Category Archives: Ailments: G-H

Hair Loss

What to look for

  • in men, thinning hair on the scalp, a receding hairline.

  • in women, thinning of hair in general, but mainly at the crown.

  • in children or young adults, sudden loss of patches of hair; known as alopecia areata (this also can occur in adults).

  • complete loss of all hair on the body; a rare disorder called alopecia universalis.

  • children can deliberately rub or pull out hair, a disorder called trichotillomania.

  • excessive shedding of hair, but not complete baldness, associated with various illnesses and drug treatments, rapid weight loss, anaemiastress, or pregnancy.

The structure, colour and texture of human hair varies widely from person to person depending on a range of different factors such as sex, age, race and genes. However, when thinning of the hair or baldness appear, it is not normal and we need to look for a cause.

Hair is made up of a protein called keratin, produced in hair follicles in the outer layer of skin. As follicles produce new hair cells, old cells are being pushed out through the surface of the skin. The average adult head has about 100,000 hairs, and loses up to 100 of them a day; so finding a few stray hairs on your hairbrush is not necessarily a problem.

In men, a receding hairline and gradual disappearance of hair from the crown is called male pattern baldness. In women, female pattern baldness is typically a general thinning over the entire scalp, with the most extensive hair loss at the crown. This does not usually occur in women until later on in life, if at all.

Alopecia areata is a sudden loss of hair in patches usually occurring in children and young adults. This disorder may result in complete baldness, but in about 90 percent of cases the hair returns, usually within a few years.

With alopecia universalis, all body hair falls out and the likelihood of regrowth is slight, especially when it occurs in children.

Tearing out one’s own hair, a disorder known as trichotillomania, is seen most frequently in children.

Causes

Doctors do not know why certain hair follicles are programmed to have a shorter growth period than others. An individual’s genes, from both male and female parents, unquestionably influence that person’s predisposition to male or female pattern baldness.

Temporary hair loss can occur when you have suffered, a high fever, a severe illness, thyroid disorders, iron deficiency, general anaesthesia, drug treatments, hormonal imbalance, or extreme stress, and in women following childbirth. In these conditions, a large number of hair follicles suddenly go into a resting phase, causing hair to thin noticeably.

Drugs that can cause temporary hair loss include chemotherapeutic agents used in cancer treatment, anticoagulants, retinoids used to treat acne and skin problems, beta-adrenergic blockers used to control blood pressure, and oral contraceptives.

Hair loss can also be caused by burns, x-rays, scalp injuries, and exposure to certain chemicals (including those used to purify swimming pools, and to bleach, dye, and perm hair). Normal hair growth usually returns once the cause is eliminated.

The causes of alopecia areata, a disorder that often strikes children or teenagers, remain unexplained. In most cases the hair grows back, although it may be very fine and possibly white before normal coloration and thickness return. A stressful event may trigger this illness off and it is slightly more common with certain disorders such as diabetes and pernicious anaemia.

Although too-frequent washing, permanent waves, bleaching, and dyeing hair do not cause baldness, they can contribute to overall thinning by making hair weak and brittle. The hair usually grows back after the cause is stopped.

Traditional Treatment

Most people turn to wigs, hairpieces, and hair-weaving to hide their baldness.

A drug is available which has been found to promote hair growth on previously bald areas. This drug appears to be successful and is called minoxidil. It’s retail name is Regaine and is available on prescription. It is available also as a lotion formulation to be applied onto the scalp.

It must however, be used every day to maintain the growth of hair. It is also very expensive. The effects are most promising in younger people who are just beginning to show signs of balding or who have small bald patches.

The medication is applied to balding spots twice a day and must be continued daily. More than 50 percent of users claim that it can thicken hair and slow hair loss, but it is not considered effective in men who already have extensive male pattern baldness.

Although most cases of alopecia areata are resolved naturally, some doctors try to speed recovery with corticosteroids applied topically or injected in the scalp. Cortisone taken orally may stimulate new hair growth, but the effect is likely to be temporary.

Hair transplantation is another option available to people with hair loss.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Despite claims to the contrary, no alternative therapies can reverse normal balding, although some may encourage reversal of temporary hair loss and improve damaged hair. Certain relaxation techniques are helpful in calming stressful people.

Chinese Medicine – In Chinese medicine, hair is thought to be nourished by the blood, which is influenced by the liver and kidneys. Chinese medicines for the hair are intended to help and nourish these organs and promote new hair growth; they include such herbs as polygonum (Polygonum multiflorum), lycium fruit (Lycium barbarum), Chinese foxglove root (Rehmannia glutinosa), Chinese yam (Dioscorea opposita), and cornus (Cornus officinalis).

Herbal Therapies – For temporary or partial hair loss from a known cause, herbalists recommend stimulating hair follicles and improving blood circulation in the scalp to encourage new hair growth. Try massaging your scalp with essential oil of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) or rinsing your hair with tea made from sage (Salvia officinalis) ornettle tea. For temporary or partial hair loss from a known cause, herbalists recommend stimulating hair follicles and improving blood circulation in the scalp to encourage new hair growth. Try massaging your scalp with essential oil ofrosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) or rinsing your hair with tea made from sage (Salvia officinalis) or nettle tea.

Homoeopathy – Many homoeopathic remedies are thought to be effective for hair loss, particularly thinning caused by pregnancy, stress, or emotional trauma. Consult a homoeopathic professional for more advice. Many homoeopathic remedies are thought to be effective for hair loss, particularly thinning caused by pregnancy, stress, or emotional trauma. Consult a homoeopathic professional for more advice.

Massage- Massage improves circulation and helps supply more blood to the scalp, which in turn improves the health of your hair and scalp. Massage improves circulation and helps supply more blood to the scalp, which in turn improves the health of your hair and scalp.

A few drops of vitamin E oil massaged into the scalp is recommended to strengthen fragile hair and help prevent dry, flaky skin. Or use the oils mentioned above.

(Emotional or physical stress may be a factor in some cases of hair loss. Yoga and meditation may help in these cases).

Dietary Considerations

Hair loss can result from a poor diet. It is advisable that you start back on a balanced diet and consult your doctor about supplemental vitamins A, B complex, and C, as well as iron and zinc.   (Go to our Vitamins page).

Prevention

Be careful with your hair and do not over wash or treat it. If your hair is very oily, you may want to wash it every day, but shampooing too often can strip your hair of its natural oil.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you suspect that you or your child has alopecia areata, or that your child has trichotillomania; both conditions should be evaluated by a doctor.

  • you suffer an unexplained loss of hair on any part of your body


     

Hamstring

Hamstring muscles allow you to flex your knees and bend your legs.

What to look for

  • sharp pain in the back of the thigh, during or immediately after sports or other strenuous activity which causes problems in walking, sitting or any other activity.

  • swelling.

All your movements rely on these muscles. The muscles actually run along the back of the thigh to the knee.

Anyone can ‘pull’ a hamstring muscle, however, if you are a professional athlete, a dancer or work in another physical occupation you are more prone.

It is important with this type of injury to stop when you feel the pain and rest. If you keep working the injured muscle, problems can develop and your recovery will be hampered.

Causes

A pulled hamstring is invariably the result of overburdening or tearing the muscle fibres. You can simply stretch the muscle too far and this can be mended easily or the muscle belt can be torn which is more serious. When the muscle becomes separated from the connective tendons, it is a much more serious injury.

It is always best to see a doctor to be assured the damage is minimal.

Traditional Treatment

Like other strains, a hamstring pull generally heals itself.

The established recovery procedure for muscle strain is RICE: 
Rest, 
Ice, 
Compression, and 
Elevation.

our doctor may also recommend a pain killer.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Massage – by a trained therapist will help to relax and tone your muscles.

Aromatherapy – For tension in your hamstrings try this blend of essential oils – 3 drops of peppermint, 3 drops ofmarjoram in 15 gm of base cream or 15 ml massage oil. Apply this to the effected area – massaging gently.

Homeopathy – Arnica is the homeopath’s first-aid remedy for muscle injuries. It can be taken orally and applied as a salve to the painful area. Rhus toxicodendron and Ruta are also remedies for muscle strains.

Dietary Considerations

Good natural sources of vitamin C, essential for tissue building, are citrus fruits and potatoes. Potassium and calciumfor bones are found in bananas, leafy greens, and low-fat dairy products.

To help your muscles operate at their best, drink plenty of water or a sports beverage before and after every workout.

Prevention

The best way to avoid muscle strains is to keep your body in good condition and avoid pushing yourself too hard at work or play.

Always warm up before starting any sports or physical activity.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you feel pain shooting down the back of your leg when you cough.

  • you have chills or fever as well as the muscle pain.

  • your leg hurts when you walk and stops hurting when you are at rest

     

Hangover

A hangover occurs as a result of consuming too much alcohol – your body becomes dehydrated.

What to look for

  • headache, nausea, dizziness, irritability, thirst, and fatigue – usually on awakening.

  • in some cases, tension, paleness, tremor, vomiting, heartburn, unsteady gait, and loss of appetite.

Causes

A hangover is usually caused by dehydration of the body tissue. As alcohol is a powerful diuretic, it causes the body to lose fluid and certain vitamins and minerals at a fast rate. This, together with the effect of irritants in the fermented drinks such as red wine, beer and other drinks creates nausea, vomiting, extreme tiredness and headache.

Traditional Treatment

Time is the only cure for the occasional hangover. In almost all cases, however, you can ease hangover symptoms. Beware if you suffer frequent hangovers – you may have an alcohol abuse or dependency problem. If this is the case you should seek professional help.

Most doctors recommend taking a general pain killer, for the headache; drinking plenty of filtered water to help your body cope with the dehydration; and eating light foods.

Alternative/Natural Treatment

Herbal Therapies – White willow (Salix alba) bark, which contains a natural form of salicylate, the active ingredient in aspirin, may help relieve a headache. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) tea may aid nausea. White willow (Salix alba) bark, which contains a natural form of salicylate, the active ingredient in aspirin, may help relieve a headache.Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) tea may aid nausea.

Personal Care – Drink several glasses of water to rehydrate your body. Cold compresses on your head or the back of your neck may also bring relief. Drink several glasses of water to rehydrate your body. Cold compresses on your head or the back of your neck may also bring relief.

Homeopathy – Some homoeopathic medicines come in kits that include remedies for the occasional hangover. For nausea, try Nux vomica. Some homoeopathic medicines come in kits that include remedies for the occasional hangover. For nausea, try Nux vomica.

Dietary Considerations

Vitamin C, taken before and after drinking, is thought to help your body clear the alcohol from your system.

PREVENTION

Moderation is the key to preventing a hangover. Never drink on an empty stomach and drink alcohol slowly with glasses of water in between. By drinking slowly, you give your body time to get rid of the alcohol before it enters the blood and your brain. The less you weigh, the less alcohol you should consume.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you are concerned that you have developed a dependency on alcohol

     

Hay Fever

Hay Fever results from an allergy to inhaled dusts – usually grass pollen.

What to look for

Attacks, often seasonal, of:

  • sneezing

  • itchy, painful nose, throat.

  • nasal and sinus discharge.

  • stuffy, runny nose.

  • coughing

  • watery, itchy eyes.

  • head and nasal congestion.

Hay fever is an immune disorder characterised by an allergic response.

A hay fever attack can last between 15 and 20 minutes and may recur several times a day during your hay fever season. The attacks are usually not dangerous.

Causes

Hayfever sufferers have an immune system which regards harmless allergens as harmful and dangerous. Consequently your body wants to rid itself of this alleged ‘bad’ substance, so it floods the bloodstream with histamine which is the chemical causing all your symptoms.

Doctors do not know why some people’s immune systems tend to overreact to pollen and other substances. It is probable that there is a genetic cause.

Traditional Treatment

If you should experience an attack it is highly advisable to go to the doctor who will prescribe medication to control the symptoms. However, the best way to treat hayfever is to prevent it from occurring by avoiding exposure to the suspect allergens.

Mild cases of hay fever can be controlled with over-the-counter antihistamines.

Some over-the-counter nasal sprays contain both a decongestant and an antihistamine.

Be aware that over-the-counter nasal sprays and drops may be addictive and should be used sparingly.

Another avenue to try is allergy shots.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Aromatherapy – Inhalations of eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), peppermint (Mentha piperita), or hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) may help to ease the irritation and pain. Inhalations of eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), peppermint(Mentha piperita), or hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) may help to ease the irritation and pain.

Chinese Herbs – Ephedra (Ephedra sinica) is a hay fever and allergy remedy. Chinese herbalists say that it is best used for short periods in combination with other herbs. A herbalist may combine ephedra with licorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis. Ephedra (Ephedra sinica) is a hay fever and allergy remedy. Chinese herbalists say that it is best used for short periods in combination with other herbs. A herbalist may combine ephedra with licorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis.

In some people, ephedra can produce side effects and is best used under the supervision of a Chinese herbalist.Ginseng (Panax ginseng) is compatible with ephedra as well.

Commonly used expectorants include pinellia (Pinellia ternata), cynanchum (Cynanchum stautoni), and polygala (Polygala tenuifolia). Consult a Professional for more information.

Herbal Therapies – The following mixture may help you – Infuse in 1 cup boiled water for 10 minutes: 2 parts elder (Sambucus nigra), 1 part ephedra (Ephedra sinica), 1 part eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis), and 1 part goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis). The following mixture may help you – Infuse in 1 cup boiled water for 10 minutes: 2 partselder (Sambucus nigra), 1 part ephedra (Ephedra sinica), 1 part eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis), and 1 partgoldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis).

Be aware that ephedra may be too stimulating for children and may give adults certain side effects – always check before using.

You may be able to slow down your body’s mucus production with goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea), garlic (Allium sativum), yarrow (Achillea millefolium), or agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria).

Irritated eyes could be bathed with compresses soaked in either eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis) or chamomile(Matricaria recutita); make a tea from the leaves and dilute it by 50 percent with water or saline solution before using to soak the compresses.

Homoeopathy – For watery, hot eyes, a burning nasal discharge with sneezing, and symptoms that feel worse late at night, try Arsenicum album. For watery, hot eyes, a burning nasal discharge with sneezing, and symptoms that feel worse late at night, try Arsenicum album.

If your eyes feel inflamed and very watery, your nose is blocked at night but has a watery discharge during the day, and you have a headache, consider using Euphrasia.

Pulsatilla can help if your symptoms are – thick, yellow mucus accompanied by a loss of taste and smell and are made worse by warm rooms but are better outdoors.

If your watery, itchy eyes and sneezing, runny nose with a burning discharge become worse in a warm room, tryAllium cepa.

You will need professional advice for proper doses of these remedies.

Personal Care

The best way to combat the allergens that are assaulting you is to avoid them.

Keep windows closed and the air conditioning turned on.

Avoid mowing your lawn or raking leaves since these activities stir up pollens. If you must do yard work yourself, wear a filtered mask and protective glasses. Wash your face, hands, and hair and rinse your eyes when coming in from outdoors to avoid leaving traces of pollen on your pillow.

Keep your house very clean and wear a mask while cleaning to avoid breathing in any allergens.

Dietary Considerations

It is advised that refined sugar and the protein in dairy products, are mucus-producing substances that are best avoided during hay fever season.

Some researchers believe that honey has a desensitising and anti-allergic effect that may relieve some hay fever symptoms.

Also it is advisable to avoid certain foods – wheat, eggs, peanut butter, dairy products, alcohol, white flour breads, biscuits and cakes if you are allergic to them as well as any other foods known to cause you problems (chocolate, shellfish, cheese, fish).

You may also try an elimination diet to pin point the particular foods which are the culprits.

 When to seek further professional advice

  • your condition becomes so severe and uncontrollable that it interferes with your life

     

     

Headaches

What to look for

If your headache is:

  • a dull, steady pain that feels like a band tightening around your head, you have a tension headache.

  • throbbing, begins on one side, and causes nausea, you have a migraine.

  • a throbbing pain around one red, watery eye, with nasal congestion on that side of your face, you have a cluster headache.

  • a steady pain in the area behind your face that gets worse if you bend forward and is accompanied by congestion, you have a sinus headache.

Although painful and troublesome, most headaches are minor health concerns and can be easily treated with pain killers or analgesics. However if they are recurring, or more severe and come with other symptoms – see a doctor immediately.

Very common headaches are tension headaches and they are brought on by an increase in the tension in the scalp muscle. They are usually easily fixed by a mild pain killer.

The worst type of headaches are migraines. This headache can usually be preceded by a sick feeling or a blurring of vision or flashing lights in front of the eyes. A migraine will usually begin with a fierce, throbbing pain on one side of the head. This pain may spread and is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. A migraine can last for hours or days.

Migraines are caused by the dilation and contraction of the blood vessels on one side of the brain.

Sinus headaches are characterised by pain in the area behind the face.

CAUSES

Headaches strike for many reasons.

Sinus headaches typically result from hay fever and other seasonal allergies, or from a cold or the flu. typically result from hay fever and other seasonal allergies, or from a cold or the flu.

With tension headaches, stress is the most common trigger; or it may derive from some physical factor such as persistent noise. Eyestrain, poor posture, too much caffeine, or the grinding or clenching of teeth at night can also lead to tension headaches.

Migraines are somewhat more mysterious. Although much evidence indicates that constricting and swelling of blood vessels is involved, some researchers believe that the headaches are primarily neurological in origin. Because migraines often run in families, it seems likely that genetics can play a role. are somewhat more mysterious. Although much evidence indicates that constricting and swelling of blood vessels is involved, some researchers believe that the headaches are primarily neurological in origin. Because migraines often run in families, it seems likely that genetics can play a role.

Apart from these reasons, migraines have numerous triggers – among them are too much caffeine, various foods or scents, dry winds, changes in altitude or seasons, hormonal fluctuations or birth-control pills, missing a meal, or stuffy rooms. Migraines may also occur in the aftermath of intense emotions such as excitement or anger.

Traditional Treatment

Both conventional and alternative medicine can be very effective in dealing with headaches, and the two approaches may be combined.

Most tension headaches can be helped by mild pain killers, Sinus headaches are relieved by antibiotics and decongestants.

A wide range of medications are prescribed for migraines. If your migraine is very severe or you suffer more than 2 per month, your doctor may prescribe the appropriate medications.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Most alternative therapies attempt to address the underlying causes of headaches.

Aromatherapy – The following herbal oils may aid relaxation, easing the pain of tension or migraine headaches. Moisten your fingertips with one or two drops of lavender (Lavandula officinalis) essential oil blended with a carrier oil such as sunflower oil, then gently massage your temples with a circular motion; repeat in the hollows at the sides of your eyes, behind your ears, and over your neck. The following herbal oils may aid relaxation, easing the pain of tension or migraine headaches. Moisten your fingertips with one or two drops of lavender (Lavandula officinalis) essential oil blended with a carrier oil such as sunflower oil, then gently massage your temples with a circular motion; repeat in the hollows at the sides of your eyes, behind your ears, and over your neck.

For a sinus headache, try the same techniques using eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) or wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens).

For any type of headache, a blend of lavender, rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), and peppermint (Mentha piperita) in a vapouriser or as a massage on the temples can help.

Compresses applied to the affected area or a bath using these oils can relax muscles as well.

It is important that the person with the headache finds the oils used pleasing to the nose otherwise the headache may worsen.

Herbal Therapies – The most widely used and recommended herbal remedy for treating and preventing migraines isfeverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium). This herb is available in capsules. The most widely used and recommended herbal remedy for treating and preventing migraines is feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium). This herb is available in capsules.

Migraines brought on by stress may benefit from a combination of equal parts of hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha), linden (Tilia spp.), wood betony (Pedicularis canadensis), skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), and cramp bark (Viburnum opulus), taken three times a day as a tea or tincture. For migraines accompanied by nausea and vomiting, try taking ginger (Zingiber officinale) with water at the onset of the warning stage. Three daily doses of goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) in tincture, tea, or powdered form may help reduce sinus headache pain.

Tension headaches may respond to valerian (Valeriana officinalis) when combined with skullcap and passionflower (Passiflora incarnata).

Some herbal teas work wonders for headaches – chamomile, lemon balm or valerian are good choices.

Homoeopathy – A range of homoeopathic medicines are available to treat specific types of headaches. For a throbbing headache that is worse on the right side when lying down, try Belladonna. For severe, “splitting” headaches that feel worse with motion, noise, light, or touch, try Bryonia. For sinus pain with a thick, green nasal discharge, consider Kali bichromicum. A range of homoeopathic medicines are available to treat specific types of headaches. For a throbbing headache that is worse on the right side when lying down, try Belladonna. For severe, “splitting” headaches that feel worse with motion, noise, light, or touch, try Bryonia. For sinus pain with a thick, green nasal discharge, consider Kali bichromicum.

Lifestyle

Regular exercise can release natural pain killing agents and help this condition. Exercise may also help to dilate blood vessels, which increases blood flow.

The following exercise has proved to be quite helpful to headache patients. While seated and comfortable, inhale and gently tip your head back until you’re looking up at the ceiling (be careful not to tip your head back too far), exhale and bring your head forward until your chin rests on your chest; repeat twice. This will help relax the muscles in the neck.

Massage – Massage therapy can relieve headache-producing tension in the muscles of your head, neck, shoulders, and face.

Relaxation – Meditation and progressive relaxation therapies are effective in reducing stress, which can cause tension headaches Meditation and progressive relaxation therapies are effective in reducing stress, which can cause tension headaches

Personal Care

Place a cold face washer on the area that is throbbing and keep replacing when the washer becomes warm.

At the first sign of a headache, drink three glasses of very cold water, then go to bed with a cold compress. (Make sure the room is dark and quiet – without a pillow).

Dietary Considerations

Groups of migraine sufferers have identified foods that tend to trigger their migraines and these include the following- any food with caffeine in it, chocolate, aged cheeses, citrus fruits, processed meats, the food additive MSG, and red wine.

Magnesium relaxes constricted blood vessels; low levels of magnesium may contribute to migraine and cluster headaches.

When to seek further professional advice

  • a severe headache is accompanied by vomiting or other severe symptoms

  • after a head injury, you are drowsy, with dizziness and other symptoms

     

     

Hearing Problems

What to look for

  • an inability to hear or distinguish some or all sounds in one or both ears.

  • a need to turn up the volume on the television or radio louder than other people find comfortable.

Hearing problems are sometimes accompanied by dizziness, earache, discharge or bleeding from the ear, ringing noise in the ear.

Hearing problems are less common in children, but if they go untreated, your child may incur social problems such as making friends.

Causes

Hearing loss may be a symptom of another underlying ailment. There are certain conditions which can lead to hearing loss – too much wax in the ears, ear infections, and a damaged eardrum, benign cysts, tumours, and objects lodged in the ear canal can also block the transmission of sounds to the inner ear.

Hearing problems can run in families. In fact, doctors estimate that half of the cases of profound deafness in children have a genetic source.

Hearing can become disturbed through prolonged exposure to loud noise.

Several infectious diseases (most notably shingles, meningitis, syphilis) can cause hearing loss. A pregnant woman who contracts German measles is more likely to give birth to a child who has hearing problems.

It is advisable to speak with your doctor and have him or her perform a medical examination of you to determine if your hearing loss is caused by another ailment or disease.

Traditional Treatment

Get The Wax Out. Treatment of your hearing problem will depend on its underlying cause. It may be as simple as clearing accumulated wax or there may be an infection which requires a course of antibiotics.

For some serious hearing ailments, the only method of treatment is a hearing aid which will improve your ability to hear.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

As with conventional treatment, alternative therapies primarily address underlying problems that may be causing temporary hearing loss.

Herbal Therapies – Several herbs may help heal ear infections that might lead to hearing problems. Garlic (Allium sativum), which is a natural antibiotic, is considered very effective. Put 1 to 3 drops of garlic oil in your ear three times daily. Several herbs may help heal ear infections that might lead to hearing problems. Garlic (Allium sativum), which is a natural antibiotic, is considered very effective. Put 1 to 3 drops of garlic oil in your ear three times daily.

Herbalists also recommend ginger (Zingiber officinale), another natural antibiotic, both in tincture and in tea form.

The anti-inflammatory properties of either Echinacea (Echinacea spp.) or goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) may help heal an ear infection.

Ginkgo (Ginkgo Biloba), which has been shown to improve circulation, is sometimes recommended for inner ear disturbances and partial deafness.

Homoeopathy – For acute or chronic hearing problems, homoeopaths recommend a variety of medications. Consult an experienced practitioner for specific remedies and dosages. For acute or chronic hearing problems, homoeopaths recommend a variety of medications. Consult an experienced practitioner for specific remedies and dosages.

Dietary Considerations

Some reports suggest that hearing can be aided by –

  • reducing salt.

  • for ear infections – avoid dairy products

  • Vitamin A supplements may help

Prevention

  • Protect your hearing by wearing earplugs if you are exposed to noise levels that may be harmful to your ears.

  • Do not listen to loud music with earphones.

  • If you are at a concert and the music hurts your ears, put on earplugs or leave immediately.

  • Educate your children about the danger of loud recreational noise.

  • To lower the risk of infectious diseases that may lead to permanent hearing loss, make sure your children receive all of their immunisations.

  • If your ears tend to get severely blocked with wax frequently, have them cleared by your doctor

When to seek further professional advice

  • you notice any hearing problems

  • you experience a sudden and total hearing loss in one or both ears.

  • your ear secretes pus or fluid

  • your hearing loss is accompanied by dizziness and nausea

     

     

Heart Attack

A Heart Attack happens when something has blocked the flow of blood into your heart, and a part of your heart has died.

What to look for

  • a dull or heavy pain in the centre of the chest

  • breathlessness, dizziness, nausea, chills, sweating, weak pulse.

  • cold and clammy skin, grey pallor, a severe appearance of illness.

  • fainting

Sometimes there are no symptoms.

The heart relies on its own blood supply to provide it with oxygen and nutrients so it can function properly. If the supply of oxygen to a certain part of the heart is interrupted, that area of the heart stops functioning. If an attack lasts too long, the starved heart tissue dies. This event defines heart attack, otherwise known as myocardial infarction.

If you think you are about to have an attack never wait until it is over before seeking help. Most attacks last for several hours. The signs of the heart attack may be no more than breathlessness, faintness, or nausea; and in some cases there are no symptoms. But most heart attacks produce some pain. The pain of a severe attack has been likened to a giant fist enclosing and squeezing the heart. If the attack is mild, it may be mistaken for heartburn. The pain may be constant or intermittent.

Usually heart attack patients have been suffering angina previous to the attack (the pain is very similar and brought on by exertion or excitement and lasts only a few minutes and the heart is not permanently damaged).

Sometimes there are no warning signs.

There are possible complications that can occur while in hospital with a heart attack – stroke, congestive heart failure, formation of blood clots in the legs or heart, and aneurism in a weakened heart chamber.

It will usually take around three months to fully recover from a heart attack.

Causes

Most heart attacks are the result of coronary heart disease, condition that clogs arteries with fatty deposits. It may also be blood clots which form on top of the fatty deposits which actually cause the heart attack.

Certain triggers will lead to a heart attack in certain persons. The predominant ones are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, smoking, and an inactive lifestyle. Stress, exertion and excitement can act as triggers for an attack.

Men over the age of 50 with a family history of heart disease are predisposed to heart attack.

Traditional Treatment

This condition must be treated by traditional medicine. Alternative remedies are however helpful in patient recovery and prevention.

Heart attack victims are usually hospitalised in special coronary care units for at least 3 days. Special drug therapy is used and the patient may have to be operated on.

The patient will be monitored closely for a period of time and administered the appropriate medications and drugs.

Gentle exercise is recommended while patients are recovering, but nothing that requires too much exertion.

Long-term recovery from heart attack requires extreme adjustments: Habits such as smoking, heavy drinking, and eating high-fat foods have to go.

As a preventive measure, most heart attack survivors take a daily aspirin tablet to thin the blood. Other drugs may also be prescribed, depending on the individual case.

Alternative Choices

Herbal Therapies – Of the many herbs used to treat chronic heart conditions, hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) is perhaps most valuable as it dilates coronary arteries and improves the function in the heart. Hawthorn also is thought to speed recovery from an attack. Of the many herbs used to treat chronic heart conditions, hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) is perhaps most valuable as it dilates coronary arteries and improves the function in the heart. Hawthorn also is thought to speed recovery from an attack.

There are other herbs that are used to treat heart conditions, such as raw garlic, lime flowers (linden) and nettle. For more information, see high blood pressureBlood Clots, and Cholesterol Problems.

Bach Flower Remedies – Try willow and holly essences – 4 drops on the tongue, up to 4 times daily. Try willow and holly essences – 4 drops on the tongue, up to 4 times daily.

Lifestyle

Regular aerobic exercise greatly enhances efforts to prevent or recover from heart attack. However you must be extremely careful not to over exert yourself. Exercise under supervision while in the recovery phase.

Reducing stress by training the mind and body to relax may help prevent heart attack and can aid in recovery.

Dietary Considerations

to reduce the possibility of further heart attacks, it is advisable to eat a low fat diet with very little salt, sugar, alcohol in order to reduce cholesterol, control blood pressure, and weight. Eating magnesium-rich foods such as nuts, beans, bran, fish, and dark green vegetables may help prevent heart attack.

Antioxidants supposedly help with heart disease as well as supplements such as B complexCEchromium,calciumpotassiumEvening Primrose Oil, and garlic.

Personal Care

  • You can still be fairly active – just be careful.

  • Do not take birth-control pills if you have had a heart attack

  • Get a pet. Pet owners recover more quickly from heart attacks

Prevention

  • Try to relax and control negative volatile emotions such as anger.

  • Talk with your doctor about taking an aspirin daily.

When to seek further professional advice

 

 

  • you or someone you are with shows signs of a heart attack.

  • you suffer from angina (chest pain) and begin to experience pain that is similar but does not respond to medication; this may indicate that a heart attack is under way.

  • your angina attacks become more frequent and severe

  • you are taking aspirin to prevent heart attack and your stool appears black and tarry

     

Heart Disease

What to look for

  • tight, suffocating chest pain, often associated with angina and heart attack.

  • sensations of fluttering, thumping, pounding, or racing of the heart, known as palpitations.

  • shortness of breath.

  • fluid retention in the legs, ankles, abdomen, lungs, or heart.

  • light headedness, weakness, dizziness, or fainting spells.

Please be aware that sometimes heart disease has no symptoms or the symptoms may be the result of another condition.

The most common types of heart disease are following –

Heart Arrhythmia’s – Arrhythmia’s are irregularities in the heart’s normal beating pattern.

Coronary Heart Disease – This is the most common heart problem and is characterised by blocked coronary arteries resulting in a reduced blood flow and oxygen to the heart. This blockage could have started from the time you were very young and just became progressively worse over the years. This is the most common heart problem and is characterised by blocked coronary arteries resulting in a reduced blood flow and oxygen to the heart. This blockage could have started from the time you were very young and just became progressively worse over the years.

This type of heart disease is very concerning as it can lead to heart failure, angina, attacks and death.

There are no exact known causes of coronary heart disease, however there are certain risk factors responsible for the development of the disease.

  • it runs in families

  • it is more common in men

  • people over the age of 40 are more likely to get this disease

  • Diabetics are also more prone to heart disease.

  • smoking significantly increases the chances of coronary heart disease

  • being overweight

  • having high cholesterol

  • leading a sedentary life

  • stress

Heart Valve Disease – The heart depends on four valves to keep the blood flowing in the right direction. Diseases of the valves is not quite as prevalent these days due to nutrition awareness. A faulty valve may not open or close properly. A defective valve may have been present from birth or the valves may be inflamed. The heart depends on four valves to keep the blood flowing in the right direction. Diseases of the valves is not quite as prevalent these days due to nutrition awareness. A faulty valve may not open or close properly. A defective valve may have been present from birth or the valves may be inflamed.

Pericardial Disease – Any disease of the pericardium, the fibrous membrane in which the heart sits, is classified as pericardial disease. One of the more common is an inflammatory condition called pericarditis. It is usually caused by viral infection. Pericarditis often subsides on its own, but it also responds to anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin. Any disease of the pericardium, the fibrous membrane in which the heart sits, is classified as pericardial disease. One of the more common is an inflammatory condition called pericarditis. It is usually caused by viral infection. Pericarditis often subsides on its own, but it also responds to anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin.

Primary Myocardial Disease (Cardiomyopathy) – This is a heart muscle disease which makes the muscle become weak and flabby so that the heart gets bigger as the muscle wall dilates under the strain. Usually it is unknown what causes this disease. This is a heart muscle disease which makes the muscle become weak and flabby so that the heart gets bigger as the muscle wall dilates under the strain. Usually it is unknown what causes this disease.

Congenital Heart Disease – The development of the heart inside the womb is a very complicated and intricate process and can occasionally go wrong. In this case, a baby is born with heart defects, and the exact reason why this occurs is hard to fathom. The development of the heart inside the womb is a very complicated and intricate process and can occasionally go wrong. In this case, a baby is born with heart defects, and the exact reason why this occurs is hard to fathom.

Genetic abnormalities or infections contracted during pregnancy by the mother may also result in congenital heart disease for the child.

Causes

You will have to describe your symptoms to your doctor in order for him or her to diagnose which heart disease you have, if any. An examination will then take place along with listening to the heart itself for clues.

If heart disease is suspected, further tests will be performed.

Traditional Treatment

It is best to seek conventional medical treatments if there is any suspected heart disease. Alternative remedies should also be used but as supplements or in addition to your conventional treatment.

The basis of conventional care is the use of drugs and surgery as well as to help make the correct changes to your diet and lifestyle.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Alternative medicine preaches prevention as its mainstay.

Relaxation – Focus on techniques to help the body to relax and reduce stress and consequently avoid, control or prevent heart disease. Relaxation reduces stress, and stress has been identified as a likely risk factor for coronary heart disease. Focus on techniques to help the body to relax and reduce stress and consequently avoid, control or prevent heart disease. Relaxation reduces stress, and stress has been identified as a likely risk factor for coronary heart disease.

Chinese Medicine – Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine generally view heart disease as arising from heart weakness or blocked energy flow. Depending on the symptoms, standard treatment would involve prescribed herbal remedies plus massage, acupuncture, and dietary recommendations. Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine generally view heart disease as arising from heart weakness or blocked energy flow. Depending on the symptoms, standard treatment would involve prescribed herbal remedies plus massage, acupuncture, and dietary recommendations.

Herbal Therapies – The plant world is full of herbs that can affect the heart. The therapeutic properties of some have been tested and trialed with positive results. The plant world is full of herbs that can affect the heart. The therapeutic properties of some have been tested and trialed with positive results.

The effects of others, such as motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) and yarrow (Achillea millefolium), are not as well researched yet perhaps no less effective. Certain herbs, such as foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) and lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis), contain compounds that make them particularly potent. Because of their potentially dangerous side effects, they should be administered only by a Professional.

Hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) is a highly effective heart healer. However, any herbal treatment of the heart should be supervised by a Health Professional and approved by your doctor.

Homoeopathy – Homoeopathic remedies may complement, but should not replace, prescribed medication for chronic heart conditions. A homoeopath would be able to advise on the best preparation for your particular condition.Homoeopathic remedies may complement, but should not replace, prescribed medication for chronic heart conditions. A homoeopath would be able to advise on the best preparation for your particular condition.

Bach Flower Remedies – Certain flower essences are reputed to be beneficial in the treatment of heart disease. These are – holly and willow. Certain flower essences are reputed to be beneficial in the treatment of heart disease. These are – holly and willow.

Lifestyle

You should make certain adjustments to your lifestyle if you want to avoid this disease:

  • If you smoke, quit.

  • exercise

  • drink alcohol in moderation

Dietary Considerations

It is vitally important that your diet is low in fat and salt, high in fibre.

There are also specific vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, such as magnesiumpotassium, niacin (vitamin B3), many other B-complex vitamins, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, L-carnitine (an amino acid), and the fatty acids in fish oils, that specifically protect against heart and arterial disease.

Prevention

  • Eat more fruits, vegetables, and grains, and fewer foods that are salty, high in fat, or fried.

  • Exercise regularly

  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if you do drink.

  • Don’t smoke.

  • Learn to control stress.

When to seek further professional advice

 

 


  • you experience unusual chest pain, particularly if it persists or recurs.

  • if your heat beat is consistently irregular .

  • you become suddenly dizzy, light headed, weak, or faint.

     

Heartburn

Heartburn is a burning sensation experienced under your breastbone after you’ve eaten something that may not have agreed with you.

What to look for

  • a burning feeling in the chest just behind the breastbone (the sternum) that occurs after eating and lasts a few minutes to several hours.

  • chest pain, especially after bending over or lying down.

  • burning in the throat-or hot, sour, or salty-tasting fluid at the back of the throat.

  • belching.

Often the symptoms may be mistaken for a heart attack but usually this condition is not nearly as dangerous. It is an irritation of the oesophagus that is caused by stomach acid. Usually sphincter at the end of the oesophagus relaxes to let food into the stomach, then contracts to close off the oesophagus from the stomach contents. If the muscle becomes weak, acid and bile from the stomach can go back into the oesophagus causing this condition.

Occasional heartburn isn’t dangerous, but chronic heartburn can indicate serious problems.

Causes

A sphincter that doesn’t tighten as it should is the basic cause of heartburn. The causes can be: too much food in the stomach (overeating) or too much pressure on the stomach (frequently from obesity or pregnancy).

The sphincter relaxes with tomatoes, citrus fruits, garlic, onions, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, and peppermint, dishes high in fats and oils, medications, especially some antibiotics.  Stress, which strains the nerves controlling the sphincter, can cause heartburn as can smoking.

Traditional Treatment

Most physicians advocate antacids for occasional heartburn. Alternative practitioners rely on herbal remedies to reduce acid and relaxation therapies to lessen stress.

The primary objective is to identify the cause of the heartburn, so it can be avoided in the future. Surgery may be required to repair the sphincter if nothing else works, but this is relatively rare.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies  – Ginger (Zingiber officinale) tea can diminish heartburn quickly, and chamomile (Matricaria recutita) tea’s calming effects is especially helpful. If your digestion system is not functioning as it should, try herbs such as agrimony and dandelion. If you have heartburn because of nervousness or anxiety, try hops, lemon balm and vervain. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) tea can diminish heartburn quickly, and chamomile (Matricaria recutita) tea’s calming effects is especially helpful. If your digestion system is not functioning as it should, try herbs such as agrimony and dandelion. If you have heartburn because of nervousness or anxiety, try hops, lemon balm and vervain.

Homeopathy – Specific heartburn symptoms often respond well to homeopathic remedies. After eating spicy foods, take Nux vomica; after rich foods take Carbo vegetabilis; and for burning pain, take Arsenicum album. Specific heartburn symptoms often respond well to homeopathic remedies. After eating spicy foods, take Nux vomica; after rich foods take Carbo vegetabilis; and for burning pain, take Arsenicum album.

Dietary Considerations

Take acidophilus Bifidus to help maintain optimum levels of the friendly intestinal flora. This will help your indigestion. Also it helps to eat smaller more regular meals including vegetables and fruit, wholegrain breads and cereals. And always chew your food properly.

Prevention

Heartburn is often preventable. Try to avoid foods which you know will cause this problem. Lying down is often not the best remedy, you should sit upright while the discomfort is evident.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you experience heartburn along with any other symptom

  • you take an antacid to relieve heartburn and do not feel relief within 15 minutes.

  • your heartburn gets worse with exercise and relieved by rest

     

Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids resemble varicose veins located on the rectum.

What to look for

  • bright red anal bleeding

  • tenderness or pain during bowel movements.

  • painful swelling or a lump near the anus.

  • anal itching.

  • a mucous anal discharge.

Hemorrhoids are varicose veins of the rectum however, because they are situated in such a sensitive position, they are painful. The veins in this area swell causing irritation when bowel movements pass by them. When these swollen veins bleed, itch, or hurt, they are known as hemorrhoids, or piles. There are two types – internal and external hemorrhoids.

People with internal hemorrhoids usually cannot feel too much pain as the sensitive veins are situated higher up inside the anal canal away from the nerve endings. They will however, bleed occasionally when the person passes a movement. People with this complaint have usually had the problem on and off for years and are quite used to the symptom of bleeding.

If the hemorrhoids prolapse, or enlarge and protrude outside the anal sphincter they will become visible as a lump of skin. There will also be pain associated with prolapsed hemorrhoids. They usually withdraw into the rectum on their own; if they don’t, they can be gently pushed back into place.

External hemorrhoids lie inside the anus and are usually painful. If an external hemorrhoid prolapses to the outside (usually when passing a stool) you can see and feel it. If blood clots form within prolapsed external hemorrhoids, an extremely painful condition called a thrombosis is the result. If an external hemorrhoid becomes thrombosis, it may turn purple or blue, and possibly bleed. Even though they look frightening, thrombosis hemorrhoids are usually not serious and will resolve themselves in about a week.

If you suffer from anal bleeding or pain of any sort it can be quite frightening and should be examined by a doctor. Hemorrhoids are a very common cause of anal bleeding and are rarely dangerous but a definite diagnosis from your Doctor is mandatory.

Causes

It is not certain exactly what causes hemorrhoids. But experts believe that if the veins are weaker it may be due to genetic factors.

If you do have weaker veins in this area, pressure or straining will cause them to swell and become prone to pain. Sources of this pressure include obesity, pregnancy, standing or sitting for long periods, liver disease, straining fromconstipation or diarrhoea, coughingsneezing, vomiting.

What you eat is important in controlling this condition. People who consistently eat a high-fibre diet are unlikely to get hemorrhoids, whereas those who prefer a diet high in refined foods may suffer from them. A low-fibre diet or inadequate fluid intake causes constipation, which creates hemorrhoids by straining when having a bowel movement and also producing hard stools which can irritate the swollen veins even further.

Traditional Treatment

Your doctor may examine the area to diagnose this complaint. If you do have hemorrhoids, unfortunately they do not usually go away completely without some kind of treatment. They do ‘right’ themselves so that living with them is bearable.

Diet is considered the basis from which to start any type of treatment for this condition. You may find immediate relief if you change your diet to include predominantly high-fibre foods and avoid refined, junk type foods.

In addition to dietary changes, if your hemorrhoids flare up, you can sit in a warm salt bath to soothe the area and reduce the swelling.

There are other treatments if the simple procedures above do not relieve your pain. Injections, banding , cauterisation and surgery are available. You may wish to discuss these other options with your doctor.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

The following treatments are available to treat the discomfort of haemorrhoids. If symptoms persist, contact your doctor.

Herbal Therapies – Applied twice daily, pilewort (Ranunculus ficaria) ointment can reduce the pain of external haemorrhoids. Also try psyllium husks to decreas itchiness and bleeding. Applied twice daily, pilewort (Ranunculus ficaria) ointment can reduce the pain of external haemorrhoids. Also try psyllium husks to decreas itchiness and bleeding.

Homoeopathy – More than a dozen remedies can help haemorrhoid pain. Choosing the right one requires Professional help. More than a dozen remedies can help haemorrhoid pain. Choosing the right one requires Professional help.

Massage – Speak to a fully qualified massage practitioner who may use techniques to help with constipation and relief of your problem. Speak to a fully qualified massage practitioner who may use techniques to help with constipation and relief of your problem.

Aromatherapy – This blend will help reduce the pain and pressure – 3 drops of cypress, 2 drops of sandalwoodessential oils in 5 teaspoons of calendula base carrier oil. Apply the mixture to the affected area twice a day. This blend will help reduce the pain and pressure – 3 drops of cypress, 2 drops of sandalwood essential oils in 5 teaspoons of calendula base carrier oil. Apply the mixture to the affected area twice a day.

Dietary Considerations

Staying on a high-fibre diet may help hemorrhoids almost immediately. Eat as few refined foods as possible. Drink plenty of filtered water each day as well. Also reduce your salt intake. Researchers that certain supplements may also help such as – B complexCE, Mineral complex, Calciumfluoride, lecithin, pollen, Rutin and Bioflavonoids.

Personal Care

  • Try not to sit for hours at a time – be sure to take breaks.

  • Insert petroleum jelly just inside the anus to make bowel movements less painful.

  • The application of witch hazel, on irritated hemorrhoids to reduce pain and itching.

  • Do not scratch hemorrhoids

  • See your doctor about which pain killers you are able to have with this condition

  • Bathe regularly to keep the anal area clean

  • Keep breathing while performing tasks which require exertion.

  • Learn to lift properly – breath constantly and lift with your legs, not your back and stomach

  • Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables

  • Get plenty exercise

Prevention

A high fibre diet and plenty of the essentials such as filtered water, exercise, fruit and vegetables will do the trick.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you bleed from the anus for the first time

  • if the bleeding is persistent and becomes more severe

  • if your normal bowel movement changes for more than 2 weeks.

  • if there is persistent pain in the anal region

  • if the blood from this area is dark