Feeling under the weather? From an irritated tummy to sinus headaches and even stress, naturopath Victoria O’Sullivan shares advice on how to treat these and more common ailments naturally. Remember if any medical condition is persistent, a visit to your GP is recommended.
“A lot of bloating is actually caused by not chewing your food properly,” says O’Sullivan. “If this is the case taking some digestive enzymes like the probiotics can definitely help.” She also recommends monitoring your bowel movements to ensure you’re “regular” as constipation can also be the cuprit.
As winter drags on, many of us are struggling with coughs and colds. “Garlic is excellent for a congested, mucousy cough and it has natural antibiotic properties.” says O’Sullivan. “Licorice is also an excellent herb taken in a liquid preparation as it is a natural expectorant.” If you have a dry cough, O’Sullivan recommends taking pleurisy root or marshmallow (the herb not the sweet treat) which can help soothe an inflamed airway.
“The number one cause of headaches is dehydration,” says O’Sullivan. To maintain hydration, the recommendation is 33ml of water per kg of body weight per day. “Another common cause of headaches can be a magnesium deficiency so make sure your diet has plenty of leafy greens,” says O’Sullivan. If you’re experiencing neck tension too, this could be the cause of your headaches so see a chiropractor or physiotherapist.
Hormonal flushes are best treated naturally with a combination of herbs, says O’Sullivan. “Some common ones that work are black cohosh, red clover and a traditional chinese herb called zizythus,” she says. It’s also a good idea to keep track of your flushes and see if you can identify a trigger. “Stress is a common trigger so patients often find herbs used to treat stress can help too.”
“Elderflower is a great herb for soothing and draining the sinus passage,” says O’Sullivan. “Goldenseal is another common herb for the treatment of blocked sinus and, of course, olive leaf extract is excellent for sinusitis.” If you have chronic sinus issues, see your GP to rule out any structural issues in your sinus passage.
A magnesium deficiency could also be to blame if your body aches excessively after a workout. “When we work out we burn through minerals and magnesium is the mineral most concentrated in your muscles,” explains O’Sullivan. She suggests mixing an electrolyte mineral powder with water and drinking after exercise.
It gets to all of at some point so O’Sullivan recommends stocking up on your B group vitamins when you’re under pressure or as a preventative if you know a stressful period is coming up. “Siberian ginseng and rhodiola are also effective in helping the body deal with stress,” she says. “If stress is affecting your sleep pattern there are some excellent herbal tea blends available such as Sleep Tight from T2 that can help.”
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