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Herbal First Aid Kit with Ciara O' Meara

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Today our herbalist, Ciara O Meara is going to show us the various tinctures and infusions that every home should have for the various ailments that one can treat with a little herbal healing!

We want people to know that they can have a herbal first aid kit which will be just as effective as a medical first aid kit!

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.

For treatment of burns and cuts;

Aloe Vera Gel
This plant is extremely easy to grow in the home and no kitchen window sill should be without it!

Applied to a fresh burn or cut it is very healing. It is of particular use in reducing the pain and burning sensations associated with sun burn and certain itchy skin conditions such as mild eczema.

To extract the gel cut the leaf down the centre and squeeze out the gel apply to the affected area. Alternatively Aloe Vera can be purchased in your local chemist or health food store.

Witch Hazel Water
Widely available in your local pharmacy, witch hazel contains substances which can reduce bleeding and protect capillaries and small blood vessels from damage.

Witch hazel is very useful for treating eye problems. Ten drops of distilled witch hazel in an eye bath topped up with water can be very useful for irritation of conjunctivitis.

A cotton wool pad can be soaked in witch hazel and placed over tired eyes.

Tea Tree Oil
This oil comes from the Tea Tree native to New South Wales in Australia.
It is a must for the medicine cabinet. It has many and varied uses.

1. Typically for infections cuts and scrapes as an antiseptic.
2. Antifungal for athlete's foot or fungal toe nail problems.

If the fungal problem is just on the nail the oil can be placed on a cotton wool pad and taped to the nail, this should be replaced twice daily. If the fungal infection is in the skin then the tea tree oil can be added to olive oil and rubbed into the skin. If you have never used tea tree oil before it is best to do a patch test on a small area of skin.

3. Tea tree oil can be added to water and gargled for a sore throat, threatened tonsillitis or fungal mouth infections such as Candida.

Tea Tree Inhallation
Ciara recommends the following tea tree oil inhalation which is fantastic for clearing up your head.

. Pint of boiling water
. Place 2/3 drops of tea tree oil into the boiling water
. Pour this into a hot water bottle
. Place a funnel into the hot water bottle
. Place the funnel around your nose and mouth and breath
This is fantastic as rather than having to go to the trouble of placing a towel over your head and inhaling over a basin this way is a lot more convenient and can be done whilst sitting down and watching TV!

For an upset stomach

Cinnamon and Dill tea

Both Cinnamon and Dill are what is known as carminatives, these relax the stomach supporting digestion and helping to reduce gas in the stomach.

. Add 1 teaspoon full of dill seeds and a small stick of cinnamon to boiling water to make an infusion.
. Sip regularly during the day to reduce nausea, stomach ache and poor appetite.
. Alternatively the Cinnamon and Dill can be added to a pint of milk and simmered for 10-15 minutes, add a teaspoon of honey to taste if required.

This mixture can be taken by a breastfeeding mother to reduce colic in an infant. Dill also has the added advantage of enhancing breast milk flow in nursing mothers, benefiting both mother and baby.

For more information on Ciara please visit .

Locations of Ciaras clinics are,
Midland Centre for Natural health
Mitchel Street, Nenagh
Co Tipperary
The Herbal Clinic
Suir View
Cathedral Street
Co .Tipperary

For More Information On Herbalists
Visit the Irish institute of medical herbalists -