Topic: The herbalist

Eating for Retirement

Saving for your retirement is now an absolute necessity if you wish to have any chance of autonomy over your living care arrangements. Perhaps you have a private and state pension and feel well covered for eventualities.

Eating for your retirement may sound like a strange concept. For me, it’s like an additional pension.

Dr Lisa Mosconi is a brain specialist who began in the field of genetics. Tough science. As her career progressed and her knowledge increased she started to find questions from her patients were unanswerable. “My parents both have Alzheimer’s, so my genetic predisposition is higher than average, what do I eat to change that?”

So, first of all, we have to get our head around the idea that genes are NOT SET IN STONE! We don’t have to live out our parents’ diseases. We can influence the expression of our genes with our environmental choices and that means lifestyle and food choices.

Dr Mosconi sees brain scans a lot. On those scans, she finds the somewhat shocking information that our brains can show signs of the deterioration of dementia in our 40s and 50s. Long before the cognitive symptoms that become visible usually in our 70s.

What if we could do something about that?

Well, actually, we can. Dr Mosconi studied nutrition to start looking for answers for her patients. And suggests these are 5 of the top things we can do for our brain health:

  1. Drink more water
  2. Eat caviar (!!) or any fish roe, or oily fish
  3. Eat dark leafy greens
  4. Eat berries (including the ones which don’t have vast carbon footprints!)
  5. Use lots of extra virgin olive oil

I don’t know about you, but I can hear a dozen recommendations but unless I know the whys and wherefores, they don’t have as much impact on me.

So, number 1 – every function of the brain requires water for the chemical reactions taking place. When we don’t have enough, we impair those functions and dehydration causes our brains to shrink! Our brains are 80% water. 2l per day is enough.

Set an alarm, reminder or put notes about the house. Drink more water!

Number 2 – Eat caviar. Fish eggs are like a microcosm of the macrocosm of our brains! They contain a very similar balance of brain chemicals and so eating it is direct brain food. All fish eggs are beneficial. Oily fish (including wild tinned salmon or anchovies) is also useful and, they all contain the DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) part of Omega 3 fatty acids which the brain needs.

Number 3 – Berries! Everyone tells us to eat berries. Blackberries (are free!) have the most comprehensive antioxidant properties. Gooseberries are also marvellous. Grow a few bushes in the garden and allow some blackberry plants to remain! Blasted weeds… they always win out in the end. :-)

Number 4 – dark leafy greens. We’re all talking about them but the phytonutrients contained in leafy greens are protective of the plant and also of us. They have disease fighting capabilities! Wild greens are even better (a-ha, the herbalist awakes once more…)

Number 5 – Extra virgin olive oil. Full of goodness in the form of Omega 3s and vitamin E – which is renowned for its anti-ageing properties. It is also protective of the heart so it’s like a 360 degree goodness.

Get used to having these things on the menu. Get creative. So far, I can only think of fish eggs as a topping for eg blinis but there must be more ways than that!

Nigel Slater says that tinned salmon is only useful for fish cakes. Now, that sounds like a great way to get that oily fish in and use up left over spuds.

Stick a big handful of organic spinach leaves on your plate under your meal. It will wilt if it’s hot and contribute to the salad if it’s cold. YUM!

Water – tap is fine. Spring is ideal. Plastic free is best. :-)

And berries, well, let’s get picking this Autumn…..

If you are concerned about your brain health, call me to chat about herbs which can support your brain and cognitive health alongside these wonderful foods.

The Spring has sprung herbalist

April 2014

As the sun warms us up and the blossom cheers our spirits, we unfurl from our Winter hibernation ready to face the world again, much like the sticky buds of the Chestnut trees revealing their fresh, green new leaves.  The garden has leapt into life, the bulbs are displaying their rich colours and Winter’s grey starts to ebb away.  What a relief it is.  Spring has definitely started when Sunday’s dawn chorus is followed by the hum of lawnmowers!

Now is the time to think about those detoxes which were too difficult as optimistic New Year’s Resolutions in dark, dreary January.  When better to spring clean yourself than with the lightening of the days?

Tips for a Spring clean:  A cold infusion of fresh herbs

These can be gathered from your local park, or if you’re really lucky, your garden!

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis) leaves in Spring are less bitter than later in the year.  Add a few to your salads and dose yourself with natural nutrition.  Dandelions are diuretic but also a rich source of potassium.  So, whereby standard diuretics leach potassium from your body, dandelion assists in the elimination of excess water but replaces the potassium which leaches away with it.  Clever plant.   You’ll find dandelion in most places where there is grass.  The yellow flowers are a giveaway but seek out the younger, smaller leaves.

Cleavers (Galium aparine) is a rampant weed to many but a herbalist’s dream.  For the spring detox it is a wonderful addition.  It imparts a light flavour and the medicinal properties for which it is renowned is that of lymphatic drainage.  The lymphatic system contains clear fluids which are recycled from blood plasma.

Pick a large handful of each herb, place in a jug and cover with cold water.  Leave overnight and drink the following morning.  Feel the power of green as you imbibe this pleasant tasting fresh and natural infusion!  To make a more fragrant version, add a few leaves from a lavender plant.

Dandelions and Cleavers are gentle herbs but be very sure that what you are picking is suitable – herbal mis-identification can be serious.  It may be natural but so are plenty of deadly plants!  To be sure, use a good ID guide or ask your local herbalist. Please do not pick everything from one area, leave plenty for others and for the wildlife. It is also advisable to steer away from sites where dogs may have peed!

DISCLAIMER:  Before undertaking any form of self-medicating health activity, if you suffer from long-term health conditions or are pregnant, it may not be suitable for you to follow these ideas.  Please check with a qualified medical herbalist first.

How seeing a herbalist works – 1

Before we even meet…

I have a 15-min free chat with potential patients before we meet. I think this is crucial as it helps us to know whether we think we might work well together.

A big part of any complementary medicine appointment is the therapeutic relationship. If you don’t like me, that just won’t be there. And vice versa! :-)

I explain how I work and give you some things to do before we even meet!

  • pre-appointment medical health questionnaire
  • food & drinks journal
  • quiz

Yes, I am a big fan of the quiz. It’s by Gretchen Rubin who looks at how we respond to making changes. Herbal medicine treatment generally requires quite a few lifestyle and dietary changes in addition to taking the herbs I prescribe. After all, you want something about your health to change. That’s why you’re seeking help.

BUT, those changes to your health don’t happen without you making changes too. And, if you aren’t ready for that, it’s going to be an uphill battle for us both. Frankly, there’s likely to be little point trying!

I sometimes say it’s a little like tying your non-dominant hand behind your back. You can go about your life pretty well, but it’s so much better when you can use both your hands. (In this little analogy, the herbs are your dominant hand and the changes I ask of you are your non-dominant hand)

This way, I know how you will best respond to suggestions of change, what other health challenges you have faced and will have a snapshot of how you fuel your body. I get a lot of fodder from these inputs and that enables us to focus our time together on why you are coming to see me.

HERBAL-REIKI RELAXATION

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HERBAL-REIKI RELAXATION

Never heard of it before? Well, that’s because it’s probably a new thing… I think I’ve invented it!!

I practised Reiki some years ago but stopped working with clients after moving but continued to use this marvellous energy medicine on myself.

Then, I qualified as a herbalist and moved into a different paradigm.

NOW, IT’S TIME TO BRING THEM TOGETHER!  So… what happens?

How your appointment goes:

  • ** medical history

  • ** a delicious infusion of relaxing and nourishing herbs

  • ** 45 mins of Reiki treatment

A quiet contemplative space to be you, where you are and at peace. The air filled with lush essential oils or incense and sounds of nature.

ALL THIS FOR JUST £35

IT’S NEW!
After keeping Herbs and Reiki as separate practices, it now feels right to bring them together. I have a deep sense that the two modalities will complement each other.

BETA TESTERS REQUIRED :-)
As this is a new venture, I am offering you the opportunity to experience this marvellous therapy combination at a reduced price. In return, I ask that you rate & review on Google and Facebook and fill in a feedback form.

This is a one-time hugely reduced price offer so, book your places now. :-)