Me­gan Shep­pard

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Health -

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I am in­ter­ested in nat­u­ral reme­dies to help pre­pare for win­ter. I eat a healthy diet, but I work long hours, so I tend to suc­cumb to coughs and colds when I am run down. Any­thing that can help me would be ap­pre­ci­ated. >> It is great to hear you are al­ready tak­ing great care of your­self by mak­ing sure that your diet is healthy and bal­anced. As you know, stress cer­tainly im­pacts di­ges­tive, im­mune, and res­pi­ra­tory health, among other bod­ily sys­tems.

There are two Ayurvedic reme­dies that might suit you well to pro­tect against win­ter ail­ments. The first is Amla (Em­blica of­fic­i­nalis), a pow­er­ful an­tiox­i­dant and im­mune sys­tem rem­edy, largely due to hav­ing such a high vi­ta­min C con­tent. Amla berries have been clin­i­cally proven to boost im­mune func­tion when taken as a longterm rem­edy. They also sup­port heart and liver health. A healthy liver is im­por­tant not only for pro­cess­ing tox­ins and hor­mones, but also for cor­ti­sol pro­duc­tion, and there­fore mod­u­lat­ing stress re­sponse.

The other Ayurvedic rem­edy I sug­gest is a blend of three spices. Trikatu is a com­bi­na­tion of gin­ger, long pep­per (pip­pali), and black pep­per — three pun­gent spices. This for­mu­la­tion is used pri­mar­ily for its hot, di­ges­tive prop­er­ties, which al­low it to help clear mu­cous, coughs, and breath­ing is­sues.

Gin­ger sup­ports the cir­cu­la­tory sys­tem, di­ges­tion, and is a won­der­ful ex­pec­to­rant for the lungs. Pip­pali helps to sup­port the res­pi­ra­tory sys­tem, stim­u­lates me­tab­o­lism, sup­ports the liver, and aids di­ges­tion. Black pep­per is com­monly used to help ac­ti­vate other in­gre­di­ents in Ayurvedic reme­dies, as it en­hances bioavail­abil­ity, pro­motes free flow of oxy­gen to the brain, and has cleans­ing and an­tiox­i­dant ben­e­fits.

You can use Amla to help build and sup­port your im­mune sys­tem, to help pre­vent win­ter coughs and colds. Take Trikatu at the first sign of any mu­cous or phlegm, and then con­tinue with the Amla by it­self once any con­ges­tion or ill­ness has cleared. I am in­ter­ested in hang­over reme­dies since we have sev­eral pre-Christ­mas func­tions to at­tend from next month, and I find my­self very sen­si­tive to the ef­fects of al­co­hol. It is not that I drink much, and I en­joy hav­ing a drink or two, but I seem to suf­fer from a hang­over com­pletely out of pro­por­tion to the amount of al­co­hol I con­sume. >> One of the most com­monly touted hang­over reme­dies is strong black cof­fee — how­ever since caf­feine is such a strong di­uretic, and de­hy­dra­tion is one of the main is­sues when it comes to a hang­over, I sug­gest you cross this ‘rem­edy’ from your list. In­stead try pre­par­ing for party sea­son by ap­ply­ing es­sen­tial oils to the soles of your feet. Fen­nel, ju­niper, and gera­nium es­sen­tial oils will stim­u­late the pres­sure points for the kid­ney area, help­ing to speed up the elim­i­na­tion of tox­ins from the body. You can ei­ther ap­ply the oils neat to your shoes, or mas­sage them in at a ra­tio of five drops per 10ml of base oil di­rectly to the soles of your feet.

Es­sen­tial oils can also help to set­tle a queasy stom­ach af­ter a night out. Lemon­grass, tan­ger­ine, and man­darin are all good choices — sim­ply in­hale the oils on a hand­ker­chief or pop a few drops in a dif­fuser with wa­ter.

Kudzu, a coarse, high-climb­ing peren­nial vine from China, con­tains the ac­tive con­stituents daidzein and daidzin, which help to min­imise the neg­a­tive ef­fects of al­co­hol. It is also used to help with binge drink­ing and al­co­hol crav­ings, but in your sit­u­a­tion, this is ob­vi­ously not the prob­lem.

You will need to take 1000mg (1g) of Kudzu with break­fast, lunch, and din­ner and the same again the day af­ter drink­ing. Make sure you drink hy­drat­ing non-al­co­holic bev­er­ages through­out the evening to stay hy­drated. Still or sparkling wa­ter with a cit­rus twist is a good choice — you can even add a pinch of salt to help keep your elec­trolytes up.

The fact your body has trou­ble pro­cess­ing al­co­hol means you would likely also ben­e­fit from liv­er­sup­port­ive and re­gen­er­a­tive herbs such as dan­de­lion and milk this­tle (St Mary’s this­tle).

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