency cherries. Delicious and packed with Vitamin C, Concentrate, 473ml, £17.15;  30 capsules.

Nature C Vitamin C tablets, made by A. Vogel. Chewable, tasty and made from food.

To purchase these with a 5% discount go to www.superfooduk.com and put in the promotion code: HSoul1

Echinacea: is a herbal remedy that has the ability to boost the immune system and make you feel better. It was traditionally used by native Americans for many illnesses and infections, including snake bites.

Echinacea Hot Drink from A. Vogel  combines  fresh Echinacea root with herb extracts and Black Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) which is very warming and is claimed to prevent viruses entering cells of the body.

A. Vogel’s Echinaforce Echinacea Throat Spray moistens your throat and can prevent coughing.

A. Vogel Echinaforce Echinacea tincture, 50ml.

A. Vogel Echinaforce Echinacea tablets, 42.

To purchase these with a 5% discount go to www.superfooduk.com and put in the promotion code: HSoul1

Zinc – 15 mg daily . Zinc is essential for a healthy immune system and may prevent viruses from entering cells which they need to do in order to multiply.

Bee Health, Vitamin C and Propolis, 60 tablets

Garlic – garlic is antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral and antibiotic. You can heavily lace your food with garlic, which will keep everyone away, not just the devil. Or you can take Allicin capsules – allicin is the active property in garlic that boosts the immune system. antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral and antibiotic.

Allicin Max Veg Caps, 30 – 180.

To purchase these with a 5% discount go to www.superfooduk.com and put in the promotion code: HSoul1

Vitamin C fights all viruses

orangesIn China there is a trial going on with intravenous Vitamin C 24g or 24,000mg daily for 120 hospitalised coronavirus patients. We all know about Vitamin C and many take it when they are getting a cold. What is less known is that the NHS advises people to take 40mg a day, which is quite low. Supplements range in their strength but it’s quite common for people to take 500mg or 1,000 mg a day. There is not a problem with overdosing, because excess is excreted, but if someone is taking too much for their own body(as we all vary) they could have diarrhoea.

Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD, a US cardiologist, claims that Vitamin C can kill any virus if taken in the right quantities, including measles, mumps, rubella and  serious illnesses such as malaria, tetanus, dysentery, Ebola and many life-threatening viruses. To treat some of these with Vitamin C, it would need to be administered intravenously at high levels. This is hard to come by in Britain as it’s unlikely to be undertaken in the NHS and would have to be paid for.

Levy also states that Vitamin C has the power to reach embedded toxins and infections at cell level and destroy them.  Other toxins that it can kill are:

  • Snake and spider bites, etc.
  • Alcohol
  • Barbiturates
  • Toxic mushrooms
  • Heavy metals

For most of us the main concern, if we are lucky, is to minimise colds and flu and taking Vitamin C daily is a good start. If a cold starts to niggle it’s worth upping the dose because it can stop it before it takes a hold.

The market for Vitamin C is quite complex to the average consumer.  There is Vitamin C which is ascorbic acid, made synthetically and this is a good way to take it. Dr Levy advises that while ascorbic acid itself can upset stomachs in some people, sodium ascorbate does not have this effect.  He guards against taking potassium ascorbate or calcium ascorbate as too much of these minerals can be harmful to some people. Liposomal Vitamin C is also an effective way of taking it –  a gel that  you put in a small glass of water.  Try Altrient Liposomal Vitamin C, 1000 mg.

And then there’s natural Vitamin C from fruit and plants, such as Cherry Active from Montmorency cherries and Nature C from A. Vogel.  If under threat in winter from viruses, it’s best to choose the Vitamin C that can give you the highest reasonable dose (say, 1,000 mg although some people take more).  See: Colds, Coughs and Flu.

Get 5% discount from www.superfooduk.com with the code: HSoul1. 

Back to the ubiquitous Coronavirus (or COVID-19)  the China Daily reported recently that more than 85 per cent of novel Coronavirus pneumonia patients nationwide have received Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as a means of treatment, according to the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine. They have also reported that around 87 per cent of patients taking TCM medication have recovered or been discharged from hospitals.

It’s very difficult to know who to believe in this day and age of fake news as reports of Vitamin C being effective have been hotly disputed. All people can do is make up their own minds.

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.

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Echinaforce Echinacea tincture A. Vogel (Bioforce) 50ml
Cherry Active Concentrate Cherry Active 473ml
Cherry Active Capsules Cherry Active 60
Coldenza homeopathic combination Nelson’s 72
Ester C Vitamin C Viridian Nutrition 30 veg caps
Citricidal grapefruit seed extract  Biocare 25ml
Eucalyptus oil Tisserand Aromatherapy 9ml
Tea tree oil Tisserand Aromatherapy 9ml
Lavender oil Tisserand Aromatherapy 9ml
Sambucol Elderflower Sambucol 120ml
Get 5 per cent discount with the code HSoul1 at www.superfood.co.uk 
 
 
Antibiotics
  • 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.

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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
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FLU:

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 www.superfood.co.uk 

  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 www.superfood.co.uk 

 

HEADACHES

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.

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MigraStick Arkopharma £5.82
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F Nervous and Migraine Headache New Era 450 tablets £5.10
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GLUE EAR/EAR ACHE

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 www.superfood.co.uk 

The National Institute of Medical Herbalists, 01392 426022, www.nimh.org.uk For a list of homeopaths contact: The Society of Homeopaths, 01604 621400, www.homeopathy-soh.org

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

 

 

Don’t get SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

moon winterIt happens so suddenly that the dark nights draw in and only a short while ago we were sitting in the garden.  Winter blues affect some 17 per cent of Britons*, while 7 per cent experience  SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).   Winter blues can mean feeling extra tired, lacking in energy and feeling low.
 
Symptoms of SAD include:

• Depression – low self-esteem, misery, despair, hopelessness, numbness,apathy
• Constant fatigue
• Disturbed sleep patterns with early morning waking
• Lack of energy
• Craving for sweet foods and carbohydrates – consequent weight gain
• Mood swings
• Anxiety and inability to cope with stress
• Loss of libido
• Lowered immune system so more prone to colds
• Bursts of activity in spring and autumn

People who get SAD tend to live far north of the equator (Britain, Scandinavia, Alaska, Iceland), because of the long nights and short days.  They are more likely to be pre-menopausal women than anyone else.

Why it happens

Light deprivation is the main cause of SAD and in some people it causes a deficiency in serotonin and dopamine – chemicals the brain needs to control mood, appetite, sleep and sexuality.

The main cause of SAD is believed to be a drop in levels of serotonin, a brain chemical or neurotransmitter, responsible for:

• hunger   • thirst   • sexual activity   • sleep patterns   • moods    • body temperature   • (indirectly) the production of hormones.

Daylight triggers the hypothalamus gland in the brain to produce serotonin, so lack of daylight leads to reduced levels.At night the pineal gland which is attached to the brain releases the hormone melatonin (a derivative of serotonin) giving the signal to the brain that it is night time and that it is time to sleep. Similarly, during the day when light hits the retina in the eye signals are sent to the brain to bring about change in the pineal, adrenal, pituitary and thyroid glands.

However, if it is dark more often than it is light there is too much melatonin being released and may account for tiredness, lethargy and fatigue in SAD sufferers.

Light boxes

One of the best ways of dealing with SAD is to use a light box, which can be rigged up in the workplace with a minimum of half an hour recommended twice a day. Dawn simulator alarm clocks also help people to wake up with a ‘natural’ dawn when the mornings are dark.

Doctors and complementary therapists alike recommend light therapy.

 How SAD affects our appetite

Comfort eating helps to relieve depression and many people with SAD crave sugary snacks and stimulants like caffeine. These give a temporary lift but blood sugar levels plummet afterwards and cravings become worse. When someone gets trapped into a low blood sugar cycle they tend to put on weight because they are constantly craving and consuming foods and drinks which are high in sugar.

Change of diet

A change of diet to boost serotonin levels, cut down cravings for sugary foods, and eat more healthily is the best way to lose weight and gain confidence to try and avoid getting SAD every winter.   A diet high in proteins helps to boost serotonin levels because proteins contain tryptophan, an amino acid, which is converted by the body firstly into 5HTP and then into serotonin.

High protein foods include:

  • Fish, turkey, chicken
  • Beans – kidney, borlotti, lima and aduki, lentils,
  • Eggs
  • Cottage cheese
  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Wheatgerm, oats, quinoa.

Herbal medicine: St John’s Wort (use the code HSoul1 for 5% discount) has been proven to improve some symptoms – 900 mcg a day is recommended from mid-October through the winter. It is essential to consult a GP or registered medical herbalist before taking St John’s Wort  because it contra-indicates some medicines and can cause side-effects when used at the same time as light therapy.

One natural remedy that can be very good for SAD is a type of algae, Blue Green Organic Klamath Algae, (use the code HSoul1 for 5% discount)  which is abundant in minerals and contains a natural (feel-good) endorphin and plenty of antioxidants.

 

If in doubt contact: The National Institute of Medical Herbalists, www.nimh.org.uk

Other recommended therapies:

• Acupuncture
• Reflexology
• Homeopathy
• Nutritional therapy
• Yoga
• Counselling
• Hypnotherapy

See Complementary Therapies for more information.

*According to an ICM Online Omnibus Survey conducted for Lumie of 2,000 people in the UK.