Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is pressure in the arteries as the heart pumps blood around the body.

What to look for

  • There are generally no symptoms for high blood pressure as the early stages of hypertension may take a few years to develop

  • A higher than normal blood pressure. Normal for young and middle aged adults is a pressure of 120/80. A pressure of 140/90 is definitely something to be concerned about. If the pressure is 160/95 it requires treatment.

  • Blackouts, a minor stroke are indications that your blood pressure is too high and can be fatal if it is not treated.

  • swollen ankles

  • shortness of breath

  • headaches, dizziness and nose bleeds

Traditional Treatment


Your doctor will give you a thorough examination to check if your blood pressure is the result of another disease such as Cushing’s disease or kidney problems however, usually there is no immediate cause for the high blood pressure.

It is advisable that if over weight, the patient try to stay within your recommended weight level. Also try to avoid salt in your diet and reduce stress levels in your lifestyle. Exercise is also recommended.

If you have a stressful job, some doctors will advise you to give it up and take some time off to rest completely.

These lifestyle changes quite often bring the blood pressure down considerably.

A doctor will prescribe medication for you if the above approaches and lifestyle changes still do not bring the blood pressure down. Some of these drugs will have side effects which can be serious. Your doctor will know which drugs should be given to you and will explain all the side effects to you. The doctor will keep a close check on the patient to take the blood pressure and watch for possible side effects.

Alternative/Natural Treatments


Body/Mind Work – Yoga, Meditation and other relaxation techniques can help relax the patient and lower the stress levels. Yoga, Meditation and other relaxation techniques can help relax the patient and lower the stress levels.

Herbal Remedies – Hawthorndandelion and linden, garlic and ginger are helpful for blood pressure problems.

Dietary Considerations


  • Eat less salt – best of all try to avoid it altogether (use herbs, garlic and ginger instead)

  • Avoid heavily salted food (such as packaged food)

  • Try to eat more dairy products – low fat one only. You may be low on calcium.

  • Avoid too much alcohol as this can raise blood pressure.

  • Give up smoking as this can harden the arteries and cause coronary heart disease.

When to seek further professional advice

  • if your blood pressure is over the recommended level

  • if you have any of the symptoms listed above

  • if you are on medication for high blood pressure and are suffering any side effect – see your doctor immediately.


A boil is an infection of a hair follicle

What to look for

  • The first stage of a boil is a painful swollen lump filled with pus, usually on the face, neck, buttocks, armpits.

  • A clump of boils is called a carbuncle; a boil on the eyelid is a sty.

A boil may look like a bad pimple but in fact is the result of an infection that has invaded a blocked hair follicle. At the start a boil is red and tender; after a week pus is visible under the skin, causing the boil to become a white colour. The boil can become quite swollen and painful before the skin breaks, the pus drains, and the sore clears.


The staph bacteria that cause boils typically enter the body through cuts, scratches, and other breaks in the skin. They can be transmitted from person to person and can live on us all the time. Immune Problems; diabetes; hygiene ; exposure to certain industrial chemicals; overuse of corticosteroids; and a poor lifestyle, or nutrition are all potential causes of boils.

Traditional Treatment

Most boils can be treated at home simply by washing the infected area with antibacterial soap, and applying a hot washer or compress which will help bring the boil to a head. Over-the-counter topical antibiotics are also effective in limiting the spread of bacterial infection.

Do not squeeze as this can spread the infection. When they burst, wash the area gently until no more pus appears, then cover with a bandaid to avoid reinfection. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly, and disinfect towels.

If the pain is severe, or if a boil refuses to pop, it may be lanced by a doctor.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Boils have plagued humans for centuries, and humans have countered with all sorts of remedies. Use caution when trying alternative remedies on your skin, because the wrong treatment may actually aggravate an infection.

Chinese Herbs – Chinese herbal medicine focuses on reducing heat in the body, which is thought to cause boils. Try drinking tea made from dandelion, chrysanthemum flower or violet. Chinese herbal medicine focuses on reducing heat in the body, which is thought to cause boils. Try drinking tea made from dandelion, chrysanthemum flower or violet.

Herbal Therapies – For inflammation, an over-the-counter ointment made with marsh mallow, a poultice of slippery elm, and a tincture of blue flag or myrrh . For inflammation, an over-the-counter ointment made with marsh mallow, a poultice of slippery elm, and a tincture of blue flag or myrrh .

Aromatherapy – To fight infection, apply tea tree oil to the boil four to six times a day. Essential oils of bergamot,lavenderchamomile, and sage are also recommended for their antibacterial properties. Goldenseal mixed with distilled witch hazel to use as a wash. To fight infection, apply tea tree oil to the boil four to six times a day. Essential oils of bergamotlavenderchamomile, and sage are also recommended for their antibacterial properties. Goldensealmixed with distilled witch hazel to use as a wash.

Homoeopathy – If a boil comes up suddenly and is very red and hot, Belladonna three to four times daily may slow or halt the infection. For very painful boils try Hepar sulphuris, and for those that heal slowly use Silica, in the same potency and frequency. If a boil comes up suddenly and is very red and hot, Belladonna three to four times daily may slow or halt the infection. For very painful boils try Hepar sulphuris, and for those that heal slowly use Silica, in the same potency and frequency.

Dietary Considerations

Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and eat more garlic for its antiseptic properties, and foods high in zinc to enhance the immune system. You can accomplish this through your diet, or you can take tablets.

At-Home Remedies

  • a warm Epsom salt bath will help draw the pus out of a boil.

  • wash with antibacterial soaps if boils appear on the face.

  • do not pop boils as it can worsen the infection and worsen the scarring.


  • Nicks and breaks in the skin that are left untreated can cause boils as can sharing towels etc and contact sports. So treat these small cut immediately.

When to seek further professional advice

  • the boil causes excessive pain; you may want a doctor to lance and drain it.

  • the inflammation is accompanied by a fever, or the boil appears on your lip, nose, cheeks, forehead, or spine;

  • You have a boil that is very tender, particularly if it has red lines radiating from it, or if you have fever and chills; the infection may have spread.

  • you are diabetic and start to get boils; this can indicate that your blood sugar level is too high – seek medical advice

Bone Cancer

Bone Cancer is a hard lump felt on the surface of a bone that may or may not be painful.

What To Look For

  • pain or swelling in bones and joints, often more intense at night, and not necessarily associated with movement; the pain may be dull and constant, or may be felt only when pressure is applied.

  • spontaneous bone fractures.

  • fever, weight loss, fatigue, and impaired mobility, which sometimes occur in late stages of bone cancer.

Most benign bone tumours are painless and those cancers that originate in the bone, cartilage or bone tissue are not usually cancerous. It is rare to find a primary bone cancer victim.

Primary bone cancer generally attacks young people, especially those who are unusually tall for their age. It may affect teenagers, whose bones are in a stage of rapid growth. It can originate in bone marrow or cartilage.

The likelihood of cure depends on how early a tumour is detected and how spread it is. Benign tumours normally are not a health risk.


Mostly, in cases of primary bone cancer it is difficult to pinpoint an exact cause. There may be genetic connections as certain Chromosome abnormalities have been linked with bone cancer.

Cancer is more likely to occur in bones that have been fractured or infected in the past.

Exposure to chemicals in some kinds of dyes and paints, may increase the risk of bone cancer slightly.

Traditional Treatments

When cancer is diagnosed, the patient must get traditional, conventional treatment.

When it is possible, bone tumours are surgically removed. If the cancer is in an arm or a leg, the tumour can normally be removed without amputation.

It is a good idea to start physical therapy quickly to aid recovery.

Radiation therapy and chemotherapy may be given before surgery to reduce the size of the tumour, and radiation may be used after surgery to kill stray cancer cells. (For further information on these experimental treatments, see Cancer).

Complementary Therapies

For information on all complementary cancer therapies, see Cancer.


Always be careful using paint, solvents, pesticides, household cleaners, and other products that may contain carcinogenic chemicals – use them with car and abide by any safety warnings. If you have ever been treated with radiation in the past, be alert for bone cancer symptoms and see a doctor at once if they occur.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have any of the symptoms listed in the above section

Brain Tumour

Similar to most cancers, brain tumours do not show symptoms until they attain a certain size.

Symptoms include:

  • persistent headaches that get worse over a period of weeks and are often more intense when lying down.

  • vomiting.

  • sudden seizures.

  • changes in personality or mental ability.

You may also experience other symptoms depending on the type and location of the tumour:

  • sudden vision loss, speech problems, or other changes in the senses.

  • localised weakness or paralysis, especially in the limbs.

  • impaired memory.

  • loss of coordination or balance.

Brain cancer that originates in the brain itself is rare. It is more common that cancer elsewhere in the body eventually spreads to the brain. It can happen at any age.

Benign tumours are brain tumours whose cells do not spread. While malignant tumours, or cancers cells multiply uncontrollably and spread throughout the body.

Benign or malignant, no brain tumour is harmless. Either one can exert pressure on delicate brain tissue, produce severe pain, cause irreversible neurological damage, and threaten life. The symptoms and outlook for recovery will depend on the location of the tumour.


The causes of primary brain cancer are unknown. Research indicates that there may be –

  • a genetic link.

  • certain chemicals that cause it.

  • A few rare diseases that may be culprits

Diagnosis of a brain tumour begins with a complete physical examination and neurological testing.

Traditional Treatments

Curing brain cancer depends on where the tumour is located and how far the malignancy has spread. Whenever possible, a brain tumour is treated surgically. If it can be removed, the patient may recover fully. After surgery, radiation therapy and sometimes chemotherapy are prescribed to make sure stray cancer cells are killed.

But some brain tumours are located too deep in the brain to be removed without causing severe brain damage. In these cases, treatment is likely to be chemotherapy and a refined radiation therapy. Both these treatments are unlikely to cure the cancer, but they may slow the growth of cancer cells, control symptoms, and let the patient live longer.

When cure is impossible, the main focus will be on providing comfort and preserve neurological function.

(For further information see our Cancer Section).

Complementary Therapies

The side effects of this disease and the various traditional treatments can become stressful and crippling. There are some alternative therapies that can provide relief – hydrotherapy, yoga, visualisation and meditation. Massage and reflexology, may also help.

When to seek further professional advice

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

Breast Cancer

As with most cancers, in the early stages, breast cancer usually has no symptoms. As a tumour spreads, you may notice the following:

  • swelling in the armpit.

  • breast pain or tenderness.

  • a lump in the breast.

  • a noticeable flattening or indentation on the breast.

  • any change in the contour, texture, or temperature of the breast

  • pitted surface like the skin of an orange.

  • a change in the nipple, such as dimpling, itching or burning, or ulceration or scaling.

  • unusual discharge from the nipple.

Every month, the breasts change, this is associated with a woman’s menstrual cycle. During this time a lump may form. While most of these are not cancerous, any lump should be examined immediately by a doctor.

Breast cancer usually begins with the development of a small, localised tumour. Some tumours are benign (meaning they do not invade other tissue), others are malignant, or cancerous. The potential for a malignant tumour to spread is a problem with all cancers.

Once such a tumour grows to a certain size, it is more likely to give off cells that spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream and lymphatic system.

Some breast cancers grow and spread at a fast rate, others take years to spread beyond the breast.

If detected early enough, breast cancer is very treatable. Once the cancer begins to spread, getting rid of it completely is more difficult, although treatment can often control the disease for years.


Doctors are unsure what exactly causes breast cancer, but they do know of certain risk factors that increase the chances of getting the disease in certain women. (Although some women who are believed to be high risk, do not ever get it and others who are low risk do).

  • advancing age

  • a family history of breast cancer.

  • if you have had a benign breast lump or cancer of the breast or the ovaries.

  • A woman whose close relative has had breast cancer is more likely to develop the disease

  • the greater a woman’s exposure to the female hormone oestrogen, the more susceptible she is to breast cancer. (Oestrogen controls cell division – the more the cells divide, the more likely they are to be abnormal in some way, possibly becoming cancerous).

Oestrogen and progesterone levels rise and fall during the woman’s lifetime. The age she starts and stops menstruating, the average length of her menstrual cycle, and her age at first childbirth can influence if she will develop breast cancer.

Taking hormones in the form of birth-control pills or hormone replacement therapy may also increase risk.

The diet-breast cancer link is still debated.

  • Obesity is a risk factor

  • Drinking alcohol regularly

Breast cancer responds to treatment best when it is detected early. In addition to having an annual medical checkup, all women should conduct monthly breast self-examinations. A mammogram is strongly recommended for women between the ages of 35 and 55.

To distinguish between benign and malignant lumps, feel the lump – a benign cyst may feel like a round, slippery bean. A tumour may feel thicker and can also cause dimpling of the skin above it. The only way to confirm cancer is to perform a biopsy and test the tissue sample for cancer cells.

In the event of malignancy, you and your doctor need to know how far along the cancer is. Various tests are used to check for the presence and likely sites of metastasis. Cancer cells need to be analysed to check for spreading or metastasis. The tests will also determine if hormone receptors are present, if so the cancer is likely to respond well to hormone therapy.

Traditional Treatments

If you have breast cancer, always research your options before rushing in and making rash treatment decisions. Ask your doctor, specialists, and people who have had the disease, as many questions as you think relevant and seek a second opinion at a major cancer treatment centre. Always work with people that you trust, and don’t rush your decision. A small delay before treatment will usually do no harm.

The options for treating breast cancer depend on how the cancer itself, your age, and how healthy you are. If possible, breast cancer is treated surgically, followed usually by some combination of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or hormone therapy.

A total mastectomy used to be the only considered treatment for breast cancer. This operation removes the breast, surrounding fat, muscle and lymph nodes.

For many women whose breast cancer is detected early and is still localised, there is another option – the removal of the cancerous lump and the lymph nodes under the arm only. Followed by appropriate radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy, this is proving to be just as and is much less disfiguring.

For breast cancer that is recurrent or has metastasised, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are the usual treatments.

For further information on radiation, chemotherapy, and other treatments, see our Cancer section.

Complementary Therapies

There are, at the moment no scientifically proven method of curing cancer. Alternative measures should only be undertaken along with your traditional treatments.


Regular aerobic exercise may prevent some forms of breast cancer developing. Studies have found that women who exercised vigorously and often were at least half as likely as more sedentary women to get breast cancer.


Besides pursuing meditation or yoga, many people benefit from group therapy. Relaxation techniques will usually help the patient cope better with the stress of having this disease.

Dietary Considerations

Your diet may be important in preventing breast cancer. Change your diet to include fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains. Limit your intake of fats from animals – meats, dairy products and butter.

Eat plenty of natural fibre and along with vitamins and minerals that protect against breast cancer, specifically vitamins ACD, and E, and calcium, selenium, and iodine. Some doctors recommend that breast cancer patients and survivors take antioxidant supplements.


  • Check your breasts once a month, have your doctor check your breasts once a year, and have mammograms annually if you are age 50 or older. Start mammograms earlier if you have a family history of breast cancer.

  • Make fruits, vegetables, grains, and fish the mainstays of your diet.

  • If you practice contraception, ask your doctor about the pros and cons of oestrogen-based birth-control pills.

When to seek further professional advice

  • one or both breasts develop an abnormal lump or persistent pain, or look or feel abnormal or your lymph glands are swollen.


Breast problems

Breast problems can include breast pain or masses or lumps within the breast.


What to look for

  • tenderness, pain or swelling in one or both breasts, most likely caused by premenstrual swelling.

  • pain accompanied by redness and warmth or a discharge from the nipple; this may indicate an infection or a benign growth or breast cancer.

  • a lump that is movable may be a cyst or a fibroadenoma.

  • a lump that is hard, is not movable, or feels attached to the chest wall, with or without pain, perhaps with dimpling or puckering of the breast; this may be a sign of breast cancer.

Breast can change for a number of different reasons such as puberty, age, monthly with onset of the periods. Most changes in your breast are perfectly normal and no cause for concern. However, you may experience any of several conditions that require medical attention. Especially breast pain or lumps.

Starting at puberty, you should examine your breasts every month, so that you become familiar with their structure – you know what they look like and feel like so you can detect any changes that occur and have them checked out by a doctor.

Premenstrual changes can cause temporary thickening that disappears after the period, so it is best to check your breasts about a week after your period. If you are no longer menstruating, examine your breasts monthly on a day you will remember. Look for dimpling or puckering, and using light pressure, check for lumps near the surface and firm pressure to explore deeper tissues. Check each nipple to see if there is any discharge. If there is discharge – consult your doctor.

Mammograms (specialised breast x-ray) can reveal tumours too tiny to be felt by hand. These tests should be done every 2 year from the age of 35 then increasing the frequency to once a year at age 50. If you have a family history of breast cancer, especially in your mother or sister, your physician may advise a different schedule.

Breast Pain And Lumps

Breast pain can have many causes, including the normal swelling of breast tissue during the menstrual cycle. Other causes include infection or injury; growths, including cancer; and perhaps diet.

The general swelling of breast tissue with the menstrual period can be painful, but it is not dangerous, and no treatment is necessary if you can tolerate the discomfort.

Breast lumps include cysts, adenomas, and papillomas. They are all different sizes and shapes and can be in different places within the breast. It is quite common for women to have lumps in their breasts, (or fibroadenosis), which is sometimes associated with hormonal changes related to the menstrual cycle. Most lumps are benign and do not signal cancer; however, any time you find a new or unusual lump, have your doctor check it to make sure it is not cancerous or pre-cancerous.

Cysts, which can be large or small, are benign fluid-filled sacs. They may be very painful. The best tool for distinguishing a cyst from a solid tumour is ultrasound; a needle biopsy may also be done.

Infection in the breast produce the same symptoms you would see elsewhere in your body, except that in your breast, infections tend to become walled off from surrounding tissue, producing small abscesses. This may give them the appearance of cysts. Infections occur almost exclusively in breast-feeding mothers. If you suspect you have an infection, see your doctor.

Cysts may produce pain, but breast cancer rarely does – although pain does not rule out the possibility of cancer.

Traditional Treatment

Practitioners of both conventional and alternative medicine use diet and nutrition to prevent and treat monthly swelling of the breasts. It is a good idea to maintain a healthy weight and eat a balanced diet. Avoid salt at this time as it can contribute to fluid retention. For some women, eliminating caffeine and related substances, can alleviate breast pain.

In recent years, some conventional doctors have suggested vitamin E supplements, to treat breast pain not caused by cancer. In addition, a conventional physician may suggest relieving pain with an analgesic or general pain reliever.

If the pain still persists your doctor may prescribe other drugs to help.

If you suffer from breast lumps, a doctor may insert a needle into the cyst and draw the fluid out and examine it. This also rids you of the cyst. If however the fluid is bloody the doctor will want to investigate this further. It may be an indication of cancer.

Fibroadenomas can be diagnosed only by biopsy. Surgical removal, usually in a same-day surgical procedure, is considered the only treatment.

Some conventional doctors recommend eliminating caffeine and saturated fats to shrink breast cysts.

Breast infections are treated with antibiotics. If an abscess exists, your doctor may also make a small incision to drain it. If this doesn’t work, minor surgery is the next step.

Alternative/natural Treatments

In addition to conventional dietary changes and supplements, naturopaths will treat breast pain with higher doses of nutritional supplements and with herbs.

Herbal Therapies – Evening primrose oil and Vitamin E may be helpful for this problem.

Personal Care – It is often helpful to warm the area with a warm washer or compress.

Dietary Considerations

  • Because fat in the diet is associated with oestrogen production, you can reduce oestrogen levels in your body by eating a low-fat diet.

  • Eat a low fat, high fibre diet and avoid stress for long periods.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you notice any kind of new or unusual lump in your breasts, especially one that remains throughout your menstrual cycle.. Have your doctor check any lump.


Bronchitis is the inflammation of the main bronchial tubes of the lungs caused by a bacterial or viral infection.

What to look for

Acute bronchitis:

  • initially a head cold, running nose, fever and chills,

  • aching muscles

  • back pain

  • hacking cough.

  • yellow, white, or green phlegm, usually appearing 24 to 48 hours after a cough.

  • fever, chills.

  • soreness and tightness in chest.

  • some pain below breastbone during deep breathing.

Chronic Bronchitis:

  • persistent cough producing yellow, white, or green phlegm (for at least three months of the year, and for more than two consecutive years).

  • wheezing, some breathlessness.

Generally Bronchitis occurs more often in winter, in damp, cold climates and places that are heavily polluted. Bronchitis is an upper respiratory disease in which the mucous membrane in the lungs’ upper bronchial passages becomes swollen.

As the irritated membrane swells and grows thicker, it narrows or shuts off the tiny airways in the lungs, resulting in coughing spells accompanied by thick phlegm and wheezing. The disease comes in two forms: acute and chronic.

Acute bronchitis is responsible for the hacking cough and phlegm that sometimes accompany an upper respiratory infection; in most cases the infection is viral in origin. If you are otherwise in good health, the mucous membrane will return to normal after you’ve recovered from the initial lung infection, which usually lasts for several days.

Like the lung disease emphysema, chronic bronchitis, is a serious long-term disorder that requires regular medical treatment.

If you are a smoker and come down with acute bronchitis, it will be difficult for you to recover since as you continue smoking, you do so much damage to the cells, known as cilia, to prevent them from working properly. This often leads to chronic bronchitis. If you smoke heavily the cilia can stop working altogether. Clogged with mucus, the lungs are then vulnerable to viral and bacterial infections, which over time distort and permanently damage the lungs’ airways.

Acute bronchitis is very common .


Acute bronchitis is generally caused by lung infections; Chronic bronchitis may be caused by one or several factors. Repeated attacks of acute bronchitis, which weaken and irritate bronchial tubes over time, can result in chronic bronchitis. Industrial pollution is another culprit. But the chief cause is heavy, long-term cigarette smoking.

Traditional Treatment

Conventional treatment for both acute and chronic bronchitis may consist of antibiotics, aspirin and a cough syrup and a good deal of bedrest in a warm room. In severe cases of chronic bronchitis, supplemental oxygen may be necessary. Remember to drink lots of water.

If you have chronic bronchitis, your lungs are already damaged and the obstruction of the airways is not easily helped. Bronchodilator drugs may be given to relieve any such obstruction, as well as physiotherapy to help the patient get rid of any sputum. Oxygen therapy may be required as well.

Flu vaccinations are available against most strands of flu and pneumonia.

Do not take an over-the-counter cough suppressant to treat chronic bronchitis unless told to do so by your doctor. As the coughing assists in getting rid of any excess phlegm. In fact, your doctor may even prescribe an expectorant if your cough is relatively dry. Tell your doctor if you notice any changes in your phlegm.

The best course of action is to remove anything that irritates the condition. If you are overweight, your doctor may insist that you diet to avoid putting excessive strain on your heart.

If you smoke, your doctor will urge you to quit.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

A number of alternative therapies can be used to complement a conventional doctor’s care. You must however continue to use conventional medical care.

Aromatherapy – Essential oils such as eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), aniseed(Pimpinella anisum), lavender (Lavandula officinalis), pine (Pinus sylvestris), and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) may help ease breathing and relieve nasal congestion.

Inhaling deeply through your nose, breathe the aroma from a few drops of one or more of these oils dabbed on a handkerchief, try a steam inhalation or sniff directly from the bottle. (see our section on aromatherapy).

Chinese Herbs – The Chinese herb ephedra (Ephedra sinica) is a potent bronchodilator. Only use this herb under the supervision of an experienced practitioner. Do not use ephedra if you have high blood pressure or heart disease.

Herbal Therapies – There are a wide variety of herbal formulas that help this condition,  It is wise to get professional advice before choosing the herbs.

Coltsfoot may relax constricted or spasming bronchial tubes and gently help to loosen phlegm.

To treat acute bronchitis, hyssop may be used.

Herbal expectorants include aniseed (Pimpinella anisum), elecampane (Inula helenium), and garlic (Allium sativum).

Homoeopathy – For acute and chronic bronchitis, try the following –

for fever, cough, and tightness in the chest, use Aconite.

For loose white phlegm, cough, and irritability, use Kali bichromicum.

For loss of voice, cough, thirst, and sore throat, use Phosphorus.

Dietary Considerations

To strengthen the immune system and protect against infection, nutritionists often recommend vitamins AB complexC, and E, along with the minerals selenium and zinc. Some experts suggest that you also avoid mucus-producing foods, found mainly in the dairy group (although goat’s milk generally causes less mucus production than cow’s milk), as well as in refined starches (white- flour-based products) and processed foods.

For chronic bronchitis:

Avoid exposure to paint or exhaust fumes, dust, and people with colds. Consider using a vaporiser or inhaling steam over a sink full of hot water. Dress warmly in cold, dry weather.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your cough is very persistent and severe, you may be causing damage to your lungs.

  • changes in your mucus and your symptoms last longer than a week

  • you display symptoms of acute bronchitis and have chronic lung or heart problems or are infected with the virus that causes AIDS

  • you have great difficulty breathing.


Bulimia is an eating disorder which involves the compulsive eating of large quantities of food over a short space of time. The Binges are usually followed by periods of strict dieting and purging.

What to look for

  • alternating bingeing and purging.

  • unrealistic fear of becoming fat.

  • weight fluctuation (although relatively normal weight may be maintained).

  • food cravings.

  • overuse of laxatives.

  • depression.

  • tooth enamel erosion, gum infections, cavities, and tooth discolouration

  • gastrointestinal upset.

Bulimia is an eating disorder that, like anorexia nervosa, is psychological in origin and both involve an obsession with food and weight and can have fatal consequences. While anorexics simply starve themselves, Bulimics binge on food and then purge by self-induced vomiting. Bulimics also frequently use diet pills, laxatives, and diuretics to reduce their weight. They are usually secretive about their bingeing so therefore it may take quite a while before the problem is detected.

Bulimia can occur on its own or with anorexia. Despite their overlap, the two disorders are associated with some different personality traits: Anorexics are apt to suppress all urges, including sexual ones; Bulimics, on the other hand, tend to indulge their desires, impulsively getting into trouble with drugs, sexual promiscuity, shoplifting, or binge buying.

How well a bulimic person is depends on how often they binge and purge. They may vomit occasionally or very frequently. Physical repercussions include swelling of the stomach or pancreas, inflammation of the oesophagus, enlarged salivary glands, and tooth decay and gum disease from vomiting stomach acids.

Frequent vomiting also depletes the water and potassium in bodily tissues, causing abnormal heart rhythms, muscle spasms, and even paralysis. In severe cases, some of these physical problems can lead to death. Suicide is also of concern among these patients.

Bulimia is an illness that needs to be monitored by professionals and in most cases the Bulimics will not regain health on their own.


Pressures and conflicts within the family are thought to be the primary cause of bulimia. A bulimic is apt to be an over-achiever and perfectionist who feels she can’t live up to her parents’ expectations. She has low self-esteem and often suffers from depression. A history of abuse is common in bulimia sufferers.

Traditional Treatment

Successful treatment depends on the person involved realising that they have a problem and that their health is in danger. Treatment with an experienced doctor or psychologist is the usual treatment as well as training in nutrition. There are clinics which specialise in treatment of bulimic patients; it is vital that all doctors and specialists involved work together.

Antidepressants are now used in bulimia therapy regularly.

Alternative/natural Treatments

Most alternative therapies for bulimia do not address the root causes of the disorder, but they can be helpful in relieving some of the physical distress resulting from it.

Herbal Therapies – Use any herbal therapies that reduce anxiety or depression. To soothe stomach pains or mouth inflammation, try marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) or slippery elm (Ulmus fulva) powder.

Homoeopathy – Homoeopathic medicine offers potentially beneficial prescriptions for eating disorders. In difficult cases, where conventional medicine has not been successful, consider seeking out a Homoeopath who has experience in treating bulimia.

Dietary considerations

The bulimic should be on a balanced diet of all the main food groups, avoiding sugar. Also eliminate alcohol, caffeine, flavour enhancers, most salt, and cigarettes. Supplement daily with vitamin Cvitamin B complex, and a multivitamin/multi-mineral supplement.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you find yourself secretly bingeing, then vomiting or using laxatives.

  • you avoid eating in front of other people.

  • your child has an unreasonable fear of being fat and thinks she’s fat when she’s not.

  • your child avoids eating with others or goes to the bathroom immediately after meals.



A bunion is an abnormal enlargement at the joint between the foot and the beginning of the big toe, which is the result of pressure.

What to look for

  • an angular protrusion at the side of the foot behind the big toe, sometimes accompanied by hardened skin or a callus.

  • swelling, redness, unusual tenderness, or pain at the base of the big toe and in the ball of the foot, especially if the area becomes shiny and cool to the touch.

A bunion is an unnatural bump or bend in the bone that forms the ball of the foot at the base of the big toe. The result is an unsightly swelling at the inside of the foot, sometimes pushing the big toe inward so it overlaps one or more other toes.

Because a bunion occurs at the joint where the toe bends in normal walking, your entire body weight rests on it at each step. While most bunions don’t affect normal walking, they can be extremely painful.


Bunions are caused by wearing shoes which are too tight for your toes. Foot problems typically develop in early adulthood, becoming more pronounced as the foot spreads with aging. Bunions can be hereditary and occur along with other problems associated with weak or poor foot structure, as well as with corns and calluses. Bunions sometimes develop with arthritis.

Most of the time, bunions are so obvious from the pain and the unusual shape of the toe that further diagnosis is unnecessary.

Traditional Treatment

Relieving a bunion’s discomfort generally consists of steps to reduce pain and inflammation, followed by measures to prevent recurrence.

Your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter pain remedy, or may prescribe a specific medication to relieve the swelling and inflammation. A warm footbath or spa may also help relieve the immediate pain and discomfort, as may an analgesic cream containing a chili-pepper extract.

If your bunion isn’t persistently painful and you catch it early, wearing well-made, well-fitting shoes may be all the therapy you need.

In some cases, a specialist can prescribe shoes with specially designed insoles and uppers that take the pressure off affected joints and help the foot regain its proper shape.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Various therapies for reducing pain and inflammation can be used effectively on bunions.

Homoeopathy – Following an examination of your feet, you can be prescribed remedies that may relieve the pain of a bunion. .

Herbal Treatments – Try drinking nettle tea everyday for some relief. Also a warm poultice using rosemary, mustard or calendula oil followed by an ice pack can be soothing.

Personal Care

  • When a bunion causes sore feet, a hot compress or soaking in warm water will ease the pain.


Always wear well fitted shoes in childhood to avoid problems later on. Exercising your feet can strengthen them, particularly if you learn to pick up small objects with your toes.

When to seek further professional advice

  • When you discover any of the symptoms mentioned above