Why you need lemon in your Gin & Tonic

August 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Health, Medical Research & Studies


I have always been a great advocate of aromatherapy – when in the hands of a trained aromatherapist it can have profound health and psychological benefits. It stimulates the immune system, strengthens resistance to disease and helps to combat infections. Aromatherapy can lower blood pressure, reduces stress, combat insomnia and other helps to deal with emotions such as anxiety, mild depression, and grief.

And what has this to do with my G&T I can hear you ask? Well some splendid Japanese researchers at Tokyo University have given aromatherapy a much-needed seal of approval by proving that your favourite drink can calm your nerves after a stressful day – but only if you include a decent slice of lemon in it.

When we get nervous, stressed and anxious our genes go into overdrive and can cause high blood pressure, sleeplessness and depression. These genes are affected by Linalool, a chemical compound found in lemons, lavender and mangos. That also explains why lavender oil is so popular to help people relax and go to sleep more easily.

It is the citrus aroma in that G&T that our bodies that respond to and the researchers have proved that Linalool can reverse the effects of stress simply by us inhaling that aroma. So you don’t even need to drink it, just give it a good sniff!

Oh really?

June 10, 2008 by  
Filed under Health, Natural Medicine

I know many doctors are sceptical of alternative medicine and its benefits, but according to one story from the States it is really only safe to try it when the patient is dead. A Chinese woman of 19 underwent cranial surgery at an American hospital, but she died two weeks later. She was declared dead, but was kept on a ventilator to allow her parents to get to the hospital and see her. On arrival, the father asked that she be given a Traditional Chinese Medicine concoction, which he said was routinely used in his society for patients in a coma.

The doctors had several conversations with the father, but couldn’t see how the herb could help a patient who was, to all intents and purposes, dead. Perplexed, they called in the hospital’s ethics committee to ask whether they could administer the substance while the patient remained on a ventilator.

After much deliberation, the committee sanctioned the use of the herb as it offered “psychological benefits to the family and the absence of risk to the patient (since she was dead).” As a life-long believer in combining the best of medical knowledge with the vast experience of treatment from the many traditional (ie alternative) systems of medicine, I can only hope this was not typical of most medical staff’s beliefs. I know doctors and nurses in the UK who allow homoeopathy, aromatherapy and even acupuncture for pain relief in childbirth in some hospitals – let’s hope that attitude spreads.