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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

These are some of the things that you can expect during your pregnancy.

What to look for:

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 trimeste- 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.
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. (See also Urinary Problems.)
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.

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 bedhead 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 are also 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. (See also Vaginal Problems.)

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. (See also Varicose Veins.)
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.

Pregnancy Problems

Rabies is a viral disease transmitted through the bite of an animal.

What to look for

After an incubation period typically of one to three months:

  • sensitive skin.
  • sore throat - general aches and pains (especially at the site of the bite), fever
  • restlessness and insomnia

Up to 10 days after the above symptoms appear:

  • drooling and sweating
  • inability to swallow liquids.
  • rage, alternating with periods of calm.
  • convulsions.
  • paralysis.

Rabies is a viral brain disease. The disease is terrifying in that it is almost always fatal if it is allowed to develop. You may develop it if you are bitten by an infected animal (usually a dog as it is more likely to be in contact with humans).
A characteristic symptom is called hydrophobia which causes painful muscle spasms in the throat that prevents swallowing. And it is what leads to fatalities in untreated cases.

The incubation period for symptoms can range anywhere from 10 days to two years, but usually it will be one to three months, the time it takes for the virus to work it’s way up from the site of the bite on the skin to the brain.
If you are bitten or have any type of exposure to an infected animal go to the hospital immediately to receive an injection (any delay may minimise the treatment’s effectiveness). Treatment virtually ensures that you will not come down with the disease.


Rabies is caused by a virus that infects the brain and spinal cord. The virus enters through the skin or mucous membranes then travels to the brain.

Traditional Treatment

Immediately after you are bitten, clean the wound thoroughly with soap and water and ring the nearest hospital to tell them what has happened and go there immediately.

Alternative/natural Treatments

Do not delay getting to a hospital if you suspect you have been bitten by an infected animal. You must receive the vaccination. Alternative remedies may help your recovery.

Aromatherapy - Oil of myrrh or tea tree oil are antiseptics and astringents. Aromatherapists recommend that you apply it directly to a wound to help cleanse it.

Chinese Herbs - For centuries, doctors of Chinese medicine used skullcap to treat rabies-related convulsions.
Herbal Therapy - A compress of lavender may help your wound heal faster.

Homoeopathy - A homoeopathic practitioner may give you a remedy to speed wound healing. Echinacea is believed to strengthen the immune system to help you recuperate.

Personal Care

  • Cleanse your wound with soap and water.
  • Speed healing through the use of herbs and Aromatherapy.


  • Stay away from strange animals.
  • If you plan on travelling to an area where rabies is common in domestic animals (India, parts of South America), get immunised.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you are bitten by a wild or un-immunized animal.
  • you plan to travel to a country where rabies is common; ask your doctor to vaccinate you against rabies.


What to look for

  • difficulties in breathing.
  • cough.
  • chills and fever.
  • fatigue.

Respiratory problems may also be accompanied by:

  • rapid breathing.
  • shortness of breath.
  • pain in the chest.
  • slight headache.
  • overall despondency.
  • common cold symptoms: runny nose, sore throat, and sneezing.

There are different types of respiratory problems. There are respiratory infections, such as the common cold, pneumonia, and tuberculosis, lung diseases, such as asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema and other types of lung diseases related to a person’s line of work, such as asbestosis.


Respiratory infections can be mild (when you have a cold) all the way through to more serious illnesses such as pneumonia. They are caused by viruses or bacteria.
Lung diseases have different causes. Asthma can be aggravated by allergens, irritants, or excessive exercise and emphysema is caused by excessive smoking.
Other lung diseases can be brought on by workplace substances such as asbestos.
Have your doctor investigate your symptoms to enable a proper diagnosis to be done.

Traditional Treatment

Many respiratory infections usually go away on their own in a week to 10 days and there are a range of conventional and alternative treatments available.
If you have a bacterial respiratory infection, your doctor will probably prescribe an appropriate antibiotic.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Alternative therapies have been known to be very helpful in relieving symptoms of respiratory problems. Always consult a Naturopath for treatment. (See also the section on coughs and cold for more information).
Start these treatments as soon as you see the first symptom.

Aromatherapy - A steam inhalation can reduce congestion, and if the temperature is quite hot, it will also kill cold germs on contact. Choose eucalyptus, wintergreen, or peppermint. Place a few drops of the oil in a bowl and pour in boiling water. Place a towel over your head, lean over the bowl to create a steam tent, and breathe the vapours. 

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

Goldenseal helps clear mucus from the throat. Horseradish capsules also helps rid the body of excess mucus.
Garlic shortens a cold's duration and severity. Any form seems to work: capsules or tablets, oil rubbed on the skin, or whole garlic roasted or cooked in other foods. It is a potent and powerful healing herb.

Homoeopathy - Cold symptoms often respond well to homoeopathic remedies. Some examples are Bryonia, Arsenicum album, and Allium cepa to name a few. Ask our Pharmacist for advice.

Personal Care - The best remedies for most respiratory problems are bed rest, plenty of filtered water and hot drinks such as herbal teas, humidity or steam, and fever or pain medications and supplements of Vitamin C, Echinacea and Garlic.

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

Spicy foods are thought to help the drainage of mucus. Try to avoid mucus forming foods such as dairy products, limit these foods and try to have low fat versions. Also less eggs, starches and sugar. Good nutrition is essential for resisting and recovering from a cold.

Eat in a balanced way. Take supplements as needed to ensure you are receiving the recommended dietary allowances for vitamin A, the derivative of vitamin A - betacarotene, the vitamin B complex (vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, folic acid), and vitamin C, fish liver oils, as well as the minerals zinc and copper.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have a common cold or cough that lasts for more than 10 days and that is not relieved by over-the-counter medications.
  • you have a high fever, chills, pain in your chest, and a cough that brings up bloody mucus.
  • you have difficulty breathing.

Respiratory Problems

Restless leg syndrome is a neurological characterised by a tingling feeling or crawling sensation deep in the legs, which gives patients an urge to move their legs to relieve the discomfort.

What to look for

  • tingling sensation in the legs, accompanied by an irresistible urge to move the legs to relieve the sensation.

There is no definite cure for restless leg syndrome. People who suffer from the syndrome feel a tingling or crawling sensation in their legs and have an overwhelming need to move their legs. The ailment sometimes the arms.
Although restless leg syndrome is not fatal, it can be very uncomfortable. Both medication and lifestyle changes offer ways for sufferers to cope.


Restless leg syndrome is believed to be a genetic neurological condition brought on by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Caffeine may increase the symptoms. The syndrome has also been linked to iron or folic acid deficiencies, especially in people with kidney disease.

Traditional Treatment

Always speak to your doctor about this ailment as there are medications that relieve the discomfort.
If you are otherwise in good health, he or she may start you on a course of drug therapy.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Some sufferers have found that alternative therapies can help lessen or relieve the physical discomfort associated with the condition.

Homoeopathy - If the patient’s leg movements are trembling and twitching, with the patient becoming very anxious and drinks small amounts quite often, then usually arsenicum album is prescribed.

Causticum is prescribed if the restlessness of the lower limbs is worse in bed in the morning and night. If the person cannot keep their legs still and the legs feel heavy to them, they would have medorbinum. Restless legs while the person is seated try Rhus toxicodendron.

Dietary Considerations

You may have deficiencies that could be contributing to your symptoms, take vitamin E, a multivitamin with iron, or a B-complex vitamin supplement. As well as this, folic acid maybe lacking in your system.

Personal Care

  • Avoid stimulating activities up to three hours before bed
  • To reduce stress soak your feet in cool water.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed in the description section for the first time.

Restless Leg Syndrome

This is a rare disease which is caused by an infection in the throat.

What to look for

  • fever and tiredness.
  • a red, raised rash, usually on the chest, back, and abdomen.
  • swollen and extremely sore joints.
  • loss of appetite and weight.
  • nodules over the swollen joints -ankles, knees, wrists and elbows.
  • sometimes, weakness and shortness of breath.
  • uncontrolled movements of arms, legs, or facial muscles. (this does not always occur).

These symptoms often begin one to six weeks after a strep throat infection has appeared to clear up.
This disease is quite often fatal but fortunately it is also very rare. Rheumatic fever is a follow-on from an untreated strep throat. It is possible that the patient had the strep throat and did not recognise it.

Rheumatic fever can also cause an inflammation in the heart, which is of concern. Rheumatic fever will more than likely scar the valves of the heart which may lead to heart failure. In time, this damage to the heart can lead to rheumatic heart disease. 


The streptococcus A bacteria is responsible for this disease, as the body reacts to its presence. The body produces antibodies to fight the bacteria, but instead the antibodies attack the body's own tissues. The antibodies begin with the joints and often move on to the heart and surrounding tissues.

Traditional Treatment

This disease is rare now because of the liberal use of antibiotics which keep the condition under control.
Your doctor will prescribe bed rest and penicillin to get rid of the streptococcal organisms. Always see your doctor if you suspect that your illness may be related to this disease.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

There are treatments to supplement the antibiotics prescribed for rheumatic fever. Always stay in contact with your doctor to ensure the two therapies do not clash.

Herbal Therapies - Herbalists recommend several herbs Garlic is considered a particularly effective natural antibiotic.
Teas made from either goldenseal or Echinacea can also be effective.
Feverwort, can help relieve the fever and other discomforts of rheumatic fever.
Drink hawthorn tea daily.

Aromatherapy - Lemongrass is suitable for fevers. Use in vaporiser or as a massage (diluted in carrier oil). See our section on Aromatherapy for more information.

Homoeopathy - Aconitum napellus is given if the child is panicky, and feverish. Bryonia for childrenwith joint pains and thirst. Dulcamara for illness brought on by damp weather. And mercurius solubis for children who sweat profusely and whose sweat smells offensive. You will need professional advice for treatments appropriate for you.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you are experiencing the symptoms listed in the description section.
  • you have a sore throat accompanied by a fever.
  • you experience sudden joint pain after recovering from strep throat.

Rheumatic Fever

These are tiny mites living on the skin, which feed off dead skin cells.

What to look for

When the female mite start to breed, the symptoms will be as follows:

  • intensely itchy rash located between the fingers or around the wrists, elbows, navel, nipples, lower abdomen, and genitals.
  • scabs that tend to form over scratched areas.

The primary symptom, itchy, red lacerations result when the female mite tunnels into the skin and deposits eggs and faeces. Environments such as nursing homes and childcare centres provide perfect breeding grounds for the mite, which needs a human host to survive.


Scabies mites are very difficult to get rid of once they infest you. They transfer to other people via close personal contact. You will not usually get these mites from your dog or cat. The symptoms usually appear two weeks after infestation and are your body’s reaction to the mites.

Always see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis, as you may not receive the tell-tale red lines.

Traditional Treatments

Treatment is usually a simple case of applying the lotion which your doctor recommends to you. Anybody you have been in contact with should also be treated at the same time. The whole household will have to be treated. The mites can live on any surface for about 3 days, therefore all areas and surfaces must be vacuumed and cleaned thoroughly. The mites can also live in toys and books etc.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

There are particular herbs that are useful for relieving the itching and redness.

Herbal Therapies - Application of tea tree oil diluted in a calendula carrier oil will often rid this ailment.

Personal Care - Rubbing lavender oil into your sores can also help relieve itching.


The best way to prevent getting scabies is to avoid contact with the mite. If you contract the parasite, take basic steps to avoid reinfection and infecting others:

  • Apply a over-the-counter from the neck down and leave it on for at least eight hours.
  • Wash all linens, towels, and clothes in hot water; store stuffed animals and other hard-to-wash items in bags for at least a week.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you suspect you have scabies.
  • your lesions appear to ooze or show other signs of infection.


Scarlet Fever is an infectious bacterial disease.

What to look for

Scarlet fever occurs most frequently in children. Its symptoms include:

  • bright red or scarlet rash, usually beginning on the neck or chest.
  • high fever.
  • sore throat.
  • tongue coated with red spots.
  • infected tonsils
  • vomiting.

Scarlet fever is a childhood disease that was once fatal and now has been controlled by antibiotics.
It usually starts with a very high fever. Next a distinctive scarlet rash appears, first on the neck and chest and then all over the body. The tongue also becomes swollen and turns bright red. After three days the rash and fever usually disappear, but the tongue may remain swollen for several more days.  You must take your child to the doctor if you suspect he or she has this disease.


Scarlet fever is a contagious infection that is caused by streptococcal bacteria. It is spread by contact with an infected person or inhalation of the bacteria.

Traditional Treatment
Unless treated with antibiotics, scarlet fever can have serious complications. As well as taking antibiotics, your child should get plenty of bed rest and drink lots of fruit juice to flush out his/her system.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

A child with scarlet fever must take an antibiotic to kill the infection. Other remedies may help to reduce symptoms and help him or her recover.

Aromatherapy - Lemongrass in a vaporiser or in a carrier oil and applied through a massage can help reduce any fever.

Herbal Therapies - Catnip contains chemicals that are thought to reduce fever.
Echinacea and tea tree oil may help combat the bacteria, ease the rash, and help clear chest congestion.

Homeopathy - Use only one of the following, and only when prescribed by a Professional. Ailanthus glandulosa - if an irregular shaped, livid red rash is applicable, that disappears when touched.

Apis mellifica if the sufferer has a rosy red skin that is sensitive and sore, breaks into sweat often. Belladonna when the skin is bright red and dry. The child may be delirious and have a rapid heart rate. Pupils will be dilated.

Dietary Considerations

Proper nutrition boosts the body's immune system and helps it fight infection. Citrus juices and other fluids will help flush the bacteria out of the system


Stay away and keep your child away from people who have scarlet fever.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your child develops symptoms of scarlet fever.

Scarlet Fever

This is a mental illness characterised by severe irrationality in thought and behaviour.

What to look for

A diagnosis of schizophrenia is considered when a person experiences at least two of the following symptoms:

  • delusions.
  • hallucinations.
  • disorganised speech.
  • irrational behaviour, rigidity, or floppiness of limbs.
  • negative symptoms, such as inaction, silence, loss of will.

These symptoms are usually accompanied by a substantial decrease in the ability to interact with others.
The onset of schizophrenia is usually characterised by the psychotic symptoms listed above or by strange behaviour or the symptoms can be less in severity.

Most report a sense of being different and not connected with others. They are often lonely and anxious and they do not know why they feel this way.

A person with this illness may have their own way of communicating and may not be able to stick with one idea, they may flit from one thought to another rapidly and not make sense to a person who is listening to them. These people can often be suspicious and can hear voices speaking to them.


There are many theories with regard to the cause of schizophrenia. Most specialists agree that symptoms are provoked by chemical disturbances of brain function. Genetics is another possible cause as well as particular family upbringing.

Traditional Treatment

A combination of medication and psychotherapy is usually required to help the patient resume a normal life and interactions with people.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Because schizophrenia is such a serious and complex disorder, few natural therapies are known to be effective. However, research interest in schizophrenia has grown rapidly in recent years.

Dietary Considerations

There are possibilities that certain supplements are able to help people with this illness. They are B complex, Choline, Zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, and manganese.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you or someone you know experiences the symptoms listed in the description section.


What to look for

Shin splints are characterised by pain occasionally swelling anywhere in the lower leg.
Usually any pain in the lower leg is referred to as shin splints. It is to do with the muscles that enable the foot to move. Injuries that result in damage to the fibres of these muscles bring on shin splints.


Any sudden or repetitive stress to the lower leg can bring on the complaint. Any person who is active and uses their legs a great deal are susceptible - athletes, dancers, aerobic enthusiasts, bike riders etc.
Joggers who persist in running on hard surfaces such as bitumen or concrete will no doubt suffer from this problem. Poorly cushioned shoes and poor posture can contribute as well.

Traditional Treatment

Most treatments focus on rest, followed by a program of exercises to stop it from happening again. Get treatment straight away to avoid complications.

Crutches are occasionally used to keep weight off the injured leg, and pain killers to reduce inflammation and pain.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Here are some of the alternative treatments that complement the conventional therapies described.
Chinese Herbs - A Chinese herbal practitioner might apply a poultice of gardenia, flour, and wine to reduce swelling and to promote healing. Also perhaps helpful is a massage technique in which the ball of the thumb is used to alternately press hard and rub lightly on the sore area.

Personal Care

Rest your legs. Apply ice. Wrap your leg in an elastic bandage to compress the tissues. And elevate your legs to reduce blood pressure.


Always wear properly cushioned and supported footwear if you plan to jog or play sports and avoid hard surfaces. Warm up your muscles by doing stretching exercises before exercising.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have any of the symptoms listed above and they persist.
  • you feel localised on the lower leg.

Shin Splints

Shingles is a painful condition caused by the herpes zoster virus, in which a line-like rash develops around the body.

What to look for

  • slight fever, chills, upset stomach.
  • pain and tenderness usually on one side of your face or body.
  • tingling, itching, or prickling skin followed by an inflamed red rash.
  • blisters.
  • deep burning, aching, or stabbing pain, which may be continuous or intermittent.

Shingles can last for several weeks. However, it usually only occurs once.
The pain can continue for months or even years in rare cases.


The same virus that causes chickenpox, causes shingles- herpes zoster. People who have had chickenpox are immune to this virus again unless their immune system is adversely affected by a serious illness or stress or trauma. It can occur in some people and not in others.

Traditional Treatment
Treatment can only relieve the symptoms, it cannot halt the disease. Your doctor will prescribe the appropriate medications for you.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

There are various natural treatments available to you.
Herbal Therapies - Dabbing or sponging lesions with a solution of lemon balm or calendulamay reduce inflammation. You can also try three daily applications of a commercially prepared gel made from an extract of liquorice, which appears to interfere with virus growth.

Another very popular ointment is one based on St. John’s wort. Taking goldenseal, vervain and Echinacea also helps strengthen the immune system.

Dietary Considerations

Supplements of Vitamin A, B complex, Magnesium, Zinc are often helpful. To alleviate symptoms once the disease has begun, take the amino acid L-lysine, but only for one week. Studies have shown that this works best if you avoid foods containing the amino acid arginine, such as chocolate, cereal grains, nuts, and seeds.

Personal Care

  • Keep the affected area clean, dry, and exposed to air.
  • Do not scratch or pick blisters.
  • Calamine lotion helps relieve itching. Vitamin E oil, gel from the Aloe Vera plant will soothe the skin as well.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you suspect an outbreak is beginning.
  • if you get shingles on your face.
  • the affected area re-infected with bacteria.
  • your rash lasts longer than 10 days without improvement.


This condition results from abnormalities in the blood structure of certain individuals.

What to look for

  • joint pain, pain in the abdomen, or along the arms and legs.
  • fatigue, jaundice, and rapid heartbeat.
  • recurring infections.
  • delayed growth and development.
  • a painful persistent erection

This disease is inherited and is quite common in African countries. To develop sickle cell anaemia, a person must inherit two sickle cell genes. When only one gene is present, a person has another form of sickle cell disease known as sickle cell trait in which they will not get the full blown disease.

This disease can have fatal consequences as it can affect different parts of the body. These people have episodes called ‘crises’ in which certain organs can be deprived of oxygen for a period of time. The frequency of these crises varies. If repeated enough, organ damage can be the result.


This disease is genetic.
It is vital that this disease be diagnosed and treated early. A blood test can identify people with the trait or the disease. Couples can be tested before conception.

Traditional Treatment

At present, no cure exists but people with the disease can learn to control the symptoms.
If your child has sickle-cell anaemia, it is important to guard them from infections, which can lead to dangerous complications. In addition to standard immunisations, your child should also receive vaccines for influenza and pneumococcus.

Ask your doctor about all the preventative steps you can take to help your child.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

This disease must be handled by a conventional medical doctor. However there may be benefits in investigating the alternative therapies as well.


Maintaining a good healthy diet, drinking plenty of fluids, taking regular, moderate exercise, and getting enough sleep. Avoid any infections if possible by teaching your child good dental hygiene, having regular check ups at the doctors and being current with all their vaccinations.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your infant's hands or feet swell and the baby shows signs of anaemia.
  • your affected child's abdomen is swollen and rigid.
  • painful episodes persist more than several hours.

Sickle Cell Anaemia

Sinusitis is an infection or inflammation of the sinuses.

What to look for

  • pain and pressure in the face and behind the eyes.
  • blocked nose.
  • post nasal drip.
  • mucus is smelly and yellow or discoloured.
  • toothache.

The sinuses are the air-filled pockets in the bones of the face.
The four pairs of sinuses are usually hollow and filled with air and light mucus. The mucus traps dirt brought in by the air we breathe; then the mucus is pushed out through tiny openings that serve as drains. These openings, known as ostia, are very small and are mostly at the bottom of the cavities where mucus can drain out easily. However there are a few cavities with the openings at the top which makes draining mucus more difficult.


When the small openings, called ostia, become blocked, the sinuses become inflamed and this is usually the cause of sinusitis.
The mucus can no longer escape, pressure builds up as a consequence and the infection in the sinuses is trapped. The bacteria multiply and the symptoms of sinus start.

The ostia will become blocked as a result of colds and flu, allergies and hay fever.
The ostia may also become blocked because of abnormalities in the nasal passages or as a symptom of other diseases.

Traditional Treatment

Once diagnosed as sinusitis, your doctor will more than likely attempt to restore drainage within the sinuses. You will also give you antibiotics if there is an infection present.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

As usual, alternative therapies will try to attend to the underlying causes with this disease, such as a weak immune system. They will also attempt to relieve the pressure of the sinuses and let them drain. The symptoms of sinusitis are similar to other upper respiratory conditionsso please have your problem diagnosed by a doctor before beginning any treatment yourself.

Aromatherapy - Eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary, pine, or thyme may help break up your clogged sinuses. Use in a vaporiser or steam inhalation. 

Chinese Herbs - The Chinese practitioner will need to fully examine you and your symptoms before prescribing any preparations. The preparation may include the Chinese herb ephedra (Ephedra sinica), a decongestant. However this herb is not to be used if you have hypertension or heart disease. Only use it under the supervision of a Professional.
A number of other Chinese herbs are also helpful in relieving sinusitis symptoms. These include honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), fritillary bulb (Fritillaria cirrhosa), tangerine peel (Citrus reticulata), xanthium fruit (Xanthium sibiricum), and magnolia flower (Magnolia liliflora).

Herbal Therapies - Bromelain tablets have been shown in controlled studies to reduce inflammation, nasal discharge, headache, and breathing difficulties. You can give your immune system a lift with Echinacea, goldenseal, or garlic, preferably raw.

To fight severe mucus production, herbalists suggest elder flower, eyebright, marsh mallow, or goldenrod
Homoeopathy - Homoeopaths recommend specific remedies for various types of sinusitis discomfort.

Dietary Considerations

Increase your intake of fluids - filtered water, vegetable and fruit juices, soups and herbal teas. Avoid spicy food, alcohol and smoking. Consider taking supplements of Vitamin A, C, Zinclozenges, potassium, chloride, Garlic, ginkgo biloba and goldenseal.

Personal Care

  • Steam is great for sinus problems - fill up your bathroom sink with hot water, bend over it with a towel over your head to keep the steam in the area and breathe.
  • Use warm compresses on your nose to help open your sinuses.
  • Drink plenty of liquids.


  • First, avoid allergenic substances.
  • Avoid cigarette smoke.
  • See our Colds and flu section.

When to seek further professional advice

  • the condition does not improve within seven days or recurs frequently.


The general warning signs of skin cancer include:

  • any changes in size, colour, shape, or texture of any skin growth.
  • an open or inflamed skin wound that won't heal.

Melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, may appear as:

  • a change in an existing mole.
  • a small, dark, multicoloured spot with jagged borders (either elevated or flat) that may bleed and form a scab.
  •  a clump of shiny, firm, dark bumps.

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) may appear on sun-exposed skin as:

  • a flesh-coloured oval lump which may develop into a ulcer that bleeds.
  • a smooth red spot pierced in the centre.
  • a reddish, brown, or bluish black patch of skin on the chest or back.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) may appear on sun-exposed skin as:

  • a firm, red, bump that grows gradually.
  • a flat spot that becomes a bleeding sore that won't heal.

This is a disease of the outer skin layer called the epidermis. Skin is very complex part of our systems.
There are two main parts to the skin. The outer layer… The epidermis - which consists of several layers of cells and the lowest parts. It is at this point that the cells divide and move their way up to the surface. Once at the surface, the cells will flatten and die. They consist of keratin. The whole process takes nearly four weeks. Throughout the epidermis are melanocytes, which are cells that produce a protective pigment called melanin.

Skin cancers fall into two major categories: melanoma and non-melanoma. Melanoma is cancer of melanocytes and is the cancer of the skin which is most feared. It can start in a mole or birthmark, or in normal skin. Melanoma usually appears first on the torso, although it can occur on the palm of the hand; on the sole of the foot; under a fingernail or toenail; in the mucous linings of the mouth, vagina, or anus; and even in the eye. Melanoma is dangerous and often fatal. It can be seen and detected quite easily and readily cured. But this cancer can also spread beyond the skin to other areas and this is where the difficulty lies in treating and curing the disease.

The two most common skin cancers, basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), are non-melanomas, and are not usually fatal. They progress slowly, and stay localised on the skin, are detected easily, and are usually curable. BCC grows the slowest while SCC is somewhat more aggressive and more inclined to spread.
Some non-cancerous skin growths can eventually become cancerous.

One positive characteristic of skin cancer is that because it is based on the skin - the outside covering - it is easily visible and detectable early on in the stages. If it is detected and treated early, it will normally be cured.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the world. Most cases are cured, but the problem is that it can affect so many people. People with celtic colouring - red hair, blue eyes and fair skin - are the highest risk group. It is most common in Australia.


Skin cancer is caused by too much sun exposure. Sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) rays that can alter the genetic material in skin cells, causing mutations.

Also things to avoid to much exposure to are sunlamps, tanning booths, and x-rays. As these instruments can also damage skin and cause cancerous growths.

BCC and SCC have been linked to chronic sun exposure.

Melanoma is linked to excessive sunbathing that causes your skin to be scorched and blistered. It is reported that one blistering sunburn episode during childhood can double a person's risk for developing melanoma later in life.

The people most vulnerable to melanoma are -

  • Fair-skinned people
  • Redheads
  • blue-eyed blonds
  • people with pigment disorders
  • people with many freckles or moles.
  • Workers exposed to substances such as coal tar, radium, insecticides and other carcinogens.

Without a doubt, exposure to ultraviolet radiation is the most common cause of skin cancer as the main way of preventing this disease is by limiting skin's exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Hereditary may play a part in whether or not you eventually succumb to the disease.

It is important that you perform self examinations regularly - looking at every inch of your body, if you do not know what to look for, go to your doctor who can explain the different skin cancers can look. If you find a growth, have it examined by your doctor or dermatologist immediately.

All potentially cancerous skin growths must be confirmed by a cancer diagnosis. Always go to your doctor to have them checked out. They should never be removed by shaving, burning, or freezing because those techniques do not allow pathologic examination of the growth.

Traditional Treatments

Fortunately, most skin cancers are detected and cured before they spread. Melanoma that has spread to other organs poses the greatest problem.

Standard treatments for localised basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are safe and effective and cause very few side effects. Small tumours can also be removed.

In some cases where BCC or SCC has begun to spread beyond the skin, tumours are removed surgically and patients are treated with chemotherapy, radiation, or immunotherapy. Although it is usually rare for the cancers to spread beyond the localised site.

Melanoma tumours must be removed surgically as soon as they are detected. Neither radiation nor chemotherapy will cure advanced melanoma, but either treatment may slow the disease and relieve symptoms.

If you have had skin cancer previously, you are more at risk of getting it again. Anyone who has been treated for skin cancer of any kind should have regular checkups. (See the entry on Cancer for more information).

Complementary Therapies

Once skin cancer is diagnosed, the only acceptable treatment is medical care. However, alternative treatments may be useful in preventing the disease and also in helping the body cope with the side effects from the conventional treatments.

Nutrition And Diet - It is generally agreed that zinc and the antioxidant vitamins A (beta carotene), C, and E can help repair damaged body tissue and promote healthy skin.

Herbal Therapies - African sausage tree (Kigelia pinnata) to treat skin cancer. There needs to be more conclusive research performed on this herb.


if you are at risk of getting skin cancer, it is wise to try to prevent it’s occurrence by following these steps -

  • Avoid the hottest part of the day - around lunchtime - 11am to 2 pm.
  • Wear clothes that cover your exposed body parts and strong uv protection cream.
  • Use a sun screen with a sun protection factor of 15 or higher whenever you are outside.
  • Consider taking a B-complex vitamin.
  • Do regular self examinations and report any suspicious looking marks or skin lesions to a doctor at once

When to seek further professional advice

  • you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above.

Skin Cancer

This is your body’s way of eliminating any irritants or toxins from the nasal passages.

  • See also Colds and Flu entry as sneezing can itself be a symptom.

People sneeze when they have a cold, to help clear the nose. They also sneeze if they are allergic to eliminate allergens from the nasal passages.

An occasional sneeze is nothing to worry about. Sneezing that is part of a cold will go away with the cold, usually in about a week. However, persistent sneezing or sneezing accompanied by other allergy symptoms (a runny or congested nose, a sore throat, or itchy, watery eyes) may indicate something else and you should go to the doctor.


Sneezing is caused by an irritant in the nasal passages


If your sneezing is the result of an allergy, it can generally be treated with over-the-counter medications. You can also try to reduce suspect allergens from your home such as dust, mould etc.
You should go to your doctor who will examine you.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies - Hot teas made from either red clover (Trifolium pratense) or nettle (Urtica dioica) are thought to relieve allergy symptoms and make breathing easier by reducing inflammation.

Homoeopathy - Depending on your specific symptoms, a Homoeopath may prescribe one of the following remedies: Nax vomica, Pulsatilla, or Natrum muriaticum. Remedies that come from pollen or other allergens may also work.
For sneezing episodes, you may be prescribed Arsenicum album, Sabadilla, Euphrasia, Allium cepa, or Dulcamara.

Dietary Considerations

You will want to seek professional help for allergies. Try eliminating dairy products, food additives, and any other suspect foods. Some nutritionists recommend high doses of vitamin Cas a natural antihistamine.

Personal Care

Eliminating allergens in the home is one of the surest ways to alleviate chronic sneezing.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you begin sneezing and experience other allergy symptoms


Infections caused by the staphylococcus bacteria.

What to look for

  • Swollen areas around a cut.
  • boils or pus filled pimples around hair follicles.
  • swollen lymph nodes.

Usually infections remain in the one organ or area, but staph infections can produce disease in any part of your body. It can enter the bloodstream through a cut or another type of wound and travel to anywhere in the body. You may experience different symptoms as it depends on where the infection develops.

If an infection develops in the heart, lungs or the kidneys it can cause serious problems. People with a chronic illness, such as diabetes, cancer, or chronic liver or kidney disease, are particularly susceptible to severe staph infections.
These infections can develop in the hair follicles, where they can remain on the surface and look like small pimples or go deeper and become boils.

Conjunctivitis is another type of staph infection, this causes the eyes to redden and to weep pus which forms a crust overnight during sleep. 
Toxic shock syndrome is a staph infection and it occurs in women who leave tampons in too long. A staph infection can enter the breasts of nursing mothers resulting in painful breast abscesses.
Staph infections sometimes spread through the bloodstream to the bones and joints. The joint swells and fills with pus.


Staph infections are caused by Staphylococcus, a bacteria commonly found in the nose, mouth, rectum, or genital area. The bacteria are harmless until they enter the body. Once they are inside the body, the bacteria form pus-containing abscesses.

Traditional Treatment

With less severe conditions such as with boils, you may be able to treat yourself at home.
However, if the condition worsens, your doctor will probably give you an oral antibiotic. Other abscesses are too large to treat and must be lanced by a surgeon or doctor. Never do this yourself. You must be in completely sterile surroundings.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

See our Pharmacist who can advise you on the best course of action to treat your staph infection. As mentioned above, some abscesses must be lanced by a doctor.

Alternative treatment may be able to treat minor infections very well. This type of treatment will also focus on strengthening your immune system to prevent further outbreaks.

Herbal Therapies - Several herbs have antibacterial properties that are believed to be helpful in fighting staph infections. They include:

  • Garlic (Allium sativum): Take three cloves a day at the first sign of infection; if garlic smell becomes a problem, try three garlic oil capsules instead or eat fresh parsley.
  • Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)
  • Echinacea (Echinacea spp)

To help heal staph abscesses use cleavers (Galium aparine).
Aromatherapy - Try geranium, grapefruit or lemon in a warm compress or apply topically. 

Dietary considerations

Alter your diet to include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Drink plenty of filtered water. To further help your immune system fight the infection, take zinc supplements daily. In addition, supplements of vitamin C and bioflavonoids, may help fight the infection.

Personal Care

  • Apply heat on the boil or abscess to help it heal.
  • To help prevent scarring, add a few drops of thyme oil, lavender, or bergamot to the water in which the washcloth is soaked.
  • After the pus has drained, clean the area with warm water and lemon juice. Keep clean until completely healed. Do not ever lance a boil yourself. lance a
  • To prevent a staph infection from spreading while it heals, take showers rather than baths.

When to seek further professional advice

  • any pain, swelling, or pus forms around a cut or scraped area of skin; the infection may spread into the bloodstream.
  • the lymph nodes in your neck, armpits, or groin become swollen; this can also be a symptom of a variety of other illnesses, including mononucleosis, tuberculosis, and cancer.
  • you have a boil that is very tender, particularly if it has red lines radiating from it, or if you have fever and chills; the infection may have spread.
  • you have a boil or carbuncle on or near your lip, nose, cheeks, forehead, or spine; the infection can spread into your brain or spine.
  • you have recurrent boils; they may be a sign of diabetes.

Staph Infections

As with most cancers, stomach cancer usually does not produces any early symptoms. However, you may suffer from mild indigestion or loss of weight and appetite. Eventually the symptoms will be more noticeable. Warning signs of stomach cancer may include:

  • indigestion, heartburn, abdominal pain, or discomfort aggravated by eating.
  • loss of appetite and a bloated feeling after eating small amounts.
  • either diarrhoea or constipation, nausea and vomiting after meals.
  • general weakness and fatigue.
  • dark patches in stool, or blood on stool.
  • vomiting blood.

Most stomach cancers start in tissue lining the stomach. A tumour can either spread around the stomach wall or may grow through it and dispurse cells into the bloodstream or lymphatic system.
Once the cancer invades other organs or areas in the body it is particularly difficult to treat and the outlook is usually grim. If treated before it spreads, stomach cancer is curable.


Quite often, stomach cancer develops at the site of an existing stomach ulcer, although ulcers do not usually cause the disease. While some stomach ulcers turn cancerous, most do not. For stomach cancer to start, something has to make normal cells mutate, or reproduce abnormally. 

Dietary factors are said to be a major cause of this type of cancer. The disease is prevalent among people who frequently eat smoked, pickled, salted, and barbecued foods, all of which contain nitrites or other nitrogen compounds which are said to promote cancer.

Smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol may slightly increase the risk of stomach cancer. But these two indulgences are partly to blame for other cancers (throat for example).

Worldwide, stomach cancer is much higher among people who work in mines and metal refineries, who inhale certain dust and fumes that contain known carcinogens.

Traditional Treatments

If caught early, stomach cancer is treated surgically. Part or all of the stomach may be removed, along with any surrounding tissue and nearby lymph nodes.

Patients can have their whole stomach removed and if so will need extra vitamin B12.
Most cases of stomach cancer are too advanced when finally diagnosed to be cured surgically, but radiation and chemotherapy can often relieve symptoms, slow the disease, and possibly prolong life.

Complementary Therapies

Patients with severe stomach cancer typically experience a great deal of pain. Medication can offer partial relief but there is some other therapies which may also help.

You may wish to investigate acupuncture or activities that promote relaxation such as yoga, massage, or meditation and visualisation. (See Cancer.)

At-Home Care

Following stomach surgery, people often experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, or dizziness after eating. The symptoms usually go away in a few months, but they can be reduced if you eat small meals of soft or semiliquid foods not large meals. Also do not eat sweets, and try not to drink liquids with meals.


Studies suggest that drinking green tea and eating plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and garlicmay help protect against stomach cancer.

To prevent this illness it is best to cut out all smoked, pickled, salted, and barbecued foods.

When to seek further professional advice

  • If you experience any of the above mentioned symptoms.

Stomach Cancer

These are holes or loss of tissue in the lining of the stomach or the duodenum.

What to look for

  • burning upper abdominal pain.
  • black, or bloody stools.

The most common type are duodenal. The second most common are gastric ulcers, which develop in the stomach.
Duodenal ulcers, whose typical symptoms are recurrent upper abdominal pain and a bloated feeling after eating are fairly common in people as they become older.

Fortunately, stomach ulcers are relatively easy to treat; in many cases they are cured with antibiotics. They should however, always be monitored and controlled.


It is not known exactly why the lining of the stomach area is unable to withstand the acidic digestive juices which make ulcers occur. Doctors debate whether ulcers occur as a result of stress, hereditary, and poor dietary habits. It is believed that such influences contribute to a build up of these stomach acids that erode the protective lining of the stomach, duodenum, or oesophagus.

Some doctors and researchers believe that bacteria cause stomach ulcers. This is still being debated.
There are certain triggers which need to be controlled in order to avoid ulcers. They are - heavy use of alcohol, analgesics and smoking.  Your doctor will perform tests on you before diagnosis is possible.

Traditional Treatment

Medications are usually used to treat mild to moderate ulcers. If the cause is bacterial, antibiotics can cure the ulcer. For recurrent, severe cases that do not respond to medication, surgery may be necessary. Your doctor will attempt to control the digestive juices and strengthen the lining of the stomach. Surgical procedures are less of an ordeal these days.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Firstly you should go to your doctor for a diagnosis and medical treatment. Alternative remedies will, however help with the persistent symptoms.

Herbal Therapies - Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), which stimulates mucus secretion by the stomach, is frequently used in herbal treatments of ulcers. This treatment should be supervised.

Dietary Considerations

Supplements of A, B6, E, Zinc, Magnesium may help the condition. However always speak to us before taking supplements.

Personal Care

  • Cut down on milk.
  • Not all antacids and pain relievers will help your condition - ask our pharmacist which ones will suit.
  • Don't overdose on iron supplements.
  • Learn how to handle stress.


  • Avoid foods that irritate your stomach.
  • Eat foods with high fibre content.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Practice moderation in food and alcohol consumption.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have symptoms of a stomach ulcer and you develop a severe back pain, vomit blood or become cold and clammy.

Stomach Ulcers

A sty is an acute inflammation of a gland at the base of eye.

What to look for

  • a red swelling near the edge of the eyelid.

A sty is a pimple on the eyelid. It usually means the gland on the eyelid is infected.
Sties are very painful but usually only last 3-4 days.
Sties are usually harmless and rarely affect your eye or sight. They can happen to both sexes at any age and at any time.


The staphylococcal bacteria is the culprit. This bacteria will survive quite nicely within your nostrils and can easily spread to your eye with the rub of your hand.

Traditional Treatment

Most sties do not last very long, but they will make their presence known while they are there.
Over-the-counter medications are available to rid yourself of sties or you can let nature take its course. If you do apply medications be very sure to follow the advice of our Pharmacist, as well as the directions and never put the ointment inside your eye. The eye area is extremely sensitive.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies - Calendula may alleviate Sty’s.
Tea Tree Oil may also help but take care not to get any Tea Tree Oil into the Eye
To help reduce the pain and inflammation of sties, Herbalists recommend professionally prepared eye drops made from eyebright. They may also prescribe an oral preparation of burdock.

Dietary Considerations

Supplements of vitamins A and C may help with this problem.


If sties recur keep the eyelids scrupulously clean.
When to seek further professional advice

  • the sty refuses to go after a few weeks.
  • the swelling interferes with your vision.
  • there is pain inside the eye.
  • you have recurrent sites.


Sunburn is the inflammation of the skin caused by excessive exposure to sunlight

What to look for

  • pink or red colour on the skin, the skin also feels tender.
  • itchy blisters.
  • pain and irritation of the eye associated with overexposure to ultraviolet rays from sunlight or other sources.

Gone are the days when people go to the beach hoping to get burnt in the hope of eventually getting a great tan. These days, it is almost common knowledge that too much sunburn may equal skin cancer and premature aging.
Everyone is at risk. If you have dark skin do not think you can escape the dangerous rays of the sun.

Your reddened skin will normally heal within a few days but the damage can last a lifetime. If your sunburn is accompanied by blisters, the sunburn is quite severe and no doubt will be extremely painful. You will lose a few layers of skin through peeling.
Any sunburn will inevitably cause skin damage.


The sun has two types of ultraviolet radiation important in a discussion of damaging effects to the skin.

  • The first type, UVA radiation generally only tans skins but it is reported now that it can also take part in premature aging and wrinkling.
  • UVB rays cause sunburn and the potential for skin cancer. You can also become burnt from reflected sunlight- from sand, water, or snow.

Certain drugs can intensify the harmful effects of UV radiation.

Traditional Treatment

At-home care will alleviate many of the symptoms of sunburn, but no treatment can undo the damage caused by prolonged exposure to the sun.

Few cases of sunburn require medical care. If the burn is very painful or widespread, a doctor may prescribe oral corticosteroids to relieve the discomfort. Treatment for extremely severe cases of sunburn (those involving extensive blistering, dehydration, or fever) usually requires bed rest and possibly hospitalisation. 

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies - Lotions, poultices, and compresses containing calendula (Calendula officinalis) will reduce inflammation.
Preparations containing aloe (Aloe barbadensis) are excellent for relieving sunburn.

Aromatherapy - A gentle massage using lavender essential oil diluted in a carrier oil.

Homoeopathy - Cantharis taken orally every three to four hours for up to two days is recommended for relieving pain and helping to heal blisters.

Personal Care

Apply cold compresses or calamine lotion to ease itchiness, take a pain killer, and have a cool bath or shower for overall relief. Drink plenty of water, avoiding alcohol.

When your skin peels or the blisters break, gently remove the dried skin and apply an antiseptic ointment or cream to the skin beneath. If you feel feverish or nauseated, drink lots of fluids and see a doctor immediately.


The best way to prevent sunburn is to limit your exposure to direct sunlight, especially between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Take a look at your shadow: If it's shorter than your height, stay under cover.

Don't forget to 'Slip Slop, Slap'.

Just a few sunsense tips for the whole family...

  • Get into the habit of using a sunscreen everyday.
  • Always apply your sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outside this will allow time for the sunscreen to dry on your skin and form an effective barrier.
  • Keep out of the sun between 10am and 3pm.
  • Re-apply sunscreen after swimming or exercise
  • Wear a hat
  • UV protective swim wear and shirts to be worn by children fro extra protection.

By practising these sunsense tips you should prevent excessive sun damage to you and your family's skin

When to seek further professional advice

  • your sunburn blisters and is accompanied by chills, fever, or nausea. Severe sunburn requires professional care to limit the risk of infection and to prevent dehydration.
  • your eyes are extremely painful and feel gritty. You should have your eyes examined by an ophthalmologist to determine whether the corneas are damaged.


Swimmers ear, also known as otitis externa is Inflammation of the canal between the Eardrum and the external opening of the Ear.

What to look for

  • itching inside the ear.
  • watery discharge from the ear.
  • severe pain and tenderness in the ear, especially when moving your head or when gently pulling on your earlobe.
  • a foul-smelling, yellowish discharge from the ear.
  • temporarily muffled hearing (caused by blockage of the ear canal).

This is a very common problem that afflicts the outer ear. Otherwise known as otitis externa, an inflammation occurs in the outer ear canal. The inflammation can often lead to an infection. It can often occur in swimmers but it can also afflict non-swimmers.


Too much moisture inside the ear can cause this complaint. This can occur through normal showering or swimming. The moisture causes an eczema in the ear which can be quite sore and itchy. If the skin tears or breaks, bacteria can get in and cause infection.

Traditional Treatment

This condition is not usually serious and it may just clear up on its own or you can try to relieve the problem with alternative solutions. If the condition does not improve in a day or two, see your doctor for more aggressive treatments.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Aromatherapy - To increase blood circulation to the area and help healing, gently massage the area around the outer ear with an oil made from 3 to 5 drops of either eucalyptus(Eucalyptus globulus) or lavender (Lavandula officinalis) diluted in 1 tsp olive or other vegetable oil. Rub the oil into the temples and neck and on the earlobe.

Herbal Therapies - Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) oil may help soothe and heal an inflamed ear canal.
Another useful herb for swimmer's ear is garlic (Allium sativum). Combine equal parts garlic juice, glycerin, and a carrier oil, such as olive or sweet almond; put 1 to 3 drops in the infected ear every three hours.

Personal Care

  • Make sure you keep the infected ear dry - wear a shower cap or use ear plugs.
  • To relieve pain, place a warm heating pad or compress on the infected ear.


  • Do not clean your ears too thoroughly, the ear needs some wax for protection.
  • Wear earplugs when swimming.
  • Avoid swimming in dirty or polluted water.
  • Try to avoid water getting into your ears while showering.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you are experiencing dizziness or ringing in the ears.
  • you have severe pain.

Swimmers Ear

This is an infectious sexually transmitted disease affecting the sex organs and the mouth.

What to look for

There are three stages of syphilis.

  • In the first stage, 9 days to 7 weeks after having the infecting intercourse, ulcers and sores appear on the genitals, rectum, or mouth. Lymph nodes near the groin may be swollen as well.
  • In the second stage, a non-itchy red rash may appear anywhere on the body. Sores may be around the mouth, sex organs or in the throat. You may have flulike symptoms. These symptoms may come and go if not treated.
  • In the dormant stage, the infection if not treated eventually disappear. It could lay dormant for an indefinite period of time. You will show no symptoms and it is no longer infectious. However, women giving birth may pass the disease onto the child.
  • In the third stage, which can start anytime from one year to many years later, serious disorders and diseases occur if the disease is still untreated. You may suffer from ulcers, paralysis, heart disease, blindness, deafness, insanity.

Syphilis is very serious, particularly if left untreated. In some patients, the symptoms and the disease clear totally and researchers do not know the reasons why. This disease always needs to be treated.


Syphilis is caused by a bacterium called Treponema palladium, which gains entrance to the body through minor cuts or abrasions in the skin or mucous membranes, most often during sexual intercourse. The disease is also transmitted during birth.

Traditional Treatment
If you are lucky enough to catch this disease early on it may be cured with antibiotics. But if the disease is left untreated, you run the risk of incurring irreversible damage to your heart or nervous system.
If you have syphilis, you will need regular check ups well after treatment has finished.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Always see your doctor if you suspect you have this disease. You need to be put on some form of antibiotics immediately. Alternative treatments can help relieve some of the symptoms.
Herbal Therapies - Sarsaparilla is said to aid the treatment of syphilis. Ask about this treatment.

Dietary Considerations

Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and avoid high fat, salty foods. Eat a balanced diet and avoid high-fat, salty, processed foods, which may make your system too sluggish to fight off disease.

Personal Care

  • Use acupressure massages, which may help rid your body of toxins.
  • Eat a balanced diet to help build up your immune system.


Always wear a condom while having sex.

When to seek further professional advice

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


This is the time when teeth break through the surface of the gums in an infant.

What to look for

  • crying more than usual.
  • dribbling increases
  • chewing on fingers and rubbing the mouth.
  • swollen and red gums.
  • loose bowel movements - but should not be diarrhoea
  • pulling on ears
  • refusal to suck on breast or bottle.
  • there will be NO fever

Starting at about 4 or 5 months onwards you may notice the start of some of the symptoms above. By approximately 7 or 8 months of age, your child will usually be teething tirelessly.


The new teeth grow upwards towards the surface of the gums and break through the skin causing pain.

Traditional Treatment

There are certain things which can be done to relieve the discomfort of this stage in life.
This is a normal stage in the growing up of your child and you do not need to see a doctor unless the child shows signs of illness or extreme continual distress.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies - You may be recommended marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) root syrup for inflamed gums; use 3 tsp in your child's food or drink daily.

Homoeopathy - Homoeopathic teething remedies are available over the counter. Chamomilla(camomile) is the most commonly used homoeopathic remedy for teething children.

Lifestyle - When your child begins teething, start cleaning her teeth with a soft toothbrush. This will get her used to good oral hygiene from an early age. Give your baby a toothbrush as a toy when the teeth first come through.

Do not give sweet drinks when your child is thirsty, try water or soy drinks instead.

Personal Care

  • Teething rings or a chilled wet washcloth can ease soreness.
  • Rashes can easily start to occur from drooling, use vasoline or petroleum jelly around your baby’s mouth and chin.
  • Avoid feeding your child salty or acidic foods, which can aggravate sensitive gums.
  • Rub ice or lemon juice on gums.

When to seek further professional advice

  • There are other symptoms as well, such as diarrhoea, fever or chills.
  • no teeth are present by 12 months of age.

Teething Problems

What to look for

  • painful tenderness and/or stiffness at a joint.
  • in some cases, numbness or tingling.
  • occasionally, mild swelling at the joint.

Tendonitis is an inflammation in or around tendons, bands of strong fibrous tissue that holds muscle to bone.
Tendons are strong and can usually take whatever we do to them but occasionally they can become swollen because of overexertion, disease, or injuries. The fibres can become damaged and torn and consequently the pain we feel can be enormous. The more we use a damaged tendon after it has been damaged, the worse the pain will become and the longer it will take to heal. Usually tendonitis will take about 2 weeks to resume normal functioning.


Tendons can become swollen if they are overworked for any reason. Sudden exercise when you are not used to it, lifting heavy weights, sports injuries and repetitive stress can all contribute to tendonitis.

Traditional Treatment

Your doctor will probably recommend you rest your sore tendon to allow it to heal. You can apply cold compresses immediately after the problem occurred. You may also need to take a pain killer.

There may be appropriate exercises to perform to strengthen the areas around the tendon and the tendon itself. Ask a trained physical therapist for advice.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Aromatherapy - Chamomile essential oil applied on the affected area may soothe and reduce the inflammation.

Herbal Therapies - For pain, you may be prescribed white willow (Salix alba) taken orally. Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapples, is sometimes taken orally with the aim of reducing inflammation in soft tissues.

Homoeopathy - Among the over-the-counter homoeopathic remedies suitable for tendonitis symptoms are Arnica as an anti-inflammatory and Ruta as an antispasmodic.

Dietary Considerations

Research suggests that certain vitamin supplements may help heal tendonitis. Ask your doctor about taking daily supplements of vitamin C, beta carotene, zinc, vitamin E, silicon and selenium .

Personal Care

Rest, Rest, Rest… You need to keep your weight off the affected area to help it heal.


Always warm up before exercising or lifting heavy items.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your pain doesn't ease up in 7 to 10 days or is very severe and swelling.


This complaint is common with tennis players, hence the name. Yet all people can and do suffer from tennis elbow at some stage of their lives. People who are particularly vulnerable are people who work in active occupations and who use their hands and arms (machinists, signwriters, painters, computer operators and builders).

What to look for…

  •  A type of pain that occurs below the elbow on the upper forearm.
  • You suffer pain when lifting or bending the arm or even when you try to pick up any objects.
  • Pain that typically lasts for 6 to 12 weeks; the discomfort can continue for as little as 3 weeks or as long as several years.


Tennis elbow is caused by grasping, twisting, snapping, or lifting objects while the wrist is extended backwards. Some tennis players tend to use their wrist to angle onto the ball. This is not advisable and puts stress on the tendon on the outside of the elbow. Care should be taken when lifting heavy objects as tennis elbow can often occur at these times, especially when the elbow locks into place with the arm extended.

Traditional Treatments

It is important to stop using the elbow and the arm in the way you have been doing. This means to stop doing the activity that is causing the pain or to be especially careful in how you perform the task. It is usually advisable to rest the arm for as long as possible so the tendon and muscle soreness can heal. Massage is often helpful to reduce tension in your muscles.
If the task/activity is unavoidable, ensure that your warm up your arm muscles adequately before resuming the activity and take breaks frequently.

Your may wish to visit your pharmacy or doctor to discuss other options and treatments, but resting the arm for a period of time and finding an alternative way of handling the activity is important.

At-Home Remedies

  • Replacing your lost fluids by drinking lots of filtered water.
  • Ice packs reduce swelling.
  • To relieve cramping, elevate the affected area to direct blood flow toward the heart. Gently stretching the muscle will usually stop a cramp. (See also muscle cramps).
  • A nice hot bath with your favourite aromatherapy oils can do wonders for tired and sore muscles.
  • Rest, ice, compression and elevation are vital for most sports injuries.


  • Always lift objects appropriately - ask your health care practitioner the correct method.
  • Use light weights to strengthen your hand and arm muscles.
  • Stretch relevant muscles before beginning an activity you know may potentially harm you. Do this by turning inwards the top of your fingers and gently but firmly pulling them toward your body into your palm.
  • Stop or modify the action that is causing the problem. If you have to continue, always warm up for 10 minutes or more beforehand. Take frequent breaks.

When to Seek Further Professional Advice

  • You notice any of the symptoms listed above.

Tennis Elbow

This is a condition caused by bacteria usually found in the soil.

What to look for

If you have a cut or wound and any of these things occur - call your doctor

  • stiffness of the neck, jaw - lock jaw, and other muscles
  • uncontrollable spasms of the jaw and neck muscles.
  • painful, involuntary contraction of other muscles.

This bacteria can also live in animal manure, house dust and the human intestines. If you incur any injury tetanus spores can be implanted into the skin. Regardless of how small or insignificant the accident or injury is, tetanus spores can still enter the broken skin.

The bacteria survive in areas with no oxygen. The bacteria make a toxin which is dangerous. From the wound where the bacteria entered, the toxin travels via the blood to the spinal cord and the brain. If the toxin reaches the nervous system, it cannot be controlled by any treatments.

Some people may experience only pain and tingling at the wound site and some spasms in nearby muscles. Most people however, suffer stiff jaw and neck muscles, irritability, and difficulty swallowing.


Bacteria enter the body via wounds, create a deadly toxin which travels to the spinal column and the brain.

Traditional Treatment

If you suspect you may have tetanus - go immediately to a hospital.


The best method of avoiding this disease is by being adequately immunised. Also if you are wounded, clean the wound but if you are worried about contracting tetanus, only us light dressing as the bacteria will die upon exposure to the oxygen in the air.

You do not automatically get tetanus just because you stood on a rusty nail for example. It depends on how deep the wound it and whether you have been immunised recently for the disease, also on how clean the wound is.

Always dress wounds properly - this means all cuts, abrasions and punctures. If the object which contributed to your wound came from the ground - dress the wound as best you can and see a doctor immediately. He or she will advise you further and possibly give you an updated tetanus shot if you haven’t already been immunised in the last 5 years.
Make sure you have your whole family immunised against tetanus and keep records.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have a wound or have been bitten by a cat or dog and have not been properly immunised against tetanus.


What to look for…

As with most cancers, in the beginning, throat cancer does not cause any symptoms. The early warning signs are similar to the symptoms of a chest cold.

Symptoms caused by a tumour in the upper or lower throat may include:

  • nagging cough.
  • hoarseness.
  • persistent sore throat.
  • difficulty swallowing.
  • traces of blood in mucus.
  • pain in ears.
  • swollen lymph nodes.

Additional symptoms resulting from a tumour directly behind the nose may include:

  • partial hearing loss.
  • nasal obstruction
  • nosebleeds.
  • ringing in the ears.
  • middle ear infection type symptoms.

The throat is the hollow tube that allows food and liquids to pass from the mouth to the stomach. It also lets air travel to and from the lungs. The throat is divided into three distinct sections: the area behind the nose; behind the mouth (including the tonsils) and the lower throat.

Cancers of the throat most often develop in the cells of the mucous membrane lining the throat. Eventually if left untreated, the abnormal cells penetrate through to the surrounding tissues. It is relatively easy for the cancer to spread from here to the lymph nodes in the neck, then on to the other organs.

A growing tumour may interfere the senses and swallowing. Unfortunately, cancers of the nose area and lower throat often spread early, before symptoms are apparent. Cancers behind the mouth will usually not spread to much at first.


There are some risk factors associated with throat cancer. These are smoking and heavy drinking of alcohol. These cause most cancers in and around the mouth region. Another cause of cancer is the prevalence of a virus - a type of herpes virus.
Also subjecting yourself to coal or other mineral dust, asbestos, and diesel fumes may further increase the chances of sustaining throat cancer. Poor oral hygiene and regular consumption of salted meats may also contribute.

Traditional Treatments

Provided the throat cancer is detected early enough, treatment usually will work to remove the cancer. This is provided that the cancer has not spread beyond lymph nodes by this time. There are a number of risks associated with this type of cancer, it being the area that allows the patient to speak, eat and perform other necessary purposes.

The exact type of treatment usually depends on the severity of the cancer and its location. Radiation treatment is usually performed and usually cures most cancers in this area.
If the cancer does not respond adequately or is too far advanced, surgery is necessary together with chemotherapy.

Personal Care

If radiation treatment causes discomfort try the following -

  • Ask your radiation specialist about medications and advice on how to ease side effects.
  • Eat soft or liquid foods and drinks throughout the day.

Alternative Choices

You may wish to speak with your naturopath about taking anti-oxidants which have been successful in helping to fight cancerous cells.


  • Stop smoking .
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you notice any of the symptoms listed above.
  • you are a heavy smoker and or drinker - have a thorough examination from your doctor to rule out any possible problems.

Throat Cancer

The thyroid gland is situated in the neck and can be seen or felt as the Adam’s apple

What to look for


  • weight loss despite increased appetite.
  • increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, and increased nervousness, with excessive perspiration.
  • more frequent bowel movements, sometimes with diarrhoea.
  • muscle weakness, trembling hands.
  • development of a goitre.


  • lethargy, slower mental processes.
  • reduced heart rate.
  • increased sensitivity to cold.
  • tingling or numbness in the hands.
  • development of a goitre.

Subacute thyroiditis:

  • mild to severe pain in the thyroid gland.
  • the thyroid feels tender to the touch.
  • pain when swallowing or turning your head.
  • appearance of these symptoms shortly after a viral infection, such as the flu, mumps,or measles.

If there are problems with the thyroid gland, (and it is very common), rest assured that usually it is easily cured. Most problems are mild however it is always wise to have any symptoms thoroughly checked out to rule out any other more serious illness. The thyroid produces hormones and because of this, it impacts upon all the metabolic processes within your body. The conditions most common are hyperthyroidism - too much hormone production. And hypothyroidism - insufficient hormone production.

Although the effects can be unpleasant or uncomfortable, most thyroid problems are not serious if properly diagnosed and treated.


Hyperthyroidism is the result of an overproduction of thyroid hormones. This condition can be brought on by Graves' disease, an autoimmune disorder or the development of toxic adenomas in the thyroid gland which all aid in the production of either too many or an imbalance of hormones.

Hypothyroidism results from an underproduction of thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism can result when the thyroid gland has been surgically removed or destroyed by chemicals or if you are exposed to excessive amounts of iodide. It is vital that this condition be treated.

Although cancer of the thyroid gland is quite rare.
A doctor can diagnose hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism by looking at the levels of certain hormones in your blood.
Another ways of determining whether you have thyroid problems is to monitor your temperature. To track your basal temperature accurately, you must closely follow certain guidelines: Shake the thermometer below 35°C at night and place it near you so you do not have to move much to get it in the morning.

The next morning, before you get out of bed, take your temperature via your armpit for 10 minutes while staying as still as possible. Keep records of your temperature for at least 7 days. (Women should do this during the first two weeks of the menstrual cycle, as their basal temperature may rise during the latter half).

Normal body basal temperatures fall between 37.4° C and 37.8° C. If your basal temperature is consistently low, you could be mildly hypothyroid.
Your doctor may also check for thyroid cancer.

Traditional Treatment

For thyroid disorders stemming from the over or under production of thyroid hormones, the treatment is relatively simple and lasting.

Treating hyperthyroidism requires suppressing the manufacture of thyroid hormone, while hypothyroidism demands hormone replacement.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

These treatments may assist in strengthening your thyroid.
Chinese Herbs - Several herbal mixtures may help relieve symptoms in cases of hyperthyroidism:

  • baked licorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis) combination,
  • bupleurum (Bupleurum chinense) and dragon bone combination,
  • or bupleurum and peony combination.

You will need professional guidance.

Herbal Therapies - For relief from the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, try a combination of bugleweed (Lycopus spp.), motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca), scullcap (Scutellaria spp.), and hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) Once again you will need professional guidance.

For insomnia because of hyperthyroidism, you could try a combination of valerian (Valeriana officinalis) and passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) in a tincture and take just before bedtime.


Aerobic exercise for 15 to 20 minutes a day is excellent for maintaining good thyroid function.

Dietary Considerations

For hypothyroidism, avoid cabbage, peaches, soybeans, spinach, peanuts, and radishes, as these foods can interfere with the manufacture of thyroid hormones. Supplements of vitamin C, vitamin E, riboflavin (vitamin B2), zinc, niacin (vitamin B3), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), and tyrosine might help boost thyroid production.
However, if you have hyperthyroidism, eating the foods listed above might help lower your body's production of thyroid hormone.

Yoga - This form of exercise may help keep the thyroid in top condition

When to seek further professional advice

  • you experience any of the symptoms above.

Thyroid Problems

What to look for

  • a brief, flicking sensation confined to a small part of the body, such as the eyelid; usually indicative of a harmless involuntary muscle contraction.
  • a repetitive, uncontrollable, purposeless contraction of an individual muscle or group of muscles, usually in the face, arms, or shoulders.
  • more severe trembling.

Tics and twitches are involuntary contractions of a muscle or group of muscles. They come in many forms and have a variety of causes, some mild and some serious.


Movements such as mouth twitching, and excessive blinking may be signs of a minor psychological disturbance. They are usually childhood afflictions and the child will normally grow out of it.

Tics or twitches are sometimes caused by neurological disorders. This condition may result from brain damage at birth, head trauma, or use of certain medications.

If you drink too much coffee, or are withdrawing from alcohol abuse, you may also experience trembling or shaking of your body or limbs.

Traditional Treatment

Tension-related tics or twitches usually disappear on their own, especially if you take steps to reduce stress. If the twitching is the result of taking certain medications, speak with your doctor who may be able to switch you onto something else.
If tics are severe and persistent and there is no clear physical cause, your doctor may prescribe other medication to control it for you.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies - Taking hops may relieve symptoms of facial tics and twitches.

Dietary Considerations

Avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption. Try to eat well and exercise regularly.

Personal Care

Avoid fatigue, stress, and caffeine. Replace coffee and tea with herb teas, coffees made from roasted cereal grains and dandelion roots, and carob.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your tic or twitch is persistent or recurs often.

Tics & Twitches

Tinnitus a sensation of ringing in the ears or the head.

What to look for

  •  a noise in the ears, such as ringing. It may come and go or be continuous.
  • hearing loss occasionally.

With tinnitus, the noise heard can be so soft that the person can hear it only when trying to sleep or so loud that it is audible at all times.
Tinnitus is very common and can be quite annoying for people afflicted with it. Sometimes the noise is so disturbing that the person cannot sleep or carry on a normal conversation.

Sometimes infections or blockages in the ear can cause this condition and it is a simple matter of treating the cause. However there may be instances when the ringing does not cease once the infection or blockage is removed.

There are many things which can cause tinnitus, such as…

  • Too much wax in the ear
  • Infections
  • A hole in the eardrum
  • A tumour or growth
  • Too much exposure to loud noise - this is the most common cause. (You only have to be exposed to a loud concert to experience tinnitus instantly. The noise can last for days afterwards. )
  • Certain medications can cause tinnitus.
  • High blood pressure
  • Allergies
  • Anaemia
  • Underactive thyroid.

Traditional Treatment

Speak with your doctor to have the condition examined. There may be an illness that is causing it which needs to be treated.
If the tinnitus is still there after all other ailments have been treated, there are a few more things you can do to help the condition…

  • Get your doctor to clean out your ears - there may be excess wax inside them.
  • There are certain medications available which may help.
  • Hearing aid type devices which mask the annoying sound of tinnitus.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies - Ginkgo has been found useful in minimising the distress of tinnitus. Don't expect immediate results from ginkgo; you may need to take the remedy for several weeks before experiencing any relief.

Homoeopathy - Several homoeopathic remedies are prescribed for tinnitus. You may be prescribed one of the following:

  • If the noise is a buzzing or hissing sound, Chininum sulphuricum.
  • If the noise is a ringing sound with no other symptoms, Kali iodatum.
  • If the noise is a roaring sound and is accompanied by some hearing loss, Salicylicum acidum.
  • If roaring sounds are accompanied by a tingling sensation and by the feeling that the ears are blocked, Carboneum sulphuratum.


Regular exercise that increases blood circulation to the head may help bring some relief from tinnitus.
Hypnosis has been known to work for some tinnitus sufferers.

Dietary Considerations

To improve blood circulation to your ears, reduce the saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet. And keep eating a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables.

Vitamin B12 and vitamin A supplements may be at least partially effective against tinnitus.

Personal Care

  • Avoid loud noises
  • Avoid alcohol, smoking, and caffeine.
  • Lessen the salt in your diet.
  • If you have trouble sleeping buy a white noise tape or CD which will cover up the unwanted noise in your ears.
  • Avoid too much aspirin.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have tinnitus;
  • the noise is accompanied by pain, dizziness or pus in the ear.


Infection of the tonsils caused by bacteria or a virus.

What to look for

  • fever.
  • a very sore throat with red, swollen tonsils with white discharge or spots on the tonsils.
  • swollen and tender lymph nodes in the neck under the jaw.
  • headache.
  • severe pain at the roof of the mouth, and difficulty swallowing.
  • muffled speech

The tonsils are part of the lymphatic system. They are present at birth and grow during the early years of life and regress later on at puberty.

When they become infected, the resulting condition is called tonsillitis.
Tonsillitis most commonly affects young children as the tonsils are apparently at their most potent and strong, taking in any foreign material that threatens the body. But as the child grows, the tonsils shrink, and infections become less common.


Tonsillitis is caused by the streptococcus bacterium. Cold or flu viruses sometimes also cause tonsillitis.

Traditional Treatment

You can check your child’s tonsils by asking the child to open their mouth and looking at them at the back of the throat. If they are red and swollen, go and see your doctor.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Some alternative therapies are effective in relieving the symptoms of tonsillitis.

Herbal Therapies - To reduce inflammation, medical herbalists suggest drinking a tea made from cleavers: A gargle made from sage is thought to help fight infection:

Homoeopathy - Belladonna, Hepar sulphuris, or Mercurius vivus; for chronic enlarged tonsils, Baryta carbonica or Calcarea carbonica.

Personal Care

  • A saltwater gargle can relieve soreness.
  • Ice cream or frozen yogurt


Your child’s tonsils may have to be removed if the tonsillitis is a recurring problem otherwise the condition will usually improve with time and treatments.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your child has symptoms of tonsillitis.


What to look for

  • soreness in teeth, gums, or jaw.

Tooth decay cannot be cured but it can be controlled by looking after your teeth properly and regularly visiting your dentist.
Other causes of dental pain include impacted teeth and gum disease.


The most common cause of toothache is decay. Decay is dental plaque which corrodes the protective enamel on your teeth. Plaque is made up of the bacteria, acids, and sugars in your mouth. Eventually every time that you eat something, you will feel pain.

If decay goes untreated, an abscess can develop and eventually blood poisoning.
Sometimes when the wisdom teeth grow they become impacted and cause pain. This is common in people in their late teens or early twenties. You may need to get your wisdom teeth taken out if they cause too much pain and discomfort.
Toothaches may also be caused by sinus congestion.

Traditional Treatment

You will need to go to the dentist for treatment for decay. Usually the dentist will remove the part of the tooth which is decayed and fill it with a hard material. However, in the event that there is too much decay to work on, you may need either a root canal or extraction.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Always see a dentist for pain in your teeth, however, rubbing clove oil or myrrh around the tooth will help to numb the pain.

Personal Care

Try the following remedies to relieve your pain:

  • Rinse or floss gently to remove anything in between your teeth.
  • Numb your gums: Sucking on ice or by using the herbs described above.


  • Brush and floss after meals.
  • Cut down on sweets and carbohydrates.
  • Get your teeth cleaned and examined professionally every six month.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your gums are painful, red, and swollen.
  • your tooth throbs


Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection affecting any organ through the lymph nodes and bloodstream.

What to look for

  • a mild cough.
  • fatigue and loss of weight.
  • a bloody cough.
  • fever and night sweats.
  • pain in the chest, back, or kidneys.

Tuberculosis is usually found in the lungs.
The bacteria present will eat away at the tissue of infected organs and this can be fatal. If you receive proper care and treatment the organisms can lay dormant forever.

The disease is contagious but not to the extent that colds and flu are. You have to be in close personal contact with the organisms over a period of time to catch the disease and even then you may not come down with any symptoms. The infection could be dormant. It is still wise to receive medical attention as the disease can become active eventually. treatment.
If you have TB (in its active or dormant state) you must seek conventional medical treatment.


Tuberculosis is generally caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
You may have no symptoms if you are infected with TB.

Traditional Treatment

Usually antibiotics are the standard drug used in the treatment of tuberculosis.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

If you have TB, you must go to a doctor. Alternative therapies may help alleviate some symptoms of the disease, but they cannot replace medical treatment.

Herbal Therapies - Echinacea or Pau d'arco may be recommended.

Dietary Considerations

A good balanced diet may help you build strength to avoid this disease.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you exhibit any of the symptoms listed in the description section.
  • you have been exposed to someone with active tuberculosis.


What to look for

  • heavy irregular bleeding, with pain in the lower abdomen or back.
  • difficulty urinating and moving bowels, incontinence, backaches.
  • bleeding between periods.
  • chronic, abnormal bleeding

The uterus has two parts - the body of the organ and the cervix. It is essentially a strong, hollow, pear-shaped organ which is in the pelvic region behind the bladder. It leads into the vagina.
The endometrium is the lining of the uterus.

The endometrium can bleed abnormally and if so can cause certain mineral deficiencies.
A prolapse of the uterus occurs when the uterus moves downward.

Fibroids are benign growths that can occur in or around the uterus.

Fibroids may cause the uterus to become larger, make it difficult to become pregnant, you may have heavier periods or find it painful to have intercourse.


Although the cause of fibroids is not known, their growth is related to hormones. Therefore, oral contraceptives, oestrogen replacement therapy, and pregnancy may cause fibroids to grow and expand. Your doctor will be able to confirm their existence when you have a pap smear.

High levels of oestrogen may cause excessive endometrium bleeding. This can be the result of obesity, but it can also occur as a result of other diseases. This should be examined by your doctor.
The most common cause of a prolapsed uterus is the stretching of the support ligaments that hold it in place. This is usually a result of pregnancy and childbirth.

Traditional Treatment

Fibroid treatment varies and depends on their size and placement and if they are causing you discomfort. Speak with your doctor about the possible ways to treat this problem.

A hysterectomy used to be the standard treatment for most uterine conditions but now there are other ways to treat most problems in this area. A hysterectomy will only be offered as an alternative if other treatments have been exhausted or if the condition is serious and uncontrollable.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Alternative therapies are useful as an addition to conventional methods.
Massage - May increase energy flow to the pelvis, which may help shrink fibroids, use rose or jasmine essential oil.
Homoeopathy - Pulsatilla, Belladonna, Sabina, and Sepia are among the remedies that may be prescribed for your uterine disorder.
If you suffer from heavy menstrual bleeding try to get more rest during your periods.

Dietary Considerations

You may wish to increase your fibre intake and reduce your intake of fat. This has the benefit of controlling your hormone production and consequently the fibroids. As well as this take supplements of vitamin C, bioflavonoids and vitamins A.
The supplements mentioned above together with a high-fibre, low-fat diet may help balance hormone levels that may contribute to uterine problems.

Aromatherapy - Rose or jasmine essential oils diluted in a carrier oil or lotion and massaged on the stomach or used in a compress works wonders.


Try to eat well, get plenty of rest, avoid stress by learning relaxation techniques and get some exercise daily. This will keep your system in great order and be better able to avoid uterine as well as other disorders.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you feel a sharp pain low in the abdomen.
  • your periods are excessively heavy.

Uterine Problems

What to look for

  • Blurred vision when you are looking at distant objects.
  • Blurred vision when you are looking at close objects.
  • Vertical or horizontal lines that appear blurry.
  • Flashing-lights or spots in your eyes.
  • problems deciphering between red and green in dim light.
  • Difficulty distinguishing objects in dim light.

The most common complaint concerning eye sight are…

  • Near-sightedness,
  • Far-sightedness, and
  • Astigmatism.

These are refraction disorders. As well as this other common disorders are retinal detachment, colour blindness, and night blindness.


Nearsightedness, or myopia occurs when images are focused in front of the retina instead of on it as in normal vision. Consequently, objects in the distance appear blurred. You may find that you have to sit very close to blackboards to see what is written on them properly and you have difficulties seeing to the front in large auditoriums.
The opposite of nearsightedness is far-sightedness, or hyperopia. With this disorder, the lens of the eye focuses images behind the retina, making nearby objects appear blurry.

Astigmatism, happens when the eye lacks a single point of focus. This can be the result of an abnormality within the lens. Some objects may appear blurry while others clear.
Retinal detachment is not always painful but you definitely must seek medical attention as soon as possible because eventually it can cause blindness.
Colour blindness is when people see colours normally in bright light but cannot tell the difference between reds and greens in dim light.
If you experience difficulties seeing properly at night, you may have a deficiency in vitamin A,or a disease of the liver or retina.

Traditional Treatment

If you are having difficulties with your vision, it is wise to seek the advice of an optometrist who will perform eye test. If the eye test reveals that your vision is impaired, you may need to buy a pair of prescription glasses or contact lenses.
Disorders such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and retinal detachment require surgery.

For astigmatism, the accepted prescription is a lens that will correct the uneven cornea. You will normally have a choice between glasses and contact lenses.
Some cases of retinal detachment can be corrected with laser surgery, which has a high rate of success.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Alternative remedies rely on correcting mineral and vitamin deficiencies that may contribute to vision problems.
Herbal Therapies - A daily dose of bilberry is reported to be useful for improving the flow of blood in the vessels of the eye, particularly for people with night blindness and nearsightedness.

Homoeopathy - If you develop eyestrain - Ruta is the most prescribed herb.

Dietary Considerations

To help strengthen the retina, people with night blindness can take vitamin A. Zinc may be helpful for night blindness. It is said to aid in adaptation to darkness and to strengthen the retina. Selenium, magnesium, and vitamin C supplements are antioxidants reported to prevent deterioration of the retina.

Personal Care

Take some time out to rest your eyes if they feel tired or overworked. Lie down in a dark room and cover your eyes with a cool washer or cucumber on each eye - this can be very soothing.


Resting your eyes when they are overworked is the first line of defence against vision problems. A well-balanced diet will help your eyes stay healthy and your vision sharp. Take the supplements listed above to improve vision. Stay clear of cigarette smoke and avoid pollution.

  • Rest your eyes occasionally when doing close work.
  • Blink regularly.
  • Changing the focus periodically is good when driving long distances.
  • Breathe deeply for several minutes. Roll your head around with a circular motion while stretching your neck and shoulders, then turn your head from side to side and up and down, repeating several times.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you experience symptoms of retinal detachment
  • you become unusually sensitive to bright light
  • your contact lenses become uncomfortable
  • a cut or blow to your eye affects your vision

Vision Problems

This is an unappealing yet harmless skin disorder characterised by white patches of skin that have seemingly lost their ability to produce the normal colour of the skin.

What to look for

  • White patches of skin usually on exposed areas of the body- can occur symmetrically.
  • Hair may go grey in patches.

Usually this disorder occurs before the age of 20. It can come and go or lay dormant for year. It is usually stress related.
The onset of the loss of pigmentation varies in different people, one person may lose all their pigmentation, while another may only have a few spots of lost colour.
Vitiligo is not dangerous, but it is sometimes linked with other diseases or disorders such as thyroid problems, pernicious anaemia, Addison's disease (decreased adrenal gland function), and alopecia areata (hair loss in patches).


It is not known what causes vitiligo, although it is suspected that it is hereditary. Emotional stress may the onset of vitiligo.
In essence what happens in the body is that the cells stop producing melanin which gives the skin and hair its colour. There are several possibilities one is that this is an autoimmune disease in which the cells attack there own cells, perceiving them as foreign. The problem can cause distress and embarrassment and can affect people’s self esteem.

Traditional Treatment

There are treatments you can receive from your doctor that can draw the pigment to the cells.
The doctors can try to help the normal pigmentation or to depigment the rest of the body so that it matches. The options are available for you to discuss with your doctor.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

  • Certain Homoeopathic treatments have often had very good results.
  • Some positive results from the use of the substance - Para Aminobenzoic Acid (PABA).
  • Some experts say that vitiligo may be the result of a copper deficiency.

When to seek further professional advice

  • if you find the condition is severely affecting your feelings about yourself and your social life.


What to look for

The appearance of warts depends on wear they appear on the body.

  • On the palm of hands - hard, raised skin with conical projections. The colour is pink to brown.
  • On the hands, knees or face - many in number, flat.
  • On the face or neck - thin and elongated.

Warts are a very common skin complaint. Warts are contagious as you can spread them to other parts of your body by touching them.


The human papilloma virus (HPV) is the cause of warts. It enters the skin through a cut or scratch and causes cells to multiply rapidly.

Traditional Treatment

It is usually best to leave warts alone as they will usually disappear on their own. If you want to remove one or it is uncomfortable or unslightly,
there are numerous over-the-counter remedies that can help.
If over-the-counter treatment fails, your doctor can treat the wart.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Chinese Herbs - You may be recomended place a slice of ginger (Zingiber officinale) root or garlic on top of the wart and cover it with smoldering mugwort (Artemisia). The burning herb enables the ginger to release its antiviral constituents. This process is called indirect moxibustion.

Herbal Therapies - Several herbs contain chemicals thought to fight viruses and help treat skin conditions. Herbalists recommend applying the sticky juices of dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), and celandine (Chelidonium majus). An ointment of thuja (Thuja occidentalis) applied four or five times a day may also help.

Homoeopathy - Homoeopathic medicines for warts include Causticum, Nitric acid, and Antimonium crudum.

Dietary Considerations

Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables especially the dark green and yellow variety as well as onions. Supplements to help fight off warts include beta carotene, L-lysine, zinc, and vitamins A, B complex, C, and E, garlic.

Personal Care

There are countless folk cures for warts. One that may have some validity is rubbing the wart with a slice of raw potato or the inner side of a banana skin; both contain chemicals that may dissolve the wart. You might also try any of the following applications:

  • vitamins A and E.
  • a paste of crushed vitamin C tablets and water.
  • fresh pineapple juice applied to wart.
  • over-the-counter medicines.
  • aloe
  • dandelion.


Practice good hygiene, and eat balanced meals high in vitamins A, C, and E to boost your immune system. Avoid stress, which can compromise your immunity, and learn to relax.

When to seek further professional advice

  • over-the-counter remedies don't work.
  • you develop genital warts.
  • you notice a change in a wart.


What to look for

  • a whistling sound and laboured breathing.

Wheezing usually occurs in hayfever sufferers, respiratory infections, bronchitis or emphysemaand asthma. Less commonly people who suffer cystic fibrosis will wheeze. You should see a regular doctor if you suffer from wheezing.


If you are breathing through bronchial passages that are narrow or constricted due to a build up of mucus, you may experience difficulties and are likely to make whistling sounds which are a characteristic of wheezing. Because you are having difficulties in breathing, you may become worried and this makes your breathing worse.

Traditional Treatment

You must see a conventional medical doctor to determine the cause of your wheezing and receive treatment for it.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Many natural complementary therapies for asthma may be effective for wheezing. Chinese medicine, reflexology, and herbal therapies are all reputed to help this condition. Talk to us for assistance.

When to seek further professional advice

  • wheezing is accompanied by a fever
  • breathing is so difficult that you feel that you are suffocating.


Wind is a build up of excessive gas in the stomach or intestines which can cause cramps and discomfort.

What to look for

  • abdominal bloating and pain.
  • belching.
  • flatulence

Gas is a normal part of your digestive process, however it can still be painful and embarrassing. You can usually prevent and treat gas and gas pains without professional care, but if you have other symptoms, you should consult with a doctor to find out if you have a more serious health problem.


Usually when we eat too fast or eat foods that are raw (such as vegetables, fruits etc) or if we eat under stress, or eat too quickly we may become flatulent. As well as this, eating too much fats can cause this problem.

If you eat high-fibre foods, the partially digested parts of these foods will pass into your intestines, where bacteria begin a fermentation process that produces gas. A gastrointestinal infection may also produce intestinal gas.


You can usually treat gas and gas pains without the active involvement of a doctor. Usually changes in what you eat will be of great benefit to you. If that does not help, there are over-the-counter preparations which may provide relief. Alternative medicines offer a wide variety of treatments.

Moderate exercise after meals can help move gas through your system more quickly.
If you are lactose intolerant, lactase supplements can help you digest milk products more effectively.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

There are many alternative therapies for gas problems.
Herbal Therapies - Teas made with peppermint (Mentha piperita), chamomile (Matricaria recutita), or fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) may also relieve gas pains.

Homoeopathy - Carbo vegetabilis is the most commonly used homoeopathic remedy, but Lycopodium is used as well. Nax vomica is used for gas associated with constipation, and Chamomilla is preferred for gas in infants. Talk to us about which is most suitable for you.

Regular exercise stimulates digestion and promotes the reabsorption and expulsion of gas.

Dietary Considerations

  • Increase your fibre intake and try avoiding beans, peas, and fermented foods such as cheese, soy sauce, and alcohol.
  • Drink fewer carbonated drinks.
  • Avoid mixing proteins and carbohydrates at the same meal.
  • Do not overeat,
  • eat fewer different food items at one sitting.
  • For people who are lactose intolerant, replacing cow's milk with soy milk may help.
  • Supplements of charcoal, ginger as well as peppermint tea help


One of the main methods of preventing gas and gas pains is also the primary treatment: Avoid foods that generate gas in your system.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have persistent, unexplained bloating for more than three days
  •  you have severe abdominal pain
  • you are flatulent, are losing weight


This is a highly infectious bacterial disease characterised by a strange ‘whoop’ sound upon coughing.

What to look for

  • a runny nose, cough, mild fever and loss of appetite.
  • conjunctivitis
  • spasms of coughing - with the characteristic ‘whoop’ at the end.
  • vomiting after coughing episodes.

Whooping cough or pertussis, is a highly contagious and potentially dangerous respiratory infection. It should always be treated by a conventional doctor. If left untreated, it can cause lung damage and recurrent bronchial infections, brain damage or death.


Whooping cough is caused by bacteria. It is spread by droplets of water sneezed or coughed by the sufferer.

Traditional Treatment

You must go to a doctor and receive treatment for this as soon as possible. Any delay could be very dangerous.

Alternative/natural Treatments

Alternative therapies should be used only in conjunction with conventional medicine.

Herbal Therapies - For cough relief, try wild black cherry (Prunus serotina) bark syrup.

Other herbs that might help relieve the cough include sundew (Drosera rotundifolia), thyme(Thymus vulgaris), (Lactuca canadensis).

Homoeopathy - Homoeopathic remedies can help supplement conventional care remedies may include Carbo vegetabilis, Drosera, or Coccus cacti.

Personal Care

  • Ensure plenty of fluids are taken in to avoid dehydration.
  • Keep your child away from cigarette smoke.
  • Make your child sit up while having coughing fits as this can help the passages.


Always have your children immunised against this disease - it is commonplace these days.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your child has not been vaccinated against whooping cough and has recently been exposed to the illness.
  • or if your child has this illness and is experiencing problems with breathing.

Whooping Cough

Worms are many-celled animals unlike single-celled bacteria and protozoa which are the other main parasites of humans. Parasitic roundworms and tapeworms that cause disease in humans come from unsanitary living conditions and unhygienic preparation of food. They vary in size and shapes and in their life-cycles. 

The following types of roundworms are significant: 

Filariae - these cause elephantiasis, loa loa and river blindness. These worms are round, and can be transferred from person to person by a blood-sucking insect. 

Hookworms are very common in the tropics and sub tropics and live on blood, sugar, and oxygen. The adult hookworm lives in the duodenum. Here it feeds on blood and lays its eggs which then exit through the faeces. If they can live in warm soil, the eggs change to larvae and make contact with and move through human skin that they come in contact with. They suck from the intestinal wall, and can often cause anaemia. 

Ascaris can cause a large number of infestations and is one of the most common worms. The worms live in the intestine, the eggs are ingested from food which is contaminated with faeces. The larva hatches in the duodenum and travels to the bloodstream. After this it embeds itself in the lungs. Usually then it is coughed up the windpipe and swallowed, allowing it to travel back to the intestine. 

Threadworms are common in children everywhere and they also live in the intestine. The adult female worm exits around the anus and lays eggs which can cause irritation. If the infested person scratches around this area and inadvertently swallows more worm eggs, he or she will become reinfested and others may be infested.

Tapeworms that infest humans are usually not harmful unless they penetrate the intestinal wall and move to another part of the body. However, any worm problem can eventually lead to respiratory or cardiovascular complications. Most can be easily treated and cause no permanent harm.

What to look for…

  • Severe itching around the anus - occurring predominantly at night time, restlessness and difficulty sleeping.
  • Loss of appetite and weight, irritability, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and vomiting are symptoms of small tapeworms;
  • Diarrhoea, together with fever, pain, red eyes and swelling around the face area and around the eyes;
  • Itching on the soles of your feet suggests hookworms;
  • Nausea, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, dizziness, or changes in your appetite;
  • Wheezing, coughing or other breathing problems, followed by vomiting, stomach pain, and bloating.
  • Small red open patches that could itch, followed by coughing, wheezing, or bronchial problems; diarrhoea; abdominal pain; and flatulence.

Traditional Treatments

Many types of infestation can be eradicated by having improved sanitation and by decreasing the risk of food and water being contaminated with human faeces. Hygiene is extremely important. Other worms may be avoided by cooking foods properly. The tapeworm is spread by uncooked beef or pork. You do not need to necessarily use very high temperatures as these larvae are killed at 55 degrees Celsius. Hookworms can be avoided by wearing shoes. Many filarial worms are avoided by not being bitten by insects. 

There are many preparations available from your pharmacy that can prevent and/or kill all the worms that may infest humans.


  • Make sure you and your family always wash their hands after going to the bathroom and definitely before eating.
  • Keep fingernails short to reduce the chances of picking up eggs.
  • Have all your pets treated for worms regularly.
  • Thoroughly cook any beef or pork you eat or give your family.
  • Wash all utensils that you use cutting up raw meats. Best to wash them straight away in hot, soapy water.
  • Wear shoes when going in outside areas, if your local area is prone to certain types of worms.

When to Seek Further Professional Advice

  • You notice any of the symptoms listed above.



This condition occurs as a result of a slipped disc or other reasons

What to look for

  • pain radiating through your buttock, down the back of your thigh and leg, often to your foot. Activity may make it worse.

The disc may bulge because of normal working activity or lifting, housework or washing. The disc presses on a nerve in the spinal column and the sharp pain may be felt down the leg and through the buttocks.


Pressure on a sciatic nerve may be due to a slipped disc or a number of other reasons such as poor posture, muscle strain, pregnancy, being overweight. The sciatic nerve may also be inflamed due to arthritis.

Traditional Treatment

Your doctor may suggest several types of pain killers to alleviate the pain.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies - Teas made from white willow bark or meadowsweet may relieve joint pain; try black cohosh for muscle spasms.

Other herbs which may relieve sciatica are St John’s wort, Jamaican dogwood, calendula and yarrow.
If your pain is severe, use ointment containing rue. Rub well on the affected areas 3 times per day.

Homoeopathy - For stiffness that is worse in the morning and at night but improves with heat, try Rhus toxicodendron. For severe shooting pain extending from your lower back to your ankles that worsens with motion, consider Bryonia. Make sure that you get professional advice for proper dosages and courses of treatment.

Dietary Considerations

High doses of calcium and magnesium at bedtime, with vitamin C, may be beneficial. Taking vitamin B6 three times a day for one week only may also help. You will need Professional guidance on taking supplements.

Personal Care

The following remedies might help reduce pain.

  • Apply ice to the affected area
  • Rest as much as you can and try a hard board under your mattress for more support.
  • Lie in a warm bath for 25 minutes with your favourite Aromatherapy oil. Some suggestions are peppermint, marjoram and lavender.
  • During periods of acute pain, don't pick up anything heavy.


  • Sleep on a firm mattress on your back or side; avoid sleeping on your stomach.
  • Make sure your chair has firm back support - do not slouch and make sure your feet are flat on the floor.

When to seek further professional advice

  • the pain is severe and doesn't respond to over-the-counter analgesics;
  • the pain persists for more than three or four days


Scoliosis is an excessive backwards or sideways curvature of the spine.

What to look for

  • the entire body seems to tilt to one side.
  • the shoulders, hips and legs appear uneven.
  • from the front the ribs appear more prominent.

Scoliosis is a progressive sideways curvature of the spine. People with scoliosis have an S bend curve to their spine.
This is not usually a painful condition but it can cause problems later on if not treated such as - arthritis, disk and other back problems. In severe cases the heart and lungs are affected.


it is not known exactly what causes this condition but genetics may play a part according to researchers. Children who have suffered from diseases of the muscles, bones, or nervous system, such as polio or cerebral palsy, may also develop scoliosis.

Traditional Treatment

The standard treatments for scoliosis are exercise, orthopaedic bracing, and in severe cases, surgery. It is important for treatment to begin early.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Only conventional medical treatment seems to help these patients at this stage. It is vital that your child wear the brace as instructed in order for the treatment to be successful. It may be hard for them, and they will need your support and the support of other family members and friends. Help your child adhere to exercise programs written by your physical therapist or doctor in order to keep their muscles toned and supple.

When to seek further professional advice

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

Sexual Dysfunction

Shis is the inability of either or both partners to fully enjoy sexual intercourse.

What to look for

For men, you may have a sexual problem if you:

  • ejaculate prematurely
  • do not ejaculate.
  • are unable to have sustain an erection; 
  • feel pain during intercourse.
  • lack sexual desire consistently

For women, you may have a sexual problem if you:

  • lack sexual desire consistently.
  • have difficulty achieving orgasm.
  • feel anxiety or pain during intercourse.
  • feel vaginal or other muscles contract involuntarily before or during sex.
  • have inadequate lubrication.

It can be traumatic for couples who are unable to fully enjoy sexual intercourse. The affects this can have upon the relationship itself can be distressing as well as the implications it may have for the conception of children.
This type of problem is common. And while it is not often fatal, it can drain both partners emotionally and cause stress and anxiety. It is wise to seek professional help for this problem.

Men are often anxious and feel under pressure to perform and to ‘give’ their partner an orgasm. If this does not happen, he may feel inadequate.
Another common sexual problem for men is premature ejaculation, in which orgasm occurs before or immediately after the penis enters the vagina.

Although quite rare, it is possible for men to consistently ejaculate too late.
The inability to experience pleasure from sex is a common problem for a woman. This should be talked over with a therapist and your partner.

Another similar problem is when woman can become aroused but does not achieve an orgasm. But the common fact is that women often find it difficult to orgasm particularly without stimulation of the clitoris.
Occasionally a woman will experience pain during intercourse. This may be a physical problem, an infection, or psychological.


There are many things which can affect sexual performance and functioning. Physical illnesses, drugs, alcohol are common culprits. Other more deep-rooted causes include a poor self-image, past traumatic events, guilt, depression, fatigue, certain religious beliefs, or being in a dysfunctional relationship or even problems within the relationship.
The causes of premature ejaculation are usually psychological. And this area needs to be explored to uncover the underlying fears.

Painful intercourse for men is usually physical - an infection, or an allergic reaction to something.
Problems with female arousal and orgasm may have either physical or psychological causes. Among the most common are day-to-day friction towards one's partner and inadequate stimulation.
Pain during intercourse can occur for any number of reasons and should be investigated by your doctor to rule out any possible illness or disease.

Traditional Treatment

Communication is vital when there is a sexual dysfunction in the relationship. Both are involved and both need to know exactly what is happening with the other partner.
A procedure for halting premature ejaculation has been very successful with a considerable number of couples. When you are about to ejaculate, withdraw from your partner’s vagina or ask her to stop stimulating you and gently squeeze the head of your penis to curb the orgasm. Keep going after about half a minute.

You may also wish to speak with a therapist about this problem to rule out any psychological reasons for ejaculating early.
When a man lacks sexual desire, the cause may be physical illness, fatigue, hormonal abnormality, or medications. There may also be psychological causes which a therapist may help identify.  A therapist can help women who do not feel any sexual desire. This involves both partners. It is vital to speak with a qualified and experienced therapist who you feel rapport with.
For painful intercourse in postmenopausal women, reduced lubrication can easily be corrected with over-the-counter creams.
For pain during intercourse in pre-menopausal women, first make sure there is adequate stimulation and lubrication. Also consult your doctor is pain persists after this.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Some problems with sexual function are normal. Others are not and do require assistance from either a doctor or a sex therapist or counsellor.

Aromatherapy - For relaxation, soak in a warm bath; add 5 drops of essential oil of lavender or sweet orange, lime and ylang ylang. 

Yoga and meditation provide relaxation and can relieve anxiety. Massage is extremely helpful and sensual.

Herbal - A lack of iodine in the system can cause a lack of desire for sex as well as impotence - this is available in kelp. Carotene (the natural derivative of vitamin A) is also an important substance for sexual desire.

Chinese Herbs - The Chinese have used Ginseng for thousands of years as a general tonic for anything related to sexual functioning. It is available in tablet, fluid or extract form. It is also available in teas but it is of doubt how much genuine ginseng would be in the tea. You should be very careful how much of this herb is taken.

When to seek further professional advice

You or your partner has:

  • concerns about your sexual life.
  • pain during intercourse.
  • been exposed to sexually transmitted diseases.
  • been sexually abused.
  • a prolonged erection unaccompanied by sexual desire.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

These are a wide range of different disease which are all acquired as a result of having sexual intercourse with a person who has already contracted the infection.

What to look for

  • a white, yellow, green, grey, or blood-streaked discharge that may have a strong smell.
  • genital and/or anal itching.
  • a rash, blisters, sores, lumps, bumps, warts on or around the genitals.
  • burning during urination.
  • swollen lymph glands in the groin.
  • pain in the groin or lower abdomen.
  • vaginal bleeding.
  • testicular swelling.
  • flu like symptoms.
  • painful intercourse.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are common and contagious diseases.

As the name of this group of diseases implies, these infections can be contracted by means of vaginal, anal, or oral sex. You are at high risk if:

  • you have more than one sex partner.
  • you don't use protection while having sex.
  • you share needles if injecting drugs.

Most sexually transmitted diseases can be cured or controlled if they are treated early. But you may not realise you have an STD until it has damaged your reproductive system, vision, heart, or other organs. Also, having an STD weakens the immune system and leaves you more vulnerable to other infections.


Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, and syphilis are caused by bacteria, while AIDS, genital herpes, genital warts, and hepatitis B are caused by a virus. The pathogens that cause STDs are found in bodily secretions such as semen, blood, vaginal fluids, and sometimes saliva. Most of the organisms are spread by either sexual or personal contact.
If you are in a risky group always have regular tests.

Traditional Treatment

Never attempt to treat an STD yourself. These diseases are contagious and dangerous. You must see a doctor.
Bacterial STDs can be cured with antibiotics if treatment begins early enough. Viral STDs cannot be cured, but you can manage symptoms with medications. There is a vaccine to prevent hepatitis B, but it will not help if you have already contracted the disease.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

See entries for specific sexually transmitted diseases for information on alternative therapies. But remember always seek conventional medical help first.

Personal Care

  • Douche with vinegar, yogurt, or lemon juice solutions to relieve vaginal distress.
  • Take zinc and vitamins  A, C and E to boost your immune system.
  • Practice relaxation techniques to ease stress.
  • Take warm baths and analgesics.
  • Ask your doctor or Pharmacist about other over-the-counter remedies.


Always avoid sex with anyone who has genital sores, a rash, a discharge, or other disease symptoms. If you are in a high-risk group you should:

  • Use condoms and water-based lubricants. Remember that condoms are not 100 percent effective at preventing disease.
  • Wash before and after intercourse.
  • Get a vaccination for hepatitis B.
  • Avoid sharing towels or items of clothing.

When to seek further professional advice

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


Eczema can quite often occur in babies up to about 4 months of age. It is usually milder than the type that occurs in adults. Your baby’s cheeks become rough and scaly and this can also occur in your child’s eyebrows and hair (cradle cap).
If infection sets in, the skin can become scaly, develop cracks and redness and weep.  Caused by overactivity of the sweat glands. This is usually grown out of in the first 6 months. You should stop using soap in his bath, ask your pharmacist about alternatives.

If the rash is particularly bad, you should limit the bathing to 2 times per week. Do not use baby creams and lotions.
Moisturise the skin with sorbolene cream. Your doctor may prescribe a very mild steroid cream which you can add to the sorbolene cream and apply to your baby’s skin. This is perfectly safe and will usually sooth the pain. A natural option is chamomile applied on babies head - do not use on children under 2 weeks old and always use one drop diluted in carrier oil. (see our section on Aromatherapy).

Cradle cap

Is a type of eczema, a build up of natural oils. This causes a dry scaly crust on your baby’s head. Petroleum jelly (vaseline) can help soften the scales and allow their removal.

Oral thrush

Baby’s immune system have not fully developed and can not often withstand infection of the candida albicans fungus. It most often occurs in their mouth. It will look like white milk curds stuck to the inside of the mouth. They will not be removed or scraped off however.  Thrush can be painful but more than likely your child will tolerate it. Your will need to speak to your doctor or pharmacist about specific products which will remove the thrush.

Also treat your nipples if breastfeeding as it can spread to you. You must also sterilise all feeding equipment and anything else your baby puts in his or her mouth. Change your sterilisation equipment you use for your feeding equipment often when your child has thrush.


This can happen often in new babies. It occurs when your child vomits up most of the food swallowed. It is caused by a poorly formed valve between the gullet and the stomach. The valve usually rights itself as the child becomes older.

This can be a worrying time for parents as they worry if their child is putting on enough weight. The problem with reflux occurs when the vomiting becomes very regular and annoying, your baby does not put on weight. Usually the child will grow out of this problem in the first few months.

A few helpful hints are to adjust the baby’s resting position. Put the cot up at the head end about 30 degrees.

Bowel motions of a newborn

For breastfed children…
Your baby may have many motions per day or only one every few days. The motion may be yellow, green, brown or a combination of these. The consistency may be pasty, fluid or seedy. It will not normally be hard in texture.
If your child is passing hard stools, this is not normal. Another thing to look out for is overly fluid stools that resemble urine. See your doctor if this happens.

For bottle-fed children…
Bottle-fed babies will usually have more firmer stools and pass them more frequently - four times per day to once every couple of days. The colour of the stool will be more red-brown and green. They may become constipated or just simply pass harder stools.
If your child is passing watery stools - check with your doctor and take a sample of the stool with you.

Some Common Baby Problems


This can be described as heavy breathing which sounds like snorting when asleep.

What to look for

  • Unusual breathing patterns during sleep.

Snoring is usually harmless although very annoying for the person who has to hear it. It can be loud and continuous throughout the whole time a person is asleep. Or it can occur only in certain positions. It can vary in pitch and intensity or be the same every night. Each case is individual. However, sometimes snoring can be a dangerous medical condition called obstructive sleep apnoea.

If you have this condition, you stop breathing during the time you are asleep. There is not enough oxygen getting in the blood this can cause tiredness or if prolonged can cause death. Go to your doctor if you think you have this problem.


Snoring is involuntary. It happens when the snorer breathes through their mouth and the muscles of the soft palate relax. The passages are narrowed and as the air is drawn into the lungs, the soft palate vibrates.

Usually this happens when the muscles that allow breathing become too relaxed. This can be due to too much alcohol, medications, an overly soft or large pillow; sleeping on your back, poor muscle tone or obesity.

It can also be a physical problem you may have been born with.

Asthma and smoking can also lead to obstruction and snoring.

Traditional Treatments

It is always wise to visit your doctor to rule out any possible major disorders. However, normally snoring is something that you can fix at home by eating well, losing weight if you need to and giving up smoking. Drinking less alcohol will help as well.
Surgery is a possibility but only when the obstruction is severe.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

If you have allergic reactions, asthma, or any other respiratory problems, refer to the appropriate entries for alternative treatments which have proven to be quite successful.

Herbal Treatments - If sinusitis is the cause, try horseradish and garlic tablets everyday. Do not exceed the recommended doses.

Aromatherapy - Steam inhalation may open up the airways a little and enable you to sleep better at night. Put 3-4 drops of your favourite Aromatherapy essential oil. Otherwise try cedarwood, Rosemary or lavender.


  • Keep to your ideal weight
  • Make sure you eat early in the night and do not drink alcohol before going to sleep.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Sleep on your side.

When to seek further advice from a professional

  • you live with a snorer and you notice there are times when his breathing actually stops.

Sports Injuries

Occur when stress is placed on bones or muscles as a result of sports activities.

What to look for…

There are different types of sports injuries.

  • Dislocation - when bones separate and ligaments tear at a joint.
  • A fracture (usually at ankle, hand, wrist or collarbone)can be either simple or compound. Simple fractures occur when the broken bone remains beneath the surface of the skin. Compound fractures are when the bone protrudes through the skin.
  • Most sports require people to use their shoulder muscles and joints. Injuries are common in this area.
  • Tennis elbow involves the outer elbow. (see section on tennis elbow).
  • Lower-back injuries are very common in sports that require a great deal of bending up and down. (see back problems)
  • Groin strain is another common sports problem and may result from intense movement of the legs.
  • Quite commonly, knees are subjected to jumping and other strains.
  • Leg injuries (shin splints and tendonitis) as well as fractures occur if you constantly run, walk or stand for long periods.

Symptoms include:

  •  Any pain, tenderness, swelling or discomfort.
  • Pain, tenderness, swelling and deformity may indicate a fracture.
  • Pain, restricted movement, strange appearance as well as swelling in a joint indicate a possible dislocation.
  • Pain in the elbow.
  • Pain below the kneecap may be a sign of tendonitis.

Traditional Treatment

Sports injuries are treated with the purpose of relieving the pain associated with them, to repair bones get you back on your feet.

Rest, ice, compression and elevation are important for most minor sports injuries.
Injuries such as tendonitis usually need you to rest and commence a physio program to keep the area flexible and strong.
It is important to visit your health care practitioner to be diagnosed and offered immediate help.

At-Home Remedies

  • Replacing your lost fluids by drinking lots of filtered water.
  • Ice packs reduce swelling.
  • To relieve cramping, elevate the affected area to direct blood flow toward the heart. Gently stretching the muscle will usually stop a cramp. (See also muscle cramps).
  • A nice hot bath with your favourite aromatherapy oils can do wonders for tired and sore muscles.
  • Rest, ice, compression and elevation are vital for most sports injuries.


Most people should consult their health care practitioner before starting any exercise program (especially if you have a heart or other medical condition or you are over the age of 40).
Warming up before starting your sports activity is vital to condition your muscles. This includes some slow walking, light rebounding, then stretching. You should take part in your chosen sport at least 3 to 4 times per week to maintain your fitness levels.

When to Seek Further Professional Advice

  • You notice any of the symptoms listed above.

Sprains & Strains

Sprains and strains are common injuries of the ligaments and muscles.

What to look for

Sprains, which affect joints, and strains which affect muscles, usually occur after an accident.

For a sprain:

  • pain in the joint.
  • swelling of a joint.
  • difficulty moving a joint.

For a strain:

  • sharp pain at injury, followed by stiffness, tenderness, and in some cases, swelling.

Sprains and strains are among the most common injuries. A sprain is the tearing of ligaments, the tissue that connect bones to one another at a joint. The most common sprains are ankles, wrists and thumbs. A strain damages muscle tissue either stretching or tearing it.

These injuries are not fatal and can usually heal themselves. If the injury is more severe it may require surgical repair. This type of damage may weaken the muscles or bones and make them susceptible to injuries in the future. 


Any accident or occurrence that stresses the joints or muscles beyond their normal tolerance. A new sport or activity, a fall, lifting heavy objects and being overweight.

Traditional Treatment

Your doctor will wish to treat the pain to make it bearable as well as the swelling. You will need to rest the area as much as possible.

Most sprains and strains heal in two to three weeks. Doctors routinely prescribe rest, ice, compression, and elevation immediately following the injury, along with a pain killer. He or she may apply bandages or suggest you use crutches to support the limb while it is healing.

Alternative/natural Treatments

Alternative therapies may help relieve the pain and swelling associated with sprains and strains.

Chinese Herbs - A practitioner of Chinese medicine may use a poultice of gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides), flour, and wine to reduce swelling and promote healing. Massage with the extracted oil of safflower flower (Carthamus tinctorius) is believed to improve circulation, which encourages healing.

Homoeopathy - The anti-inflammatory action of homoeopathic preparations of Arnica, taken orally, may relieve pain.

Dietary Considerations

Vitamin C, beta carotene (vitamin A), zinc, vitamin E, and selenium often help speed recovery of sprains and strains.

Hot water bottles applied to the area will help eventually.

Herbal Treatments - For sprains, immediately apply ice to the area, elevate the affected limb, Rest it and apply arnica as a cream or tincture, or a compress of both arnica and comfrey root. Apply directly on the swelling.

Vitamin C and horsetail will help the healing of muscle tissue.


Always warm up before doing anything strenuous or when you are going to lift something heavy. Keep strong and fit so your muscles can accept more strenuous activity.

When to seek further professional advice

  • the pain, swelling, or stiffness does not improve in two to three days.
  • you can't move or bear weight on an injured joint.
  • the bones are not aligned properly.


Stress can be said to be our physical or emotional reactions to outside stimuli that is beyond what is normally experienced by us.

What to look for

  • Physical symptoms may include headache, fatigue, insomnia, digestive changes, neck or backache, loss of appetite, or overeating, increased use of tobacco or alcohol, tics or twitches.
  • Psychological symptoms may include tension or anxiety, anger, reclusiveness, pessimism, lack of concentration, resentment, increased irritability, feelings of cynicism, performance problems.

We need to have a certain level of stress in our lives, as it inspires us to move ahead, to accomplish tasks and it motivates us to action. However, when there is more stress in our lives that we are able to cope with, the negative symptoms of stress may become apparent.
When we feel intense stress or fear, a hormone called adrenalin secretes from the adrenal glands above the kidneys. This hormone gets us ready to take action against the ‘enemy’. Our heart beats faster, our blood pressure rises, and our muscles will tense up.
Different people have different levels of stress that they can cope with. The stress may not even be apparent to us.
If we allow the stress to continue, it can eventually cause numerous problems within our body such as ulcers, fatigue, skin diseases and it puts stress on our immune system.


When life throws more things at us than we are able to cope with at a certain time, we are under stress. It could be related to our occupation, family life, a loss of someone close, money problems, conflict or even positive events. Other causes are internal: illness, loneliness, pain, or emotional conflict. The different stresses in our life accumulate and we reach a point when we show the effects of not coping with it.
You should be able to identify the triggers of stress in your life so as to teach yourself to be prepared and to learn how to best handle it.

Traditional Treatment

Often talking your problems over with someone helps you to see things from a different slant. This can be helpful in finding a solution which you did not think of before.
Otherwise, your doctor may be able to prescribe certain forms of medication for you. Remember, some are addictive and you should beware.
Your doctor may suggest a counsellor to pinpoint events or conditions that are stressful to you, and to devise ways of reducing the stress they cause.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Any therapy that promotes relaxation and clarity are helpful with this condition.

Aromatherapy - Essential oil of lavender, sandalwood, and tangerine can help reduce stress: Try 5 drops of each in a bath.

Massage - This helps relax your whole body and mind. Use the following essential oils - lavender, sandalwood, tangerine, bergamot, cedarwood, clary sage, Frankincense or grapefruit.

Herbal Therapies - A traditional response to stress is to drink a cup of hot tea. Some herbalists suggest chamomile, passionflower, valerian, or ginseng tea.

Lifestyle - If you feel stressed, try exercising to use up the hormones released.

Dietary Considerations

Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, and filtered water. Less caffeine drinks such as coffee and tea. Plenty of sleep and exercise.

Personal Care

  • exercise
  • Breathe deeply and fully.
  • try yoga to learn to relax and refocus.
  • Meditation creates relaxation.


  • get an enjoyable hobby or interest.
  • get plenty of exercise that you enjoy and rest.
  • watch a funny movie, listen when people tell funny jokes.
  • Count to 10 and take a deep breath before reacting to a potentially stressful event. This old wives tale can actually help you keep your calm.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your stress in unbearable and persistent.


Occurs when the blood supply to the brain is stopped.

What to look for

  • abrupt loss of vision, energy, coordination, sensation, speech.
  • weaknesses or paralysis down one side of the body, loss of balance.
  • sudden and severe headache followed rapidly by loss of consciousness.

Our brain must be continually supplied with blood through the arteries. If the blood supply stops for some reason, the result is very serious. Disruptions of blood flow to the brain are known as stroke. There are two types - a cerebral infarction and a cerebral haemorrhage.

A cerebral infarction occurs when an artery is blocked, halting the flow of blood to the brain. The second basic type of stroke is cerebral haemorrhage which occurs when there is bleeding into the brain. As blood flows into the brain, the build up of pressure results in agonising headache, sometimes followed by loss of consciousness.
Depending on where the brain has been damaged and how badly it has been affected, the patient usually recovers but they may have a physical weakness as a result of the stroke.


A cerebral infarction occurs as a result of a blocked artery.  The arteries become blocked over the years and this produces slow blood flow to the brain.

Cerebral haemorrhages usually occur as a result of weak arteries or aneurisms in the brain that rupture. High blood pressure is the cause of weak arteries in most cases.
The causes you are able to prevent or charge are - high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, the abuse of stimulant drugs such as amphetamines, smoking, use of birth-control pills, and stress.

Traditional Treatment

If you have had a stroke or have any similar symptoms, you must be examined and diagnosed by a neurologist or a doctor.
Victims of stroke are hospitalised and given the appropriate medication.
Your doctor will describe the lifestyle changes that will need to be made by yourself.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Alternative treatments can be marvellous adjuncts to conventional treatments with stroke patients.
Several techniques can help restore mobility, circulation, and ease other symptoms associated with stroke. Among these are shiatsu, and massage.

Herbal Therapies - A number of scientific studies have shown that ginkgo increases blood flow also reduces blood-clot formation.


It is vital that you commence regular aerobic exercise - swimming, walking or anything safe and gentle that you feel comfortable with.
People at high risk for stroke should not smoke and should eat a low-fat diet and not take contraceptive pills.

Dietary Considerations

To prevent strokes, your diet should be rich potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, and the essential fatty acids contained in fish oils. Some studies suggest that selenium may also protect against stroke. Fresh fruit and vegetables. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and smoking at all costs.


Eat a low fat, salt and cholesterol diet, exercise regularly; keep to your ideal weight; monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol levels; and do not smoke.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you or someone with you shows any of the signs of stroke

Testicular Cancer

What to look for…

The earliest warning signs of testicular cancer usually include:

  • a change in their size or shape.
  • swelling or thickening of the testicles.
  • a firm, smooth, painless, slow-growing lump in a testicle.
  • a feeling of testicular heaviness.

Other symptoms of testicular cancer may include:

  • urinary problems.
  • an abdominal mass or abdominal pain.
  • persistent coughing, possibly with blood-tinged sputum.
  • shortness of breath.
  • loss of weight or appetite
  • fatigue
  • lower-back pain
  • tenderness in the nipples or breast enlargement.
  • very rarely, infertility.

The two testicles, or testes, are glands on a man that produce his hormones and sperm. They hang behind a man's penis in the scrotum. Although Testicular cancer is rare, it is the most common type of cancer in men between the ages of 15 and 35.
Almost all testicular cancers begin in the testicles themselves rather than spread there from another organ. Testicular cancer can spread slowly or rapidly but can easily spread throughout the body to the lungs, the liver, bones, and possibly the brain.
Fortunately, most cases of this type of cancer are treatable, highly curable and are not fatal.


It is not known exactly what causes testicular cancer. Some men who develop this type of cancer have been born with an undescended testicle. Some researchers believe this type of cancer is hereditary. It is said that men with fertility problems are more likely to develop benign testicular tumours. There are other possible risk factors…

  • a sedentary lifestyle
  • early puberty
  • previous mumps
  • testicular injury
  • overexposure to pesticides or radiation

It is a very good idea to go through the process of self-examination at least once per month. If you do not know what to look for, go to your doctor to have him explain to you how to examine yourself. If you do have testicular cancer, the affected testicle will be removed and analysed to see what type of cancer it is. There will also be examinations to see if the other testicle is affected.

Traditional Treatments

Because it is required for diagnosis, surgical removal of a testicle is unavoidable. If cancer is found, a second operation is performed, and these two operations are often enough to cure limited testicular cancer. Very severe cases are treated with chemotherapy as well. Nearly all testicular cancer patients are cured, but they are urged to have frequent follow-up examinations.

Complementary Therapies

Although conventional medicine is highly successful at curing testicular cancer, simply learning that you have cancer can be emotionally traumatic and stressful. Many patients find counselling helpful.


Regular exercise is said to help prevent testicular cancer. Other research suggests that correcting an undescended testicle surgically before a boy turns 10 reduces the cancer risk.
Most important, however, is regular testicle self-examination.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you detect any sort of unusual lump or swelling in the scrotum.

You will know when you are about to give birth because both you and your body will display some warning signs such as -

  • an urge to clean up the house in readiness for the arrival of the baby.
  • you may feel energetic and unsettled - wanting to keep on the move.
  • you may feel excited, anxious or nervous about the birth
  • you could lose some weight just before the birth
  • your baby could stop moving as it’s room in the womb is restricted from the position it has taken up towards your pelvis.
  • possibly a backache
  • diarrhoea
  • The ‘show’ - a small discharge of blood and mucus from your vagina
  • your waters will break - this is the sac that holds the amniotic fluid surrounding your baby.

If you have a constant flow of blood from your vagina - this is not normal and you should see your doctor immediately.

The First Stage

Your uterus tightens and relaxes its muscles to start your cervix opening up. At first they will be only slight. Your baby’s head moves towards the cervix, helping it to open.

Contractions may vary with each woman. In an ideal situation contractions which last 20 - 30 seconds will occur every 20 - 30 minutes. Some women do not notice the contractions until they are about 10 minutes apart.

Your cervix gradually dilates (opens). When it is about 3 cm dilated you are said to be in established labour. At this time your midwife or doctor will examine your vagina and check for any complications and other routine observations. As your cervix opens, your contractions will come more frequently and they will last longer. Your cervix will need to be 10cm wide before it is fully open.

Eventually your contractions begin to get much closer together and they can be quite painful and strong. This is the transition period. At this time you will more than likely be quite irritable, nauseous, trembling and you may feel a strong urge to push.
If your waters haven’t broken yet, this could be when they do. Your baby is nearly ready to be born.

The Second Stage

The second stage is usually a relief for many women as this is when the pushing can start.
The cervix is fully dilated and you will feel an urge to push the baby out. Your baby is moving down the birth canal. Your contractions will be lasting for about 5 or 6 seconds. This part of the process may last about an hour for first time mothers.
Once the baby’s head can be seen from the vagina, it is almost over. Resist the urge to keep pushing hard as you will rip the area between your vagina and anus - the perineum.

Try to breathe in short breaths to deliver your baby’s head. Once the head is out just let the rest of the body come out naturally.

Tell the doctors in advance that you want the child placed onto your stomach before the umbilical cord is cut. This helps with the bonding of the child to you. Hold the child as soon as you can.

The Third Stage

This is the delivery of the afterbirth or placenta. This is controlled by the doctor or midwife. Your uterus will continue to contract to get rid of this, but you will not be able to feel it. Sometimes the doctors will give you an infection to hurry this up to reduce the risk of serious bleeding after birth.
Most mothers will experience some mucus or bleeding from the vagina for a few weeks after childbirth.

The Birth

Toxic Shock Syndrome

Toxic Shock Syndrome is a sudden and dangerous condition started by the release of toxins caused by the staphylococci bacteria.

What to look for

  • high fever.
  • low blood pressure
  • vomiting and/or diarrhoea.
  • a rash resembling a sunburn with peeling skin on fingers and toes.
  • dizziness or mental confusion.

It usually affects menstruating women, especially those who use super absorbent tampons. This is a potentially fatal disease if left untreated.

A few women actually died from this disease in the 1970’s because they used super absorbent tampons and left them in too long.

A woman who has recently given birth is also at increased risk for developing toxic shock as well as anyone exposed to Staphylococcus aurous bacteria while recovering from surgery, a burn, or an open wound.
If you have had toxic shock syndrome you are likely to suffer a recurrence sometime in your life. The reason for this is unclear but it is wise to know the symptoms and seek help if they start.

If you are menstruating and have a high fever with vomiting, especially if you have been wearing tampons, you must get medical help right away. Remove your tampon or diaphragm straight away.


The primary cause of toxic shock syndrome is a toxin produced by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. This bacteria can reside in the vagina under normal circumstances.

Exactly why and how Staphylococcus aureus causes this disease is not completely understood but for the disease to occur two things are necessary. First, the bacteria need an environment in which they can grow rapidly and release toxins and then the toxins must have a way of getting into the bloodstream.

A tampon, it is believed is a perfect medium for the bacteria to grow.  The toxins then only have to enter the bloodstream for the disease to develop.

Traditional Treatment

Toxic shock syndrome requires immediate hospital care - 
Call 000 immediately.


When using tampons, make sure that you do not leave them in too long. Change them every few hours. Also stick to the least absorbent ones. If you can tolerate sanitary napkins - use them instead. You should always use sanitary napkins at night.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have the symptoms listed above.

Uterine Cancer

This is cancer of the uterus or the uterine linings - the endometrium.

What to look for…

Uterine cancer causes no symptoms at onset. They will usually become noticeable as the malignancy begins to grow. But there are some women with uterine cancer who experience no symptoms until the disease spreads to other organs.
The most likely symptoms are:

  • abnormal vaginal bleeding - heavier than normal periods or bleeding in between periods. (if you have had menopause, any bleeding will be abnormal, unless you are on HRT).
  • vaginal discharge.
  • an enlarged uterus.
  • unexpected weight loss;
  • weakness and pain in the lower abdomen, back, or legs. (This occurs once the cancer has spread to other organs).

The uterine lining (the endometrium) in women thickens every month as it prepares to receive a fertilised egg. If no egg is fertilised, the extra tissue and blood are expelled through menstruation. There are a number of conditions that can affect the uterus. These conditions may or may not be cancerous.

Benign problems include fibroid tumours on the uterine wall and women who have them are not at more of a risk for uterine cancer. Endometriosis is the most serious benign uterine condition, and in some women it evolves into uterine cancer.
The most common place in the uterus for cancers to develop are in the endometrium. This is called endometrial cancer or carcinoma. It is most dangerous if left untreated when it can penetrate the uterine wall and invade the bladder, vagina, fallopian tubes, ovaries or rectum or other organs. Fortunately, endometrial cancer grows slowly and usually is detected before spreading very far.


Women whose risk of getting uterine cancer is high include postmenopausal women who began menstruating early and went through menopause late, are obese, diabetic, or have high blood pressure, have few or no children, are infertile, have irregular menstrual periods, or endometrial hyperplasia.

Susceptibility to endometrial cancer is also linked to how much the endometrium has been exposed to oestrogen without progesterone. Oestrogen stimulates cell division, while progesterone suppresses it. With a high level of cell division, the chance of cancer increases. Women on HRT should be monitored regularly for uterine cancers.
Pap smears should be regularly performed as these may detect some uterine cancers before symptoms develop. Otherwise, uterine cancer is usually diagnosed by the appearance of symptoms.

Traditional Treatments

Conventional medicine is usually successful in curing most women of uterine cancer. The type of treatment will vary depending on the stage of the cancer.

Surgery is standard treatment for uterine cancer that has not begun to metastasise, or spread. The usual treatment for early endometrial cancer is total hysterectomy, which means the uterus, cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes are all removed. If the disease has begun to spread beyond the uterus, the patient is given radiation therapy after surgery, in the hope of wiping out the remaining cancer cells.

Patients with widespread (metastatic) uterine cancer are usually given hormone therapy to slow the cancer's growth. Chemotherapy or radiation might also be given to reduce the size and number of metastatic tumours. Such treatment is rarely curative but can prolong life and relieve symptoms. If it destroys tumours in the other organs, and the cancer is confined to the uterus or close surrounding areas, surgery may then be undertaken.
Patients in remission need checkups every few months for several years. If cancer recurs, it quite often happens within three years.
Caught early, recurrent cancer may be cured with aggressive radiation therapy or further surgery. 

Complementary Therapies

There are many support groups to join if you are needing extra help in dealing with this disease. Counselling also may be very helpful for you at this time.


Have a Pap smear and pelvic exam annually. If you are of child bearing age, discuss the pros and cons of taking birth-control pills with your doctor.
It is also advisable to exercise regularly and eat sensibly to become as healthy as you can. (See Cancer entry for more information on this illness).
It is reported that certain vitamins and minerals such as antioxidants may have anticancer properties.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you experience abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge. Abnormal bleeding is not a symptom of menopause. It should be brought to your doctor's attention immediately.

Vaginal Problems

These are problems that occur in the vagina (a part of the female reproductive system connected to the cervix).

What to look for

  • your vulva is swollen and itchy.
  • you have white areas on your vulva.
  • there is more vaginal discharge than normal, it smells, burns or itches.
  • abnormal bleeding.

The vagina is like a channel which connects the cervix to the outside area called the vulva. It generates mucus and secretions automatically. It does not need our help to clean it, the secretions flow down along with other dead cells and substances. Discharge is normal and occurs in most women. It is usually clear or white in colour.

Common problems which occur in the vagina region are yeast infections, vaginitis (inflammation), bacterial vaginosis, sexually transmitted diseases, abnormal discharge and vaginal infections.

Bacterial vaginosis commonly occurs in the reproductive years. There may be a fishy-smelling discharge, but there may be no symptoms at all. Ask your doctor to investigate this possibility during your pap smear.

Yeast infections produce cottage-cheese-like discharge. They are very common and most women have or will experience them during their lifetime.

Vaginal infections are not serious usually; sexually transmitted infections such as Gonorrhoeaand Chlamydia have been found to be associated with other complications.

Vaginal cancer, can be very serious and can spread to other areas. 


Stress may cause a change in the vaginal bacteria which can create vaginitis.
Vaginal yeast infections are caused by the Candida fungus. The use of antibiotics can make this infection occur.

Traditional Treatment

Conventional treatment is a must in diagnosing possible vaginal problems.
You will need to be examined and your doctor may prescribe the appropriate medications and/or antibiotics to treat the ailments.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

The following are supplemental therapies that, along with your physician's prescribed treatment, may ease your recovery.

Herbal Therapies - Eat more fresh garlic as it has properties and may be effective in treating vaginitis and vaginal yeast infections.
If itching or minor irritation is a symptom of your vaginitis, bathe with an infusion of fresh chickweed for relief. To reduce inflammation calendula (Calendula officinalis) is often effective.

Homoeopathy - Certain remedies aid certain types of vaginal discharges -
A smelly, yellow discharge with burning, swelling, and soreness may be treated with Kreosotum;
A white or yellow discharge, for itching and Sepia is recommended;
A thick, creamy yellow-green discharge Pulsatilla.

These problems can become serious so if the treatment does not help, see your doctor.


You may need to avoid using tampons while you have vaginal problems as this can exacerbate the condition. Also avoid sexual intercourse while you have vaginitis or yeast infections.

Dietary Considerations

Natural acidophilus yogurt is brilliant for ridding the vagina of yeast infections. You can also apply it directly to the area and insert it into the vagina for relief.  Always wipe from front to back to avoid spreading infection.


A good diet, plenty of filtered water, good hygiene and adequate protection during intercourse will help your system avoid getting vaginitis.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have excessive bleeding not at the time of your period or abnormal sharp pain along with fever.

Varicose Veins

These are veins that are swollen, lengthened and obvious just below the skin.

What to look for

  • prominent dark blue veins, especially in the legs and feet.
  •  your legs may ache

Varicose veins are usually fairly obvious and bulge out from under your skin. They usually affect your legs. Varicose veins can be superficial or deep. Superficial veins are visible and swollen. They are painful and can affect your circulation but usually harmless.

Deep varicose veins can be the cause of blood clots and inflammation as they form deeper within the leg.


People who suffer from varicose veins are thought to have defective valves in the leg. This is a result of too much blood pressure which makes the veins swell. The swollen veins then cause the valves not to seal properly. We rely on the valves to circulate the blood to the heart properly. If they do not function properly, the blood can’t keep flowing and starts to pool in the vein causing the swollen veins that are part of this condition.

There are certain triggers that increase the likelihood of varicose veins.

  • constipation
  • pregnancy
  • obesity
  • too much standing
  • injury

Traditional Treatment

If you have a less severe case you do not need to see your doctor and can treat the condition at home. Support pantihose are usually very helpful and you should leave them on all day. They will support the veins in your legs.
Your doctor may suggest taking a pain killer for the pain of varicose veins. If you notice no signs of having this condition but still have the pain associated with it - call your doctor immediately.

There are numerous options available for this condition - ask your doctor to tell you about them.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Natural therapies can help your system cope with varicose veins and also prevent more from occurring.

Aromatherapy - Oil of rosemary massaged gently into an affected area may help stimulate circulation by causing capillaries to dilate.
Oils of cypress (3 drops), sandalwood (3 drops) , peppermint (1 drop) and chamomile (1 drop) may soothe swelling and inflammation and help relieve pain - use a base carrier oil of calendula (5 teaspoons).
See the section on Aromatherapy for more information - certain people should not have particular essential oils.

Massage - Regular massage from a trained massage therapist can significantly alleviate discomfort associated with varicose veins.

Herbal Therapies - Many herbs have been beneficial in the treatment of varicose veins, and some have undergone extensive scientific study. Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata), and bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) are all reported to strengthen blood vessels and improve peripheral circulation.

For the skin irritation linked with varicose veins, try a lotion made of distilled witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana).
To separate the build-up of protein called fibrin that makes skin near varicose veins hard and lumpy, try eating more cayenne (Capsicum frutescens), garlic (Allium sativum), onion, ginger(Zingiber officinale), and pineapple, which contains bromelain, an enzyme that promotes breakup of fibrin.

Homoeopathy - Homoeopath remedies are often used to treat varicose veins.

Pulsatilla is one remedy that is commonly prescribed.


Take up regular aerobic exercise - this is beneficial for circulation.
Take a hot bath followed by a cold bath to relieve the pain from varicose veins. You can also do the same thing with foot spas.
Yoga' s stretching and relaxation techniques can be particularly beneficial for varicose veins.

Dietary Considerations

To rid yourself of varicose veins and to prevent them from forming, it is wise to reorganise your diet to include lots of low fat foods and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. A diet low in fat and high in fibre is best.

Drink plenty of filtered water as well. Also reduce the amount of salt, alcohol and cut out cigarettes totally. It is important to keep your weight at your ideal level as extra body fat puts strain on your legs and veins.

Vitamins B, C and E are helpful. As is magnesium, zinc, calcium fluoride, rutin and bioflavonoids, lecithin , kelp and garlic.

Personal Care
Take some rest if your routine requires that you remain for long periods of time on your feet. Try to avoid high heels as this can also aggravate the problem.


  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat well. Drink plenty of water. Take supplements listed above.
  • Rest often and do stretching exercises if you are on your feet a lot.
  • If you smoke, quit.
  • If you're pregnant, sleep on your left side rather than on your back to lessen the pressure on your pelvic muscles.

When to seek further professional advice

  •  the pain and swelling becomes extremely severe.
  •  you have red varicose veins.
  • ·you cut a varicose vein - see a doctor immediately.

Week by week changes you will experience... And developments in your womb.

Week 1:

Development of the Zygote
Day 1. During sexual intercourse Approx 300-500 millions sperm are deposited in the female genital tract... But only about 300-500 reach the area of fertilization. Fertilization occurs closest to the ovary. This is in the widest part of the fallopian tube. Once a sperm penetrates the egg, the surface of the egg changes to prevent multiple fertilization. The sperm and the egg begin to fuse together.
Day 2. The sex is determined after the sperm and egg have fused. The cell eventually splits into two cells. This two-cell stage occurs about 30 hours after fertilization.
Day 3. About 3 days after fertilizationThe 12- and 16- cell stages occur . This small clump of cells is referred to as the morula.
Day 5. About the fifth day the morula finally enters into the uterus. Fluid begins to enter until a single cavity is formed. When this cavity is formed, the embryo is called the blastocyst.
Day 7. Around day 6... Implantation into the uterine wall begins . The uterine lining is in a secretory phase at this point. The wall becomes spongy as the glands and arteries become coiled.

Week 2 - 4

Approx 22 days after conception your baby will have developed a heart beat, and is on its way to developing the digestive tract, sensory organs, and neural tube.The neural tube is what eventually becomes the Central Nervous System, consisting of the spinal cord and brain.
By the end of the first month of your pregnancy, your baby is smaller than a grain of rice.
What You might be Experiencing...

  • frequent urination possibly with vomiting
  • sleepiness
  • flatulence
  • nausea
  • absence of menstruation
  • emotional changes similar to PMS
  • tenderness and fullness of breasts
  • bloating
  • heartburn
  • food cravings
  • indigestion,
  • fatigue
  • constipation

It is highly possible that you do not know that you are pregnant during the first couple weeks. However, It is possible that you will experience some of the signs of pregnancy.

Week 4

The embryo is attached to the lining of the uterus and is about 3 mm in length. You could see it with your eyes.

Week 5

The amniotic sac will have been formed.

Week 6

The embryo is not recognisable as a human being. But it has a spinal column, a large head and arms and legs. The sockets for its eyes have been formed. It is 1.3 cm long.
You may start to experience some symptoms such as breast tenderness and morning sickness.

Week 8

The embryo has all his or her major organs. The toes, fingers and features on the face are in the process of forming. The embryo is now considered a foetus. It is now more recognisable as a human. The length is about 2.5 cm.

Week 10

Fingers and toes are now webbed, the head remains larger than the body part. It has blood circulating through it.

Week 12

The uterus can just be felt above the pelvis. The foetus is about 7.5 cm long. It is more active. Nails and genitals are starting to appear.
You probably do not suffer from morning sickness any more.

Week 14

Your nipples may darken in colour and your breasts may stop feeling quite so tender. You will probably start to show from this time onwards.

Week 16

The foetus is moving vigorously but you may not be able to feel it.

Week 20

The uterus will have reached to level of your navel. You will now be able to feel the movements. The foetus now measures about 21 cm and is covered with fine hair. Eyelashes and eyebrows now have developed.

Week 24

Your foetus eyelids separate. Its length is about 33 cm

Week 28

The uterus reaches about halfway between the navel and the breastbone. If the foetus was born now, it could survive. It measures 37cm. The head is now reasonably in proportion to the body.

Week 32

The foetus is still very active. Most babies will have their head in the birth position.

Week 36

In most women, having babies for the first time, the head will have descended into the pelvic cavity and the uterus descends from under the rib cage as the baby’s head has moved down into the pelvis. It is about 46 cm.

Week 40

Pregnancy is full term. You can now breath easier, although you still may have pressure on your bladder.

Week by Week

The First Signs

  • A missed period

The first and most obvious sign that you may be pregnant is a missed period. This however may be caused by other factors or it may simply be late.

  •  Lighter periods

Some women continue to get their periods for a couple of months but they are lighter.

  • Sore breasts

This can be a symptom in women who normally get sore breasts before their period. By six weeks, all women will experience an increase in the size of their breasts.

  • Morning sickness

In the first six to twelve weeks, most women experience nausea or vomiting. It can be uncomfortable at any time of day.

  • Frequent Urinating

You may find that you need to go to the toilet more often.

  • Tastes in the mouth change

Some women may have a strange taste in their mouth and may even notice a dislike for alcohol, coffee, cigarette smoke and meat products.

  • Emotionally Volatility

The hormones may wreak havoc on you at first and you may experience moodiness and stronger emotions than normal. If you experience any anxiety that lasts longer than the first trimester - speak with your doctor who may refer you to a counsellor for additional therapy.

Changes during the pregnancy

You will experience many physical changes during your pregnancy and many may come as a surprise to you. It is always best to be prepared for the changes so you are better able to cope with them and control them.

  • Vaginal Discharge

this may increase during pregnancy. It is normal and does not usually require medical attention. If you notice it changing in odour or it becomes irritating - speak with your doctor.

  • Constipation and heartburn

you will be experiencing an increase in the hormone progesterone which can affect the bowel and make it slower.

  • Backache

this can become worse as the pregnancy continues on. Try to avoid high heeled shoes. Do not lean back to counteract the extra weight in your belly - this will put added pressure on your back.

  • Haemorrhoids or piles

the blood flow from your legs and pelvis is blocked by pressure from the baby . If you are constipated, this can make it worse.

  • Varicose veins

may appear for the first time. If you wear support stockings, they may not appear at all. Keep moving around as this can help the circulation.

  • Scarring on the abdomen

commonly called stretch marks, these fine scars may also come on your buttocks, thighs and breasts. There are many natural products on the market that may be able to prevent them from forming or becoming too noticeable. Ask our pharmacist about them.

  • Breast changes

will occur throughout your pregnancy. They may be tender and the nipples may grow and become darker in colour. They may eventually become more painful as more blood flows to them. Eventually prolactin is produced and this encourages the breast to make milk.

You may notice your breasts ‘leaking’ at around 5 to 6 months. After about five months your breasts should not grow much bigger.

  • Your belly

will increase and this can be a problem for women who have always tried hard to maintain their weight at a slim level. You will put on extra weight besides the baby as your body prepares for the pregnancy and the birth.

What to eat during your pregnancy…

You should be eating a nutritious and varied diet in pregnancy as this is the best way of caring for yourself and your baby. You should not eat ferociously throughout your pregnancy in an effort to ‘eat for two’ as this will do more harm than good and make it difficult for you to give birth.

The following food groups provide you with the vitamins, minerals and protein you will need for a healthy pregnancy and baby.

  • Vegetables and fruits.
  • Breads, cereals, pasta and rice (wholegrain ).
  • Milk about 900 ml daily or if you cannot tolerate milk or want to try something less fattening natural yoghurt about 200g, unprocessed cheese 35g or cottage cheese 300g. Ask your doctor about a supplement if you do not want to eat dairy products. This will give you your required Calcium.
  • Lean proteins like fish, chicken, eggs, meat, liver, kidneys, nuts and pulses. Be aware that if you are only eating nuts and pulses for protein you will not be getting the iron, vitamin B12 or zinc which is required.
  • Also ensure you are eating adequate Folic acid - present in liver, kidneys, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, nuts, brewers yeast, avocado and peas. Do not cook your vegetables until they are soft as this can destroy folic acid.

What do you need to avoid during pregnancy?

  • ·Most medications may affect your unborn child - always check with your pharmacist or doctor before taking any drug either legal or otherwise.
  • Alcohol - the occasional wine or beer will do no harm, but do not drink excessively. Do not drink spirits.
  • Smoking - should be avoided and do not let anybody smoke in your presence.
  • Caffeine - limit your intake to one per day.
  • Soft cheeses - contain bacteria.
  • Raw/'Blue' meat.
  • Excessive exercise - although continue to do gentle exercises.

What about sex?

Some people think that having sex will hurt the baby. Normally sex is safe throughout the whole pregnancy. Sometimes you may not feel like having sex due to the discomforts and tiredness. But this usually does not last long.

Some women find that they become more sexual during this time in their lives and feel more sexy. If however, you have had complications with pregnancies in the past or are worried see your doctor about your concerns.

Your Pregnancy

(c) Medicines Information Pty Ltd

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