Drug-Free Relief From Heartburn

Acid Reflux Concept on Chalkboard. 3D Illustration.

It is estimated that 40% of the adult population suffer from heartburn. Drugs are often prescribed for sufferers from recurring heartburn and these are not without side effects. In fact many of these drugs prevent nutrient uptake, may increase risk of dementia, and may make one more liable to allergies. For these reasons, many sufferers are looking for drug-free relief from heartburn.

Heartburn occurs when the contents of your stomach travel backwards into your oesophagus causing pain, inflammation and damage with recurring episodes. This condition is called GERD or just called reflux and the inflammation accompanying this is term “oesophagitis”. Whilst most people attribute this inflammation and discomfort to excess acid, this is not always the case. In fact, other enzymes found in the contents of the stomach such as pepsin and bile can also cause damage the oesophageal lining resulting in the symptoms of heartburn. Read More…

How To Fade Acne Scars

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Acne sufferers face more than one concern which of course includes the nuisance of acne itself, however most sufferers are usually anxious about acne scars since unlike acne, which may be temporary, acne scars are perceived to be for life.

There are numerous topical products aimed at treating scar tissue but before we investigate the types of acne scars, it is important that one should try and prevent acne in the first place. Read More…

Skin Problems

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Every spring, readers ask how to solve skin problems before the start of summer revelries. So I asked leading facialist Sarah Chapman and clinical pharmacist Shabir Daya, who has a special interest in skin, to suggest simple ways to get the glow back. Often, you will see a difference within days but skin cell turnover takes about four weeks so keep on with the TLC. In fact, make it a daily habit: look after your skin and it will reward you bountifully.

To sparkle like a summer day, try Gwyneth Paltrow’s favourite Altrient Vitamin C gel (£22.95, victoriahealth. com), with Teapigs Organic Matcha Green Tea powder (£26.60, teapigs.co.uk) in a little apple juice.

Problem: Breakouts, oily or combination skin
Solution: Focus on deep cleansing and decongesting

  • Use gentle exfoliants or peeling pads to reveal a fresher, brighter complexion. Avoid products containing benzoyl peroxide or mineral oil (paraffinum liquidum), which will clog pores, dry skin, then send it into oily overdrive.
  • Twice a week, steam your face over a bowl of very hot water with a towel over your head to draw out toxins.
  • Massage breakout-prone areas daily, working out towards the lymph nodes and down the sides of the face – use fingertips or a facial massager.
  • Apply a clay-based mask twice weekly to help draw out blockages and blackheads and absorb excess oil production. Read More…

Natural Remedies for Gout

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My 38-year-old brother, a paramedic, has the most intense pain from an attack of gout in his big toe. He is taking prescribed painkillers and anti-inflammatories, but is there a natural remedy?

Gout is a type of arthritis caused by a build-up of uric acid in the body. This waste product forms as the body breaks down chemicals called purines in the cells.

If you produce too much or excrete too little uric acid, the excess can cause tiny needle-shaped crystals to form in and around joints, most often in the big toe. A flare-up, brought on by inflammation, causes severe pain, swelling and redness.

Gout often runs in the family, and affects one in 14 older men and one in 35 older women. Pre-menopausal women are protected by the hormone oestrogen, which reduces uric acid levels.

Your brother is taking the standard medication. He may be prescribed the uric acid-lowering drug allopurinol to prevent future bouts and asked to reduce purine-containing foods, such as red meat and seafood. Pharmacist Shabir Daya also recommends not eating asparagus, spinach, peas, cauliflower, lentils, beans and poultry. Read More…

Natural ways to alleviate asthma

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Q: My son and I are asthmatic but not severely. However, his daughter, aged four, has been hospitalised three times for asthma. She now has a cold that, as usual, has gone to her chest. The doctor advises permanent low-dose steroids, as well as reliever and preventer inhalers. Are there natural immune system supporters that she (and us too) can take alongside her conventional medicine?

A: Pharmacist Shabir Daya agrees that supporting the immune system is vital in hopefully reducing the severity of these attacks.

elderrt syrup pukkaPharmacist Shabir recommends giving your granddaughter organic elderberry syrup, which also contains manuka honey and thyme to help breathing. It is safe to use through the winter. Organic Elderberry Syrup by Pukka, £11.65 for 120ml, from Victoria Health (see label for recommended doses).

Adults and children over 12 could try Daily Immunity. This contains astragalus, a safe and potent herb known to enhance white blood cells and interferon to help immunity. (I am taking it myself to ward off colds and flu.) Daily Immunity, £25 for 60 capsules: take two daily for prevention, double if you have a cold.

A saltpipe inhaler may help breathing. These hand-held ceramic containers contain natural salt crystals, which are purified as they pass over filters. Using it daily has been reported to help breathing by drawing excess fluid from the sinuses and cell lining, which cleanses the nasal passages and opens the airways. Saltpipe Inhaler, £29.95, suitable for adults and children over five. Read More…

Why does our teenage daughter self-harm?

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Q: We think our previously happy 14-year-old daughter is self-harming. She seems to be pulling out her hair and has several grazes on her body. We don’t know what to do.

A: You are not alone: this is a growing problem in the UK and affects at least one in 15 young people, both boys and girls, according to Jane Smith, author of The Parent’s Guide to Self-Harm (Lion Hudson, £7.99*), which I suggest you read. The average age of onset is 12 years but some hospital admissions have been for children under ten. The majority never receive professional care so the burden falls on family and friends.

Many young people who self-harm come from stable, loving homes. Jane, whose two daughters were affected, says, ‘Finding out that the child you love feels driven to hurt themselves in secret comes as a huge shock; it’s heart-breaking.’

There is a wide range of severity. Self-harming can be minor and short-lived but it may also become addictive and serious.

The most common forms are self-cutting and self-poisoning (with paracetamol or other harmful substances). Other forms include pulling out hair, usually from the head or eyelashes, and body-bashing – dragging the knees across hard, uneven surfaces or throwing the body around to injure it. Burning or biting, hitting and pinching, excessive alcohol, drug-taking, bingeing and/or starving are other methods used.

Self-harming is not an attention-seeking device, as in behaviour chosen in order to focus all attention immediately on the person. It is often done as a silent and secret cry for help.

It is a method of coping with feelings that seem overwhelming. Pain-relieving chemicals called endorphins are released during self-harming, which provide a temporary sense of calm and wellbeing. Read More…