Tagged: Herbal medicine

My story: Anxiety

“I had heard people talk about feeling anxious and thought it sounded a bit feeble, as though they were being weak”

Then, I found myself in a situation where my adrenaline was surging as though I were about to be run over by a car, that instant, all day and every day for months. This was a lot more than being a ‘bit worried’ about something.

I couldn’t understand what was happening to me. I couldn’t understand why this thing had landed upon me. I had no idea what to do about it. And, this was with a BSc (Hons) degree in herbal medicine! I felt utterly under the control of this physiological happening and it was terrifying.

I lost a ton of weight as food looked like mud, tasted worse and the smell of it triggered nausea in me. I feared that I had broken part of my body’s functioning. It was desparate. I was desparate. And, nothing I did, or tried to get help with, helped me in any way. The first time, I am not sure how it went away but, eventually, it did and I became me again.

Recently, I have had a 5-day spell of the same feelings. I felt horrified when it kicked off, remembering that it went on for months. I had knots in my stomach, my scalp was prickling and cold, my body was gripped with vice-like tension and my stomach lurched at every thought which was anything other than as benign as ‘I’ll go and wash my hands’. My guts were gurgling. Food threatened to come back up. Anything smelly made me want to vomit. My stomach felt like it was in my mouth all the time and the area of my chest around my heart chakra was prickly and it felt prickly down my arm too.

Being a well-resourced person, I upped my Magnesium dosages which felt good. I had a shiatsu appointment to clear some of the energy and tension. I made up a Bach Flower Remedies combination which was very holding and supportive. I put together herbs to calm my nervous system, nourish my adrenal glands and bring me a sense of being loved. They all helped massively and got me through the day, enabled me to function. BUT, I was still in the grip of this frequently surging adrenaline-anxiety and its symptoms. I could bring them down but not ‘get rid of them’. I couldn’t seem to stop them being triggered. I couldn’t find a place of personal safety which allowed my body to stand down. To stop preparing me to fight or flee for my life. And, I was exhausted. It is exhausting feeling as though you are constantly in peril.

So, what did I do? I used EFT-tapping. I worked with a colleague and we tapped together on the feelings in my body, the things I thought might be at the root of it.

And, we got there! I had that moment of clear revelation when you know you’ve hit the nail on the head. It took one hour. Just one hour. It’s not always that quick but sometimes, it really is.

I won’t go into the deeper details but suffice to say, it was linked to an event in my past which was so powerful that it made me feel incapable of making decisions for myself. That I needed approval for everything to be sure of not getting it wrong and that this single episode in my past had such a grip on my subconscious that it had the power to leave me a quivering mess. And, I really felt a mess. Such an incomprehensibly out of control mess.

The beauty of EFT-tapping is that alongside finding this very core event (which triggered the unconscious belief that I was not capable of making good/right decisions for myself), I could tap on the feelings, the sensations in my body and release them. Some things didn’t go right away and the day after I was left with some residual bodily sensations. But, most importantly, when I awoke, I wasn’t frightened, I wasn’t cowed, I felt elated. I felt that sense of freedom that comes when you are unshackled from an invisible weight which has held you down for decades. Held me down.

I love how powerful EFT-tapping is.

If you would like to work on the things which are holding you down, keeping your body in a stuck place, get in touch.

Hypertension

Millstone diagnosis or manageable condition?

The diagnosis of high blood pressure (primary hypertension) can be a difficult thing to receive. If you have received this diagnosis, you’re not alone. It’s pretty common; 1/3 of adult-folk in the UK have hypertension but may not even know. Hypertension brings with it so many comorbidities and due to side effects, pharmaceutical medication doesn’t always seem the right answer even if it reduces risk of the resultant complications.

The risks of untreated hypertension:

  • Heart disease
  • Kidney failure
  • Stroke
  • Dementia and more

So, what do you do?

As a herbalist, you won’t be suprised to hear that I think that the introduction of herbs into your daily routine is a good plan. There are many herbs which will help to reduce blood pressure and I won’t list them here are the sheer number would seem overwhelming and not lead you to a way of making choices about those herbs for yourself. And, if I only suggested herbs, it would be a bit like putting you on BP meds for the rest of your life. They may not have the same negative side effects but you would likely take them in an on-going manner.

What other interventions would also be required? As you might expect with personalised medicine, there is no one size fits all. This might sound like a bit of a downer if you were hoping for a quick win, but really, it’s brilliant as it gives so many more options of things to try.

The majority of factors, as with so many chronic conditions, can be attributed to lifestyle.

  1. Stress. We all know that lowering stress can be easier said than done. There are herbs to assist with that, foods which assist with that and, in my experience, EFT-tapping helps with that as well. All tools which you would receive guidance on in an appointment with me.
  2. A missing nutrient for many is magnesium and dosing with magnesium can reduce anxiety, body tension and lower blood pressure.
  3. Insulin resistance is a contributing factor as well and tackling that will improve many other areas of your health as well
  4. Do you snore? If you do, then sleep apnoea (another, perhaps surprising, factor which can influence blood pressure) is likely featuring in your life and could do with some attention.
  5. Inflammation is a root cause factor in many, many diseases and conditions. Reduce inflammation with dietary changes, herbs, improving sleep and lowering stress

But what can I do about all this?

Does reading this make you feel more stressed and anxious? Do you feel stuck, overwhelmed and unable to help yourself?

First things first. Take a deep breath and allow yourself a moment or two to settle. Then, try this tapping sequence to support your blood pressure health: Tapping for High Blood Pressure

Hypertension is known as the silent killer. It is a serious health condition which you can be empowered to manage through dietary, lifestyle and other factors such as herbal medicines. If you would like support in lowering your blood pressure, get in touch so that we can discuss an appointment for your health journey to begin.

Autumnal bug-share

The school’s are nearly going back, the leaves have begun to fall (yup, I know, we’ve hardly had summery weather in the UK this year and we’re already heading into the darkness). And, after all this isolation, distancing and more with Covid-19 measures, we’re going to start mingling our germs too. Usually, that would be OK. In fact it still is, as being exposed to new mildly pathogenic microbes is part of keeping a strong and fit immune system.

HOWEVER, it also means that we are being bombarded with the potential for those seemingly endless Autumnal and Winter infections.

Do you seem to get every bug going? Are you constantly streaming with snot and snuffling, sneezing and coughing? Are you worried that you’ll catch everything the children do but worse?

I can help.

Herbs are brilliant at managing symptoms of these kinds of self-limiting, minor infections, shortening the duration and preventing them occuring in the first place.

You have a couple of options for working on this with me:

A mini consultation where we discuss you most usual symptoms and how the infection progresses and I make you up a special herbal tincture mix to take in small doses as prevention and then an ’emergency’ mix for if you do get something. These can be teas or tincture blends.

Children’s appointments – Children respond so well to herbs. They are brilliant as their bodies are less stuck in habits and habitual ways. I love working with them as they are so honest about what happens to them. My 4-year-old loves my ‘bogey picking nail’ (which is just a long pinkie finger nail which happens to fit up her nose for those chunky boogers she’s not yet old enough to care about! She loves taking her herbal syrups and often reminds me to dose her up each day.

A Winter wellness plan for the whole season. This is an in-depth treatment plan of herbs, food, lifestyle and tapping to prime your immune system for the winter. You’ll receive weekly emails filled with tips on feeding your immune system with great foods and herbs and a tapalong video. You have 1-2-1 sessions with me to keep yourself on track with the lifestyle changes specific to you. I’ll also create an emergency tincture mix in case anything passes your new resilience and a special early bird tea blend bonus. Click here to find out more. We begin in October.

Winter Wellness plan

A tapping and herbal well-being defense plan for you this Autumn-Winter.

My wonderful plan is designed to see you through 20 weeks of Autumn and Winter being as well as you can be! What’s included?

  • Tapping videos;
  • Weekly emails;
  • 3 sessions 1-2-1 with me;
  • A brilliant blend of herbs;
  • Emergency herbal tincture

Plus an EARLY BIRD gift if you sign up by September 18th!

Individual 1-2-1 sessions with me

3 sessions of 30m where we discuss your wellness needs, your progress and the bits you struggle with. These can be in-person in my Hertfordshire clinic or on Zoom.

Tailor-made herbal tea blend

Keeping yourself well with immune supporting herbs with a long-held tradition for wellness. Preparing your daily tea, drinking your daily tea and investing in your health has limitless value.

Tap-along videos

A series of weekly short tap-along videos for you to view and tap with at a time which suits you. Each one is designed to address an aspect of winter health and wellness by boosting the areas of your immune system. A great way to give to yourself the healthy help you need.

Weekly emails

Need support and help with new things? My weekly emails are designed to get you fired up, engaged and ready to be the best you throughout the calmer, darker days of Winter.

Emergency tincture blend

So, something snuck through, despite all your efforts? Keep this tailor-made blend to hand just in case you begin to feel those tell-tale signs of something ‘coming on’. Knock it on the head with strong blend of tinctures created and blended just for you.

Early bird special gift – pay by 18/9/21

Sign up by September 18th and receive a 25g pack of 3 super-special herbs specifically chosen for assisting in the prevention of colds and ‘flu. A wonderfully tasty tea blend used by herbalists all over the world. This great tea is yours if you sign up by September 18th.

The cost to you?

Just £350 per person for 20 weeks of high-quality medicines and great health support. The value of this plan is immense as you will be focussed on keeping yourself in the best of health throughout Autumn and Winter.

Pay here: www.paypal.me/herbalist/350

Want to know more? Click here

NOTES

  • Medicines are tailor-made and not suitable for sharing
  • Refunds are not made for unused medicines
  • You retain full responsibility for your own health
  • Not suitable for pregnant women, those with long-term chronic health conditions, those on immuno-suppressants
  • Medicines are collected from Hemel Hempstead or posted – posting incurs additional costs

Ugh, hayfever…

If you have hayfever, you’re probably right in the middle of feeling sniffly, snotty, itching eyes and generally rather groggy. It’s miserable.

And, anti-histamines can make you feel terrible too.

Well, help is at hand. During May & June I am your ‘Hayfever Hero’ and I am offering mini consultations for just £45! That includes your first 2 weeks of tea.

During that consulation, I will ask you about about your symptoms, how they affect you and about any medications you take. We will also discuss foods which you can reduce and foods to increase.

At the end of the consultation, I will write a prescription for a hayfever tea. The tea will include herbs which get really focussed on reducing your symptoms as much as possible.

So, whether you have runny eyes, itchy eyes, bunged up sinuses, can’t stop sneezing or have a river of snot, there are herbs to suit you. Herbs which have traditionally been used for symptoms like those for millenia.

Contact me for your Hayfever consult today!

Sleep Part 3 – Stop trying!

You’re not sleeping well. You feel like you haven’t had a proper night’s sleep in a long time. I hear you. It’s an awful feeling. You know that everything in your body is not functioning optimally and you are putting yourself at higher risk of every ailment and serious disease going.

So, what do you do?

First things first, the research shows that the more we worry about not getting to sleep or having enough sleep, the less well we sleep! So, STOP WORRYING ABOUT IT!

Problem solved.

What do you mean that didn’t work?

It’s so much easier said than done. I remember right in the midst of my new-baby no sleep phase that I felt like I was broken. That my ability to sleep had been broken. I thought I would never sleep again. And, I thought I would die through lack of sleep. I felt terrible. I spent so long teetering right on the edge of being asleep but as soon as I noticed, or my partner moved, or the radiator creaked, I would ping back into wakefulness. I lay awake in my bed for hours failing. It became a place I loathed.

So, how do we stop thinking about not sleeping? How do we shift out of being ‘a bad sleeper’ into being someone who doesn’t have a label for their sleep, they just do it.

Warning: no quick solution!

We start with the daytime. We listen to our inner voice and hear how we are talking to ourselves. How are we mentioning our sleep? What do you hear?

What do you hear?

‘I’m such a bad sleeper’ ‘I’m an insomniac’ ‘I just can’t seem to get a good night’s sleep’

I think our brains and our thoughts are very powerful. When we tell ourselves these things repeatedly even if it seems as though it is just the truth of the situation, how can our bodies do anything but continue to obey?

I think this is a very powerful concept and one I use a lot when I work with my herbal patients and EFT clients.

I needed a lot of extra help to get back the skill of sleep. I wish I had known of the tools I now have and use with my patients. I think I would have been in a very different situation from the one I actually found myself in. And, in spite of that wish, I know that I learned a huge amount from my experience as that drove me to look for more tools. I also firmly believe that the best we can do with our toughest paths is to find the silver lining and use it to our eventual advantage which is where I am now. I know that my skill set is so suited to that kind of situation that I can help more and more people who feel like they are beyond help.

Read Part 5 in my series on sleep to hear about how I help myself and others to get a good night’s sleep.

Self-care and love

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

This Valentine’s Day, don’t forget to include yourself when you’re giving out love.

If you take the time to give yourself love, not only will you feel better about yourself, but you will be better equipped to spread the love to others.

Most people think that self-care involves a glass of wine and putting your feet up in front of the telly. You’ll also be told you ‘deserve’ it. And, I’m not knocking either thing – each has its place. But, this concept is not something that is nourishing and restorative. And, it is not self-care.

We ALL deserve to take care of ourselves. We all deserve to feel good in and about ourselves for as much of the time as we can. Alcohol and zoning out don’t do that.

Self-care in my mind is something which helps to restore your core, your well of contentment, your get up and go, your resilience and your facility for dealing with the daily grind. And, life in Lockdown has had a LOT of grind (and some unexpected silver linings too).

Self care comes in many guises. Maybe it’s about putting a well-balanced meal on the table at most mealtimes. Maybe it’s about ensuring your sleep is the best it can be. Maybe it’s about drinking herbal teas to keep calm. Maybe, it’s meditation, yoga and other forms of exercise.

What do I do?

I found the idea of self-care so very hard to contemplate. Something essentially completely alien and whilst the notion was OK, it just slipped down the ‘To Do’ list every day, never happening until it never appeared on the list because it became something else to berate myself for not doing. I just couldn’t summon up the feeling that I could do it. Like so many, I just didn’t know how to prioritise it, how to feel that it was OK to do it. It felt really hard to fit in with so many other pressures demanding my time. I wanted the re-create the pure escapist uplift of that first glass of fizz but found the repercussions for my mood the following day too hard to handle – not to mention it has the potential to create a vicious cycle. I sought out junk foods but the highs and lows of that did nothing for my overall sense of wellbeing either.

In fact, it has only recently become something which feels as though it has any priority in my life. As I got more in tune with my body and how it actually felt each day, I found I needed to choose something healthful. Something restorative in a true sense. I still want to zone out in front of the telly, and have the odd glass of wine now and then but mostly, I am now seeking ways to truly nourish myself.

So, how did I change my perspective? Many, many things helped

Working with others

Seeking help can be a really important first step. Being guided by someone with skills and knowledge has profound benefits.

The first step along my road was getting help from my beautiful Italian friend, Laura Cattaneo. Her deeply restorative Shiatsu energy work massages combined with her words of wisdom enabled me to shift a lot of blocks and obstacles to living a fuller, more contented life. Laura brings a deep wisdom to her work as shiatsu practitioner and spiritual counsellor.

I had been intereted in EFT/Tapping for a while and I began working with an EFT/Tapping practitioner, Tamara Donn. Her sessions have helped me to clear other obstacles in my emotional life which were getting in the way. I am still on this journey and find that regular sessions enable me to manage lockdown and its challenges as well as working on my wider issues.

Calm Club and Sleep-Well Sessions: Fancy giving tapping a try? You’re welcome to join one of my weekly sessions. We alternate between Calm Club and Sleep-Well sessions on Thursdays at 8.30-9.30pm using Zoom. First session is free! Email me at Lucy.Blunden.Botanicals@gmail.com for more details.

Working on myself

So, it’s all very well spending time and money consulting other people but what about what you can do for youself?

I have a few routines:

  • Daily reiki/healing energy on myself
  • Regular tapping
  • Herbal tea blend
  • Herbal Footbaths
  • Bach Flower Remedies
  • Donna Eden’s Daily Energy Routine

In this list, there are a few which require very little training to master and the benefits can be felt immediately.

Tapping: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wG2FA4vfLQ this is the founder Gary Craig demonstrating the simplicity of the routine and how you can use it. It’s a ‘no frills’ video which is only 8 mins long.

Daily Energy Routine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Di5Ua44iuXc&list=PLFF7D_uZ4FmSa9e4_eB5KHYSmysIl0DYn&index=2&t=15s Donna Eden is positively throbbing with her vital energy in this demonstration of her easy-to-do routine. I LOVE the way I feel when I do this regularly.

Herbal tea: As a herbalist, I have a heap of herbs at my beck and call. The primary herb for anyone wishing to begin a journey of herbal exploration is Chamomile. Its readily available and inexpensive.

Let’s get medicinal: To get truly medicinal results from any herbal tea, I suggest trying 2 bags per cup, brewing it with a lid on for at least 20 minutes and drinking three times per day! (This is for a generally healthy adult). I recommend this with chamomile and although it is a bit bitter (that’s good medicine) and may take a little getting used to (I describe its taste as being yellow) it’s worth it. It’s calming to the digestion and nervous system, aiding sleep and reducing anxiety amongst many other benefits.

Loving Calm tea If you want to dig a little deeper, I make a beautiful tea blend which combines herbs which deeply nourish the nervous system with herbs to warm the cockles of your heart. I call it my LOVING CALM TEA and you can have it delivered to your door by getting in touch: Lucy.Blunden.Botanicals@gmail.com

Let me know how you get on – I’d love to hear your experiences of trying out these things.

Disclaimer: If you are planning to self-medicate with herbs, it is always wise to check this out with a professional. Herbalists can tell you whether the herbs you wish to work with are contraindicated with your prescribed medications or heath conditions.

Anything for which we need medicinal help requires caution. So, whilst chamomile is gentle and suitable from birth to death for most people, some people will not find it helpful. In cases of reflux, it can be irritating and a few people find it more stimulating than relaxing! The golden rule: if it feels bad, don’t do it – even if it ought to feel good.

Rowan berry & sage vinegar

rowan and sage infusing

Sharp, tart and powerful

Vinegar cuts through grease and mucous giving things a good clean out. Sage does the same at the back of your throat by clearing the mucous which the nasties causing your sore throat live and thrive in.

Using pastilles and other sore throat lozenges are usually full of sugar and whilst that feels soothing and lovely, it provides lots of juicy food for those bugs to thrive in.

So, using a vinegar to cut through the mucous, with the reputed anti microbial properties of sage is a double winner. Add into that the traditional use of rowan berries for sore throats and tonsillitis and we have a trio of triumph in your throat!

To make this joyful medicinal vinegar, alive with complex flavours, I cooked the berries and sage in vinegar before steeping it for a few weeks. Cooking the berries renders the toxic components harmless. After straining, I bottled ready for use.

Use in conjunction with the soothing sage and rowan syrup I have also made and keep your tonsils singing with joy.

As far as I know, this medicine is entirely unique to me. The joy of creativity and experiments. Join my journey of discovery.

Rowan berry and sage syrup

rowan and sage infusing

Sore throats, tonsillitis, syrup and gargling

Foraging for making has become a prfound new joy of mine. I had had some lurking doubts about the pillaging of nature and whether I had the right to do this. But, they are now gone and I am loving that connection, the creativity of making things and the new recipes to trial.

What’s on the go right now?

I’ve made rowan berry and sage syrups and vinegars.

Research showed me that raw berries are really not a good plan due to potentially toxic components. So, I stewed a few berries with some sage in water. Then I let it sit for a few weeks (the hot liquid sealed the jar keeping it good) before straining and re-heating, dissolving sugar into it, turning it into a syrup.

And, what does it taste like?

The flavour is frankly AWESOME! I haven’t ever tasted anything else like it. It’s sharp, it’s sweet and fruity but there’s something else which I am yet to put a word to.

The finished product is up for grabs in partnership with Rowanberry and sage vinegar.

Why the pairing of sage and rowanberry?

Well, the traditional medicine from rowan berries is for sore throats and tonsillitis. Sage also has a great reputation for healing throats because it has the power to cut through the mucousy substrate keeping all the gremlins alive causing your symptoms. So, it seemed like a match made in heaven.

Fancy a go?

Do you get recurrent sore throats and/or tonsillitis? If you do, you might like to give these beauties a go.

Contact me for more info

Nettle root-the medicine

Wild herbs as medicines

Nettle root has a reputation amongst herbalists for use as part of treatment for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. For most men, their prostate is very likely to enlarge as they age and, beyond the symptoms it causes, is not something to be worried about. As the saying goes, ‘most men die with prostate enlargement, but very few die of a (benign) prostate enlargement’.

However, the symptoms can be life changing, causing increased frequency, urgency and incomplete emptying, dribbling, not to mention the increased nocturia.

Reference to the use of plants for BPH symptoms dates back to Egyptian papyrus in the 15th Century.

A study reported by Mohammad Reza Safarinejad, MD, showed that nettle root extractions performed in a statistically significant way better than placebo in all areas which were monitored. Their IPSS (International Prostate Symptom Score) improved such that the mean scores dropped from 19.8 to 11.8 with nettle root and 19.2 to 17.7 with placebo! Flow rate improved by 77% in those taking nettle and by 31% in the placebo group. Residual bladder contents volume in the nettle group improved whereas the placebo group has no significant change. The prostate size decreased in the treatment group and remained the same in the placebo group. Importantly, testosterone levels remained unchanged.

The trial participants were monitored and placebo group was switched to nettle root after the trial period ended and continued to be monitored. The positive effects of nettle root seen during the trial period were maintained for the rest of the 18 months of monitoring and the placebo group also demonstrated similar improvements after switching to nettle root treatment.

I absolutely LOVE that something as ubiquitous as nettle root could be a significant and life altering treatment for so many people. It makes my heart sing to think that a medicine without negative side effects could safely and effectively help in this way. What a joy!

I have written about collecting and preparing nettle root here

If you are experiencing symptoms of prostate enlargement or have a diagnosis of BPH and would like help. Get in touch