Tag: herbal medicine

Herbal Medicine and Health research – May and June 14

In May and June the following research on herbs and health has caught my eye.

 1. A recent laboratory study has shown that a constituent of milk thistle may be beneficial in treating prostate cancer, and may be synthesised into a drug.

2. A new study has shown that taking devil’s claw, turmeric and bromelain reduced inflammation and pain in patients with osteoarthritis.

3. A recent a laboratory study has shown that pomegranate may have neuroprotective effects.

4. Self heal (Prunella vulgaris) has been shown to have antioxidant and possible anti cancer actions according to a recent study.

5. Watercress has been found to be an effective treatment against E.coli, and is being considered for mass production high dose supplementation.

6. A recent report has shown a “complex link” between asthma and antibiotic use in children.

7. Rhemmania leaves were found to be beneficial in treating primary glomerulonephritis according to a recent study.

8. A new study on Ginkgo has found that it slows the progression of normal tension glaucoma.

9. A new report from the USA states that “walking may reduce the risk of death or need for dialysis in patients with chronic kidney disease”.

10. Several species of cranberry have been confirmed to have preventative effects for urinary tract infections.

11. An evaluation was conducted on research of herbal based creams used to treat psoriasis. The traditional preparation of Oregan grape (Mahonia aquifolium) was studies but the results were not conclusive.

12. An evaluation was conducted on research of herbal gout treatments. Results were promising but more data is needed.

13. Turmeric was found to be beneficial in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

14. Cherries have been studied recently and have been found to have cancer preventing effects.

Monthly research blog – Herbal medicine and health – Feb 14

This month the following research on herbs and health has caught my eye.

1. A new laboratory study has found that pomegranate can repair liver damage.

2. A new study in New York is looking at the affects poor diet has on brain function. In      particular the links between junk food and poor concentration and aggressive behaviour.

3. Ashwagandha has been shown to improve brain function in people with bi-polar disorder.

4. Phytoestrogens such as soy, red clover and liquorice in a new study have been shown to prevent and treat metabolic syndrome.

5. A new laboratory study has shown that rosebay willowherb contains plant constituents that suggest its effectiveness in treating benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH).

6. Red sage has been used traditionally to treat fatty liver disease and has been studied recently to find out if it can be used in hospitals. Further studies are being undertaken.

7. Self heal (Prunella vulgaris) has been found to prevent atherosclerosis.

8. Cinnamon has shown a new mode of action in laboratory studies which may mean it can be used to treat some neurodegenerative diseases.

9. Beetroot juice has been shown to increase exercise tolerance in a new study.

10. A new laboratory study has found that the root of St John’s wort may be effective against fungal infections.

11. An extract of broom could be in your next sun cream, as a new laboratory study has found that it can protect skin from UV rays.

12. A new controversial recommendation was announced that people with 10% risk of developing cardiovascular disease would be advised by their GPs to take statins. The threshold has halved as previously the risk was 20% before statins were suggested. Many believe a more natural approach should be tried before statins are introduced.

Monthly research blog – Herbal medicine and health research stories in January 14

This month the following research on herbs and health has caught my eye.

1. A new laboratory study has found that an extract from hawthorn berries reduced breast cancer tumours.

2. Vitamin E has been shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s according to the Alzheimer’s research centre in New York.

3. A new study has shown that people who are suffering from depression have lower levels of zinc in their blood and supplementation (or dietary changes) can make a significant      difference.

4. A new study has shown that red clover significantly reduced hot flushes in menopausal women.

5. Tulsi (holy basil) has been found to contain anti cancer chemicals.

6. Cocoa has been found to have anti cancer chemicals as well as cancer preventing chemicals.

7. Cognitive behavioural therapy is now being used to help people with health anxiety (also known as hypochondriasis).

8. A new study has found that babies who took probiotics in the first three months of their lives did not develop colic.

9. A new study involving mistletoe found that its use alongside orthodox treatments increased the survival rates of patients with pancreatic cancer.

10. Gout is on the increase and while there are new drugs being developed, the main advice is dietary and lifestyle changes.

11. A new study of ginger and turmeric has shown effectiveness in treating rheumatoid arthritis.

12. Ashwaganda has been shown in a new study to reduce the tiredness felt after chemotherapy.

13. A new study from the USA has shown that the traditional remedy of sage for hot flushes is accurate.

Have you noticed that herbal products are disappearing from health food shops?

Have you noticed that herbal products that you used to be able to buy in health food shops have started to disappear?

This is due to the European Directive of Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products that came into force in 2005. This directive changed the way herbal products could be sold, they needed to have a licence and a licence could only be obtained if a herb had been in use for 30 years. This has seen a huge reduction in the availability of herbal products in the UK.

You may have also noticed that in shops that sell herbs for example Neal’s Yard, they are no longer able to provide mixtures of herbs only single herbs.

Herbal medicine and regulating those who prescribe herbs is still being debated, and an article in the Telegraph on 19th January expressed the view of the Prince of Wales who wants to see alternative medicine integrating with orthodox medicine and properly regulated.

As the law stands at the moment anyone can claim to be a herbalist and treat people with herbs. When the new law is passed herbalists will be recognised as regulated professionals and only herbalists who have completed the required training will be able to use the title and practice herbal medicine.

So what can you do now if you are used to using a herbal product and it has been withdrawn?

Medical herbalists though not currently regulated are still covered by the Human Medicines Regulations 2012, regulation 3, para. (2), (6), (9), which states that herbal medicine products must be manufactured by the medical herbalist and must be dispensed from a suitable premise not available to the public. Regulation 241 states that schedule 20 restricted medicines can only be dispensed by medical herbalists who have a BSc in Herbal Medicine.

This means that you can get herbs from medical herbalists with a consultation. It is important to remember that the herbal medicines dispensed by medical herbalists are often of a much higher strength than those available over the counter in chemists, supermarkets and health food shops. You may only be able to get the herbal medicine in a different form, for example as a powder or tea rather than a capsule or tablet.

For more information visit the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulation Agency (MHRA) website.

If you have any questions about herbal medicine, what can be taken alongside orthodox medication or what is available through a medical herbalist you can find a medical herbalist local to you by searching on the National Institute of Medical Herbalist’s website.

I am also available for free 10 minute chats by calling 07946150721 or you can email me info@lauracarpenter.co.uk.

Upcoming workshops, herb walks and herbal medicine talks – Feb – Aug 14

January is always a time for reflection for me and I have been planning furiously for the coming year, I love planning. I am one of those people who have a list saying “write list”. So here is my plan for all things herbal in the year ahead to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the founding of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists.

February

15th February – 10.30am – 3pm – Winter Remedies Workshop

I am running a winter remedies workshop at The Whitchurch Clinic. A light vegetarian lunch is included.

We will be discussing how to increase immunity naturally and the myths of Echinacea. We will also be making cough syrups and throat sweets. The course costs £45, minimum of two people required.

March

Wednesday 19th March – 7pm – 8pm – Talk at The Whitchurch Clinic, Whitchurch, Cardiff. “Herbal Medicine – Nature’s pharmacy”

I will be talking about herbal medicine, its history in Wales and how it is now used around the world alongside orthodox medicine. £2 entry. Free herbal tea and homemade cake.

April

Saturday 5th April – 10.30am until 3pm – Natural cream making workshop

I am running a herbal cream making workshop at The Whitchurch Clinic. A light vegetarian lunch is included.

We will be looking at how herbal creams are made and making individual creams to take home. The course costs £45, minimum of three people required.

First herb walk of the season on Sunday 6th April, meeting at the Melingriffith water pump,Ty-Mawr Road, Whitchurch at 2pm. The walk is free and lasts approximately an hour.

May

2nd – 5th May – Medicinal plants weekend, Ravenshill woods, Worcestershire, with Native Awareness (http://www.nativeawareness.co.uk/courses/medicinal-plants/) Book through Native Awareness.

Sunday 11th May – Free Taff trail herb walk, 2pm – 3pm (meeting place to be announced).

Saturday 17th  May – 10.30am – 3pm – Summer remedies workshop

I am running a summer remedies workshop at The Whitchurch Clinic. A light vegetarian lunch is included.

We will be looking at hay fever remedies, natural first aid for sun stroke, sun burn, bites and stings, etc. We will make an insect bite cream and a natural after sun lotion. The course costs £45, minimum of two people required.

June

Sunday 8th June – Free Taff trail herb walk, 2pm – 3pm (meeting place to be announced).

Wed 25th June – 7pm – 8pm – Talk at The Whitchurch Clinic, Whitchurch, Cardiff.

“Herbal Medicine – Nature’s pharmacy”

I will be talking about herbal medicine, its history in Wales and how it is now used around the world alongside orthodox medicine. £2 entry. Free herbal tea and homemade cake.

Friday 27th June – Bute park evening herb walk (meet outside the Pettigrew tea rooms by the gate to ButePark, opposite the water bus stop) 6pm – 7pm. £2 per person.

July

Sunday 6th July – Free Taff trail herb walk, 2pm – 3pm (meeting place to be announced).

Saturday 26th July – Summer remedies workshop

I am running a summer remedies workshop at The Whitchurch Clinic. A light vegetarian lunch is included.

We will be looking at hay fever remedies, natural first aid for sun stroke, sun burn, bites and stings, etc. We will make an insect bite cream and a natural after sun lotion. The course costs £45, minimum of two people required.

August

Sunday 10th August – Free Taff trail herb walk, 2pm – 3pm (meeting place to be announced).

Saturday 16th August – 10.30am – 3pm – Herb harvesting and preserving

I am running a herb harvesting and preserving workshop at The Whitchurch Clinic. A light vegetarian lunch is included.

We will be learning different harvesting, drying and preserving techniques for herbs. We will make herb infused oils, vinegars, teas, and more. The course costs £45, minimum of three people required.

September

Sunday 7th September – Free Taff trail herb walk, 2pm – 3pm (meeting place to be announced).

Introduction to herbal medicine 4 week course begins. More details to follow.

If you would like more information about any of these courses, workshops or talks please get in touch.

To book on to any of the workshops a £10 deposit is required to secure your place, with the balance payable on the day of the workshop. Deposits can be paid via paypal (please send me an email and I will send you a payment request.)

Herbal medicine research blog – December 13

This month the following research on herbs and health has caught my eye.

1. A new study at Harvard Medical centre has shown that mindfulness meditation has increased brain functioning in patients with Alzheimer’s.

2. A new scientific study found that nettle helped control the blood sugar of patients with type 2 diabetes.

3. Doctors in the USA are using new online tools to assess whether herbs should be recommended to their cancer patients alongside their orthodox treatment.

4. A new scientific study in the USA has found that women who took multivitamins with minerals and then developed breast cancer had a better survival rate.

5. A new laboratory study of turmeric has shown that it could be used to manufacture new antibiotics against MRSA.

6. Herbal constituents in ginger have been found in a laboratory study to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells.

Monthly herbal medicine research blog – November 13

This month the following research studies on herbs and health have caught my eye.

1. With MRSA infections a growing problem in hospitals this piece of Australian research shows that both lemongrass and tea tree oils applied after surgery prevented infection, including MRSA.

2. New laboratory research in Korea has found that rosemary could prevent skin cancer.

3. Another study of rosemary in Spain has found that it reduced tumour growth.

4. A global study has found that depression is now the second most disabling condition in the world.

5. A new study has found that walking just 2 and a half hours a week can prevent depression.

6. New research has found that Panax ginseng can reduce fatigue in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.

7. A study on the biochemistry of corn silk has found that it could help to treat diabetes.

8. Research in Hong Kong is looking at the anti-inflammatory effects of several herbs in the possible treatment of rheumatoid arthritis including nettle, liquorice, angelica and centella.

9. Rhodiolia has been found to increase exercise performance in a new study.

10. A summary of several studies on the use of herbal topical applications in osteoarthritis has found that in some cases the herbal cream/gel was more effective than the orthodox medical counterpart.

11. Research is mounting for nutritional supplements and targeted diets for cancer patients to prevent reoccurrence of cancer.

Natural cosmetics workshop – I was right about the chocolate orange lip balm

After setting off for The Whitchurch Clinic I realised that I had packed what seemed like half of my kitchen cupboards worth of bowls and spoons!

Natural cosmetics workshop
Natural cosmetics workshop

The workshop began with a talk about natural cosmetics in general and where different ingredients come from and what they’ve been used for traditionally and today. We looked at all of the ingredients and had a good feel and smell of everything (a very important part of natural cosmetics making, and good fun too).

We started off by making two types of lip balms, peppermint and lemon balm, to protect against cold sores and chocolate orange (with real dark chocolate). While those were melting we went on to make face mask powder from clays and various grains and seeds.

Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time in the workshop to make bath bombs but I did give out my favourite bath bomb recipe.

Natural cosmetics workshopMy favourite product was the bath salts; I always think they are the prettiest natural cosmetic gift to make. Hibiscus flowers rose petals, Dead Sea salts and grains with rose and geranium flower water was the clear favourite.

At the end of a productive morning we had made 8 lip balms each, a face mask power, a body scrub, a foot scrub and bath salts.

 

Herbal cosmetics

If you would like to download my natural cosmetics workbook of recipes to make at home please see my downloads page.

My next workshop will be in January making winter herbal remedies.

Monthly herbal medicine research – October 13

This month the following research on herbs and health have caught my eye.

1. A study of 800 women is Sweden has found that increased stress in mid life is linked to an increase in Dementia and Alzheimer’s.

2. New evidence has shown that probiotics can be effective in a treatment regime for the intestinal infection Clostridium difficile.

3. Can vitamin D supplements improve bone density? The jury is still out, the Lancet have stated that it does not but some smaller studies have conflicting evidence.

4. Shocking research in the USA has shown a huge increase in fatty liver disease in children due to obesity.

5. Broccoli has been found to inhibit colon cancer in laboratory studies.

6. In a study of over 300 people with nausea following an operation, ginger essential oil was given to them to inhale, the rate of nausea was greatly reduced.

7. Saw palmetto continues to be studied for it’s use in treating benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH).

8.

Rose hips (Rosa canina) have been a traditional medicine for colds and flu but new studies are looking at their anti-inflammatory action. This study found that patients with osteoarthritis who took rose hip powder over a three month period found a reduction in their symptoms.

A fantastic cream making workshop

I have learnt to make all manner of herbal products and remedies over the years, from lip balm to arthritis liniment, to immune boosting sweets and cough syrups. But the one thing that has always eluded me is the herbal cream. To be able to perfectly blend the water and oil together to form a cream that absorbs into the skin well is an art, and one that I have tried in vain to perfect. Many a rainy day has been spent in my kitchen trying to mix herbal waters into beeswax, and no amount of whisking will make the two gel together!

I recently attended a fantastic cream making workshop, by Dawn Ireland, a fellow UEL graduate and a fantastic herbalist. Dawn makes her own products through her website www.greenwyse.co.uk, and also practices as a medical herbalist at the herbs and honey health food shop in Torbay, Devon.

When I heard that Dawn was running a course on herbal cream making I was thrilled, but slightly nervous due to my earlier failed attempts and my allergy to nuts which often excludes me from making herbal creams due to the nut oils that are often used.

Ollie enjoying being by the sea.
Ollie enjoying being by the sea.

Dawn was fantastic and organised the event to be completely nut free so that I could attend. So off I went to Torbay, with my husband and dog in tow, and a fantastic time was had by all.

The course started with Dawn explaining the basic science behind herbal creams and how herbal constituents are absorbed into the skin. The high point of the morning was seeing Dawn make a hydrosol from her still from yarrow leaves.

After a delightful (nut free) vegetarian lunch we moved on to tailor making our creams, one lady made a hand cream specifically for her dry skin, with wheat germ oil and chamomile,  another lady made a pain relieving cream from rosehip oil, St John’s wort and chilli, for her swollen knee, and I decided to make an eczema cream with marshmallow and liquorice.

We were all slightly nervous as the cream making process is part science part art and I don’t think any of us were particular comfortable with either part! Dawn was extremely supportive throughout the process but did test us on our knowledge by setting us the task of coming up with a recipe for another cream we would make.

The creams we made came our perfectly and we were all thrilled with the results, unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of my cream but here is a picture of similar creams that Dawn makes so you can get the idea. As I was travelling back from Torbay I met my Mum and my sister, both eczema sufferers so the two jars of cream I’d just made went straight to them before I could take a photo!

I was filled with such inspiration after visiting Dawn that I planned the workshops and courses for 2014, including a winter remedy workshop in January, an evening course in February and March, as well as several others.

As a group we also came up with a fantastic chocolate orange lip balm recipe and that will be one of the lip balms I will be teaching at my natural cosmetics workshop in November.