Over the last 12 months I have developed an interest in alternative remedies, which I guess supports my love of holistic therapies and the natural world. With a 2 year old daughter and a 10 month old baby my body likes to tell me that it has had enough on a regular basis, particularly as a consequence of sleep deprivation! I feel like it is a full time job looking after myself as well as the girls to keep myself healthy and well so that I can care for them to the best of my ability.
I try to exercise, take time out at any given opportunity to relax and to make healthy nutritional choices when it comes to my diet however sometimes the lack of sleep just takes over me. I knew in advance that I would be more prone to picking up colds and bugs over Winter, particularly as toddlers tend to like sharing germs with anyone who will have them! I therefore did a bit of research in advance via Napiers Herbalists and made the decision to have some echinacea in the cupboard to give my immune system a boost at the onset of a sniffle. Derived from a plant native to North America, echinacea is useful for treating colds and upper respiratory infections, both prevalent in winter months. It is known to strengthen your immune system in times of need by stimulating the production of T-cells, whilst also increasing the ability of your white blood cells to fend off pathogenic invaders, so that viruses and bacteria don’t take hold in your body.
Another herbal supplement that I was particularly interested in was valerian, a traditional herbal remedy used for the temporary relief of sleep disturbance including disturbance caused by the symptoms of mild anxiety. Definitely worth a try as sleep deprivation is the main problem for both myself and my husband and it has been used for centuries for exactly this purpose. Valerian is known to have a tranquilizing/sedative affect on the central nervous system, calming down the body and mind as a consequence. It derives from a hardy flowering plant, with heads of sweetly scented pink or white flowers but it is from the root that the herbal form of medicine is prepared.
It is amazing to think that plants and herbs can have such traditional, long standing health properties. Western herbal medicine focuses on the person as a whole, not the illness and can be used alongside or alternatively to modern medicine. I found it particularly interesting to read about how the majority of modern medicines actually derive from a plant anyway for example asprin comes from the bark of willow trees! If you are interested in this please click here for further information. Good luck in doing whatever works for you to stay healthy.
Written by Lindsey Holcroft