Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Are we the first generation to discover the mind body connection?

It is somewhat vain of us to consider the idea of the mind body connection as something new. Every time I read an old textbook on herbs or health, there always seems to be a reference to the inseparable connection between the state of the mind and the state of health.

Yesterday, I was reading Culpeppers herbal reference book and I came across his description of the herb Motherwort:

There is no better herb to take melancholy vapours from the heart, to strengthen it, and make it a merry, cheerful, blithe soul than this herb. ... Besides, it makes women joyful mothers of children, and settles their wombs, as they should be, therefore we call it Motherwort. It is held to be much use for the trembling of the heart, and faintings and swoonings, from whence it took the name Cardiaca. 
The powder thereof, to the quantity of a spoonful, drink in wine, is a wonderful help to women in their sore travail, as also for the suffocating or risings of the mother, and for these effects, it is likely it took the name Motherwort with us....

I was stunned by this simple description, as I often am by Culpepper, his seamless jumps from physical to mental and emotional aspects of the actions of herbs is an art that has been forgotten in the scrabble to 'explain' what the herbs do in terms of their chemical constituents. We have become too accustomed to treating the physical and emotional aspects of our health as two completely separate things. Is this to do with the separation of the religion with medicine? Can the two really be separated?

I do understand that we have to have some explanations, today we compare herbs with medical drugs more and more in a bid to identify their actions. But we should not loose sight that the actions of the herbs are more than just physical. Going back to the traditional herbal textbooks and the original art of medicine, where mental and physical health is inseparable, is a good place to start.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Always looking for underlying causes

When I see someone, I am always looking for underlying causes. I have learned that whatever the symptoms someone comes to me with, if I treat just those symptoms, then it will help, but will not remove the processes that create those symptoms.
To give an example, if someone is suffering from allergies, then just telling them to avoid the substances that are causing those allergies will help them, but will not get rid of the allergy.
I always think about what is causing their body to react in such a way that a common food/substance is interpreted as a foreign invader. What is causing their immune system to activate inappropriately.
Is it incomplete digestion? Is it a poor immune system? Is it lack of certain nutrients? Is it stress? Lifestyle? Emotional? To return to health, the immune response has to be modulated so that it responds appropriately to the challenges it faces. An allergy is an over-reaction of the immune system to a common food or substance. If your body vomits when you eat a poison, we do not call that an allergy. Because the immune system is over-reacting in an allergic response, it then gets overworked, and tends to under-react in other ways. This is why those people with allergies are prone to catch colds, their immune system is busy all the time.
I have find allergies becoming more and more common amongst the people I see, relieving allergies has a profound effect on a persons health. The are often the cause of many low grade symptoms, the symptoms can be as wide ranging as gas, bloating, heartburn, vomiting, constipation, diarrhoea, poor brain function (there are many immune receptors in the brain), tiredness, muscle pains, anxiety, fibromyalgia, eczema, psoriasis... the list is long, and I could go on for a long time.
Much of my success with people is due to my treatment of allergies. I look out for them when treating someone. In relieving  allergies, a great strain is taken off the body. It can focus on keeping the body healthy rather than fighting seemingly foreign invaders.
Bringing back the immune system to a place where it is ready and waiting to fight viruses, and external invaders will have a remarkable effect on health and wellness. And allergies are a sign that the immune system needs some attention.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

My year ahead

This time of the year, I normally think about what I want to achieve next year, I have spent the last few years learning so much about so many things, my study of herbs has involved learning the composition of the herbs, their medicinal actions, their chemistry, their use in medicine and the work they do on so many systems of the body. It has truly been fascinating.

During the next year, I would like to deepen and integrate my knowledge, not just of the herbs, but also of everything that I have learned. Of the flower remedies, I have seen such remarkable changes in people after just using a few drops of the remedy that is just right for them.

In order for me to do this, I have found a wonderful mentor, Sarah Head, a true traditional herbalist, one with plenty of knowledge. She goes down to the real grass roots (literally!) and has an understanding of the herbal traditions. She will teach me to forage for my own herbs ( I buy standardised tinctures now, so that I can be assured of their medicinal actions when I give them to patients), how to prepare my own tinctures, my own salves and vinegars.

I am already growing around 10 herbs in my garden, hyssop, echinacea, yarrow, comfrey, rosemary, elecampane, ashwaghanda, peppermint, spearmint, sage to name a few, I would like to expand my collection, and see how they grow.

I also see that I want to integrate my knowledge of Naturopathy, Herbalism, Bio-kinesiology, Allergies, Flowers, Tree barks, Reiki, Hair analysis, to put together a totally naturally system of healing to people who come to me with any form of illness.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011


I went to a herbal workshop on Saturday where I made Elderberry Syrup (have since tasted it and it will not last long!), Fire Cider Vinegar, and Elderberry Elixir.

Firecider vinegar, containing horseradish, garlic, ginger, red chillies and paprika - not much would be able to survive in that, It will be ready in 3 weeks, I shall look forward to torturing my daughter with it!!

Fire Cider Vinegar - Contains Horseradish, garlic, ginger, red chilli, paprika and Cider vinegar
 Elderberries are combined with the other herbs and the whole pot is boiled down to 1/7th

Elderberry Syrup contains elderberries, rose hips, sage, ginger, nutmeg boiled down to 1/7th

A magical Violet Syrup, magical because it is a green colour until you add the lemon, where it turns magically pink
Violet Syrup - Violets steeped in hot water, with lemon, sugar