Sore Throat Saviour – For Singers and Shouters – and Everyone Else

November 24, 2010 by  
Filed under Health

I sent out an SOS this week as I was suffering from the aftermath of a cold which had left me sounding like Fenella Fielding (younger readers ask your parents, sorry grandparents) and my choir had a big performance to give in a few days time. I always take echinacea and vitamin C for a cold but a new product from Kiwiherb has the Echinacea combined with thyme and liquorice.

It’s for anyone suffering from a cold-related sore throat, tonsillitis, a tickly, irritated throat or a hoarse voice from singing, shouting or talking too much (not me, surely?) and this is an organic, practitioner-strength combination tincture that really hit the spot.

The Echinacea boosts the immune system, thyme soothes the throat and the anti-inflammatory properties of liquorice help bring effective and rapid relief.

For a sore throat, resulting from a cold, gargle with it to soothe and calm any rawness and inflammation. That’s what I did and then held it in my mouth for 30 seconds before slowly swallowing. It’s powerful stuff and must be diluted with water, or fruit juice, and it’s also suggested for use with tonsillitis and when losing your voice.

Within 24 hours I was able to confidently feel I could return to singing tenalto rather than basso profundo and as it can also be taken as a preventative, if you’re planning to sing, talk or shout a great deal it is now going into my ‘speaker’s kit’ for all future talks. Though I don’t plan on doing much shouting, you never know.

If you can’t find it in your local health store then contact Kiwiherb’s UK distributor at

Free way to boost immune system

January 25, 2009 by  
Filed under At Home, Natural Medicine


Now I am a great believer in having the strongest possible immune system to combat illness, and in particular to prevent colds and flu in winter. To this end I have seasonal acupuncture and take Echinacea and vitamin C as well as juicing daily to get my ‘live’ vitamins and antioxidants.

Now I find I could cut my expenditure radically by just making sure I get a decent night’s sleep. I know this now, because Sheldon Cohen, who studies the effects of stress on health at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University has researched the effects of lack of sleep on health.

We already know from previous research that sleep boosts the immune system at the cellular level, but this new research shows that even the smallest reduction in your sleep can make you more susceptible to illness by reducing the effectiveness of your immune system to combat it.

If you are someone who tosses and turns at night between dozing and sleeping then you are more 5 times more likely to get sick than someone who sleeps undisturbed. If this is you, and you get more than the average number of colds in winter, then you need to spend some time working out what causes your sleeplessness and tackle it.

At this time of year you really cannot avoid being exposed to the cold virus unless you do a Michael Jackson and travel in your own portable isolation tent and oxygen mask. On the bus, train or office there is always someone who is sneezing, or incubating the cold virus to pass on to you so the most sensible plan is to do all you can to improve your ‘cold armour’ by keeping your immune system in peak condition.

I have had a sleep pattern of a couple of hours under and then awake and then back for another couple of hours for a number of years and although I manage to stay fairly healthy, I think I will try a lavender bath to relax me before bed and five drops from the handy bottle of Bach Rescue Night which I have found effective in the past.

Top 7 tips for flu prevention

October 6, 2008 by  
Filed under Food & Nutrition, Health, Natural Medicine

After mentioning last week about the ineffectiveness of some flu jabs, I have been asked to give some more suggestions as to how you can prevent this seasonal visitor. With the weather changing so rapidly, from hot to cold on a daily basis, our bodies are more vulnerable to attack from viruses so you could try these simple tools to help you stay ahead of the flu:

1 Always wash your hands, inside and outside of the home, with hot water and soap. Carry a hand cleansing gel or towel for those times when handwashing facilities are not available. Oh and remember, one of the major ways to pick up viruses is not from public toilets, but public handrails. Wipe/wash your hands after placing them on a stair rail or support on an escalator.

2 There is an excellent homoeopathic cold and flu remedy made up by Galen Pharmacy in Dorchester. You take one tablet twice a day every fortnight until the bottle is finished. I swear by it, and if you want to order then call them on 01305 263996 and they will post you a dinky little bottle with an invoice, usually the same day.

3 If you don’t want a complete remedy then you just take astragalus. It is an immune-enhacing herb used in Chinese medicine that can help to build resistance to both the flu and the common cold.

4 Echinacea is well favoured as a winter boost to the immune system, just don’t take it continuously.

5 Keep your antioxidant levels high by eating plenty of berries, drinking green tea and the occasional piece of dark chocolate – all of which provide you with natural and tasty – antioxidants.

6 Maintain good levels of vitamin C and zinc in your diet to support your immune system.

7 Make sure you have plenty of fluids because staying hydrated keeps your nasal passages moist. This provides a better natural defence against viruses.

To jab or not to jab

That is indeed the question – particularly in relation to the flu jab which is on offer at this time of year. It’s over three years now since doubt was first cast on the effectiveness of the flu jab, particularly in protecting elderly people. Now it seems that a new study published in the US shows that the 2007-08 flu vaccine was only 44% effective, which made it the worst flu season the worst since 2003-04.

In fairness, flu vaccines are formulated based on health officials’ educated guesses about which strains of the virus are most likely to be circulating in a given year. Three of these strains are picked for inclusion in the vaccine and when they guess correctly, the vaccine is usually between 70 and 90% effective.

Sounds like a bit of a lottery to me, and again going the natural route I prefer to boost my system with a seasonal acupuncture tune up and regular doses of Echinacea and vitamin C – it seems to work for me.

Echinacea vindicated

September 26, 2007 by  
Filed under featured, Health, Natural Medicine

It’s a winter regular, the first sign of cold weather and I head for the Echinacea tincture to strengthen my immune system through the winter. Herbalists and anecdotal evidence has long believed that Echinacea is very effective at warding off colds and now there is further proof from scientists at the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy. They have not identified the precise mechanism by which it does this, but the study revealed that although the common cold is caused by 200 different viruses, Echinacea usage showed consistent reduction in the chances of catching a cold by up to 58%. Their findings came from reviewing the results of 14 separate clinical trials and found that Echinacea not only helped prevent colds, it also reduced the length of an established cold by a day and a half. Time for me to take my tincture!