Category Archives: Ailments: C-D

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

This is a condition which is characterised by overwhelming fatigue.

What to look for

  • recent onset of extreme fatigue.

  • fatigue resulting not from any type of exertion and that you cannot relieve with rest or sleep.

  • sore muscles.

  • long-lasting discomfort following physical exertion.

  • sleep disorders (insomnia or oversleeping).

  • swollen lymph glands.

  • joint pain.

  • forgetfulness, confusion, inability to concentrate.

  • recurrent sore throat and headaches.

  • symptoms that persist for six months

Most people who are afflicted with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) are professional people but it can also afflict children, teenagers and almost anybody.

CFS is characterised by symptoms similar to the flu and a sudden overwhelming fatigue and is not a result of physical exertion.

CFS is not a fatal disease, although it can last for a long time.

Causes

The cause of CFS is not known, but researchers are investigating various possibilities.

It is currently thought that CFS may develop when a virus invades the body at a time when the immune system is not functioning efficiently. It may be at a time when you are run down physically, emotionally, or it could be a change in your current environmental, or a combination of the three.

Some doctors believe that CFS is psychological rather than physiological. Your doctor will get information off you regarding your medical history, perform a physical exam, and do a complete blood count to rule out other disorders that share symptoms with CFS.

Your symptoms must have been present for at least six months before the doctor will diagnosis you with the disorder.

Traditional Treatment

Treatment centres on relieving symptoms as there is no known cause for this disorder.

It is vitally important to maintain a balanced diet with plenty of low impact exercise and to avoid stressful situations and get plenty of rest.

The flu like symptoms of CFS can be temporarily alleviated with a variety of medicines and medications.

Sensitivity to a chemical, pesticide, household cleaning product, or another potential environmental toxin may also be contributing to CFS. Try eliminating suspected items, then reintroducing them one by one, to pinpoint what may be causing your symptoms.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Chinese Herbs – A commercially prepared mixture called the Astragalus Ten Formula combines Asian ginseng(Panax ginseng), licorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis), astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus), and other herbs in powder or tablet form.

Herbal Therapies – Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) has been shown to help. Echinacea (Echinacea spp.) andshiitake (Lentinus edodes) mushrooms contain substances which may help this condition. Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is said to have antiviral properties. Silymarin, a component of milk thistle (Silybum marianum), may help with liver problems.

German chamomile (Matricaria recutita), burdock (Arctium lappa), yarrow (Achillea millefolium), and Asian ginseng(Panax ginseng) are all said to be beneficial to CFS sufferers if taken regularly. You will need professional help for more specific guidelines.

Homoeopathy –  Some Homoeopathic practitioners have reported success in treating the symptoms of CFS. As with all chronic ailments, it’s best to seek the advice of a Homoeopath who can accurately diagnose and treat the specific symptoms of your case.

Dietary Considerations

One theory holds that a nutritional deficiency may be a contributing factor causing CFS, so it’s important to maintain a healthful diet. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, refined sugar, white flour, salt, and fried, preserved, high-fat foods in favour of whole grains, beans, rice, fish, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Add edible seaweeds, shiitake mushrooms, and liquorice to your diet. Eating two cloves of garlic a day may help boost your immune system’s antiviral and antibacterial activity.

Coenzyme Q10 and vitamin B12 are nutritional supplements that may lessen symptoms. Some evidence suggests that a combination of malic acid and magnesium may help relieve fatigue and muscle pain.

Other immune system-enhancing vitamins include vitamin C and beta carotene (see Vitamin A), which is also a natural antioxidant. Vitamins B5 and B6zinc, selenium, manganese, and chromium all play a role in strengthening the immune system as well.

The amino acid tryptophan, found in various foods, may be helpful for some symptoms, and since it helps the body produce serotonin, a natural sedative, it may aid in sleep. However, don’t take it in supplement form if you have high blood pressure or are taking antidepressants.

People with this disorder may have food allergies or sensitivities. This will show itself as an intolerance to a particular food.

When a food that you’re allergic to enters your body, your immune system views it as an invader, and attacks it by flooding your bloodstream with antibodies. The overabundance of these antibodies, in conjunction with the release of histamines and other body chemicals, results in CFS like symptoms.

When to seek further professional advice

  • You have any of the above mentioned symptoms

     

     

Chronic Pain

Pain that tends to last longer than 6 months can be termed chronic.

What to look for

The condition may include weakness, numbness, tingling, or other sensations, along with sleeping difficulties, a lack of energy, and depression. Some common forms of chronic pain are:

  • this type of pain can include headaches, muscle, back or joint pain that is enduring and debilitating or uncomfortable.

This type of pain can be sporadic, continuous, uncomfortable or Chronic pain can be mild or agonising.

The areas described above are the most common, however chronic pain can also include Achilles problems, sinus, other forms of degenerative joint disease, carpal tunnel syndrome, and localised pain.

The state of your mind has a lot to do with your perception of pain. And your state of mind is influenced by the surroundings you find yourself in and your attitudes as well. The psychological effect pain can have on us is substantial. Persistent severe pain can erode our natural threshold to pain and cause our personality to alter as a result. We can tend to perceive the pain as worse than it actually is or that it is becoming worse and worse. The immune system may also become affected adversely from persistent pain.

Causes

The causes of chronic pain are many and varied, some possible causes are as follows:-

  • aging (may affect bones and joints)

  • nerve damage and injuries that fail to heal properly.

  • Back pain

  • being overweight

  • curvature of the spine

  • to a traumatic injury

  • or to no obvious physical cause.

Disease can also be the underlying cause of chronic pain.

Sometimes it is a very difficult thing to pinpoint the exact cause of the pain as any possibility alludes healers and doctors. A process of elimination is then commenced to find the cause.

Traditional Treatment

People who suffer from chronic pain may need professional help.

The aim in many cases is not only to alleviate pain but also to teach the chronic sufferer how to come to terms with pain and function in spite of it. The first step in many cases is to wean the patient from a dependence on pain killing medications.

Other methods used by pain specialists include relaxation techniques to control brain-wave activity, behaviour-modification therapy to revise the way pain is perceived, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, meditation, and other forms of alternative therapy.

Over-the-counter pain killers can control milder cases of musculoskeletal pain and reduce inflammation.

Your doctor may prescribe stronger drugs if these others do not help.

Alternative Choices

A broad array of alternative options exists to address chronic pain.

Aromatherapy – Mix together the following essential oils with a carrier oil such as sweet almond, apricot kernel, or jojoba oil, and massage the blend into your skin at the site of the pain: lavender (Lavandula officinalis) to reduce inflammation and relax muscles; eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) to bring down swelling and accelerate healing; ginger (Zingiber officinale) to relieve pain and stiffness associated with arthritis and other types of degenerative joint disease.   See Our Aromatherapy Section. Mix together the following essential oils with a carrier oil such as sweet almond, apricot kernel, or jojoba oil, and massage the blend into your skin at the site of the pain: lavender (Lavandula officinalis) to reduce inflammation and relax muscles; eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) to bring down swelling and accelerate healing; ginger (Zingiber officinale) to relieve pain and stiffness associated with arthritis and other types of degenerative joint disease.   See Our Aromatherapy Section.

Massage – Massage therapy may provide temporary relief of muscle tension, stiffness, and spasms. Massage therapy may provide temporary relief of muscle tension, stiffness, and spasms.

Herbal Therapies – Capsicum, the active ingredient in cayenne (Capsicum frutescens), is believed to increase blood flow to joint tissues, thereby reducing inflammation. Capsicum, the active ingredient in cayenne (Capsicum frutescens), is believed to increase blood flow to joint tissues, thereby reducing inflammation.

An over-the-counter ointment made with cayenne may bring temporary relief of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, although it is very hot and should be used for only short periods.

Infusions of black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) or evening primrose oil (Oenothera biennis) may also lessen inflammation. Rubbing a dilution of peppermint (Mentha piperita) oil on the affected area may have a temporary numbing effect.

Topically applied dilutions of wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) oil, which contains a substance similar to what is found in aspirin, may have an analgesic effect. Geranium (Pelargonium odoratissimum) and white willow (Salix alba) bark are also natural painkillers. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) may also be helpful.

You must take special precautions if you are pregnant.

Homoeopathy – Try Rhus toxicodendron for joint, back, and arthritic problems that feel worse when first rising in the morning and become better with warmth. Persistent pain may be relieved by Kali bichromicum. Calcarea fluorica.Sepia may be good for lower-back pain that is worsened by sitting. Try Rhus toxicodendron for joint, back, and arthritic problems that feel worse when first rising in the morning and become better with warmth. Persistent pain may be relieved by Kali bichromicum. Calcarea fluorica. Sepia may be good for lower-back pain that is worsened by sitting.

Topical homoeopathic creams that have Arnica as a main ingredient can help with muscle and joint pain.

Lifestyle

You should take some time out when you feel the pain, however too much rest in also not going to do your problem much good – it can actually make your muscles weaker and cause more pain eventually.

Research has shown that regular exercise can diminish pain in the long run by improving muscle tone, strength, and flexibility and also release the body’s natural pain killers to help you. Try low impact types of exercise.

Visualisation may be another worthwhile pain-controlling technique – seek out places in your area that teach this very worthwhile technique.

Hypnotherapy and self-hypnosis may help you block or transform pain through refocussing techniques.

Relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga are also very helpful for chronic pain sufferers.

Dietary Considerations

Certain supplements have been known to help tremendously with chronic pain. These are:- DL-Phenylalanine (amino acid), Valerian, white willow bark.

See the entry for rheumatoid arthritis and allergies for dietary considerations and foods to eat and avoid.

At-Home Remedies


Remember “RICE”

– Rest – Rest

  – Apply ice to the affected area  – Apply ice to the affected area

C  – Compress the area  – Compress the area

E  – Elevate the area.  – Elevate the area.

  • Take herbal remedies suggested by a qualified herbalist

  • Do some low-impact exercise.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your pain continues for several weeks and doesn’t respond to over-the-counter products or rest

     

     

     

Circulatory Problems

This is problems to do with circulation. (Is the closed network of blood vessels in the body).

What to look for

  • aching legs

  • bulging, bluish vessels in an aching leg.

  • a painful vein.

Everybody may experience circulatory problems infrequently. Many people, however, must cope with this sensation on a daily basis. This condition, called intermittent claudication, is caused by lack of blood to the affected area. This can be due to hardening of the arteries. There are many other forms of circulation problems as well. Most circulation conditions can be treated at home or with a doctor’s supervision.

Circulation starts with vessels known as arteries which carry blood filled with oxygen from the heart to the rest of the body; veins return blood with no oxygen to the heart. These vessels can become blocked and this is when circulatory problems arise. These problems can start in a number of ways.

Causes

There is usually more than one cause to circulatory problems. Hardening of the arteries can become more prolific with age. Women are more likely than men to develop varicose veins. Hereditary plays a part as does the type of lifestyles people lead.

Other risk factors for poor circulation are smoking, obesity, and prolonged periods of sitting or standing. Women taking the contraceptive pill are more prone to circulatory problems, as are people with diabetes.

Traditional Treatment

There is a great deal the patient can do for themselves at home to improve circulation. If these do not succeed, many other options are available to those who suffer from circulatory problems. Take the time to learn about your options, then decide which treatment program will work best for you.

Of course the cause of the circulatory problem will have to be diagnosed by your doctor before suggesting a treatment.

Normally a treatment consisting of…

  • regular aerobic exercise

  • good balanced nutrition.

  • to lose weight if obesity is the problem

  • and to stop old habits that interfere with circulation such as smoking.

  • aspirin can also aid swelling

For more severe cases, treatment options range from drug therapy to surgery.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Many non-conventional treatments for poor circulation attempt to strengthen and widen the blood vessels to get more blood circulating throughout the system.

Body/Mind Treatments – Yoga – can help blood flow and help to alleviate the discomfort caused by poor circulation.

Water Treatments – A long soak in a warm bath, followed by a brisk rub with a towel dipped in cold water, can ease general discomfort caused by poor circulation.

You might add a solution of thyme leaves or larch needles to the bathwater for a stimulating effect.

Soak cold feet in a warm footbath for 15 minutes.

To promote circulation in the legs, alternate hot and cold footbaths (1 to 2 minutes in hot water, 30 seconds in cold water) for 15 minutes.

Herbal Therapies – An extract of the small, thorny hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha) tree promotes circulation by dilating blood vessels, particularly coronary arteries. And ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) has a well-documented record of medicinal success.

Studies show that concentrated extracts from the leaves of the ginkgo tree may help improve circulation by dilating the arteries. If you have a blood-clotting disorder, consult a doctor before using ginkgo, since the plant can, in some people, suppress the blood’s clotting ability. Ginkgo has also been shown to cause mild side effects, including excitability and digestive problems. (see the section on herbs for more information).

Cayenne (Capsicum frutescens) and ginger (Zingiber officinale) may stimulate circulation by dilating arterioles and capillaries near the skin’s surface. Butcher’s-broom (Ruscus aculeatus) is believed to alleviate swelling and inflammation caused by many circulatory disorders. Butcher’s-broom can be prepared and eaten much like its cousin, asparagus, or brewed into a tea.

Chinese Herbal Treatments – Taken orally, Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) appears to benefit circulation.

Dietary Considerations

As a general rule, your diet should be low in fat and high in fibre. Eat more whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid caffeinated drinks.

If you suffer from hardened arteries, eat more fish. For dessert, try pineapple, it is very good for the circulation.

Healthful doses of certain vitamins and minerals may also improve your circulation. vitamin Cvitamin E, and niacin, all of which are believed to have a dilating effect on blood vessels, may help to get the blood flowing and make walking less painful. However, consult a doctor or nutritionist before using niacin, as it can cause uncomfortable flushing.Magnesium supplements also may help dilate the vessels and alleviate arterial spasms.

Personal Care

  • Regular exercise

  • If you are taking birth-control pills, switch to another form of contraception.

  • Stop smoking.

  • Dress warmly in winter especially keep your feet warm

When to seek further professional advice

  • you experience sudden and severe pain

  • you develop skin ulcers, skin discolouration, or sores that don’t heal

     

     

Cirrhosis

This is a liver disease characterised by a gradual annihilation of the liver cells. These cells are progressively replaced with fibrous tissue, which then leads to hardening.

What to look for …

Usually no symptoms appear until the disease has entered the late stages as the disease tends to come on gradually. When they occur, symptoms can include:

  • nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.

  • unusual gain or loss of weight.

  • yellow coloration of the skin and eyes (see Jaundice).

  • dark urine.

  • bloody, black stools, or unusually light-colored stools.

  • vomiting of blood.

  • thinning hair

  • abdominal swelling.

  • itching.

  • swollen feet or legs.

  • red palms.

  • sleep disturbances and confusion.

  • fatigue or loss of stamina.

  • enlarged breasts in men.

  • loss of sex drive and menstrual problems in women.

  • spider like blood vessels on chest and shoulders.

  • in severe cases, mental disturbances

With Cirrhosis, the liver eventually loses ability to function as required. With severe damage, the patient cannot function mentally and coma and possibly death can result. As well as this, because the blood cannot flow through the liver due to the scarring, it collects in the veins and they may burst under the enormous pressure. In some cases this pressure becomes so great that the vessels rupture.

Once the liver is damaged through cirrhosis, it cannot be cured except through a liver transplant. It can often be helped in the early stages though.

The wellness of the liver is important as it has many duties to perform for the proper functioning of the body. The liver is the largest of the body organs and performs the following essential functions-

  • detoxifies and rids the body of harmful chemicals, alcohol, caffeine by acting like a filter.

  • produces bile which it stores in the gall bladder. Bile is then released into the small intestine as needed to help break down fatty foods.

  • regulates the composition of the blood

  • traps old red blood cells

  • helps remove virus and bacteria (it performs this function as part of the immune system).

With so many tasks to perform it is essential to have a fully functioning and healthy liver however, it can still function but not quiet as effectively. The liver possesses an amazing ability to repair itself, especially if the cirrhosis is caught in the early stages and the causes of it’s malfunction have been removed.

The parts of the liver that are scarred will never be returned to normal. If the causes of cirrhosis are not removed and more and more cells are affected, the rest of the healthy cells are left to do all the work – this is where problems will become obvious. This is why it’s important to identify the underlying causes as soon as possible and begin taking steps to eliminate them.

Causes

The most common cause of Cirrhosis is the excessive consumption of alcohol over a long period. Other possible causes include viruses, genetic deficiencies, prolonged obstruction of bile flow, and long periods of exposure to drugs and other toxic substances.

The link between alcohol and cirrhosis is well documented. Studies show that while moderate drinking may actually help prevent strokes and heart disease, heavy drinking has a clearly harmful effect on the liver.

Excessive drinking almost inevitably causes some liver damage, but it does not always lead to cirrhosis however the liver can become inflamed. This only lasts for a week or two but can eventually lead to Cirrhosis. Even light drinkers who go on a binge for several days can develop a condition known as fatty liver which causes the cells of the liver to become swollen. This condition can be painful and can cause the eyes to take on a yellow appearance.

Hepatitis is the next most common cause of cirrhosis after alcoholism the most frequent cause of cirrhosis is hepatitis, which inflames the liver.

Traditional Treatment

Treating the cause of cirrhosis is the best way to recovery from this disease.

Remedies are dependant on the cause of the disease and what stage it is up to. If alcohol is the cause of your cirrhosis you must stop drinking immediately. If you continue to drink after you have been diagnosed with cirrhosis, there is more chance of the condition becoming fatal.

Liver transplants are available to people as a last resort and there are certain people who are not permitted to undergo this operation. People whose cirrhosis is due to alcohol abuse must abstain from alcohol for a period of time before this operation will be performed.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Chinese Medicine – Various Chinese herbs, used in combination, may promote healthy liver function. However, self-medication can be dangerous; remedies should be prescribed only by a Professional.

Herbal Therapy – Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is believed to promote healthy liver function. However, consult a Professional before using this remedy.

Homoeopathy – Certain Homoeopathic remedies, including Taraxacum officinale and Chelidonium majus, may help improve the efficiency of healthy liver cells in cases of cirrhosis. Consult a Professional for their proper use.

Dietary Considerations

Good nutrition can help the liver. Freshly squeezed juices from carrots, beetroot and celery, carrot and apple, grapefruit and pear juice. Eat more leafy green vegetables, tossed salads including cabbage rocket lettuce, dandelion and thistle leaves with a dressing of olive oil and lemon juice. Alfalfa sprouts, beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts and all the range of leafy Chinese and English spinach’s.

Protein is needed for the healthy functioning of the liver but it is important to monitor how much you are consuming – too little is as bad as too much. Check with a doctor or nutritionist for the amount of protein that’s right for you.

Also check with your doctor about the taking of high doses of vitamins as these can be harmful to your liver. (The liver has to filter substances that are taken into the body).

Prevention

  • Do not drink to excess and if you have been diagnosed with Cirrhosis stop drinking immediately.

  • Avoid uncooked shellfish.

  • Avoid mixing alcohol and drugs.

  • Avoid exposure to industrial chemicals, which can enter the bloodstream and cause liver damage.

  • Maintain a healthy diet.

  • Be careful to avoid contracting hepatitis.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you notice any of the symptoms listed in the description section

     

Common Cold

The common cold is a respiratory infection which is very contagious usually caused by a virus. It is characterised by a slight fever, streaming nasal passage, sore throat and aching joints.

What to look for

  • general ‘unwell’ feeling at first and aching joints

  • head and chest congestion, a runny nose.

  • sore throat.

  • sneezing.

  • dry cough that may occur only at night.

  • chills.

  • burning, watery eyes.

  • all over, vague achiness.

  • headache.

  • fatigue.

The common cold is caused by infection from one of many different viruses. A virus attaches itself to the lining of your nasal passages or throat. The body temperature then usually goes up within the next few days.

It usually takes between one and four days to get the symptoms of a cold once you have been infected and then the cold itself can last for about 4 days to a week. It is important to be very careful during the first three days that you have symptoms, as this is the time that you are likely to pass on the cold to others.

Getting a cold is not generally dangerous in normal healthy individuals. They usually go away in a week or so without any special medicine.

Causes

The common cold can be transmitted to others by droplets (when you sneeze) or be being physically close to other people. The virus can be present on people’s skin or the items that they touch and is highly contagious. Hundreds of viruses cause the common cold and as yet there is still no cure for the cold.

If you believe you need to see a doctor, he or she will make sure you do not have a bacterial infection by performing several tests.

Traditional Treatment

Any type of treatment is designed to enable your body to be able to fight the cold virus as well as make life more bearable for you at this time. Over the counter medications, lozenges, cough medicines and gargles are available – just ask our pharmacist for advice. Ensure you get adequate rest as this is vital to your healing. You may need much more sleep than usual. Drinking water is also important.

Call your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or if the cold goes on for more than a couple of weeks and your symptoms appear to be worsening however.

Alternative/Natural Treatment

You could start these treatments as soon as you see the first symptom.

Aromatherapy – A steam inhalation can reduce congestion, and if the temperature is quite hot, it will also kill cold germs on contact. Choose eucalyptus , wintergreen, or peppermint. Place a few drops of the oil in a bowl and pour in boiling water.

Place a towel over your head, lean over the bowl to create a steam tent, and breathe the vapours. (see our section on Aromatherapy for more information).

Herbal Therapies – Taken at the first sign of symptoms, Echinacea can reduce a cold’s severity, often even preventing it from becoming a full infection. Echinacea stimulates the immune response, enhancing resistance to all infection. It’s available in capsules at our pharmacy.

Goldenseal helps clear mucus from the throat. Horseradish capsules also helps rid the body of excess mucus.

You can also buy  tea infusions already specially formulated. . These blends can help the body cope with fever and reduce aches and pains, congestion, and inflammation.

Garlic shortens a cold’s duration and severity. Any form seems to work: capsules or tablets, oil rubbed on the skin, or whole garlic roasted or cooked in other foods. It is a potent and powerful healing herb.

Homoeopathy – Cold symptoms often respond well to Homoeopathic remedies. Some examples are Bryonia,Arsenicum album, and Allium cepa to name a few.  

Prevention

Avoid smoking as this can aggravate a cold and delay your recovery time.

Dietary Considerations

Start your ‘attack’ on the cold virus before winter even commences to get your body in tip top shape to be able to fight any virus that comes along. Ensure you are eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrain breads and cereals, garlic, and onions.

Plenty of filtered water and natural fruit and vegetable juices. Spicy foods are thought to help the drainage of mucus. Try to avoid mucus forming foods such as dairy products, limit these foods and try to have low fat versions. Also less eggs, starches and sugar. Good nutrition is essential for resisting and recovering from a cold. Eat in a balanced way.

Take supplements as needed to ensure you are receiving the recommended dietary allowances for vitamin A, the vitamin B complex (vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, folic acid), and vitamin C, as well as the minerals zinc and copper. (Go to Vitamins Information)

Personal Care

  • Suck on cough lollies to soothe your sore throat

  • Dab Vicks Vaporub in and around your nostrils to breathe easier at night.

  • Drink plenty of water, at least 10 glasses each day; this will replace the fluids lost through perspiration and your runny nose and minimise congestion.

  • Humidify your room to keep your nose and throat tissues moist.

Prevention

Try to build a strong immune system by eating well, avoiding cigarettes and drinking plenty of filtered water. Also try to avoid areas where there are likely to be people with colds. Cold viruses often survive for hours in the open, on doorknobs, money, and other surfaces, so wash your hands frequently. Get plenty of exercise as well to keep your immune system healthy.

Think of others when you have a cold and always cover your mouth when you sneeze.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your newborn (two months or younger) has cold symptoms.

  • if you are wheezing or having extreme difficulty breathing.

  • your throat hurts and you have a very high temperature, or your symptoms seem to be getting worse.

  • your temperature is very high. You may have pneumonia
    Seek medical care immediately.


Cold Sores

These are blisters which form around the mouth and inside the nose; often appearing towards the end of a cold.

What to look for

  • itching or tingling in the skin in the affected area

  • a number of blisters usually occur in the one spot filled with a yellowish or white fluid red, painful sores on or near the mouth, or on fingers.

  • swollen, sensitive gums of a deep red colour.

  • a fever, flu-like symptoms

Cold sores, are a painful infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. They may show up anywhere on your body but are most likely to appear on your gums, the outside of your mouth and lips, your nose, cheeks, or fingers.

Blisters form, then burst within 2 to 4 days and then start to heal by drying up. A crust develops and eventually falls off, revealing new skin underneath. The cold sore will heal itself usually within 14 days.

Although cold sores generally are not serious, the infection may be life-threatening for anyone who has AIDS or whose immune system is depressed by other disorders or medications. In infants, who usually contract the virus during birth, the infection may spread to other organs, causing serious complications or even death.

Blindness can be the result if the infection from a cold sore spreads to the eye.

Causes

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus, which is transmitted by such forms of contact as kissing an infected person or sharing eating utensils, towels, or razors. A person with a cold sore who performs oral sex on another person can give that person genital herpes.

Sores may develop as late as 20 days after exposure to the virus. Once the virus enters your body, it may emerge years later at or near the original site of entry. The herpes virus remains hidden in the skin lying dormant between attacks. The virus may be triggered by certain foods, stress, fever, coldsallergies, sunburn, and menstruation.

Traditional Treatment

You can’t cure a cold sore, but you can relieve the pain with over-the-counter products. Also it is wise to avoid spicy or acidic foods.

If your cold sore is especially painful or irritating, your doctor may prescribe a stronger medication.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Several alternative therapies may help to speed healing and prevent sores from coming back.

Aromatherapy – Applying geranium (Pelargonium odoratissimum) or eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) oils to cold sores every hour may help reduce pain and speed healing of the sores. Aromatherapists also strongly recommend that tea tree oil (Melaleuca spp.) with it’s antiseptic properties be used.

Herbal Therapies – To dry up a cold sore, herbalists recommend applying witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana). Herbalists also recommend applying extracts of echinacea (Echinacea spp.), nettle (Urtica dioica), goldenseal(Hydrastis canadensis), and myrrh (Commiphora molmol) to speed healing. To dry up a cold sore, herbalists recommend applying witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana). Herbalists also recommend applying extracts of echinacea(Echinacea spp.), nettle (Urtica dioica), goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), and myrrh (Commiphora molmol) to speed healing.

Dietary Considerations

Avoid eating nuts, chocolate, brown rice, oats, alcohol, caffeine, sugar and seeds. Instead, eat foods high in lysine, such as kidney beans, split peas, and corn.

If you have more than three cold sores a year, take 500-mg lysine supplements every day. Double the dosage when you feel yourself developing another sore.

At-Home Remedies

  • Apply ice to relieve pain.

  • Apply vitamin E oil to help sores heal.

  • Avoid becoming too stressful

  • Use Number 15 lip balm sunscreen.

  • Cover your cold sore with petroleum jelly.

Prevention

  • Don’t kiss someone who has a cold sore or use the same utensils, towels, or razors.

  • Wash your hands after touching a cold sore.

  • Don’t rub your eyes after touching your cold sore; you could develop corneal herpes, which may lead to blindness if left untreated.

  • Don’t touch your genitals after touching your cold sore; you could develop genital herpes.

  • Replace your toothbrush.

  • take lysine supplements.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you develop a high fever and/or chills.

  • your sores are very painful

     

Colic

Colic is an acute abdominal pain probably caused by abnormal bowel functions and wind.

What to look for

Colic is thought to occur when the bowel in a baby contracts more regularly than an adult’s slower peristaltic movements. It is characterised by:

  • loud screaming lasting for hours, three or more days a week and the baby is usually difficult to comfort.

  • Crying for long periods after a baby has been fed.

  • while crying, the baby draws his knees up over his stomach as if he has a stomach ache.

  • bowel movement or wind at the beginning or end of crying episodes

It is very common for children to experience colic and although uncomfortable for the child and exhausting for the parents it is a relatively harmless condition that ends after the child is 4 months old.

Causes

The cause of colic is not known. Experts attribute it to any number of things, including an infant’s immature digestive system, weaning the child too early, allergies, hormones in breast milk, and overfeeding. It is worsened when the baby cries as he or she takes in extra air which can exacerbate the problem.

Traditional Treatment

There is no actual cure for colic, although you can often find relief from many at-home remedies have proved helpful in soothing colicky babies. Always try to be calm and curb your anxiousness as this can inadvertently be communicated to your child and it will make the condition worse.

Do not ever punish a child with colic. If you feel you cannot cope, leave someone else with the child for a few moments while you relax calm yourself.

If you suspect your child has colic, call your paediatrician. After ruling out possible medical causes of prolonged crying, most doctors recommend simple remedies you can perform at home.

Some encourage parents to talk with other parents for support. Give the baby something safe to suck, this will distract them from the pain. Also rhythmic rocking or walking with the baby is soothing.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Remedies – Teas made with herbs containing carminative oils, which reduce inflammation in the bowels and lessen gas production, may help a colicky child.

(Try teas made of chamomile, lemon balm, peppermint, or dill).

Homoeopathy – Homoeopathic medicine offers several over-the-counter colic remedies that are considered safe to use without prior consultation with a Homoeopath. Seek help from a professional if your child does not respond to a remedy within 24 hours.

Aromatherapy – Try massaging your child’s stomach with chamomile or peppermint in a clockwise direction. Never give aromatherapy oils to children younger than 2 weeks. (see our section on aromatherapy).

At-Home Remedies –

  • Be consistent with the ways in which you pacify the child

  • Give your baby things to distract him or her.

  • Motion can relieve colic. So take them for a walk, or drive or gently rock them.

  • White noise may soothe your child.

  • Wrap the child snugly in a blanket to provide a sense of security and comfort.

  • Use a warm water bottle to sooth the pain

  • Ask a relative or friend to take over when you feel yourself getting frustrated or exhausted.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your baby has never had colic before

  • bouts of colic are accompanied by fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, or constipation.

  • your baby’s crying sounds painful, not fussy – indicating injury or illness is causing the distress.

  • your baby is older than three months and still acting colicky; behavioural problems or illness may be the cause.

  • your colicky child fails to gain weight and is not hungry, which suggests illness.

  • you’re exhausted or fear stress might lead you to hurt your baby

     

     

     

Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the conjunctival membrane (the delicate skin which covers the white of the eye underneath the eyelids.

What to look for

  • A gritty feeling in the eye, just under the eyelids

  • Burning itchy eyes that discharge a heavy, sticky pus

  • Tears, a swollen lymph node

  • Redness, intense itching

  • Eyelids may stick together upon waking in the morning as mucus has dried on the eyelashes and lids overnight.

It is possible to have some of these symptoms in differing combinations depending on the type of cause of the conjunctivitis.

The conjunctiva, the delicate skin just underneath your eyelids, becomes inflamed for various reasons. This condition usually clears itself up after a few days. Conjunctivitis can be highly contagious but it is not serious if detected early.

Bacterial conjunctivitis (pinkeye), usually infects both eyes and produces a heavy discharge of mucus.

Allergic conjunctivitis produces tears, itching, and redness in the eyes, and sometimes an itchy, runny nose.

Occasionally babies develop conjunctivitis in one eye . See your doctor immediately.

Causes

The most common cause of conjunctivitis is by a bacterial or viral infection or by an allergic reaction. If you do not eat well and are under stress, this condition can also be brought on. Children sometimes contract conjunctivitis after acold or sore throat.

Conjunctivitis may occur if the baby’s tear ducts are not completely formed or if the infant is exposed to bacteria while being born.

Traditional Treatment

Remedies prepared at home are usually sufficient to keep the eyes clean and prevent the condition from spreading.

If your conjunctivitis is from infection, the doctor will probably prescribe a course of antibiotics in the form of eye-drops or ointment.

Allergic conjunctivitis is not treated with antibiotics but with drops containing anti-allergy drugs.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

These types of remedies sooth the irritations and itching associated with conjunctivitis.

Herbal Therapies – Using an eyecup, wash the eye several times a day with a recommended solution. In each case, cool and strain the eyewash before using. Using an eyecup, wash the eye several times a day with a recommended solution. In each case, cool and strain the eyewash before using.

Echinacea is useful as a blood purifying and immune system strengthening supplement.

Homeopathy – Depending on your symptoms you could be recommended to…

  • Apis for stinging eyes and red, puffy eyelids,

  • Argentum nitricum for bloodshot eyes and a gritty feeling, for bloodshot eyes and a gritty feeling,

  • Pulsatilla for itchy eyes with a sticky, yellow discharge, for itchy eyes with a sticky, yellow discharge,

Personal Care – Always wash the affected areas and be careful that you keep your towels and washers separate from others to avoid spreading the condition. To relieve bacterial or viral conjunctivitis, apply a warm compress for 5 to 10 minutes, three to four times a day. Always wash the affected areas and be careful that you keep your towels and washers separate from others to avoid spreading the condition. To relieve bacterial or viral conjunctivitis, apply a warm compress for 5 to 10 minutes, three to four times a day.

For allergic conjunctivitis, use a cool compress. If the condition does not improve in five days, call your doctor.

Dietary Considerations

Try taking Echinacea tablets for this condition

Prevention

Bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are highly contagious. Unless you take preventive measures, the condition may spread to your other eye or to other people.

  • Wash your hands often and well.

  • Keep your hands away from the infected eye.

  • Do not share washers, towels, pillowcases, or handkerchiefs with other family members and change your items after each use.

  • Do not use other people’s eye cosmetics.

If your child gets pinkeye, keep him or her out of school for a few days.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you physically injure your eye.

  • your eyes become red when you wear contact lenses.

  • the redness in your eye is affecting your vision

  • your conjunctivitis frequently recurs or appears to be getting worse after a week of home treatment.

  • your newborn baby’s eyes are inflamed and are not producing tears

     

     

     

     

     

     

Constipation

Constipation refers to hard, inadequate, incomplete, or infrequent bowel movements.

What to look for

  • hard stools that are difficult or painful to pass.

  • no bowel movements in three days for adults, four days for children.

  • nausea, anxietyheadache and general discomfort

Your food is normally passed along the intestines by muscle action called peristalsis. Constipation is simply interference with this process.

How many times you have bowel movements is entirely dependant on what and how often you eat, your lifestyle and the type of person you are. There is no ‘right’ amount of bowel movements, however if there is a gap of about 3 days since your last movement, and this is not normal for you, you may have constipation.

Causes

There are a number of possible causes of this condition –

  • your lifestyle

  • not eating enough fibre or

  • drinking enough water,

  • not getting enough exercise,

  • avoiding going to the toilet when you know you need to.

  • Emotional and psychological problems.

  • Persistent, chronic constipation may also be a symptom of more serious disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, colorectal cancer, diabetesParkinson’s diseasemultiple sclerosis, and depression.

Children can become victims of constipation especially when starting school or a new venture. Bottle-fed babies tend to have more constipation than breast-fed babies. Being sensitive to pain, children may avoid the toilet if they have minor splits or tears in the anus from straining or other irritations.

Constipation tends to be more pronounced during pregnancy. Constipation in the elderly usually occurs for lack of dietary fibre and lack of exercise. Some drugs and vitamin supplements can cause constipation, as can some dietary iron and calcium supplements.

Traditional Treatment

Your constipation is generally helped by changing your diet to include more fibre and if necessary, taking a laxative. However, be aware that the prolonged use of laxatives is not desirable and may lead to a dependency. If it is more severe, other action may have to be taken.

Alternative/Natural Treatment

Alternative practitioners will attack this problem by encouraging the patient to correct their lifestyle. This will include such things as dietary changes to include more fibre, drinking plenty of filtered water and exercising regularly.

Exercise – Exercise at anything you enjoy doing as long as it is safe and gets your heart working. Usually for about 20 – 30 minutes per day. However, if you have not exercised in a while you may have to work up to this length of time.

Herbal Therapies – You can purchase potentially useful herbal remedies. Try small amounts to test the effect they have on you or take them as recommended by a Professional. Liquoriceaniseed and valerian root with chickweed

Homoeopathy – There are specially prepared remedies that may assist you.

Dietary Considerations

You should start with increasing the amount of fibre in your diet and this is not difficult. Eat more raw fruits and vegetables, especially peas, beans, and broccoli, bran cereals, whole-wheat bread, and dried fruits such as raisins, figs, and prunes. These foods are rich in vitamins and minerals as well! Avoid red meat, chicken, milk and cheese

Otherwise, try a fibre supplement.. But remember to have lots of water with these.

Another way to treat constipation is to drink a glass of warm water with the juice of a whole lemon in it after waking up in the morning.

To Sum Up

  • Eat more fibre. Some good sources are bran and other whole-grain cereals, raw or cooked dried fruits like raisins and prunes, cooked dried beans, popcorn, and nuts.

  • Drink six to eight glasses of filtered water daily, in addition to your regular beverages with meals.

  • Go to the toilet at the same time every day (preferably after a meal) and take enough time to let your bowels move fully. If you need to move your bowels at other times, don’t stop yourself.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have lower abdominal pain when trying to pass stools

  • you have blood in your stools;

  • your constipation develops after you start a new prescription drug or take vitamin or mineral supplements you may need to discontinue or change dosage.

  • you or your child has been constipated for two weeks, with recurrent abdominal pain

  • you are elderly or disabled and have been constipated for a week or more; you may have an impacted stool

     

     

     

Corns and Callouses

A corn is a localised area of hard, horny skin which forms as a result of constant rubbing or pressure. A calluses are larger versions.

What to look for

Corn…

  • an area of hard, thick skin, which may look a yellow colour

  • Corns between the toes can be soft

Callus…

  • A callus is an area of hard, dead skin up to an inch wide on the soles of the feet, the palms of the hands, or any area subject to friction.

Corns and calluses are formed to protect the skin against friction or pressure. Corns generally occur on the toes and balls of the feet, while calluses can develop on hands, feet, or anywhere there is friction.

Causes

These are likely to develop whenever there is pressure or excessive wear on the skin. Most are caused by ill-fitting shoes. If your child develops a callus that has no clear source of pressure, it may be hereditary. Feet spend most of their time in a closed, moist environment ideal for breeding bacteria; staph infections can start when bacteria enter corns through breaks in the skin and cause the infected corn to give off fluid or pus.

Calluses are usually easy to fix.

Traditional Treatment

When the friction or excess pressure is gone, the callus or corn will usually disappear as well. Always wear shoes that fit you well, and usually leather will mould with the foot better than synthetic materials.

You can buy over the counter ointments and topically applied corn plasters, however be careful of the healthy tissue surrounding the corn. Oral antibiotics are available if your corn is infected.

It is a good idea to scrap the excess dead skin with a sharp scraper or scalpel knife. Do this until you can see the soft skin underneath. Be very careful not to scrape away too much skin as this can cause bleeding or introduce infection

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies – Apply a calendula (Calendula officinalis) salve two or three times a day to corns or calluses to soften tissue and prevent inflammation.

Personal Care – The best solution to this problem is to remove the cause of the friction, but until you do that you can follow the remedies below for good results.

  • Soak yourself in a bath to soothe and soften the skin, then use a pumice stone to rub over the corn..

  • Apply hydrocortisone cream or a calendula-based ointment to a cracked callus. Aloe cream is also good for soothing and healing the skin.

  • Elevate your feet and expose them to fresh air whenever possible.

  • When you go to sleep, place a crushed comfrey leaf over the corn and put on an old sock. Repeat for 3 nights.

Prevention

Buy appropriate and comfortable shoes and beware of tight, high heels. If you wear high or otherwise constricting shoes for fashion reasons, try to take them off whenever possible during the day to give your feet a rest. You can also wear other more comfortable shoes to and from work.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you cut a corn or callus

  • a corn discharges pus or clear fluid; it is infected or ulcerated.

  • you develop a corn and you suffer from diabetes, Atherosclerosis, or other Circulatory Problems