Picture credit: Claudio Scott
Read my responses to readers questions on sleep and skin conditions for Natural Health & Beauty magazine
Q: I get a lot of queries from customers who have problems sleeping. They’re reluctant to go to their GP for a prescription medication as they’ve heard lots of scare stories and I’m often asked if there is anything natural I can recommend that won’t make my customers feel groggy in the morning. What do you recommend?AB, Stanwell Park, NSW.
A: Herbal medicines are a powerful, nonaddictive way to alleviate the symptoms of a sleep disorder. Most people respond positively within a few days after using herbs such as valerian, passionflower, magnolia, chamomile, hops and balm. Only a very small proportion of people will feel groggy in the mornings, and this may actually be due to high levels of stress that are taking longer to be released from the body, so it carries on beyond sleep. To avoid this, first recommend a low-dose product to your clients. Look for combinations of relaxing herbs such as vervain, chamomile, hops, oats and lime flower.
If this does not provide relief, suggest a combination of more powerful sedating herbs such as valerian, passionflower, skullcap and california poppy. If the sleep problems persist beyond two weeks your customers can see a naturopath for an individualised
treatment including personally prescribed herbal blends, treatment of any relating factors such as stress and anxiety, and the recognition of nutritional and neurotransmitter
deficiencies such as melatonin, GABA and dopamine. This will produce better long-term results.
Q: I have a customer who has a problem with her one-year-old daughter’s skin as she has bad eczema. She tried lots of things including Vegie Sorba and Sorbolene. She’s also thought about using natural aloe vera but has been told that she should not use it either. She’s at her wit’s end, what should I recommend?
MR, Albury, NSW.
A: Sounds like it’s time to take a more holistic approach. This sort of eczema is likely to react to anything topical, so I suggest an internal approach. Causes of infant eczema include intestinal dysbiosis, chemical and food allergies, stress and nutritional deficiencies. Put the child on an ‘elimination and challenge diet’ under the guidance of a naturopath to identify potential food allergies (the most common food allergens in infants are dairy milk, eggs and peanuts). It is important to treat allergies thoroughly, and many can be resolved within a year if properly treated. A naturopath will also examine the severity of the skin disorder to better guide any topical treatments. It is possible that your customer’s daughter has an unhealthy gastrointestinalsystem, causing malnutrition, toxicity and skin disorders. This can be treated with a babybiotic containing multiple strains of Bifidobacteria to improve gut immunity. Totally avoiding any synthetic clothing will help, and do not use any skin products containing artificial preservatives or fragrances. Your customer can consider an organic diet for her child. Reseach demonstrates that an organic diet can greatly reduce the incidence of childhood eczema.
Flower meditation for relaxation.
This moving meditation helps you to centre yourself and create ease in your body. Either sit or lie down on your back in a quiet space with your palms open, facing upwards. Just breathe and observe the natural rhythm of your breath.
Gradually begin to count the seconds for each inhalation and exhalation, aiming for four seconds each way. Soften your eyes and let your jaw hang down. On the inhalation softly spread open your fingers like a lotus flower, closing them into a fist on the exhalation.
If you are sitting, you can observe your hands with a soft gaze, but don’t get caught in the details of seeing, keep your eyes relaxed. Do this for 15 minutes daily.
*Su-lin Sze is a naturopath and western herbalist. She runs Herbalwell, natural medicine clinics in Sydney, and has extensive experience in the holistic treatment of a range of conditions.
This article was published in Natural Health & Beauty magazine November 2009
Hey there! Welcome to my world of totally natural and powerful healing medicines. Medicines from nature. Medicine from Source. I’m a naturopath and herbalist with extensive clinical experience working with a range of health conditions including hormonal, metabolic, mental health, sleep and more.
I’ve brought together years of clinical and teaching experience, academic skill and curiosity to bring you this blog. I hope you enjoy it! If you do, leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!