Do you have a question for Megan Sheppard? Email it to email@example.com or send a letter to: Feelgood, Irish Examiner, Linn Dubh, Assumption Road, Blackpool, Cork
I have been told that it would be beneficial to drink raspberry tea during the last trimester of my pregnancy. Does it actually help, and how often should I be drinking it?
>> The tea you are looking for is the leaf of the raspberry, rather than the raspberries themselves. Raspberry leaf, (rubus idaeus), has a long-standing reputation as being beneficial during the final six weeks of pregnancy to strengthen and tone the uterus, preparing for a trouble-free birth.
You should ideally be taking two cups daily for the last month and a half of your pregnancy. It is a simple tea to prepare, either hot or cold, just use one heaped teaspoon per cup of near boiling water, or infuse two level tablespoons in 750ml of cold water overnight. Raspberry leaf tea is widely available as dried herb, but you can also buy it ready to use in tea bags. It is commonly found in the wild since it tends to take over in areas where it is planted, or you may already have your own raspberry patch.
Raspberry leaves are highly nutritious — high in calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, along with vitamins A, C, and E. This humble leaf is also a wonderful tonic post-partum to restore tone to the uterus and pelvic muscles and is worth continuing throughout the breastfeeding years. Combine it with marshmallow root for a soothing and nourishing drink to increase the flow of breastmilk and enrich the quality of your milk.
You can also use this herbal tea as a remedy to help with cold and flu, both as a preventative measure and to treat existing symptoms. It is wonderful as a mouthwash for ulcers and sores on the gums, and will also soothe a sore throat. Many herbalists use raspberry leaf tea as an aid in treating stomach ulcers, or topically for skin lesions and ulcerations. It is also useful to reduce nausea. Raspberry leaf tea is considered to be a wonderful herbal brew for young girls as they approach puberty — it is thought to help ease both the physical and emotional changes.
I have just experienced my first hot flush at the age of 53. What you would recommend to help deal with menopausal symptoms naturally? My mother went through a very difficult menopause and I want to avoid the same fate.
>> Hot flushes are actually the most common symptom of menopause, experienced by around 75% of menopausal women. Fortunately there is a herbal remedy which specifically addresses this issue, and furthermore, it is backed by scientific research.
Sage (salvia officinalis), pictured below, has been shown to reduce hot flushes in numerous clinical trials, with research specifically using Bioforce’s sage preparation showing an impressive 56% reduction in hot flushes.
Menoforce Sage tablets contain an extract of sage herb obtained from freshly harvested, organically cultivated sage, and only need to be taken once daily. Each tablet contains 51mg of concentrated dried tincture from fresh sage (Salvia officinalis) leaves. This is equivalent to 3400mg of tincture of fresh sage herb.
Menoforce Sage costs €16.25 for 30 tablets, or €41.99 for 90 tablets, and can be found online at www.AVogel.ie or in health stores.
Menopausal symptoms other than hot flushes and night sweats can include fatigue, insomnia, memory loss, headaches, mood swings, breast tenderness, weight gain, vaginal dryness, bladder problems, bloating, osteoporosis, decreased libido, and changes in skin, hair, teeth and nails — fortunately most women will get only a few of these symptoms at any one time.
It is important to choose whole foods over processed foods, and get in plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables — organic or spray free is even better.
Keeping fit is another key factor — at the very least you should be taking a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day.
Reducing stress levels is a must, along with getting good quality sleep — easier said than done if night sweats are a problem, which is where sage comes to the rescue.
NOTE: The information contained in this column is not a subsitute for medical advice. Always consult a doctor.