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Right now you might not feel stressed at all, but there are a few tell-tale signs,
which draws attention that your body is not dealing with things as well as it normally does.

Are you experiencing more headaches, muscle pain heartburn (stress increases the production of stomach acid), increased insomnia, weakened immune system, high blood pressure, stomach, or lower gastric pain, lowered sex drive, erectile dysfunction, or missed period? You could be experiencing the effects of constant stress.

The very existence of pressure in our lives, minds and bodies, have the power to generate more stress.

Contrary to a common idea, stress is not always bad, to some extent we need it in our lives– otherwise might not get anything done. We (humans) have evolved to experience this physical reaction to tackle unexpected challenges head-on. A surge of stress enabled us to flee from danger when we were hunter-gatherers. Our bodies have been designed to deal with stress in short, bite-sized bursts.  There rises a problem, as there are not too many physical threats in our modern lives, however, the psychological stress (work deadlines, social pressures, family and financial struggles) can make us unwell.

Even without us perceiving that we feel overwhelmed to live under constant pressure, the more the pressure piles up, the less we can cope with it and as a result. We simply cannot manage our lives successfully. When the levels become too much, we might become overly reactive, emotional, wary, and eventually sick. Stressed people are more likely to fall out with others, binge on bad food and alcohol, and fill up ‘cupboards’ with problems – which have a habit of tumbling down on top of the person when you least expect it.

How much would you like to change the situation?

Dealing with stress is one of The Green Herbalist Clinics' treatments approaches
when helping you to motivate to make changes to reach better health.

Dealing with the underlying challenges normally brings a positive change in your health state.

Stress: what happens in your body

In a stressful situation, the body releases adrenaline and cortisol – hormones that cause both your heart rate and breathing to speed up temporarily. This activates the sympathetic nervous system and primes the body for ‘fight or flight. Being on constant high alert can have some pretty unpleasant effects: it can lead to chest pain, anxiety, rapid heart rate, palpitations, and even increase blood pressure – all of which strain the heart and other organs.

Stress – Health

Stress can have damaging, long-term effects on life – too much of it can contribute to the development of obesity, high blood pressure, Type 2 Diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, just to name a few. Stress is also a key factor in insomnia, burnout and immune diseases and disorders such as anxiety and depression.

Despite the side-effects of the stress we seem not to worry about it – and carry on ‘burning the candle on both ends, until the body starts breaking down. Anxiety and stress can trigger the autonomic nervous system and releases stress hormones, which then cause physical symptoms.  Stress hormones are normal bodily functions, however, if the body is exposed to continuous stress, problems can start to arise

Here are some of the signs and symptoms you might be experiencing.

  • You have a low mood most of the day
  • you have reduced interest in most of the activities most of the day nearly every day
  • Your appetite might have decreased or increased from normal
  • You suffer either from insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping too much).
  • You feel fatigued and or have a loss of energy
  • You might find that your self-confidence is affected – you might want to remember all the good things you have achieved.

What would you say if I said that you can change all of that?
Here are some approaches that have proved to be useful

Taking a problem-focused approach. Research has shown that people who are constantly in high-stress situations focus on problem-solving strategy
– try to identify the source of stress and then eliminate it safely – within the reason.

Don’t overthink it. While you might want to plan for emergencies, worrying about every possible outcome of an action or endlessly assessing your options can lead to unhealthy thinking patterns. Why not just list the pros and cons of your choices?

Avoid an emotion-focused approach, unless necessary.  It can be useful to try to focus on controlling negative emotions. How often are you overwhelmed by emotion and making ‘bad’ decisions in a stressful situation? It is useful to try to build up the ability to look at the situation from a different point of view as well as yourself and learn to know the difference between an emotional response and an informed one.

Try to shift your perspective in a stressful matter:
This is something you have full control over —
whether it’s through breathing techniques, running, or journaling.
As well as different techniques, apps like Headspace app  or similar can help you to manage the moments of being overwhelmed daily.

Getting high-quality sleep.  ‘Restorative, quality sleep’ typically means getting to sleep quickly and staying asleep and feeling rested upon awakening. Your body’s ability to heal increases during sleep. During dream time the mind often deals with the ‘stresses’ of the day, allows you to recall the important things and discards the unnecessary things of your thought process. If your unconscious mind feels ‘stressed or unsafe’ you are less likely to sleep well.

Do gentle exercise. Plan exercise to your daily routine, even if you are very busy – for example, 15-minute workout or 30-minute brisk walk is sufficient. Walk part of the work journey. Start a new routine such as yoga, outside swimming, and forest bathing. Increasing physical activity releases brain chemicals that improve mood called endorphins. Exercise is a great way to improve your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Try forest bathing and allow the phytochemicals of the plants and trees to ease the stress you are experiencing.

Postural stress. is an aspect of stress, you might not have focused on. Postural stress can become more apparent if you have conducted all our meetings via Zoom one day. The stress tends to manifest in the shoulders and neck, causing pain and stiffness. Stretching can improve circulation, gives relaxation time and is also brilliant for ironing out any muscular knots. Alternatively if enjoy having a bath, good old-fashioned Epsom salts (high in magnesium) and some essential oils (lavender, geranium, marjoram, ginger and rosemary) can give stress releasing effect.

Me-time. Part of self-care is to organise and allow time for yourself.  It is a good idea to have a  look at what your normal day looks like. Then assess which things cause you unnecessary stress and simply reorganise routines to allow yourself some stress-free time. Often the emotional, mental and physical well-being is overlooked.  So allow yourself that session in a spa, watching your favourite team play, workout session or walk in nature with a friend. Allowing ‘me-time’ is a gentle way of stress release can help with pain relief, enhanced mobility, reduction of symptoms in skin conditions, as well as improved psychological wellbeing.

A balanced diet, assessing your work-life balance and good sleep is the foundation of a healthy body and healthy mind.

Stress management can be a powerful tool for wellness, especially if you maintain a healthy diet, you are more likely to live a stress-free life. Healthy food choices can strengthen your immune system, provides you with more energy and is excellent stressbuster. It is quite an effortless task to talk to your herbalist and organise small dietary changes to build up better gut health and immunity, stronger body and bones – not to mention the benefit on your mood. The body always aims to get well, we are just giving it tools to work with. Comfort foods, like a bowl of warm oatmeal, boost levels of serotonin, a calming brain chemical. Other foods can cut levels of cortisol and adrenaline, stress hormones that take a toll on the body over time – these can include dark chocolate, bananas, pears, pre and probiotics – such as kimchi, kombucha, slippery elm and Gum Arabic, natural yogurt and kefir.

Herbal remedies

Herbal Remedies

This blog has addressed some of the possible causes, reducing strategies and nutritional approaches to counteract the effects of stress. Herbal medicine is widely used as a relief for stress-related issues.

As a qualified professional herbalist, my aim apart from above mentioned is to provide patients with an integrated and holistic approach to health and wellbeing with the help of herbs and supplements to anxiety and stress

Dietary/herbal remedy mushrooms such as Reishi, Lions mane and Cordyceps (just to name a few) are used to improve emotional balance, to modify the body’s ability to resist stress.

Herbal tea: At times, it is not the drink itself but the feeling that is attached to the beverage that makes you feel comfortable.

There’s nothing a warm cup of tea can’t fix? It simply makes you feel calm and soothes the Vagus nerve (cranial nerve IX and affects the whole of your body).

That soothing effect of sipping a cup tea of with infused herbs - brings a satisfying sense of joy and peace.

Nutritional supplementation
Dietary vitamins from a good varied healthy diet is imperative for good health, brain health, and normal cognitive function. Vitamins and micronutrients play a significant role in maintaining homeostasis whilst the body is exposed to stress.

Let food be your medicine – before starting supplementation, improving your diet can have an important effect on your health
– a qualified medical herbalist can help you

Vitamins and nutrients beneficial to combat stress

Vitamin B - Research has provided some preliminary support that vitamin B supplementation might be able to reduce levels of anxiety and stress, improving psychological well-being. Good food sources of vitamin B:   legumes, leafy greens, seeds and fortified foods, such as breakfast cereal and nutritional yeast, poultry dairy, eggs, meat, fish and shellfish.

Vitamin C – According to some studies good levels of vitamin C can reduce levels of stress hormones while strengthening the immune system. One study of people with high blood pressure and elevated levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) returned to normal more rapidly with vitamin C supplementation. Good sources of vitamin C:  Citrus fruits are rich sources of Vitamin C, as are broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, green and red chilis, strawberries, and kiwi.

Magnesium - Low levels of magnesium may trigger headaches and fatigue, intensifying the effects of stress. One cup of spinach, leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, almonds, avocado, salmon, apples, carrots, and bananas – just to name a few, helps you stock back up on magnesium.  Some of these foods are excellent sources of Omega-3 fatty acids as well.
some oils include flaxseed and linseed, nuts - especially walnut, pecan and hazelnuts, soya, pumpkin, krill and algal oil.

Omega-3 fatty acids - Another dietary way to keep stress in check is to add naturally fatty fish to your diet. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish such as salmon, herring, pilchards, sardines, mackerel and tuna, can prevent surges in stress hormones and may help protect against heart disease, depression, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). For a healthy supply of feel-good omega-3s, aim to eat at least 3.5 ounces of fatty fish at least twice a week.  Purchase the seafood from licensed sources. This will ensure the seafood has been sourced, stored and inspected properly before it gets to the consumers. It is important to remember that the presence of toxic heavy metals in fish can invalidate their beneficial effects. Some heavy metals and their related chemical compounds dissolve easily in water, while others exist in particulate form. Hence, low amounts are present in water, soil and the seabed. At the clinic, we are also mindful of the sustainability of the fish. A good guide can be found here

Other sources of omega 3s are soy, specifically walnuts, pecans and hazelnuts, however, all nuts are good sources of healthy fats and may help lower the cholesterol, help with the inflammation levels of your body; soya.

Potassium - Potassium may benefit stress levels by helping to regulate your blood pressure, amongst other things. Foods that are rich in potassium are important in managing high blood pressure (because potassium lessens the effects of sodium). The more potassium you eat, the more sodium you lose through urine – thus important not to overconsume at the same time.  Potassium also helps to ease tension in your blood vessel walls, which helps further lower blood pressure.
Foods high in potassium: apricots and apricot juice, avocados, low-fat milk, greens, halibut, some beans, molasses, mushrooms peas, prunes, raisins and dates as well as spinach.

Zinc – Research resources suggest that improved levels of zinc, possibly associated with concurrent oxidative stress, may cause lower levels of stress hormones and may help improve stress and anxiety symptoms. Zinc plays a part in modulating the brain and the body’s response to stress.

Food: Zinc is an essential mineral that may be lacking in modern processed and strict vegetarian diets, as major sources are meat, poultry, and oysters; dairy and eggs.
While beans and grains also contain zinc depending on the soils in which they are grown, phytates in grains, legumes, and nuts can interfere with its absorption.  Good vegetable sources of zinc include shiitake mushrooms, green peas, spinach, lima beans, lentil sprouts, asparagus, beet greens, broccoli, okra, and sweetcorn.

As a part of the treatment plan The Green Herbalist Clinic looks into your lifestyle, diet, and exercise levels; advises you on nutrition.
The clinic prescribes herbal remedies to be used alongside orthodox medicine, supplementation and other treatments.


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Cold hands and feet?

How to get warm from the inside out? Try adding ginger to your diet!
Ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc) is commonly used for nausea, digestive issues, cramping and bloating. It is also known to reduce the effects of colds, flu and coughs as well as fatigue.
However, this morning the effect that I was after was to warm up my fingers and toes during the early dog walk.
Ingested ginger gives you a warm glow in your stomach area and the warmth soon spread to the rest of the body including your hands and toes.
My preferred form is having ginger shots first thing in the morning after breakfast.
I simply liquidize an apple and 2.5cm (1in.) piece of ginger. I rinse the ginger and apple but do not take the skin off, as a lot of the nutrients are in the skin.
At times I cheat a little bit and use cloudy apple juice and a piece of shredded ginger. If you have circulatory issues, come and see a qualified medical herbalist (BSc Hons) and we can discuss how to improve the complaint.
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The Green Herbalit Clinic Blog
Ideas for parents to help
their children keep healthy throughout the school year

Starting school (or going back to school) is a normally really exciting time and we want our children to enjoy starting school and to be ready to learn. Once you have sorted out the school uniform, got the correct rug sack (or a bag), all the necessary stationary and the all-important shoes – it is time to think about what the transition going back to school / going to a new school is like.

I am sure that we all remember being excited or a bit nervous about starting school in September.

Being “school ready” can be a mission in today’s terms; making sure that your child has strong social skills, individuality and independence of their own personal care and a desire to learn, are just some of the few characteristics needed to thrive in a school environment.

Here are some things that might be helpful


It’s no secret that washing little hands can help prevent the spread of bugs and germs. Good hand hygiene (washing your hands with soap) is one of your first defences against ‘bugs’ that cause health conditions. Remembering to talk about handwashing with soap and water, especially after a trip to the toilet goes a long way to preventing nasty tummy bugs. A great way to show how germs can linger and spread is by letting your little one cover their hands in paint (let’s pretend the paint is germs) and then try washing it all off… not as easy as it sounds!

Using a tissue to deal with sneezes, and runny noses (and there might be a lot of those) is good practice and in the absence of tissues – an excellent way to prevent a spread is sneezing into your elbow.

Diet and Nutrition

Your child’s diet is the foundation of health, well-being, and a strong immune system. A balanced and colourful plate full of all food groups provides all the macro and micronutrients necessary for optimal health

Although we are familiar with the food the children should eat, it is sometimes an uphill struggle with daily time limitations, intolerances and let’s not forget picky eaters! However, although your best efforts to ensure that they have a good foundation for health, it is easy to load up with saturated fats, sugars and carbohydrates and ignore the good groups. If after all your efforts, you feel that your child’s health is not in the best state; there are some good supplements that provide good body identical vitamin and mineral levels, in tablet, chewable or effervescent form. If the diet lack fish or good unsaturated fats – it is beneficial to supplement with Omega 3 fats. Good vitamin and mineral levels (in intermittent use) help nourish and support the growth, skin, eyes and immune system of your child, as well as support concentration and memory functions.

Digestive Upsets

Although digestive processes matured when your child reached 6-8 months their developing gut is still unfamiliar with various bacteria, viruses, food and environmental factors.
Some tips to mitigate any upset tummies would be to wash and cook food properly and to support their digestive functions with a healthy diet packed with fresh vegetables and fruit and yoghurt, some good lean protein and carbs.

The microbiome in the gut is a good balance of symbiotic microbial cells. They all contribute to successfully supporting our digestion and therefore our well-being. With gut-compromising elements and dehydration, it’s no wonder young children suffer from digestive upsets or constipation. To help maintain a healthy gastrointestinal population of the microbial cells in your child’s gut when faced with upsets, diet-based pre- and probiotics and adequate hydration are a must.

It is always important to remember that digestive upsets might be caused by bacterial infection and therefore warrant a visit to GPs.

Healthy Growing Bones

Bone health

Bones are the scaffolding that supports your child’s developing body. Far from being inert and idol, bones are living tissues that are constantly adapting to the demands of modern life, with old bone being removed and replaced in a process called ‘resorption’. It can be helpful to think of the skeletal system as a bank account. With your help and guidance, your child can make ‘deposits’ and ‘withdrawals’ of bone tissue. Nurturing your child’s ‘bone bank’ is similar to saving for their university education: the more they put away when they’re younger, the longer the nest egg will last as they get older.

Throughout childhood and adolescence, significantly more bone is deposited than withdrawn as the skeleton develops in both density and size. Bone mass (the amount of bone tissue in the skeleton) peaks in the late twenties. At this age, bones have reached their optimal density and strength. Approximately 90 per cent of peak bone mass is attained by the age of 18 in girls and 20 in boys, meaning childhood really is the best time to invest in bone health.

It’s possible that coughs, colds, and scraped knees will dominate the conversations you have about your child’s health – not bones. But, in truth, there’s no better time to start thinking about bone health than childhood. This stage of life will lay the foundation for your child’s skeletal system (in fact whole body including the immune system) in the coming years. You see, the lifestyle habits developed in youth can make, and literally break, bones as they age. Here’s everything you need to know about nourishing your child’s bones.

Factors that affect peak bone mass

Myriad factors will affect your child’s bone health as they grow – some you can influence, like nutrition and exercise, and others you can’t, like gender and hormones.


Typically, bone mass density is much greater in men than in women. Prior to puberty, boys and girls are on an equal playing field when it comes to bone mass. After puberty, however, boys will usually attain higher bone mass than their female counterparts.


The sex hormones – oestrogen and testosterone – are vitally important in the development of bone mass. If a girl frequently misses her period, it may signal that she has lower bone density. On the other hand, those who start menstruating at an earlier age usually have higher bone density.

Promote exercise

Exercise is another powerful weapon to cultivate strong bones, providing the greatest benefits in the areas of the body that bear the most weight, such as the hips during running. Aerobic exercise will keep that bone density good. Children model themselves on us and that’s where we as adults can be role models by eating proper nutritious meals and having adequate exercise.

Just like muscles, bones get stronger the more work they do. And that’s why exercise needs to be a foundation of your child’s lifestyle. While any form of physical activity is great, such as  – dancing, tennis, running, walking, football, basketball, and hiking – is very beneficial for bone health. Ultimately, if you want to encourage your child to move more and sit less, a lifelong love of exercise is one of the best gifts you can give them. The NHS suggests children and young people (aged 5 to 18) should be active for at least 60 minutes every day

Running, jumping, cycling, kicking or throwing a ball are all great ways for your child to be active. The fact is that being physically active leads to strong muscles and bones, a healthy weight and normal cognitive function. An active lifestyle goes a long way in supporting mental well-being.

Motivating children to be energetic can be like pushing water up a hill, but there are fundamental rules you can follow to help engage your child. Choose age-appropriate activities. This might come in form of giving your child varied opportunities to be active; clubs, classes or playground visits, and above all focusing on FUN.

Ensure your child is eating enough

Eating too little can deprive the body of vitally important nutrients, wreak havoc with metabolism, and interfere with hormone production. Dropping into a calorie deficit can severely compromise bone health in childhood and adolescence.

Warn against smoking

Surprised to see this mentioned here. Don’t be. This very addictive habit often starts in adolescence. Beyond affecting heart and lung health, cigarette smoke threatens bone health, too. Data consistently reference links between smoking and an increased risk of fractures. One of the best things you can do as a parent is to warn your child against smoking. Don’t forget your lifestyle will also rub off on your children. Try to be expert role models and avoid smoking yourself – and certainly not in front of your kids.

Recipes - 

Recipe Ideas for even the fussiest of kids

It’s normal to be a little fussy about food when growing up, but that doesn’t make your life any easier. Getting the youngsters to choose their breakfast the night before could be the solution to those maddening mornings as you try to race out the door to get them to school on time. Starting the day with a nutritious and healthy meal will support concentration, mood and energy levels so don’t go half-hearted into this important chow time.

Overnight Oats Recipe

½ cup of oats
1 cup of milk

Then you can add any extra flavours you would like! One small cored and grated apple, 3 tablespoons of chia seeds, 1 tablespoon of nut butter, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Involve your little in the preparation and flavours.


All you need to do is mix the oats and milk together and chill in the fridge overnight.
Serves 1 hungry child

Struggling with breakfast ideas?

Well, evidence suggests that a protein, fibre-rich start to the day will sustain your child’s morning right up to snack time. Try eggs on toast or homemade granola, adding dried fruits and nuts will add valuable fibre, porridge with a banana, and the occasional pancake will always put a smile on that cute little face. A trendy smoothie is also a fabulous way to ensure your child gets a nutritional power punch of goodness! You can even sneak in some of those dreaded green vegetables as they can be hidden by the taste of the fruit that kids love.

Homemade Granola Recipe

2 Cups of oats
½ cup of nuts / dried fruit
¼ cup of pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
2-3 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of oil (whatever you have handy but preferably olive)

Optional Extras
½ teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well. Spread the mixture in a thin layer on a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake until golden – This should have 15-20 mins. Check at regular intervals and mix to get even cooking.
Cool before serving and storing.
Keep in an airtight container and store in a dry, cool place for up to 2 weeks.

Chewy Energy Balls Recipe

50g oats
5 large pitted dates
3 Dried Apricots
4 tbsp smooth peanut butter (or any nut butter)
1 tbsp Chia Seeds
2 tbsp cacao/cocoa powder
1 tbsp sesame seeds


Blitz all the ingredients to form a stiff dough (add a little more peanut butter if the mixture is too dry). Makes about 10 balls.
Place the mixture in the fridge to chill for 15-20 minutes.
Once chilled, divide the mixture into 10 portions using your hands or a scoop.
Roll each portion into a ball and set it aside. Scatter the sesame seeds on a large plate and roll each ball in them until covered.
The balls will keep in the fridge for up to a week (though don’t be surprised if they don’t last that long!).

Ideas to Liven up their lunchbox

Preparation is key to minimising stress levels (specifically yours) when it comes to the packed lunch. Variety is a challenge so planning the week’s lunch box in advance will take the pressure off. Make the lunch box up the night before, and perhaps include leftovers from the night’s meal. It’s key to remember to get all the food groups you can into their lunch box. Take a look at our Wholefoods range for some great lunchbox additions.

Focus on fresh vegetables, fruit and healthy fats like the ones found in nuts and seeds, and carbohydrates such as wholegrain bread. Whatever you decide goes into that box, colour, flavour and variety will gain you brownie points and most importantly a happy child.

Egg Muffins

2 eggs
A handful of chopped veggies, meats or cheese


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Whisk the eggs and add the veggies, meat and cheese – The options are endless.
Divide the mixture into a lined cupcake or muffin tin.
Bake for about 10-15 mins.

Nutrition (vitamins and minerals important to health)

The best way to ensure your child receives enough vitamins and minerals for healthy growth and development is to provide a wide variety of fresh foods from the five food groups including whole grain bread and cereals, vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts and legumes, and dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt.

Cram in calcium

Yes, the well-worn cliché rings true: calcium is delicious bone food. Alongside being a building block of your child’s skeleton, this mineral is needed for nearly every biological function. Calcium’s movement and regulation of calcium ions (Ca2+) in (via the gut) and out (via the gut and kidneys) of the body, and between body compartments: the blood plasma, the extracellular and intracellular fluids, and bone, depending on dietary intake / and the level of the body’s needs of calcium. A long-term low intake can result in this can make the bones soft, brittle, porous, and prone to breakages. Good calcium source is dairy: milk, yoghurt, and cheese (side note: ripe cheese is a rich source of the bone-bolstering nutrient vitamin K, too). But if your child cannot or won’t eat dairy products, fear not. Dark leafy green veggies (kale, broccoli, and spinach), canned fish (salmon, sardines, and tuna), almonds, seeds, beans, and lentils also deliver a tasty amount of calcium. To ensure your child is getting enough of this bone-bolstering mineral, try serving a portion of calcium-rich food at every mealtime.

Vital vitamin D

Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body and without adequate levels of vitamin D, even a good calcium-rich diet. These bone-building nutrients work in tandem to keep bones strong and healthy: calcium strengthens bone, and vitamin D supports the proper absorption and utilisation of calcium. Ultimately, intake of calcium and vitamin D must be optimal to fully realise the impact of each nutrient on your bones. That’s why you need to encourage your child to get as much vitamin D as possible. From late April to September, it’s possible for your little one to get enough vitamin D from 15-minutes of direct sunlight each day (if they’re spending any more time in the sun, be sure to whip out the sun cream!). When natural sunlight isn’t so readily available in winter, encourage them to eat more vitamin-D-rich foods, such as oily fish (salmon, trout, mackerel, and herring), some pork products, eggs, mushrooms, and fortified foods like orange juice, bread, and milk. Alternatively, you could add a vitamin D supplement that packs 10mcg to your child’s diet.

Little is mentioned of the third nutrient hero in bone health; magnesium. What is for sure is that adequate levels of this mineral are essential for the absorption of vitamin D and calcium. Magnesium helps convert vitamin D into its active form which in turn assists the uplift of calcium. You can support your child’s active lifestyle beginnings by including leafy green vegetables, whole grains and nuts, to name a few, in their diet.

Adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D is a building block of happy, healthy bones. A well-balanced diet delivering optimal levels of magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, and omega-3 is essential, too.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E strengthens the body's immune system. It also helps keep blood vessels clear and flowing well and helps with the development of healthy skin and eyes. Vegetable oils such as sunflower and safflower oils, as well as nuts and seeds including almonds, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds, are excellent vitamin E sources.

Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body.

You get Iron from eating red meats and other animal products that are high in iron. Non-meat sources of iron include dark green leafy veggies (spinach, collard greens, kale) and beans such as kidney, navy, lima, and soy.

Vitamin A
You need vitamin A for eyesight, healthy skin, growth, development and good immune function. You get vitamin A from the liver, meat, milk, eggs, and orange fruit and vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes.

Vitamin B1 (thiamin)
You get vitamin B1 from fish, meat, yeast extracts (like Vegemite), wholegrain bread and fortified breakfast cereals. Vitamin B1 helps release energy from foods so that the nervous system and muscles work properly.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
Vitamin B2 helps release energy from food. You get vitamin B2 from milk, yoghurt, meat, cheese, yeast extracts, eggs, wholegrain bread and fortified breakfast cereals.

Vitamin B3 (niacin)
Vitamin B3 helps release energy from food. You get Vitamin B3 from meat, fish, chicken, nuts and yeast extracts.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
Vitamin B6 releases energy from protein and helps with red blood cell production and brain function. You get vitamin B6 from meat, fish, wholegrain foods, vegetables and nuts.

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
Vitamin B12 helps with red blood cell production and promotes growth. You get vitamin B12 from animal foods including meat, fish, eggs and milk, and also from some fortified breakfast cereals.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
Vitamin C builds collagen and helps you fight infections and absorb iron from food. It also keeps teeth, bones and gums healthy. You can lose some vitamin C when you cook food. You get vitamin C from fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruit, kiwi fruit, capsicums and potatoes.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E helps maintain healthy skin and eyes and strengthens the body's natural defence against illness and infection (the immune system). You get vitamin E from sunflower and canola oils, margarine, seeds and nuts.

Vitamin K
The healthy bacteria in your gut also make vitamin K. Vitamin K is important for helping your blood clot. You get vitamin K from green leafy vegetables like broccoli and spinach, and also from eggs and beans.

Folate (folic acid)
Getting enough folate before and during pregnancy can help prevent neural tube defects. Cooking and processing food – for example, as part of the tinning process – reduce the amount of folate in food.  You get folate from green leafy vegetables, liver, legumes and wholegrain bread and cereals. Folate helps you absorb protein and form new blood cells and DNA.

Minerals and how to get them

Here’s a list of the minerals you and your family need and how to get them.

You get calcium from dairy products like milk, cheese and yoghurt, fish with edible bones, like sardines and salmon, tofu and some green leafy vegetables, like kale and Bok choy. Calcium builds strong bones and teeth.

You get iodine from seafood, vegetables grown in iodine-rich soil, iodised salt and bread made with iodised salt. Most bakery and supermarket bread is made with iodised salt, which will give most people enough iodine. Iodine is essential for normal growth and tissue development and helps control the ways your cells make energy and use oxygen. Pregnant women need higher levels of iodine.

You get iron from meat, liver, chicken, seafood, dried beans, egg yolks and fortified breakfast cereal. Iron is especially important for brain function and red blood cell production, and it also helps carry oxygen around the body.

You get zinc from meat, chicken, seafood, milk, seeds, tofu and wholegrain cereals. Zinc helps with growth, wound healing and immune system function.

Other essential minerals include phosphorus, magnesium, copper, manganese and chromium.


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 It’s no secret that we’re all living longer. At times our bodies can feel '40-something', but our memory struggles to keep pace. Does this sound familiar: You can’t recall a familiar name in a conversation, where you parked the car, or the date of your niece’s birthday – those ‘senior moments’ can be frustrating. Luckily, there is a lot you can do to keep your brain healthy and working well into the 'Golden Years.' Here are some useful tips to take note of.

Massage your memory

The more you consciously try to memorise actions and activities, the easier you can master this cognitive function. Start your day with a crossword puzzles or Sudoku, take music lessons, learn a new language, or play chess. If this doesn’t appeal to your tastes, then you can just do more to exercise your memory. For instance, make a conscious effort to learn your ‘to-do’ or grocery lists. Try to engage all your senses when involving your memory, too. Your brain will retain much more information if all the senses are included in the process of learning something new. Give ceramics a go; notice the smell and feel of the materials used. 

Step it up

Physical activity is brilliant mental exercise. Exercise helps both your cognition directly and indirectly. Directly, it supports the reduction of inflammation and insulin resistance, as well as stimulates the production of growth factors – chemicals that assist with the overall maintenance of brain cells. Indirectly, exercise enhances sleep quality and emotional wellbeing, thereby reducing anxiety and stress – areas that often play a key role in cognitive impairment. Aim for a half an hour of moderate exercise most days of the week. Sounds intimidating? Start gentle exercise effort with a few minutes a day and then gradually build up your stamina. Aim for something that gets your heart pumping: walking, stair climbing, squash, dancing, or tennis. Even housework can make you break a light sweat!

Restore with rest

Besides waking up alert, energised and ready to take on the day, having an eight hours of sleep supports your brain’s ability to consolidate events into memories. A study from the University of California, San Francisco discovered a link between poor sleep quality and reduced function in the brain’s frontal lobe, which assists with memory and processing information. Power napping (15 minutes) is thought to help, too.

 Take it easy on alcoholic and caffeine drinks

 We all enjoy unwinding with a glass of wine or pint of beer every now and then, but excessive drinking can take its toll on your memory later in life. A recent study discovered that middle-aged men who consumed more than two and a half drinks per day experienced cognitive problems and memory loss up to six years sooner than moderate drinkers. Top tip: use smaller glasses for your tipples so you aren’t tempted to drink the entire bottle of wine in one sitting.

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is the 'buzzword' of the moment. Alongside supporting anxiety, low mood and addiction, a growing raft of scientific research suggests this practice can improve your memory, too. One investigation found students at improved their focus and memory after meditating for 10-45 minutes, four times per week after just two weeks. The participants implemented mindfulness techniques like deep breathing, counting exercises and listening to relaxing sounds.

Organise your life

Most of us like routine. However, having the same routine all the time (driving the same route to work, or doing the same workout at the gym....) isn’t good for our memory. New experiences and practices can help your brain retain and recall information. So try why not change your lunch / exercise class / walk in the nature, and see, how it benefits your memory.

'Brain nutrition'

 To revitalise your memory, you need to fuel it with an assortment of colourful, nourishing food. Berries (especially dark skinned ones) are high in anthocyanins / antioxidants that can help the aging brain function, thus your memory. In 2012, scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital discovered older women who consumed large amounts of antioxidant-rich berries delayed their memory deterioration by more than two years compared to their non-berry eating counterparts. using fresh or frozen berries in your diet is pretty simple: sprinkle them on porridge, add a handful to smoothies, or munch on them straight from the punnet. 

Another 'memory boosting' food is oily fish, high in omega-3 fatty acids. These compounds have shown immense promise in supporting all aspects of cognitive function, including memory.why not aim to eat 2-3 portions of oily fish each week. Wild caught salmon, anchovies, mackerel, and herring also serve up a delicious amount of omega-3. 

Medical Herbalist approach

The approach is always to aim to help you to gain optimal function and improve quality lifestyle and health choices, whilst supporting you with the help of individually tailored natural herbal remedies to aim improve your underlying issues and symptomatic conditions.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary is one of our top culinary herbs, but is also wonderfully medicinal and nourishing for the nervous and cerebrovascular systems. Rich in terpenes, phenolic acids and flavones, rosemary is strongly aromatic and a potent antioxidant. Energetically, it is warming and slightly bitter, making it a great herb to for digestion and circulation as well. Rosemary relaxes smooth muscle spasm and the smooth muscles of capillaries and arteries, thus enhancing blood flow to brain and elsewhere in the body. It supports cognition, memory and alertness, giving us that mental “on”feeling. Rosemary tea is quite delicious as an afternoon pick-me-up, and rosemary can be found as a tincture and capsule. 

When we think of herbal medicine, we often think of relaxation, massage, and essential oil diffusers. But memory – really? Well, according to new research conducted by Northumbria University exposure to rosemary essential oil is thought to boost your ability to recall things - or just rub that rosemary from you garden between your hands and smell the fresh, invigorating aroma. Experts discovered that students working in a room with diffused rosemary essential oil attained between 5-7% better results in memory tests than the control group. How about seasoning your roast potatoes with rosemary and garlic - delicious and good for your overall health.

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

Lemon balm is incredibly nutritive to the nervous system. It is calming and supports the mood while also increasing alertness , thus affecting the cognitive speed. Energetically lemon balm is cooling and helps us to recenter, ground and tune in. It strengthens the brain and its resistance to stress/shock, and lifts the spirits. Lemon balm is delicious herb to be enjoyed as infusions, herbal syrups, tincture, cordial, capsules and as fresh herb.

Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri)

Bacopa is also known as Brahmi. It has been used for more than 3,000 years in Ayurvedic medicine for increasing brain function, or promoting longevity. Has a reputation for enhancing circulation to the brain, thereby increasing short and long-term memory, improving concentration, mental performance and cognitive function as a whole. In herbal medicine it can be used in disorders of the nervous system such as insomnia, anxiety, stress. It is fairly bitter and energetically cooling as well as rejuvenating herb for vitality and longevity. Bacopa is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, cerebral tonic, neuroprotective and nervine. It is a fantastic herb to use daily to support mental clarity for those that might have trouble sitting and focusing on the task at hand to promote attention, or for those who are over-stimulated mentally to combat mental fatigue. 

Gingko (Gingko biloba)

Gingko is a powerful antioxidant, rich in flavonoids and proanthocyanidins. It is a vascular tonic and improves brain metabolism of glucose and oxygen. I As a balancing tonic it brings stimulation to the brain via cerebral blood circulation, while being a relaxing nervine to other areas of the body Gingko is a classic example of the doctrine of signatures, wherein structure or appearance elucidates function: gingko leaves have a distinct bi-lobed symmetry reminiscent of the brain. As an antioxidant, it helps to protect the brain from oxidative stress and in the aging process. It promotes blood flow to the brain to improve memory and concentration, cognitive & brain function. It is important to remember that Gingko can inhibit platelet aggregation and is therefore not suitable for people with blood clottingissues. It can be used as tinctures, capsules, tea and topically as ointments and creams. 

 Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)

Gotu kola has a long history of use in Ayurveda, and is considered to be a rejuvenating tonic for vitality and memory. Energetically it is cooling and drying. It is also considered to be a revitalising herb that strengthens nervous system function & memory.Gotu kola also supports vascular health and can be used internally or topically to heal or rejuvenate hair, skin and nails. Gotu kola is also called brahmi - which can be a bit confusing! Gota kola can be consumed as a tincture, tea, powder or capsule.

Contact The Green Herbalist Clinic's 

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i.Heisz, J., Clark, I., Bonin, K., Paolucci, E., Michalskio, B., Becker, M. (2017). The Effects of Physical Exercise and Cognitive Training on Memory and Neurotrophic Factors. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 29(11), 1895-1907.

ii.Sanders, R. (2018). New evidence that chronic stress predisposes brain to mental illness. Berkeley News, Available online: [Accessed 7 Dec. 2018].

iii.American Academy of Sleep Medicine – Association for Sleep Clinicians and Researchers. (2018). Journal SLEEP: Study Concludes a Daytime Nap Can Benefit a Person’s Memory Performance - American Academy of Sleep Medicine – Association for Sleep Clinicians and Researchers. Available online: [Accessed 5 Dec. 2018].

iv.Kabai, P., Sabia, S. & Singh-Manoux, A. (2014). Alcohol consumption and cognitive decline in early old age. Neurology, 83(5), 476-476.

v.Hamblin, J. (2018). Study: Meditation Improves Memory, Attention. The Atlantic. Available online: [Accessed 5 Dec. 2018]

vi.The Hub. (2018). Caffeine has positive effect on memory, Johns Hopkins researchers say. Available online: [Accessed 5 Dec. 2018].

vii.(2018). Herbs that can boost your mood and memory. Available online: [Accessed 5 Dec. 2018].

viii.Hopper, L. (2018). Curcumin improves memory and mood, new UCLA study says. UCLA Newsroom. Available online: [Accessed 5 Dec. 2018]

ix.(2008) Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nature reviews, Neuroscience, 9(7), 568-78

x.EurekAlert!. (2018). Berries keep your brain sharp. Available online: [Accessed 6 Dec. 2018].   Natures Best

Open post



Making an adjustment is an important part of living with heart disease or trying to prevent it.
A jump in blood pressure or cholesterol is a sign that some changes healthy lifestyle changes are needed.

Some people manage to change their exercise patterns, diet, and unhealthy habits with ease. The rest of us try to make changes but don't always succeed. Therefore, as an alternative to a total overhaul, it is a lot better to make a series of small changes. Once you get going, you may find that change isn't so hard.

Diet: The importance of eating a well-balanced, nutritionally complex diet is the main thing to keep the circulatory system (and the rest of the body) working and it does not ask for much in return. The body needs clean, colourful, circulatory-friendly food, making it also easier to maintain homeostasis.

Following a mainly whole food diet – with as few minimally processed ingredients as possible – is one of the best ways to support circulatory health. You can check the BBC's article about ultra-processed food. (

Fill up on fibre: Fibre is important for circulatory health; with a growing amount of scientific data suggesting regular consumption of high-fibre diet may support cardiovascular function. The recommended daily intake of fiber varies between 25 to 38 grams per day. Some experts estimate as much as 95 percent of the population is not getting enough fiber. In cases of illnesses such as IBS - high-fibre food might not be suitable. Part of the high fiber diet plans could include: Wholegrain low sugar/salt breakfast cereals, whole wheat pasta, wholegrain bread and oats, barley and rye; fruit such as berries, pears, apples melon and oranges; vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and sweetcorn; peas, beans and pulses, nuts and seeds and potatoes with skin.

Exercise: The body and especially blood circulation loves movement. A regular exercise regime makes the circulatory system more robust and flexible. Physical activity can help with improved muscle tone. Exercise can help to regulate blood pressure by lowering the resting heart rate and reducing visceral fat. The better and more resilient the circulatory system is, the it is to improve movement and increase the athletic performance.

Prepare to sweat: Cardiovascular (aerobic) activity is often held up as the heart-healthiest exercise. Research suggests pulse-raisers may reduce ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol, help lower blood pressure and maintain optimal weight. Remember that exercise does not have to look like a traditional exercise, yoga sessions, gardening, housework and dancing are also good forms of activity.

Aim for 10,000 steps: Deceptively simple, upping the step count to 10,000 a day is one of the best ways to get the blood pumping around the circulatory system. There are plenty of ways to increase the step count: walk to work, get off the bus three stops earlier or take a brisk walk during the lunch break.

Of course, steps are not the only important consideration here; the pace is important too. For the ultimate blood circulation workout, walk briskly at a rate that makes you feel slightly breathless. Recent research shows that high levels of exercise can lessen some cardiovascular risks. Yet even for people with high levels of activity, there seems to be a threshold of around 10 hours of sitting - inactivity, can hinder cardiovascular health.

Inactivity has consequences: The heart is a muscle; it needs regular physical exercise to make it bigger and stronger. When active (exercising), the lungs can better oxygenate the blood, and take the nutrients and other beneficial substances around the body enabling it to reach all the cells and tissues of the body. But when sedentary, fatty and toxic materials can begin to cause inflammation and clog the arteries and compromise circulatory health. Lack of oxygen from poor blood circulation restricts muscle growth and development. It can also cause poor blood circulation, muscle pain, numbness in the legs, cramps, skin discoloration, muscular weakness, slower nail and hair growth and erectile dysfunction.

Lifestyle tips: While a healthy diet and robust exercise regime will undoubtedly work wonders for the circulatory system, admittedly, it can only do part of the work. The lifestyle factors such as smoking or overindulging in alcohol may undo all the hard work. But it is not just a case of cutting out bad habits; another beneficial way to help the mental health and body systems can come from adding new routines to the daily routine, like dry brushing or a cold morning shower. Aim to have a good 7-8 hours of sleep, enjoy the company of your friends, and laugh a lot. 

Water: Water makes up about 60 percent of the body weight. Every cell, tissue and organ in the body needs water to work properly. Water can help to clear out wastes through urination, perspiration and bowel movements. Water also helps to keep the temperature normal, and water lubricates and cushions the joints (including the disks in your spine); it is also critical for heart health. Staying hydrated – helps the heart do its job.

Dehydration can occur when the body loses more fluid through sweating, illness, fever or urination from the consumption of food and water. Dehydration can negatively affect the body's organs and bodily functions, including the heart and cardiovascular system.

When dehydrated the blood volume - or the amount of blood circulating through the body, decreases. To compensate, the heart beats faster, increasing the heart rate and blood pressure.  Also, dehydration can affect blood flow.  The blood retains more sodium, thickening the blood and making it harder for the blood to circulate through the body. 

Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart pump blood more easily and allows oxygen to reach the muscles, which helps the muscles work efficiently.

To support blood flow, aim to drink at least 1.5 litres of water each day – increase the amount when active.

Some of the fluid comes from other beverages and food. Why not keep a water bottle at the desk whilst working, have a glass of water next to the bed, and when you wake up in the morning have some before getting up? I personally add lemon, cucumber, or mint to the water to give it some flavour.

Stress less: An unexpected bill, relationship trouble, a strongly worded email from the boss – stress abounds in our modern-day life. Stress is our body’s response to pressures from challenging situations in life. It can be a feeling of being overwhelmed or under pressure.  Stress triggers the ‘flight or fight response in the body: the heart rate increases and the heart muscle might have to work harder. The stress hormones – cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline (from the adrenal glands) – perform as chemical messengers for these effects; it is important to remember that these hormones are important for the body’s health. Beyond this, the blood vessels transporting blood to the heart and major organs dilate, elevating blood pressure. Over time, chronic stress may compromise the circulatory system.

Studies suggest that the high levels of cortisol from long-term stress can increase blood cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and blood pressure. These are common risk factors for heart disease.

Contact The Green Herbalist Clinic to make an appointment to discuss how herbal medicine can benefit circulatory health.

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