Lavender – The one really essential oil

February 11, 2009 by  
Filed under At Home, featured, Natural Medicine


There are so many essential oils to choose from, but the one that I would never be without is lavender because it is really almost a medicine chest in a bottle. I thought I would remind you of how versatile it can be and how useful if you are travelling and limited in what you can take with you.

Let’s start with sleep; trials at the Radcliffe hospital in Oxford showed that patients who were offered a bath with lavender oil in it, or inhaling the oil before bedtime were able to dispense with sleeping tablets -and their side effects.

If you have been bitten by an insect, apply it neat onto the bite and it works just as well on spots or boils. You can also mix it with a base oil such as almond or grapeseed and massage it in to relieve aches and pains in your muscles. I am a great one for burning myself on the oven or the iron and you can again apply the oil straight onto the burn and it takes the heat out and prevents a blister forming.

As I work on a computer, I can find myself ‘spacing out’ and losing focus and so I then rub some lavender oil on the inside of my wrists and inhale to clear my head. It also works if you feeling down as the scent can help lift your mood.

For headaches just put a couple of drops on each index finger and gently rub into the indentation on either side of your forehead, just above your eyebrows but make sure you keep well away from your eyes – no rubbing them after you have put the oil on!

Remember with essential oils, you tend to get what you pay for so the cheaper the oil the less active ingredient is likely to be in there. It really pays to buy organic for something that has so many uses and is so portable.

Red Wine Blues

December 2, 2007 by  
Filed under Food & Nutrition, Health, Lifestyle, Wellness

I am one, among many apparently, who have had to give up drinking red wine because it gives me a headache. I can avoid that mostly by sticking to organic red wine, and just having one glass, but scientists at the University of California have developed a new device may be able to detect the chemicals in red wine that lead to the dreaded post-red headache.

The chemicals are called biogenic amines, and they’re found in a variety of fermented foods including wine, cheese, olives, nuts, cured meats and chocolate. The specific red wine headache is thought to be caused by two amines called tyramine and histamine, but other potential causes also exist. Red wine and sake were found to have the highest amine levels so if they are your tipple of choice then a sensible interim solution if you are susceptible to such headaches, is to avoid amine-rich food and drinks because, aside from headaches, amines can also trigger high blood pressure, heart palpitations and elevated adrenaline levels. None of which are desirable drinking companions.

The new detector, which is the size of a small suitcase, can analyse a drop of wine and determine its amine levels in five minutes. Don’t worry, they know how ridiculous you would look lugging a suitcase along to a restaurant or dinner party, so they are now in the process of developing a pocket-sized version that you can take with you. Quite how your hosts- or the sommelier – would react is another matter as my experience has been that is the very cheapest wines that have the highest number of chemicals.

Only a scientist wouldn’t think this through to the end-user stage but they could always develop a tiny first aid kit to cope with the reaction to your using it!