Building Up Resistance


Q. Our four-year-old daughter has spent four nights in hospital with pneumonia. She is taking a seven-day course of antibiotics with Calpol. What can we give her to build up her resistance?

A. When she finishes the antibiotics, pharmacist Shabir Daya recommends taking the herb astragalus to strengthen her immune system and fight infections. Try Eclectic Kids Astragalus Alcohol Free Tincture for Kids (£12). She should take a weight-related dose as directed three times daily for one month. Do not use astragalus if she has a temperature. Read More…

No Pain, No Gain


Recently, three days into a week long yoga retreat I woke up in the morning with my lower back practically seizing up. It was a bit a of shock because I’ve been going to classes regularly for years, and although I’m not the world’s bendiest yogi, I am used a reasonable level of flexibility. Although I managed to get through the morning session moving somewhat gingerly, as the day went on my back continued to tighten and I noticed my mind going into overdrive. What have I done wrong? Did I push too far the day before? Why have I wasted so much time and money on yoga? It all added to the tension to the point where I could barely walk. Luckily, the afternoon session was a meditation – and although I had to lie down because it was too painful for me to sit in the classic cross legged position, I felt it ease off a little as I relaxed. Later that evening, the teacher explained that many students suffer some sort of pain – usually around day three of the retreat and that it was a psychosomatic reaction. It was not something I wanted to hear. I just wanted to relax and take it easy. Read More…

Does He Have Sleep Apnoea?


My husband has always snored a lot, but recently he seems to stop breathing a few times every night. He’s always quite tired too – as am I! Could this be sleep apnoea?

At least half of all middle-aged men snore (women snore too but commonly start later, after menopause). The snorting, rattling sounds happen because soft tissue at the back of the mouth, nose or throat, which is slacker when we sleep, vibrates as the sleeper breathes. This is caused by a partial blockage that may be anywhere from the tip of the nose to the vocal cords.

There are three grades of severity for snoring. In grade one, a person snores infrequently and not very loudly; breathing is not affected. In grade two, the person snores more than three nights a week, and may have mild breathing difficulties. In grade three, a person snores every night so loudly it can be similar to the roar of a motorbike, according to sleep expert Marianne Davey of the British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association ( The snoring is often interrupted by pauses, gasps and choking. Read More…