The Power of Arnica

Arnica is a well-known homeopathic remedy and a gentle herb from the daisy family (a relative to Calendula, Chamomile, Echinacea, Yarrow and Dandelion).

For centuries Arnica has been used for bruising and sprains. It’s old names such as “fall herb” and “wound herb” signify its age-old use for the effects of trauma. Swiss mountain guides chewed Arnica leaves to prevent fatigue from climbing.

Just like the tough, hardy daisy, Arnica will help you bounce back from life’s knocks and tumbles. It reduces pain, inflammation and swelling, and increases blood circulation.

Arnica is an alpine plant growing and thriving in the most extreme conditions, making it a tough, hardy plant. It grows in nutrient-poor soil, at high altitudes and strong sunlight. It is a survivor, getting through the most difficult of times. It’s leaves are also usually full of little insects and parasites, giving it a victim persona. Its root contains essential oils which are powerful anti–inflammatory agents. So there is no wonder that Arnica is a powerful remedy not just on a physical level but also on emotional and spiritual levels too.

If you have fallen over and taken a knock, or are feeling battered and bruised from a tough exercise workout, Arnica knows that feeling. Arnica can sooth your weariness, heal your bruises, remedy the trauma and comfort your injured pride.

Arnica Salve (by Neal’s Yard Remedies) is potent plant power in a jar: organic essential oils and herbal extracts in pure, organic beeswax. Supporting a hard worked body, the salve can be massaged into muscles before and after exertion, stimulating muscles before workouts and easing them afterwards. Of course it is also a necessity for the organic medicine cabinet for emergency first aid for those knocks, bruises, falls and sprains.

When overtired why not enjoy a restorative soak with Arnica in the bath. Infusions of mineral-rich Seaweed, Comfrey and Arnica are combined with pure essential oils of Lemon, Pine, Juniper and Lavender to ease tired muscles and restore a sense of vitality.

Especially formulated to ease weary limbs. Or why not try the new Seaweed and Arnica Bath Salts?

 

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist, acupuncturist, promoter of healthy living and independent consultant (Group Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic.

Image courtesy of foto76 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Brain and Cognitive Health

ID-100273701This blog gives a general understanding of cognitive health and outlines options for improving yours.

Good fats are essential to our brain health and function. A fatty brain is a healthy brain: 60% of brain tissue is fat. Good fats literally allow us to embrace change.

One type of good fat is Coconut Oil: If you search for coconut oil + brain fog on the internet you will find pages and pages of anecdotal evidence to suggest coconut oil can help lift brain fog and make the brain sharper, improving memory.

Coconut oil is a medium chain fat which means the body can use this type of fat as energy – another great fuel for our brains. It does this by converting into ketones which are used as a source of fuel for the body. Apparently brain cells function with far greater efficiency when they are utilizing fat (ketones) as a fuel source as opposed to sugar.

Pumpkin seed, hemp, flax, avocado and evening primrose oils are all other examples of good fats and these can be found in Beauty Oil.  They provide the essential nutrition that our skin and bodily tissue needs to renew, maintain and repair. This Beauty Oil contains nourishing omega fatty acids, essential nutrients and anti-oxidants that the skin needs to replenish itself.

Encourage healthy brain function and balance through reflexology. This is a two-fold approach. The reflex point for the brain is on both the big toes (and thumbs). As a therapist I always dedicate attention to this area during every treatment along with the spinal chord (Central Nervous System). However the second approach to improved brain function via reflexology is the physical act of touching the feet: the sensory rich plantar area of the foot is going to stimulate and increase neurological messages from here all the way up to the brain. Think about how many messages this will create during a 50 minute reflexology treatment and you can see how the opening up of those potentially dormant neurological pathways can be so beneficial to our health.

The key ingredients in Cognitive Supplement are also fascinating to learn about when it comes to brain and cognitive health:

  • L-Glutamine. This is brain fuel. It is the only compound other than sugar that can be used by the brain for energy. It can easily cross the blood-brain barrier.
  • Choline. Aids nerve transmission by supporting myelin production. Myelin is the fatty nerve insulation that facilitates the transmission of nerve impulses. It is attacked via an auto-immune response in MS sufferers.
  • Green Tea. Contains L-theanine which helps us to keep calm, yet focussed. For example, when we meditate.
  • Ginko biloba. This is a herb from the Biloba tree. Suggested that it improves memory. Used to treat dementia. Antioxidant.

Antioxidants. What do we know about these?

Your brain uses roughly 20% of the oxygen you breathe in, so its cells are particularly susceptible to oxidative damage, known as free radical damage.

Free radicals trigger brain inflammation which contributes to ADHD, brain fog, anxiety and memory loss as well as serious neurological disorders such as stroke and Alzheimer’s.

Eat lots of organic fruit and vegetables. Berries are a Number One brain food because they are super antioxidant and also their compounds have been linked to improvements in many cognitive skills including memory, learning, reasoning skills, decision making, verbal comprehension and number capability.

Image courtesy of dream designs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist, promoter of healthy living and independent consultant (Team Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. Jackie leads and mentors a growing team of consultants (many of whom are therapists integrating organic products into their existing businesses) via the NYRO social selling channel, holding regular team meetings, one-to-one coaching via phone and facetime, and a closed facebook group. All views are my own.

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Coping with Seasonal Allergies

POST102 million people in the UK suffer with seasonal allergies.

Generally speaking, early symptoms are caused by tree pollen, and later symptoms are caused by grasses and weeds. This is known as seasonal allergic rhinitis (or more commonly referred to as hay fever).

Symptoms that continue all year are called perennial allergic rhinitis and commonly relate to indoor allergens, such as house dust mites, pets and indoor moulds.

In response to exposure of an allergen (e.g. pollen) the body’s immune system overreacts and releases chemicals (histamines) which cause inflammation. Histamines work quickly, causing sneezing, itching and runny nose. The eyes may also be affected, with itching, redness and watering (allergic conjunctivitis).

Other chemicals released during this overreaction can cause a blocked or stuffy nose and sinuses, which may lead to headache and difficulty sleeping.

Rhinitis is often regarded as a trivial problem but studies have shown that it severely affects people’s quality of life. It disturbs sleep, impairs daytime concentration and the ability to carry out tasks, causes people to miss work or school, and has been shown to affect children’s school exam results. (Source Allergy UK).

Treatments that suppress the symptoms of rhinitis or hay fever are antihistamines.

Quercetin is a natural anti-histamine i.e. it is known to inhibit the manufacture and release of histamine. It is also high in antioxidants.

  • Quercetin is an flavonoid (plant pigment) commonly found in fruits and vegetables, especially onions, citrus, and apples.post5
  • In this new supplement, Quercetin and Nettle complex, it is blended with other ingredients (such as nettle) to have a synergistic effect. Nettle is known for antihistamine affect too, but also believed to be soothing and anti-inflammatory for skin problems such as eczema, hives, redness and itchiness.
  • Other ingredients include bromelene which is an anti-inflammatory (found in pineapples). Reduces swelling/inflammation in the sinuses.
  • And liquorice – this also has anti-inflammatory properties but also has de-stressing qualities.
  • Since over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines can have side effects like drowsiness, seizures and dry mouth, our natural option is a good choice.
  • Use with Vitamin C for an optimal effect.

Zinc also helps with hayfever. Zinc reduces histamine levels and will enhance Quercetin.

  • If you suffer with regular colds/infections – you could well be deficient in zinc. post6Zinc will reduce a cold by up to 7 days, because it is toxic to viruses.
  • Zinc is amazing for skin – crucial skin healing and repair, acne, blemishes etc. balances sebum.
  • Zinc balances the reproductive organs so it’s a great choice for couples wanting to conceive. Great for bones and nails.
  • NYROrganic zinc has a great base of carrot, alfa alfa and bilberry. No fillers.

NYROrganic Summer tea is full of natural remedies:

  • Eyebright herb for reducing inflammation around the mucus membranes.
  • Nettle and liquorice (already mentioned above).
  • Plus peppermint to calm and boost immunity.

TOP TIP: Pop the used tea bags into the fridge and then place on the eyes for calming itchiness.

Any of the White tea range will be hugely antioxidant so great for any allergies/hay fever.

  • White tea facial mist – lovely and refreshing, and cooling for the face. Use as a toner and as a facial spritz throughout the day over make-up.POST8_white_tea
  • White tea toning eye gel. Again this contains the Eyebright herb for reducing inflammation around the mucus membranes, more specifically the eye area here. Keep in the fridge for that extra cooling effect.
  • White tea enriching facial mask  – the kaolin clay cools and calms the skin.

OTHER TOP TIPS:

  • Apply the bee lovely lip balm around nostrils to prevent the pollen/allergens from entering the nasal cavity.
  • Some people with an allergy to pollens (especially tree pollens) may be affected by cross-reactions between their pollen allergy and certain foods. For example, they may find that when eating certain fruits, vegetables or tree nuts, especially raw, they get an itchy mouth or throat.
  • Keep windows closed when indoors. This is most important in the early mornings, when pollen is being released, and in the evening when the air cools and pollens that have been carried up into the air begin to fall to ground level again.
  • On high pollen days, shower and wash your hair after arriving home and change your clothing.
  • Avoid drying washing on a clothes-line outside when pollen counts are high.
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses when outdoors to keep pollen allergens out of your eyes.
  • Start taking a spoon full of locally sourced honey every day as early in the year as possible to build up immunity/resilience. (Source Allergy UK)
  • Get some reflexology. Reflexology Lymph Drainage has helped others manage rhinitis.

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist, promoter of healthy living and independent consultant (Team Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. Jackie leads and mentors a growing team of consultants (many of whom are therapists integrating organic products into their existing businesses) via the NYRO social selling channel, holding regular team meetings, one-to-one coaching via phone and facetime, and a closed facebook group. All views are my own.

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Be Prepared for Biting Insects (let’s live together!)

We’re off to the midge haven of Scotland for our summer holiday, so in  true girl guide fashion I’ve followed the motto of “be prepared” and have stocked up on insect repellant and cream to apply on bites.

Just as well I did because just as my stock arrived I suffered this nasty bite to my thigh whilst outside in our garden, from what I can only imagine was a horse fly.

As is usually the case I only noticed it when it started to itch. Immediately applied a generous amount of Stellaria cream from Neal’s Yard Remedies. This cream is rich in almond oil and chickweed extract – exactly what the skin needs to reduce inflammation, itching and allergy. I applied approximately every 3 hours (basically when the itching re-started after the last application) and now 5 days later it no longer itches and has reduced considerably. It didn’t bother me during the night either which was surprising!

I’m sure if I hadn’t had this cream to hand the itching would have been unbearable and I probably would have been scarred from scratching.

When I was bitten I was outside taking my regular yoga practice. It’s so liberating and uplifting to practice outside, and I don’t want to stop doing this. So insect repellant to the rescue! The Neal’s Yard Remedies citronella formula spray has worked a treat ever since. With witch hazel and citronella it is cooling to the skin and smells great (but not so attractive for those pesky insects!)

If you prefer to make your own insect repellant lotion, then the following ingredients will serve well: create your own face and body lotion, citronella essential oil, thyme essential oil, lavender essential oil, pine essential oil, peppermint essential oil. Work to 2% of oils to lotion to keep it skin safe. Switch the lotion for a little alcohol (to disperse the oils) and water to make a spray instead. [Note I am not an aromatherapist however I sought this advice from a qualified colleague.]

While we’re away I will also pop a few drops of citronella in a bowl of boiling water to diffuse through the van of an evening.

Jackie Marsden is a qualified reflexologist and an independent consultant for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. All views are my own.

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