Swanage Disabled Club is the proud winner of this year’s Cosyfeet Community Award. The charity has won £500 to enable it to rent a beach hut on the sea front for a fortnight next summer, coinciding with the Swanage Carnival and Regatta.
You’ve probably heard of ginger in various different contexts, apart from its role – often together with garlic – in various curry recipes.
The lopsided Christmas tree was aglow in the hospital corridor. In her office, the doctor had cards on her filing cabinet – ‘Season’s Greetings’, ‘Yuletide Joy’.
A lot of older people nowadays opt to have the flu vaccine before winter sets in. While it does reduce your statistical risk of getting flu, it can only prevent the strains of flu included in the vaccine, so it’s a bit of a lottery; and it certainly won’t stop you getting colds.
Freya North Is Cycling From Whitehaven To Tynemouth Coast-To-Coast 22 September 2017- 24th September 2017
I am publishing this article on the website to help author Freya North raise funds for Beating Bowel Cancer. Below is Freya's account of why she is doing this cycle ride.
Our society often seems to have become dependent on the medical profession. We increasingly expect to see a doctor with an ailment and come away with a prescription that will hopefully miraculously heal our condition. It has not always been so of course.
There’s a lot of focus on healthy gut bacteria these days, and how we can achieve and maintain a healthy balance. And that, of course, creates an opportunity for the supplement makers. But how useful are the products they sell?
I've been on an emotional roller coaster since my last post. Out of the blue came a series of visual disturbances that I convinced myself were TIAs (transient ischaemic attacks or mini strokes)
As a general rule, if you have a healthy diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and protein, you should be getting enough of most nutrients the old-fashioned way, as part of the food you eat.
‘Why should I pay for professional help when I can buy a remedy for myself?’ Fair enough; people have always tried self-help first and foremost, and they always will.
We’ve all got the message that too much sugar is bad for us, and food manufacturers are spending small fortunes looking for substitutes, or hiding the fact that there is still plenty of sugar in their products.
What’s the best way to get value for money, top quality and no problems with adulteration? Go out and harvest your own herbs.
‘My child has earache/stomachache/nettle rash’. ‘I’ve burnt myself/cut myself/pulled a muscle’. These are the sort of first aid issues that people call about; not serious enough to go to the doctor, but needing attention right now.
Back in the 70s, when I first started getting interested in food and nutrition, chocolate was recommended as part of a vegetarian diet because of its high iron content.
There are lots of ways to test for allergies or sensitivities, from patch testing on the skin to hair analysis to kinesiology.
Patients often tell me as an afterthought about their arthritic hands or dodgy knees, not expecting to be able to do anything about it.
Did you know that June 14th is World Blood Donor Day? We are all encouraged to present ourselves at our nearest centre.
‘I don’t like using painkillers,’ a patient said to me the other day. ‘Isn’t there anything herbal I can take?’
Yes, it’s another garden nuisance, growing like crazy at the moment, flowering and setting seed almost before you have time to blink. But like a lot of vigorous weeds, it has benefits to offer us.
It’s a very confusing picture. In the first place, a lot of the foods we call ‘nuts’ are not nuts at all in the botanical sense: you probably know that about peanuts, but it’s also true of almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios and Brazil nuts.
Hotter Hereford Store Manager Jan Paton probably never considered herself inspirational, but when she sent us a photo of her latest craft creations we knew there was a very special story to be discovered.
Right now, Devon is full of primroses. The common primrose, Primula vulgaris, is one of those early spring flowers, like sweet violet and coltsfoot, that have a particular virtue in soothing coughs and sore throats.
I talked last week about acid reflux, and the medications that are often used to control it.
A patient rang me this week to see if there was anything I could do about acid reflux. ‘I’ve always had it,’ she told me, ‘But it’s got worse recently.’
Hay fever season is almost upon us.
In just a short time, my beloved husband has gone from someone who hasn’t had a day’s sickness for many, many years, didn’t go to the doctors’ unless there was no alternative and wouldn’t even take headache tablets unless absolutely necessary, to someone who now takes eight tablets a day and will have to do so for the rest of his life.
I’ve just been to a seminar giving updates on the latest thinking about female hormones, and what we can do about it when things do not run smoothly.
A useful tool in social work (and indeed in life) is to be able to hold an assortment of different versions of reality in your head at the same time. And that is what is going on here in New Normal land at the moment.
A few weeks ago I wrote about how transplanting bacteria from a healthy person’s gut to someone suffering from irritable bowel or other digestive problems can dramatically improve their health.
So this is the new way to live forever, according to the latest guidelines.
Yes, it’s that time of year again. Though of course, people are less likely to need aphrodisiacs in spring, when the sap is rising and – as the joke goes – ‘young men’s fancy turns to what young women have been thinking of all year’.
The more we learn about the millions of micro-organisms living inside us, the more important they come to seem.
For a lot of people, the first step into herbal medicine is when they get fed up with HRT or antidepressants or whatever, and try to find something in the herb world that will do the job without the side-effects.
‘Turmeric – the most powerful herb on the planet!’ says one of the ads I’ve just trawled through.
My son recently wrote about the ten things he had learnt since he started in work in marketing and it got me thinking!
…But the trouble is, we take much more than just a pinch.
In social work we used to do '6-month Reviews' where we cast our eyes back at where we had come from and where we seemed to have landed up. (Other definitions are available!)
Of course, it comes around every year, but the cycle of feasting followed by ‘detox’, or insane overconsumption of rich foods and then complete abstinence, just when you need some solid sustenance to get you through the winter, is neither good for man nor beast.
You could not make it up. Already I was writing the headline. 'Cancer victim in midst of chemotherapy served eviction notice two weeks before Christmas.'
Thinking of a winter break somewhere warm and sunny? Then you’ll be heading to places where various vaccines may be either advised, or required.
0800: Wake up and realise that I am half blind. Put on specs. Now only quarter blind. Right eye is glued shut and red and puffy and dribbly. Yeugh.
Armour on, weapons primed, bullets at the ready, let battle commence, because cancer is aggressive and sometimes deadly and there is a fight to be fought.
Och, and it was all going so well! Three chemo sessions called FEC successfully under my belt, some tiredness, temporary steroid-based insomnia, but only in the few days after each treatment.
A wise woman has asked me if I am frightened. I think for a few moments and say 'Yes, I am frightened.' She asks me what I fear.
‘Coffee gives you heart attacks, but tea makes you live forever’ ‘Caffeine is addictive and leads to nervous exhaustion’ ‘I’m useless without my two cups in the morning’ …and so on and so forth.
Chemotherapy and good side effects are not usually discussed in the same sentence but one unexpected outcome of an elephantine infusion of toxic and unpronounceable drugs has been that after fifteen years without it I have regained my sense of smell!
'Grief! Why are people baking bloody Victoria Sponges and cupcakes to pay for a MacMillan nurse? Aaaargh!
If you’re making jack-o-lanterns for Hallowe’en this year, you’ll end up with a lot of pumpkin flesh and seeds.
HAIR. My hair was fuzzy black when I was born and stuck upwards like a bush-baby.
The heart is roughly the size of a clenched fist, if I remember my life-saving lessons back in secondary school in Tain.
There’s a gorgeous display of hawthorn berries in the hedgerows lately; a heart-lifting sight as we move towards winter.
I am waiting for my chemotherapy to start. There are five more sleeps until Friday.
Everyone loves an operation. There are hospital anecdotes and scars and dressings and legitimate afternoon naps.
It’s definitely autumn all of a sudden.
Slowly, reluctantly, I battled my way out of the unnaturally deep and glorious sleep that is a general anaesthetic.
Which left exactly seventeen days to live through.
The day for biopsy results came. It was mild and sunny in Perthshire so I carried my bike down the two flights of stairs and cycled uphill through the city to the hospital.
I'm now officially part of the gang. My sixtieth birthday was in the middle of August and although I stopped celebrating them years ago, I made an exception this year because it was time for me to become a Crone.
So you’ve come home with a basket full of berries, or roots, or fungi. What do you do with them? Unless you’re going to use them straight away (see ‘Making herb teas’), you’ll need to preserve them somehow.
I love Gerona Airport. It is small and perfectly formed with decent eating options, and direct flights from Glasgow, even if the last shuttle bus into the city centre sneaked away twenty minutes before the aforementioned flight from Glasgow landed.
There are a few charismatic megaherbs that most people have heard of: Korean ginseng, St.John’s Wort and Echinacea might well be the top three in the current herbal hit parade.
Image copyright Pukka Herbs
‘If it tastes bad it must be good for you.’ I never hear that from younger patients, but older ones remember being dosed with all sorts of unpleasant concoctions, back in the days before medicines came in capsules, or disguised with colours and flavourings.
If you’re planning a trip to somewhere mountainous, it’s worth thinking ahead.
One of the latest studies has found that migraine sufferers have low levels of vitamin D, vitamin B2 and co-enzyme Q10.
Foxgloves are everywhere just now, along hedgerows and field margins, on disturbed ground and wood banks.
Optimistic, the nice lady said. Pro-active, she added. Oh I couldn't resist that.
Elderflowers are coming into full bloom now, almost the last of the trees to blossom before midsummer.
So it’s official: GPs are now being paid not to prescribe antibiotics.
It’s hayfever time again. You can have allergic reactions at any time of year, but grass and other pollens are definitely one of the most common things to set us off. Anything from itchy eyes and a runny nose to a full-blown asthma attack can result.
Photo copyright Twinings
You might think that one herb tea is very much like another, but you could be missing out on their potential to improve your wellbeing.
A friend walking along a high ridge. Photo copyright Cathie Hartigan
Walking on high ground, as I did this week, takes you back in time. There were sweet violets, newly sprouting nettles in the shelter of walls, brave low-growing dandelions and wind-sculpted hawthorn trees just coming into leaf.
Photo copyright D & S Books
The cool wet spring has given us a bumper crop of goosegrass this year. You might know it as cleavers, or sticky willie, from its habit of sticking to clothes or animal fur.