November 10, 2018

Castor Oil – A beauty secret

castor-seeds

Castor seeds

Castor oil is one of the best kept beauty secrets and those who do know about it can boast longer lashes, fuller eyebrows and lustrous hair!

Castor oil is high in vitamin E and contains essential unsaturated fatty acids, like omega-6 that stimulate blood circulation on the surface of the skin, promoting hair growth.

Just apply a little castor oil to the area you want to nourish before going to bed. Smooth through split hair ends, coat your lashes or dab on eyebrows and see and feel the difference.

Use externally as a ‘castor oil’ pack by soaking a flannel in warm castor oil and apply to affected area. Cover with a plastic sheet, then cover with a towel and place a hot water bottle on top for 20 minutes.

  • Castor Oil is made from organic cold-pressed castor seeds.
  • Superb for nourishing dry skin and removing impurities from the body
  • Multi-use and very versatile massage oil

November 2, 2018

Centaury – The Stomach Bitter

USES: Indigestion, Hiatus hernia, Gastric reflux.

Centaury (Centaurium umbellatum) is well known to herbalists as a ‘stomach bitter’ – one of the classes of herbs with bitter taste and used to aid digestion. For these herbs, it is important to taste the bitterness – and because of this, it is better to use herbs such as Centaurium as a tincture taken 5 minutes before meals.

Centaurium umbellatum

Centaury has been used as the classic stomach bitter for many years. Bitter herbs or bitter tasting foods used to form a significant part of the diet. Nowadays these have practically disappeared with the trend towards more convenient, inoffensive and easy to eat food.

HOW IT WORKS: Centaury owes its bitter taste to a group of compounds called bitter glycosides. The bitterness of food on the tongue plays a very important role in the digestive process. Naturopaths have long believed that digestion starts in the mouth and this has now been shown using physiological testing. The taste of bitter foods stimulates the appetite and triggers the secretion of digestive juices in the stomach, which improves the breakdown of food.

At the same time the hormone Gastrin is secreted by the walls of the stomach. This improves the digestive process, by improving the passage of food from the stomach to the intestines.

Another important action of Gastrin is to tighten the ‘valve’ between the oesophagus and stomach, which is important in reducing the symptoms associated with a hiatus hernia, such as gastric reflux.

October 3, 2018

No VAT on health supplements!

First the Sugar Tax – now the Health Tax!

Government wants it both ways on health. 

In news which has sent shockwaves throughout the entire health and vitality sector, the Minister for Finance is reported to be eyeing up placing a flat rate of VAT on the majority of health food supplements.

Food supplements would include everything, from your common multivitamin to keep a little pep in your step to Glucosamine Sulphate to help with achy knees or Vitamin D which is recommended for babies and supplementation during our long winter months. With the need for over 55s to keep healthy and maintain employment for social and economic reasons, diet, exercise and nutritional supplements have become key areas in supporting general well-being.

Up to now all these products have been treated rather benignly by successive governments and they were not treated as luxury items – which is where most consumer purchases would incur VAT. Today however we have learnt that Revenue wish to treat supplements in the way that other luxuries are treated and that some degree of tax will be imposed upon their purchase, whether it be 13.5% or indeed the upper rate of 23%.

Given the historical statements of Leo Varadkar on the issue of resourcing preventative healthcare, this is seen as a somewhat contradictory stance for the government to take up now. Speaking on the Health (General Practitioner Service) Bill 2014, the then Minister for Health Leo Varadkar is quoted as saying –This particular measure is  the keystone of the Governments policy in the area of primary care…… we are shifting the focus of healthcare from hospitals to the community, and from treating illness to maintaining good health“.

Considering that these items are being purchased by people primarily to maintain good health and by extension relieve some of the stress on the already overburdened health system then the idea of taxing it is seen as a somewhat bizarre initiative.

Revenue have previously offered that the justification for this move was to harmonise our treatment of these products with European tax code.  Ciaran Hurley, tax advisor, says “this is just not the case. We have been here before with herbal teas with the same arguments. In that case the Government backed down from applying VAT”. Health food retailers say that their customers will see it to be more a case of the government looking for yet another easy way to tax the consumers pocket and they will vehemently resist this move.

While we wait for a formal announcement at Budget 2019 or the Finance Bill, it is certainly expected that yet again consumers are being required to pay more for something which the Government should encourage rather than tax.

Matt Ronan from Evolv Health Store in Enniscorthy says “we expect there to be a wave of customer anger when it’s explained to people that products which they consider to be necessary to maintain their health are now to be taxed by a government that is struggling to provide a decent healthcare system”. 

Alan McGrath, Health Stores Ireland, which represents the retail health food sector, said “the application of the Sugar Tax and the setting up of support bodies like Healthy Ireland demonstrate that maintaining good health is a clear policy for Government, this policy should not be contradicted by the taxation regime. Applying VAT to food supplements would be completely inconsistent with the way they are regulated and with current Government policy on health”.

Contact details to get involved:

  • Matt Ronan, Evolv Health Store, Enniscorthy,  087-2926182, evolvhs@gmail.com
  • Alan McGrath, Health Stores Ireland, 087-1006721, alan@healthstores.ie
  • Technical queries relating to VAT, please contact: Ciaran Hurley, CKH Fiscal Services, info@ckhservices.com, Tel: 01-8600444

October 1, 2018

Solidago – Golden Rod – Kidney Tonic

solidago

Solidago – Golden Rod

 

USES: diuretic (fluid retention), improves renal function, kidney tonic.

HOW IT WORKS: Whilst Solidago has diuretic action, this is not the prime role of the plant. Solidago, aka. Golden Rod, has been shown to have important anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and antiseptic action and seems to strengthen kidney function.

This makes it useful as an agent to counter inflammation and irritation of the kidneys, when infection or stones are present. The diuretic action is also useful in helping to dissolve kidney stones.

solidago_virgaurea

Solidago Virgaurea

 

September 20, 2018

Rhodiola Rosea helps stress

Rhodiola rosea has been categorised as an adaptogen by Russian researchers due to its observed ability to increase resistance to a variety of chemical, biological, and physical stresses.

Research also indicates great utility in asthenia conditions (decline in work performance, sleep difficulties, poor appetite, irritability, hypertension, headaches, and fatigue) developing subsequent to intense physical or intellectual strain.

The adaptogenic, cardiopulmonary protective, and central nervous system activities of rhodiola rosea have been attributed primarily to its ability to influence levels and activity of monoamines and opioid peptides such as beta-endorphins.

Rhodiola is an effective anti-stress herb, if you’re feeling burned-out, tired or need a boost.

rhodiola

September 1, 2018

Get set for the Cold Season

Coughs, colds and sniffles only catch you if your immune system is down, and if you do get sick, natural treatments are often the best. It’s important knowing what works best for the relief of symptoms and how to support your immune system so you stay healthy.

If you get sick there isn’t much to do other than rest, right? – Actually, some natural remedies have been shown to speed up recovery and significantly reduce the duration of a cold or flu.

A number of vitamins, minerals and nutrients are important for a strong and healthy immune system. – Ask us which ones have been shown to be most effective and can keep you well this winter.

cold season

August 18, 2018

Garcinia Cambogia – Weight loss

garcinia cambogia

Garcinia Cambogia

Common Name: Brindleberry, Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA)

Garcinia cambogia is a yellowish pumpkin shaped tropical tree fruit native to the country of India. In 1965, researchers identified HCA as the principle acid found in the fruit and rind of Garcinia cambogia.

According to Indian folk tradition, Garcinia cambogia has been described for such ailments as rheumatism and bowel complaints. The rind and extracts are often used as ingredients in Indian curry dishes and as condiments.

Both Garcinia cambogia and extracted HCA are widely available as a component in many dietary supplements.

HCA, extracted from Garcinia cambogia, has been studied extensively and found to suppress fatty acid synthesis and food intake, in addition to sparing the use of carbohydrate in the body while causing an increase in fat oxidation. Weight loss was common within several studies.

August 13, 2018

Passiflora for anxiety

passiflora

Passiflora – Passion Flower

Stress is an increasingly common factor in modern day lives and impacts both physically and mentally causing muscle tension, sleeping problems, nervous anxiety and irritability.

The need in these situations is for a mild but effective sedative that will not cause drowsiness or addiction even if taken long term. There are a number of herbs that work effectively on the central nervous system but some interact with other medication and others are not suitable for long-term use.

Passiflora has traditionally been used as mild sedative and anti-depressant, has no side effects or contra-indications, and can safely be taken long-term. When mixed with other sedative herbs its effects are strengthened.

Due to its anti-spasmodic properties, Passiflora can also be given to relieve muscle tension and intestinal spasms (gastro-intestinal symptoms are often linked to stress).

July 26, 2018

Vitamin B1 – Insect repellant

Vitamin B1 – thiamine –

Thiamin may enhance circulation, helps with blood formation and the metabolism of carbohydrates. It is also required for the health of the nervous system and is used in the biosynthesis of a number of cell constituents. It is used in the manufacture of hydrochloric acid, and therefore plays a part in digestion.

It is also great for the brain and may help with moderate depression and assist with memory and learning. In children it is required for growth and has shown some indication to assist in arthritis, cataracts as well as infertility.

It is thought that thiamin can be useful for motion sickness in air and sea travel, and that this vitamin also repels insects when excreted through the skin. Add a 200mg capsule of B1 to fend off mosquito bites. B1 makes your skin smell unpleasant to insects, with no perceptible smell to humans!

 

June 9, 2018

Hawthorn – Heart tonic

Crataegus - Hawthor

Hawthorn – Crataegus oxyacantha

USES: Heart tonic ❤️

Hawthorn berries have been used for many years to improve the efficiency of the pumping action of the heart.

HOW IT WORKS: The precise mode of action is still unclear – although we do know that the plant doesn’t contain digitalis-like compounds.

Flavonoids found in Crataegus have been found to be able to improve the circulation of the heart, and to a lesser extent, the circulation of other parts of the body.

Glycosides present are believed to increase the tone of the heart, improving the force of contraction whilst reducing the rate of contraction – in short, making the heart work more efficiently.

(NB: Let your doctor know if you are using Crataegus in addition to any other prescribed medication for the heart.)

June 5, 2018

Aloe Vera for sunburn

aloe vera

Aloe Vera plants

USES – Healing of wounds and burns, sunburn, psoriasis; intestinal inflammation, stomach and peptic ulcers.

HOW IT WORKS – The plant contains anthraquinone glycosides, resins and polysaccharides.

When taken internally, Aloe Vera has a cleansing and healing effect on the body, by virtue of its action on the digestive tract. This makes it useful for a number of skin conditions, where the process of internal detoxification is deemed by naturopaths to be important.

Scientific use of Aloe in wound healing was first documented in 1935. Since than, there have been a number of studies showing its effectiveness as a treatment for burns, including sunburns and other wounds even internal ones.

May 5, 2018

Sea Kelp stimulates metabolism

Kelp is a variety of seaweed. It grows to length of up to 200 feet in the temperate parts of the Atlantic Ocean.

Uses: Stimulates metabolism, Obesity, Weight loss, Detoxification.

kelp_forest

Atlantic Sea Kelp Forest

How it works: Kelp is rich in Iodine. It also contains Bromine, trace elements and Vitamin A.

The main activity of Kelp lies with its iodine content. It is an important component of thyroid hormones, which play a significant part in regulating the body’s metabolism.

Increasing the iodine available to the body will increase the level of activity in the thyroid gland, raising the body’s general metabolism.

Kelp has the ability to bind to toxins such as heavy metals and carry them out of the body.

This detoxifying effect can make you feel better and more energised, encouraging you to do a little more on the exercise front.

April 18, 2018

Angel and Tarot Cards

daily_angle-cards

DAILY GUIDANCE FROM YOUR ANGELS – ORACLE CARDS

These oracle cards by Doreen Virtue provide messages and reminders of your guardian angels’ steady and loving presence.

Each day your angels will give you the perfect card to answer your questions, set positive intentions, help you heal, and manifest what you desire.

After you pull a card, you might wish to keep it near you to remind you of your angels’ guidance.

beginner_tarot_cards

BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO TAROT – SET

78 cards plus ‘Introduction to Tarot’ by Juliet Sharman-Burke, cards illustrated by Giovanni Caselli.

If you are a first time tarot user, this set is for you. The deck has been specially designed for the novice, with every card illustrated in clear and distinctive style.

Getting to know the cards is easy and fun. And from the beginner you will quickly progress to expert tarot reader!

One of the most popular sets ever.

March 30, 2018

Why Spirulina is a superfood

spirulina

Spirulina is a biomass of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae)

The Source Spirulina was originally discovered growing naturally in unpolluted alkaline lakes in Central Africa and Mexico, where it was an integral part of the Aztec diet.

Spirulina is the richest whole food source found in nature. Spirulina is classed as a functional food in Japan and as a superfood it is consumed by astronauts in space travels. – Rocket fuel for the human body.

  • A highly nutritious, microscopic freshwater plant/ algae.
  • A superfood with over 100 nutrients, more than any other plant, grain or herb.
  • Widely used as a food supplement for maintaining health, energy, weight loss and cleansing programmes.
  • Protein – 60-70% of its weight. 300% more protein than fish, meat or poultry, with no cholesterol.
  • Iron – 58x richer than spinach in bio-available iron.
  • Vitamin B12 – Natures richest source. Often lacking in a vegetarian diet.
  • Chlorophyll – 2x richer than barley grass or wheatgrass.
  • Anti-oxidants – 25x richer in beta-carotene than carrot and 3x richer in Vitamin E than wheatgerm.
  • Spirulina assists weight loss by curbing appetite naturally while supplying a full range of nutrients needed for a balanced diet.
  • As an unrefined wholefood, spirulina is absorbed up to 16x more effectively than synthetic multi-vitamin and mineral supplements.
spirulina-microscope

Spirulina under the microscope

Available in tablets, capsules or powder form.

March 20, 2018

Arnica for Muscle Pain

The healing properties of Arnica are widely known and it has been used since the 11th century. Arnica grows in the mountainous regions of central Europe, where shepherds reported that sheep and goats would eat Arnica after a fall.

Even the most severely injured animal would soon be back on their feet fully recovered. The shepherds themselves then tried Arnica and, finding it helped to speed recovery from injuries, spread the word of its success.

Generally the herb is now taken internally only as > a homoeopathic remedy, mainly after injury; mental and physical shock; after operations, visits to the dentist, childbirth, etc.; sprains and bruises; aches and pains after physical pursuits such as cycling and gardening and for rheumatism and arthritis.

arnica gel

Arnica is best known as an effective treatment for sprains and bruises, Arnica improves the local blood supply and accelerates healing. Arnica gel is made from freshly harvested, organically cultivated Arnica flower tincture.

Arnica’s herbal use as an anti-inflammatory was not widely known. Newest research is proving that Arnica is a very effective anti-inflammatory when applied topically. It helps with painful inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, rheumatism, stiff or sore joints, fibromalgia and RSI.

Research published in “Rheumatology International” demonstrates that Arnica gel is as effective as ibuprofen for topical treatment of osteoarthritis of the hand.

February 3, 2018

Rudolf Breuss Juice from Biotta

Rudolf Breuss, a naturopath from Austria, maintained that cancerous growths will die if a patient drinks only vegetable juices and tea for 42 days. He believed that cancers cannot survive on a liquid protein free diet. (see Breuss diet).

Rudolf Breuss (1899–1990) developed the recipe for a special juice decades ago. Although the exact quantities remain a secret to this day, Breuss Juice combines the juices of beetroot, carrot, celeriac, potato and radish.

Naturally rich and earthy, there are absolutely no added extras in there, not even salt, and the juices are all organic and freshly pressed – not from concentrate.

Minus the radish juice (which contains mustard oil acting as a natural stabiliser), the juices of the different vegetable components are lacto-fermented which supports the production of naturally occurring, gut-friendly L+ lactic acid.

Biotta’s cloudy Breuss Juice is also a good source of potassium, which helps to maintain healthy blood pressure.

Drink the colours of nature. Full of plant based nutrients. Vegan.

February 1, 2018

Spring Cleaning with Cleavers

cleavers

Cleavers

St. Brigid day, the 1st February, originally a pagan festival called Imbolc, is traditionally the beginning of spring in Ireland.

Cleavers, otherwise known as ‘goose grass’ has been used for centuries as a spring time cleansing and detox agent. Cleavers is very high in a group of compounds called coumarins, which are the compounds that fill the air with with distinctive fragrance when a lawn is being mown.

Coumarins have a wonderful effect upon the lymphatic system. They cause a natural contraction of the lymphatic vessel walls, enhancing lymphatic return. This speeds up the rate at which waste products within the lymphatic system vessels are removed via the kidneys.

January 9, 2018

Flor Essence – Herbal tea blend

You’ve heard it all before. Pop stars do it, soap stars do it, and minor journalistic celebrities do it. Cleanse, detoxify, purify.

Why detox?

Think of the body as a finely tuned machine, if we do not feed it with the proper fuel it will under perform. Toxic overload will lead to lack of energy, weight gain, bloating, skin problems, premature ageing and the increased possibility of more long-term complaints.

The problem with many health regimes is that they require an amount of time and energy available maybe to Nepalese hermits, but not to the ordinary wage earner or homemaker. The once-at-bedtime herbal tea blend (Essiac / Flor-Essence) cleanses the body while you sleep.

flor-essence

Flor-Essence does not provide an instant purgative effect; rather with consistant use, its eight ingredients: Burdock Root, Sheep Sorrel, Slippery Elm Bark, Turkish Rhubarb Root, Red Clover, Blessed Thistle Herb, Kelp and Watercress identify, gather and flush toxins out of the body.

500ml – 10 day detox – €25.99

January 7, 2018

Food for thought – Paul McCartney

An easy, basic rule to check whether something is going to be nutritious and good for you is to work out what it was, when it fell off a tree or grew out of the ground.

The longer it takes you to suss it out, the more processed and therefore less beneficial it will be. Rice is easy, rice crispies are slightly more complicated, marshmallow squares will take you about an hour? to figure out …

paul-mccartney

Sir Paul McCartney.

‎”If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating meat. That’s the single most important thing you could do. It’s staggering when you think about it. Vegetarianism takes care of so many things in one shot: ecology, famine, cruelty.”

January 6, 2018

White Willow and Aspirin

The synthetic produced Aspirin, which thinens blood and kills pain, has almost totally replaced the use of the White Willow tree. From the bark of White Willow stems Salicylic acid, the phyto-therapeutic equivalent of the synthetic Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA).

Salicylic acid is anti-inflammatory, helps to reduce fever and to manage pain. The small but very important difference between the natural and synthetic form is: Our body converts slowly the Salicin present in White Willow bark into Salicylic acid. It takes longer to work, but has not the dreaded side-effects associated with ASA like internal bleeding and stomach problems.

willow

Willow tree

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