Food As Medicine

Make your own Hemp Milk

Hemp Milk Making Tutorial
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Food As Medicine Health & Wellness News

Stop Winter Bugs in their tracks NATURALLY!

Stop Winter Bugs in their tracks NATURALLY!

t’s that time of year again when children go back to school and bring home all kinds of bugs and th whole family starts coughing and sneezing.  By the time Christmas comes, children are missing nativity plays, parents are taking time off work and hospitals are crying out about bed shortages.

As someone who Is self-employed, I have long recognised that I simply cannot afford to be off sick, so I have taken a particular interest in what I can do to avoid catching the bugs even when I may see several patients a day who are affected with some but or another.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine there is a formula that is always used BEFORE the autumn properly sets in.  It is called Jade Windscreen and is said to act as a Windscreen to stop the cold from blowing into our body.  A herbal medicine practitioner would think of it acting both to shield the body and by strengthening it at the same time.  This formula would not be suitable once you have actually caught the bug, however, because then you would need herbs to expel the pathogen, usually by sweating it out.

It is very important to strengthen our immune systems BEFORE the viruses and bacteria start spreading around.  I do this in 3 tages. 

Firstly I focus on reducing the toxic load in my body by doing a detoxification diet for 10 days each month.  This means my body has some leeway to begin fighting bugs rather than already being stressed out to capacity and finding that the tiniest bug tips me over the edge.  In the autumn I supplement this with the Jade Windscreen herbal formula.  (Click here if you would like to order a consultation and have a prescription made for you.)

The second step in boosting my immunity is to take supplements that strengthen my body.  At the first sign of Autumn I begin adding Baobab, echinacea and elecampane tinctures to my smoothies.  I swear by this alongside the Nice Plus encapsulated fruit, vegetables and berries because in the 5 years I have followed this regime, I have not had a day of illness.

The third step in boosting my immunity is to be aware when I have been exposed to an unusual amount of people coughing and sneezing and I then drink echinacea tea three times per day, I may add some drops of the tincture and if I do feel the tickle in my throat or smell a cold coming in my nose, I write myself an herbal prescription for the mornings, then in the evening I have a very hot bath and an early night with a hot toddy.

This has worked unfailingly for me for the last five years and I would recommend it to anyone over the flu jab, given the number of people I have seen who get ill immediately after having it.  Our body has its own pharmacy and given the right care and nutrition, then it provides the protection we need in a much faster and more reliable way than any vaccine that has been Brough out months after the virus has mutated. 

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How to Improve your fertility naturally by reducing stress levels inside and outside your body.

Acupuncture for Fertility at Barefoot Medicine
How to improve your natural fertility by reducing stress levels inside and outside your body

When we talk about stress, what we are actually referring to is a hormone in our body called cortisol which is triggered when we need to be alert or on guard over something.  This hormone over-rides all other hormones because it is related to our very survival, alerting our body to a threat.  If we are under threat, then it is obvious that our body is going to use all its resources to get away from the danger and we go into fight, flight or freeze mode.  At this time, it stands to reason that it would not be in our interests to expend energy on non-essential functions such as conception, sex drive or even digestion.  This is where the expression to xxx oneself with fear – our body evacuates itself with anything that is not needed that could slow us down.

In ancient times when we were running away from a wooly mammoth, this served us well because we would run away to safety then the adrenaline and cortisol would go back down to normal levels, the quick burst of energy and high pulse rate would flush out the unwanted byproducts of the energy expenditure (oxidative stress) and homeostasis would return and our daily bodily functions return.

In today’s society, however, so many people have a constant drip-feed of adrenaline either through stress at work, worry about money, stressful relationships etc so the effect of the adrenaline is longer term and leads to a lowering of fertility hormones, lower libido, poor digestion and hence a less healthy body. 

When this is looked at in the context of conception, there are usually heightened stress levels anyway due to the intense desire to fall pregnant, but this pressure, too, becomes counter-productive which is why it is so common to hear about women falling pregnant once they have given up trying.

In the fertility unit at Adenbrooks in Cambridgeshire, they have introduced a programme to reduce oxidative stress for everyone who is about to undergo IVF.  Oxidative stresses when we inhale oxygen and use it up as our ‘fuel’ so anything that makes us get out of breath.  The by-products or ‘exhaust’ are not needed by the body much like an apple that you bite into comes into contact with oxygen and turns brown, or metal comes into contact with water and oxygen and it rusts.  A similar process takes place in our body and releases something Kon as free radicals, which contribute to the ageing process.  This is when our body needs ANTi-oxidants to flush them out.

It therefore follows that if  you want to concede you need to reduce the external factor that are causing the stress in the first place and you also need to reduce the free-radical damage inside your body and restore homeostasis to get your hormones and general health to its optimum level, not just to fall pregnant, but to maintain a healthy pregnancy as well.

Top Tips for improving your fertility naturally.

  1. Begin a course of acupuncture to help restore homeostasis
  2. Change your diet to be very rich in anti-oxidants. At Barefoot Medicine you will be given nutritional advice as part of your treatment because Simone has been trained in both Chinese Dietary Therapy and western nutritional therapy.
  3. Consider using herbal remedies to improve your fertility, your sleep, reduce stress etc.  Whilst many over-the-counter solutions are available for each individual complaint, at Barefoot Medicine, Simone will write a prescription that is tailored to your specific needs taking into account any other pre-existing conditions. 
  4. Reduce your hours at work or change jobs to a less stressful environment.  This is a challenge, particularly if you are trying to pay for private fertility treatment, but there is a balance to be found between increasing stress to pay for the treatment versus reducing the stress and improving you natural fertility levels.
  5. Meditate!  There is a free app called Insight Timer which is a fantastic resource to help you calm your mind, sleep better and get a better perspective on life if you make meditation a part of your daily routine.  Your mental state is fundamental in the way you approach problems and whether the stress response is triggered or not.
Acupuncture Food As Medicine Functional Medicine Health & Wellness News

Why herbal antibiotics will always be better than pharmaceutical ones

Why herbal antibiotics will always be better than pharmaceutical ones

We are at that time of year again when children go back to school and within weeks whole families start going down with ‘winter bugs’ that are spread in the playgrounds and are brought home by snotty-nosed children.  Bacteria forms, mutates and evolves so very much faster than they can be identified in the lab that by the time any hope of an antidote has been developed, the thing it is trying to overcome has changed, so the scientists are forever playing catch-up.

Clearly the Western Medicine approach is not and cannot work when we are faced with such a huge epidemic of winter bugs every year and such a massive strain is put on our healthcare system every Winter. 

The answer, I believe, lies in strengthening our own immune systems because it is only our own body that can evolve quickly enough to combat mutations.  Given the right environment – microbiome – our gut bacteria can evolve faster than airborne bacteria that we can catch for one simple reason:  our body’s early warning systems.  An airborne pathogen will enter our body via our nose or mouth as we inhale.  The mucous membranes identify it as a pathogen and trigger an immune response.  In the case of pollen, for example, the immune response is simply to sneeze to blow it out, but stronger pathogens will require our immune system to respond at a deeper level with changes in our physiology that enable us to ‘attack’ the invading germs. 

Given that our immune system is predominantly based around our gut bacteria, a healthy diet with a wide range of bacteria will be able to adapt and respond very quickly, which means that the more we protect our microbiome IN ADVANCE of the winter season, the less likely we are to fall ill, or if we do succumb, we will have a faster recovery time.

Hippocrates was, as we know, the father of medicine and he is renowned for saying that we should all use our food as our medicine.  However, there are times when a regular diet is not enough because although that will maintain homeostasis, it will not be adequate to mount an attack against an abnormal surge of pathogens.  This is when we need to supplement our regular diet with extra nutrients and it is at this point that herbal medicine comes into its own.

Garlic is well-reputed for its antibacterial properties, but many other herbs are far more effective for specific ailments.   In general nutrition, garlic is going to strengthen our gut, our immune system and make the microbiome inhospitable for various pathogens including the common cold, however its main use is in lowering blood pressure and lowering cholesterol levels and other herbs would be more appropriate but may not have the widespread reputation and easy availability of garlic.

Think of your digestive system like an internal eco-system:  a healthy and well-balanced eco-system will thrive even when here are plagues and it will self-regulate if one species starts to take over.  Our gut is exactly the same and has a tremendous ability to adapt very quickly and there are certain herbs known as ‘adaptogens’ that facilitate this function. That means that rather than having anti (against) biotics (the biota or live bacteria in our gut) that we can help our body to adapt to an ever-changing environment instead of just killing EVERYTHING that is alive in it, whether good or bad.

One side-effect of killing everything with antibiotics is that after a course of them, most people experience diarrhoea or constipation.  You can often tell what is going on inside the gut by examining what comes out of it!  Clearly, it is not normal or healthy to have diarrhoea so something must be out of balance and need to be regulated.  This means that if you have a course of ANTI-biotics, then you must always follow it with a course of PRO-biotics or foods that are rich in good bacteria such as fermented foods.

So rather than reaching for the medicine cabinet when you feel ill, why not look at your body’s own internal pharmacy and give it the best nutrition you possibly can so that your gut bacteria can take care of infections itself.  It is a cheaper, faster and more effective and efficient way to stay healthy, but the pharmaceutical companies will never tell you about it because keeping your healthy is not what keeps them in business.

If you would like to know more about particular antibacterial herbs, then please follow Barefoot Medicine on facebook and feel free to ask me questions about the posts, or to make suggestions about future topics that you would like me to cover.

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