December ~ Remedies For Overindulgence ;)

It’s that time of year again where healthy eating habits tend to go out the window and alcohol consumption, despite best intentions, increases. From personal experience I have found that the cleaner I am for the most part, those moments when I do fall off the wagon seem to hurt just that much more. So if like me you have become a light weight the following remedies may just ease the pain in the coming weeks – alternatively, like one of my dearest friends, you could go to a meditation centre half way through December for a 21 day silent meditation – personally I am not ready for that quite yet!

Overindulgence comes in many forms and for many of us it will involve eating over the coming weeks. For me it is not so much over eating, but eating foods I would usually avoid, alongside eating at strange times of day and night. Starting any meal with “bitters” whether that is a plate of dark green raw leaves, drops of bitter tinctures (such as wormwood or yarrow), or a cup of a bitter herbal tea, will help stimulate the secretion of bile and digestive juices. Bitters also slow the entry of sugars into the blood stream, make us more sensitive to insulin and curb our appetite, so as you can see it is a great idea to consume them all the time but especially when being presented with a big roast or snacking on finger food.

a serving of raw bitter leaves

a serving of raw bitter leaves

Mint and chamomile are two teas that would work well as a pre dinner bitter drink. If you miss the bitters before you eat all is not lost as mint, chamomile and ginger can all help with the post dinner bloat. Chewing on a piece of fresh ginger or simmering gently to make a tea can help with nausea, indigestion, flatulence and will improve liver function and help weak digestion. Chamomile eases heartburn and nausea and will calm inflammation of the gastro-intestinal lining. Mint can also ease indigestion, flatulence and nausea. Fresh mint leaves crushed and rubbed on the temples can help with a headache – which brings me to the next overindulgence – alcohol…



fresh young coconuts


Water is so obvious – not just drinking a pint before bed and first thing on rising but also drinking a small glass of water between each alcoholic beverage will slow your drinking down and keep you hydrated as you go. Failing that I find that drinking coconut water, naturally rich in electrolytes, goes a long way to help with rehydration and is somehow easier to drink if you are feeling a bit rough the morning after. I am not a big fan of eating out of season but a handful of strawberries the morning after (and preferably also the night before) can really help your body bounce back – as an antioxidant they have a cleansing effect on the body, are a tonic for the liver and blood, and they help protect the stomach lining.

Another thing you can do to ease a hangover is to take a lovely soothing warm bath with a handful of Epsom salts in. The Epsom salts will help draw out toxins and metabolic waste that the liver has converted into water-soluble compounds and relax your tired achy muscles.

wild dandelion finding an urban niche

wild dandelion finding an urban niche

I don’t tend to use herbs to intensively clear my blood or liver if I am about to abuse them all over again the next night. However, once the silly season is over I like to put a lot of love back in to my liver and give my system a herbal mini cleanse – with a course of milk thistle, dandelion root, burdock root and wheat grass shots  – more about that in January…

If you are interested in learning more about using simple remedies, or are wondering what to buy your plant loving friend for Christmas then check out a copy of The Medicine Garden.

Don’t forget that going outside taking a deep breath of fresh air and if possible taking a walk in the woods are all deeply restorative to both body and spirit. Keep well and be happy 🙂




Natural Remedies for Sunburn

With plenty of sun forecast for the weekend I thought it would be an ideal time to share a few natural sunburn remedies.  It is easy to be taken by surprise at how strong the sun is; I sat with friends yesterday watching the olympic triathalon in Hyde Park and despite a heavy covering of cloud we had all caught the sun by the end of the day.

  • A simple favourite is to blend up a length of cucumber and then apply the mash to the burned areas.  Cucumber has anti-inflammatory properties and will soothe and cool the skin.  leave the mashed up cucumber in place for 30 minutes before rinsing off.
  • It may be coming to the end of strawberry season but if you have any left they too can cool and soothe sunburned skin.  Just mash a few fruits and apply to the affected area, rinsing off after 30 minutes.
  • If you collected St John’s Wort flowers and made an infused oil this summer try rubbing the super red oil on your red skin as it is not only anti-inflammatory but will also provide pain relief.
  • Stuck at home with no fresh plants around?  Make a cup of chamomile tea and leave it to cool, then use cotton wool to drench your sunburned skin with the cold tea.  This remedy will be even stronger if the chamomile flowers used to make the tea are fresh.
  • I always think no home is complete without a few aloe vera plants potted up and growing on a sunny window sill.  To use aloe for sunburn take a nice thick leaf and slice it in half then just rub the wonderfully cooling slime that is inside the leaf all over the sunburt areas.

So there you go, a remedy for everyone, no matter whether you are out on a picnic or at home after a long day in the sun.  Lets just hope you are more sensible than my friends and I, then you won’t need to use one 😉

Find these sunburn remedies and many more in The Medicine Garden…

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