HERBS AND DIET

Herbs work through their unique combinations of chemical constituents, which they have each biologically tailored over tens of thousands of years, to thrive in the various conditions they inhabit around the Globe. They work in our bodies, to treat dis-eases, and bring about and maintain our health. When we take or use Herbal Medicine the complex bio-chemistry inter-acts with ours, thus impacting on and affecting our expression of health.

Herbal medicine is suited to acute and chronic health conditions. The duration of time needed to work with herbs will vary from person to person, depending on their needs and symptom picture.

WHAT WE USE HERBAL MEDICINE FOR:

“Herbs are not suited to artificially imposed disease names but to naturally occurring and evolving processes within the body.”

Matthew Wood, MSc.

Herbal Medicine is suitable for adults, children and animals, in many of the common situations you could refer to your GP with.

Here follows a non-definitive list of conditions that Herbs can treat very well:

Digestive problems;

Hormonal imbalances;

Stress, anxiety and depression;

Coughs, colds and low immunity;

Allergies;

Skin conditions;

Joint pains;

Headaches and migraines;

Heart and circulatory problems;

Urinary disorders and blood sugar imbalances.

DIET WORK

A locally grown Organic lifestyle in this time of Globalised chemical agriculture is very important for our health.

There are many other reasons for keeping it local: fresher produce, better flavor; less food miles; supports local business/production/knowledge/practice; supports a more resilient local food system; eating seasonally; and thus knowing what is seasonal, and having a diversity of produce, rather than strawberries or potatoes the yr round!

Atuning with seasonal food is a medicinal practice in itself for maintaining health, and preventing disease.

If you are very out of touch with what is in season as you always shop at supermarkets, then have a look at your local veg market. What is in season is usually cheaper, because its abundant. Another wonderfully rewarding way to get in touch with what is local and seasonal is joining your local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). It is a very easy way to connect with those who grow in your area, and get involved with a local community.

There are now more and more local sourcing options popping up around the country. From home-scale back-yard plots, to larger new community enterprises.

Glyphosate (the most heavily used chemical herbicide in human agricultural history) is patented as an antibiotic, and is presently sprayed on anything which does not self-declare as Organic. Avoid ALL GMO foods. Non-organic soy often tests high for pesticides, cheap, non-Organic Almonds are usually high. Have a look at THE DIRTY DOZEN and THE CLEAN FIFTEEN. One good example is here.

INTOLERANCES?

Often individuals need to look at temporarily cutting out food groups due to intolerances.

Diagnosis is usually from symptom patterns, and can be backed up with muscle testing. Once identified, an elimination diet of at least 3 weeks is advised. A revision of symptoms is then needed, to see what’s changed.

There can be withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches, stomach pains, and mucous clear out. If these are sever, it’s recommendable to back-off from the diet and get in touch.

People generally have one main intolerance, but there can be layers of multiple intolerances.

ALL intolerances are ALWAYS worse and flare-up with stress.

Intolerances can appear anytime during an individuals life, right from birth, they are often triggered by times of stress. The heavy use of chemicals in our food-chain, and the many hormones in our water, don’t help sensitive individuals, which is why we advocate for Organic whole food. As we age, and the system stressors are routinely absorbed, the presentation of the intolerance can deepen into the body (becoming more chronic) from the integumentary system (skin rashes, eczema, red cheeks), to the digestive system (bloating, gas, heartburn, indigestion, constipation, diarrhoea, IBS), the circulatory system (high/low blood pressure, headaches), and the musculoskeletal system (arthritis, joint pain and swelling). Unfortunately, we don’t grow out of intolerances, the symptom picture changes, until the stressor/s are removed, and we have time and space to heal.

Aside from avoidance of the substances an individual is sensitive to there are useful adjuncts, such as: digestive bitter; probiotics; ferments; high intake of anti-inflammatory foods; or a certain protocol tailored to your condition (work with a Nutritionist). Each individual generally needs a specific protocol. But, generally while loooking to reduce inflamation it’s advisable to avoid inflammatory foods such as: wheat; dairy; sugar; pork; oranges; alcohol; tea; coffee. Adding into the diet more lemon and lime, dark green leafy veg, bitter salad leaves, ginger, olives and olive oil (if tolerated) may well also help, as these are seen as some of the most anti-inflammatory foods.

THE MAIN FOOD GROUPS PEOPLE ARE INTOLERANT TO:

Dairy

This constitutes for at least 75% of all intolerances. Its highly addictive due to the protein Casein, which your body breaks down into casomorphins. These compounds attach to dopamine receptors in your brain triggering cravings. Milk ferments such as sour milk, milk kefir, cottage cheese etc. (for those over 7 yrs old) are generally much better suited to the digestive tract. There are however lots of great alternatives to dairy. Here is a little overview of various different nut milks and the pros and cons of each.

Wheat/Gluten

Some sources say Gluten affects 10-15% of the population, some much higher. A molecule of gluten fits comfortably into the opiate receptors in the brain, thus giving a ‘high’, and being habit forming/ addictive. Wheat is very inflammatory, and Christine, my first mentor always said it would make symptoms of other intolerances worse.

Soya

Dietary intolerance to soya is becoming more common. Fermented soya is much more digestible. (Note: if you stop your intake of dairy don’t suddenly up your intake of soya products as this can be problematic).

Nightshades

This group consists of potatoes, tomatoes, aubergines, sweet and hot peppers, tobacco, and various herbs belonging to the Solanaceae family. The group seem to affect about 5% of the population.

Salicylates

Salicylates are the salts and esters of salicylic acid. They are stored in the bark, leaves, roots, and seeds of plants.

Chemically, this phyto-compound (plant derived) acts in its natural setting as a natural immune hormone and preservative, preventing rotting, and protecting the plant against harmful insects, bacteria, and fungi. It’s often regarded as beneficial in the clinical setting, as for the individuals who are not sensitive to it, it has an anti-inflammatory cascade in the body.

With this intolerance it’s most important to learn which sources are high and largely avoid them. Often with a period of abstinence an individual can return to moderate consumption of foods containing this compound.

Most meats (depending on what the animal’s been fed), grains and vegetables of the Brassicaceae family are a good mainstay in cases of intolerance to Salicylates as they are low sources.

Its not just food sources that an intolerant individual needs to be aware of. Cleaning products, cosmetics, shampoos, aspirin, perfumes, lotions, hairsprays, etc can also be high sources.

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