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 I’d like to ask your advice on a problem for which I’ve only been offered antihistamines. I have suffered from chronic catarrh for many years but it has now reached a pitch that I find difficult to cope with. The mucus is very sticky and tends to sit in my throat, waking me in the night and sometimes causing embarrassing choking fits at mealtimes.
A Catarrh is caused by the mucous membranes attempting to offload toxins, especially if the diet contains mucus-forming foods such as dairy products.
Avoid caffeine, dairy products and refined sugar for three months, drink at least 1.5 litres of plain water daily and make sure your bowel moves every day. This may seem a difficult programme, but you will be amazed at the results after three months. Ask you local health food store for alternatives to dairy products.
Take 15 drops of Plantago tincture in a little water three times daily to hasten the expulsion of the catarrh. I am sure you will soon be rid of this troublesome condition.
Q I would like to take Ginkgo biloba to improve my memory and my circulation. I have been taking vitamin E as an antioxidant. I read somewhere that vitamin E plus Ginkgo biloba can cause bleeding. Could you please kindly let me know if that is true and if it is inadvisable to take both?
A It is possible to use Ginkgo biloba and vitamin E together, provided the vitamin E is no higher than a 200 i.u. daily dose, and you are not taking any anticoagulant such as Aspirin or Warfarin.
My husband and I are going on a holiday soon where we will spend two days at about 12,000ft. We have been warned that we could suffer from altitude sickness and wonder if there is some homoeopathic or herbal remedy which we could take with us as a precaution. We already take glucosamine, garlic and Echinacea.
A study was carried out a few years ago using Ginkgo biloba to treat altitude sickness in a group of people climbing Mount Everest. The trial indicated that Ginkgo could be quite effective. We would suggest taking it at least two to three weeks before you go and during your trip. Ginger is also effective for treating nausea and can be taken if needed.
Q I have been treated by my GP and a consultant for vulvovaginal irritation, with very little success. I have found a fresh herb tincture of Uva-ursi helps me with bladder irritation and I was wondering if you could recommend another product for vaginal discomfort?
A Vulvovaginal irritation can be quite difficult to treat. However, you could try concentrated whey, taken internally (1 dsp twice daily in a glass of water or juice), and applied externally (1 tsp concentrated whey diluted in 4 tsp water), to reduce irritation and inflammation. It is also advisable to check your diet and to make sure your bowel is working daily as constipation can be part of the problem.
Q I have a gallbladder problem. When I eat anything that has fat I get pain and tenderness over my liver; also acid indigestion. I am underweight. I think it might be due to this. Can you help?
A I would recommend that you use tincture of Milk Thistle and other cleansing herbs, 20 drops in a little water twice a day. This will improve the functioning of your liver, regulating the production of bile, which you need to metabolise fats. In addition, you could take 15 drops of Dandelion tincture in a little water before eating any fatty foods. Avoid deep fried food and caffeine and make sure you drink enough water. Chew your food thoroughly and sit down to eat rather than running around.
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.