Me­gan Shep­pard

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Health -

Do you have a ques­tion for Me­gan Shep­pard? Email it to feel­good@ex­am­ or send a let­ter to: Feel­good, Ir­ish Ex­am­iner, Linn Dubh, As­sump­tion Road, Black­pool, Cork

I have been rec­om­mended beta block­ers as a cure to help with my ‘stage fright’ be­fore giv­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion to around 100 of my peers next month. Is there some­thing in the nat­u­ral world that would help with my nerves?

>> Beta block­ers work by can­celling out the nat­u­ral re­sponses and pre­vent­ing phys­i­cal symp­toms of stress and anx­i­ety rather than ad­dress­ing the ac­tual root cause of your nerves or ‘stage fright’.

There are some peo­ple who should avoid tak­ing beta block­ers, since they may cause prob­lems with cer­tain un­der­ly­ing med­i­cal con­di­tions and are well known for in­ter­act­ing with other med­i­ca­tions. It is im­por­tant to con­sult your usual doc­tor be­fore con­sid­er­ing them as an op­tion.

Since beta re­cep­tors are found through­out the body (such as in the heart, lungs, ar­ter­ies, brain, and uterus), the ef­fect of beta-blocker med­i­ca­tions is wide­spread. Us­ing Beta block­ers can cause de­creased heart rate; de­creased force of heart con­trac­tions; asthma at­tacks in peo­ple with asthma; uter­ine con­trac­tions; and de­creased blood pres­sure. Peo­ple who should avoid tak­ing them in­clude those with a his­tory of asthma, di­a­betes, most heart con­di­tions, myas­the­nia gravis, low blood pres­sure, metabolic aci­do­sis, and phaeochro­mo­cy­toma (high blood pres­sure as a re­sult of an adrenal tu­mour). Women who are preg­nant or breast­feed­ing are gen­er­ally ad­vised to avoid beta block­ers, although there are some de­signed to be suitable for cer­tain stages of preg­nancy or nurs­ing.

Rho­di­ola rosea is a herb which is be­ing used with great suc­cess among univer­sity stu­dents to re­duce stress, in­crease energy lev­els, and boost mem­ory. It has also been found to work well as an alternative to the an­tide­pres­sant herb St John’s Wort. An adap­to­genic herb, it bal­ances out each sys­tem, en­abling your body to func­tion at peak lev­els. Virid­ian’s En­hanced Rho­di­ola Com­plex com­bines rho­di­ola with other adap­to­genic herbs long used to treat stress, anx­i­ety, and over­whelm. En­hanced Rho­di­ola Com­plex costs €41.05 for 90 cap­sules, and is avail­able from health stores. Do not take with an­tide­pres­sant med­i­ca­tion.

Is it safe for some­one with coeliac dis­ease to take home­o­pathic medicine?

>> Homeopa­thy is a nat­u­ral medicine that utilises the energy of plant, min­eral or an­i­mal sub­stances to stim­u­late the body’s abil­ity to heal it­self. The spe­cific rem­edy is cho­sen based on the Law of Sim­i­lars (Si­m­ilia Sim­ilibus Cur­ren­tur — what a sub­stance can cause, it can cure).

While home­o­pathic reme­dies are con­sid­ered to be a safe and ef­fec­tive alternative to con­ven­tional med­i­ca­tion, some forms can in­deed be prob­lem­atic for in­di­vid­u­als who are highly in­tol­er­ant or al­ler­gic to wheat or dairy. You will no doubt al­ready be fa­mil­iar with do­ing your own re­search into the ingredient pan­els of ev­ery­thing you put in or on your body — and sup­ple­ments, reme­dies and medicines are no ex­cep­tion.

Home­o­pathic tablets and pil­lules typ­i­cally con­tain sub­stances de­rived from lac­tose and/or wheat, so th­ese would be best avoided. The good news is that you are able to pur­chase home­o­pathic reme­dies as liq­uid drops, creams, and sprays — which should not con­tain any gluten. In­di­vid­u­als who are avoid­ing lac­tose or wheat with­out se­vere al­ler­gies will typ­i­cally tol­er­ate the mi­nus­cule amount found in some home­o­pathic prepa­ra­tions.

The process of dis­til­la­tion re­moves all gluten from al­co­hol, so even if an al­co­hol-based rem­edy is de­rived from grains, it is con­sid­ered to be safe for coeliac suf­fer­ers. Many home­opaths pre­pare reme­dies us­ing brandy as the preser­va­tive and sta­biliser, which is an­other safe op­tion since the al­co­hol is de­rived from grapes rather than grains.

Net­tle tea is a great rem­edy to help sup­port and nour­ish sys­tem which is cop­ing with Coeliac’s Dis­ease. Rich in nu­tri­ents, this hum­ble herb is a won­der­ful restora­tive tonic and will help to cleanse and en­rich the blood.

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