Tired Teenagers

Your once perky, live-wire child may seem to have turned into an exhausted, teenager even though they seem to have the right diet and lifestyle. Monica, whose own three somehow survived her parenting, looks at some of the common underlying causes of why young people find it so hard to stay awake.

Tiredness and low motivation in the teenage years can be caused by a variety of things. The most common reason is not getting enough sleep at night. The National Sleep Foundation reckons 80% of teenagers are not getting the recommended 8.5 hours of sleep a night! I remember my two boys went through a stage of finding it really hard to get up in the mornings. However, in most cases this is not a problem. It is now recognised as normal for previously alert and active teenagers to go through a sleepy phase especially mid to late afternoon. The sleepiness is attributed to the extreme physical growth that they have been going through, especially boys, plus the secretion of the sleep hormone melatonin later in the evening which makes them stay up later. 

Electronics.

One of the most documented causes of sleepiness nowadays is sleep deprivation or poor sleep quality caused by electronics. TV and video games in the bedrooms carrying on until late. One big culprit, often unknown to parents, are mobile phones under the covers with incessant Facebook/Messenger chats going on into the wee hours. It's hard to control as we all know how addictive social media is but it's exhausting being switched on all the time especially late at night. Electronic devices stimulate the brain in such a way that activity needs to be be ceased a good whole hour before sleeping, for proper sleep to physically happen. Create a cosy sleep sanctuary and ban electronic devices from the bedroom, including your own!

Caffeine and Sugar

Even if your son or daughter doesn't drink tea or coffee, lots of fizzy drinks contain caffeine which is a sleep disruptor and shouldn't be drunk in the evening. Caffeine is especially high in energy drinks and guarana drinks but also found in colas. This must be declared on the label. They are also really high in sugar! Sugar is exhausting, causing huge swings in the body ranging from sudden bursts of sugar induced energy highs, quickly followed by crashing lows. The body especially needs slow burning low glycaemic index carbs, so suggest porridge for breakfast. If your child's diet is high in sugary snacks and unsubstantial food their body will not have the right nutrition to grow and will quickly become depleted and exhausted.

Something Fishy?

Nearly always, even when people tell me they have a good diet they are often lacking in iodine. Although there are tiny amounts in eggs and non-organic milk, only a diet rich in fish and seaweed consistently provides the body with enough iodine. This is important as iodine is needed by the thyroid gland to control the speed of metabolism - without iodine it slows down and fatigue and lack of energy kick in. As 76% of teenage girls at age 14 tested iodine deficient in a recent clinical study, this is not just something that middle-aged people should be concerned about. We did a study with University of Glasgow 2 years ago and over half of the healthy 25 year old students had low levels of iodine and correspondingly low levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). For that we recommend taking 1 capsule of our Organic Hebridean Kelp per day as it restores low TSH to normal levels. I've also written an article More on Tired all the Time from a talk I gave on the link between iodine 'malnutrition' in the early years and the development of underactive thyroid after pregnancy or later in life. 

Stress is Tiring

Stress. Teenagers often feel very stressed. Social pressures, exams looming, career choices, fulfilling expectations... even the most well-balanced teen will often say they feel very stressed, although boys do not articulate this in the same way as girls. This has to be addressed through support from family, friends and teachers. However - assuming that your youngster does not have depression and has good support - it sometimes helps to take some herbs as a food supplement. The best are adaptogenic herbs like ginsengashwaghandaastragalusliquorice which support the adrenal glands - the first to need support in times of stress but do avoid herbs like, for example, cola nut which contain caffeine and don't give them too much. Talk to your local medical herbalist or contact us to discuss this further.

For exam stress and late nights studying, our Napiers Study Essential Oil Blend can help focus. 

Assuming that there is no underlying medical problem, this stage your teenager is going through will pass. Try not to fuss too much and strike the right balance between being supportive but still providing the right framework to make proper night-time rest and sleep a priority.

And always remember, that your teenager of today, unmoving in their cocoon or pupa, will one day suddenly emerge as a magnificent butterfly!

August 04, 2021 — Younit.app

The Surprising Superpowers of Nettle Seed

Nettle Urtica dioica is a plant that needs little introduction. As children we quickly learnt to recognise them just so that we could avoid their itchy burning sting. They are part of our linguistic culture too. To nettle some one is to annoy them; to grasp the nettle - face up to an unpleasant situation; nettle rash (urticaria) - a hot itchy skin condition; to urticate - cause a stinging or prickling sensation; and we even have a special word for whipping ourselves with nettles – urtification! Nettle is fairly well-known as a highly nutritious wild vegetable. Many people have tried nettle and wild garlic soup - a foraging classic - and nettle leaf tea is widely available. However, the use of nettle seed is still fairly uncommon.  

As the days lengthen, the female nettle produces inconspicuous flowers quickly followed by green seed, drooping like heavily-laden catkins from the upper third of the plant. Over the summer the seed ripens and thickens. It’s harvested when still green before it starts to dry out and turn brown. It is crunchy and full of oil high in polyunsaturated fatty acids - predominantly linoleic as well as linolenic, palmitic, oleic and stearic acids. Our bodies use linoleic and linolenic acids to make the important essential fatty acids omega 3 and omega 6.

To harvest nettle seed, I cut off the top third of each nettle and dry them on a sheet or brown paper in the sunshine, turning them occasionally until the leaves feel crisp. Then, wearing rubber gloves, I rub the seed off into a bowl. The green seed is quickly separated from any stray leaves or stems by sifting it through a standard steel mesh kitchen sieve. If you’re rubbing a lot of seed through a sieve it’s a good idea to wear a paper mask as airborne seed dust can be itchy. For nettle seed that I plan to feed to other people, I take the precaution of toasting it in a dry frying pan. The heat dissolves any stray ‘crystal hairs’ (cystoliths) and brings out their nutty taste, a little like toasted hempseed.

Nettle seed tastes delicious. It can be substituted for poppy seed in crackers, oatcakes, bread or sprinkled with chopped nuts into salads. Nettle seed will give you an energy boost and help to put you in a cheerful mood. For stimulating health benefits, take one to two spoons of fresh green or dried nettle seed a day (a standard heaped tablespoon is about 5 grams). You can chew up to 20 grams a day but many people find that just a teaspoonful is all they need. Try mixing them into yoghurt, a smoothie or add them to overnight oats. Don’t try adding them to juices though as they float and are hard to drink! I also sometimes grind them and mix them with peanut butter or honey. Spread on toast or made into protein snack bars, this is another delicious way of eating them. They also often end up being ground with seaweed, spices and salt as a seasoning. 

Crush the seeds in a pestle and mortar, then infuse them in sunflower oil in a warm place for a week or two. This green oil makes a nice healthy salad oil or can be used with essential oils as an anti-inflammatory liniment for arthritic joints. In the past, horse traders would feed nettle seed to horses a few weeks before selling them. It helped the old lags become sprightly again with high spirits and shiny coats. Victor Hugo in Les Miserables confirmed that “the seed of the nettle mingled with fodder imparts a gloss to the coats of animals” and the seeds were once used to fatten up fowl.

Nettle seed is considered a Western adaptogen herb that supports the adrenal glands and endocrine system. This is why in herbal medicine it is used as a tonic for fatigue and adrenal exhaustion; for people who are burnt-out, run down and low in energy, zest for life and libido. For those interested in biochemistry, the ‘feel-good’ factor from eating raw, dried nettle seeds is caused by the neurotransmitters acetylcholine and serotonin, closely followed by choline and histamine.

Acetylcholine binds to the mood receptors in our brains. It stimulates the autonomic nervous system, improves mood and heightens sensory perception, attention span, vigilance and intuition. Acetylcholine disruption may be a primary cause of depression. Serotonin acts on the central nervous system. It regulates mood, appetite and sleep, influences memory and learning. It is serotonin, along with histamine and formic acid, in nettle spines that causes the pain when you pick them! Incidentally, acetylcholine in nettle venom may well explain why the ancient practice of urtification for pain relief actually works! Nettle seeds also raise dopamine levels, creating pleasurable feelings. 

Both the roots and seeds of nettle contain a lectin called Urtica dioica agglutinin (UDA). We’re not yet sure how much the seed contains but UDA is interesting because it contains a unique pattern of T-cell and cytokine activation, known as superantigen activity. In plain-speak, this means that it supercharges the body’s natural defences and immune system without, as other studies show, raising pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Nowadays medical herbalists mainly use nettle seed to increase energy, as an anti-inflammatory and as a highly effective kidney trophorestorative. It slows down renal failure, evidenced by increased kidney glomerular function and lowered serum creatine levels. Modern clinical studies have shown that it also protects the liver, repairing it and restoring liver function after oxidative damage. Another macronutrient found in nettle seed called choline (a component of lecithin vital to liver function). Choline is sometimes used to treat liver cirrhosis and hepatitis. Studies have also shown that it is indeed anti-inflammatory and will soothe colitis (inflammation of the colon).

Nettle seed can be made into a tincture. In its most basic form a tincture is just an alcoholic extract. In the 16th century nettle seed was crushed and then soaked in wine, you can also infuse the crushed seeds in vinegar. Today, homemade tinctures can be made using 40% strength vodka at a ratio of 1 part of seed to 5 parts of vodka by volume. The seed must be crushed first and soaked in the vodka for up to 3 weeks before straining off. At this strength the usual dose is no more than 2 ml taken up to 4 times a day.

When added to herbal blends with nourishing nervines such as wild oat tops, it can be used to raise low mood - in particular winter blues or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Try combining it with cleavers and seaweeds for slow metabolic rate as in the 19th century the powdered seeds were “considered a cure for goitre and efficacious in reducing excessive corpulency” (hypothyroidism). Culpeper (1616-1654) also claimed that “the seed being drank, is a remedy against the stinging of venomous creatures, the biting of mad dogs, the poisonous qualities of hemlock, henbane, nightshade, mandrake, or other such like herbs that stupefy or dull the senses” but I have yet to find supporting evidence of that claim. In the 18th century, Elizabeth Blackwell recommended it for “coughs, shortness of breath and obstructions of the lungs” and it had a history of use in consumption (pulmonary tuberculosis). In Europe it was used to restore libido and sexual energy, and the pressed oil burned in Egyptian lamps.

One note of caution: be careful when eating nettle seed not to exceed 30 grams a day. It can be over-stimulating and, like an amphetamine, prevent you from sleeping (although some people do experiment with nettle seed recreationally). A large 250ml cup of nettle seed tea (boiled fresh nettle seed in a 1:12 ratio (25 grams to 300 ml water) may keep you wide awake for several days! 

So next time that you pass a derelict building site, jump a country ditch or take out the compost, watch out for the nettles and take a second look at this remarkable plant. 

Monica Wilde

Monica Wilde MSc FLS is a forager and research herbalist. She runs foraging walks and teaches wild food and wild medicine across Scotland (www.monicawilde.com). She also works at Napiers the Herbalists (www.napiers.net) and is a Fellow of the Linnean Society. References for this article can be supplied on request.

by Monica Wilde MSc FLS
Research herbalist & forager

August 04, 2021 — Younit.app

Go Nuts

Go Nuts

Nuts are such a popular and tasty food we thought we would put the spotlight on them. 

Patricia Clarke Dip. Nat. Nut.and
Angela MacRitchie Dip. Nat. Nut.

Being a great source of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids, nuts are great during a detox and for every day eating, and they are easy! Technically, nuts are considered a fruit, with a hard shell and an edible seed. The best type of nuts to eat are raw and organic, including: almond, Brazil, cashew, hazelnut, macadamia, pecan, pine and walnut. Peanuts are actually legumes, although we think of them as nuts, probably due to a similar appearance and nutritional profile.

Nuts are full of antioxidants. Antioxidants help to control free radical damage in your body. Free radicals can be produced in response to stress, sun exposure, pollution, pesticides and eating fried or overcooked foods. Although having some free radicals can play a beneficial role in your immune responses, too many free radicals can lead to oxidative stress in your body, which in turn is a precursor to diseases. The antioxidants in nuts can help counteract these free radicals so they can’t damage your cells. Almonds are especially good for their polyphenol content, a phytochemical that has antioxidant properties.

Nuts are low in sugar and they satiate you, making your feel fuller for longer. Due to their low carbohydrate content, including them in your diet may balance your blood sugar levels and be particularly helpful for those with type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome. Some nuts, like cashews and pistachios contain a slightly higher carbohydrate content than nuts like pecan and hazelnuts. This is something to be aware of if you are following a low carbohydrate diet.

The fat content of nuts varies considerably by type of nut. Typically, they contain saturated, monounsaturated as well as polyunsaturated (omega 3 and 6) fats. Being rich in fats does not mean that nuts are bad for our health. On the contrary, including nuts in your diet is thought to be beneficial in preventing heart disease and in lowering LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol. Macadamias are a good source of monounsaturated fat. The best diet ensures a good ratio of omega 6:3. As nuts contain more omega 6 than omega 3, make sure you are getting enough omega 3 from other sources such as flaxseeds and their oil and oily fish.

Vitamins and minerals are considered essential nutrients—because acting in concert, they perform hundreds of roles in the body: they support bone health, heal wounds, convert food into energy, and repair cellular damage. Nuts are chock full of vitamins and minerals including several B group vitamins, vitamin E, minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium and selenium. Brazil nuts are an excellent source of antioxidant mineral selenium which also supports thyroid health.

Walnuts are particularly high in the amino acid arginine and glutathione, both supportive to our liver detoxification.

Hopefully the benefits of nuts are clear. In a nutshell: go nuts!

August 04, 2021 — Younit.app

In Memory of Jan de Vries

In Memory of Jan de Vries

by Dee Atkinson
10 July 2015

With the passing of Jan de Vries, myself and fellow practitioners of complementary medicine, have lost one of the most knowledgable and compassionate healers of our time. Jan was one of the pillars of our art, the pillar that formed the foundation of the natural medicine business in the UK. 

It is largely due to Jan's work - his tireless championing of natural medicine, as well as the way he brought so many different strands of medicine and healing together - that natural medicine has such a strong following today. 

As well as the thousands of patients that Jan helped, he also supported and encouraged many young practitioners, often giving them opportunities in his clinics and sharing his knowledge. Jan was also one of the most generous of people. Over the years he rescued a number of our old traditional herbal businesses, saving for posterity some of the most important remedies and formulations. 

One such business was Napiers the Herbalists, and twenty seven years ago, newly qualified, I was one of the young practitioners he helped. Over the years I have learnt so much from Jan, about plants and how to use them, about healing and about how to formulate. 

I owe so much to Jan, my mentor and my great friend. 

Thank you Jan.

August 04, 2021 — Younit.app

How to make Lavender & Lemon Iced Tea

How to make Lavender & Lemon Iced Tea

by Monica and Breanne, during the heatwave!

With the weather warming up, iced teas are a delicious way of refreshing yourself and so much better for you than sugary sweet drinks. Get kids into herbal teas early too - you won't regret it. This tea is calming as well as refreshing as lemon balm is a gentle sedative and also soothing to the stomach. 

 

Ingredients

1/4 cup fresh lemon balm leaves (1 tbsp dried lemon balm herb)
2 tbsp dried lavender buds (or flowers)
2 cups hot water
2 cups ice cold water

Directions

Add the hot water first and let the tea infuse for 5 to 10 minutes.

Then add the iced cold water.

Stir or shake.

Garnish with a slice of fresh lemon and serve with ice in a pretty glass or a mason jar.

August 04, 2021 — Younit.app

Nutritious Seaweed Soup

Nutritious Seaweed Soup

Quick and easy, this just takes 10 minutes and is packed full of vitamins and minerals.

by Monica Wilde
4 November 2014



Ingredients

3 pieces dried kelp (presoak)

4 spring onions (chopped)
1 stick celery (diced)
1 carrot (diced)
1 pack tofu (or cooked chicken)
2 tbsp dried porcini mushrooms

Directions


Gently fry spring onions, celery & carrot in a little butter or oil then add cold water. Add presoaked mushrooms & seaweed and cubed tofu (or chicken). Bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Season, if needed, with miso or soy sauce.

Variations

Try adding some pak choi, spinach of kale leaves to the simmering stage.

For a spicy version fry a little diced chilli pepper, garlic or fresh ginger sticks with the onions.

Gather your own seaweed

The kelp sold in store is usually called Japanese kombu Laminaria japonica. All around the British coast we have Laminaria digitata often called oarweed or just kelp. It has long rubbery fronds and is often cast up on the beaches. However, if you walk out at a low tide you can gather this fresh from where it grows on the rocks when it is exposed at low water. Cut some of the fronds off with scissors (so you don't damage the stipe ('roots') that it is attached to the rocks with). Just rinse in clean seawater and hang up on a line to dry as soon as you can. If you do leave it in a bag overnight it may require a further rinse in fresh water as it will exude a little gel.

Once the strips are dry, store them in an airtight container and use them in soups, stews and casseroles. With short cooking times you may need to remove them, just like you would remove a bay leaf, as they may be a little chewy. With longer cooking times they will become tender and nutritious. 

The gel that kelp gives off is called alginate. It has been proven that alginates improve satiety. That means that they make you feel fuller as they swell slightly in your stomach, so you naturally eat smaller portions. They also help to thicken your sauces without the further addition of flour.

Cooking with seaweed provides a host of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, trace nutrients and most importantly, iodine. 

August 04, 2021 — Younit.app

The Link between HRT and Breast Cancer

The Link between HRT and Breast Cancer

by Dee Atkinson MNIMH
Medical herbalist. 23 August 2016

This morning’s breaking news that using combined oestrogen and progesterone HRT can increase the risk of developing breast cancer will not be welcomed by the many women who were previously reassured by NICE’s much publicised announcement earlier this year that there was “no increased risk” of cancer for those using HRT.

This not the first time that researchers have found a link between the use of HRT and serious health issues such as ovarian cancer and stroke. But now, new findings by the Institute of Cancer Research and Breast Cancer Now suggest the original risk of developing breast cancer was actually underestimated. 

It is odd how we seem to be pulled this way and that by the results of yet another clinical trial. When I was growing up we were told to stop eating butter and to eat margarine. Now we seem to be leaning back towards butter - and, let’s be honest, who ever really wanted to eat margarine anyway! What this kind of thing shows us is that we are all, at some level, worried about our health and eager for information on how to best manage it. We especially love the idea of a pill we can pop to remove symptoms of something which is, after all, a natural process.

If we take a closer look, we might realise that all women in the world, who are lucky enough to reach a certain age (the average being 52), experience menopause.  So, it’s time to take a reality check. The menopause is normal and natural and we need to ask ourselves if we’ve always had such awful symptoms and if this really has, historically, been part of the aging package?

I would say the answer is “No”. We have made the situation worse with lifestyle choices, stress, diet issues and, probably, with using hormone altering drugs, such as the pill, in the past.

I think it is time to look again at all the plant based solutions to menopause and I have blogged about this in the past here. We have many, many herbs to help women with the symptoms - some of them are well known others less so. If you are concerned about these latest findings, then a herbal consultation is a big step in the direction of managing the menopause naturally.

August 04, 2021 — Younit.app

Why giving a therapy is better than bed socks!

Why giving a therapy is better than bed socks!

by Nikki Biddiss
Medical Herbalist

When there's a birthday, festive or special occasion coming up, it's very common nowadays to feel stuck for a present idea. We already have so much. So why not give something special that shows you care about your friend, colleague or loved-one's health and well-being.

Here at Napiers, in the West End of Glasgow, we offer a wide range of therapies including Herbal Medicine, Nutritional Therapy, Massage, Acupuncture, Hypnotherapy, Podiatry and much, much more. Here are some excellent reasons to gift a therapy:

  • Good health is priceless and you may be helping someone start down the path to improved wellbeing.
  • Research shows experiences are more memorable than things, so give an unforgettable gift to show you care.
  • Whether someone has health concerns or just needs some pampering, our wide range of therapies available means they can choose what they want most for their special occasion.
  • Napiers have been delivering health solutions since 1860 and we only choose the best practitioners to work in our clinics. We are a brand you can trust.
  • Gift vouchers are available so you don’t need to decide which therapy to give - your recipient is free to choose from the many therapies we have available.
August 04, 2021 — Younit.app

Ten Interesting Things about Garlic

Ten Interesting Things about Garlic

  1. Garlic is a member of the lily family
  2. In ancient Greece, brides carried bouquets of garlic & herbs, not lilies or flowers
  3. Garlic is one of the oldest cultivated crops. It was fed to the builders of the Great Pyramid in Egypt in the belief that it gave them strength.
  4. In Medieval times, garlic was used as a cure for drunkenness and overeating. People also ate whole cloves of garlic in an attempt to ward off the Black Death plague.
  5. Louis Pasteur promoted the antiseptic, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, and anti-viral qualities of garlic in 1858
  6. Garlic was used as an antiseptic against gangrene in the First World War
  7. The odour of garlic can be removes from your fingers by rubbing them on a stainless steel object under cold water
  8. Crushed garlic mixed with water is a natural aphid killer when sprayed on rose bushes
  9. Chewing parsley is a natural antidote to garlic breath
  10. Garlic is still used as an antibiotic in cases of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
August 04, 2021 — Younit.app

Herbs for Halloween

Herbs for Halloween

The nights are drawing in, there's a chill in the air and I'm driving home in the dark these days. The 31st of October is All Souls Day or Halloween. The name Hallowe'en comes from the evening before All Hallows Day also known as All Saints Day. It is the day when we remember the dead and our thoughts turn to ghosts and witches before we turn the next day to saints and resurrection. The darkness of winter also symbolises death as we wait for new life in the Spring. I'm always pleased when we pass Yule and the days start to get lighter again - even by just a minute a day! 

Many of us find it difficult to cope during the darkness of winter; depression, S.A.D., and low spirits can mark the days. In times past, many diseases especially mental illnesses were often though to be a possession by evil spirits and great care was taken to keep them at bay. So to protect our spirits many herbs and plants were considered traditionally to be good talismans against witches, ghouls, spirits and things that go bump in the night! I find it very interesting at this time of year to remember some of the ancient folklore that surrounds the herbs that we still use in our medicinal dispensary today.

Fennel: When hung over a door, fennel was believed to repel witches, so make sure tonight you hang this over your door because you never know whether the witch at the door is in costume or real! Fennel is used nowadays as an excellent stomachic herb in teas and digestif blends, especially if indigestion is accompanied by wind and flatulence.

Garlic: Used to increase courage, as an aphrodisiac, and as protection against evil spirits. We use a lot of garlic today, especially for its antibiotic properties. Often when conventional antibiotics fail, our patients recover from high doses of allicin (the active ingredient in garlic). Adding garlic to your diet is excellent for your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Oregano: A fragrant herb believed to protect the carrier from evil spirits. Oregano is a lovely herb to add to a winter tea. It is antimicrobial and also very high in antioxidants.

Elder: The elder tree was considered a magical tree in the time of the druids. It was often thought to be possessed by an old woman or sage and treated with respect. Witches were thought to ride elder branches as magic horses and if you wanted to see witches and fairies you should bath your eyes with green elder juice (but don't try that at home)! It was considered unlucky to have elder branches inside your house, especially around Halloween, but instead, hanging elder branches or crosses made from elder outside the front door, would prevent witches or evil spirits from entering. Similarly, an elder tree planted in the front yard would help to keep evil away. In Ireland, the elder tree was considered so magical that it was forbidden to break a twig off. Both elder flowers and elder berries are still used today, particularly for their antiviral and anticatarrhal properties.

Rowan: The rowan tree was considered even more magical than elder. In Scotland it was forbidden to use the wood without a special dispensation although it was the most popular wood for making spinning wheels and divining rods. It was planted near stone circles to prevent evil spirits from entering them - although fairies were allowed in! Houses often had a rowan wood lintel beam over the front door to keep its inhabitants safe. It was so closely associated with magic and witches that in 1618 Margaret Barclay was tried for witchcraft in Ayrshire. She had been found in possession of a Rowan twig tied with red thread - for protection. Nowadays, rowan is not used in herbal medicine but the berries, high in vitamin C, still make a great sweet and sour jelly that is served with game.

Mistletoe: Although mistletoe is mainly associated with kisses in the New Year,  it was was also consider a protective charm against witchery. On All Hallows Eve (the day after Halloween) a sprig of mistletoe cut with a new knife from the Scottish Errol Oak by a member of the Hay family, having circled the tree three times sunwise and pronouncing a secret spell, guaranteed you protection against witches and harm in battle. If placed in a baby's cradle it would protect them being changed for elf-bairns by the fairies! Mistletoe is still sometimes used in herbal medicine but only under supervision of a qualified medical herbalist. In Germany, mistletoe is made into a herbal drug called Iscador used in the treatment of some cancers to prolong life (Grossarth-Maticek et al, 2001).

Modern 'spirits': If you do suffer from depression, SAD or low mood over the winter do consider seeing a herbalist. Many plants contain phytochemicals that can help to lift your mood: St John's wort, valerian, verbena, passionflower, skullcap, nettle seed, rose, pasqueflower and California poppy to name just a few. A skilled herbalist will find the right combination for you especially if you are already taking conventional medication. 

Here's an old Celtic blessing for a safe and happy halloween.

At all Hallow's Tide, may God keep you safe

From goblin and pooka and black-hearted stranger,

From harm of the water and hurt of the fire,

From thorns of the bramble, from all other danger,

From Will O' The Wisp haunting the mire;

From stumbles and tumbles and tricksters to vex you,

May God in His mercy, this week protect you.

August 04, 2021 — Younit.app

It's thyme to get your skin under control!

It's thyme to get your skin under control!

Studies have shown that thyme is proven to fight blemishes and redness more so than prescription creams. When applied topically, thyme acts as an antiseptic to clean and soothe skin.

Make a simple toner by combing 1 part dried thyme and 4 parts witch hazel. Steep the mixture in a sterilized bottle for one week, strain, and apply to skin daily with a cotton ball.

August 04, 2021 — Younit.app

My Tips for Approaching a Weight Loss Diet

My Tips for Approaching a Weight Loss Diet

by Nikki Biddiss, MNIMH
Medical Herbalist

January brings National Obesity Awareness Week and awareness that we may have overdone it at Christmas. At this time of year many of us are thinking of ways we can reduce our waistlines so we can spend 2016 in a healthier and happier state.

Before you start any diet, its a good idea to think about your frame of mind. As they say, it's often "mind over matter" and if your mind is on board you have won half the battle.

My top tips for a successful approach to dieting are:

  1. Be clear why you want to lose weight. If you are using words like ‘should’ and ‘must’ this may suggest you are bowing to outside pressure rather than internal motivation. This will get you started but won’t sustain you long-term, so decide what you want to do and get started when you are ready.
  2. Focus on what you will gain in terms of increased energy, self-esteem and improved health and wellbeing. Stay focused on this rather than thinking of the foods you are denying yourself. Wanting to be able to run around with the kids is more likely to keep you away from the biscuit tin, than telling yourself you are not allowed a biscuit.
  3. Lose it slowly –losing an average of 1 pound a week is great- diets that promise rapid weight loss are hard to sustain once you are off the diet.
  4. Think about making permanent changes to your diet rather than following a fad. Eating healthily brings about many benefits so adopt it for life.
  5. Keep a food diary to identify areas you can focus on: are you a snacker or are your portions too big? A food diary will help you to be totally truthful with yourself too.
  6. It isn’t easy to lose weight but it's not impossible and celebrating your successes ongoing will motivate you to reach your goal.

Consult your health practitioner before following any advice if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have underlying health issues or are on any other medication.

August 04, 2021 — Younit.app