health fitness

Problems

Ifl could have only one wish it would be to live in a world like this one, at a time like the present, enjoying all the friends and the problems I have now, and above all to be myself in this world.

“Enjoying’ problems may seem a decidedly strange concept but I have always felt that all serious setbacks, including illness, are given to us as ideal opportunities to learn about ourselves and our place in the world, chemically, nutritionally, biologically, spiritually, socially, and emotionally. Approached in that spirit illness can revolutionize your life. When I was twenty-one I had a nervous breakdown, and because I didn’t take on board the lessons I should have learned from it I had another when I was twenty-six. The second time around I was a bit wiser and gradually, in spite of the pain of it, I began to learn the reasons why and, more importantly, how to help myself and how to ensure it never happened again. But I have

never regretted the illness. Not only was it an invaluable lesson about my own Achilles’ heel, stress, but it has since enabled me both to empathize with and to help other women in the same position. As Somerset Maugham observed, ‘It is a funny thing about life: if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it. So put illness in this positive context and see it as an opportunity not just for struggle and pain but for enlightenment and growth, as an ideal means to build on strengths and under stand weaknesses.

Depression

The mentally ill occupy more than a third of all National Health Service beds. You are more likely to suffer from depression if any

of the following factors apply: isolation, no close friends to confide in, having no work outside the home, poor housing, bad financial problems, looking after toddlers at home full-time, and losing your mother at an early age. The roots of depression spring from not being in control of one’s life. Feminist sociologist Pauline Bart defines depression as a response to powerlessness. She believes that society sets women up for depression by couraging or forcing them to put their eggs in one or at most two baskets – the mother role and the wife Many women when they lose either of these roles respond with a loss of identity and a sense of powerlessness and uselessness.

REMEDIES FOR DEPRESSION

Fighting back helps. If your rights or dignity are being trampled on summon the energy to stand up for yourself. Say what you mean. Show your feelings. Purposeful activity helps ensure that it is something you enjoy and will give you a sense of One of the most common physical signs of depression is

fatigue. Exercise helps. Make it regular, vigorous and enjoyable, and-given it will revolutionize your physical and mental well-being.

Anxiety

Valium is the largest-selling prescription drug sold in the world today and women users outnumber men by very large “Anxiety’ is such loose definition of wide range of physical symptoms that anti-anxiety drugs can be prescribed for virtually any reason (and judging by the number of my patients who take them very often are). Physical symptoms of stress apart from fatigue may include weakness; breathless ness; choking; fainting; hypertension; palpitations; digestive up sets; over-dependence on alcohol, drugs or tobacco; loss of interest in sex; insomnia; or simply succession of mysterious aches, pains and niggling little discomforts. Allopathic prescrip tions merely mask the symptoms and do nothing to deal with the social, emotional and physical conditions which are the cause.

It is now well known that anti-anxiety drugs are addictive, and here herbs can play an invaluable part in helping a patient to withdraw from them – coupled with counselling a good diet, plenty of exercise, the support of friends, and stress-management techniques like meditation, yoga, self-hypnosis, visualization, autogenics or biofeedback. A prolonged dose of any of the benzodiazepines will produce withdrawal symptoms if stopped, and I have observed that some very sensitive patients experience the same symptoms on smaller, shorter-term doses.

Withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, dysphoria and occasionally con vulsions and severe emotional and perceptive changes such as secing glittering lights, unsteadiness and experiencing noises and sensations of motion while resting Weaning long-term users off Ativan, Serenid and Euhypnos,which are stronger, is harder than getting people of Librium,Valium, Mogadon, Dalmane and Tranxene, but herbal remedies will act as a useful bridge as the dosages of the chemical medicines are very slowly and gently reduced.

Herbs will actively tone,strengthen and nourish a bartered nervous system which has hitherto been exposed to the heavy chemical stress of allopathic tranquillizers. Both valerian and scullcap initially replace the benzodiazepines effect while strengthening the nervous system, so helping to ease withdrawal symptoms. They are not rec ommended for long-term use. Camomile, catnip, hops, lavender, lemon balm, lime flowers, mistletoe, pasque-flower, red clover, rosemary, vervain, motherwort, woodruff, oats and the ginsengs all have a useful part to play as adaptogens or for the broad support the body needs during the process of withdrawal. If you have been taking any of the allopathic tranquillizers for longer than two months it is unwise to try and wean yourself off them without the support and advice of a qualified medical herbalist.

Nerve tonic

Equal parts of: black cohosh

hops

lady’s-slipper

scullcap

lobelia

valerian

wood betony

hawthorn

mistletoe

mugwort

lemon balm

ginger

Make a tincture and take 2-3 teaspoons three times daily, preferably stirred into a hot drink.

Vaginal Secretions and Infections

A lot of women on the Pill do not appreciate what normal vaginal secretions should look like because the Pill tends to distort or diminish them. Tiny, clear droplets of fluid form on the walls of the vagina and mix with the sloughed-off cells, which give the secretions a white appearance. The cervical canal secretes thicker mucus, which can be either clear or white, and this too flows into the vagina. Vaginal secretions are usually slightly acid, whereas cervical secretions are also slightly acid when whitish non-fertile mucus is being secreted but are alkaline when secre tions are fertile and clear. The abundance of secretions varies from woman to woman. Some have heavy secretions throughout the menstrual cycle. Others notice an increase in secretions around ovulation which can actually wet the crotch of knickers, while others, especially those on the Pill, have very little secretion at any time of the month.

A healthy vagina can be besieged by many irritants. Resistance to infection can be reduced by stress, drugs, poor general health, or irritation to the membranes of the vulva, vagina and clitoris. Tight clothing, synthetic fibres, vigorous or prolonged coitus, diaphragms, an IUD string, condoms, tampons, spermicidal creams, deodorant sprays, bubble baths and soap, vibrators and douche solutions can all cause irritation and leave you vulnerable to infection. A prolapsed colon, poor pelvic muscle tone and a sloppy diet can also result in infection. The odour of a discharge is an important clue in identifying an infection. All of us have certain amount of vulval odour which

smells pleasantly musky as opposed to the sour, strong, often fishy smell of a yeast discharge or the pronounced fetid odour of a bacterial infection. Yeast infections are usually heavy, thick, curdy and white, occasionally tinged with grey or green, while bacterial infections tend to be brownish and runny. It is import ant to realize that it is possible to have more than one infection at a time. Trichomonas often accompanies the greenish-yellow discharge of gonorrhea, for example.

THRUSH

Also called moniliasis, candidiasis or yeast infection, this is caused by a fungus, Candida albicans, that only produces prob lems when it multiplies and changes its form. It thrives in a moist, warm environment (so is particularly prevalent in hot, humid weather), can be spread by sharing bathing suits or towels, can live under the foreskin of the penis, and can be transmitted during love-making. It loves refined carbohydrates and sugar, and is precipitated by antibiotics  ; and many women on oral contraceptives are more prone to thrush because these contraceptives promote a sweeter vaginal environment, en couraging fungal growth. The infection manifests itself as vaginal itching and may result in a thick, curdy discharge and possible pain on urination.

If the itching is unbearable, make a poultice of slippery elm and golden seal, adding a touch of cider vinegar when mixing. Spread this in a thick paste over the vulva and labia and secure it in position with a sanitary towel. Douche once daily with mother wort and golden seal tea mixed with 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, retaining the douche as long as possible. A steeply raised slant board or a shoulder stand are both positions that will help here. Before bed insert two Probion tablets as deeply into the vagina as possible. Take these orally too . After washing, pat-dry with a clean towel and wipe with pure olive oil if not using the slippery elm poultice. Avocado and olive oil contain oleic acid which prevents the yeast from proliferating.

Remedy for thrush Equal parts of:

echinacea golden seal

periwinkle squaw vine

garlic

Take one size “O’ capsule of the finely powdered herbs hourly with sips of oatstraw tea until the yeast infection is under control then reduce to two with each meal. The course of herbs should last for at least twenty-eight days in

all. Your partner must also be treated with equal parts of echi nacea, golden seal, garlic and marshmallow two size ‘o’ cap sules with each meal for the duration of your course of treatment. This will ensure that the infection is not passed back and forth.

LEUCORRHOEA

This is called the whites’ because it shows itself as a white vaginal discharge which causes itchiness and pain. Fast for three days on vegetable juices only and take half a cup of the following tea hourly:

z parts blue flag

2 parts sage

I part parsley

1 part echinacea

I part dandelion

I part golden seal part cinnamon

comfrey, adding a tablespoon of cider vinegar to the mix and retaining the douche as long as possible.

Douche twice daily with equal parts of golden seal, sage and

BACTERIAL INFECTIONS

Infections which are neither yeast nor trichomonas are called

non-specific vaginitis. Bacterial infections can be caused by the over-growth of bacteria, which travel from an infection in the urinary tract or the intestinal tract to the vagina. They can be passed on during love-making if your partner has a urethral infection, or after anal intercourse if the penis is not washed before vaginal insertion. Multiplication of bacteria will cause pain, itching and a runny, foul-smelling, usually brown discharge.

Douche with equal parts of comfrey, sage, golden-seal and camomile with a tablespoon of cider vinegar added. Do this twice daily for no more than seven consecutive days. Take the antibiotic for three consecutive weeks.

TRICHOMONAS

These tiny one-celled creatures are always with us and only become a problem when they get out of hand and multiply. Their origin is unknown but they are usually transmitted by sexual contact – more specifically, a woman usually acquires them from under the foreskin of a penis or from a man’s urethra or prostate gland. Ninety per cent of the partners of women suffering from trichomonas are infected with it too. Rarely, lesbians can trans mit trichomonas, and very occasionally it can be passed from moist objects like towels, flannels or toilet seats.

Trichomonas has a tendency to recur the week after menstru ation, so douching for the whole week during this time with 1 tablespoon golden-seal tincture and 1 teaspoon tincture of myrrh diluted in 32 pints (2 litres) water is particularly helpful. Men should wash under their foreskin with this solution and wear a condom for three months when making love. Inserting a clove of garlic (peeled but without nicking the garlic flesh with the knife or fingernail) as high up into the vaginal canal as possible nightly is also helpful. If you are worried about not being able to retrieve it, wrap the clove in a piece of gauze 12 in (30 cm) long and i in (2.5 cm) wide. Fold this in half and twist it just below the clove, making a small tampon with a long tail. Dip the dove end in olive oil and insert. Change twice daily,

Cystitis

This manifests itself in a frequent and urgent need to urinate

and a burning pain on doing so. Sometimes the urine is blood stained and there may be pain in the lower abdomen, and mild fever. Cystitis is often assumed to be the result of a bacterial infection, but in about so per cent of cases no sign of infection can be traced, and conversely bacteria can often be found in the urine of symptom-free women. It is well known that nervous, anxious

Allergic reaction to aspirin, sulfa drugs, phenacetin and some laxatives may also cause vulval inflammation. Eliminate the offending agents. Some women get relief from hot sitz-bath containing tablespoon of arrowroot, others from cold compresses of a

strained decoction of golden seal or of aloe vera juice. Aloe vera ointment is often soothing. Pat, don’t rub dry, or use hairdryer turned on to cool, and dust with arrowroot once dry. Alternative ly, use teaspoons almond oil and 1 teaspoon oil, mixed with one drop of lavender oil and one drop of geranium oil, spreading this over the affected area. Once the condition begins to dear, let as much air get to the vulva as possible hence the ingenious idea of the hairdryer. In the meantime, don’t wear tights, or tight-fitting or nylon underwear. Go for loose cotton knickers instead.

Genital Herpes

Cold sores on the mouth are classified as the herpes simplex virus type I. A related virus, herpes simplex virus type II, can affect the vulva, cervix and upper vagina. The distinction between the two viruses lies mainly in the areas they infect, but many scientists now feel that differences between types I and are diminishing.

Anyone who is sufferer will know that they may be

quiescent for long periods but will re-emerge under certain

predictable conditions-after sunbathing, when a cold is coming, when the sufferer is under stress or around menstruation. Most genital herpes is caused by contact with a type virus and is picked up during sexual intercourse. But it is possible to transmit the type I virus from a cold sore from the mouth to genitals during oral sex. Type I virus is not implicated in the development of cervical cancer (as Type II is), but the physical symptoms can be just as upsetting as those of Type II. They may begin with a fever, swollen and tender lymph nodes, excruciating itching, and painful blisters along the vulva, and graduate to inflammation around the urethral area, making urination excess ively painful. In infections with herpes virus type the cervix may become red, irritated and ulcerated, resulting in discharge and

vaginal spotting. you have had previous encounter with any of other herpes viruses, like shingles cold sores, you will not have acquired appropriate antibodies. Under these circumstances

getting herpes virus type can very bad news. The first experience herpes the genital area may result pain urination defecation, and general feeling headaches, swollen glands and fever well more obvious lesions. Such symptoms are interaction between the virus and host and the individual’s defence mechanisms which deter mine how violent and widespread the symptoms are. vital improve the immune system, thereby robbing the virus chance active.

ACTIVATING THE VIRUS

Rubbing chafing the skin, injury, physical mental stress, sunburn, fever, poor diet, excessive anger, anxiety, depression and menstruation can all spark viral activity again. An outbreak can last for couple of days much three weeks. If baby comes into contact with active lesions during the process of birth she will also certainly be infected. not active viral lesions normal birth usually safe, but there are caesarean absolutely necessary.

TREATMENT OF HERPES

Raising the level of the immune system prerequisite, as dietary strategy which involves the reduction of the amino-acid arginine and simultaneous boosting of lysine, which will help to control the duplication of the viral particles. The foods which are rich lysine include chicken, lamb, beans, brewer’s yeast and beansprouts, as well as most fruits and vegetables except peas. Foods high in arginine are gelatin,

chocolate, carob, coconut, oats, whole wheat or white flour, wheatgerms, peanuts and soya beans. While symptom-free take lysine daily. When the virus is showing signs of activity increase the dose to daily. Also take vitamin C and bioflavonoids to saturation point, stopping just short of diarrhoea; and Bs, folic acid, calcium

and magnesium Follow all the practical advice given for cystitis concerning

soap, water, air and clothes. If pain during urination is excruciat ing, spraying cold water onto the vulval area from the shower head while urinating will help. Otherwise sit in a bowl of cold water while urinating. Cold yoghurt compresses applied for ten minutes at a time six times daily over the affected area give some relief. Rinse with a cold shower afterwards and pat on the following tincture, Equal parts of:

golden seal

scullcap

garlic lobelia

Patients complain that this stings but say that it is preferable to the constant painful itching. Also take 60 drops of the above tincture in a little water three times daily with meals. Massaging the lymph glands and lower back with 2 fl oz (60 ml) olive oil, 10 drops rose oil and 15 drops lavender oil will help to stimulate the immune system, as will regular lavender baths.

All women who contract genital herpes should have a cervical smear at least once yearly, and be honest with any prospective sexual partner. The fact that the ignorant public still tend to see herpes as the penalty for sexual freedom has led to unnecessary feelings of guilt in many who have become infected without being promiscuous. Sexual and physical contact should be avoided when the virus is active.

Abdominal Pain

There are all sorts of possible explanations for this, especially as there are so many different organs in the compact area of the pelvis. Many women notice a sharp pain low in the abdomen in the middle of a menstrual cycle which can be felt for five minutes or linger for two days. This is caused by ovulation, as a result of abdominal pressure from the enlargement of the ovary and follicle. Such enlargement often occurs during the normal course of ovulation and many women are told they have a cyst as big as an orange’ on their ovaries. Generally the ovary shrinks back to its smaller size within a couple of weeks – so women should ask

for several consecutive examinations over the course of a month to determine whether they truly do have a cyst. Gas in the intestines can sometimes result in considerable

discomfort, as can constipation. Pelvic inflammatory disease, and inflammation of the uterus and ovaries, can also cause lower abdominal pain, as can flu viruses, appendicitis, gallbladder problems and urinary-tract infection. Prolonged or severe pain can be the result of tubal pregnancy. This is an emergency and needs immediate attention.

Crabs

Most women who have crabs know from the incessant itching that something is awry. The eggs take from seven to nine days to hatch and each crab busily lays three eggs a day. Crabs are easily transmitted not only by sexual contact but by

sitting on the same couch, using the same toilet, or by sharing a bed with someone who has them. To 3 fl oz (90 ml) olive oil add to drops each of rosemary oil

and lavender oil, 12 drops eucalyptus oil and 13 drops geranium oil. Saturate the area infested (usually the pubic area although they can survive in any hairy part of the body) with the oil and cover with close-fitting plastic pants or wrap the area in cling film. Leave on for two hours. Remove over the toilet and shampoo out. Comb through the hair with a finely toothed comb to remove any eggs. Repeat the treatment after three days, and again after a further three days.

Breast Lumps

Self-examination of the breasts after each menstruation is a vital prerequisite for discovering breast cysts and any more serious problems. Breast cysts are extraordinarily common and are almost always benign. Over 30 per cent of all women have these benign, fibrous, glandular growths. Cysts move easily under the fingers and are hard and round, tending to become larger and more tender just before menstruation. Women with a cyst often have increased fibrous tissue in their breasts because the cyst’s lining and the adjacent connective tissue tend to be more fibrous. They are more common women on the Pill or hormones. Caffeine has stiffening effect on fibrous and connective tissues no coffee and chocolate whatsoever! Regular skin brush ing helps, does the poultice on page 115, and cleansing the

lymphatic system (see Chapter 3).

Pre-orgasmic Problems

There no real clinical research experience that proves that pelvic congestion can lead to serious health problems. During the sexual excitement phase of woman’s sexual response the uterus, vagina, clitoris and vulva fill with blood and swell until they reach state of vasocongestion, swelling which often causes tension and pressure. The medical profession insist that this can only be relieved by orgasm but in fact exercise, cold showers and the passage of time will do the same thing though not as pleasurably!

So let’s scotch the myth that women must have an orgasm in order be healthy and that if they don’t something is

But orgasms you want, bear in mind that the single most common cause for woman failing to reach orgasm is inadequate stimulation, but there are other possibilities – underdevelopment of the endocrine and nervous systems, diabetes, fear or ignorance, or immaturity of the female or male genitalia. Obvious emotional

causes should be approached through counselling and will require from both partners.

Physical causes will need to be looked at individually. The following formula may help. Equal parts of:

sarsaparilla saw palmetto damiana liquorice

cinnamon prickly ash bark

Take two size O’ capsules of the finely powdered herbs with

each meal daily for six months only. If you have high blood pressure leave out the liquorice, substituting the same amount of ginger: Damiana has a marked effect on the sexual system, while prickly ash bark will stimulate the blood circulation. Cinnamon is warming: sarsaparilla is an excellent blood-purifier; saw pal metto is rich in natural hormones; and liquorice will bolster the

adrenal glands and help to counteract stress.

Sexual Desire

ANAPHRODISIACS

A lot of people treat the subject of substances that dampen sexual desire as a joke. But there are many reasons why a woman may want to dampen her sexual fires: going through a prolonged healing crisis where the body needs plenty of rest; practising

natural birth control which requires a couple only to make love

during the infertile phases; choosing to live alone and remain

celibate. Avoid garlic, spices, meat, eggs, onion, salt, peppermint, too much alcohol, and stimulating books and television programmes, and take the following herbal formulation:

2 parts white willow I part skullcap

1 part white waterlily

I part hops

I part marjoram

Make into a tincture and take 2 teaspoons before each meal.

APHRODISIACS

Most traditional aphrodisiacs work by increasing your inclina tion, which is only half of the equation. The other half is, of course, the right partner, but if you want to try a little extra help take a massage of rose oil, sandalwood oil, jasmine oil or ylang ylang oil. Rose oil is especially good for cleansing and regulating the gynaecological organs.

Abortion

Herbs like tansy and pennyroyal induce abortion, but a herbal abortion is even more traumatic for the body than a medical one and is therefore absolutely inadvisable. If you have already had an abortion, make plentiful use of such herbs as blessed thistle, raspberry, blue vervain and nettles to help restore the glandular system and bring the womb back to normal.