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Overindulgence at Christmas with Ciara O' Meara

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Today we're going to be dealing with various herbal remedies for people who may overindulge at Christmas. Whether you've eaten too much and are suffering from indigestion or if you've had a glass to wine too many Ciara has remedies which will get you through Christmas with ease.

Ciara O Meara - Medical Herbalist
I have a long standing interest in natural medicine. From a young age I found myself allergic to antibiotics, this prompted a proactive approach to preventative medicine, ensuring that through diet and exercise I was always doing my best to stay healthy. I completed an honours Science degree in University College Dublin in 1997 followed by an MSc in Medical Genetics at Aberdeen University. I then spent a number of years working in the field of academic research in areas such as The Human Genome Project at Oxford University, UK, and on Cancer research at Cancer Research UK. It was during this time that I took up a yoga practice and further cultivated an interest in holistic medicine.
First hand experience of successfully using herbal medicine  prompted me to pursue an interest in the subject. I soon realised that this interest was part of a much broader, richer and complex area of natural medicine which required dedicated study to appreciate both its subtleties and power. To deepen my knowledge on the subject and acquire the ability to confidently use it as a health professional I completed a four year degree at Westminster University in London.
This University is a long established centre for excellence in the training of medical herbalists. Its facilities encompass a central London clinic for herbal medicine where members of the public can avail of treatment. This is where I completed 500 hours of clinical training as part of my degree, treating members of the public from young to old with a range of illnesses. This was an integral part of the educational programme, in the interests of maintaining a high level of safe practice. This training included differential diagnosis of illness up to a high standard of training clinically on par with that of a GP.

Overindulgence during the festive season can take many forms:

Eating lots of unusual, rich or fatty foods and overindulging in Christmas spirits!
Don't worry if you have had an impromptu Christmas celebration there is lots you can do to bring your body back to health, and pick up some tips on how to plan for the next party !.

The liver can be compromised by excess of any kind taken in food or alcohol

Milk thistle capsules
Milk thistle reverses liver damage and protects against toxins, stimulates the growth of new healthy liver cells. Milk thistle also protects the kidneys from any harmful effects of toxins entering the body.

It can be equally effective if taken before a big night out by boosting the detoxing actions of the Liver and protecting it from toxic overload!

Dosage: one capsule 3-4 times a day, 2.5 ml of tincture 2-3 times a day
Overuse may cause a slightly laxative effect

(If you are currently on medication consult a professional before taking milk thistle)

Body Boosting Breakfast Zinger
This juice can be made and drank first thing in the morning or brought to work and sipped throughout the day

1-2 Carrots juiced
1/2 Fresh raw Beetroot juiced
Stem Ginger approx five thick slices

Ginger is a great herb for stimulating circulation which can help with headaches and detoxing via the skin.
It also stimulates digestion and can reduce nausea.
Beetroot is a superb blood cleanser; it also contains numerous minerals and vitamins. It is primarily full of antioxidants, which mop up the damaging toxins throughout the body. Beetroot also helps the body to break down fats. (may produce red urine and stool this is natural and nothing to worry about!)
Carrot contains plenty of vitamin A, vitamin C. Carrots also contain potassium, which is important for electrolyte balance in the body and can be depleted when the body is dehydrated.

Dandelion Root Coffee
This is a great alternative to taking regular coffee which is dehydrating and may exacerbate some of the symptoms of overdoing it!.

This stimulates liver function by increasing the production of bile, the body's natural laxative. This can help when there is an increased demand for digesting fatty foods if you feel sluggish after a heavy high fat meal.

This can be drank freely throughout the day or before you go to bed to start a bit of detox work before you wake up the next day (don't worry Dandelion coffee is caffeine free).

Swedish Bittters
This is a traditional mix of herbs with cleansing and detoxifying properties, which act on all the organs of elimination in the body. It is useful for that sluggish lethargic feeling which can follow eating very rich foods

This can be taken throughout the day in a glass of water a tablespoon in water 2-3 times a day. Swedish bitters are available in most good health food stores, and can also be found in a non-alcoholic base.

Non-herbal TIPS
A useful tip if you have overindulged in alcohol is to take an oral rehydration sachet first thing in the morning. This has the effect of replacing valuable electrolytes in the body that can be lost due to the dehydration that inevitably accompanies intoxication.

Excessive smoking, drinking and overindulging in high sugar processed foods can deplete the body of important vitamins like vitamin C and the B vitamins. If you are partying a lot it's worth taking these in a supplement to maintain a healthy immune system and reduce the risk of catching any colds or flu's.