Anxious Herbs

Anxiety is another issue I have struggled with. There are a myriad of medical descriptions of what anxiety, ‘mediacally looks like’. I am not going to focus on that too much, the NHS has a good general information page on this if you would like to know about it further. Essentially what anxiety boils down to is a fear of fear itself. A vicious cycle which once you are in it, it’s very hard to break. Several years ago I was given a book on Anxiety and Panic by Dr. Claire Weaks. This literally transformed my life. Once I understood what was happening, I could begin to live with it and maybe one day control it. I am not afraid.

Accepting troubles

Since then I have also been storing up some herbal wisdom to help with anxiety and stress. These are my top tips:

1) The trusty Bach Rescue Remedy. As you drop it on your tongue breath in for 7….and out for 11. A neat rhyme and very soothing.

2) Valerian Root. Used for centuries as a cure for insomnia. A tea at the end of the day or after a stressful event is wondrous.

3)Kava. I first had this in Fiji several years ago. It’s hard to get hold of here in the UK and if you find it , it tends to be in ‘party packs’. If anyone knows of a wholefood store stocking it please let me know!

4) Passion Flower. In tea and tinctures. Traditionally used after seizures to calm the body. It is in most ‘calming teas’.

5)Hops, in a tea mixed with passion flower and valerian.

6) Lavender. Helps breathing, encourages rest and sleep and contains anti-bacterial properties. It is commonly used in aromatherapy for stress.

7) Catnip, stimulates the nervous system, balances the mind and encourages rest.

Finally, for any herbalists reading this I am sure many people would wonder why I have left Chamomile out. Chamomile is lovely and many people use it regularly, but I find it gives me a headache. I don’t know why- if anyone has any theories I’d love to know more about it!

Herbal helpers


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Taking Charge

I was more than a little sceptical about the healing powers of Amber. It made some sense that it contains succinic acid, the same ingredient used in ibuprofen and therefore holds the potential to act in a similar way. The basis for my scepticism was the fact that Amber is a substance that has lain on the earth for countless Milena, it has been subject to immense heat and power, rolled through glaciers and pummelled by tsunami’s, with that in mind what difference would its proximity to my skin have on its ability to release succinic acid?

Despite this I decided to treat myself too a raw Baltic Amber bracelet. It is a beautiful thing and we all deserve some beauty! Since it’s arrival I have worn in night and day for the past two weeks. In the shower I soak it in the warm water and use it to massage my spine, in the water the amber becomes much softer, feeling almost pliable and holds alot of heat.

I have been TOTALLY STUNNED with the results! From almost the moment I started wearing it I have generally been feeling much better. Showers have been easier, the watery amber incredibly soothing, I have slept better. The pain is less intense and I haven’t had any petit-mal for a while either!

Perhaps it is merely a Placebo, but as I had such little faith in it and was so skeptical I find that hard to believe. I have been ‘resting’ continuously for over a month now, so I am sure that’s contributing. I have also been Oil Pulling for several weeks now too and I think that must be helping too. At the end of the day, even if it’s a placebo, if it works, as it seems to be, who cares?!

My point in this blog post is to illustrate the fact that I believe that there are four things which are currently contributing the most to my health:

  1. Food –  sources of: iron, omega-3, vitamin c, magnesium
  2. Amber
  3. Oil Pulling
  4. Rest

All of these are things which I have researched myself. It is true that Doctors have mentioned Rest to me in passing, as an after thought, no one has come up with any ideas on what this might look like or what exactly Rest means, that is something I’ve done myself. It is an empowering thought that I have taken charge of my own health in this way. I am in charge of my life, my body, I have not sat back and taken advice only from The Pharmaceutical Experts. No one can know your body like you do.

I hope my blog will inspire others to be less skeptical, to try things that consultant’s don’t tell them about and mostly to LISTEN to themselves. When you find something that works for you, celebrate it, cherish it. It is an amazing accomplishment!

Sit, be sill and listen. Rumi.

Sit, be sill and listen. Rumi.



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Time enough

In order to really listen to my body I have needed the most precious of all unquantifiable entities, time. I  am learning that I need to slow down, observe the patterns in my body. Understanding these will surely help me on my path for a healthier life. The C21st world moves so fast, it is easy to feel like we are meant to exist at the speed at which emails travel. Doctors are keen to offer quick fixes, steroid-injections and Pain Management Plans. Very few doctors I’ve met have taken time to ask ‘How are you?’ such a simple question, seemingly so obvious, so essential, yet rarely thought of. There isn’t time.

I am increasingly drawn to find alternative therapies to the massive super-fast medications Consultants prescribe. I think that there is much to be gained from simply slowing the pace at which we live. What’s the rush? In rushing we miss the beauty. Our ancestors knew this, somewhere within our supermarkets and electric light bulbs we’ve forgotten. The pace of ancient peoples lives followed that of the seasons, short periods of warming manuel labor over winter-months and long days in fields at the end of summer.

By accepting my current need to lie down for periods throughout the day, I have seen many things which normally I would’ve missed. I have seen the silver birch shake off its winter sleep, green shoots unfurling from it’s grey boughs. I have seen robins, bluetits, sparrows, wrens and a blackbird all busy themselves with nest-building. I’ve seen how the birds wake up early, I now know which prefer peanuts and which prefer poppyseed. I have seen the Narcissus open out. I have learnt that at 6am when the world is waking, I feel the best. I have learnt to seize that moment gentley, not to be too excited because by evening my body and mind are tired again.

Accepting and learning my need for time has been a challenge. I’ve always been an On-Time person (despite being married to a Colombian – famous for Colombian time!). I like plans and organising things neatly, so letting go of time was especially challenging, I’m still working on it. To try and help myself slow down and let go of time, I have been exploring ancient crafts such as felting, soapmaking, willowweaving and carving. All these things take time, they will not be rushed, by working on them slowly you can create something beautiful. I hope that I can learn to transfer this wisdom into the time I spend working on my health. I feel certain that if I allow myself time, I will ultimately live better and love better, with more time we all will.


slow down




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Helpful Herbs

A quick blog found on another great herbal blog on 20, affordable ways to relieve pain that you probably have lurking in your kitchen. A blog to remind myself as much as anyone else that there are things we can do to help that are, easy, cheap and accessible!

Women's Herbs

20 Natural Painkillers in your kitchen:

Ginger (add to 1-2 teaspoons daily to diet for general muscle pain)
Cloves (chewed gently for toothache / gum inflammation)
Apple Cider Vinegar (1tbsp mixed with water before meals for heartburn)
Garlic (made into a special oil for earache – recipe at the original article)
Cherries (joint pain, headaches – 1 bowl per day)
Oily fish (Salmon, tuna, sardines, trout, mackerel, herring – intestinal inflammation – 18oz per week)
Yogurt (PMS – 2 cups per day)
Turmeric (chronic pain – 1/4 teaspoon per day)
Oats (endometrial pain – they are gluten free)
Salt (hot, salty foot baths for ingrown toenails – 1tsp per cup of water – 20 mins twice daily)
Pineapple (stomach bloating, gas – 1 cup of fresh pineapple)
Peppermint (add a few drops of the essential oil to bath for sore muscles)
Grapes (back pain – 1 heaping cup per day)
Water (general injury pain, helps wash away the pain-triggering histamine – 8 x 8 ounce glasses per day)
Horseradish (sinus pain – 1 teaspoon twice daily)
Blueberries (bladder / urinary tract infections – 1 cup daily)
Raw Honey (topical application 4 times daily for cold sores / canker sores) (see also our special report on raw honey)
Flax (breast pain – 3 tablespoons daily – must be ground or seeds will pass right through!)
Coffee (migraines – caffeine stimulates the stomach to absorb pain meds better)
Tomato Juice (leg cramps – tomato juice is rich in potassium – 10oz daily

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