Tag Archives: health

Drip. Drip. Drip.

No, I am not talking about an irritating tap, although to be fair, if I hear one I will hunt it down and deal with it immediately because the sound of water dripping is my number one irritating sound.  I am talking about something even worse.  Post Nasal Drip.

dripping tap

It is common at this time of year because it is the cold and flu season.  Post Nasal Drip is essentially how all the gunk from your sinuses gets down onto your chest and gives you that trademark graveyard hack that we all know and love.  If you want to totally gross out some dinner guests sometime, you can tell them that on an average day we will swallow down a quart or two of mucus.  It sounds worse than it is, because this mucus is the good kind – clear, watery and great at keeping the membranes in the nose clean, moist and free from infections.   However, if you get allergies or a stinker of a head cold, then the mucus producing glands go into overdrive and the, how can I put this nicely, overflow, goes down your throat.  Ugh.

So how do you deal with it?  Well the first thing is to make sure you are well hydrated.  Lots of lovely water and hot liquids will help keep the mucus free flowing so you don’t notice it too much.  Not too much whiskey in the hot toddy tough.  Alcohol will dehydrate you and cause more of a problem.


If you really suffer with post nasal drip, then consider moving to more temperate climes – a really cold climate will exacerbate a post nasal drip issue.  The nose is kind of an air conditioner for the body, running the humidity and temperature levels that make everything else run properly.  If you are constantly going from dry indoors to humid outdoors and from hot house to freezing polar ice cap, then your nose will be working overtime.  The best advice is to keep indoors damp(ish) using a humidifier if you live in a dry climate (not necessary in the UK) and don’t set the indoor thermostat to tropical – keep it cool as you can stand.  Ours at home is at 17 degrees.  Partly so we have somewhere to go when it gets really cold (limit of 20 degrees though… if we need it to be warmer, then we will go and fetch another sweater) and partly because we do not like hot, hot, hot.

If you have chronic post nasal drip, then you might have an allergy.  Go and get it checked and see if you do.  Dust mites are a common cause, but then so is animal dander.  If you do get congested, try using an over the counter decongestant – although don’t use it for long periods of time.  Go back to the tried and tested inhalations with some nice powerful essential oils in the water.  Rosemary and Eucalyptus are great, but a teaspoon of Vicks Vaporub does WONDERS.  Take Honey and Lemon for the inevitable tickly cough that will result as well.

honey and lemon

Also, ask your doctor to check if you have a deviated septum.  The septum is the wall inside your nose that divides it in two.  A sharp blow or even a birth defect can cause the septum to be twisted or deviated to one side.  A sharp turn in the septum can cause mucus to accumulate and when it all collects, then it drips down the back of the throat.  It might be an idea to check if this an issue.  There is a simple surgical procedure which can be done to correct the issue.


A quick reflection on this week’s posts…

I have to say that this week has been the most challenging in terms of writing this blog.  It has come home to me quite forcefully how much I am enjoying the writing of this blog and I know that all the research I have been doing on so many topics will help me in my studies and eventually in my practice.





There are two things I have learnt this week.  One is that you can overcome writers block.  It doesn’t really matter if the subject is a little odd, but just keep on writing.  If you get out of the habit of doing it, then the blocking demon has won.

The other thing that I have learnt is that you do not need to go to an apothecary shop to get ingredients for herbal remedies.  I was thrilled and amazed in equal measure that these things lying around the kitchen can be sources of health for the body.  Some of their properties were so powerful and yet they can be so easily overlooked.  This fact is contributing to a bit of rethink about my dream for Viridian Herbalist.  Although I rather fancy having a kind of apothecary shop somewhere one day, maybe I just need a kitchen and a table?  More thinking required I think.


Throughout the week (and month.  And year.  And decade.) we are assaulted with news reports about how people are getting less and less healthy and more reliant on mainstream medicine.  On Wednesday there was an article on the BBC news about people being prescribed statins, just because they could be and it might help.  How odd.  It struck me that pumping medicine into people just for the sake of it is surely counter productive to being a healthy country.  Have you seen the possible side effects of statins?  That is horrifying in itself!

There are people in the public eye talking about how we need to get back to cooking in the kitchen and using proper ingredients.  I am a huge fan of home cooking and do it as often as I humanly can.  But the one thing that people seem to forget, or have no idea of at all, is that the food they are cooking can be medicine for them.  It can prevent issues from happening, not just help to make you feel better.

from tigersheds.com

from tigersheds.com

Why aren’t there people with a broader reach than me shouting about this from the rooftops?  Why is this considered to be cranky or granola crunching and alternative?  It seems to me that this is what we should use in the first instance.  Nature.  It is there.  It is in your kitchen most likely.  Why use fake and made up chemicals to do a job that a natural herb, spice, fruit or vegetable could do?  I think this will be something I need to dwell on over the coming weeks.

In the meantime, can I ask you to spread the word about this blog to your own friends and family?  I would love to reach as many people as possible with this message that nature has what we need for good and strong health.

Have a great weekend.

Heart Healthy Diets

This blog post has been inspired by a very good friend of mine who recently had a heart attack.


In researching this post, I have found a host of information with tells me that if you include these foods in your diet, it will really help to reduce your risk of heart issues.  Here is my list of foods to eat, as well as a supplement which might help matters.


from stockfresh.com

from stockfresh.com


High fibre foods keep cholesterol levels in check.  So, this means that bowl of All-Bran in the morning is a good thing (despite tasting like twigs) but you can also have barley, oats, brown rice, lentils and beans.  I love all those things.  You can also add bran to your baking, if you like making breakfast muffins for example.


from livingcivil.com

from livingcivil.com


Olive oil is always trotted out as being heart healthy, and it is, because it is a source of mono-unsaturated fats.  Obviously you need to be moderate in your use of it.  Good fat is still fat.


from anuts.com

from anuts.com


Apparently, 2 tablespoons of Peanut Butter will provide you with a third of your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin E intake.  Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin, and has been indicated as important in heart health.  Again, be moderate with Peanut Butter, because it is calorie heavy.  Other nuts are healthy too.  Pecans, a personal favourite of mine, are high in Magnesium which is great for the heart.  One ounce of pecans drizzled over a spinach salad can deliver a third of your daily requirement of the mineral, and taste fantastic okay.


Whole-wheat bread is a no-brainer.  1 slice has 11 mcg of selenium.  Selenium is an important anti-oxidant which works with vitamin E to protect your heart.


red wine


How about a glass of wine?  Yup.  A 5 oz glass of red wine each evening is great for your heart.  But no more.   I don’t know about you, but I find it tricky to stop at just one glass of a nice red wine.  I usually try and find heart health somewhere else.  Apparently a 1.5 oz glass of Whisky  offers the same effect.


Again, it turns out that your Mother was right.  Eat your Broccoli!  It has Calcium in it.  Also Kale, figs, pinto beans and okra are great calcium sources, without the dairy fats we are all used to hearing about.  Turns out Popeye was onto something as well.  Spinach is a great source of Vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid and all these help prevent heart disease.  Plus, if you replace boring old lettuce with spinach in your salads, they taste so much more interesting.  Sweet potatoes are great too because they have lots of Vitamin A in them.  Let’s not forget about fruit though.  Strawberries  are full of Vitamin C, are a great source of fibre and potassium which are all important for heart health.


Eat chicken and salmon.   3 ounces of chicken provides a third of your daily requirement of Vitamin B6, and Salmon is loaded with those Omega 3 fatty acids.  They lower your triglycerides and reduce blood clots that could block the arteries.  In addition, it has Vitamin B12 in it too.  Oh, and it tastes good too!


Garlic has been used for years and years.  Turns out it is chock full of antioxidants, and it is also a mild anti-coagulant.  You need to a couple of years of eating garlic daily to get the heart benefits from it, but on the upside, you shouldn’t be bothered by vampires!


The supplement which is recommended is Co-enzyme Q10.  It apparently re-energises your heart cells.  In trials it has also been shown to block the process which creates plaque build up in the arteries and helps to lower blood pressure.  When I take it, I get an upsurge in energy too.


The most obvious advice is, don’t smoke, do exercise, watch your weight and eat a healthy diet.


And to my friend?  Get better soon!

WARNING: Rant about the “War on Obesity”

Great.  More pressure from the Medic’s on obesity. Don’t get me wrong, I know that obesity is a crisis and costs the National Health Service a fortune in treatment.  I also know that being obese is not something to be aimed for.  But I do not think that the latest news is the way forward.

As someone who is classified as morbidly obese from a random calculation using my height and weight (which bears no relation to how healthy I am, and instead just tells the doctor where on a chart I belong), I was horrified to hear this morning on the news that gastric surgeons are now claiming that up to 2 million people might be eligible to have a gastric band fitted in order to lose weight.  (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25766253)



You might have picked up that I don’t like the BMI calculation and all the use that has been put to.  I like the idea of major stomach surgery and gastric bands being fitted even less.

I have already mentioned in passing how I am treated at the doctor.  If I go for antibiotics for a chest infection, then I would bet my house that the doctor will ask if I have thought of losing weight.  I have, on occasion, replied with “Why yes.  I have thought of very little else for the last 34 years.  It hasn’t worked out well, has it?!”  I think you can probably tell that there is sarcasm dripping from that statement.  What drives me wild is that if they had cast a glance over my medical records, then they would see the referral to the metabolic expert when I was 18, and the eating disorder diagnosed then, the dietician appointments, and what not.  It is all there.  Written in black and white, or pixelated on the computer screen.



One doctor asked if I wanted to be considered for bariatric surgery.  I left him in no doubt that I would NEVER have a gastric band fitted.  If my weight was all about how much I ate and how I eat the wrong things, then I would do it.  But it isn’t.  I can prove what I eat; I can prove that I do not eat a high fat, high calorie diet.  I can prove that I am active.  But the medical profession doesn’t believe me.  In fact, one doctor actually said, to my face “Well you are still fat, so you must be lying”.

EXCUSE ME?  Who the HELL are you to tell me that I am lying to you and to myself about how much I eat?  Who are YOU to impugn my good name and call me a liar?  I don’t care how many qualifications anyone has, but NO ONE calls me a liar.  I once provided them with a detailed food diary, and exercise diary and they still didn’t believe me.

So needless to say, I will NOT be accepting any offer of bariatric surgery, even if I will be the last fat person in the UK.  I would even decline a hypnotherapy gastric band.



I am going to lose this weight the old fashioned way.  One pound at a time.  Exercising to tighten up my wobbly bits and to make myself feel better.  Eating healthy, home cooked food with the occasional indulgence has got to be better than undergoing major surgery.  That smacks of a quick fix to a slow problem.