Herbal Healing-Top 5 complaints
Wednesday, 18 February 2009
Ciara O Meara is here for the final week of our herbal healing strand. This week she will be talking about a herbal first aid kit containing herbal remedies for common problems.
Ciara O'Meara - Medical Herbalist
From a young age Ciara found herself allergic to antibiotics, which prompted a proactive approach to preventative medicine. She completed an honours Science degree in University College Dublin in 1997 followed by an MSc in Medical Genetics at Aberdeen University. She 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 she took up a yoga practice and further cultivated an interest in holistic medicine.
First hand experience of successfully using herbal medicine prompted her to pursue an interest in the subject. She 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 she 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 she completed 500 hours of clinical training as part of her 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.
1) Cuts Burns and scalds:
Aloe vera gel is something that we should all have in our medicine cabinets. It is healing for burns and scalds, and cooling for sunburn. It is very easy to grow in the home and the inner gel of the leaves can be used for this purpose. It provides an ideal base for holding the healing properties of both tinctures and essential oils.
. For a healing and antiseptic gel take 30g of aloe vera gel add 20-30 drops of Echinacea tincture stir in well and store in a cool area.
. An alternative to this would be to add 5-6 drops of either lavender or 2-3 drops of tea tree essential oil to the 30g of gel, and store in a cool area. Lavender is a gentle anti-inflammatory and antiseptic (probably more suited to childrens delicate skin), while Tea tree oil is strongly antiseptic.
Arnica gel will help to relieve pain and inflammation which can accompany bruising. It should not be used on broken skin or taken internally.
Directions apply as required to affected area
3) Sick stomach
. Bloating and indigestion - Peppermint oil capsules these are an excellent remedy for indigestion accompanied by bloating. This herb has proven to reduce the cramping or spasm associated with IBS. It relaxes the intestinal smooth muscle returning it to its normal relaxed state.
. Upset tummy Chamomile tea is ideal to settle a nervous or upset tummy, it has an overall relaxing effect on the nervous system and an anti-inflammatory action on the tummy. For children you can make a tea, flavour it apple juice and honey (if >than 1yr) allow it to cool and make into an ice pop for a fun and convenient way to take the herb.
4) Insect bites
Here is a quick and efficient recipe for your own natural mosquito/insect repellent spray. Witch-hazel is an astringent and anti-inflammatory properties which will help reduce oozing from any bites or stings, while the tea-tree oil will prevent infection. Citronella oil is a well known insect repellent which should help keep reduce the risk of being bitten!
. Take 50mls of witch-hazel water and to this 3 drops of tea tree essential oil and 4 drops of citronella essential oil. Label and pour into a 50ml spray bottle store in a cool area. Spray on all over (avoid eyes), or on affected area if already bitten.
Clove oil (essential oil of) rubbed onto the gums provides a very quick relief from the pain of toothache clove acts by numbing the area to pain. If you can't get clove oil then try sucking a clove bud between the teeth. One to 2 drops of clove oil rubbed on with a finger is more than enough.
When the headache is caused by tension:
. Valerian and Crampbark taken together can relax the nervous system and prevent the spasm and tightness in the muscles which may exacerbate or prolong the headache. Directions as per product.
When the headache is due to sinus problems:
Steam inhalation of essential oils of eucalyptus, peppermint and lavender: The combination of these three oils is ideal for inhalation the lavender is anti-inflammatory and relaxing and both the eucalyptus and peppermint will open up the airways and provide antiseptic properties which will prevent infection if there is a risk.
. Directions: take approximately 200mls of boiling water, pour into a bowl into this add 2 drops of each essential oil. Place a towel over your head and position your head over the bowl so that you inhale the steam, allow the mouth to remain open and breathe at your normal pace and rhythm.
For more information on Ciara please visit www.herbalist.ie
Ciara's Clinic location:
The Herbal Clinic
For More Information On Herbalists
Visit the Irish institute of medical herbalists - www.iimh.org