Category Archives: Ailments: O-P

Panic Attacks

These are times of immense anxiety and/or stress, with or without triggers which can occur again and again.

What to look for

If you have four or more of the following, you are having a panic attack:

  • restlessness

  • shortness of breath

  • palpitations.

  • sweating.

  • shaking.

  • a feeling of choking.

  • chest pain or discomfort.

  • nausea.

  • dizziness or faintness.

  • a fear of going crazy.

  • a fear of dying.

  • numbness or tingling.

  • chills or hot flushes.

  • insomnia

If you have recurrent panic attacks, you fear having more attacks or change your behaviour because of such attacks, you may have panic disorder.

Unfortunately there are no definite causes of this. If you have had a panic attack you may live in fear on having another one, and this causes you more anxiety.

Many people with panic disorder relate an attack to what they were doing when it occurred. However the cause of the panic attack may not be that simple. (See Phobias.)

Also See Anxiety

Causes

The underlying cause of panic disorder is not clear. There is evidence of a genetic, phobic and a biochemical basis.

Panic disorder may begin after a serious illness or accident, the death of a close friend, separation from the family, or the birth of a baby. Attacks may also accompany the use of certain illegal drugs. Most often, however, a panic attack comes “out of the blue”; it may even begin during sleep.

Traditional Treatment

Treatment must be based on each individual case as the cause of panic attacks is not clear.

Psychotherapy offers support and helps to minimise the fearfulness of symptoms of the disorder. This is often enough to control the disorder, however if more attacks result, the patient may require additional measures.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

A number of alternative techniques may help reduce anxiety.

Aromatherapy –  Studies have shown that essential oil of lavender (Lavandula officinalis), neroli (citrus aurantium) and petitgrain (citrus aurantium) can relieve anxiety and stress. Dab these on wrists or use in bath. (See our aromatherapy section for more details).Studies have shown that essential oil of lavender (Lavandula officinalis), neroli (citrus aurantium) and petitgrain (citrus aurantium) can relieve anxiety and stress. Dab these on wrists or use in bath. (See our aromatherapy section for more details).

Body Work – Yoga can relax the body and help with the anxiety that patients experience between panic attacks. Yoga can relax the body and help with the anxiety that patients experience between panic attacks.

Herbal Therapies – A number of herbs function as relaxants and tranquillisers and may soothe anxiety. Try a tea made from skullcapvalerian, vervain, or lemon balm. A number of herbs function as relaxants and tranquillisers and may soothe anxiety. Try a tea made from skullcapvalerian, vervain, or lemon balm.

Hypnotherapy – Hypnosis is effective for many patients with anxiety or phobias, partly because the therapy itself brings deep relaxation. Hypnosis is effective for many patients with anxiety or phobias, partly because the therapy itself brings deep relaxation.

Dietary Considerations

Magnesium has a tranquillising action. Speak with your doctor about taking this mineral. Avoid caffeine and other stimulants, alcohol, and sugar.

Prevention

You can take steps to lessen the chance of attacks and learn to manage them better.

  • Learn to recognize a panic attack. And use self-talk to walk yourself through it. Speak nicely to yourself.

  • Try not to be so critical of yourself and remember that you will improve and that it does take time.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you think you have panic disorder

     

Parkinson’s Disease

This disease is characterised by a premature ageing of certain brain cells which are responsible for our movement. It mostly affects the elderly.

What to look for

the disease takes hold slowly, beginning with a sense of weakness and a slight tremor of the head or hands, then gradually progressing to more generalised symptoms. These can include:

  • slow, jerky movements; a shuffling gait; and stooped posture.

  • unsteady balance.

  • continuous movement of the thumb and forefinger as if the person was rolling something between the thumb and fingers.

  • obscure speech.

  • swallowing problems.

  • in severe cases, rigid trunk and limbs; fixed facial expression and unblinking, staring eyes.

Parkinson’s disease mostly affects older people. The first signs are likely to be barely noticeable, a weak or stiff limb, perhaps, or a fine trembling of one hand when it is at rest. Usually this worsens over time. Depression and other mental or emotional problems are common.

Usually the disorder begins between the ages of 50 and 65. Medication is often helpful in treating the symptoms and the condition is not life threatening usually.

Causes

In most instances, Parkinson’s disease is caused by untimely ageing of brain cells. These cells normally coordinate the muscle activity which allows us to perform specific types of movement. This allows us to do such things as swing our arms when we walk, move our facial muscles and in the positioning of limbs before we stand up or walk. Problems happen when the brain cells that allow the body to perform these tasks die off prematurely.

Traditional Treatment

Most treatments aim at restoring the proper balance of the brain cells affected by this disorder. Drugs are the standard way of doing this, but neurosurgeons have had some success with experiments involving operative procedures.

Symptoms can be effectively controlled for years with medication.

Some treatments focus on the effects of the disorder rather than the causes. Physiotherapists may be able to help with muscle strength and body alignment.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Conventional medicines are widely acknowledged as the best treatments for Parkinson’s disease. However, many of the alternative therapies mentioned below can be very helpful for relieving symptoms or easing tight muscles. Always talk to your doctor first.

Body Work –  Massage has had good results with Parkinson’s patients.

Yoga is an ideal form of exercise for Parkinson’s patients because of its slow movements.

Chinese Herbs –  Taken several times a day, combinations that include rhubarb (Rheum palmatum), peony (Paeonia officinalis), liquorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis), and magnolia bark (Magnolia officinalis) are said to stop tremors and relax stiff muscles. Because using Chinese herbs is complicated, You will need professional advice for correct dosages. Taken several times a day, combinations that include rhubarb (Rheum palmatum), peony (Paeonia officinalis), liquorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis), and magnolia bark (Magnolia officinalis) are said to stop tremors and relax stiff muscles. Because using Chinese herbs is complicated, You will need professional advice for correct dosages.

Herbal Therapies – Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) has been shown to reduce tremor when taken in combination with levodopa. Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) has been shown to reduce tremor when taken in combination with levodopa.

Daily doses of evening primrose oil (Oenothera biennis) may reduce tremors.

Homoeopathy – A trained homoeopath might prescribe a single remedy, a series, or a combination of remedies for the many different symptoms of Parkinson’s. A trained homoeopath might prescribe a single remedy, a series, or a combination of remedies for the many different symptoms of Parkinson’s.

Dietary Considerations

See your doctor who will be able to speak with you about an appropriate diet. Also supplements such as B complex, E, Choline, Inositol, Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium and Ginseng.  See Our Viatmins and Herbs Page

Avoid spicy foods.

Personal Care

Look at appropriate furniture and fittings that will make it easier for the Parkinson’s patient to move around.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you suspect either yourself or a friend or family member has the disease

     

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

This describes an infection in a woman’s pelvic region.

What to look for

With acute pelvic inflammatory disease (PID):

  • severe pain in the lower abdomen

  • vaginal discharge

  • fever

With chronic PID:

  • recurrent pain in the lower abdomen,

  • backache

  • irregular periods

  • pain during intercourse.

  • infertility.

  • heavy, unpleasant-smelling vaginal discharge.

If not treated promptly PID can become very serious and often fatal.

PID can be either acute or chronic. Acute PID comes on suddenly and is usually severe. Chronic PID is an infection that may cause only recurrent mild pain and sometimes backache. Some women have no obvious symptoms.

Causes

PID is caused by bacteria from contaminated semen that swim from the vagina into the uterus. Most cases of PID used to be caused by the organism responsible for the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhoea, or by Chlamydia. Recently, researchers have linked other organisms to PID.

The risk of PID increases after childbirth, miscarriage, abortion, the insertion of an (IUD) for contraception.

Your doctor will give you a pelvic examination and if there is an infection, he or she will take a sample for examination.

Traditional Treatment

Because PID is such a serious ailment, you must consult your doctor who will recommend the best course of action.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Only use alternative methods during or after conventional treatment to help speed recovery.

Herbal Therapies – To help fight PID infection, herbalists recommend Echinacea (Echinacea spp.), meadowsweet, goldenseal, St John’s Wort or calendula (Calendula officinalis). Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) and false unicorn root (Chamaelirium luteum). Go to our Herbal Page

Dietary Considerations

To strengthen your immune system and help speed your recovery, eat plenty of whole foods.

Vitamin supplements may also enhance your immune system. Especially, vitamin Avitamin C, and vitamin B complex.

PREVENTION

  • Use contraception (condoms, diaphragm, or a cervical cap with spermicides).

  • Avoid putting anything in your vagina for two to three weeks after an abortion, a miscarriage, or a D and C and for six weeks after childbirth. – no intercourse, douching, and no tampons.

  • Do not use an IUD.

  • If you have a history of pelvic infections or have several sexual partners, use barrier methods of contraception and avoid intercourse during your menstrual period.

  • Get prompt treatment for any sexually transmitted disease.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you experience sudden abdominal pain

  • you experience any abnormal menstrual bleeding

  • you experience a vaginal discharge that is foul-smelling

     

Phlebitis

This is any condition where there is inflammation of a vein. It can refer to superficial veins in the legs or deep veins in the muscles of the leg or pelvis.

What to look for

For superficial phlebitis:

  • a hard, red vein visible in your leg; it may be warm and tender.

  • fever is possible and sleepless nights as the pain worsens.

  • a throbbing or burning sensation beneath the skin’s surface.

For deep phlebitis:

  • potentially no symptoms.

  • pain deep inside the leg and swelling in the ankle

Often this condition is followed by thrombosis (clotting of the blood). Therefore phlebitis followed by thrombosis is called thrombophlebitis. These painful clots may partially or fully block blood flow in affected veins.

The superficial phlebitis is the most common form of phlebitis and occurs in veins near the skin’s surface usually in the legs. This is usually harmless although painful and uncomfortable.

Deep phlebitis, on the other hand, is less common and more dangerous as it affects the internal veins of the legs. These clots tend to be larger and more able to loosen and travel to other areas. It is also possible for you not to realise you have this problem and it may go untreated.

Causes

The most common cause of phlebitis is varicose veins. Injury can cause phlebitis if a vein is bumped or hurt. Anyone immobilised, such as after surgery, is also vulnerable because blood is not flowing as strongly and clots form more easily. The condition can afflict the elderly, because circulatory problems that can trigger phlebitis tend to worsen with age.

Phlebitis can also develop in response to infection or trauma of some kind.

Doctors have reported that several types of people are at risk. They are women in general, pregnant women, contraceptive pill users and people whose blood tends to clot too easily are at higher risk. People who are significantly overweight, have a sedentary lifestyle, and smoke have also been linked to phlebitis.

Traditional Treatment

Superficial phlebitis can often be treated at home but be sure to get your doctor’s opinion on your specific case. Deep phlebitis, however, often requires a short stay in the hospital. Regardless of which type you have, if you smoke, stop. Also try to use another form of contraception besides birth control pills if you suffer from this condition.

Your doctor will recommend appropriate medication to relieve your symptoms. You can buy special support stockings which often help in relieving some of the pain.

If you’re diagnosed with deep phlebitis, you will be hospitalised. Your doctor will advise of the appropriate course of treatment best for you.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Some alternative therapies may help with superficial phlebitis. Consult the appropriate practitioners who are experienced in treating phlebitis and other circulatory problems – Acupuncturists, Chinese Herbalists, Homoeopaths and Naturopaths.

Dietary Considerations

If you smoke – give this up immediately, it can only make matters worse for you. Also eat more oily fish such as salmon and tuna, fruit and vegetables, fibre and spicy foods. Also drink plenty of filtered water. Try not to stand for long periods of time and do some gentle exercise once the condition subsides a little.

Personal Care

For superficial phlebitis, there are things at home you can do to ease the pain and help you heal:

Get plenty of rest while you have the condition.

When you lie down,  boost your legs up so they are 6 to 12 inches above your heart level.

Apply a heating pad or pack to swollen areas for relief.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you suspect you have phlebitis; you need proper diagnosis and treatment.

  • symptoms of superficial phlebitis do not dissipate within a week

  • you notice lumps, high fever, or extreme pain or swelling throughout a limb

     

Phobias

A Phobia is an intense dread of a certain situation or an object.

What to look for

Phobias are anxiety disorders. Three main types of phobias exist:

  1. Specific phobias – a fear of an individual object or situation

  2. Social phobia – fear of social situations in which you may be scrutinised

  3. Agoraphobia – fear of being away from home

If you feel compelled to avoid an object or situation in which you feel threatened or fearful you may have a phobia. You may understand that you fear is irrational and extreme but you can’t stop feeling this way and the pressure of knowing this may make you more anxious.

The most common type of phobia from the list above are specific phobias. They can include such objects or situations as parties, school, dentists, driving, water, flying, snakes, fat, age, high places, and enclosed spaces. Even though a phobic person will acknowledge that their fear is extreme, this knowledge does not lessen their fear. It is usually not the object or the situation that they are fearful of, it is the possible outcome.

A person with agoraphobia can be fearful of three main things…

  1. fear of leaving home,

  2. of being alone, and

  3. of being in a situation where one cannot suddenly leave or obtain help.

A person with social phobia has a fear is of being humiliated, examined or condemned in public. They avoid public speaking, parties, and any social event. Possible physical side effects may be blushing, palpitations, sweating, tremors, stuttering, or faintness. A person whose phobia is left untreated may become withdrawn, depressed, and socially incapacitated.

CAUSES

Some specific phobias can be explained by early traumatic events, but the majority have no obvious cause. Most are thought to be produced when an underlying fear is displaced onto an unrelated object.

Agoraphobia may develop in response to repeated panic attacks. Social phobia may develop in childhood, but the cause is unknown.

Traditional Treatment

Depending on the severity of the person’s phobia, the condition can usually be treated so that the person can eventually be able to live normally and be able to control their fears.

For specific phobias, treatment by systematic desensitisation therapy is highly successful. This usually happens step by step and in the safety of a known and safe place. The person will be able to eventually accept the ‘fearful object or situation’ if exposed to it gradually.

Treating social phobia usually involves slow exposure to social situations. The person may become actively involved in role playing and rehearse their actions and reactions. Individuals are taught to lower their anxiety and are encouraged to be less self-critical.

The best treatment for agoraphobia is to gradually move out into the places and situations that trigger anxiety. It must occur slowly and gradually and in the company of a professional therapist or a trusted friend. The person will gradually reduce their anxiety upon being exposed to triggers.

Alternative Choices

Phobias are difficult to treat by yourself. Always seek the help of a professional person.

Aromatherapy  –  Studies have shown that essential oil of lavender (Lavandula officinalis) can bring relief from anxiety. A popular blend is 2 drops each of lavender and bergamot, 1 drop of petitgrain and 2 drops of ylang ylang put into a warm bath or vaporised in a burner. You can also put the blend of oils onto a handkerchief and use while you are out.Studies have shown that essential oil of lavender (Lavandula officinalis) can bring relief from anxiety. A popular blend is 2 drops each of lavender and bergamot, 1 drop of petitgrain and 2 drops of ylang ylang put into a warm bath or vaporised in a burner. You can also put the blend of oils onto a handkerchief and use while you are out.

Herbal Therapies – Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) tea or capsules may ease anxiety. Do not use this herb for long periods of time, as it may become addictive in certain individuals. Also use under Professional supervision. Valerian(Valeriana officinalis) tea or capsules may ease anxiety. Do not use this herb for long periods of time, as it may become addictive in certain individuals. Also use under Professional supervision.

Relaxation – Numerous relaxation techniques, including yoga and meditation, can help reduce the anxiety that surrounds phobias. Numerous relaxation techniques, including yoga and meditation, can help reduce the anxiety that surrounds phobias.

Personal Care

By taking one small step at a time, most phobic people can eliminate their fears.

  • Feel free to ask for questions about a feared object or situation: Is it safe? Will it hurt me?

  • Practice shifting your thoughts in a positive direction.

Prevention

  • Do regular deep breathing and relaxation exercises, especially when anxiety starts to rise.

  • Regular exercise helps burn up adrenaline, which accompanies panic attacks.

  • Avoid alcohol, barbiturates, and anti-anxiety drugs whenever possible. Also avoid caffeine.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have a phobia that interferes with a normal social or working lif

     

Pinched Nerve

What to look for

  • tenderness, tingling, or numbness in one part of your body, often a limb.

  • pins and needles, burning, or tearing pain where a nerve is being irritated

Most of us have experienced the numbness of a limb when we realise we have been lying on it the wrong way. The numbness we feel eventually gives way to ‘pins and needles’ a tingling sensation in the affected area. In fact any pressure applied to a nerve by the surrounding tissue will produce this discomfort and will interrupt the nerve’s functioning.

The pinching can occur for many reasons… pregnancy, lying on the area, an injury, repetitive motions, or joint disease, to name just a few. Nerves passing over bones are particularly vulnerable.

The most typical pinched nerves are the ones which extend down the arms or legs, the nerves in your feet and between your disks in the spine as well as the nerve which travels from your spine to your foot (see Sciatica).

A pinched nerve is usually healed within a few days to a week with treatment. More chronic cases can leave permanent problems.

Causes

Pressure on a peripheral nerve from the surrounding tissue causes inflammation of the nerve.

Another common cause of nerve irritation is a damaged spinal disk commonly known as a slipped disk,  Heavy lifting,obesity, and contact sports can contribute to the problem.

Traditional Treatment

You may need to stop or reorganise the activity which is the cause of your uncomfortable condition. Your doctor may suggest wearing a splint, brace, or some other support and may also recommend a physical therapist to help you reinforce the muscles in the affected area.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies – Try a tea combining equal parts of St.-John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), and Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus). Try a tea combining equal parts of St.-John’s wort(Hypericum perforatum), skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), and Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus).

Homoeopathy – For low-back pain that feels better when warmth is applied, try Rhus toxicodendron. Taking Arnicawhen your back pain follows an injury may lessen symptoms. Professional advice is required for proper dosages. For low-back pain that feels better when warmth is applied, try Rhus toxicodendron. Taking Arnica when your back pain follows an injury may lessen symptoms. Professional advice is required for proper dosages.

Dietary Considerations

Taking lecithin with meals may help regenerate nerves. Nerve impulse conduction may benefit from calcium chelate.

Prevention

Try to avoid the tasks that you know are going to aggravate the condition. When avoidance is impossible, perform the motions for short periods of time with breaks in between.

When to seek further professional advice

  • the pain persists for several days and does not respond to over-the-counter analgesics; OR if the pain is so severe you cannot move or perform the most basic task

     

Plantar Warts

These are Warts on the soles of the feet.

What to look for

  • bumpy growths on the soles of the feet shaped like a pyramid with the point on the surface or above it.

  • pinpoint bleeding from warts when they are scratched.

  • pain in the soles of the feet when standing or walking.

Plantar warts are tough growths that appear on the soles of the feet. Normal standing and walking creates extreme pain as the pressure forces them into the foot. Like all warts, they are harmless and will eventually go away even without treatment, but in most cases they are too painful to ignore. Plantar warts that grow together in a cluster are known as mosaic warts.

Also See Warts

Causes

Plantar warts are caused by a virus that enters the skin through tiny cuts or abrasions. The warts may not appear for weeks or months after the initial exposure. Plantar warts are contagious and normally spread in public places such as swimming pools, gyms or communal showers.

Traditional Treatment

You can take your pick from numerous remedies both conventional and alternative. Deciding how to treat your plantar wart may depend on your ability to tolerate the pain that the various treatments can inflict. Conventional treatment focuses on removal, while alternative approaches emphasise gradual remission. Never scrape or cut a wart yourself.

Your doctor may use several different options in removing the wart. Burning, freezing and surgical removal are more aggressive options for more severe conditions.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

From the alternative viewpoint you will need to enhance your immune system in order to stop re-occurrences of the wart virus as well as applying other substances directly onto the wart to remove it.

Aromatherapy – Two drops of essential lemon oil in 10 drops of cider vinegar may help remove plantar warts: Apply daily and cover during the day with an adhesive bandage, but leave the wart exposed at night. Two drops of essential lemon oil in 10 drops of cider vinegar may help remove plantar warts: Apply daily and cover during the day with an adhesive bandage, but leave the wart exposed at night.

Or you can put a drop of tea tree oil on the centre of the wart daily and bandage it. Continue treatment until the wart goes away, which may take several weeks.

You can try strengthening your immune system by massaging your legs with the essential oils of rosemary(Rosmarinus officinalis), geranium (Pelargonium odoratissimum), or juniper (Juniperus communis), or a blend of any two, using long strokes from ankles to thighs.

Herbal Therapies  – Various herbal remedies are recommended for removing warts. Whichever herbal remedy you try, first protect the surrounding skin with petroleum jelly and cover the treated wart with a clean bandage. Repeat daily until the warts are gone. Various herbal remedies are recommended for removing warts. Whichever herbal remedy you try, first protect the surrounding skin with petroleum jelly and cover the treated wart with a clean bandage. Repeat daily until the warts are gone.

  • Apply the juice from dandelion stems morning and evening.

  • Put a clove of raw garlic or a drop or two of garlic oil on the wart twice daily.

  • Apply a few drops of yellow cedar, available in either oil or tincture form, to the wart twice daily.

Dietary Considerations

Improve your diet in order to stop recurrences of the virus. Foods high in vitamin A (such as… eggs, cold-water fish, onions, garlic, and dark green and yellow vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, squash, and carrots) will help sustain your immune system, as will yogurt.

Supplements of Vitamin AE zincpotassiumchloridecalcium, L-Lysine, freeze-dried liver tablets and garlic.

Personal Care

  • Try an over-the-counter topical medication that contains salicylic acid, which is best absorbed by the skin after a bath, a shower, or a soak in warm water. Protect the healthy skin around your warts with petroleum jelly or nail polish.

  • Cut or scrape off some of the white material from the inside of a banana peel, preferably from a green banana, since it is said to have more of the enzymes that help fight the wart-causing virus. Apply a piece of the material to the wart before going to bed, and cover with first-aid tape. Repeat nightly until the condition improves.

  • Apply vitamin E twice daily or vitamin A nightly; open a capsule of the vitamin, apply the oil to the wart, and cover with a bandage. Continue applications until the wart goes away.

Prevention

Protect yourself against exposure to the virus that causes plantar warts by wearing thongs, or rubber swimming shoes whenever you visit a public pool or use a communal shower.

When to seek further professional advice

  • the area becomes red, hot, painful, and tender after treatment

     

Pleurisy

Describes the inflammation of the pleura (the membrane of the lungs).

What to look for

Pleurisy:

  • pain in the chest

Pleural Effusion:

  • shortness of breath.

  • a dry cough.

You will find it very difficult and painful to breathe if you have this condition and if you do not have it treated immediately, could turn into pleural effusion. These two conditions are not diseases and only happen as a result of an underlying disease.

A number of conditions (most commonly congestive heart failure but including chest injuries, viral infections, rheumatoid arthritis, pneumonia, tuberculosis and cancer) can irritate the pleura.

Pleurisy and pleural effusion are generally only as serious as the underlying disease. Seek medical attention immediately if you haven’t already.

Causes

Each lung is surrounded by the double-layered pleura. Normally these membranes are in constant contact with each other as the lung moves in and out in the act of breathing. There is a small space between these two layers that allows this movement. But when the layers become inflamed their surfaces rub together disturbingly with every breath, sneeze, and cough. This condition is known as pleurisy.

Pleural effusion occurs when excess fluid seeps into the pleural space. The added fluid puts tremendous pressure on the lungs, reducing their mobility and causing shortness of breath. This excess fluid can, in some cases of pleural effusion, become infected, causing a condition known as empyema.

Your doctor will be able to diagnose pleurisy with a physical examination which may have to be confirmed by an X-Ray.

Traditional Treatment

It is usual for your doctor to treat the disease which has caused pleurisy or pleural effusion first. In some cases of pleural effusion, however, excess fluid must be drained.

Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics and/or anti-inflammatory drugs as well as a diuretic to help drain the fluid in the case of effusion.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Alternative treatments are helpful in relieving the symptoms caused by this condition. However, you should first consult a conventional doctor for your initial treatment.

Dietary Considerations

Large doses of vitamin C and vitamin A may be recommended by your naturopath. But always consult your conventional doctor first for a proper diagnosis of the ailment.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed in the description section

     

Pneumonia

This is the inflammation of the substance of the lungs.

What to look for

  • cough – either with phlegm or without it.

  • fever (with pain on coughing or taking a deep breath occasionally)

  • Loss of appetite and weight

  • In children, laboured and rapid breathing, sudden onset of fever, cough, wheezing, and bluish skin are general signs of pneumonia.

Pneumonia is the relatively common inflammation caused by various viral, bacterial, and fungal infections.

In response, the lungs become congested with fluids and cells that leak from the affected tissue. There are generally three types :-

  1. Lobar Pneumonia – if the inflammation is limited to one lobe of one lung; – if the inflammation is limited to one lobe of one lung;

  2. Bronchopneumonia – inflammation spreading from the bronchi to other parts of one or both lungs. – inflammation spreading from the bronchi to other parts of one or both lungs.

  3. Double Pneumonia – if both lungs are inflamed.

It usually lasts about 2 to 3 weeks, however you may feel fatigued for quite a few weeks after the condition has cleared.

Viral pneumonia is generally mild while bacterial pneumonia’s are more complex and serious.

Pneumonia is a common complication of many illnesses, and like the common cold and flu, can be transmitted from one person to another.

Causes

Viruses and bacteria normally cause this disease.

Pneumonia can be mild and treatable at home or you may need to be hospitalised, therefore it is vital that a doctor diagnose the condition.

Traditional Treatment

It is imperative that the patient recover quickly as problems can occur if the disease remains for too long. All treatments include bed rest and ridding the body of any infections and phlegm in the lungs.

If you have a mild case of viral pneumonia, you can probably recover at home after getting a diagnosis from your doctor.

If you have bacterial pneumonia, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

If you are diagnosed as having pneumonia, various alternative therapies may help ease your symptoms and hasten your recovery.

Aromatherapy – Recovery from pneumonia may be helped if you add the essential oils of eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), lavender (Lavandula officinalis), tea tree (Melaleuca spp.), or pine to a vapouriser or blend in a carrier oil for massage purposes. Recovery from pneumonia may be helped if you add the essential oils of eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), lavender (Lavandula officinalis), tea tree (Melaleuca spp.), or pine to a vapouriser or blend in a carrier oil for massage purposes.

See the Aromatherapy section for more information on the essential oils. Not all people can use all the oils.

Herbal Therapies –  Since clearing the lungs of phlegm is an important part of the healing process, using traditional herbal expectorants to promote coughing can aid recovery. Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), wild black cherry (Prunus serotina) bark, coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), lobelia (Lobelia inflata), and horehound (Marrubium vulgare) are good herbs to use for this purpose – See Our Herbal Section for more information on these and other herbs.  You will need to see a Professional for specific dosages and preparations. Since clearing the lungs of phlegm is an important part of the healing process, using traditional herbal expectorants to promote coughing can aid recovery. Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), wild black cherry (Prunus serotina) bark, coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), lobelia (Lobelia inflata), and horehound (Marrubium vulgare) are good herbs to use for this purpose – See Our Herbal Section for more information on these and other herbs.  You will need to see a Professional for specific dosages and preparations.

Eating raw garlic (Allium sativum) or three garlic capsules three times a day is said to help your body fight infection.Echinacea (Echinacea spp.) may help you recover from infection:

Homoeopathy – Some recommended over-the-counter homoeopathic remedies are BryoniaPhosphorus, andArsenicum album; follow label directions. Some recommended over-the-counter homoeopathic remedies are Bryonia,Phosphorus, and Arsenicum album; follow label directions.

Dietary Considerations

  • Vitamin C may offer substantial benefits in fighting pneumonia if started within two days of onset.

  • drink plenty of fluids and filtered water

  • vitamin A, for not more than two weeks, may help support your respiratory and immune systems.

  • eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables

  • Zinc supplements, may also help your immune system fight infection.

  • Vitamin E daily may help support damaged lung tissue.

  • If you are on antibiotics it is wise to also take Lactobacillus acidophilus supplements or natural acidophilus yoghurt.

Prevention

  • Avoid smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke

  • Don’t drink large amounts of alcohol

When to seek further professional advice

  • your symptoms indicate you have any form of pneumonia

     

     

Postnasal Drip

This is excess mucus that has lodged itself in the throat instead of disappearing through the nasal passages and out the nose.

What to look for

  • a flow of mucus that runs down the back of your throat, different consistencies and often associated with a sore throat, a cough and.

  • sniffing, snorting, or swallowing of nasal mucus.

Post nasal drip is a consequence of respiratory problems and usually goes once the respiratory condition has cleared up. Mucus is a normal product of the nasal passages, but when too much is produced it lodges itself in the throat.

When the condition becomes chronic, mucus can drip into the bronchial tubes causing extensive coughing and phlegm.

Causes

The cause can be related to an allergy especially when the mucus is watery rather than thick and other symptoms are apparent such as itching eyes, nose and palate.

If post nasal drip involves thick mucus along with normal cold and flu symptoms, you probably have a common cold.

Thick yellow or greenish mucus can indicate a bacterial or viral respiratory infectionSinus can be the problem whenever thick nasal mucus and post nasal drip are accompanied by fever and congestive pain in the face, it is probably.

Women who use hormone replacement therapy or oestrogen-based birth-control drugs are also at risk of this condition.

Traditional Treatment

Your treatment will depend on the cause of the problem. See your doctor who can give you a correct diagnosis.

Over-the-counter medications can often help but only temporarily – always consult your Doctor or Pharmacist.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

These treatments will want to work on the underlying cause and to relieve the symptoms you have.

Aromatherapy – Inhaling steam can help clear nasal passages. Add essential oils of eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), tea tree (Melaleuca spp.), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), or peppermint (Mentha piperita) to the water in a humidifier during the day, and use the essential oil of lavender (Lavandula officinalis) in the evening for a better night’s sleep.   Go To Our Aromatherapy Section for more information on these and other oils. Inhaling steam can help clear nasal passages. Add essential oils of eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), tea tree (Melaleuca spp.), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), or peppermint (Mentha piperita) to the water in a humidifier during the day, and use the essential oil of lavender (Lavandula officinalis) in the evening for a better night’s sleep.   Go To Our Aromatherapy Section for more information on these and other oils.

Chinese Herbs – Chinese medicine relies on mixtures of traditional herbs brewed in water and drunk at prescribed intervals. The Minor Blue Dragon Combination is recommended to reduce nasal drainage. Consult a Professional for the correct amounts of each herb to use for your condition. Chinese medicine relies on mixtures of traditional herbs brewed in water and drunk at prescribed intervals. The Minor Blue Dragon Combination is recommended to reduce nasal drainage. Consult a Professional for the correct amounts of each herb to use for your condition.

Herbal Therapies – Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis) may help dry up postnasal drip. Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis) may help dry up postnasal drip.

Homoeopathy – For postnasal drip associated with symptoms of a common cold, try Nux vomica three or four times a day for two days. For other kinds of postnasal drip, a Homoeopath will prescribe a remedy for your particular symptoms. For postnasal drip associated with symptoms of a common cold, try Nux vomica three or four times a day for two days. For other kinds of postnasal drip, a Homoeopath will prescribe a remedy for your particular symptoms.

Personal Care

  • Drink lots of water

  • Humidify the air around you, especially in winter.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have treated the condition with an over-the-counter decongestant for more than a week without success