Tag Archives: cure

Natural deterrent to aphids

FeverfewBattling with aphids (greenfly) in the garden?  Commercially available insecticides often contain a chemical called pyrethrum which is derived from nature.  Rather than buying bottles of commercially prepared and potentially hazardous chemicals, you can harness the power of nature in deterring greenfly just by some clever planting. 

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is a pretty daisy-like plant that contains pyrethrins – very similar to the chemicals in commercial sprays.  Plant Feverfew amongst your flowers and it’s presence will deter the little insect marauders. DaisyGolden feverfew is a pretty plant in its own right – as the name suggests its foliage is a yellow/golden colour – and all plants will readily self-seed all over the garden if you allow them to.  (This plant is also used as a traditional herbal remedy for migraine).

BeeWhilst it is possible to make your own insecticidal spray or powder from these plants I wouldn’t advise it as it is toxic to bees. In its plant form it seems to work well enough for me and does no harm to bees.  Some sources claim that it will deter bees from the garden, although I have never found this to be the case and have often seen bees visiting the feverfew flowers.  



Filed under Gardening, General Health, General tips, Herbal alternatives

Sleep, Rest and Recoup


Tips for a restful night’s sleep

If you’re reading this, logic tells me that you are concerned about lack of sleep.  First of all, it’s important to say that  while 8 hours is the accepted norm for a good night’s sleep, you needn’t necessarily feel bad because you routinely sleep for less than this.  Some people actually only need 4 hours (Margaret Thatcher being a famous example), while others are out for the count for a full 12 (just about every teenager on the planet).  

However, sleep deprivation, when your body is telling you that you need more rest (!),  can be both debilitating and depressing and no one really wants to resort to potentially addictive chemicals to solve the problem. There are so many possible causes, cures and herbal remedies that I thought it might be helpful to put together a whole list of them.  I hope you’ll find something here to help. 

Herbal Help

Lavender has been known for centuries to induce relaxation and can be used in a number of ways: a couple of drops of essential oil sprinkled on the corner of your pillow will help, as will  lavender oil in a cold diffuser placed in the lavender-1bedroom.

A warm bath, at the optimum time of two hours before bed, helps to regulate body temperature to an ideal level and is particularly helpful when combined with lavender products like bubble bath and body lotion.

Herbal teas can also prove useful – chamomile and valerian (which is often combined with hops) are both well-known for aiding relaxation and sleep.  While both will help with insomnia, I’ve read recently that valerian, especially when combined with ‘chaste tree’ may help with sleep maintenance. 

Extra help and accepted wisdom

Even 20 minutes of gentle exercise during the day can help to stop stress hormones from interfering with sleep.

Try to avoid heavy meals just before bed – a minimum two hour gap between meal and bed is a good idea.

art-deco-girl-11Avoid caffeine drinks like regular tea, coffee and cola in the evening.

Is your actual bed ‘up to muster’?  The lifespan of a bed depends largely upon quality but as a rule of thumb, if your bed is ten to twelve years old you should probably replace it.  (Here’s a tip: If you suffer from backache, it may just be your bed)!

Equally, do you need new pillows?  There are a huge variety of pillows out there – foam, feather, down – and it may just be that a change of pillow would help you get a restful night’s sleep.

Try to avoid sheets with a high synthetic content.  Sheets with a high cotton content allow your skin to breathe, which in turn makes the bed feel more comfortable.  (I tend to buy sheets with a maximum cotton / minimum polyester content, simply because I’ve found some pure cotton sheets can be an absolute swine to launder).


Try to ensure that your bedroom is furnished fairly simply and is clutter free.  Psychologically, a clutter free bedroom makes for a calmer and more relaxing atmosphere.

Look at using colours for walls, carpets and soft furnishings that you personally find relaxing.  Traditionally shades of blue and green evoke feelings of calm and relaxation in many people but you may have something else in mind.  (For example, I always seem to opt for gentle creams). 

Try not to watch TV or work in bed.  Your bedroom should become associated in your mind with your own haven of peace and utter relaxation.

off-to-bed1The best temperature for a relaxed sleep is surprisingly cool, i.e. 68 degrees.  Fit individual thermostats to radiators if you can so that you can keep your bedroom at this temperature (and save money)!

It goes without saying that minimising noise and light will also help – it’s strange but true that even though you are asleep you will become aware of increasing light levels in a room where the curtains / blinds allow the morning light to percolate through.

If you live in a quiet area and it is safe to do so, leaving a ‘top light’ /small window slightly ajar to let in some fresh air is a good idea.  Good sleep doesn’t happen easily in a stuffy, ‘sealed’ room with stale air.

Less obvious but worth mentioning anyway:

Airing the room each day, allowing a fresh supply of oxygen to flow through your room will keep it smelling sweet and welcoming.

Toss back the covers each morning to allow cool air to permeate the bed covers.  Even half an hour of this while you shower will keep the bed smelling fresh (not to mention keeping any mites at bay)!

Make the bed each day – an un-made bed doesn’t exactly call you to its gentle embrace, now does it?

Change the bed sheets each week (hopefully you knew that one already)!


I really, really hope something here will be of help.  Let me know how you get on and…

Remember if this is an on-going problem and you feel at all concerned you should still talk to your doctor.


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Filed under Beauty, General Health, General house tips, General tips, Herbal alternatives

Health News

Scientific analysisEnzyme behind cancer spread found

Scientists say they have found a way to stop cancer spreading to other parts of the body. Cancer metastasis, where the cancer spreads from its original location, is known to be responsible for 90% of cancer related deaths. Institute of Cancer Research scientists have found that an enzyme called LOX is crucial in promoting metastasis, Cancer Cell journal reports.   Read the rest of the article….BBC website

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Beautiful Eyes: Preventing & dealing with dark circles

Beautiful eyesAs the new year comes around we all tend to take a critical look at ourselves and if what you see in the mirror right now isn’t quite what you’d like to be seeing, then the following may interest you.  Set out below are a few pointers for anyone concerned about dark circles under their eyes. 

The most obvious and common cause of dark circles is a lack of several good nights’ sleep  – the perceived wisdom being that a minimum 8 hours per night is needed for optimum benefit.  Alcohol consumption alters the quality of our sleep, so if you’ve crashed out for an 11 hour session in bed after an all-night bender, the fact of the matter is that you may still be sorely in need of a good night’s sleep!

Alcohol consumption generally may also have put your kidneys and/or liver under stress and an outward symptom of that is dark circles under the eyes.  Do your system a favour, therefore, by cutting out the alcohol in favour of cool, clear water and those dark circles may soon be a thing of the past. 

Equally, poor diet can put our liver and kidneys under strain.  Increase your intake of green, leafy vegetables and fresh fruit and avoid heavy foods like butter, cream, rich salad dressings and chocolate.  Cut out fried food, coffee and any heavily processed food and drinks.

Dark rings under the eyes can be a sign of anaemia (a lack of iron in the diet).  The remedy may be to follow the dietary advice above but if this is an on-going problem, or you are in any way concerned, you should certainly visit your doctor for advice.

Unfortunately some of us are pre-disposed through our genetic make-up to have dark circles under our eyes and it’s a problem that becomes worse as we age and the skin under the eyes becomes thinner.  If you think this may be the case for you then relatively inexpensive cosmetic eye creams may help disguise the problem as many have light reflecting properties that make the eye area look generally lighter and more youthful.  (Look for something, for example, like l’Oreal eye cream, formulated and packaged for men and women). Don’t use regular moisturiser on the eye area.  It’s too heavy and may weigh the skin down, causing bags! 

Concealer may also help, although you need to use a light hand when applying it.  (I’m not making any money out of recommending this but I’ve always found Yves Saint Laurent ‘Touche Eclat’ (Radiant Touch) to be very useful when I need a fake boost.  Again, use it judiciously or else you will look like a panda)!

Remember, in all cases, if you are at all concerned, or it is an on-going problem a quick visit to the doctor is probably in order.


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Hangover cure

Not feeling your best?

Not feeling at your stellar best?

If you’ve over-indulged you don’t need me lecturing you about the damage you’ve done to your body – you can feel it, can’t you? 

Years ago I read of medical students taking a hangover cure of a headache pill (or pills, depending on dosage), with a glass of orange juice into which a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda had been stirred.  (It does fizz up quite a bit by the way).  If medical students thought it a good idea, I reasoned they probably had the equivalent of inside knowledge and it was worth giving it a try.  The reasoning behind this combination certainly seemed sound.  The headache pill – for obvious reasons.  The orange juice – vitamin C helps the liver to quickly metabolise alcohol.  Bicarbonate of soda – alcohol makes our systems acidic (causing dehydration and headaches) and as bicarbonate of soda is an alkaline it helps to neutralise that acidity.  This combo should be taken first thing in the morning.

Back in the day, when I did occasionally partake in a glass or two too many, I tried this and, for me at any rate, it definitely helped.  Beyond that, try to eat some breakfast … and remember to never do it again!

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