Alison Cullen is a Nutritional Therapist with a special interest in Phytotherapy.
Ali will endeavour to give the best advice based on the information provided. However, it is always advisable to have a face-to-face consultation with a doctor or health care practitioner to obtain a diagnosis of any health matter which is concerning you.
Q How good is vitamin C for psoriasis?
A Not particularly - it's a good thing to have as part of your general supplement programme, but taking it on its own won't improve psoriasis at all. Psoriasis is quite stubborn and needs a combined approach of diet (no animal fats or protein, no caffeine, alcohol and preferably no refined sugar), lifestyle (addressing stress issues), and supplements (Milk Thistle for supporting the liver, an antioxidant for promoting healing, and something like propolis cream for the skin). It does work though - I've seen people's skin improve almost magically within a few days of doing the diet really conscientiously.
Q I have a cold that seems to be going on forever. Can you suggest anything I can do?
A Take Echinacea at least three times daily, and a Vitamin C supplement (just a low dose one - no higher than 100mg) up to six times daily. Drink plenty of water and no tea or coffee or fizzy drinks. Avoid refined sugar and alcohol too, as all these things reduce the efficiency of your immune system. Have lots of fruit and vegetables, preferably cooked and warm, and get sufficient amounts of sleep - this is all good for your immune system. Don't exercise too vigorously, as this puts demands on your immune cells, but do something like a gentle 10 to 20 minute walk in the fresh air each day instead. This combination should sort things out!
Q I am taking Pantoprazole for my gastric reflux disease. I was just wondering if there was a herbal product I could take. Feel uncomfortable, sometimes really bloated.
A Pantoprazole is a protein pump inhibitor - it works by reducing the amount of hydrochloric acid that the stomach makes. This means that you are not able to break down proteins properly, which gives you digestive problems further down the digestive tract. A much better way to deal with imbalanced stomach acid is to take Centaurium tincture (10 drops in a little water, 10 minutes before food), which tastes bitter and helps the stomach to produce enough acid to deal with your food, but not so much that it burns your stomach lining. You can also help yourself by making sure that you sit down to eat, chew your food really thoroughly (try chewing each mouthful at least 20 times - you'll see what a huge difference this makes), and don't rush about immediately you've eaten.
You may also benefit from taking Molkosan Vitality, which helps to revitalise the good bacteria gut. Both are available from health stores and some pharmacies.
Q What are the best remedies for strained ligaments around the knee caused through twisting?
A Apply a gel containing Arnica externally to reduce inflammation, and take Devil's Claw tincture internally if the inflammation and swelling is really bad. Then take 1,500mg Glucosamine sulphate daily for a month or two to help heal the area. Rest the leg, don't go playing rugby or anything till it's healed! And maybe have some acupuncture to speed up the healing process.
Q I have a flight coming up and have suffered with panic attacks. In the past I have taken Passiflora which is good but was wondering if I could take Valerian as well for added effect during the flight?
A You will probably do better taking Emergency Essence or Rescue Remedy for a couple of days before the flight (as well as Passiflora), and then throughout the flight itself. It works instantly and is excellent for supporting the nerves.
We regret that it is not possible for us to print answers to all the letters Ali receives. Remember that back issues of Healthy Way articles and Ask Ali are available on this website.