Onion Cough Syrup

DSC_04281

One of my favourite remedies for kid’s coughs is Onion Cough Syrup.  It’s easy to make:

  • Whole onion (red or white) peeled & sliced
  • Brown Sugar
  • Jar with lid

Layer onion and sugar in the jar, with the top layer being sugar. Place lid and leave overnight or 6-8 hours.

red-onion-cough-syrup

Facts: Onions contains immune strengthening properties, natuarally anti-bacterial agents  and are great for breaking up phlegm. The syrup’s tastes delicious – savoury and sweet but beware, it smells of onions. If your child has a block nosed let him or her take it off the spoon as is, if their nose is clear then have them pinch their nose as they take it off the spoon.

Natural Ways to Combat Jet Lag

images-8

The holiday season is coming up soon and if you plan to travel long-haul and want to minimize the effects of jet lag – here are some tips:

Diet – Drinks – Drugs (natural, of course) – Daylight

 Before leaving for your trip, ensure you are well rested. Keep the two days prior to your journey stress and hassle free, even if it means being hectic earlier in the week.

 

Diet: If you’re flying over night avoid eating the first meal served during the flight and sleep on the plane. Travelling is tiring and you need to get sleep when you can! This is especially important when you’re flying west to east, as you lose time going in this direction. It will lessen the symptoms of jetlag, but do move around the plane when you’re awake to keep the blood circulation moving. Eat the snack meal served before landing. Preorder a special meal, it comes first and you can request a healthy option. Upon arrival eat according to the local eating schedule and avoid large heavy spicy meals, as your metabolism is not functioning optimally yet.

 2034977460_crowded_airplane_cabin_xlarge

Drinks: Stay hydrated before, during and after the flight. Prevent dehydration by avoiding alcohol, the plane environment is already very dry and alcohol will only aggravate the problem. Drink lots of water! Although water is provided during the flight, I find it’s not enough, so bring your own bottled water on board. If it’s morning when you arrive, then have one caffeinated cup of coffee. It will give you a boost after a long journey but no more than one, and not after midday, as it will affect your sleep that evening. Keep in mind, drinking alcohol before going to bed may get you off to sleep, but it interrupts the later stages of sleep and will exacerbate the effects of jet lag.

 

Drugs: (Natural): Research shows that vitamin C strengthens the immune system. Before flying take a 1000mg of vitamin C. Travelling is tiring, and when tired your immune system dips making it easy to catch a cold or ‘flu virus circulating in the plane. Another tip is to place a few drops of lavender essential oil on a tissue and keep it close to your chest area or where you can inhale the aroma. Lavender is anti-infective and sedative. It boosts the immune system and will aid relaxation for you and the kids on a long journey. Chamomile tea is also a nice soothing drink for you and the kids. When my children were younger I always made some tea beforehand to give them a few sips during the flight. It takes the edge off restlessness and so helpful for travelling with a toddler. It will also soothe away any stress you might be feeling and aids sleep. It might be hard to bring liquid on board so keep a few teabags handy and ask for some hot water. On the first couple of nights after arrival, take a cup of chamomile tea before bedtime and try to stay up to reasonable time and avoid naps during the day. For small kids, a bath with a few drops of lavender essential oil and some chamomile tea before bed will help them settle. For the first 2-3 nights older kids (7years and older) and adults can take some Melatonin. The body uses this hormone to set its time clock and research suggests that it’s useful for minimizing jetlag. For those who don’t like to take pills, it’s available in liquid form, Check with your health practitioner that it is suitable for you. A traditional herbal remedy for sleep backed up by modern research is Valerian. It’s sedative without leaving you feeling groggy in the morning. Take a few drops in water before bed and again if you wake up during the night.

 images-9

Daylight: Upon arrival and if it’s daylight, go outside for thirty minutes for a walk to get some sunlight. This is the best way to reset your internal clock to coincide with your new surroundings. You should do this for the following three days. If it’s evening when you arrive, try to go to bed at your normal local time and wake up at your normal time.

 

Enjoy your trip.

Aromatherapy for Weight Management

 Aromatherapy for Weight Management

aromatherapy_cartoon

Aromatherapy is the use of a wide range of essential oils to maintain and promote the health and vitality of the spirit, the emotions and the physiological body, primarily applied by massage. Essential oils, generally speaking, give herbs and spices their specific smell and flavour, flowers and fruit their perfume. When you peel an orange, it’s the essential oil that squirts out, and gives that familiar orange smell. These highly concentrated oils and resins are the foundation of aromatherapy.

During a weight-management programme, more often than not, there is a release of impurities and therefore it is important to rid the body of them. The body is designed to release toxins through various organs and processes involving the circulatory and lymphatic systems. Massage therapy with essential oils can greatly assist with this detoxification process. By gently compressing body tissues with methodical, long, sweeping strokes characteristic of aromatherapy massage blood and lymph is squeezed through vessels. This action helps boost the circulation and elimination processes and promotes detoxification. With the absorption of detoxification essential oils through the skin, elimination process is further enhanced.

Aromatherapy works on an emotional level as well – this is after all a therapy of scents and scents have a powerful effect on our senses. Nature has provided a rich garden of pungent, aromatic and fragrant herbs, trees and flowers that can lift our spirits and enhance our wellbeing tremendously. Oils used for weight-management tend to be stimulating and uplifting.

 

Your therapist may create a mix using some of the following oils:

  • Black Pepper: A warming oil that aids circulation. It helps relieve arthritis pain and muscular aches due to stiffness and exercise.
  • Grapefruit:  A very good stimulating aid for eliminating toxins and excess fluid indicated with cellulite and obesity. It’s great for relieving muscle fatigue, nervous exhaustion and headaches.
  • Juniper: Another good oil for removal of toxins. It works well for the treatment of cellulite, gout, obesity, muscular aches and pains. Note – this oil should not be used during pregnancy or by those with kidney disease.
  • Lavender: An all round oil. Very useful for muscular aches, digestive problems, insomnia, stress and headaches.
  • Lemon: A great oil for improving circulation, helping muscular aches and pains, aiding detoxification and reducing water retention.  Note – it should not be used on skin before sunbathing.
  • Orange:  Another excellent oil for digestive disorders, obesity, water retention and stress. Note – it should not be used on skin before sunbathing.
  • Peppermint: A general stimulant that works well for nerve and muscle pain, dyspepsia, flatulence, nausea, mental fatigue and headaches.
  • Rosemary: This is the classic stimulating oil for the mind and the circulatory system. It is useful for reducing fluid retention, poor circulation, gout, nerve and muscle pain

A good therapist will tailor a mix to suit the needs and preferences of the client.

The outcome is a person feeling more energetic, less stressed and overall motivated to continue with her weight-management programme. And because of this, she feels good about herself.

This article first published on the Body With Soul website

Preparing for Conception the Natural Way

 Supporting Fertility the Natural Way

o-PREGNANCY-COUPLE-570

Main Areas for consideration

Preparing to Conceive

It’s best to give yourself 4-6 months preparation time when looking to improve health before conception.

Factors to consider

Weight

Woman – The amount of body fat is directly related to your hormone balance. When body fat is too low, the menstrual cycle may be disturbed. It’s important not to be overweight as too much fat can interfere with ovulation. Also, being overweight during pregnancy can lead to high blood pressure and diabetes. Keep in mind that your body needs essential fatty acids and fat to absorb fat-soluble vitamins to function. If on a weight-loss diet, do not compromise your nutrition and go “fat-free”.

 

Exercise

Get plenty of exercise, fresh air and sunlight. Reduced sunlight has been linked to multiple sclerosis later on in life for the child. Exercise helps rid the body of stress hormones. Sunlight helps with the metabolism of vitamin D. Some suggested gentle exercise: walking, bicycling or swimming.

 

Infections

Men and women should seek help to alleviate allergies, Crohn’s disease, coeliac disease, and candida as these conditions affect nutritional uptake and in turn compromise the reproductive system.

 

(Early pregnancy -Toxoplasmosis: can be passed onto the baby and cause birth defects. Humans contract it from cat faeces so avoid cleaning out litter trays. Other sources include contaminated meat (do not eat undercooked meat), fruit and vegetables grown in a garden infected by cat feces. (Wash all fruit and veg well). Unpasteurised milk and milk products contain harmful pathogens.)

 

Smoking

Smoking lowers testosterone level, affects sperm formation and motility. Smoking has been linked to: cleft palette, harelip, and central nervous system abnormalities in babies.

 

Sperm Count

Sperm Count is affected by the following: toxic chemicals, smoking, alcohol, increased sexual activity, and high temperatures (wear loose fitting underwear).

To promote healthy sperm include in the diet:

  • Good sources of protein
  • Vitamins A, B, C, D and E
  • Bioflavonoids
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium,
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Fibre

Stress

Below is a list of herbs used to relieve stress.

A balanced diet

Optimal nutrition is crucial at this time so ensure both partners have a good immune system, a strong nervous system and normal hormone balance.

  • Eat plenty of fresh, organic produce, complex carbohydrate.
  • Wholegrain cereals (wholemeal), millet, oats, rice, buckwheat, quinoa and rye.)
  • Nuts and seeds (reduce when pregnant and avoid peanuts). If previous children have nut allergies, then avoid all nuts and seeds and eat another source of omega-3 such as fish oils (free from heavy metals and toxins)
  • Pulses and beans
  • Vegetables and fruits: excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and trace elements – try to eat organic and soon after harvesting.
  • Unrefined oils
  • Fish, meat, milk and eggs. Organically grown where possible to limit the amount of xenoestrogens, which can alter the woman’s hormonal balance.

FYI – Apples (Pectin found in apples removes and protects the body from toxic build up)

B vitamins – special mention

Research has shown the link between diet low in folic acid and neural tube defects such as spina bifida.  Therefore it’s important to eat a diet rich in B vitamins, folic acid is a B vitamin. Low levels of B vitamins can be associated with nausea and morning sickness during pregnancy.

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Beans and pulses
  • Yeast extract: Brewers yeast, Vegemite/marmite
  • Wholemeal bread

Essential Fatty Acids

These are very important for the development of the fetal nervous system and immune system. 70% of all EFAs go to the fetal brain.  Fats form the major part of the cell wall and are necessary for the absorption of trace elements and vitamins (A, E, D and K).

Vitamins & Minerals

  • A good quality multi-vitamin and-mineral supplement
  • Folic acid – deficiency has been linked to neural tube defects and low birth weight.
  • Low levels of B6 have been linked to low birth weight.
  • Selenium
  • Zinc deficiency:
    • In early pregnancy has been linked poor outcome of the pregnancy and low birth weight, miscarriage and congenital handicap
    • Linked to low sperm count

Those at risk

  • Smokers and alcohol drinkers
  • Pregnant women who have been pregnant before
  • Carrying twins
  • Medical conditions such as Crohn’s or celiac disease
  • Drugs e.g., contraceptive pill, penicillamine
  • Much emotional stress
  • Low protein diet with high levels of phytates (from whole grains) inhibit zinc absorption
  • Allergies to gluten or celiac disease

Herbs to balance Hormonal Function

Woman

  • Vitex: stimulates and balances female hormone:  helps the body to increase its own production of FSH & LH promoting ovulation
  • Wild yam: supports the proper function of uterus – helps build the uterus in preparation for conception
  • Chinese angelica: hormone balancing, tonic herb for reproductive system
  • Kelp: helps maintain normal thyroid function
  • Shatavari: a rejuvenative herb – sexual debility, infertility, balances hormones

Men

  • Panax ginseng: for weakness, insomnia, reduces stress – acts on the adrenal glands
  • Damiana: strengthens nervous and hormonal systems
  • Vitex: as above
  • Wild yam: balances hormones, hormone precursors, relaxant on urinary and reproductive tract
  • Saw palmetto: increase vitality, nourishes the reproductive system
  • Sarsaparilla: tonic for male reproductive organs

 Herbs to Increase Vitality

  • Panax ginseng: as above
  • Ashwagandha (for men): rejuvenative herb – for stress, chronic illness
  • Chinese angelica (for women): as above
  • Shatavari: as above
  • Rose:  relaxant, restoring effect on the nervous system
  • Ginger: warming properties stimulate circulation to peripheral areas, soothes indigestion, nausea, relieves painful menstruation and ovulation, invigorates the reproductive system

Herbs to reduce Stress

  • Rose: as above
  • Skullcap: nourishing tonic to the nervous system, rich in minerals
  • Vervain:  tonic to the nervous system, relieves anxiety, and lifts depression
  • Ginseng: as above
  • Lemon balm: relaxes spasm of the reproductive tract, relieves depression
  • Oats:  nutritious and vital to a healthy nervous system – stimulating and energy giving and at the same time relaxing

Herbs are natural drugs, seek a trained medical practitioner if you would like to use herbs during pregnancy.

 

 

 

 

Aromatherapy – natural stress relief with the right essential oils

Aromatherapy foot 1

What is aromatherapy? Simply put, it’s the use of essential oils extracted from flowers, leaves, grasses, fruits, roots and trees. It’s the essential oils in plant that gives them a scent. These oils contain chemicals, which have a therapeutic affect on the body through our skin and sense of smell, providing relief and healing for a wide variety of ailments.

How it works?

Essential oils are typically either applied directly to the skin by massage, or inhaled through the mucous membranes, allowing the natural chemicals to enter directly into the blood stream, bypassing the digestive tract. This prevents digestive enzymes reducing their natural potency.

A common ailment, stress, responds well to essential oils. It is said that almost everyone in the whole world is under stress of some description at one time or another. Aromatherapy helps us to cope and calm down.

First lets differentiate between positive and negative stress. Positive stress can be described as a “high” or a “buzz” you get when performing your job fast and efficiently. It is, indeed, the kind of high that makes people enjoy working in the first place. This kind of energy gives you your creative spark, improves your energy level, and generally helps with motivation. Negative stress, on the other hand is quite a different matter. This is when the healthy stress becomes debilitating with the result that you have no energy, no desire, only anxiety at your mounting workload. This is when essential oils are needed.

Stress relief with the right essential oils

aromatherapy-classes2

Next, lets take a look at the various types of stress and the oils suited to combat them:

Environmental Stress: Caused by, constant noise, interruptions, bright lights, traffic noise, ringing of telephones etc. Oils which help: Basil, Bergamot Cedarwood, Coriander, Cypress, Geranium, Roman Chamomile

Chemical Stress: Caused by, too much alcohol and caffeine; too much junk food; too many drugs, antibiotics or over the counter painkillers, inhaling substances at the office or home, pollution in the atmosphere; Oils which help: Clary-Sage, Geranium, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, Orange, Patchouli, Pettigrain, Rosemary

Physical Stress: Caused by, pushing your body to the limits, over exercising, lots of business travel, late nights and early mornings etc. Oils which help: Bergamot, Cypress, Fennel, Geranium, Lavender, Marjoram, Orange, Roman Chamomile, Rosemary, Thyme, Vetiver

Mental Stress: Caused by, trying to achieve, worrying about deadlines, pressure from a boss, unemployment, financial worries, health worries – yours or a loved one. Oils which help: Basil, Bergamot, Cardamom, Geranium, Grapefruit, Lavender, Nutmeg, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Peppermint

Emotional Stress: Caused by, relationship problems, parent guilt, infertility, the inability to give or receive love; grief; etc. Oils which help: Bergamot, Cardamom, Geranium, Orange, Palma Rosa, Rose, Sandalwood, Vetiver

Stress levels

Stress can occur at different levels of severity and can quickly move from one level to the next if left untreated. Stress is such an individual experience so let your body be your guide to identify where you reside on the stress-level ladder:

Rung 1: starts as tiredness and leads to insomnia, irritability, digestion issues

Rung 2: anxiety sets in followed by depression, unexplained aches and pains, and migraines and headaches

Rung 3: next comes unexplained fearfulness, guilt, acrophobia, claustrophobia, and infections persist

Rung 4: lastly serious illness ensues: unexplained pain continues, angina, high blood pressure, heart attacks, other conditions that have their root cause linked to stress such as decreased immune function, cancer, stomach ulcers, increased incidence of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis

Aroma bottles 8

It’s vital to treat the first rung before it develops to the second and so on. We shouldn’t strike a divide between our mental health and physical health – we are an integrated unit of body and mind and should be treated as such! Fortunately, we can use essential oil blends to reduce the effect of stress by choosing ones that soothe and relax or energize and stimulate as required, like the following:

For Anxiety:
Lavender
 10 drops, Geranium
 10 drops, Palma Rosa 10 drops

Depression:
Lavender 5 drops, Geranium 15 drops, Bergamot 10 drops

Calming:
Nutmeg 8 drops, Orange 5 drops, Lavender 17 drops

Insomnia:
Lavender 15 drops, Veviter 8 drops, Clary Sage 5 drops

Energizing:
Rosemary 11 drops, Lemon 10 drops, Lavender 8 drops,
Peppermint 5 drops

For Muscular Pain:
Lavender 10 drops, Rosemary 5 drops, Cypress 15 drops

For most of us stress is unavoidable; however, by using essential oils, we can alleviate some of the stress we suffer. Try to incorporate into your life:

  • A monthly aromatherapy massage
  • After a stressful day enjoy a home treatment use oils in the bath or on a wash cloth in the shower
  • Add one of the above blends to a body cream
  • During the day – add a couple of drops to a tissue to take with you
  • Add a blend to a plant spray to use in the environment you’re working in but check with those around that it’s OK to use – they’ll benefit from it, too!

Whatever you do, please remember to make yourself a priority – and keep some time for yourself to do what you want.

This article was previously published at: www.compareclinic.com/en/spotlight-treatment/aromatherapy-the-natural-stress-relief/

 

 

Five Tips for Healthy Kids

02 IMG_3454

Everyone agrees that having healthy kids is important – here are a few tips to help your kids stay healthy:

 

1. Zinc: A vital mineral for enzymatic function, blood sugar metabolism, protein metabolism and DNA formation. Zinc is one of the most important nutrients for immune function, hormonal regulation and healthy bones, skin and joints. Children that suffer from recurring ear infection, allergies or respiratory infections have an increased demand for zinc.

2. Coconut Oil: A solid at room temperature, coconut oil contains a high source of lauric acid (along with breastmilk) and is recognized for its strong antimicrobial and antifungal properties. This oil can be given to kids as a butter substitute, hidden in smoothies or enjoyed straight off the spoon.

3. Sugar free diets: A study concludes three ounces of sucrose at one sitting reduced the phagocytes ability to engulf bacteria and other invaders by 40%. The effect started within 30 minutes of ingestion and lasted five hours. During a time when bacteria and viruses are flying about, we want our immune systems on guard, not on siesta!

4. Elderberry (Sambucus nigra): This herb is very kid friendly since it is easily prepared in a syrup form rather then an alcohol based tincture, and has a more pleasant taste (albeit a little tart!) Extract inhibits influenza virus replication in 10 strains of the virus in vitro, and enhances inflammatory and anti inflammatory cyctokines in human cells.

5. Vitamin D: Vitamin D is produced in our body with the help of sunshine, but its suggested now that we supplement, especially in the long dark winter months. In one study, the Vitamin D dose for children equivalent to the 4000IU adult dose completely prevented all respiratory infections over a winter in a group of children who had experienced three or more infections the previous year

Wishing you and your kids good health,

Andrea

Going Gluten Free or Eating Raw Foods?

iStock_000016468971Small1-590x410

In this month’s blog I introduce the topics of raw foods and gluten free; areas that are the growing in popularity. If you’re interested in creating a more healthful life, this is a step to better health, improved digestion, greater energy and stabilized blood sugar.

  • The body needs a variety of vitamins, minerals, essential fats and anti-oxidants to keep healthy, combating sickness and more importantly providing health both mentally and physically.
  • By eating raw food your intake of enzymes increases, and consequently your digestion and energy improve. Heat destroys these enzymes.
  • Try to eat raw soups such as gazpacho or watercress accompanied by a fresh dark green leaf salad. Along with boosting your intake of enzymes, these meals also increase the intake of vitamins and antioxidants.
  •  Green vegetables keep the body alkaline and seaweeds are especially good at removing heavy metal toxins. Try recipes with seaweed or sprouting seeds such as mung beans or alfalfa seeds.
  • Raw food also includes eating raw fish, eating more sashimi especially salmon increases your essential fatty acids intake. Add some sashmi salmon to a salad to create a light meal.
  •  Gluten found in the following grains: wheat, barley, rye, oats, kamut and spelt. Wheat causes a rise in blood sugar, and an unbalanced blood sugar is linked to many chronic diseases including insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
  • Gluten free grain: Buckwheat, the flour makes great pancakes/blinis . It’s rich in magnesium and also rutin, which is a bioflavonoid and strengthens blood vessels.
  • Proteins: Egg, meat, wild fish, tofu, beans and pulses, raw nuts and seeds. Rotate your proteins each day by giving your body a different protein at each meal.

Gazpacho

http://www.swnoo.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 cucumber, sliced into chunks
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 bell pepper, any color
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 sweet onion, quartered
  • 3 tbsp red wine or balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash black pepper
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Preparation:

Simply combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor, except the fresh herbs and process until smooth. Stir in the herbs, refrigerate until cool and serve with buckwheat pancakes.

Green Smoothie: Blueberry & Spinach

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090419170112.htm

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup liquid (see note below)
  • 1 cup fresh spinach

Preparation:

Note: If you’re eating a raw food diet, use water or another raw liquid, such as cashew milk or fresh squeezed juice that you have on hand.

Blend together the banana, ice cubes, blueberries and liquid until smooth. Add spinach and blend again until completely smooth and creamy. No sweetener is needed in this recipe, as the blueberries carry the flavor, but if you find it a bit too bland, try adding a touch of agave nectar to give it a bit more zing.

 

Kale & Citrus Salad

http://www.thekitchn.com/raw-kale-salad-massage-it-172902

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch of curly kale (or dinosaur kale)
  • 1 orange, squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon cold-pressed olive oil, or coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons raw agave nectar (if desired)
  • 1 to 2 cloves minced or pressed garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 2 tangerines, peeled and separated into sections
  • 2 tablespoons currants or raisins
  • 1 large carrot, grated

Preparation:

Hold each leaf of kale and rip small, bite-sized pieces of the greens off of the stem and collect them in a bowl.

Add the orange and lime juice, oil, agave, garlic, salt and cayenne to the bowl and massage the ingredients into the leaves of the kale for at least 2 minutes. Either allow the kale to sit and marinate (for 30 minutes to overnight in the fridge) or distribute to plates and top with the tangerines, currants and grated carrot. Enjoy your raw kale salad!

 

Enjoy the recipes,

Andrea

Aromatherapy Blends for Sports

Aromatherapy-oils-001

If your into sports and suffer from aches and pains, here are some aromatherapy tips to help:

 

Pre -Sport Rub

To aid breathing, warm the muscles to prevent strains, and focus the mind.

  • Eucalyptus 5 drops
  • Thyme 5 drops
  • Rosemary 5 drops
  • Add to 15ml Sweet Almond oil

Apply to legs from top to bottom including buttocks, lower back and arms. Rub in well before exercising.

 Post Sport Blend to aid relaxation and help reduce aches and pains

  • Eucalyptus 5 drops
  • Ginger 5 drops
  • Peppermint 5 drops
  • Add to 15 ml Sweet Almond oil

Alternatively add the oils to a warm bath and soak away the aches and pains in a relaxing bath.

  • Use 8 – 10 drops in a bath, swirl the water and lie back for 10 – 15 minutes.

 

Tiger Balm is a good alternative, if you don’t have these oils to hand.

All the best with your sporting activities,

Andrea