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Mapp & Hession Pharmacy Murwillumbah King Street Chemist Greg Mapp & Paul Hession

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We are passionate about providing you with all round health solutions.

Please use this resource page as your gateway to better health.  Talk to our pharmacists about ways we can collaborate to support your needs.

Your Health Fact Sheet

Diseases Health Fact Sheets

Four to Six Months Old

Your baby will be ready to start to eat solid food at about four to six months of age. You can prepare this yourself. There are good reasons for starting your child on solids at this age:

*  Baby may still be hungry after a milk feed;

*  It lets babies get to know different tastes and textures;

*  Babies need to learn how to swallow solid food.

*  Chewing also helps in the development of muscles in preparation for speech.

*  The iron stored by the liver since birth will be diminishing.

You can give your child the following quite safely 

*  Good quality natural fruit juice - 30 to 60 mL daily.

*  Cereal - Start with rice cereal with added iron. Mix about 1 to 2 teaspoons of cereal with a small amount of breast or formula milk in a dish. Make it thick like porridge and give to your baby at the same time each day. It may take a while for your baby to become used to this new taste sensation. You could also use a little mashed pasta, rice or other cereal food as the first solid food.  Don't add sugar or honey.  Always reed the cereal to your baby with a spoon.  Don't use baby biscuits, as they have to much sugar in them.

*  Fresh fruits - such as ripe banana, pear, pawpaw, rockmelon, peach or avocado.

*  Cooked fruits - try apple and pear. Try to grate harder fruits and vegetables.

*  Canned fruits - unsweetened or fruits in their own juices are the best and the easiest to use.

*  Cooked Vegetables (fresh is preferable) such as potato carrots zucchini broccoli pumpkin sweet potato marrow.  To cook - steam vegetables. Then mash, blend or sieve them.  Don’t add salt, Vegemite, Marmite or Promite or margarine or butter to vegetables.

*  Rice porridge

*  If your baby is under 6 months you may start with rice porridge and later add vegetables to rice porridge.

*  If your baby is over 6 months, you may add minced meat or fish as well.

*  Yoghurt - Use natural yoghurt and if needed, add fruit.

Helpful Hints

*  Always test the temperature of the food on the inside of your wrist before giving it to baby

*  It is not necessary to use salt

*  Always give solids after baby’s milk.

*  Don’t bombard your child with too much new food too soon. Give your baby only one new food every few days

*  If your baby doesn’t like a new food, that’s all right. Wait for a few days and try again.

*  It sometimes takes a while for babies to learn to eat from a spoon. Use a small teaspoon without sharp edges.

How much food does Your baby need?

Start baby with 2-4 teaspoons of solids at each meal and increase to roughly half a cup by 6 months, or according to your baby’s appetite.  

Do not become worried if your child won’t eat solids or won’t eat everything you give him. All babies are different - some need more food than others and some do not need to start solids until six months.  Do not force your child to eat, he will eat when he is hungry.

Six to Eight Months Old

At this age your baby needs to begin to learn how to chew even if he does not have teeth. Solids should play an increasingly important role in nutrition from now on.

*  Cereal - continue on using iron-fortified baby cereals at least until 9 months. Vita-Brits, Weet-Bix or porridge could be started after 9 months.

*  Egg yolk - You may also give your baby the yolk of an egg. Only give a little at a time until your baby gets used to it. You give it to your baby mixed with vegetables, or from a finger of toast dipped into yolk, or give just the plain yolk.

*  Vegetables - spinach, silver beet and green beans.

*  Meat

*  fish, steamed - make sure there is no skin or bones

*  chicken, finely chopped or pureed.

*  brains, mashed.

*  roast meat or steak - thin flakes scaped off the meat.

*  lamb’s fry.

*  Babies often enjoy chewing on a rusk.

*  Fruit juice - 60 to 12mls daily.

Teething usually starts between 6 and 9 months of age. They usually like to have something in their mouth to ease the pain and discomfort - a rusk is great.  They will also enjoy feeding themselves using their fingers or a safe spoon. They also love chewing on foods such as cooked carrot, celery, green beans, pumpkin; meat, fish, chicken, cheese; pieces of ripe banana, peach, pear, small pieces of orange, apple; sandwiches, toast.

Nine to Twelve Months Old

Babies at this age should be eating most of the same foods as you. But your should be cutting it up in small pieces or mashing it.

*  vegetables

*  fruit

*  pasta dishes

*  potato

*  bread

*  pudding

*  meat, fish, chicken

*  whole egg

*  rice dishes

Raw apple, celery or carrot should be grated.  Do not add extra salt or sugar to your baby’s food.  Don’t give fried foods.

*  Snack foods - Babies often like to munch on something between meals. Healthy options are pieces of soft fruit, plain cracker biscuits, toast or bread.

Avoid the following - sweet biscuits, sugary foods, sweetened fruit drinks, cordials and soft drinks, salty packet chips and crisps, nuts, peanuts, hard lollies, uncooked carrot or celery and whole peas.

Drinking from a cup

Between 6 and 9 months, your baby can start to learn to drink from a cup.  To help him/her learn, give him/her an unbreakable cup to play with and show him how to put it to his/her mouth. Then, add a little water, juice or milk and let him/her learn to use it.  It takes most babies some time to learn to drink from a cup. Don’t worry if he/she makes a mess.


Each day your baby needs these foods to continue to grow to be strong and healthy:

*  Milk - either breast milk or 4 small cups

*  Wholegrain cereal, bread, rice or pasta - 3 servings

*  Yellow or dark green vegetables - 1 serving

*  Juice - 1 small cup

*  Other fruits and vegetables - 2 servings

*  Meat, fish, chicken, eggs, cheese or legumes - 1 or 3 servings

*  Filtered water to drink

If you are breast feeding, continue to breast feed for as long as you and your baby want to.  If bottle feeding, it’s a good idea to start taking your baby off the bottle by twelve months and offer milk from a cup.

*  Snacks - Most toddlers cannot eat very much at each meal and they get hungry between meals. So they like snacks. Some good ideas are:  pieces of fruit, fruit juice, peanut butter on plain cracker biscuits or bread, small pieces of cheese or cold meat, small cups of milk.  Avoid all sweet, refined or fatty snack foods.

Fluids and Vitamins


It is good to offer your baby water regularly. They may not want it however. Do not add sugar or honey to the baby’s water.


Breast milk and recommended infant formulas contain all the vitamins your baby needs for the first 4 to 6 months.

Fruit juice

When baby is 4-6 months of age, you may wish to give some diluted fruit juice, especially in hot weather.

*  30mL fresh fruit juice in 30mL of cool boiled water.

*  Do not use syrup fruit juices.

Feeding Your Baby Considerations

Otitis Media

This problem is commonly known as an ear infection and is one of the most common cause of earaches. It can occur in both children and adults (although children are the most common). Otitis media occurs when virus or bacteria enter the Eustachian tube that connects the middle ear with the back of the throat. It is common therefore in people who are experiencing cold or flu symptoms. 

Middle ear infections are usually very painful as the area is so small that the pus/infection cannot escape. The ear drum becomes red, sore and starts to bulge outwards. If the infection is severe enough, the drum can actually burst. In most cases however, the drum heals itself and the hearing is not affected. There have been cases that deafness has been the result, therefore it is a condition that must be attended to by your health practitioner. It is one of the most common reasons for visits to doctors.

What to look for…

In children:

  • Children will often tug at the ear.
  • Fever.
  • Irritability, restlessness.
  • Crying at night when lying down.
  • Nasal discharge.
  • Suppressed appetite.

In adults:

  • Earache and/or a full feeling in the ear.
  • Fever and chills.
  • Nasal congestion.
  • Nausea and diarrhoea accompanying earache.
  • Hearing becomes muffled.


Without a doubt, the most common cause of this problem is an upper respiratory viral infection. In addition to viral infections, allergies, smoke, fumes and environmental toxins can cause ear infections.

Cells in the middle ear create a fluid that helps defend against attacking organisms. In most cases, the fluid drains out through the Eustachian tube and into the throat. But when the Eustachian tube becomes swollen (as in the case of ear infections), the fluid can become trapped in the middle ear, causing the area to become inflamed and infected. Unfortunately, the tube is more horizontal and shorter in children, and tends to place them in a more vulnerable position to infection of this type.

Bacteria can also cause otitis media. This can occur as a direct result of the invading bacteria or more commonly when these organisms appear as a result of a viral infection or allergy.

Otitis media can be mild (acute) and be an isolated case or it may recur as often as 3 - 6 times in six months (recurrent). If it continues for weeks without clearing up, it is called chronic otitis media.

Traditional Treatment

Doctors will normally attempt to rid the middle ear of infection in order to prevent more serious problems.
Treatment usually consists of eliminating the causes of otitis media, killing any bacteria, boosting the immune system and reducing swelling in the tubes. Usually doctors can only treat the symptoms.

If the otitis media develops serious complications, doctors may suggest surgery to rid the ear of infection or to drain the middle ear.

Remedies you can do at home

  • There are many things you can do for your infected ear at home (don't avoid going to the doctor first). A warm compress often helps calm the discomfort. Aromatherapy steam inhalations may also help. (be careful to cover up your eyes and do not make the inhalation to strong).
  • Gargling with salt water or other commercial gargles may help soothe a sore throat and clear the Eustachian tubes.
  • Holding your head upright can help drain your middle ear.


Because bottle-fed babies are more likely to get otitis media, it is better to breast-feed your infant, if possible, to prevent ear infections. (If you must bottle-feed, never lay your baby down and prop the bottle up). Also, remove as many potential allergens from your home as you can, including dust, cleaning fluid and solvents, and tobacco smoke.

When to Seek Further Professional Advice

  • Body temperature rises above normal - this can indicate infection starting.
  • You or your child frequently develops otitis media.
  • You or your child has hearing problems.
  • You suspect that your young child has otitis media.
  • You or your child have the symptoms mentioned above.

Ear Infections

A skin complaint characterised by redness, itch, dryness with pimples or blisters.

What to look for…

  • patches of itchy, dry, thickened skin, usually on wrists, face, and inner creases of the knees and elbows.
  • skin sores, patches of redness, scaling, sometimes small bumps or blisters that may ooze fluid.

Eczema is a form of dermatitis characterised by chronically itchy, inflamed and reddened skin.
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is generally hereditary however one person in a family could have the condition while all the other people in the family are not afflicted with it. It is most common among infants, many of whom grow out of it. Eczema is often associated with asthma, so children with that disorder may be at greater risk of skin problems. Stress or emotional upsets can often be the cause as well.


This skin complaint is often puzzling to experts. It can be caused by emotional upsets or it may have no apparent cause. Many cases of eczema are related to allergies. In sensitive people, outbreaks can be caused by ingesting certain foods, such as cow's milk, eggs, wheat, and nuts, as well as by inhaling airborne irritants like dust mites and pollen.
Eczema is also caused by contact with irritants in common substances, such as woollen and synthetic fabrics, latex rubber, certain detergents, chlorine-based products, the mineral nickel used in plated earrings and other jewellery, and certain chemicals.

In people susceptible to eczema, it is apparent that outbreaks may be caused by a change in the way a person's immune system copes with certain types of stress.

Traditional Treatment

Treatments are focused on relieving symptoms as it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the actual causes of the disease. At-home remedies and over-the-counter medications are usually sufficient unless the complaint becomes unbearable or worsens in any way.

Most doctors will suggest you take warm baths to relieve the itching and to slowly remove the crusted parts.
If the eczema is allergy related, taking oral antihistamines may help. Some medications prescribed are very strong and should only be taken with care and constant supervision by your doctor.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Alternative therapies are available to help both the symptoms of eczema and some of the causes. Only use with the supervision of a qualified and trained practitioner as some herbs may cause allergic reactions.

Aromatherapy - Essential oils of Lavender (Lavandula officinalis), Thyme (Thymus vulgaris), Jasmine (Jasminum officinale), and Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) may be capable of soothing Eczema related to allergies. Vapouriser or diluted in a carrier oil and use in massage. 

Chinese Herbs - Beneficial herbs include Siler root (Ledebouriella divaricata), Chinese Foxglove (Rehmannia glutinosa), and Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis), which are said to be anti-inflammatories, and Peony (Paeonia lactiflora), which is said to affect the immune system. These herbs should only be used under the supervision of an experienced Professional.

Herbal Therapies - Evidence suggests that Evening Primrose Oil (Oenothera biennis) may effectively treat itching associated with Eczema. However, people with liver disease or high cholesterol should use this treatment only under medical supervision, and pregnant women should not use it at all because of its effect on oestrogen and progesterone levels.
Burdock (Arctium lappa) root and Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) root may also be effective. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) ointment soothes dry, flaky skin and helps inflammation and itching.

Do not take any of these herbs for longer than 
one month without supervision.

Homoeopathy - A Homoeopathic remedy to soothe inflamed skin that patients can apply safely at home is topical Calendula ointment. Do not attempt to treat eczema with other Homoeopathic remedies, however, without consulting a qualified Homoeopath.

Your Homoeopath with examine you thoroughly and make a recommendation in accordance with your symptoms and lifestyle.  During Homoeopathic treatment, Eczema may actually get worse before it gets better, so professional supervision is important.

At-Home Remedies - Try to learn to relax and avoid becoming overly stressed as this can be a trigger to your problem. Lavender oil can be helpful to relax.

  • To soothe itchiness, try a warm bath followed by an application of topical ointment such as calendula
  • Watch your diet.

Dietary Considerations

If Eczema is caused by allergic reaction, your diet will be of utmost importance. As mentioned previously, avoid cow's milk, eggs, wheat flour, and nuts, also to limit red meat. Eat foods rich in zinc and vitamins A and C such as wholegrains, seeds, fresh fruit, and vegetables (red, yellow and green.)

You may benefit from a zinc supplement. Ask your Doctor or our Pharmacist to assess your particular case.


Try not to wean your baby off breast milk too early as doctors suggest that this can cause Eczema to develop.
Avoid triggering food allergies that might bring on Eczema.
Babies should also be protected from potential allergens.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have any of the symptoms above flare up
  • the inflammation does not respond within a week to treatment with over-the-counter creams. A Physician may suggest more aggressive forms of treatment.
  • you develop blisters filled with pus
  • you have a bout of Eczema and are exposed to anybody with a viral disease.


A serious lung disease where the alveoli and the narrow passages leading to these air sacs become permanently swollen with air. 

What to look for

Typical symptoms of emphysema include:

  • breathlessness, worsening over the years.
  • a chronic, mild cough, sometimes accompanied by a small amount of phlegm brought on by the slightest exertion.
  • chewing and swallowing may be hard
  • in severe cases a ‘barrel shaped’ chest.

Emphysema is a potentially fatal lung disease and is characterised by a shortness of breath followed by coughing. Emphysema is most often caused by excessive and heavy smoking.

There is no cure for this disease but seeing a Doctor may be able to help alleviate some of the symptoms.
Emphysema results when the alveoli the tiny air sacs and the narrow passages leading to them become enlarged. These sacs are responsible for taking oxygen to the bloodstream and drawing out carbon dioxide waste. But when the lungs' airways become constricted or damaged, the lung tissues lose their elasticity and become damaged and breathing becomes difficult. This is because the damage prevents the lungs from supplying the blood with enough oxygen .
This disease is most common in heavy smokers usually over 40 years of age.


The most common cause of emphysema is heavy, long-term smoking. Cigarette smoke is thought to attack the lung tissue. Smoking also has the effect of weakening the walls of the lungs airways, causing them to collapse on exhalation, trapping stale air. Smoking also causes chronic bronchitis and this in turn usually makes the emphysema worse.
Smoking causes the tiny cells called cilia to become debilitated and dysfunctional. Their job is to rid the lungs of excess mucus and other debris. Clogged with mucus, the lungs are then susceptible to viral and bacterial infections.

Traditional Treatment

Unfortunately there is no treatment yet that will give you a new set of healthy and unaffected lungs. However you can do some things that will help the symptoms and avoid the disease becoming worse.
You must consult a doctor if you have any of the above listed symptoms and continue to see him or her regularly. Your doctor may show you the correct ways to breath with this affliction.

Quitting smoking immediately and avoiding any areas where there is cigarette smoke is a vitally important step.
Start and maintain a low-impact exercise regime such as walking or swimming.
In severe cases of emphysema, at-home oxygen therapy may be necessary; In some other serious cases, surgery may be an option.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

You must never stop seeing your doctor when you have this illness. However alternative therapies often relieve your symptoms and discomfort.

Aromatherapy - This has been very successful in the treatment of emphysema. Popular essential oils for this ailment are Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum), Lavender (Lavandula officinalis), Pine (Pinus sylvestris), and Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis).

Chinese Herbs - The Chinese herb Ephedra (Ephedra sinica), also called Ma Huang, is a potent bronchodilator. This herb does have side effects and should only be taken under the supervision of a Professional.

Herbal Therapies - A number of herbs act as expectorants and may be appropriate in the treatment of emphysema.
Elecampane (Inula helenium), for example, is believed to help clear excess mucus from the lungs.
Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) tea is recommended for soothing the mucous membranes.

Other herbs that may help relieve shortness of breath include grindelia (Grindelia spp.), Euphorbia pilulifera, Lobelia (Lobelia inflata), Wild Black Cherry (Prunus serotina) Bark, Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca), and Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum).

Homoeopathy - To treat emphysema, a Homoeopath might recommend Antimonium Tartaricum for wheezing and congestion,

For symptoms that worsen on damp days, in stuffy rooms, or early in the morning, Ammonium carbonicum.
For symptoms that grow worse at night or in cold air and drafts, Hepar sulphuris.

Dietary Considerations

Some Health Professionals recommend avoiding foods that cause excess mucus production, such as dairy products, processed foods, and white flour products. Also eat plenty of garlic.

Personal Care

Inhaling steam can help loosen phlegm in your lungs. First, fill a sink with boiling water. Keeping your eyes closed, drape a towel over your head and inhale the steam for two to five minutes. To further ease breathing and help relieve nasal congestion, try adding a few drops of one or more essential oils to the hot water.


Stop smoking immediately.
Although there is no cure for emphysema, you can practice some simple exercises and breathing techniques that will help you cope with the disease. See a Yoga specialist and your doctor.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you cough up dark coloured or thick mucus.
  • you have a lingering, mild cough
  • you begin to lose weight and you are not trying to
  • you regularly become breathless after simple activities.


Epilepsy is a chronic disease of the nervous system characterised by fits or seizures.

What to look for

Seizures (episodes of abnormal mental or muscular activity) are the basic indicator of epilepsy. They vary widely…

  • Staring straight ahead and lapsing into complete immobility for a few seconds.
  • Loss of consciousness, rhythmic jerking motions, and incontinence are among the signs
  • Repetitive lip smacking, fiddling, and a sense of detachment from surroundings may indicate a temporal lobe seizure.
  • Rhythmic twitching of a hand, a foot, or the face, often followed by a period of weakness or paralysis, indicates a Jacksonian seizure.
  • Convulsions in an already ill child three months to three years old, resulting from a sudden climb in fever, indicate a febrile seizure.

Epilepsy is an neurological disorder. There are many varied symptoms and widely differing degrees of severity. In all cases, however, it results from electrical activity in the brain. This produces epilepsy's characteristic seizures.

Epilepsy is divided into two categories:

Generalised - where there is a disordered electrical activity over the whole brain. The two types of seizures experienced by this person are grand mal seizure and the petit mal.

The grand mal seizure begins with the smelling of something odd or unreal or having another type of sensation. They can also experience deja vu. The next stage is when the muscles contract and the person falls to the ground often injuring themselves in the process. The person may shout and the limbs may twitch and they will hold their breath. They also may bite their tongue and become incontinent.

With the petit mal seizure, the person usually does not fall down but may lose touch with reality for a very short time. This seizure usually happens in childhood and does not usually persist into adulthood. The child may not even be aware of the attacks.

Partial - electrical activity in only one area of the brain.
Among the partial seizures are temporal lobe seizures, which may be preceded by a vague feeling of abdominal discomfort, sensory hallucination, and distorted perceptions such as déjà vu;


Most experts do not know what causes this disorder. It has been reported that it can be genetically passed down, or due to birth trauma, lead poisoning, head injury, alcohol or drug addiction, or the effects of organ disease.
There may be triggers for the attacks such as certain chemicals or foods, sleep deprivation, stress, flashing lights, menstruation, some prescription and over-the-counter medications, and possibly oral contraceptives.

Traditional Treatment

This disorder can be controlled by certain medications. It is also advisable for epileptics to wear Medic Alert bracelet so that other people can quickly recognise what is happening during a seizure and help appropriately.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

If you suspect you have epilepsy, you must seek traditional medical advice. Never treat yourself as certain drugs and treatments may be incompatible.

Homoeopathy - Go to a qualified and experienced Homoeopath who can advise on which treatments to use, he or she will need to get permission from your Doctor to be able to treat your illness.

Personal care

  • Make sure you get ample sleep; too little can increase the likelihood of seizures.


Watch for potential allergens, environments, or physical and emotional signs that precede attacks. It's not uncommon, for example, to ‘feel’ something immediately before the attack, to become aware of a warning sign.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you or someone without a prior history of epilepsy experiences a seizure for the first time.
  • one seizure follows another without a return to consciousness; the brain could be deprived of oxygen,
  • call 000 immediately.


This is an illness caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria, toxins or chemicals.

What to look for

Usually, food poisoning causes some combination of nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhoea that may or may not be bloody, sometimes with other symptoms.
If you eat food contaminated by viral, bacterial, or chemical agents you may come down with food poisoning. It can give you mild to very painful discomfort.


Food contaminated with bacteria, toxins or chemicals can cause food poisoning. Bacterial food poisoning occurs when a germ is contained in the food (salmonella) you have eaten. Harmful bacteria grow in cooked and raw meat and fish, dairy products, and prepared foods left at room temperature too long. People who are ill or infected can transmit bacteria to food they are preparing it.

Badly canned or bottled products can contain a bacterium that needs no oxygen to multiply and is not destroyed by cooking. This bacterium causes botulism, a rare but potentially fatal food poisoning.
If your symptoms are mild, you probably don't need a doctor. However, if you are worried or your symptoms last longer than two days visit your doctor.

Traditional Treatment

Vomiting and diarrhoea are the body's way of flushing poison out of your system, so it is advisable not to take anything which stops this natural process from occurring.

Because repeated vomiting or diarrhoea can remove large amounts of water from your system, drink plenty of filtered water to replenish your system.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Try one or more of these alternative remedies while the body rids itself of the poison.

Herbal Therapies - Ginger (Zingiber officinale) can be an effective remedy for nausea.
An infusion of meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), catnip (Nepeta cataria), or slippery elm(Ulmus fulva) may help soothe stomach and intestinal membranes.  Also try some chamomile tea as this will soothe your stomach.

Homoeopathy - You could try any of the following over-the-counter remedies - Arsenicum Album, Veratrum Album, Nax Vomica, or Podophyllum.

Dietary Considerations

After symptoms subside, restore strength slowly by eating foods like white rice, bland vegetables, and bananas. To restore essential bacteria to your digestive tract, eat plain acidophilus yogurt, or take acidophilus capsules. Avoid unfermented milk products, which may be difficult to digest.


  • Practice good hygiene and wash your hands before cooking and preparing any meals, and after you have been to the toilet.
  • Don't thaw frozen meat at room temperature. Let it thaw gradually in a refrigerator, or in a microwave oven and cook immediately.
  • Avoid uncooked marinated food and raw meat, fish, or eggs; cook all such food thoroughly.
  • Don't eat any food that looks or smells rotten, or any food from bulging cans or cracked jars.
  • Never eat cooked meat or dairy products that have been out of a refrigerator more than two hours.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have any of the above symptoms
  • the vomiting or diarrhoea is severe and lasts for more than two days.

Food Poisoning

Gallstones are hard, round lumps of solid material usually composed of either cholesterol or bile.

What to look for

  • severe pain
  • indigestion.
  • fever.
  • severe nausea and vomiting.
  • jaundice.

Gallstones develop in the gall bladder (a small, organ that stores bile which a digestive juice produced by the liver. The stones may be as small as a pinhead or as large as a golf ball… They may be different consistencies and hardness. You may have several gallstones or just one.

People often have gallstones and do not realise it as there may be no obvious symptoms. When symptoms do occur, it's usually because the gallstone has moved and become lodged in the bile duct which is at the side of the gall bladder. Now the symptoms may begin especially after eating a large meal.


The responsibility of the gall bladder is to store bile, a brown or greenish fluid that helps the body break down fatty food. The bile is produced in the liver and drains from the liver to the bile duct.
When you eat a meal, the gall bladder releases its stored bile into the cystic duct. From there the fluid passes through the common bile duct and into the small intestine.

Bile consists of bile acids and cholesterol. Normally, the concentration of bile acids is high enough to break down the cholesterol in the mixture and keep it in liquid form. However, when we eat too much fat, the liver will produce extra cholesterol - too much for the bile acids to break down. As a result, some of this excess cholesterol begins to solidify into crystals, which we call gallstones.

Gallstones can develop in people who are on low fat diets as well. As the gall bladder hardly gets used, the cholesterol has more time to solidify. Other factors can cause gallstones to form by reducing the activity of the gall bladder and these include; cirrhosis, the use of oral contraceptives, and pregnancy.

Traditional Treatment

In a lot of cases people do not realise they have gallstones and therefore no treatment is necessary however it may be advisable to start procedures to alter your lifestyle a little to prevent them from ever becoming a problem. Often when the pain from gallstones becomes unbearable, doctors will recommend the removal of the gall bladder.
Some alternative treatments have also been found to be effective in alleviating the symptoms of troublesome gallstones.
Sometimes a person will have a once only attack and the stone dislodges itself and never returns. Doctors in this case will wait to see if you have any further problems.

If you have further trouble with your Gall stones, your Doctor may recommend one of several techniques.

  • Some gallstones can be dissolved through the use of a bile salt
  • A method called contact dissolution can also be used to dissolve gallstones.
  • Surgical Removal of the Gall bladder. The operation is done by ‘keyhole’ surgery and usually involved one night in hospital. It is very effective and safe.

Always limit the fat you eat after having this operation.

Alternative/Natural Treatment

These options may eliminate some of the gallstone symptoms.
Chinese Herbs - Very small gallstones may be dissolved through the ingestion of Chinese herbs such as pyrrosia leaf (Pyrrosia lingua) and rhubarb (Rheum palmatum).

Homoeopathy - A number of Homoeopathic remedies can be used to treat gallstone-related symptoms - Dioscorea, Colocynthis, or Belladonna, Berberis vulgaris, Hydrastis, or Chelidonium majus. You should consult a professional Homoeopath for exact medicine and dosages. 

Bach Flower Remedies - The flower essence most recommended for this complaint is willow.

Dietary Considerations

Depending on the severity of your condition, an improved diet may help relieve gallstone symptoms.
Eat high fibre, low-fat foods and lots of raw fruits and vegetables, whole grain cereals and bran. Add fresh lemon or lemon juice to your meals. Obese people are more prone to getting this condition than people closer to their normal weight.


A high-fibre, low-fat diet helps keep bile cholesterol from hardening. However, don't cut out fats abruptly or eliminate them altogether, as too little fat can also result in gallstone formation.
Moderate consumption of olive oil (about 2 tbsp a day) may actually lower your chances of developing gallstones.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have any of the above symptoms


This is inflammation of the lining of the stomach.

What to look for

Some people do not have symptoms but if they do the symptoms are usually:-

  • upper abdominal pain.
  • nausea.
  • vomiting.
  • diarrhoea.
  • loss of appetite.

Gastritis is a general medical term for inflammation of the stomach lining. Attacks of acute (meaning that the attacks do not last for a long time) gastritis usually last only one or two days. People with chronic gastritis may have no pain but may experience appetite loss or nausea.


Gastritis can be caused by too much alcohol, food poisoning or a bacterial infection. Aspirin and other over-the-counter and prescription drugs may cause erosion of the stomach lining.

Traditional Treatment

Gastritis can be treated with over-the-counter medications, antacids or antibiotics.
Both conventional and alternative practitioners frequently suggest changes in lifestyle that reduce your risk of developing gastritis.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies - To soothe your stomach, chamomile (Matricaria recutita), or Liquorice(Glycyrrhiza glabra) extract in capsule or liquid form may also help.

Homoeopathy - There are many possible Homoeopathic remedies for Gastritis, consult a Professional for advice.

Dietary Considerations

  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated drinks from your diet
  • Eat more non-citrus fruits, cooked vegetables, and bland foods,
  • Eat fewer refined carbohydrates.
  • Try drinking raw potato and cabbage juice to relieve this problem.
  • Supplements of zinc and vitamin A may help heal the stomach lining.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you are vomiting blood or have bloody, dark stools; you need immediate medical attention.
  • stomach pain becomes severe.
  • you have excessive thirst, a dry mouth, or decreased urination.


A common mild viral infection which occurs mainly in children.

What to look for

A child with German measles may not look or act sick, but symptoms may include:

  • swollen glands.
  • rash on the face and the neck; it spreads to the trunk and limbs
  • loss of appetite, irritability, loss of interest in personal care.
  • in an older child or teenager, joint pain and nerves may be affected.

A rash appears in only about half the cases of German measles and does not last for long.
German measles, is a mild illness and does not usually cause many annoying or painful symptoms for your child.
People who have had German measles once develop a lifetime immunity.

However, the virus can be extremely damaging to a foetus developing within the mother’s womb. It causes birth defects and serious abnormalities if the mother catches it during the first few months of pregnancy.


German measles is caused by a virus found in the nose and throat of a patient. It is passed from person to person by the tiny droplets in the air breathed out. As well as this it is transmitted from a pregnant mother to her developing baby through the bloodstream via the placenta.

Traditional Treatment

Your child should stay at home while sick or up to a week after any rash disappears.
No medical treatment of a child with German measles is required. If you are pregnant and are exposed to rubella, you should contact your Doctor immediately.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Immunisation will prevent this disease and also prevent it being passed onto pregnant mothers.

Homoeopathy - Always consult a Professional for appropriate dosages and remedies for children.
Belladonna, Pulsatilla, and Phytolacca are three remedies often prescribed; the choice depends on your child's symptoms and temperament.


Immunisation of children as a protection to others is strongly recommended by most Healthcare practitioners, but be aware that vaccination does not always provide lifetime immunity.

Pregnancy Concerns

If you are pregnant, are not sure of your immunity to rubella, and suspect you have been exposed, contact your doctor immediately, because the virus can pass to your unborn child.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you are pregnant and you think you have been exposed to German measles - call your doctor immediately.

German Measles

This is a condition where the pressure of the fluid in the eyeball builds up.

What to look for

  • Teary, aching eyes, blurred vision, occasional headaches.
  • A sudden onset of severe throbbing pain, headaches, blurred vision, redness in the eye, dilated pupils, and sometimes nausea and vomiting.
  • In infants, teary or cloudy eyes, unusual sensitivity to light, and enlarged corneas.

Chronic glaucoma, can be extremely painful and can also eventually cause damage to the retina and optic nerve leading to partial or complete blindness.

It may be well established before you notice the warning signs: You have headaches, you need new glasses, you develop tunnel vision, and eventually you develop blank spots where you can't see anything.


The eye's lens, iris, and cornea are continuously bathed and nourished by a water-based fluid called aqueous humor. This fluid is constantly being produced and consequently needs to be continually drained away. And this is what the problem is with glaucoma patients, there is an obstruction to the drainage of the fluid and as a result, pressure builds up and causes problems.

This condition can be genetic, babies can be born with a defect in the drainage system in the eye and can consequently develop glaucoma early in life.

As the optic nerve deteriorates, your field of vision narrows and you have difficulty seeing things at either side. If nerve damage continues, it can affect your central vision and lead ultimately to total blindness.

Researchers believe certain things can trigger this illness…

  • Using certain drugs,
  • a lack of collagen,
  • corticosteroid eye drops (sometimes prescribed for other eye disorders), are thought to destroy collagen balance in certain situations,
  • stress and allergies may aggravate symptoms of chronic glaucoma.

Traditional Treatment

Treatment of chronic glaucoma requires measures to control the flow and drainage of the fluid in the eye. You can help yourself by relieving stress and maintaining collagen production. Acute glaucoma is different: If the pressure of excess fluid in the eye is not relieved quickly, the result can be blindness.

Appropriate therapy depends on the nature and stage of the ailment.
Chronic glaucoma is typically managed with eye drops.
If your chronic glaucoma does not respond to medication, or if you cannot tolerate the side effects, your doctor may recommend another treatment.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Alternative approaches to treating glaucoma emphasise prevention and good eye maintenance. Use this ONLY in addition to conventional medicine.

Herbal Therapies - A variety of herbs have properties that may aid this complaint - Bilberry(Vaccinium myrtillus) helps maintain collagen balance and prevents the breakdown of vitamin C. This is available in tablet form or you can eat the real fruit if available.

Personal Care

Eye exercises may relieve stress and eyestrain caused by overworked eyes and many eye problems, including glaucoma.. - ask your Doctor.

Reduce alcohol and caffeine intake as these two substances may affect blood circulation to the eye.
Avoid cigarette smoke.

Dietary Considerations

Vitamin C apparently helps with this condition so therefore eat foods rich in this vitamin- cauliflower, broccoli, turnip greens, strawberries, grapefruits, and oranges.

Alternatively, you can take supplement of vitamin C daily. Eat foods rich in vitamin A such as liver, kidney, egg yolk, butter, dairy products and cod liver oil. Chromium and zinc may also deter glaucoma, as most people with the disease exhibit deficiencies of these minerals, as well as of thiamine (vitamin B1).

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have symptoms of acute glaucoma.
  • you have abnormal symptoms after taking any medication prescribed by your doctor.


Goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland in the front of the neck. Associated with the overproduction or underproduction of thyroid hormones.

What to look for

  • swelling at the base of the neck
  • If you have an overactive thyroid gland, you may also experience weight loss despite an increased appetite, an increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, nervousness, diarrhoea, muscle weakness, and hand tremors.
  • If you have an under-active thyroid gland, you may also experience lethargy, slowed physical and mental functions, depression, loss of hair, dry skin, a lower heart rate, an intolerance to cold, constipation, easy weight gain, and tingling or numbness in your hands.

Goitres can be any one of several types of growths in the thyroid gland, located at the base of the neck. A goitre may be a temporary problem that will remedy itself over time without medical treatment, or a symptom of another, possibly severe, thyroid condition that requires medical attention.


Goitres can occur when the thyroid gland produces either too much thyroid hormone or not enough.
Most goitres are caused by iodide deficiency, a key ingredient in the manufacture of thyroid hormone. To make up for the resulting shortfall of the hormone, the gland begins to grow. If the swollen gland causes breathing problems it must be removed.

If you consume too many foods such as soybeans, rutabagas, cabbage, peaches, peanuts, and spinach a thyroid growth called a sporadic goitre, can form.

Traditional Treatment

A goitre may require no treatment, especially if it is small and has succeeded in boosting production of thyroid hormone. However, if the goitre develops because of excessive thyroid hormone production, fails to produce enough hormone, or causes discomfort, you should seek medical help.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Alternative therapies treat goitres by attempting to boost production of thyroid hormone and correct the body's chemical imbalance.

Chinese Herbs - Notoginseng root (Panax Notoginseng) and Tang-kuei formula may help reduce the size of a goitre. Consult a Practitioner for correct dosages.

Herbal Therapies - To improve an underactive-thyroid condition, try bladder wrack (Fucus vesiculosus) three times a day. Take it in tablet form.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have a large goitre.


Haemorrhoids 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.

Haemorrhoids 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 haemorrhoids, or piles. There are two types - internal and external haemorrhoids.

People with internal haemorrhoids 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 haemorrhoids 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 haemorrhoids. They usually withdraw into the rectum on their own; if they don't, they can be gently pushed back into place.

External haemorrhoids lie inside the anus and are usually painful. If an external haemorrhoid prolapses to the outside (usually when passing a stool) you can see and feel it. If blood clots form within prolapsed external haemorrhoids, an extremely painful condition called a thrombosis is the result. If an external haemorrhoid becomes thrombosis, it may turn purple or blue, and possibly bleed. Even though they look frightening, thrombosis haemorrhoids 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. Haemorrhoids are a very common cause of anal bleeding and are rarely dangerous but a definite diagnosis from your Doctor is mandatory.


It is not certain exactly what causes haemorrhoids. 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 from constipation or diarrhoea, coughing, sneezing, vomiting.

What you eat is important in controlling this condition. People who consistently eat a high-fibre diet are unlikely to get haemorrhoids, 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 haemorrhoids 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 haemorrhoids, 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 haemorrhoids 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.

Homoeopathy - 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.

Aromatherapy - 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 haemorrhoids 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 complex, C, E, Mineral complex, Calcium, fluoride, 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 haemorrhoids to reduce pain and itching.
  • Do not scratch haemorrhoids
  • 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


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.


Hayfever 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.

Hayfever 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.


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.

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 liquorice (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).
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.
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, try Allium 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.


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 hea

dache 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.


Headaches strike for many reasons.
Sinus headaches 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.

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.
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 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.


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

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.


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.


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.
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.

Dietary Considerations

Some reports suggest that hearing can be aided by -

  • reducing salt.
  • for ear infections - avoid dairy products
  • Vitamin A supplements may help


  • 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

Hearing Problems

Hepatitis is a highly contagious viral disease, involving inflammation of the liver.

What to look for

Many cases of hepatitis go undiagnosed because the disease is mistaken for the flu or because there are no symptoms at all.

  • loss of appetite.
  • fatigue.
  • rash
  • mild fever.
  • muscle or joint aches.
  • nausea and vomiting.
  • abdominal pain.

Hepatitis, a general term that means inflammation of the liver, applies to a group of viral disorders commonly known as hepatitis A, B, C, with new forms appearing. Another type of hepatitis is brought on through alcohol abuse or the use of drugs or by chemicals.

Hepatitis is extremely common and can often go undiagnosed because it is mistaken for the flu. Hepatitis is serious because it interferes with the liver's many vital functions.
The viruses that cause hepatitis can be transmitted in different ways, but they all have one thing in common… They infect and damage the liver in some way.

Normally the worst part of the disease is over in a few weeks but it is not completely gone for approximately nine weeks. After the disease has run its course, the person has a lifelong immunity to it.
Only occasionally is the disease fatal in the beginning phase of the disease.
Others may develop chronic hepatitis, in which the liver remains inflamed for six months or more. This condition can lead to cirrhosis and possibly death.


The affect that the different strands of hepatitis have on the liver are similar. However, the way in which the disease can be contracted varies with each strand..

Hepatitis A, is generally transmitted by food, water or blood that has been contaminated and is the lease dangerous of the disease because it does not lead to chronic inflammation of the liver. The hepatitis A virus commonly spreads through incorrect handling of food, contact with household members, sharing tools at work, and eating raw shellfish taken from polluted waters.

Hepatitis B, the most prevalent of the hepatitis viruses, can pass from mother to child at birth also through sexual contact, blood transfusions, and needle sharing by intravenous-drug users.
The good news is that most hepatitis B sufferers recover completely, but a small percentage of them can't shake the disease and may develop chronic hepatitis and possibly cirrhosis. People with chronic hepatitis become carriers, meaning they can transmit the disease to others even when their own symptoms have vanished.

Hepatitis C is usually spread the same way as hepatitis B, however, hospitals now screen for this disease and it has been greatly reduced as a result. Although hepatitis C may cause only mild symptoms or none at all. In a third of all hepatitis C cases, the source of the disease is unknown.

A simple blood test will determine whether you have the disease or not as well as which type of hepatitis. Another blood may need to be taken after the symptoms have vanished to determine if you are a carrier of the disease.

Traditional Treatment

The conventional approach is to treat the disease with rest and proper diet and to ensure it does not spread.
Limiting your activity usually will make you feel much better. However, doctors advise that it usually up to the individual when to move and when to relax. But under all circumstances avoid contact with others to keep the virus from spreading.
Good nutrition is an important part of treatment for all types of hepatitis. In most cases, eating properly means a simple regimen of nutritious, well-balanced meals that supply adequate calories.

Treatment for alcoholic, toxic, and drug-related hepatitis is generally the same as that for viral hepatitis, although hospitalisation is more common for non viral hepatitis. Simply removing the offending drink, toxin, or drug will help the patient recover enormously.
Always avoid drinking alcohol during the acute stage of this disease to help your liver.

Only severe cases of hepatitis will require hospitalisation. Usually home care is sufficient. Most people recover completely from hepatitis.

Mild flare-ups may occur over a period of several months as the disease is subsiding, but each gets better than the previous one. Do not concern yourself if you have a relapse, this does not mean you are doomed to a life of enduring this disease, it is quite normal.

If a mother has hepatitis B while giving birth, the baby is likely to catch the disease at birth. A hepatitis B vaccine now available which will reduce the chances if given to the baby immediately after delivery.
Always continue to see your doctor regularly for checkups until your blood tests show the virus has gone. A person can remain a carrier of the disease as long as the virus is present in the blood, even if all symptoms have disappeared.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Always seek professional advice with the use of natural therapies and this disease - in most cases, these therapies will be beneficial however it is possible to worsen the condition with the wrong medications or mixtures.

Homoeopathy - Homoeopaths sometimes prescribe Phosphorus to reduce liver inflammation and relieve the symptoms of hepatitis. Other remedies are Taraxacum officinale, Lycopodium, and Chelidonium majus, depending on the individual symptoms. Consult a professional homoeopath for exact preparations and dosages.

Dietary Considerations - It has been reported that large doses of Vitamin C will help hepatitis. Another vitamin which can be of benefit is beta-carotene (a vitamin A derivative). The B complex, vitamin E and the mineral chromium. Also try food supplements such as lecithin, nutritional yeast, freeze-dried liver tablets, oyster extract.
Possible herbs which can help are Echinacea, dandelion root, goldenseal, milk thistle.


The keys to avoiding hepatitis are vaccinations, good hygiene, and informed common sense.
Healthcare workers involved in the treatment of patients with hepatitis B, C should wash their hands, utensils, bedding, and clothing with soap and hot water, especially in the first two weeks of illness, when the patient is most contagious.
Ensure that you are immunised before any type of travel to hepatitis prone countries.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your flulike symptoms persist or you notice any of the more serious symptoms
  • a friend or family member comes down with hepatitis
  • your symptoms follow a visit to a country where hepatitis is common and you have not been vaccinated.


A common condition which involves short, involuntary intakes of breath.

What to look for

  • repeated, involuntary short intakes of breath.

Hiccups (involuntary spasms of the diaphragm) are usually a minor annoyance and last only for a short time. They can affect anyone, and most pregnant women will tell you that they have even felt their unborn child hiccup in the womb.


It is caused by an irritation of the nerves of the diaphragm usually because they have been irritated by indigestion, carbonated drinks or eating too quickly, not chewing the food and swallowing properly.

Traditional Treatment

Most cases of hiccups will usually only last for a very short time. However there are numerous remedies for this condition.
Convention medicine is not needed terribly often, but if a case of hiccups fails to stop after a day, a visit to your Doctor may be a good idea to rule out disease-related causes.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies - To stop the hiccups, herbalists recommend warm chamomile (Matricaria recutita) tea, which is said to act as an antispasmodic agent. Another remedy that may bring relief is a tea combining 1/2 tsp of tinctures of peppermint (Mentha piperita) and boneset(Eupatorium perfoliatum) with a few drops of cayenne (Capsicum frutescens) and the juice of a quarter lemon in 1 cup hot water.

Homoeopathy - Spasming of the diaphragm may be eased by Ignatia, Cuprum metallicum, or Nax vomica. You will need professional help to ensure that you get the right medication in the right doses.

Aromatherapy - Try using tangerine massaged into the abdomen. Dilute the oil in a carrier oil. 

Personal Care

Most doctors believe that high blood levels of carbon dioxide inhibit hiccups, while low levels will aggravate them. Here are some other remidies that may or may not work for you.

  • Place a brown paper bag over your mouth and breathe in and out for a minute or two. You will be breathing in your own carbon dioxide which should help your hiccups. Be sure NEVER to use a plastic bag.
  • Hold your breath and swallow at the same time you feel the urge to hiccup.
  • If your child has the hiccups, tickle him gently while instructing him to hold his breath and not to laugh.
  • Hold your breath and count to ten.
  • Drink a teaspoon of raspberry cordial with no water.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your hiccups persist for more than a day;
  • hiccups and fever occur after major surgery in the upper abdomen


This is raised, itchy, red, welts on the skin which may take on many shapes and sizes.

What to look for

  • raised, whitish, welts of various sizes, surrounded by a red rash.
  • burning below the skin

Hives can be quite irritating as they are usually itchy and last from a few minutes to a few days. They are usually caused by allergies or emotional stress.
There is a condition known as angioedema in which hives develop beneath the skin. This illness can be life threatening and should be treated by your doctor immediately.


Some people’s bodies are highly sensitive to certain substances and their bodies will release a chemical called histamine to attack the alleged ‘bad’ substance.  Some people react to a high histamine level by developing the rash we call hives. There are certain allergens that can provoke hives such as fish, and nuts; drugs such as penicillins and aspirin; and various food additives, emulsifiers, certain milk products, flavourings, or preservatives.
Extreme temperatures, stress, and pressure on the skin may induce an attack of hives, as can insect bites, infections such as strep throat in children and hepatitis B in adults.

Traditional Treatment

The cause of the hives must be identified as soon as possible. If you can pin point the cause of the hives you are then able to avoid it.
To relieve itching, apply calamine lotion to the area.
A mild case of hives often disappears on its own after a few hours.
A longer-lasting case may respond to an over-the-counter oral antihistamine.
If your hives don't disappear in a few days, see a doctor.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Alternative treatments may be able to assist in the relief of symptoms of hives.

Herbal Therapies - To find relief from itchy hives, apply a chickweed (Stellaria media) poultice or add a few teaspoons of the dried herb to your bathwater. A tincture or infusion of valerian (Valeriana officinalis), passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), or peppermint (Mentha piperita) may help relieve hives resulting from stress; valerian should be taken in doses up to 10 ml to be effective.

Homoeopathy - If your hives sting and itch, try Urtica urens.
Apis, derived from the honeybee, is especially good when you have considerable redness and swelling. Either remedy is available over the counter.

Mind/Body Treatments - Stress can raise histamine levels in some people. There are several relaxation techniques available to assist in reducing your stress levels.

Dietary Considerations

Avoid all suspect foods such as chocolate, milk, cheese, eggs, fish, wheat, artificial flavourings and food additives. You may need to undergo an elimination diet to pin point the exact food causing the problem. For a few days eat foods that you think will not make you break out, then gradually start eating suspect foods, keeping a careful record of how your body responds to each one.

Personal Care

One of the best remedies for hives is a soothing bath. If you are allergic to bee stings or other insect bites, ask your doctor about prescribing an emergency kit for you.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you develop hives accompanied by dry throat, cough, nausea, dizziness, difficult breathing after a bee or wasp sting.
  • you have recurring bouts of hives lasting a month or more
  • you develop hives after a blood transfusion.
  • your hives appear under the skin


This is a condition where there is too little sugar in the bloodstream.

What to look for

  • weakness.
  • sweating
  • hunger.
  • nervousness.
  • dizziness.
  • trembling.
  • heavy or cold perspiration.
  • tingling in hands and feet.

For diabetics, symptoms might also include:

  • headache.
  • nausea.
  • rapid heartbeat.
  • confusion, muddled feeling suggesting drunkenness.
  • unconsciousness, coma, or convulsions.

Hypoglycaemia, is caused when the pancreas is overactive and too much sugar is removed from the bloodstream and the blood sugar becomes low. In most cases, hypoglycaemia can be treated easily without professional intervention when the symptoms are recognised early enough.

Usually the condition occurs in diabetes sufferers, but non-diabetes patients can suffer hypoglycaemia as well. Whether you are diabetic or not, if these episodes occur frequently, you need to speak with a professional to learn to keep the levels under control.


To get energy, the body draws on glucose, the sugar circulating in your bloodstream. When glucose levels fall below normal, the body cannot meet its energy requirements. This is when the symptoms occur.
A hormone produced in the pancreas called insulin, is used by the body to convert glucose into energy. The levels of insulin fluctuate and depend on demand. When there is too much insulin in the bloodstream however, available supplies of glucose are burned up too quickly, resulting in hypoglycaemia.

After a meal, insulin levels can rise abruptly, when the sudden rise in blood sugar levels triggers increased production by the pancreas. By the same token, glucose levels may drop as a result of a missed meal or vigorous exercise.

Hypoglycaemia can also be brought on by other factors:-

  • stomach surgery
  • some types of cancer
  • liver disease
  • alcohol
  • high fevers, and reactions to food or drugs
  • small tumours that can develop on the pancreas.
  • diabetics should always have their blood sugar level monitored.

If you seem to be consistently suffering from hypoglycaemia, your doctor will test you to see if diabetes is the cause.

Traditional Treatment

It is necessary that your diet be regulated to ensure that you are receiving appropriate doses of glucose and insulin at the correct times. Your doctor will assist you with this.
If you are diabetic and become unconscious during a hypoglycaemia attack, it is essential that you receive immediate medical treatment.

Alternative Considerations

Non-conventional remedies emphasise nutrition and diet, with supplements of vitamins, minerals, and herbs.
Herbal Therapies A concoction made from gentian (Gentiana lutea) helps to stimulate the endocrine, or hormone-producing, glands..

Dietary Considerations

  • Small, frequent meals of whole foods, especially whole grains, fermented dairy products (such as cheese), and lean meat and fish.
  • Supplements of chromium - always check with your doctor before taking supplements if you are diabetic.
  • Avoid alcohol (a simple sugar), caffeine, and cigarette smoke, since they can create large swings in your blood sugar levels.

Personal Care

Whether you are diabetic or not, you can prevent a more serious attack of hypoglycaemia by simply eating a lolly or anything sweat such as a can of non diet soft drink. Combine this sugar with a small piece of protein with slow the absorption of the sugar into the bloodstream and stop the up and down of the blood sugar levels.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you are diabetic and experience symptoms of Hypoglycaemia often


Some of the many things you can expect during your pregnancy.

Your pregnancy is divided into three sections or trimesters:

  1. from the start of your last period to week 14;
  2. weeks 14 - 28; and
  3. week 28 to birth.

You can expect some or all of these conditions in a normal pregnancy:

  • in the first trimester - your period will stop; you may notice a strange taste in your mouth; increased need to urinate; minor weight gain; enlarged breasts; morning sickness or nausea.
  • in the second trimester - more weight gain; stretching of the abdominal wall and pelvis; backache, constipation, heartburn, and foetal movement.
  • in the third trimester - swollen limbs from fluid retention; leaking breasts; constipation; haemorrhoids; insomnia.

Pregnancy is a time of tremendous changes both physically and emotionally. These changes may come as a surprise or shock, but if you know in advance what is going to happen to you, you will be more prepared.
Now is the time for you to start seeing a qualified doctor specialising in conception and childbirth. He or she will step you through what to expect as your baby grows, the labour and how to cope with a newborn.
You must strive to keep as well as possible throughout your pregnancy. That means you need a balanced diet, appropriate exercise, plenty of rest, and a stress-free environment.
Never smoke or drink alcohol while you're pregnant, and avoid all drugs except those prescribed by your doctor.
We have listed some of the common complaints that are felt during your pregnancy and the treatments that you can have to ease them. If you are concerned about anything you are experiencing, do not hesitate to call your doctor.


To relieve pains or cramps particularly, use a hot water bottle on the affected areas. You can also gently massage the areas with lavender oil. If you exercise regularly, you will strengthen and tone your abdominal muscles.


Do not gain too much extra weight as this can put extra pressure on your back as well as hinder the birth. Do the appropriate exercises. Try not to take medications to relieve the pains; instead, use a hot water bottle. Special exercises to strengthen abdominal muscles can also help reduce backache.

Also be very particular about your posture - don’t slouch or lean too far back. Lie down or sit down wherever possible later on in the pregnancy. Wear special shoes or shoe inserts.
Sleep on a firm mattress.
Be careful when lifting heavy loads.
Chiropractic. See a licensed chiropractor for treatment.
Massage. Sit backward on a straight chair. Lean over the back with your head resting on your crossed arms. Have someone massage with lavender oil.


If your breasts leak fluid, use nursing pads in your bra. Wear a bra that gives your enlarged breasts proper support.


Increased hormone levels can cause your digestive system to slow down and this causes constipation. To keep stools soft and bowel movements regular, get plenty of dietary fibre. Avoid using over-the-counter laxatives. Drink lots of fluids and exercise regularly.


Mild, painless uterine contractions usually start sometime after the 20th week of pregnancy. If they cause discomfort, try changing positions. If contractions start coming at regular intervals, notify your doctor.


See your doctor about the appropriate treatment for any urinary infection. However either drinking cranberry juice every day or taking the supplements can prevent this from occurring.   Always check with your doctor before taking any new supplements.


Always try to work and place yourself where there is free air available such as near windows and doorways. Stand up or get out of bed slowly. If you're in a crowd and start feeling dizzy, step away and get some fresh air; if possible, lie down with your feet elevated or sit with your head between your knees.

Do not gain too much weight during your pregnancy. Try to avoid too much salt as this causes you to retain fluid. Put your feet up whenever possible. Wear support pantihose and avoid standing for long periods. Wear shoes that fit well and give good support - not high heals.


Get a full night's sleep and rest with your feet up for at least 15 minutes several times a day. This can also be the result of a lack of iron in your system. If you notice you have cravings for red meat, spinach and eggs, see your doctor.


Make sure you get enough rest - in fact these headaches are best treated by sleep, eat regularly, and drink six or more glasses of water daily. Avoid over-the-counter painkillers;
Try techniques such as yoga or meditation. Drink herbal teas and gently massage your temples with lavender oil. Acupuncture may be effective.


Eat smaller, less spicy meals, avoid, greasy, sugary, and acidic foods. Stick to a bland, high-fibre diet, drink lots of fluids, and exercise daily. Don't lie down right after a meal. You may wish to raise the bed head up a little as well.
After meals, drink tea made from chamomile, ginger, or fennel .


Haemorrhoids may develop but they usually disappear after the birth. Avoid getting constipated. Eat a high-fibre diet to keep your movements soft, drink lots of fluids, and don't strain during bowel movements. To relieve haemorrhoidal itching or pain, try a warm bath. If they persist see your doctor who may prescribe a special cream.


Wear support hose during the day, and elevate your feet when resting, if possible. Have your legs massaged with lavender oil. Use a hot water bottle. If painful cramps persist, ask your doctor about calcium or magnesium supplements. It is comforting to know that they won’t last long.


You may feel nauseated at any time of the day during the first trimester. Eating frequent light meals rather than three large meals. Keep your diet low in sweet and fatty foods. Drink plenty of fluids, and eat fresh fruits and vegetables, which are high in water content. Do not take antacids, but try vitamin B6.
Aromatherapy... Add the essential oils of lavender and mandarin to your bath. Peppermint and sandalwood are also good for nausea. Put on a handkerchief and inhale the scent.
Herbal teas can also be very good.


See your dentist before you get pregnant if possible or at least early in your pregnancy for a checkup and cleaning. Brush your teeth and tongue at least twice a day, and floss regularly.
Supplemental vitamin C, calcium, and coenzyme Q10 will strengthen your own teeth and ultimately your baby's. Always check with your doctor before taking supplements.


Petroleum jelly or vasoline inserted in each nostril may help. Otherwise see your doctor if it becomes too uncomfortable. This problem should not last too long.


Chloasma, a darkening of the pigmentation on your face can be alarming but be rest assured it will disappear after the baby is born. It is best to stay out of the sun and to wear sunblock.
Lubricate dry skin around your abdomen with a moisturising cream and especially vitamin E cream; stretch marks usually fade and decrease after the birth.


It is normal to have cravings for strange foods during your pregnancy. Use mouthwash often; chewing gum or mints may to get rid of the strange tastes in your mouth. Iron supplements may leave a bad taste in your mouth.


A thin, mild-smelling discharge is normal in pregnancy. Use sanitary napkins, but do not douche without your doctor's approval.
If your discharge is red or brown call your doctor immediately. Vaginal itching and soreness may indicate an infection, which requires treatment by your doctor.

Thrush is very common in pregnancy and may disappear without treatment after the baby is born. But if it is uncomfortable there are a number of home treatments that may help you. 


Pregnancy puts extra strain on your legs. You can get the most benefit from wearing support pantyhose or stockings.
Exercise regularly, but don't stand for long periods. Raise your legs above hip level when sitting, if possible. Lie on your side in bed, or put a pillow under your feet. 
Ask your doctor or a nutritional specialist about taking vitamin C supplements to strengthen blood vessels.


If your eyes swell or change shape from fluid retention and hard contact lenses become uncomfortable, switch to soft lenses or glasses.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have severe nausea and vomiting
  • you have vaginal spotting or bleeding.
  • you have a fever and chills, backache, or blood in your urine.

General Pregnancy Problems

Genital Herpes is a highly contagious, sexually transmitted disease caused by a viral infection.

What to look for

  • numbness, tingling, itching or burning in the genitals.
  • burning sensation while urinating or having intercourse.
  • painful or frequent urination
  • watery blisters in the genital area.

This is a very common and highly contagious sexually transmitted disease. It is currently incurable but it is not fatal.
Usually, herpes spreads only if the infected person is experiencing an outbreak of blisters. However, even people with no symptoms can sometimes spread it; it can also be spread through oral sex if one partner has a cold sore on their mouth (cold sores are caused by the herpes virus).
The first outbreak is usually the most extensive and painful, and can last from five days to three weeks. Some people never have another attack, others do have more throughout their lives.


Genital herpes is caused by a virus that invades the body upon sexual contact with another herpes carrier. After symptoms disappear, the virus travels to deep nerve centers at the base of the spinal cord near the buttocks. When reactivated, the virus moves out along the nerves, resulting in a new outbreak.
Very sick or stressed people have the most attacks and there are many types of stimuli or stress may reactivate the virus, including sunburn, sexual intercourse, allergic reactions to foods or medications and menstruation.

Traditional Treatment

There is no cure for herpes, but there are ways to relieve the discomfort and promote recovery.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

It is a good idea to investigate the alternative treatments available as well as utilising conventional medicine as these additional therapies are often successful in relieving the symptoms and preventing future outbreaks.

Chinese Herbs - A doctor of Chinese medicine will prescribe a formula tailored to your needs. It may include herbs such as Gentiana (Gentiana scabra) and Dong Quai.

Herbal Therapies - Echinacea (Echinacea spp.) and garlic (Allium sativum) are thought to strengthen the body's defenses against viral infection. Research also suggests that liquorice(Glycyrrhiza glabra), eliminates the herpes virus. Drink herbal teas or take capsules as directed.

Homoeopathy - A Homoeopath will prescribe a specific combination of remedies that may include Rhus toxicodendron, Sepia, Natrum Muriaticum, Hepar sulphuris, and Thuja Occidentalis.

By reducing stress, you can prevent outbreaks.

Personal Care

  • Apply diluted lemon juice, vitamin E, or tea tree oil (Melaleuca spp.) to dry up sores.
  • Use zinc sulfate ointment to heal sores.
  • Soothe lesions with baking soda compresses.
  • Add 3 tbsp salt to a warm bath; follow with a cold bath.

Dietary considerations

The amino acid lysine prevents the herpes virus from living. Avoid arginine-rich foods such as peanuts, cashews, and chocolate. Lysine-rich foods include beef, lamb, fish, milk, and cheese.
You can also take lysine in capsule form daily to help prevent outbreaks. In addition, vitamin E may decrease pain and speed the healing of lesions.


If an infected partner is having a herpes outbreak, don't have intercourse, even if you use a condom.
Always use a condom with a person who has the disease as the symptoms may still be present.
Don't practice oral sex if one of you has a cold sore.

When To Seek Further Professional Advice…

  • you have any of the symptoms listed above.

Genital Herpes

What to look for

  • painless flesh-colored or white growths on the vulva, anus, or penis that may develop a cauliflower-like appearance.
  • growths that are itchy or mildly sore.
  • sometimes there are no symptoms

Women who are pregnant and people with weak immune systems are more susceptible to this infection.  Genital warts are contagious, you should see a doctor if you discover any such growths.  Although the warts are harmless in themselves, there appears to be some link between genital warts and cervical cancer. Therefore you should have a pap smear regularly to note any changes in the virus.


Genital warts are caused by the same virus that causes other warts on the hands and feet etc - the human papilloma virus, or HPV.

Traditional Treatment

Although there is no cure for genital warts, they are easily controlled and should not disrupt your life. Nearly all warts go within six months to two years. Nonetheless, genital warts should not be left untreated as they are highly contagious and can come back later on.

Never attempt to get rid of genital warts with over-the-counter remedies. Instead, let your doctor remove warts with a chemical 'paint'.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Because genital warts are contagious, you should see a doctor before looking at any other type of treatment.

Chinese Herbs - A doctor of Chinese medicine will give you a unique herbal prescription to cleanse your liver and build up your immune system. Ingredients may include Chinese foxglove root (Rehmannia glutinosa) and gentiana (Gentiana scabra).

Herbal Therapies - To help heal warts, apply garlic (Allium sativum), or the juice of a sour apple, a dandelion stalk, a fresh pineapple, or fresh green figs. Calendula (Calendula officinalis) juice applied to the area may be beneficial as well. All have properties that are therapeutic to skin conditions.

Homoeopathy - A Homoeopathic physician will prescribe a treatment to strengthen your immune system. Some Homoeopaths may recommend that you apply Thuja Occidentalis tincture to the warts. Sabina, taken orally, is another common remedy.

Dietary Considerations

To prevent infections from recurring, eat plenty of foods that contain vitamins A and C, which help the body fight off infections, and folic acid, which strengthens the immune system. (Broccoli and spinach are good sources).

Personal Care

  • Apply tea tree oil (Melaleuca spp.) to warts to help them heal.
  • Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.


The best way to prevent genital warts is to use condoms.

When to seek further professional advice

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

Genital Warts

Gout is the inflammation of the joints caused by too much uric acid in the system

What to look for

  • sudden, intense pain in a joint usually the big toe
  • swelling, inflammation, and a feeling that the joint is very hot.
  • usually strikes unexpectedly and may recur

Without warning and, for some reason, in the middle of the night, it strikes, an intense pain in a joint, most often the big toe, but sometimes other joints, including knees, elbows, thumbs or fingers. Attacks of gout can be unexpected and excruciatingly painful. The attacks may return without notice in weeks, months or other intervals.

Gout usually strikes middle aged men who are overweight or suffering from high blood pressure.
Gout is the body's reaction to irritating crystalline deposits in the space between the bones in a joint. In spite of the extreme pain at onset, gout responds well to prompt treatment; mild cases may be controlled by diet alone.

Chronic attacks of gout, however, may require long-term medication to prevent damage to bone and cartilage, as well as deterioration of the kidneys because of excess uric acid production.

Chronic gout sufferers may feel tiny, crystals of uric acid slats settle in the joints, skin and kidneys. In the kidneys, they can lead to painful and potentially dangerous kidney stones.


Gout is brought on by an excessively high level of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is essential to the digestive process, and the excess is filtered through the kidneys and eliminated in urine. If the body produces too much uric acid or fails to excrete it, crystals of sodium urate become concentrated in the joints and tendons, causing inflammation, pressure, and severe pain.

Factors that can cause this problem include…

  • Injury,
  • a surgical procedure,
  • periods of stress,
  • or reactions to alcohol and certain drugs, including antibiotics.
  • Gout may also occur in the presence of some tumours or cancers.
  • Gout may also accompany psoriasis or anaemia.

Susceptibility to gout can be inherited, and repeat attacks are common if the body's uric acid level is not kept under control.

Traditional Treatment

To relieve the strong pain associated with this disease is the first requirement. Any pressure on the affected joint worsens the pain so it is advised to keep the joint bare.

You must keep the uric acid levels under control to prevent continuous attacks. Ask your doctor for a suitable treatment. You will need to go back for your doctor to monitor the levels of uric acid regularly.

If you do not have this condition treated, you will do damage to your kidneys.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Non-conventional approaches to treating gout begin with reducing the immediate pain and inflammation, then continue with therapies to control excessive uric acid production.

Aromatherapy - Juniper oil is helpful if applied using a compress to the affected area. Do not use this oil if you are pregnant, or if you have liver or kidney disorders. Rosemary can be used in a compress or in massage oil. Do not use this essential oil if you are pregnant, epileptic or have high blood pressure. 

Herbal Therapy - Drink an infusion of 2 tsp celery seed or Gravelroot in a cup of water, three times a day, to stimulate elimination of uric acid. Speak with your Pharmacist or Naturopath about taking charcoal tablets for this condition.

Homoeopathy - Mixed homoeopathic remedies may include dilute doses of Arnica, Ladum, Urtica urens, Benzoicum acidum, Lycopodium, and Pulsatilla.

Dietary Considerations

Your doctor will probably recommend that you cut out certain protein-rich foods. You should drink plenty of liquids but avoid alcohol. You will need to remain within your recommended weight range.

Vegetarians rarely get this disorder which goes to show that diets which include meat and animal fats are more likely to cause gout.

Diets for preventing attacks of gout in people showing a genetic vulnerability to the disease usually eliminate red meat and meat extracts; yeast; organ meats; shellfish and certain kinds of preserved fish, including sardines, herring, and anchovies.
Foods that appear to suppress the immediate symptoms of gout include complex carbohydrates, particularly from cereals, fruits, and leafy green vegetables. Simple carbohydrates, such as those in refined sugar, are likely to increase uric acid production and should be avoided.

Several authorities report favourable results in treating the pain of chronic gout by having patients eat fresh or canned cherries or drink cherry juice.

Drinking plenty of clear, non-alcoholic fluids (fresh fruit juices) - particularly good is celery juice, herbal teas, or water helps to dilute the urine and promote excretion of uric acid through continued flushing of the kidneys.

When to seek further professional advice

  • severe pain in a joint recurs or lasts more than a few days


This is a strain in the groin area of the body (where the torso meets the legs).

What to look for

  • pain and stiffness in the groin region

By definition, the groin is where your torso joins your legs. It is a place where a lot of body movement takes place. Especially in relatively active people.

The effect of a strain to these key muscles and tendons is sudden and often debilitating. The pain is immediate and intense and often you must rely on help to be moved to a more suitable place to rest.


The immediate cause of a groin pull is bruising or tearing the muscles that run from the pelvis down the thighs. Groin pulls are usually caused by overexertion, lifting heavy objects improperly, or failing to warm up before a strenuous activity. Another cause may be that you have had an accident.

Traditional Treatment

A minor groin pull will generally heal itself with rest. If the muscle tissue is actually torn, the healing process may take a week or more. Surgery may be necessary in very severe cases.
To reduce the swelling and inflammation of your groin strain, apply an ice pack as quickly as possible after the injury. You should rest and also take an aspirin for the pain.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Massage - A qualified masseuse can perform massage on this area for you.

Aromatherapy - Blend 3 drops of peppermint and 3 drops of marjoram to 15gm of base cream or massage oil. Apply to the affected area via a soft massage.

Homoeopathy - Arnica is the Homoeopath’s first-aid remedy for muscle injuries. Rhus toxicodendron and Ruta may also be useful for muscle strains.

Personal Care

  • Rest.
  • Apply a cold pack for 10 minutes on and 10 off until the pain goes.
  • Avoid exertion


Always do warm up exercises before doing strenuous exercise or activity.

Groin Strain

Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection of the genito-urinary tract and, occasionally, the rectum, pharynx, and eyes.

What to look for

  • a puslike discharge that may be yellowish, cloudy, green, white, or bloodstained.
  • frequent need to urinate and burning while urinating.
  • severe pelvic and lower abdominal pain.
  • constant urge to move bowels (anal gonorrhoea).
  • nausea, vomiting, fever, chills.
  • pain during intercourse. 
  • reddened, irritated tip of penis.
  • severe sore throat, pain on swallowing (pharyngeal gonorrhoea).

Women usually do not realise they have this disease until it is in the later stages. Men however will notice very quickly and have one or more of the above symptoms. The disease is extremely contagious and if you suspect either you or your partner has been infected - see a Doctor immediately.

Even if you have no symptoms, you should ask your doctor to perform a gonorrhoea test once a year. This is especially important for women who are pregnant or plan to be.


Gonorrhoea is caused by a bacterium, which is transmitted sexually.

Traditional Treatment

Because gonorrhoea is a contagious disease with serious consequences, you must seek conventional medical treatment first. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

In addition to conventional treatment, a number of alternative therapies may speed healing.

Chinese Herbs - To cleanse your system, a doctor of Chinese medicine may prescribe an herbal formula tailored to your body's needs. This might include gentiana (Gentiana scabra), Chinese foxglove root (Rehmannia glutinosa), dong quai (Angelica sinensis), bupleurum (Bupleurum chinense), and liquorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis).
Herbs such as Coptis (Coptis chinensis) are helpful in strengthening the urinary and reproductive systems.

Herbal Therapies - Calendula (Calendula officinalis), myrrh (Commiphora molmol), and thuja (Thuja occidentalis) may reduce the inflammation and discharge that accompany gonorrhea - use these herbs as a tea or douche.
Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata), may also help, as could uva ursi (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), and burdock (Arctium lappa).

Homoeopathy - A Homoeopathic physician may want to attack the gonorrhoea bacteria with antibiotics and then prescribe a remedy to strengthen your immune system and prevent recurrences.

At-Home Remedies

  • Take hot baths to help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Eat a balanced diet, including live-culture yogurt.
  • Supplement antibiotic therapy with the herbs listed above.
  • Use ice packs to reduce abdominal pain.

Dietary Considerations

If your doctor approves, try fasting for one to three days to clean out your system. Drink the juices of pomegranate and cranberry or a mixture of celery, parsley, and cucumber to flush out toxins from the urinary tract. Because antibiotics destroy beneficial intestinal bacteria as well as pathogenic kinds, eat yogurt containing live cultures or take acidophilus supplements.


Always use a condom. If your partner develops symptoms, both of you should be tested and treated by a doctor.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have any of the symptoms listed in the description section.


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.
  • 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, anaemia, stress, 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.


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) 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.

Massage- 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. 


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.

Hair Loss

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.


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: 
Compression, and 
Your 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 of marjoram 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 calcium for 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.


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.

Hamstring Injury

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.


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.

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.

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

Dietary Considerations

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


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.


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 center 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.


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.

There are other herbs that are used to treat heart conditions, such as raw garlic, lime flowers (linden) and nettle. 

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


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 complex, C, E, chromium, calcium, potassium, Evening 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


  • 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 Attack

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 spell

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 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.

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.
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.

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


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.

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.

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


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 magnesium, potassium, 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.


  • 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.

Heart Disease

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.


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.
Homeopathy - Specific heartburn symptoms often respond well to homeopathic remedies. After eating spicy foods, take Nax 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.


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.


This is a protrusion through a weakness in the abdominal wall. It can be either external or internal.

What to look for

  • swelling in the abdomen or groin.
  • a heavy feeling in the abdomen that is sometimes accompanied by constipation.
  • discomfort in the abdomen or groin when lifting or bending over.

A hernia occurs when an organ or tissue squeezes through a hole or a weak spot in a surrounding muscle. The most common types are inguinal, incisional, and umbilical.

In an inguinal hernia, the intestine or the bladder protrudes through the abdominal wall in the groin. Most hernias are inguinal, and most occur in men because of a natural weakness in this area.

In an incisional hernia, a hernia can develop at the site of an operation, the muscles have not healed properly.
In an umbilical hernia, the location is near the naval. Common in newborns, it also afflicts obese women or those who have had many children.


People can be born with weaknesses that make them prone to develop a hernia. The condition can also develop from heavy lifting, strenuous exercise or a persistent cough, poor nutrition, smoking, and overexertion all can weaken muscles and make hernias develop.

Anything that causes muscle strain can then induce hernia, including obesity, lifting heavy objects, diarrhoea or constipation, or persistent coughing… Ultimately, all hernias are caused by a combination of muscle weakness and strain: A weak spot in the muscle tears under the pressure of strain, and an internal organ or tissue then pushes through the tear.
A doctor's physical examination is often enough to diagnose a hernia. Sometimes you will be able to feel it yourself on the side of the abdomen or groin.

Traditional Treatment

In babies, umbilical hernias frequently heal themselves within four years, making surgery unnecessary.
Usually, however surgery will be required. It is important to get your hernia seen to by a doctor because if it is left untreated, the protruding organ may become strangulated (have its blood supply cut off), and infection and tissue death may occur as a result.

Alternative/Natural Treatment

If you suspect you have a hernia you must seek conventional treatment, as natural therapies will not eliminate a hernia. 

Alternative treatments will however relieve the discomfort.

Homoeopathy - If the hernia is on the right side of your body, take lycopodium clavatum three times a day for a few days. For general hernias, take 6C or Calcarea fluorata in tablet or liquid.

Lifestyle - Gentle exercise on a regular basis tones and strengthens stomach muscles.


Take care to avoid becoming overweight by practicing good nutrition and maintaining good muscle tone through exercise. Also avoid putting unnecessary strain on abdominal muscles through lifting.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you suspect that you have a hernia.
  • you know you have a hernia, and you are nauseated and vomiting or are unable to have a bowel movement or pass gas.


(c) Medicines Information Pty Ltd

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