Sodium Lauryl Sulphate

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) is a very widely used chemical as it is found in a great many foam producing products. (ie) shampoo, bubble baths, liquid soaps, some toothpastes, face washes, but also car washes, floor cleaners etc.

It was originally used as an industrial detergent and there has long been controversy over how toxic it actually is. There is little doubt that it does strip oil from the skin and hair and can cause the skin to become irritated. It is also said by some sources to impair the growth of the hair and because of its low molecular weight it is possible that it can be absorbed into the body via the skin, inhalation and ingestion and accumulate in the tissues.

The same sources also claim that it has been associated with the development of cataracts and with reoccurring mouth ulcers (via microscopic damage done by SLS in toothpastes).
I have not come across any evidence that it can cause cancer directly but it is possible that it can react with other common chemicals that contain nitrogens to form nitrosamines that have been associated with cancer.

Some products contain Sodium Laureth Sulphate, which is similar but considered a milder version as it has larger molecules that are supposedly less able to penetrate the skin and is considered less irritating.

Also many so-called natural products will also contain SLS that has been derived from coconut oil, but I have not been able to find any evidence as to whether this is any less irritating than the product derived from petroleum.

There is a huge amount of very confusing information on the internet about SLS much of it disputing derogatory information put out by several marketing companies. It does appear to be agreed however that this chemical is a skin irritant but unlikely in its own right to be cancer causing.

It is therefore possible that this chemical contributes to dry scalp problems.
I would try a product that is SLS free and find out!
If the problem continues then it may well be due to a deficiency of Zinc, in which case supplementing with either Zinc or better still with Colloidal minerals should eliminate the problem.
See page on ‘Zinc’


Skin flushing/multivitamins

Original question ‘why does my skin feel like it’s flushed after taking a normal Multivitamin?’

A flush to the skin that occurs after taking a multivitamin or B Vitamin can be due to the product containing contain niacin (B3) in at least 50 – 100mg doses. This is quite sufficient amount of vitamin B3 to produce a ‘flush’ sensation in many people. Sometimes the effect is more of a tingle or itching sensation, but niacin can also produce an intense throbbing in the head.

These effects are due to dilation of blood vessels. A flush produced by 100mg generally only lasts 10 – 12 minutes and is usually quite safe. However a higher dose can produce a much more prolonged effect, can make a person feel quite ill and may be potentially dangerous.

Having said that, if used correctly and under supervision vitamin B3 can be a very effective method of reducing cholesterol levels and improving circulation throughout the body, particularly to the skin. It should always be taken in conjunction with a vitamin B complex and the initial dose 50mg or less.
See page on ‘Niacin – Use of B3’

It is also thought to help reduce the effects of radiation in the body. How, I’m not sure, but I do know that if vitamin B is taken in the summer after exposure to sunlight, then the dose required to illicit a strong ‘flush’ is much less than during the winter.

Sinus Infection

Sinus infection after a cold or flu can be very distressing and if not treated effectively can become chronic.

The first thing to do to ease the discomfort is to find relief for the ongoing congestion.

The action of Evening primrose Oil is to act as a mild anti-inflammatory, therefore where the problem is relatively mild, I find that Evening Primrose oil can help relieve much of the congestion in the facial sinuses.
Evening Primrose Oil does need to be taken in sufficient quantity, usually 3000 mg at least twice daily.

If the situation is quite severe, then I find that Quercetin plus bio-flavoniods work very well. The dosage needs to be about 500 mg two to three times daily. Quercetin works by inhibiting histamine release. It is also anti-inflammatory and anti-viral.
Go to On-line Shop to order organic Evening primrose oil or Quercetin

The next step is to treat the infection.

Firstly, take Colloidal minerals, at least 1tbsp daily to help build the body’s immunity. These contain Zinc in good quantities which has direct anti-viral activity and is essential for immune system function.

Secondly, Golden Seal as it is a most effective herbal for acute bacterial sinus infection. Dose 500mg two to three times daily for ten days only.

Thirdly, obtain some Propolis extract (not the lozenges**) and put 1-2 drops directly on the back of the throat 2-3 times daily. If you dislike the taste, follow it with a mouthful of water. It is safe to swallow as it is also a very effective method of boosting the immune system.
It may also be used diluted as a gargle but often this is not direct enough to stop an infection in its tracks.
Propolis is an excellent antibiotic for any mouth/throat infection and especially for the gums as it tends to ‘stick’ and not wash off directly.
However it does stain if dropped onto anything and can be very difficult to
remove so use it carefully, it’s worth the effort!
Use the Contact us page if wanting to order Propolis extract or Golden seal.

Other treatments can include:

Vitamin C, which has been shown to shorten the duration of a cold and can also help relieve sinus symptoms, Take a dose of about 500mg – 1000mg every 2 hours.
– Drink large amounts of fluids.
– Avoid excess sugar consumption.
– Eliminate foods such as dairy which can increase mucus production.
– Take extra vitamin A (cod liver oil) can help especially if the lips are dry.
– Then of course REST. This is often the most difficult part of the treatment, but important and can make the difference between failure and success.

Puffy eyes

Original question; ‘For some time I have had problems with waking up with very puffy eyes. They improve once I’ve been up for an hour or so. I have tried using cucumber slices, cold tea bags and washing my eyes with eyebright extract, all of which help but the problem reoccurs the next morning as per usual. I don’t think I’m allergic to any thing, but is there any solution??

Puffy eyes can be caused by a number of problems. The methods of reducing this puffiness that you have used are really simply easing the congestion that has already occurred. It is far better to work at eliminating the cause.

Do you get enough sleep? Tiredness would be the major cause of puffy, dark circled eyes. Try and get the required eight hours sleep nightly.

Avoid sleeping face down or with a pillow that is too flat as this can impede lymphatic drainage.

Check that you are not using a feather pillow, as one of the most common causes of sinus problems (which can often be the cause of puffy eyes) that occur at night is the use of feather pillows and duvets. This is because the tiny dust mites that love to feed on old skin particles and cause problems for many sensitive people, also love to feed on feathers as they are composed of keratin just like our skin!  If this is the case you need to find a pillow that is both firm and non-allergenic.

Check that you are not using an eye cream that is too heavy as a heavy cream can clog the pores of the very fine skin of the eye and cause puffiness.

Check that your salt intake is not too high as excessive salt can cause fluid retention and therefore puffy eyes!

Sometimes kidney or liver function can also be at fault and a kidney and/or liver tonic may be a good idea especially if you are also prone to puffy hands and/or ankles.

Avoid drinking alcohol in the evening, especially if you suspect the liver to be compromised.

As to supplements, Evening Primrose Oil taken 2-3000mg at night can help ease congestion, as can 100mg of Vitamin B6.
If you continue to suspect an allergy (after eliminating all feathers!)  then try taking 500 – 1000mg of Quercetin nightly as this is a very effective antihistamine and can greatly improve lymphatic drainage.
Go to On-line shop if you need to order organic Evening Primrose oil or Quercetin

Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is an idiopathic (of ‘unknown’ cause), slowly progressive, degenerative central nervous system disorder with four main characteristics – slowness of movement, muscular rigidity, resting tremor and postural instability.

It appears when there is a lack of Dopamine in the brain or when what is being produced is not being utilized correctly. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that carries messages from one nerve cell to another and has an effect on physiological functions such as strength, movement, co-ordination, cognitive functions, mood, sex drive and growth hormone secretion.

It has long been recognised that many Parkinson’s patients have flaws in their ability to detoxify various chemicals to which they are exposed and that Parkinson’s disease is much more prevalent in people with a history of occupational exposure to toxic chemicals.

Therefore many natural and nutritional
treatments that have been shown to help Parkinson’s sufferers have a detoxifying

Currently Parkinson’s disease is managed via Dopamine replacement therapy.
The most commonly used drugs contain L-dopa (Levodopa) and carbidopa (Sinemet).

These are usually effective for motor symptoms in the beginning but over time (2-5years) tend to cause side effects. These can include; nausea, excessive, uncontrollable movements, sleep disturbances, hallucinations, mental confusion, ‘freezing'(unable to move) and episodes of low blood pressure.

Another side effect of taking L-dopa drugs long term can be a high homocysteine level which has been implicated in high mortality rates from vascular disease. Have your doctor check for this. B12 levels also tend to be lower.

Nutritional regimes that help people with this disease include reducing protein intake, which has been used to enhance the effectiveness of L-dopa therapy.

Supplements that can help are:

– Colloidal minerals (1 tbsp. daily) as ALL minerals are needed for the body to operate normally and many minerals also act as antioxidants.

– B Vitamins, especially B12 and B6 (50mg with each meal), however do not take this (B6) if on Levodopa as it reduces the effect of this drug.

– NADH (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide), which has enormous antioxidative capacity and even more importantly for Parkinson’s sufferers has the ability to stimulate tyrosine hydroxylase, which is the key enzyme for the production of Dopamine.
Some studies have found that NADH stimulates the production of dopamine by more than 40%. NADH also stimulates the production of noradrenaline and Serotonin which are responsible for alertness, concentration and mental activity and sleep and emotional balance respectively.

– Other antioxidants, as free radicals are considered a possible cause of the degeneration of neurons that causes Parkinson’s.

– Also avoid all exposure to toxic metals, pesticides, rancid fats, chemicals or cigarette smoke.

– Tyrosine, as it is a precursor to dopamine.

– Glutathione, as it is a vital brain chemical and important brain anti-oxidant that is often hugely deficient in Parkinson’s disease. There is research that shows that it works best when given intravenously, but I have seen very good results with even with 100mg given orally twice daily.

– Coenzyme Q10, as it greatly increases cellular energy production and has also been found to greatly deficient in Parkinson’s patients. Dosage is 100-120mg daily.

Phosphatidylserine, as it is one of the key components of nerve cell membranes – the site where the brain receives and transmits messages. Dose 100 – 200mg. I have seen very good results of this therapy improving name/face recognition.
Good food sources are egg yolks and lecithin.

– Evening Primrose oil, as it reduces tremor, is an anti-inflammatory and also greatly helps symptoms of depression. Use 3000 mg per dose – 2-3 times daily.

– Vitamin B12, as it also greatly helps overcome depression lifts energy and enthusiasm.

– Vitamin E, as this is thought to slow the progress of the
disease, although doses needed are reasonably high.

– Lecithin, 1 tab daily, to supply choline, which is needed for transmission of nerve impulses.

Glutamine as it is the precursor of GABA which is a major inhibiting neurotransmitter. GABA reinforces the negativity or the nerve cell making it resistant to excitation and therefore may help lessen unwanted tremors.

– Some sources also recommend avoiding the night-shade family of vegetables but eating broad beans as they contain L-dopa.

– Herbs that have proven to be effective in helping those with Parkinson’s are Macuna pruriens and Ginkgo Biloba.
Ginkgo Biloba increases circulation and therefore mineral and oxygen availability to the brain.
Mucuna Pruriens is an acknowledged source of L-Dopa. The product ‘PreDop’ from the Dr Veras range contains Tyrosine, B6 and Mucuna pruriens seed and I have seen good results in patients using this product.
I have also used Bacopa with good results. It appears to reduce the stage at which Levodopa is required and then lessen the amount needed.
If unsure which product is best for you, then send your query and details to ‘Ask Alison’.

– Massage always helps and is very important, as it can reduce muscle rigidity and therefore improve range of movement and reduce cramping. I have seen extremely good results using a combination of cranial sacral therapy and massage, improvement lasting any-thing up to 3-4 weeks. Also it improves the patient’s feeling of well-being and this is of great importance.

– Exercising the mind is of equal importance and the well being of Parkinson’s patients is markedly improved when they are both physically and mentally active.

– I have read that Chelation therapy can be of great benefit in treating Parkinson’s. This treatment is based on the use of strong detoxifying substances administered orally or intravenously. The therapy is usually used to flush heavy metals from the body.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Original Question:….3 years ago my husband was diagnosed with a severe case of Polymyalgia Rheumatica. He was immediately put on Prednisone which gave and continues to give magical results in relieving his symptoms. He currently has no side effects from the continued dose of 5mg twice daily….however when the specialist attempted to reduce the dose to test to see whether the adrenal gland had resumed functioning we found that it hadn’t and all symptoms returned.

My questions are:
1. He was told he has an over active immune system. How does this happen?
2. How can an over active immune system, be returned to a healthy state?
3. What could we do to support his immune system as he prepares to have another attempt at drug withdrawal?
4. In the event of lack of success coming off Prednisone, what are the alternatives and what is the prognosis for his future?

…….Polymyalgia Rheumatica is known as an auto-immune disease, hence the reference to ‘an over active immune system’.
The term ‘auto-immune’ means your immune system is basically attacking itself. Causes are obscure but it is thought that they could include viral infection (often occurring in childhood, but staying in the body and capable of causing multiple problems as people get
older), immunisations, excess stresses, poor nutrition, poor mineral levels or all of the above plus more!

To return the immune system to a healthy state takes time and effort. Try at all times to maintain a diet high in fresh, wholesome, unprocessed foods, specifically avoiding all sugars, alcohol, coffee, excessive red meats and checking that there is no sensitivityto the solanum family of foods (tomato, potato, capsicum, eggplant) as these will all cause inflammatory symptoms.
Some additives can also cause inflammatory symptoms to worsen notably sulphites, check for these.
See page on Sulphite Allergies.

Avoid excessive stress, get enough rest and adequate sleep. Exercise is important, but not to the point that the body becomes over tired.

Mineral levels must be greatly increased. This is most easily done by using 1tbsp of Colloidal minerals daily as these will provide all necessary minerals and trace elements.
See pages on ‘Minerals – the facts’ and ‘Minerals – why we need to supplement’.

Also take extra B vitamins, ideally as a green supplement but otherwise as a B Complex tablet. It may be beneficial to add extra B6.

Herbs are extremely useful in helping the immune system return to health, especially those such as Echinacea, Phyllanthus, Astragalus, St John’s Wort and Reishi mushroom.
Where the adrenal system is compromised then add Withania and/or Licorice.

Colostrum is also great as it improves the immune status of the gut (dysbiosis of the gut can also be the cause of many inflammatory symptoms) and can be combined with specific
probiotics especially designed to improve the immune system.
See page on Probiotics.

I find alternate courses of immune boosting herbs and Colostrum work extremely well.

All these things will support the immune system as your husband prepares to have another attempt at drug withdrawal, but I feel that his main problem will be finding alternate methods of reducing pain and inflammation to the point that Prednisone is not needed.

One of the best treatments I have found is a blend of B12 and Potassium Iodide. It greatly reduces sensitivity to pain and increases energy and well being. Obviously works best where overall mineral levels are already high. Keep to a low dose daily.

Often, also a blend of herbs such as Olive, Hops and Rosemary can work extremely well in reducing inflammatory pain as it relaxes painful muscles and adds antioxidant effect. The dosage of this may well be reasonably high, possibly 2 tablets 2-3 times daily.
Other anti-inflammatory herbs may also be of use, as may Quercetin.

If you are unsure which products are best for you, use the ‘Ask Alison’ option.

Long term prognosis if sticking to this type of regime can often be very good.

Also see page on ‘GiantCell Arteritis’

Premenstrual Syndrome

PMS the cyclic recurrence of a group of symptoms that appear during the luteal (later)phase of the menstrual cycle and diminish or completely disappear after the onset of the menstrual cycle.
A huge number of symptoms have been attributed to PMS. They can range from the psychological symptoms such as mood swings, depression and irritability to physical symptoms such as breast tenderness, bloating and headache.

Etiology is unclear. It is thought that PMS can be brought about by a hormonal imbalance between progesterone and oestrogen.
Often it is presumed that oestrogen is too low, however some research is showing that the condition is more likely to be one of low progesterone.
Another possible reason, especially where breast tenderness is concerned is an increased Prolactin level. The reasons for these imbalances occurring can be unclear as all bodily systems can influence hormonal balance and neuroendocrine function.
My own opinion is that PMS is a disorder brought on by inflammation, hence many treatments that have an anti-inflammatory action will help.
The most predominant of these being DIET!

Treatment should take into account nutritional insufficiencies, and psychological/stress factors as well as the use of herbal or homeopathic remedies.
Some therapists group PMT symptoms into several sub types which can be useful when deciding how to treat each individual.

Type A (anxiety) – tension & anxiety, agitation, irritability and mood swings.

Type C (cravings) – Increased appetite and craving for sweet foods. May also be headache, dizziness, fainting or palpitations.

Type D (Depression) – Unexplained crying, depression, insomnia, forgetfulness and confusion.

Type H (Hyper-hydration) – Build up of water in the body especially over the abdomen and breasts.

Type P (Pain) – Abdominal or pelvic pain, either as cramping and/or dragging in nature.

Herbal treatments work extremely well where any hormonal imbalance is concerned as rather than ‘giving’ a hormone to the body they stimulate the pituitary to work more effectively, hence providing a better balance of hormones.
They do need to be taken over a period of 3-4 months (not weeks) to be really effective, while at the same time looking to the diet.

The herb Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus castus) is often the herb of choice as it is a tonic to the female reproductive system. It has been shown to stimulate and normalise pituitary gland functions. It stimulates production of progesterone in the premenopausal woman by the stimulation of Lutenising hormone in the pituitary.
It also contains ‘dopaminergic’ phytochemicals that will inhibit the excessive production of prolactin by the pituitary gland. It is therefore useful for all types of PMS. Chaste Tree is best used through out the cycle, not just in the latter half. The dose needs to be about 2-3ml or 1-2 500mg tablets daily.

Other herbs such as Dong Quai, which relieves heavy clotting and dark unhealthylooking  bleeding, Wild Yam (Types H and P), Black Cohosh and Paeonia, which are also excellent balancers and tonics, may also be useful.

Where breast tenderness is a problem it is important to avoid all excess sugars, fats, ‘junk’ foods, Coke, wine and coffee as they will greatly compromise liver function and cause inflammation and tenderness to worsen. In many instances this can be the sole cause of breast tenderness and other PMS symptoms. Once again best results are obtained where this is done all the time, not just when thought necessary!!
Avoiding these foods groups also helps avoid mood swings but where this has already been addressed then the use of herbs would be appropriate.

One of the most used herbs for premenstrual moods/stress (Type A) must be St. Johns Wort. (Hypericum). It deals very nicely with feelings of negativity and helps the outlook on the world to be far more positive!
Kavakava is also very good if feelings of anxiety predominate and Skullcap if feelings of anger predominate. Valerian can be very useful if nervous tension is present. These can be mixed together by a herbalist or used separately.

Evening Primrose Oil, is a great anti-inflammatory (see below). Used at a dosage of 3000mg per dose 1-3 times daily can also be excellent for feelings of anxiety (Type A) and also for those nasty “weepy’ phases. (Type D) Also useful for breast tenderness.

PgE1 is anti-inflammatory and is derived from essential fatty acids (EFAs), especially those containing high amounts of GLA such as found in Evening Primrose oil, Borage oil and Starflower oil. Therefore increasing any of these oils during periods of PMS can often reduce symptoms. They can be taken when necessary and don’t need to taken all the time.

High consumption of alcohol, coffee, Coke etc combined with deficiencies of zinc, magnesium and B6 will reduce PgE1 formation as well as (as mentioned prior) compromise liver function.

Other nutritional factors that should be considered are:
Deficiency of Magnesium. Best supplemented at about 500mg daily and used in conjunction with Colloidal minerals, (to supply all other trace elements). Works well where stress/tension are involved (Types A and P).
Go to On-line shop for organic EPO or magnesium supplements.

– Vitamin B6. Required for efficient absorption of Magnesium. Best taken 100mg twice daily in conjunction with B complex. Eases many PMS symptoms (Type H)

– Vitamin E. Can be useful for breast tenderness, anxiety and depression.
(Type A, D andH)

– Chromium. (Useful for Type C and H). Should be used in conjunction with zinc, magnesium and B6 as well as strict adherence to avoiding sugars, wine, coffee, alcohol and any other ‘junk’ foods.

– Iodine. Many symptoms of PMS are similar to those of hypo-thyroid function. A few drops of iodine rubbed onto the inner arm, iodine taken as kelp added to the diet or supplemented as Potassium Iodide can make a huge difference. NZ soils are low in Iodine and this can be the reason for many depressive (Type D) and low energy symptoms.

Up-dated Aug 2018

Period pain

Original question: ‘My daughter suffers from severe bloating just prior to her periods and often severe pain and cramping during it. She is 15 years old and tends to become very upset at this time.
Her GP has suggested that she start using a contraceptive pill to help prevent these symptoms but we would like to, if possible try and help her with out going to these lengths. She is not in a relationship and therefore we do not feel that the pill is quite appropriate at this time’.

……Firstly have your daughter make sure her diet is free of refined foods, white bread, sugars and especially drinks such as Coke, as an excess of these will invariably cause bloating and pain.
She also needs lots of green leafy vegetables to ensure adequate iron levels. Beetroot is also a wonderful source of iron.

Also, before your daughter contemplates going on a contraceptive pill I suggest that she first tries using Evening Primrose oil. Evening primrose oil is one of the best remedies I know of for premenstrual bloating and for the breast tenderness which tends to go hand in hand. It can work wonders, either on its own or in combination with other herbs.
Use 3000mg per dose as needed for pain, once or twice daily. It is not necessary to take this amount every day, just take when necessary.
Go to On-line shop for organic Evening primrose Oil.

Herbs such as Dong Quai, Wild yam, Paeonia or Black Cohosh, can also help relieve pain and soothe muscle spasm. Cramp bark can also be useful.

Taking extra B6 (100 – 200mg daily along with B complex tablet) from ovulation
onwards can also help relieve the bloating.

If cramping continues to be a problem it may be a good idea to have your daughter visit an
Osteopath, as at times low back and low abdominal pain and especially cramping can be due to problems in the lumbar region of the back.

If these measures do not appear to be sufficient (and the diet and spine are sorted) then it may be a good idea to use the herb Chaste Tree (Vitex Agnus castus) for several months as the underlying reason for premenstrual bloating and breast tenderness (apart from the above mentioned things) is thought to be due mainly to prolactin secretion. Chaste Tree would be the herb of choice to sort this out.
Use the Contact us page to order herbal remedies.

Also see page on ‘Premenstrual Syndrome’.

Alternatively if wanting more specific advice, send your query and details via ‘Ask Alison’.


Perspiration is triggered by the autonomic nervous system, usually is response to an increase in the temperature of the body.

Perspiration is clear on production by the body, but contains salts and body oils that will, on exposure to the atmosphere, or due to an increase in temperature (such as that which
would occur if clothing is put into a clothes drier or an iron), turn yellowish in colour and can cause damage to fabrics.

As well as by exercise, which increases body temperature, the autonomic nervous system can also be stimulated by the use of synthetic hormones, oral contraceptives, steroids and some asthma drugs – caffeine in tea and coffee too.

Alcohol can stimulate excess perspiration by the dilation of the blood vessels as can some spices and of course stress!

Perspiration is relatively odourless.

The odour that we associate with perspiration is only caused by the reaction of perspiration with bacteria on the skin.

Keeping the skin well washed helps greatly and also the use of natural deodorants (such as silica crystal stones) which will suppress bacterial growth on the skin and therefore help avoid body odour.

If body odour persists I tent to think that often the problem can lie in the bowel which even if ‘detoxes’ have taken place can still hang on to stubborn ‘crud’.
A really good probiotic should help.
Also increasing foods that contain high levels of enzymes can help eliminate ‘crud’. Foods such as kiwi fruit, pawpaw and aloe vera juice come into this category.

To try and limit excess perspiration, first check your diet for any stimulants (including various spices etc.), limit alcohol in the diet and take note of any medications.

Make sure you try to buy clothing that is made of cotton rather than synthetics  and loosely fitting to allow the body to breathe better, and wash all clothing and bed linen frequently.

Many modern fabrics do not breathe well and are difficult to get completely free of perspiration, usually needing to be washed after a single wearing. As mentioned above, the application of heat will just set the perspiration into the fabric and cause staining, so be sure to wash and rinse clothing thoroughly.

The use of anti-perspirants is not recommended as many can contain aluminium and other harmful ingredients, and also because it is natural to perspire and suppression of this function is not the answer.

Multiple sclerosis (M.S)

Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic neurological disorder that affects the central nervous system.
The cause of M.S. is still to be definitely determined but much current research indicates an immunological abnormality, however the possible causes of this could be numerous.

The basis for the pathology of M.S. is the deterioration of myelin, the lipid substance that insulates nerve fibres. The diseased myelin is replaced by scar tissue that interrupts nerve impulses. Because myelin aids the conduction of nerve sifnals, damage to myelin results in impaired nerve signalling and can impair normal sensation, movement and thinking.

The following abnormalities have been found in M.S. patients: damage to the blood-brain barrier, changes in the micro-circulation of the brain and spinal chord and lack of oxygen to the brain.
The result can be visual disturbances, eye pain, loss of co-ordination, loss of balance, muscular tension, loss of bladder and /or bowel control, numbness and paralysis.

The onset of M.S. is generally said to be 20-40 years and rarely over 50 years.

Recent discoveries indicate that M.S. may be caused by a virus that precipitates an autoimmune attack on the myelin of nerve fibres.
The viral infection is thought to be rubella as much higher litres of antibody to rubella antigen are present in both the serum and cerebrospinal fluid of patients with M.S. than in normal controls.
In some manner there is a defect in cell-mediated immunity that apparently is influenced by the genetic make-up of the host. This defect in the cell-mediated response to the rubella antigen results in a failure to completely eliminate the virus from the host.

Also there is thought to be a geographical link in the incidence of M.S. occurrence, the higher risk areas being the colder latitudes if the person has spent the first 15 years of their life in these areas.
Relocation after adolescence does not appear to alter the risk. Because of this apparent geographical factor much research has been done on dietary patterns and especially on the role that dietary fats and Vitamin D3 play in the etiology of M.S.
(I have noted myself that it is often the children of parents brought up in the low altitudes that get M.S later in life, not the parents themselves. Making me wonder whether this is the background of the genetic traits. However I am not a scientist and can only note obsevations)

Studies have shown a strong relationship between a diet rich in animal and dairy products and a high incidence of M.S, whereas a diet rich in marine foods (omega-3 oils) co-relates with a low incidence of M.S.

Some natural treatments that may help M.S are:

– A diet low in saturated fats. Over the years there has been good evidence that maintained long term a diet low in saturated fats, tends to retard the disease process. Saturated fat should be no more than 10 grams daily.
Eat cold water fish at least three times weekly.
Supplement with at least 1-2 tbsp of flaxseed oil daily plus 2 tsp of cod liver oil.
Note that the use of flaxseed oil and fish oils will help improve circulation to the brain and spinal chord.

Avoid all refined foods – sweets, cakes, soft drinks, cordials, coffee, alcohol etc.

Increase raw fresh foods.

The herb Ginkgo Biloba has also at times been found to be effective in this respect in M.S. patients.

As immune system abnormalities are widely implicated, it would be wise to also work in this area.

Shark liver oil is a supplement that could be well indicated as it is excellent for the immune system and would add to the amount of fish oils used. Take 750-1000 mg daily.

Useful herbs would be Echinacea, Astragalus, Phyllanthus and Pau D’arco. Rye grass extract has also been recommended for use in any situation where the immune status has been compromised.

– Vitamin D has been widely advocated as under low sun-light conditions, as in low altitudes, insufficient Vitamin D3 is produced. This is the basis of another hypothosis as
to why there is such a marked geographical link in the occurence of M.S.
I have seen improvement in some MS patients using between 1000IU and 3000IU of
Vitamin D daily.

– Also the use of the herb Polypodium leucotomos. This is a fern found in northern Honduras and parts of central America that has had a long traditional use as a blood tonic and to keep the immune system strong.
It has anti inflammatory properties as well as antioxidant properties. It can be found in some products in combination with Vitamin D and I have observed improvement in some patients.
Use the ‘Contact us’ page to order this product or other herbal products.

– Any of the Bitters (Gentian, Coleus, Agrimony, Globe Artichoke etc.) can also be useful. Bitter herbs aid the digestion and as the role of food allergies in M.S. has been questioned (especially mal-absorption of fats) then the digestive system should also be given attention. The use of food enzymes prior to each meal would be well advised.
See page on ‘Enzymes – facts’.

Antioxidants are known to improve the blood-brain barrier and therefore reduce the likelihood of viruses, bacteria, toxins etc. entering the cerebrospinal fluid.

Minerals are needed by the body throughout to maintain good health and to help detoxification and healing. A green supplement such as Spirulina or Barley Grass is great if used in relatively large amounts, alternatively Colloidal minerals are excellent.
See pages on  ‘Minerals – facts’ and  ‘Minerals – why we need to supplement’.

Recent research shows that Cranial Osteopathy can greatly improve the outlook for M.S patients. Apparently the cranial work is capable of allowing the body to re-myelinate the nerve fibres.

Along slightly more orthodox lines, many practitioners are recommending the use of Interferon, used as an injection once weekly. Interferon beta-1a is a 166 amino acid glycoprotein with a specific gravity of approx. 200 million I.U of anti-viral activity per mg. it is produced by mammalian (Chinese Hamster Ovary) cells into which human interferon gene has been introduced.
To date I can not say that I have seen great results in people using this therapy and the side effects of severe flu like symptoms appear quite debilitating. However how these
people would have progressed without the therapy is hard to determine.

Motor Neuron Disease

I am no expert on Motor Neuron Disease  but have come to the following, admittedly limited, understanding that there is no specific known cause but instead several hypothesis, some of which I have listed here:

There could have been childhood environmental or viral influence resulting in later persistent infections or inflammation, resulting further in auto-immunity to the extent that the nervous system is damaged.

Venous incompetence has also been suggested to compromise brain/nervous function and also to result in incompetence to the blood/brain barrier.

There has also been found to be considerable malabsorption problems in patients, especially with lipid, meat protein and B12 absorption.

Mercury and copper poisoning from dental amalgams has been suggested as a very likely cause of nerve problems especially those centering on the brain.

Also sensitivity to methyl xanthines, found in cola, coffee, tea and chocolate.

Based on these possible causes the following are suggestions as to how to treat this disease:

1. Avoid entirely all tea, coffee, chocolate and sugars as these can all cause sensitivity and inflammation.

2. The use of food enzymes to enable better digestion of proteins, lipids and carbohydrates. These need to be taken with each meal.
See page on ‘Enzymes – facts’.

3. Take colloidal mineral daily to supply all minerals needed for optimum
health. Extra zinc and selenium may be needed.
See page on ‘Minerals – facts’.

4. Supplement with extra vitamin B6 and B12 to help the nervous system cope
with the symptoms being exhibited.
See page on ‘Vitamin B12’.

5. Take a strong antioxidant. This can help detoxify and drastically reduce inflammation. It also has the capacity to improve the blood/brain barrier
See page on ‘Antioxidants’.

6. Flaxseed oil taken 1 – 2 tablespoons daily can help improve the circulation; best combined with the use of other herbs such as Garlic, Hawthorn, Ginkgo, Cayenne, Ginger etc.

7. Visit an Osteopath, particularly one trained in craniosacral osteopathy as wonderful improvement can be made in some patients using this treatment.

8. Remove mercury from the body. This requires specific amalgam removal methods combined with the use of specific chelating methods and vitamin C.
Glutathione will help remove Mercury (as well as other heavy metals) from the tissues as will Zinc and Selenium but it needs to be removed from the mouth to prevent further absorption into the body.

Microwaves, are they safe?

Microwaves, are they a source of danger???
Since the 1960s we have been told that microwave cooking is time-saving, convenient, energy saving and ‘safe’, but is it?

Much research says NO. If you are sceptical, do this little experiment at home.
Plant seeds in two pots. Water one with water that has been micro-waved (then cooled) and the other with regular tap water. The seeds that received micro-waved water won’t sprout. If micro-waved water stops plants from growing, think what it can do your health!

Many different studies have found that eating micro-waved foods over time causes detrimental effects in the body.
It causes significant changes in blood chemistry and a weakening of the immune system, which can lead to a lessening of the body’s ability to protect its self against cancers.

The effect on micro-waving breast milk has been studied and showed that even at a low setting, micro-waving can destroy some of the important disease fighting capabilities. Never micro-wave breast milk.

Research has also shown that micro-waved foods lowered the bio-availability of Vitamins C, E and B complex as well as some essential minerals.

Microwave ovens ‘cook’ by forcing the atoms, molecules and cells within foods to reverse polarity billions of times per second causing friction – the more friction, the more heat. This oscillation tears and deforms the molecular structure of food.

New compounds, called radiolytic compounds are formed, which are not found in nature. Microwaves destroy the life force that gives food its vitality and nourishment.

Apart from these observations there is the more obvious problem in that because microwaves are commonly used to simply quick heat food, they often do not heat evenly.

This often results in food ‘boiling’ on the outside while still being cool on the inside, leaving foods open to contamination with salmonellosis and listeriosis through insufficient cooking. Chicken would be a prime example of a food in which this can easily happen, leading to gastroenteritis like problems.

More information can be found on the internet, and makes interesting reading…become aware!!

Meniere’s disease

Meniere’s disease characteristically shows symptoms of vertigo, hearing loss, tinnitus with associated nausea, vomiting and loss of balance and sometimes disturbed vision.

The cause is said to be unknown, however some possible causes are increase of fluids in the inner ear, impaired blood flow to the brain, allergies, stress, deficiency of B vitamins or an impaired carbohydrate metabolism.

One of the most effective remedies has been found to be reducing salt intake as it is thought to help reduce possible fluid accumulation in the inner ear.

Often attacks of Meniere’s will follow an illness in which antibiotics were given and on inspection the drums will often appear darkened indicating fluid trapped in the inner ear.
In this case ‘Tiger Balm'(TM) or any other heat rub rubbed around the ears or onion poultices held over the ears can help to drain fluid.
See page on ‘Onion poultices’

Herbs can also help. Specifically: herbs such as Euphorbia and Lobelia, which can help open up the Eustachian tubes and improve drainage, Elecampane and Marshmallow to soothe and also to help drainage and Myrrh or Golden Seal as antibiotics.

Also if you smoke…stop, as smoking greatly reduces blood flow to the small capillaries that supply the nerves of the inner ear.

Avoiding caffeine can help some people as it will help to reduce over stimulation of the nerve endings.

Niacin or Vitamin B3 has also been thought to be useful in some instances, as it is a strong vasodilator, and can increase circulation to the nerves of the ear but be very careful how you use it. Start with very small doses and always combine with a vitamin B complex.
See page on ‘Niacin – use of B3’.

Vitamin B should always be taken anyway as many patients with Meniere’s have been found to be chronically B vitamin deficient.

In some situations Evening Primrose oil has been of help as it aids in reducing inflammation and muscle tension.

It is also worth seeking Osteopathic treatment as this can often greatly improve drainage to the head area.

Massage to ease muscle tension around the neck can also help.

Margarine versus Butter

Original question: ‘A friend keeps plaguing me over the margarine versus butter debate, and I always cite trans fatty acids as the reason that I advocate ‘sticking to butter’.
I received a letter from a nutritionalist that states a higher percentage of trans fatty acids in butter than in Olivio(TM). Could this be correct????’

This poses an interesting question. I have also always advocated using ‘just a little butter’ myself, because way back in the recesses of my memory I thought I could remember reading information to the effect that trans fatty acids were not only another cause of raised cholesterol levels, and interfered with fatty acid function, but were also a possible cause of cancer.

Research showed that ‘statistically’ the increasing levels of trans fatty acids in our diets were closely associated with the increasing cancer incidence. This could well be true, but to be fair many other sources of unhealthy foods have also risen over the last 80 years or so (including the huge increase in sugar consumption) so I am not sure how much weight to put on this observation.

Also, this was back in the days prior to the introduction of products such as Olivio. Originally many margarines did have a relatively high level of trans fatty acids and their only claim to healthy eating was that they had a lower saturated fat percentage than butter.

Nowadays there are several margarines on the market that not only have a lower saturated fat level than butter but also have fewer or no trans fatty acids. Olivio is one of these.

These products have extra saturated fat added to achieve a soft consistency instead of hydrogenated oils. Therefore they do have a slightly higher saturated fat level than some
other margarines but still lower than butter.

Butter has a small percentage of naturally occurring trans fatty acids so as far as I can determine the said nutritionalist is correct.

However to continue the debate further there are some researchers that say that the factory produced trans fatty acids have a different effect in the body than do the naturally occurring trans fatty acids.
On searching the internet I have not been able to source much relevant information to back this up, so I’ll leave that debate open. Admittedly you still have to decide which of the two products is the better for you and take into consideration that all margarines have various additives included to make them look and taste the way they do.

Manic Depression

Manic Depression as I understand it is a condition of imbalance in the chemical make-up of the brain.
It tends to be an intermittent disorder associated with profound altered mood states. These states can vary from extreme depression, hopelessness and despair to extreme ‘manic’ hyperactivity and irritability.

As stress is a common triggering factor Naturopathic treatment often revolves around reducing the effect of stress and the concept of normalization of brain function.

Often the lean is towards the effect of chemical imbalance due to food or chemical insensitivities. It is a good idea to have checks for food intolerances and chemical toxicity – especially mercury or lead.

The usual type of treatment recommended would be:

– Remove all chemicals, colour, preservatives, sugar, coffee etc. from the diet and greatly increase RAW ORGANIC FOODS.

– Use food enzymes with each meal.

– Increase all minerals. Colloidal minerals work very well. These should help balance mineral levels that can be decreased or imbalanced by Lithium use.
See page on  ‘Minerals – facts’ and Minerals – why we need to supplement’.

– Check for chemical sensitivity, if present, have toxins removed Homoeopathically.

– Have any amalgam fillings removed in the correct manner.

– Take a course of Glutathione, which will help remove any heavy metals from the body, especially Lead and Mercury.

– Increase intake of anti-oxidants, i.e. Vitamin C, E, Zinc, Selenium etc.

– Also Bioflavonoids, Rutin and Quercetin. Zinc and Selenium will also help remove heavy metals and other toxins.

– Use nervine herbs such as Hypericum (St. John’s Wort) or Oats if necessary

– Use Evening Primrose Oil
in relatively high doses, often good results can be obtained by using 3000mg two or three times daily.
Watch for the ‘cycle’, your nerves will fluctuate with the menstrual cycle regardless of age. Evening Primrose Oil often very easily rectifies an either depressive or anxiety state.
Use Organic Evening primrose where possible.

– Add more fish oils or Omega 3 to the diet.
Go to On-line shop for organic Evening Primrose oil and Fish oils.

Nasal Polyps

Polyps are non malignant growths that when occurring in the nasal passages can block correct drainage, often causing excessive drainage from the nose, sinus infections or breathing difficulties.

They may also cause people to snore or mouth breath. Often exact causes are not known but continual inflammation or irritation of the airways such as caused by allergies can be one reason.

Supplementing with Vitamin C plus bioflavonoids such as Quercetin or Rutin can often help prevent reoccurrence of polyps and also help promote the healing of the tissues.
Quercetin in particular is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and also reduces histamine release which overall means that it is a huge help when attempting to prevent irritation of mucus membranes.  This needs to be taken on a long term, regular basis to achieve good results.
Please ‘Contact us’ if you would like this product or, if unsure whether this product is for you, then send your query and details to ‘Ask Alison’.

In the diet Quercetin is found in red onions, red apple skins, black tea, red and purple berries, broccoli and all other dark green vegetables.

Sufficient levels of Vitamin A (as in beta-carotene) will also help insure healthier mucus membranes. Beta-carotene is found in all the red/ yellow vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin and beetroot, so include as much as possible of these in your diet.

Try to avoid breathing in environmental pollutants such as cigarette smoke, traffic fumes, household cleaners etc as these are all irritants that may promote the formation of polyps.

Also avoid foods that tend to form mucus, such as dairy products, wheat,  sugar,  pastries and chocolate.

Where mucus build up remains a problem, I have known ‘sinus washouts’ to help. These can be obtained from any pharmacy or you can make your own by dissolving a very small amount of plain salt in a cupful of water and putting it into a squeezy container. If you are really clever it is possible to sniff this up one nostril and out down the other!