Working in our friendly customer service team here at Indigo Herbs, we get a variety of weird and wonderful enquiries from our lovely customers! However, a question we get asked a lot is “what herb should I take for …” - customers seeking advice on what herbs might be useful for a particular symptom or condition. We do our best to help and support our customers (especially using our fantastic Natural Health Guide), however, from a Naturopathic perspective, re-framing this question might be of considerable value.
Rather than approaching the herbs as prescriptive and adopting a symptomatic approach, I believe in a holistic and naturopathic approach, that considers all aspects of a person and their inter-connectedness. Looking beyond the symptoms to the cause is also crucial. This approach reminds us of the importance of establishing the basis for health, in support and synergy with any herbal or other therapeutic interventions.
Therefore, I thought a blog dedicated to this would be of benefit in guiding and empowering us all to enhance our health!
What is a Naturopathic and Holistic Approach?
At the heart of holistic health is considering all the inter-related aspects of a person and that unique individuals life. Looking at the components of our lives, therapeutic interventions can be utilised to promote a harmonious wholeness of health across all aspects:
Empowering a person with methods for self-care to promote the holistic aspects shown in the diagram above, enables them to be responsible for their own health, rather than being reliant on external sources. Achieving an increased state of wellbeing then allows for the body to begin its innate self-healing processes.
We are what we eat, what we drink, say, do, see, think and feel etc; these are all choices that create our reality and by taking responsibility, we can be active in creating the life we want! Through implementing simple health and lifestyle improvements, our immunity and overall health can be boosted, prevention is better than cure as they say!
Spring is a season of re-birth and growth, of new beginnings and is a great time to implement lifestyle improvements! Now that we have established the philosophy that forms a naturopathic and holistic approach, we are reminded of the importance of choosing a healthy lifestyle to support any interventions that we might utilise for our wellbeing.
Many of us are aware of what we need to do for our health, but we do not always do it! The information to follow serves as a gentle reminder to listen to our bodies by bringing this knowledge back to our awareness again. So, let’s look at some simple ways to create the basis for enhancing our health that follow this holistic philosophy…
Water is key to our health and fundamental to many processes within the body. It is lost through urination, perspiration and breathing, so it is vital that we keep our water levels topped up! For most people, this will be around 2 litres per day of the best quality water available to us, ideally filtered by some means and ideally choosing glass containers or failing that, plastic ones that are BPA (Bisphenol A) free. Add some extra zing by using sliced lemon, cucumber or fresh herbs such as mint.
Food as Medicine
We are all individuals with unique constitutions and sensitivities, so giving general dietary advice is difficult! However, I feel the basis of a diet supportive of our health is to ensure we receive a range of nutrients by “eating a rainbow”. The radiant range of colours of vegetables, fruits and other foods is due to specific nutrients that provide pigmentation, therefore eating foods of a combination of colours ensures we are receiving a wide range of nutrients. Combining this with eating seasonally, choosing organic if possible and using the NHS Eat Well Guide below empowers us with some great nutritional know-how! https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/the-eatwell-guide.aspx
Smoothies are also a great way of giving us a powerful nutrient boost and our Super Greens Powder and Super Vital Powder tastily take care of two of the rainbow colours! We also have a multitude of mouth-watering recipes on our website recipe section.
The Healing Power of Nature
Re-establishing our innate connection with the earth is a natural and nurturing way of honouring ourselves, our natural world and increasing our environmental wellbeing. Ways include:
- Mindfully walking in a natural habitat, paying attention to the beauty surrounding you and the flora and fauna that share this sacred space with you (litter-picking whilst walking is also a rewarding and earth-friendly practice).
- Taking a few minutes to stand barefoot on the grass first thing in the morning during the spring and summer, whilst practicing a few deep diaphragmatic breaths and visualising roots from the soles of your feet going deep into the earth, grounding you and connecting you with the power and rhythms of nature.
Our circadian rhythm or internal clock, establishes our natural sleep/wake cycle and is regulated by many internal physiological processes and affected by external factors in our environment. Good sleep is essential for good health. Sleep hygiene practices that support a healthy circadian rhythm for most people include:
- Reducing exposure to mobile phones, wireless signals and electric appliances before and during sleep
- Reducing exposure to light sources and keeping our sleep environment dark and at a comfortable temperature encourages the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone
- A soothing night time drink such as a warm cup of herbal tea. Herbs like Lavender, Chamomile, Valerian and our own Sleep Deep blend all aim to promote a good restful night’s sleep!
- Giving gratitude for a few blessings of the day is a rewarding ritual that fills us with positive thoughts as we drift off to sleep
Movement is Life
Exercises such as walking, tai-chi, dancing, yoga, jogging, cycling and swimming can provide us with a myriad of mind and body health benefits and connect us with our physical selves. Exercise and movement are key to establishing a healthy lifestyle. If appropriate, do consult a health professional before beginning your chosen exercise program.
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Day, A., (2018). Orgasmic health: your everyday guide to feeling fabulous. Poland: Amazon Fulfilment
Hoffman, D., (1990). Holistic herbal. UK: Martins the Printers
Murray, M.T., and Pizzorno, J., (2012). The encyclopedia of natural medicine. USA: Atria Paperback
Sarris, J., and Wardle, J., (2010). Clinical naturopathy: an evidence-based guide to practice. Australia: Churchill Livingstone