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’m taking Helix Slim and finding it is making it easier to stick to my diet, because I’m not so hungry. My sister wants to lose weight too but she’s been told she has the symptoms of Syndrome X – can she take it?
A Helianthus tuberosus, the herb in Helix Slim, has many health benefits apart from a good effect on appetite. It reduces hunger pangs and sugar cravings because it improves the way in which the body metabolises sugars and starches, making the energy they provide last longer and therefore making it longer before you feel hungry. Balancing the blood sugar levels in this way also makes it less likely that you will crave sugary foods, as this normally happens when blood sugar levels dip sharply.
Syndrome X concerns poor handling of sugars, and your sister should respond well to the herb. Some people also find that their bowel function improves when taking this remedy, which brings extra health benefits.
Q I am female and find I am having to get up to the toilet three to five times during the night. This is not a new development, and I generally go quite frequently during the day too – two and a half hours would be about max and often the ‘urge to go’ produces not much. I have had the ‘scope’ and ‘scan’ investigations, showing no problems. Healthwise I am very fortunate to have no concerns and recent blood tests have proved very good, leaving me with only one persistent problem! Can you help?
A This is a common problem amongst my patients and is frequently caused by very concentrated urine irritating the bladder lining. The answer is to drink more water (at least 3 pints/1.5 litres of plain water daily) and no tea, coffee or chocolate drinks. Fizzy drinks also have this dehydrating effect and so should be avoided.
You may want to try Uva-ursi for a few months, as it strengthens the bladder.
Q For the last four years I have had a sore oesophagus which is irritated by acidic fruits, spices, yoghurt, hot food or drinks and acid reflux. Having read Jan de Vries’ book on Intestinal Problems, I have, for the past eight weeks, followed the guidelines in the book as regards diet and I also take Centaury and a calcium supplement. Is there anything else I could do to speed recovery? How long should I expect it to take? It has improved in the eight weeks but I still feel some discomfort. I am otherwise fit and healthy.
A The type of problem you describe is frequently connected to stress, so tackling any stressful areas of your life may speed the recovery time. For my patients, I use a tablespoon of colloidal silica such as Hubner’s Silicea dissolved in a glass of water 15 minutes before eating. This buffers the digestive tract and reduces inflammation, promoting healing. You can do this in addition to the rest of your treatment plan.
Once the discomfort has gone, you can cautiously reintroduce the troublesome foods, one at a time, making sure that you chew them well and eat in a relaxed manner, not ‘on the hoof.’
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.