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Coronavirus 2019-nCoV – an action plan

PLEASE NOTE: This advice is for people who are reasonably healthy and have not been diagnosed with coronavirus 2019-nCoV. IF YOU EXPERIENCE SYMPTOMS, CONSULT A HEALTH PROFESSIONAL IMMEDIATELY.

What is coronavirus 2019-nCoV?

It is a relatively newly discovered respiratory virus found in the nose, throat and lungs, believed to have originated from Wuhan, a city of 11 million inhabitants, in Hubei Province, China. At the time of writing it has been identified as 2019-nCoV (2019 novel Coronavirus)

Symptoms of coronavirus infection

The main symptoms are fever, coughing and difficulty with breathing, but similar to influenza viruses early symptoms may include chills, body aches, sore throat, headache, diarrhoea, nausea and a runny nose.

How infectious is it?

At the moment, this is still unclear, but, roughly, each infected person may infect two more. Unfortunately, these figures are clouded by the fact that a person may be infectious without having any symptoms. However, medical opinion is that transmission is likely to be in the incubation period which is usually within 2-3 days of contact with an infected person, but may be up to 14 days after contact.

The most risky contact is considered to be close, such as a 15 minute face-to-face conversation, or 2 hours in a confined space such as an aircraft or other public transport and repeated, for instance living with or caring for a family member, working in close proximity to colleagues, and affectionate embraces between friends. It may be spread by droplets in coughs or sneezes, droplets which settle one metre away, unlike an airborne virus which can travel further distances.

Who is most at risk from infection?

Essentially those whose immune systems are not strong. This includes young children whose immune systems are still developing, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems, for instance, it has been found in someone without the viral symptoms but with diagnosed pneumonia.

However, it is an opportunistic infection and it may affect others.

As with many viral infections, good management during the viral stage is essential to reduce progression into serious, life-threatening bacterial complications such as pneumonia.

What can I do to help protect myself and my family?

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) advise:

Other things you can do include avoiding eating or drinking things you know you may be sensitive to, for instance if you know that dairy makes you feel bloated, or tomatoes make you cough, or if you return positive results from any type of sensitivity or allergy testing, give those things a miss. If you tested positive to anything, this means that that food item or drink is challenging your immune system, and if you suspect you may have been exposed to 2019-nCoV you will want your immune system to be working well to protect you.

Also, (refined) sugar needs to be mentioned, as research shows that as little as 1 tsp or 5g of sugar can deplete your immune system for 4 hours afterwards! Remember to look for hidden sugars in sauces & baked goods.

Supplements to support the immune system

There are herbs and supplements that are very helpful for supporting the immune system. I am a keen advocate for the use of medicinal mushrooms, particularly Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), Maitake (Grifola frondosa) and Shiitake (Lentinula edodes), largely due to their beta glucan content which boosts immune cell activity.

Large doses of vitamin C, intravenous is the most effective, for which you will need to see your doctor or your naturopath . Otherwise, orally, either liposomal Vit C or a good powder; one needs to be aware that too much vitamin C can cause loose stools in some people.

Vitamin A can be very helpful as well for the immune system and for mucous membranes, and vitamin D is a well-known immune support, and is most effective when taken orally as a spray.

Enzymes such as bromelain and bioflavonoids such as quercetin that break down mucous accumulation and congestion and that help manage the immune response to inflammation can be of benefit.

N Acetyl Cysteine is an antioxidant, it assists the body with glutathione production, and can be useful for acute respiratory infections. It is generally available as a powder.

Zinc plays an important role in our immune function and is easily depleted by modern living, by exposure to chemicals and heavy metals and some pharmaceutical medications, and by stress. If the body does not have enough zinc, the immune system may not work efficiently.

Zinc is available in our diet, especially in red meat, egg yolks, liver and seafood, so many vegans may be deficient in this mineral. Its most effective oral dosing is also as a liquid.

Selenium is another mineral which is important in immune function, as well as thyroid balance, and it is well known that New Zealand soils are low in selenium. Brazil nuts are often eaten as a way of bringing up selenium levels nutritionally, but many people are happier to take it as a supplement in the form of drops.

Care must be taken with selenium, as too much can result in toxicity, so it is a good idea to check your supplements and add together any selenium content to make sure that it does not exceed the safety range (200-800 mcg/ day).

Herbal medicine to combat viruses and support the immune system

Herbal medicine can be very effective when used appropriately.

Immunity-supporting herbs such as echinacea are well-known as a first response to viral infections, but this action may be enhanced by using other herbs in a combined formula, such as St John’s Wort, which is strongly antiviral, pau d’arco, andrographis, elderberry, thyme and licorice.

As some of these herbs may have interactions with some prescription medications or some pre-existing health conditions, please be sure to consult your health professional before using them.

Do you need more help or specific advice?

If you live or work in an area with a lot of exposure between people, you may need to take specific steps in addition to the above. You may receive specific recommendations from health authorities. In addition, you may want to have a comprehensive immunity boosting plan recommended by a natural health professional.

At Holden HealthCare, this would include diet, lifestyle, supplement and herbal recommendations based on your particular circumstances.

In light of recent awareness about viral attack, the month of February is promoted as Immunity Aware Month; please quote this article to claim your 12.5% discount applied to any naturopathic consultations booked this month.

Marion Stobie, MSc (Herbal Medicine), Dip Herb Med, Dip Naturopathy, is a senior Naturopath and Medical Herbalist at Holden HealthCare.

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Holiday Fun - & Flubs

So excited for the holidays! So often we hear this and say this at this time of year.

We New Zealanders have all our goodies at once – Christmas and New Year celebrations, time off work, and long, hot summer days to relax.

This all can be eagerly anticipated, and amazing, but for many of us it can be overwhelming.

It is not only the potentially extra financial burden (extra catering for cherished relatives coming to stay, Christmas presents (have I got the right one? Will he like it? He wants the more expensive model, 50% more than I had budgeted, but should I get it anyway?), and also social pressure – racing round to have lunch/ dinner/ coffee/ drinks with a friend whom we haven’t seen all year but absolutely must see before Dec 25th. The malls are busy & crowded and suddenly there is not enough time to get ready. And so on!

So this time of joy & celebration can bring on anxiety or even panic attacks for up to 75% of us according to a poll. A full-blown anxiety attack can often be mistaken for a heart attack, another factor to send stress levels soaring. If you feel that you are having a heart attack however, never hesitate to call 111.

There are many ways to address anxiety, no two people are alike.

For some, a good 5km run is just the thing to defuse & let off steam

For others, medication can help more than anything.

Here are some tips to help navigate through the Christmas holidays.

First Line

Walk away.

Stand up and move to another room. If you can’t find a space to be alone in, go outside, or into a bathroom or an unused bedroom. Distance yourself physically from whoever is angering you or upsetting you.

Sit down if you can and centre your breathing. Deep breaths - 4 seconds inhale, 4 seconds hold, & exhale fully for 7 seconds.

Don’t return to the group until you have calmed your breathing and you feel ready.

The Countdown Game

If it is too difficult for you to leave the room, stop engaging, & play the countdown game. Here’s how it goes:

  1. Find FIVE things you can see in your immediate field of vision. TV? Screaming child? Pohutukawa tree with a tui in its branches?
  2. Find FOUR things you can touch. You don’t necessarily have to touch them, but you can think about it. How soft your hair is, the beads on your bracelet, the silky feel of the dog’s ears, the grass beneath your feet?
  3. Find THREE things you can hear. Your siblings fighting? The kettle whistling? The birds singing outside?
  4. Find TWO things you can smell. Easy at Christmas, right? Cinnamon and spices from the mince pies? The pine smell of the Christmas tree (if you have a real one)? The cologne of a favourite relative?
  5. Find ONE thing you can taste. Maybe it’s wine, or chocolate, or a little slice of the glazed ham.
    Lose yourself in the game, and come back to engage with reality when you are ready.

Let the R.A.I.N. fall

R. Recognise when a strong emotion is present. Anxiety is not a weakness, a mental failing or childish. It is a scientific, physiological stress response that your body is experiencing in reaction to an uncomfortable or potentially threatening environment.

A. Allow it to be there. Fighting anxiety produces anxiety. Let your palms sweat, or whatever your physical manifestation of anxiety is. Don’t disagree with you body about what’s happening.

I. Investigate the feeling. Are you hurt by a certain comment? Outraged at ideological differences? Find out why you’re having the reaction you’re having

N. Non-identify with the feeling. Tell yourself that the feeling is not YOU. It is not yourself, your permanent state of being. It is a feeling. Acknowledging that can help take power away from the story the feeling is telling your brain.

If you think you may be prone to anxiety attacks over the Christmas holidays and would like to take something to balance you out, there are herbal combinations that may be helpful for you; if you would like to discuss one, please call Marion at Holden Healthcare and make an appointment before Friday 20th December.

The office is closed from Fri 20 Dec to Mon 20th January 2020; if you start to experience anxiety during this time, please try the tips above. If the anxiety persists into the New Year, please make an appointment to see me from Monday 20th January onwards.

Marion Stobie
Registered Naturopath, Medical Herbalist & Nutritionist

I am proud to announce I now qualified to perform DNA Genetic Profile Testing! This is a cutting-edge science that can reveal a lot about your potential health and future well-being.

These questions and MORE can be answered by knowing your DNA profile.

Empowering Technology

The DNA Genetic Profile Testing enables us to identify genes predisposing you to a disease, allergy, and/or any potential health risks. This is empowering because if you know more about your unique risk factors, you can make healthier choices that will improve your genetic expression (Genetic expression is how your genes create important proteins in the body – for good health or bad).

The DNA Test is a simple and non-invasive saliva test which is sent overseas, and costs NZ$499. You only need to do the test once in your lifetime, because your genes don’t change. Only your genetic expression can! How your genes express depends on many factors – diet, toxic exposure, lifestyle factors, and even your habitual mental states! This area of gene expression is called Epigenetics, an exciting new field of study which could be the cutting edge of medicine.

With what you will know about your gene profile, and what we already know about epigenetics, you will be in the driving seat with your health.

The full DNA Profile Testing programme will consist of a pre-consultation, the DNA test, and a follow-up consultation with recommendations specifically tailored to your unique profile.

Please get in touch to find out more, and to book your programme.

Best wishes,
Marion Stobie

For further details, call Jax on (09) 282 3588 or email us

What do sinus problems look like? Well, do you suffer from the following:

If you have one or more of the above symptoms, it may be a sign that your sinuses are inflamed or blocked.

What happens in sinus problems

These are essentially inflammation of the mucous membranes in the sinus cavities; when these are inflamed they produce extra mucous. The mucous may discharge through the nose or run down the back of the throat, which may mean you are constantly clearing your throat or coughing. Alternatively, the sinuses may be so swollen inside that the mucous cannot drain out, in which case the congestion means you are more likely to have a headache and face pain. Incidentally, blocked or inflamed sinuses are right above the long roots of your top teeth, so you may also experience tooth pain – it may not be reason to see the dentist!

Sinus problems may originate from a headcold that has never cleared up properly, or it may be from a long-standing food or substance sensitivity, or some people experience troublesome sinuses at the change of season.

How a biofeedback system helps identify causes

While part of the treatment for sinus trouble can be applied to all causes, some treatment is specific to each causative factor. This is where the biofeedback scanner (QXCi) can be very useful. The biofeedback system identifies blocks that inhibit the body’s natural energy flows, such as a virus or a food sensitivity. It is of course much more effective to treat the sinus problem if the underlying factors are treated as well.

So, if a contributing factor is food sensitivity, the advice would of course include recommendations to avoid the food. If it is a virus (lingering or acute) or a seasonal, environmental sensitivity such as pollens, we at Holden HealthCare advocate using specially formulated phenolics. Seasonal sensitivity may indicate a constitutional imbalance as well; acupuncture can be very effective to address this.

At your consultation herbal medicine may be appropriate for your sinus condition; your herbalist will make up a formula designed especially for you.

How to treat your sinuses naturally

Some useful things you can do at home to ease the pain include:

If you need further assistance

To find out more about the factors behind your own sinus problems and how to treat them more effectively, book in for a QXCi biofeedback appointment with Marion by phoning Holden Healthcare on 09 282 3588 or email us.

Breast cancer - how common is it and what are the risks?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in both developed and developing countries. Early detection increases survival, and we at Holden Healthcare encourage women to participate in routine screening programs. The average age of diagnosis is 60, however there is a growing incidence of breast cancer in younger women – nearly 6 per cent of breast cancers in Australia and New Zealand develop in women younger than 40.

It is well understood that there is increased risk for women who have a family history of breast cancer.  What is less well known is the association between breast cancer and controllable risk factors of alcohol consumption and abdominal obesity.

What does the breast cancer terminology mean?

Breast cancer is a term used for a variety of cancers that originate in the breast. Broadly it is categorised whether it begins in the ducts (about 90% of breast cancers) or in the lobules, and whether it is in situ or invasive. Some may be a mixture of in situ and invasive. Some of the less common breast cancers can arise in other structures in the breast, such as the lymph.

Staging describes the extent to which the cancer has developed. The most commonly used is Stage 0-IV, Stage IV being the most advanced.

The letter N followed by a number between 0 and 3 indicates the number of lymph nodes near the breast to which the cancer has spread. Therefore for example DCIS N(2) indicates ductal carcinoma in situ, with 2 lymph nodes affected.

What increases my breast cancer risk?

What protective factors could I consider?

What signs & symptoms should I look out for?

Management of breast cancer

Medical recommendations may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormonal treatments.

After breast cancer diagnosis, find a good holistic health care professional who can provide guidance about all the natural and complementary therapies that may help you. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the volume of advice on the Internet, so it is important to find an experienced and well-qualified naturopath who can help you determine what is the best way ahead for you. Be comfortable with the person you choose – you may be working together for some time.

Be sure to have your partner or someone close involved as an integral part of your healing process.

Diet

It is best to eat a primarily vegetarian diet rich in vegetables and fruits. Eliminate red meats and completely avoid caffeine & trans fats found in commercially processed foods. Eat complex carbohydrates and fibre-rich foods. Consume fish and some nuts for protein. Your naturopath will help draw up a personalised list of foods and frame up a menu plan for you.

Herbs

Always consult with a herbalist for the most appropriate herbs for you. This may, for instance, include lymphatic herbs which may improve the function of the lymph system and can actually help absorb cysts. Herbs that regulate hormone function and balance the endocrine system may also be included in your herbal formula. Taken as directed, herbal formulas can be a powerful therapy on the road to health. Safety in prescribing is an important part of a herbalist’s training, and you can be confident that your qualified herbalist understands the interactions between taking your prescription medications and herbal medicine together. In fact, some research studies show better outcomes for some patients who choose to combine conventional and herbal medicine than for those who use conventional medicine alone.

Supplements

There are specific supplement protocols which your naturopath can advise you on. There may be nutritional deficiencies which may be most effectively dealt with in the first instance by supplements. It is well worth the investment to consult with a trained and experienced naturopath who can discern the quality and also the appropriateness of the supplements available, especially when taken in conjunction with prescription medications.

Other factors

We are not just our physical selves, and there are various practices such as massage, exercise outdoors and creative expression through a form of art, to name a few, which help relieve stress and bring about a more relaxed outlook, all beneficial in recovery from breast cancer. Your naturopath and medical herbalist can discuss these further with you and determine with you which works best for you.

We at Holden Healthcare take your health seriously and are well-trained and experienced in the care of breast cancer patients. See here for further information on what we can offer you.

If you would like to discuss this further with us, please do not hesitate to call us at Holden Healthcare on 09 282 3588

With very best wishes,

Marion Stobie

What is it?

Prostate cancer is cancer of the prostate gland, a walnut sized gland surrounding the urethra (the duct through which urine is passed) just below the bladder.

The numbers bit - prostate cancer incidence in New Zealand

Prostate cancer is most common in men over the age of 40, and is rare in younger men. By age 60, one man in 9 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.  Australia and New Zealand have the highest incidence of prostate cancer in the world (but, fortunately, not the highest mortality rates).

In New Zealand, over 3000 men per year are registered with prostate cancer and 600 men die from it (Ministry of Health New Zealand).

The suspicious symptoms that may indicate prostate abnormality

Risk factors for prostate cancer

prostate sizes

How prostate cancer is diagnosed

First step is a Prostatic Specific Antigen test (a blood test) and the physical exam, known as the Digital Rectal Exam (DRE). The DRE is performed by a doctor while the patient lies down on their side or on their stomach; the doctor slips on a pair of disposable gloves and examines the size and hardness of the prostate by inserting a finger into the rectum. The prostate can be felt through the rectal wall. It is important to have the DRE, however reluctant you may be, because a man may have a normal PSA but still have aggressive cancer nodules.

If the findings are cause for concern, ie the PSA is above 3 (for a man aged in his 50’s) and the prostate feels hard and enlarged, the GP will refer you to a specialist for further investigations.

If you have results that may indicate prostate cancer, consult the specialist the GP refers you to.

How complementary medicine can help

Complementary medicine can produce some promising results, either alone or in conjunction with the conventional medicine pathway, depending on the person and on the cancer itself.

Either way, treating the person and the environment in which the cancer lies is of utmost importance for the best outcome. This will include lifestyle, exercise, diet and selected supplements.

What to expect from a consultation with a naturopath or medical herbalist

Goals may include management of insulin sensitivity, detoxification, low body fat and increased muscle mass. This will be delivered by dietary and lifestyle advice.

Exercise six days a week – this will be a combination of walking/aerobic exercise and weight or resistance training.

Meditation / mindfulness or positive thinking. There is a lot of research which shows that managing stress, whether conscious or sub-conscious stress, is effective in reducing cancer markers. This is because stress fosters inflammation in the body, and inflammation is one of the triggers for cancer.

Diet: reducing or avoiding red meat, sugar, alcohol, cigarettes and increasing chemoprotective foods and spices such as tomato, turmeric, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli will be discussed. Your practitioner will cover this in depth with you.

Supplements that may be helpful for prostate cancer

Vitamin D, folic acid and sulphurophane are among the supplements that may be relevant. Some herbal medicine may also be appropriate and effective, and may be prescribed for you, depending on your own individual needs and other medications taken.

We can help

Your naturopaths at Holden Healthcare are well-qualified and experienced practitioners who practise compassionate healthcare and can offer you a health plan going forward from diagnosis.

We look forward to being included in your healthcare team!

Marion Stobie
Senior Naturopath, Medical Herbalist & Nutritionist

Prostate image creative commons licensed from Wikimedia.

Naturopathy – what does this word conjure up for you? The key to this word is the beginning part, “nature” or “natural”. By this we mean something that is not artificial or synthetic. A naturopath is a qualified practitioner who practises healthcare according to natural principles.

Many of us these days have become aware of the vast range of choices in lifestyle and in what we buy. This can be anything from choosing an organic orange or chocolate-and-orange flavoured confectionery item, to cotton or polyester shirts – in each case, the one is closer to a natural form and the other is more synthetic and processed.

Consciously or unconsciously we make these choices all the time. Sometimes we make the natural choice because we think it’s the right thing to do, sometimes we choose the more processed item because it is more convenient or perhaps cheaper. But how about health? This should definitely be a factor in our decision-making, for as Augusten Burroughs said, “When you have your health, you have everything. When you do not have your health, nothing else matters at all.”

When considering your own health (if you do not have a medically diagnosed condition), do you consider it to be “pretty good”? What if you’d forgotten what it felt like to be healthy? To maximise your health potential, consider visiting a naturopath. A naturopath is trained in the application of medical science; this includes an in-depth understanding of pathology from both orthodox and complementary healthcare viewpoints, and includes performing diagnostic assessments using both orthodox and complementary methods. A naturopath will give you an objective evaluation, and, if they agree that you are “pretty good”, that’s terrific, but if they can identify areas that could be worked on, they will give you a plan with some recommendations. These may include dietary and lifestyle advice, and they may recommend supplements and/or herbal medicine. If you are being offered herbal medicine, do check that the practitioner is qualified to do so; if you are taking prescription medications, your registered medical herbalist is trained how to prescribe herbal medicines compatible with your pharmaceutical regime.

“When you have your health, you have everything. When you do not have your health, nothing else matters at all.”

To make the most of your health or to understand it better, make an appointment with Marianne Stobie, an experienced and registered naturopath and medical herbalist at Holden HealthCare – you may be given a plan for the health issue that has been of concern, and you may discover renewed energy and passion for life!

At this time of year many of us take time off work to relax and celebrate the summer holidays with friends and family. In many households, this involves hosting gatherings and parties with edible and drinkable treats.

Most of our clients at Holden HealthCare come away from their consultations with dietary advice, what to eat and what to avoid. However, let’s bear in mind that unless you are coeliac, have an anaphylactic (life-threatening) reaction or an immediate reaction such as diarrhoea and cramps (or if there are other serious circumstances present), these dietary guidelines may be relaxed a little occasionally. Far from being extremist, modern naturopathy is about regaining balance in our lives, and Christmas and New Year is a time where applying the 80:20 principle (do everything right 80% of the time, and allow things from the “naughty” list 20% of the time) can come into its own for a short period.

So, we may have more alcohol and sugary food than normal over the festive season without feeling guilty if our normal pattern is more restrained.

Remember that we have other tools apart from pharmaceutical medication if we feel worse for wear. Vitamin C (as a supplement or as squeezed lemons) and plenty of water is excellent to help rehydrate after imbibing excess alcohol, and bicarbonate of soda in water is helpful for settling a stomach queasy after too much rich food.

If you have been told that your digestive enzymes are low, then our summer fruits that are coming into stores now are great to perk these up – think of kiwifruit or pineapple, mango or pawpaw, and have a slice or two or a small glass of their juice before meals – a delicious way to make sure you are getting nutrients from the lovely food you may be serving or being served.

All toxins (and yes, alcohol is one too!) pass through the liver, and these days there are many tasty salads which incorporate liver cleansing foods.

A favourite, and so easy to make, is the Grated Beetroot and Carrot salad. Both these vegetables are very liver-friendly.

Simple grate a raw beetroot and a raw carrot (some like to grate in an apple as well), mix well and add a little salt, pepper and red balsamic vinegar, and a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds. A dash of pure maple syrup is nice. A tiny bit (½ teaspoon) of umeboshi plum paste cuts through any blandness and is so-o-o good for digestion. But don’t overdo it, it is very strong! It is also wonderful for morning sickness, by the way.

Any type of green smoothie or berry smoothie is full of antioxidants and can help you feel virtuous the morning after a big night.

Once it is all over, a one-day fruit or vegetable juice fast can give the body a chance to recover. Contact your practitioner for tasty combinations. And make sure you drink plenty of clean, filtered water – one guideline is 1 glass per 10kg of your own bodyweight.

If after the celebrations are over you feel that you need an extra liver clearance boost (feeling sluggish, skin not looking so good, or weight gain), do not hesitate to book in to see Marianne the Medical Herbalist for an herbal liver tonic (liquid tincture or tablet, your choice) or for more nutritional recommendations to build on the foundations of good health which were laid in 2016.

Wishing everyone a Happy Christmas and all the very best for 2017!

Marianne Stobie

 

Photo credit: Al404 Cheers via photopin (license)

With the warmer weather starting to come through, many of us are starting to dust off the exercise gear and training shoes to get fitter for the summer.
Sometimes we can get put off from exercising because of the aches and pains that can follow. This can be offset by proactive self-care strategies.

Firstly, we need to ensure that we are adequately hydrated before, during and after exercise. Filtered water is the best, however those of us who exercise intensely or in the hot sun and sweat heavily may be wise to replace lost electrolytes as well. Adding ⅛ teaspoon of Himalayan or Real Salt to a litre bottle of water is effective; ½ teaspoon of maple syrup together with a squeeze of half a lime (or small lemon) can help the taste as well as replacing some glucose.

A sachet of Lypospheric Vitamin C or other good quality vitamin C, such as Naturopath’s Own Daily C at 1000mg dose per day, is effective as an antioxidant and to help repair micro-tears in sore muscles.

Turmeric is a spice native to the Spice Islands and has long been used in Asian cuisine and medicine. The same part of the plant, the rhizome, has been used in Western herbal medicine since the Middle Ages and has enjoyed a revival in recent times. By its stimulating action on general circulation and also its anti-inflammatory properties, it is of value in bringing symptomatic relief to musculoskeletal aches and pains, with particular focus on joint mobility. It’s valuable not only to those with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis for this reason, but also for those of us with an active lifestyle.

Turmeric has become well-known as a liver and gallbladder tonic and as such it is well regarded as supportive in those undergoing radiation therapy and there are clinical trials demonstrating turmeric’s potential benefit in cancer patients. It is useful in treating skin conditions where they are associated with impure or coagulated blood, especially in radiation dermatitis.

Therapeutically, the bioavailability of Turmeric has been questioned, and research has shown that it is much better absorbed in the human body when
taken with some form of fat. This is why Ayurvedic (Indian) use of Turmeric combines it with milk or yogurt. Recipes for these are available at the clinic.
Of course, as a food the concentration is limited for therapeutic uses, although it is fine for maintenance levels. For more focused therapy, 1 -2 tablets per day of Turmeric, containing not less than 90mg of the active curcumin and phospholipids for absorption per tablet, is the best way of delivering an effective dose.

If you would like to follow this up, please contact me at Holden Healthcare to discuss if this is right for you. Turmeric is contraindicated for pregnant women and at high doses for people who are taking blood-thinners and some anti-inflammatory medications.

Marianne Stobie, Senior Naturopath at Holden Healthcare.

On my return from a two week trip to China (a bucket list must!) there was a definite change of season in New Zealand, with fallen linden tree leaves covering my street and with a nip in the air in the mornings. A beautiful time of year!

Rapid temperature changes, whether from cold to hot, but more predominantly from hot to cold, are stressful to the human body as we adapt to maintain balance. Add exposure to upper respiratory viruses to this and our immune systems are challenged to fight these bugs off, especially if we already have a health condition to manage to start with.

It is a good idea to continue exercise, particularly when the heart rate is raised and sweating occurs, as the higher temperature helps to kill off the unwanted viruses. Take care, however, not to chill down too quickly afterwards, again because of the stress of changes of temperature.

Remembering to throw a jacket into the car when going to work to allow for temperature fluctuations and to keep warm when the temperature drops in the early evening.

Eating properly is always a foundation stone for good health, and especially when the weather changes from warm to cool. Now is the time to reintegrate hot dinners, soups and casseroles. Using warming spices like ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and curry powders are beneficial at this time – for instance, Thai pumpkin soup is nutritious and comforting! Ingredients include red curry paste, pumpkin and coconut cream - see www.taste.com.au/recipes/21007/thai-pumpkin-soup/181/ for the base recipe, and add Asian fish sauce, onion, garlic, and seasoning to taste.

On the subject of garlic, use it liberally in your diet or if that is not practical in your household, buy some garlic capsules. Garlic has antioxidant and antimicrobial activity, and is anti-inflammatory and anti-viral too. Its immune-stimulating actions earn it a place in our toolkit to combat winter chills and ills. Of course it also has a lot of evidence-based research for its cardiovascular benefits too. The main caution is if you are taking blood-thinning medication, in which case moderate dietary use of garlic is fine, but it is wiser to stay away from garlic supplements.

Vitamin C is well-known in doses between 500mg – 2000mg per day is a must for its immune-enhancing and anti-inflammatory actions.

Herbal medicine is also very effective for immune support. Many people know about Echinacea, but here I want to mention Astragalus.

Astragalus root is originally a Chinese plant, but has been widely adopted by Western medical herbalists as a tonic and treatment for colds, ‘flu and other chronic viral infections, either on its own or together with other herbs such as Echinacea and Licorice. Research has shown that Astragalus activates and stimulates the proliferation of various immune cells. Traditionally, Astragalus is not used in the active phase of an infection (the first 2 days of a cold, for instance) but comes into its own straight after the end of the active phase, when it significantly helps to speed recovery and shorten the duration of symptoms.

If you would like a liquid herbal immune support formula tailor-made for you, or herbal advice, do give Holden Healthcare a call to book an appointment to see me and I can make something up to suit your own individual needs.

Soup photo credit: Pumpkin soup via photopin (license)

Legal Medical Disclaimer: Information and statements made on this website and all our associated literature are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. David Holden & Holden Health Care do not dispense medical advice, prescribe restricted medicines, or diagnose disease. If you have a medical condition, we recommend that you consult your physician of choice.
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Torbay
Auckland 0630
New Zealand

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Takapuna
Auckland

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