Natural Therapies by Regina Lasaitis

Natural Therapies

to nurture your body, mind and soul

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Eating chocolate may be good for you

Posted on Thursday, September 08, 2016 by Regina Lasaitis

Yes, you read that correctly!  That’s the good news – and it’s not all bad news for those of you that prefer milk chocolate over dark chocolate.  Although dark chocolate has been used in most of the research, there are some positive results in studies using milk chocolate too.

Chocolate has been a part of human culture for at least 5000 years – that’s what you call longevity!  There is a long history of its healing properties with foods and drinks being made from the Theobroma cacoa tree since ancient times. The Aztecs believed that cacoa seeds were the gift of the god of wisdom and were so precious they were used as currency.  Its medicinal uses reached Europe in the 1500s and since then more than a hundred medicinal uses for cacao or chocolate have been documented.  The most common of these were recovery from wasting due to long term illness, nervous system stimulation (yep – that 3pm chocolate hit is for medicinal use!) and to improve digestion.

More recent research studying populations that regularly consume cacao products found these people to have lower rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and cancer. This led to looking more closely at what’s in chocolate that can explain these health benefits.

The cacao bean contains several important minerals, including magnesium.  It’s interesting that in naturopathic medicine craving chocolate is one of the signs of magnesium deficiency.  Although it’s not the only reason for chocolate cravings, they can be related to other health issues such as blood sugar problems or adrenal imbalances.

Cacao also contains flavonoids that have been found to have protective effects on the cardiovascular system.  Flavonoids are antioxidants, which are involved in processes to prevent disease, and may be responsible for reducing the risk of diabetes and protecting against inflammation which is increasingly being seen as the cause of many health conditions.

More good news for us chocolate lovers is that studies have not found that sustained consumption of small amounts of dark chocolate leads to an increase in weight.  In fact one study found the smell of chocolate actually suppressed appetite – so perhaps it could be a way to prevent overeating?

Another benefit of cacao is the decrease of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a state where the body starts becoming deaf to the messages of insulin. The body starts storing fat rather than burning fat and this can be a reason why someone finds it difficult to lose weight, as well as being a precursor to diabetes.  Studies have shown that cacao is useful in decreasing insulin resistance and so slowing the progression to diabetes.

Other studies have focused on the increase in psychological wellbeing that chocolate consumption can cause.  Did we really need scientific research to prove that? One study looked at the effects of stress after eating 40 grams of chocolate daily.  Results found that eating chocolate was an effective way to reduce stress, both dark and milk chocolate!  An interesting finding was that significant effects were only seen in females.

This is only a brief look at some of the many studies (I’m sure there is no shortage of volunteers for this type of research!).  My conclusion is that dark chocolate could legitimately be considered a health food. Research, however, hasn’t definitively decided on the amount or kind of chocolate that is ideal to improve overall health. One point that all health practitioners agree on is that any health benefits are cancelled out if the chocolate is high in sugar.

It’s mostly all about the cacao percentage.  A higher cacao number usually relates to a healthier chocolate.  There is variation between how chocolate companies arrive at their cacao percentage but as a general rule the higher the percentage, the lower the sugar content and the more intense the flavour.  Milk chocolate can have as little as 10% cacao and the good stuff to look for is at least 70% and preferably fair-trade and organic.

In the words of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” and so chocolate (in moderation) could definitely be enjoyed as a guilt-free healthy treat.

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Energy boosting strategies to combat feeling tired, fatigued, exhausted, flat or wiped out

Posted on Sunday, May 29, 2016 by Regina Lasaitis

Tired, fatigued, exhausted, flat, wiped out? …..Is this how you’re feeling and it’s not even the end of the day? We can all feel this way to varying degrees and for some it can be intermittent during increasing workloads and obligations, while for others it can be a real struggle to perform relatively easy day-to-day tasks like getting out of bed.  In many cases it’s a symptom of what I call “the plague of the modern world: the compulsion to be busy” or for others it can be a result of serious health issues.

Before we talk about energy boosting strategies we need to consider possible reasons for this lack of the usual get-up-and-go.  In clinic, I recommend my clients have investigations to rule out the medical causes of fatigue which can include thyroid problems, anaemia, diabetes, heart disease and sleep apnoea.  Other causes can be chronic fatigue syndrome, post-viral syndrome, depression, hormonal imbalances and sleep problems.   These all require specific treatments and in some cases medical as well as complimentary therapies.

Is Stress Zapping your Energy?

Adrenal exhaustion or fatigue, although not a recognised medical condition, describes a state that is an ever-increasing picture and a major culprit for lack of energy.  Previous articles of mine demonstrate my sympathy for our adrenal glands and the effects that living under constant stress is having on them.

How are your adrenals doing? …. Waking up unrefreshed, can’t start your day without help from your stimulant of choice (coffee, other caffeinated beverage, sugar hit, cigarette) and at about 3pm need said stimulant to keep going but then you’re too wired at night to switch off and sleep? Your adrenals are out of balance and possibly heading towards exhaustion.   The good news is a few simple changes can restore your adrenals to being those energy generators they are meant to be.

Think of your body’s energy as being contained in a “jar”.  Optimum health and vitality means our jar has sufficient supplies to meet daily demands and when energy is taken from this jar the levels are easily restored.  Reliance on stimulants suggests an empty energy jar and a hint that our bodies are unable to meet the demands.  So strategies to aid the body naturally refill the jar are needed.

Let Food be Your Medicine

Eat regular meals of nutrient-rich food.  You don’t expect your car to run without petrol or on “dirty” petrol so you need to feed your body the best quality food possible. Buy whole, unprocessed, additive-free foods not those that come in a box with “numbers” as ingredients.

Keeping Blood Sugar Balanced

Include protein foods with every meal and snack.  This is important in treating another major cause of low energy – blood sugar instability.  Adequate protein is needed to keep the blood sugar levels and the body’s energy stable.  That 3pm dip in energy and craving for a sugar treat can be a sign you’re not having enough protein at lunch.  Try a salmon or chicken salad for lunch and reach for nuts and seeds instead of chocolate before the 3pm dip strikes.

Expend Energy to Build Energy Stores

Exercise –initially gentle, it doesn’t need to be strenuous marathon training (although the feel good endorphins may lead to that eventually).  To restore adrenal balance exercise is best in the morning and outside.  Cortisol, the adrenal hormone needs to be high in the morning and low at night and a simple way to help this balance is exposure to morning light.  “I’m too tired to exercise!” A gentle walk – even 20mins every second day is a good start to help fill your energy jar.  It seems a contradiction but gently expending energy will cause an increase in your body’s energy jar!

Get Adequate Sleep

An hour before midnight is worth 2 hours after midnight.  It’s true and because of our body’s biochemistry.  “But I’m too awake to sleep at 10pm!” If you’re used to going to bed at midnight try an unwinding process that will get you to bed at 11:30 and then gradually move sleep time earlier.  Preparing for restorative sleep involves restricting technology for an hour before bedtime – switch off that iPad, turn that mobile to airplane mode, read a book with paper pages or take a bath with lavender essential oil drops and dim the lights – basically let your body know it’s night time, relaxation time, sleep time.

Herbal Therapy

Have herbal medicines prescribed that help to restore your adrenals and increase your energy.  Herbalists have adaptogenic herbs – that not only help adapt to stress but build your energy reserves.  Some examples are Rehmannia, Licorice (not the confectionary kind), Rhodiola, Withania, Siberian ginseng to name a few. And in the evening taking relaxing herbs can help you sleep better – Passionflower, Magnolia, Zizyphus are some of my favourites.

Life Balance

Often low energy is a reaction to overload, so prioritise your obligations and assess your work/ life balance. To be healthy we need a balance of work and relaxation but this is not the norm in our world where being “busy” is glorified. Slowing down, seeking stillness and breathing (10 minutes of focusing on your breath counts as a meditation) will naturally restore your energy levels, lead to a sense of vitality and ultimately better health.

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Why minimising stress will keep hormones in check

Posted on Thursday, March 03, 2016 by Regina Lasaitis

Emotions and hormones are very closely linked. When you’re feeling stressed, upset, down, anxious or overwhelmed to the point where your emotions are taxing your body, hormones can go haywire and periods might become irregular or even stop.

This is because stress affects our biochemistry with the release of a whole cascade of hormones that are part of the “fight or flight” response.  Our body activates these hormones when we are in a stressed state as it can’t detect the difference between when we are confronting an actual life or death situation or when we are worrying over our finances, anticipating an upcoming confrontation with someone or we’re stressing about a work deadline.

Stress for a lot of us has become routine. Some days it feels manageable, and other days it feels like it has a life of its own and this is considered “normal”. The end result is being in a constant, physically stressed out state. This is a problem because the body’s stress response isn’t designed to continuously cope with the levels of stress and it impacts on other hormonal systems.  For females it can negatively influence our reproductive hormones at whichever stage of life you’re in.  

Sure, PMS can affect our emotions.  We can blame being a victim of our hormones for snapping at people and our “Jekyll and Hyde” personality change at “that time of the month” but if the stress system wasn’t overtaxed that monthly cyclical transition could be smoother. 

This can often be the case in fertility problems - why are so many needing IVF these days? My suspicion is that our stressed out systems are a factor.  I treat women experiencing fertility issues.  Often they’ve had medical testing and there is nothing mechanically wrong but when we look at their life there’s stress overload.  Making changes to lifestyle as well as treatment with my favourite tonic herbs to balance the hormones and support the body’s stress response can lead to shopping for a pram.   Most of us know of a couple that when they stopped trying, and focused on other aspects of their life or even adopted, they conceived.  This is evidence of the link between stress and hormones.

This interplay with stress hormones and female hormones is paramount in menopause.  Our adrenals play a crucial role in the stress response and all our life they are pumping out stress hormones, often without a break.  Then during menopause they are expected to be taking over some of the duties of the ovaries that are heading for retirement. These stressed out adrenals say “sorry, I’m busy dealing with the stress response, can’t help you” so the woman has a harder time with low energy, low libido and any of the other (not fun) menopausal symptoms.  A trigger for a hot flush can be a stressful situation so there’s this emotions and hormonal link again.

So what can be done?  Minimising stress is the key and preventing the effects of stress is how to keep those hormones balanced.  In an ideal world this would mean having an equal balance between work and relaxation.  Keeping completely chilled, not overworking,  eating well,  doing exercise you enjoy and choosing activities that bring you joy.  In reality, for most of us it’s a struggle to not take on too much, say no to extra commitments and not feel guilty when we do something for ourselves.  

A wise friend once said to me “we are human beings not human doings” and I’ve often used this phrase when counseling people about achieving balance and allowing time to just “be”.  I always ask  “what do you do for relaxation” and I often get puzzled expressions and it seems we are very good at being busy but not so good at not being busy.  The opposite to busy is what will give that stress response a break, let those hormones settle and ultimately lead to better health.  

Life is short. Live in the present. “At this moment I’m ok” is a mantra for when you are anticipating events that haven’t happened yet.  We never have full control of the future, that’s the nature of this life.  If you let go of the drive to do everything, be everyone for everybody and allow time out that’s when the fight or flight emergency system can stop pumping out those stress hormones, female hormones will equalise, you’ll regain balance and feel better.

If you are experiencing any of these problems contact me.

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How to get that libido back - Dispelling a menopause myth

Posted on Saturday, February 06, 2016 by Regina Lasaitis

“She who possesses a hundred husbands” is the translation of the name of a tonic herb that I frequently prescribe in my clinic.  No prizes for guessing its main use! Even though it can be effective, it’s not the only way to boost that flagging libido.  It’s a common misconception, or I’d go as far as calling it a myth of menopause and perimenopause (the years leading up to menopause), that libido spirals downwards and there's not much that can be done about it.  Sadly, this is often the case for younger women too.  

Research suggests that between 30-50% of women experience sexual dysfunction.   Complaints include low sexual desire, difficulties with arousal and problems with orgasm as well as the complexities of the “mechanics” of sex such as pain and dryness.  The reasons for these issues are varied but there are solutions that can lead to even more pleasure than in your younger years.

It’s not just about hormones

Sure, hormonal changes can influence libido, but other physical, emotional and psychosocial aspects play a role.  Overall wellbeing and vitality needs to be at optimal levels for a healthy libido.

Are you simply too tired? Is the fatigue related to an underlying medical condition that needs investigating?  Or are you doing too much and not taking time out for yourself?  This is possibly another myth of womanhood that we must always be busy and wearing our superwomen capes all the time.  Most of my patients need to be reminded to stop and breathe! What I mean is taking deliberate deep breaths even for a few minutes a day to start creating more balance between ‘being’ and ‘doing’ in our busy lives.

Emotional wellbeing is paramount to libido. Are you content with yourself, your life and your relationships?  Relationship dynamics can be damaging to desire as conflicts, resentment, guilt and other emotions can become a barrier that stops you from having a satisfying intimate connection.  In some cases professional help may be needed to resolve issues.

Many women who come to see me are not happy with the body changes they are experiencing especially as they approach menopause.  This influences their self-confidence and can dampen libido.  Love the body you have, don’t focus on any perceived flaws and don’t compare yourself to the touched up images of celebrities and models that abound in the media.  Resist the pressure to conform to the idea that our appearance is in constant need of improvement.  I support the growing movement of body positive activists encouraging women to appreciate themselves in whatever body they are in during all stages of life.

The need for technical changes

Painful intercourse can be a definite barrier to a healthy libido and this may need to be medically investigated. It could be due to vaginal dryness and an application of hormonal or herbal creams may be necessary.  For others a good lube (natural and petrochemical-free) could be the answer.  

Look at this as a time of sexual reawakening and exploration. Accept that changes in technique and allowing more time for arousal is important.  Some women are in a stage of life with less family commitments where they can devote more time to their own pleasure, so enjoy it! A bonus is a patient partner willing to join you in this time of development of new methods of arousal and/or make time for exploration of new solo pleasures. The term “use it or lose it” is apt here.  Increasing circulation/activity to this area of the body is essential with or without a partner.  There are health benefits to having at least a weekly orgasm.

Other causes

Many medications can have adverse effects on libido.  These include hypotensives, antidepressants (especially SSRIs) and in some cases oral contraceptive pills.  Depression and anxiety can also be detrimental to libido and unfortunately the pharmaceutical medications prescribed to treat these conditions can be a contributing factor so be sure to talk with your health care practitioner about this.

Treatments to consider

There are many herbal medicines and nutritional supplements available that can be useful in increasing energy and regaining a sense of vitality.  Eating regularly and sensibly is crucial.

Adding Maca powder, the Peruvian plant with positive effects on sexual function and energy, can be a beneficial addition to your morning smoothie. Studies have also shown it to be useful in alleviating SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction.

Asparagus racemosus, or Shatavari, the aphrodisiac herb already mentioned, balances hormones and increases vaginal mucus. It is one of many herbal tonics that increase energy and wellbeing.

Naturopaths and herbalists focus especially on adrenal/kidney health as we age because the adrenals need to take over some of the work of the retiring ovaries. In oriental medicine “kidneys” govern sexual vitality so adrenal and kidney herbs are often prescribed.  These alleviate fatigue and assist the body’s ability to cope with stress.

Improving overall quality of life is the key.  Libido is a measure of vitality and anything that increases your vital force will help.  Manage and minimise stress, focus on healthy eating, find an exercise you are motivated to do, address any relationship and/or self esteem issues and seek professional help if needed.

Reach out

If this is something you need help with, please contact me as I've treated many women with these health issues.
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Wholistic Cancer Awareness Campaign

Posted on Thursday, October 22, 2015 by Regina Lasaitis

October is known as 'cancer awareness month'.  Here are a few of my thoughts around the ‘awareness campaigns’ that are routinely promoted and the periodic calls for donations. Unfortunately the information about plant-based treatments for cancer are not widely publicised and funds donated for cancer research are not routinely directed to investigate anything that will not eventually bring profits to the pharmaceutical industry.

Many of you who know me know my stance on donating to ‘research’ and my avoidance of the ‘pink ribbon’.  We are all aware of cancer but are we aware of how to prevent it? Does a breast cancer (or any cancer) awareness campaign focus on increasing our awareness of nutrition and lifestyle strategies to prevent cancer? Sure, it does increase our awareness of screening tests and the signs and symptoms but, to me, it seems like a huge step in the process is being missed: Prevention should be the focus!  

There is plenty of evidence about risk factors, so awareness of these could be the focus of an ‘awareness campaign’. The evidence for the health benefits of incorporating certain foods into the diet could be publicised rather than contributing to the fear around the possibility of falling victim to the various cancers by publicising statistics.

This is only one example of the conclusion from a journal review article: "Overwhelming evidence indicated that consumption of fruits and vegetables with antioxidant properties correlates with a reduced risk of cancers".  Conducting a search in PubMed (the huge database of medical research) on 'diet and cancer prevention' brings up over 10,000 search results and searching on 'chronic stress and cancer' provides almost 4000 links to research papers on this topic. A clear indication that risk factors and prevention strategies are being investigated, but in my view are not sufficiently publicised during these campaigns to make an impact.

The absence of information in these campaigns about non-pharmaceutical treatments, so called unconventional or alternative treatments, is a constant disappointment.  Much research is conducted and results reported on successful treatments using plant-based medicines.  A heavily researched herbal medicine is turmeric with over 3000 research papers found on its use in cancer treatments.  Turmeric is actually a herb useful in the treatment of numerous conditions and has been said to have the potential to replace numerous pharmaceutical medications.

The focus during October should be around promoting a healthier future where the statistics of people contracting the various cancers is reduced rather than people having an expectation that they may become a statistic and hoping they fall into the statistics of a successfully treated patient.

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My top 12 herbs

Posted on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 by Regina Lasaitis

I get asked by students what my top herbs are so I thought I would share this with you.

Calendula officinalis

  • Alleviates lymphatic congestion
  • Acne, eczema and dermatitis.

Centella asiatica (Gotu kola)

  • Improves healing eg. wounds, post-surgery 
  • Assists with focus and concentration

Matricaria chamomilla (Chamomile)

  • Calming to the digestive and nervous system 
  • Relaxing - The ideal children’s remedy

Vitex agnus-castus (Chaste tree)

  • Assists with hormonal imbalance eg. PMS
  • Infertility

Cinnamomum spp. (Cinnamon)

  • Warming tonic 
  • Relieves Dyspepsia and other digestive problems

Echinacea spp.

  • Infection prevention 
  • Chronic and acute infections

Passiflora incarnata (Passionflower)

  • Anti-anxiety
  • Calming and relaxing properties

Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary)

  • Improves memory and concentration 
  • Enhances liver clearance

Withania somnifera (Ashwaganda)

  • Relaxing tonic 
  • In stressful conditions balances cortisol levels

Asparagus racemosus (Shatavari)

  • Female tonic
  • Menopausal symptoms

Rehmannnia glutinosa

  • Adrenal exhaustion
  • Inflammatory conditions

Schisandra chinensis

  • Fatigue and debility
  • To improve liver function and clearance
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Happy New Year 2015

Posted on Saturday, January 17, 2015 by Regina Lasaitis

It is customary for many to set resolutions, establish goals or outline desires at the start of a new year. Two of my close friends and I for a few years have got together in early January to create our “vision boards”. We set our intentions for the year ahead by making a collage of pictures and words that represent what we would like to achieve and manifest. This is a fun time for us as we playfully express our creativity, as well as being a time of reflection of the year that has passed and for evaluating our aims of the next year. 

sparkler

This year when I looked at last year’s board I saw that I had placed a large picture of the Eiffel tower to overshadow the letters spelling out “Hawaii”. I have for some years excitedly anticipated revisiting Hawaii so I included a reference to it on my vision boards. I recall on impulse last year pasting the Paris landmark onto my board but wasn’t consciously planning to return there in the near future. However, at the end of last year I had decided to delay the Hawaii trip yet again as a seminar in the south of France had sparked enthusiasm and I had decided to book it. (I look forward to sharing what I will learn and experience on the upcoming trip in August/September this year. I will be exploring a part of the world with which I feel a strong affinity and the topics covered in the seminar/workshop will be relevant to my work specifically with women’s health and wellbeing). I relay this to convey an example of the ‘power’ of the vision boards and setting intentions. I realise this could be labeled a slightly ‘magical’ example, and I want to emphasise that the purpose of the boards and setting intentions, I feel, is a serious and useful tool. 

Within consultations my patients often express their frustrations with situations in their lives and a desire for change. Although I respect, trust in and am in awe of the power of naturopathic and herbal medicine on the physical level, I am a strong believer of the role that emotions play in physical health and the need to address the non-physical aspects of a ‘dis-ease’. Hence discussions with patients often revolve around easing stresses and removing stressors wherever possible in their lives.

I often suggest writing a list of all the aspects to the “perfect” job/career, the new house or optimal health as a way of focusing attention to that which they would like to achieve. This can serve as a method of prioritising actions and planning manageable steps. I have seen the creation of this list be a catalyst to negative situations resolving and seemingly magical progress being made. “We just found the house that fit all the criteria on our list” and “I just landed my dream job” etc. The explanation for how this happens may depend on one’s philosophical or spiritual stance and I am only relaying my observations but perhaps upcoming posts may one day focus on my ideas on this intriguing topic. (This post has developed into something very different to what I had planned when I started writing it!? So I cannot predict the content of the upcoming posts but I do know that they will contain more of  ‘my’ writing as that’s an intention I’ve set for this year.)

So do consider creating a vision board for 2015 or writing a list of intentions for a specific situation where change is needed and be open to the possibility that this year will bring all that you desire. That is my wish for you as well as vitality and optimal health for body, mind, emotions and spirit.

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Are You Ready for Winter?

Posted on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 by Regina Lasaitis

Are you ready for Winter?

With the colder months approaching it’s time to start preparing for the possible onslaught of respiratory infections such as colds and flus. Prevention is possible with herbal medicine and adopting some healthy eating habits.

In winter we are more prone to infections and exposure to them is often difficult to avoid with air conditioning and being in environments where many people gather. 

Your immune system is your defence system against the ‘bugs’ that cause illnesses. So it’s important to ensure your immune system is functioning at its optimum. Echinacea, Andrographis and Elderflowers are some of the herbal medicines that enhance the immune system and can help relieve the symptoms of colds and flus. There are other herbal medicines that can relieve specific symptoms such as sore throat, runny nose, cough and the aches and pains of respiratory infections. However, with the use of strategies to support the immune system you will hopefully not develop any illnesses this winter.

Some vitamins and minerals are also very useful in helping to build your defence system such as vitamin C, bioflavonoids and zinc. Studies have shown vitamin C to be stimulating to the immune system but in doses higher than what we can gain from our diet. Bioflavonoids are in cirus fruits and are added to some vitamin C supplements to increase the absorption of vitamin C. Zinc is essential for health and wellbeing and surveys have indicated that inadequate intake is not uncommon. A deficiency in zinc will increase your susceptibility to infections.

Eating a diet rich in whole foods and restricting your intake of processed foods will also aid the function of your immune system. Including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean meats, fish, eggs (eating organic foods where possible) and avoiding refined sugars will benefit your overall health as well as helping to prevent infections.

Stress will also deplete your immune system so try to find some ways of relieving or managing your stress. Investigate some stress management techniques such as relaxation exercises, massage, meditation, yoga and/or taking time out for yourself.

Remember to get the most benefit out of herbal and naturopathic medicine you need to consult a qualified, experienced practitioner that can work with you to create an individualised immune boosting plan using specific herbal medicine, nutritional supplements and lifestyle recommendations.

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Coping with Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Posted on Tuesday, March 29, 2011 by Regina Lasaitis

PMS is a set of physical and/or behavioural symptoms that can occur up to 14 days before menstruation.

Physical symptoms can include: acne, abdominal bloating, water retention, breast pain and/or swelling, appetite changes, cravings, headaches, insomnia, constipation and backache.

Behavioural symptoms can include: anxiety, depression, increased irritability, anger, concentration problems and emotional sensitivity. Some women experience premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) which is a severe form of premenstrual mood disorder. 

PMS is more common in women in their late 20s and 30s. It is thought to be due to hormone fluctuations and changes in neurotransmitters in the brain. 

The good news is that there are herbal medicines and nutritional supplements clinically proven to help sufferers of PMS.  It’s not something that is just part of being a menstruating woman! 

Vitex agnus-castus- Chaste tree is a herb that has been extensively studied and has demonstrated beneficial results in the reduction of PMS symptoms. There are also many other herbal medicines that will help to reduce specific physical and emotional PMS symptoms.

Magnesium is a useful mineral in PMS helping to relieve symptoms of mood and fluid retention.

Vitamin E is also beneficial in helping breast tenderness and emotional tension and irritability.

A healthy diet is also important in treating PMS. Avoiding a diet high in dairy products, refined sugars, sodium foods and caffeine can be beneficial. Drinking plenty of water and herbal teas is essential.  Eating small frequent meals to regulate blood sugar levels will assist your hormonal levels.

Regular exercise is essential to reduce PMS. Being your optimum weight will reduce your PMS symptoms. A BMI (body mass index) of >30 will predispose a woman to PMS.

Charting your cycle is important. A sense of control and understanding around your menstrual cycle can be achieved by being aware of when you are approaching your ‘danger time’. Steps can be taken to ensure that ‘that time of the month’ is not one of dread. For example, the premenstrual time may be the time that you schedule a massage, some pampering or just some time out to nurture yourself. 

As with any health issue, the best results are achieved when using natural therapies including herbal medicine by consulting a qualified and experienced practitioner. Your symptoms and cycles can be assessed and effective treatments can be specifically prescribed for you.

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Herbal therapy for stress related conditions

Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2011 by Regina Lasaitis

There are many recent reports about the benefits of taking St John’s Wort for mild depression and stress related conditions.

However, this is only one of the many herbal nervous system tonics available to herbalists.  Others include: Oats, Lemon balm, Passionflower, Valerian, Scullcap, Chamomile & Vervain.

An individual experiencing stress-related symptoms and conditions will obtain the most benefit from these herbal tonics when they have them prescribed and dispensed by a qualified herbalist.  

The herbalist assesses the various aspects of the sufferer’s condition and treats them by using specific tonics in the form of a herbal complex (either in a tablet or liquid form).

Symptoms that may be eased with the use of herbal medicines:

  • Panic attacks
  • Insomnia
  • Mild depression
  • Tension headaches
  • Digestive upsets
  • Low energy

Self-prescribing of herbal medicines is not as effective as taking advantage of a trained herbalist’s knowledge and experience in the use of herbal therapy.

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