Woodland Herbs October 2009

In this issue
Therapy of the Month

This months therapy is  Neuro Linguistic Programming NLP

Classes and Courses

Natural Help for Insomnia
Thursday 5th November

Welcome to your regular newsletter from Woodland Herbs. We hope you will find it interesting, entertaining and useful. If you do not wish to continue to receive this email please use the link at the bottom of this email.

Skin Care

Skin You may have heard the phrase that the condition of our skin is a reflection of our inner health . The health of our skin is related to the underlying physical health of our body and no amount of skin creams can overcome what is going on underneath our skin. Therefore when we are advising people on choices for improving skin condition, be it for general health or specific ailments, we will normally recommend a combination of external and internal treatments or remedies.

General External Skin Care
The face has thinner skin than the rest of the body and is more exposed to the elements, therefore we use different products on our face than the rest of the body. Men are lucky that they have slightly thicker (and generally slightly oilier skin) than women, so this tends to be less of a problem. For them it is often a case of avoiding too much oil, and protecting the face from the effects of shaving. For women it can be more difficult to achieve a balance between too dry and too oily. For delicate facial skin normal soap is not ideal for washing your face as it is too good at removing oil, leaving it dry and exposed. Facial cleansers offer a better option, gently removing grime and excess oil. After cleaning we suggest applying a natural (vegetable oil) based skin cream.

Skincare for the body may be as simple as occasional showers with a soap or shower gel. You could consider applying a body lotion after the shower. Special treatments for areas such as the feet, areas prone to cellulite or patches of dry or damaged skin (hands, elbows etc) are available. Pumice stones and dry skin brushes may also be used to keep the skin supple and free from the build up of dead skin.

It is now known that damage from the sun is one of the main causes of ageing. Consider sensible precautions to avoid skin damage, suncreams with an SPF protection, covering the skin and avoiding the midday sun.

Digestion and diet
There is a link between the health of our digestive and elimination processes, and the health of our skin. Quite often people with poor digestion will find their skin is poor. This makes sense, as you need to digest the fats, proteins and nutrients your body needs to maintain a healthy skin. Similarly if you are not actually eating what your body needs then this will be a problem. There is guidance available, however the main issues are the right amount of fruit and vegetables (5 portions a day or more), avoiding too much meat and dairy products, and ensuring sufficient fluids are taken. Excessive sugars can also contribute to problem skin. Fresh fruit and vegetables contain antioxidants which can help prevent skin ageing.

Some ideas for Skin Conditions
Dry skin: ensure your fluid intake (especially water) is adequate, find a natural (vegetable oil based) skin cream that suits your skin, ensure your intake of oils is enough (a handful of mixed nuts and seeds each day is ideal or two teaspoons of flax oil).
Psoriasis: increasing your intake of fish (or fish oils), using a topical cream such as calendula cream and using dead sea bath salts may help.
Eczema: although creams such as calendula can help, consider trying an elimination diet to check if foods such as diary products or eggs are making your eczema worse. Other help can include chamomile creams, Evening Primrose oil and following the guidance for dry skin.

Cautions and Contraindications: In our shop we will normally offer simple guidance and self-help suggestions, however we will also suggest that a medical herbalist, acupuncturist or other therapist may be able to offer specific help to identify the cause of the problem skin. Remember that skin is normally a reflection of the health of our entire body. If you have an unusual or undiagnosed condition we would recommend seeing a herbalist or your GP for a diagnosis.



Flax Oil The Government and the NHS are often encouraging us to reduce our intake of fats, saying that excessive fats are bad for us and contribute to heart disease. As is often the case, bad news makes the headlines, good news doesn't. There are a group of fats that can actually reduce the incidence of heart disease, improve overall well-being and help with things such as skin condition. These are the essential fatty acids , known as omega 3 oils and omega 6 oils. They are called essential as  we need them to survive, and must eat them, as we cannot make them from something else.  A typical western diet does not contain  much omega 3 fat, but often contains a lot of omega 6 fats. Therefore there are good reasons to look at  increasing how much omega 3 we get in our diets.

Omega 3 oils are found in higher amounts in fish and some seed and nuts (especially flax seeds, also known as linseeds). Omega 3 oils are used by the body to make anti-inflammatory compounds, as a source of fuel for the heart, as a building block of the brain, to help lower high blood pressure and many other things. If you are thinking about taking supplemental omega 3 oils, there are 2 or 3 good options.
1. Take 2 portions of oily fish in your diet each week.
2. 1000mg fish oil capsule each day.
3. take the equivalent of a teaspoon of flax oil each day (this can be in foods such as salad dressings, added to soups after cooking (don't fry with flax oil). Alternatively a couple of teaspoons of ground flaxseeds could be added to your breakfast cereal.

This is a change to continue for the long term (ideally for life) and studies are being published regularly to show the benefits in areas such as ADHD in children, longevity in heart disease, post natal depression in women, skin conditions and more.

P.S. The difference between a fat and an oil is simply if they are solid (fats) or liquid (oils) at room temperature. To find out more about fats click here . Cautions and Contraindications . The Food Standards Agency give guidance on the risks of eating excessive levels of fish. Always seek advice if you are pregnant or breast-feeding before taking supplements.

Herb of the Month - Cleansing Herbs 

Herbs Cleansing herbs can help with skin complaints as well as promoting a feeling of well being. You dont need a full on detox programme. Simply adding a herbal tea to your day can make a difference to your skin. There are many herbs that have a cleansing action and detox teas, whether loose or in teabags will contain some of these herbs. Herbs we often recommend for detox, and their traditional uses, are listed below.

Cleavers - moves lymph (the lymphatic system helps remove unwanted materials from between the bodys cells).
Red clover - a lymphatic and hepatic herbs (has an action on the liver)
Heartsease - a lymphatic and hepatic herb.
Nettle -  a herb considered to be a blood cleanser.
Chamomile - a gentle bitter herb to stimulate the digestive process.
Dandelion root - a herb that stimulates the liver and increases bile flow, helping elimination through the liver and also a gentle laxative effect.
Dandelion leaf - a herb that increases urine flow (a diuretic).

Taken together these herbs work by moving toxins from the tips of our fingers and toes, moving toxins from the tissues into the bloodstream, so that they may then be dealt with by the liver and kidneys, and through to elimination from the body. There are many detox teas out there which will work on similar principles using a mix of different herbs.

Red clover, heartsease, nettle and cleavers are all used by herbalists for treating skin condition. Another cleansing herb that you may hear about is milk thistle (a protective liver herb) which is often included in detox programmes. Click here for more info.

Cautions and contraindications We normally recommend seeking advice from your Doctor, Herbalist or other health professional if
taking prescription medicines and thinking about self-treating with herbs.

This Months Therapy Neurolinguistic Programming NLP

NLP coaching encompasses three influential components involved in producing human experience, the nervous system, language and programming. The nervous system regulates how our bodies function, language determines how we interact and communicate with other people, and our programming determines how we think the world works. NLP helps you to change your unhelpful behaviours, release negative emotions or change limiting ways of being or acting. This can create a healthier lifestyle and body. NLP can help you to become more aware of what works in your life and release or transform what doesn't. NLP can be about improving how you deal with your children, how you behave at work, or how you cope with low moods. It is about understanding yourself better and choosing how you act. The lessons you learn during NLP should be with you for the rest of your life, helping you to be the person you would like to be. For more details visit NLP

In the shop and clinic:

Natural Help for Insomnia
Thursday 5th November 2009 from 7pm to 9pm
Learn more about sleep and how to use sedative herbs, appropriate foods and other tried and tested techniques to naturally help insomnia. With Herbalist Anna Hill MNIMH

For more information visit our website or call: 0141 564 3184.